Ever wondered if there was a magic formula to create the perfect blog post which grabs your audience’s attention and keeps them reading? I know I did! Until now…
Recently, I attended a webinar conducted by Derek Halpern from Social Triggers (if you don’t know who he is, get connected. I like his candor, wisdom, and out of the box ideas!)
On the webinar he shared his thoughts on how to create the perfect blog post. He believes “it’s the perfect layout that leverages proven psychological and conversion principles” and I agree and need to start taking this outline into account!
Luckily, Derek is graciously allowing us to share this awesomeness with others. Thanks Derek!
How to Write the Perfect Blog Post
Click the image below to see the full size graphic.
Over to you…
What do you think? Do you have additional tips to creating the perfect blog post? Weigh in family!
I thought this was pretty interesting. Here’s an infographic that explores who uses Twitter and how they use it.
This can surely help you as a small businesss owner get an understanding of the Twitter audience as you create your social media strategy.
Note: The infographic below is interactive so just click inside and you can enlarge and move it around as you need.
Link to Visualizing.org: http://www.visualizing.org/visualizations/who-why-and-how-twitter
As small business owners we often wear a lot of hats, play a lot of roles, especially when we are first starting our businesses. One of those key roles is Social Media Marketer; if it isn’t the core focus of the promotional side of your business, it may get lost on the ever expanding laundry list of things to do to build your business. To help you with this, here are some short and powerful tips for using social media in your small business:
- Blog: Often a blog is overlooked as a piece of the social media plan. Not only is a blog a great way to share information with prospective and current clients, it is a great way to increase Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Consistent posting is key; at least one post per week minimum to engage your following; but finding your blogging rhythm is key. For a new small business, the blog may be the only part of the website that will change.
- Facebook: While the frequency of posts is debatable, there is no doubt having a Facebook presence for your business is important. As with blogs, the key is consistency. Building a following and then leaving them without new posts is just plain mean and they will leave you. Simple posts such as quotes, pictures, link to blog posts, articles and events are simple and effective options to maintain a connection with the audience.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great way to share information about your areas of expertise, business focus and connect with clients and prospective clients. Twitter is a social media platform that a lot of people overthink and then talk themselves out of using – and it’s a simple, powerful tool that can grow your business.
- Google+: Get a business listing on Google+. Google, for better or worse, is here to stay and sets the search-ability standard for websites. The Google algorithm (“math” of Google searches) is constantly changing. For now and the foreseeable future, Google is ranking businesses with Google+ profiles higher than others.
- Website: Not only is SEO and content marketing important for your business, it is important to link all of the previously mentioned social media sites to the website. Your website is your hub, your home on the Internet. The social networks only work to bring traffic back your home, your website.
The biggest lesson is to create a loop of information for visitors between your website and social media by adding your website link to all social media profiles and social media links on your website.
Whatever your industry, social media is an important piece of the marketing plan. With the social media scene changing almost daily, your best option may be to outsource that function much the same as you would outsource accounting. You want the best results so why not hire experts in areas in which you are weak or don’t have time and watch your business grow!
McAuley Freelance Writing is based in Mesa, AZ and provides professional writing services to clients around the globe. Services include copywriting for websites, brochures and marketing collateral as well as blogging and Twitter account management. Contact info@mcauleyfreelancewriting.
Over to you…
What short, powerful tips can you share for using social media for beginner businesses? Other entrepreneurs are awaiting your fabulous feedback!
If you haven’t heard by now, Pinterest is a visually stunning, cool image repository where you can create boards and “pin” images to your wall. It’s fun and, dare I say, addicting!
Well, nowadays, with a small business, we have to use all tools necessary and available to us to grow and Pinterest is one of them.
At first, I held out on joining because I thought: who has time for another tool? Aren’t Facebook and Twitter enough?
Well, it depends on your business and who your audience is. However, I’ll venture to say that even if you don’t think it’s best for you yet, go ahead and get invited (if you need an invite, let me know!) and at least get your branded URL – even if you don’t start pinning much yet.
If you are new to Pinterest, just Google “beginner’s guide to using Pinterest” and you’ll find enough resources to get you started and finding a strategy that works for your business.
The Big Why
Pinterest is here to stay! Last I heard (May 2012), it has over 13 million active users and growing quickly. In addition, according to a traffic study by Mashable, Pinterest sends more traffic to external sites than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ COMBINED! Wow! Now that’s enough reason for me to jump in and play
For the more advanced user, here are 5 tools, mostly free, that can help you even more in the Pinterest game brought to you by Brianne.
5 Useful Tools you Can Use with Your Pinterest
If you are a keen Internet user, you may have heard of Pinterest recently. This social website used for sharing images made its appearance two years ago and has gained immense popularity over these two years. Pinterest makes it easy to collect images online and share it on different boards on the website for others with similar interests to see. Here is a list of 5 tools that can add to your experience of using Pinterest.
Though Spinpicks is still in its beta version, many Pinterest users find it useful to find new pin boards and new people to follow. It also gives you the option to include other sites like Instagram and Twitpic in your search. There is also a feature to repin the Pinterest images directly through this application.
Pinreach, as the name indicates is a tool to measure your influence through Pinterest. You just need to sign up on this website using your Pinterest username and you can get access to Pinterest specific analytic data. Pinreach can be compared to the popular website Klout. It gives you a score and tells you the top influencers in your group of followers. Of course, it has the basic analytic features like number of likes, repins, total number of followers etc. It also shows you other popular pins on the website.
3. Share As Image (formerly Pin A Quote)
Quotes never go out of style. We love them, we need them and we share them. Other tools like Pinstamatic also allow you to do so. What makes Share As Image special is that it helps you highlight any text from anywhere on the web and pin it. We just need to select the text that we want to pin from any website and click on the Share As Image bookmarklet to fill a short form and submit.
The free version of Share As Image will let you post without color and using only a single font. The PRO version is $2.99 and allows unlimited color options, tons of font options and LIVE previewing!
4. Pin Search
This tool is a Google chrome extension that helps you in finding relevant images from across the world on Pinterest. This extension will display a search button next to the repin, like and comment buttons on any Pinterest image. Clicking on this button will lead you to Google search results page related to this image. The Google search results may surprise you. Get ready for a whole new level of discovery.
If you are one of those people who want to keep a track of Pinterest activity, this is an excellent tool for you. This is a great tool for businesses who want to keep an eye on Pinterest activity. You can add a column on the left displaying all the recent activity related to you. It shows all repins, likes and comments since the time of your last login. This is also a Chrome extension so you need the Google Chrome browser to use this tool.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more free and paid Pinterest tools in the market and more are being introduced every day. Pinterest looked like just another image sharing site but it has gained immense popularity in a very small time. And using these tools adds more value to the entire experience.
Brianne is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on Samsung Galaxy R attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Etios Liva price.
More Pinterest Goodies
Pinterest Video – Great video from Matthew Loop about using Pinterest in marketing your business.
Kesha’s on Pinterest
But of course I am! Click the button below to follow me!
eBook – Pinterest For Business
Finally, here’s an awesomely created ebook resource from Kim Castleberry entitled Pinterest For Business Made Easy (affiliate link).
Over to you…
So now you have lots of resources to market your business using Pinterest! How are you using Pinterest? Don’t forget to connect with me
When was the last time you backed up your data? World Backup Day is today, 3/31, and although it is not an official holiday it is one that should be taken seriously. Who knew that we’d need a day to dedicate to backing up our most precious and important items!
Some scary stats for those who don’t backup their files (provided by Hostgator):
- All hard drives will crash during their lifetime
- More than 1 in 10 laptops will be stolen in their lifetime
- A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds
- Every year 46% of computer users lose their music, photos, and documents
- 50% of all hard drives will crash within 5 years
- 89.1% of PC users don’t perform regular backups
- A recent study from Gartner, Inc., found that 90 percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years.
- 70 percent of companies go out of business after a major data loss
Most of us have learned the hard way that backing up our data is important and hard drive failures are an unavoidable reality. Here is an infographic that highlights the importance of regular backups.
Click picture to view full image
My Backup Strategy
Now there are tons of ways to backup your files and I won’t dictate how you do so but I’ll share with you my strategy.
I backup this entire website on a monthly basis and the database files on a weekly basis using WordPress backup plugins. (I don’t post on this blog but maybe a couple times a month so I will never be more than a post or two lost if anything happens.)
On another blog though – UncommonChick.com, I backup the entire site monthly because I post there 3-4 times a week and make changes frequently. If I’m making substantial changes, I’ll backup the entire website with each change!
Because the files on my computer are my life blood, so to speak, I backup them up frequently. I backup the entire hard drive on a monthly basis to an external hard drive with Terabytes of data. I backup my “My Documents” folder weekly to that same hard drive (and a second hard drive when I remember) as well as a cloud service. I feel MUCH better knowing my data can be restored from multiple places at least.
I’m sure these days, if you’re anything like me, you take pictures and videos and store music with your phone. Well, what happens if your phone is stolen or it crashes (like mine did last year)? I currently have Verizon and they have a cloud backup solution that I use so even if I change phones, all contacts, photos, videos, music etc. are saved in the clouds! Can’t beat that! Check with your cell phone provider to see what options they have for you. Of course you can even backup to your computer on a regular basis as well.
Over to you…
So today of all days (or whatever day you’re reading this ), I encourage you to backup ALL of your cherished photos, videos, and important documents. If you’ve ever had a hard disk fail or stolen computer, you’ll know that it’s a bit like losing a piece of your soul – trust me!!
What’s your backup strategy? How often do you backup your files? What software/hardware do you use? Please weigh in below!
One day I was wondering where all of my blog traffic come from. Well, I didn’t have to wonder long since I have Google Analytics installed (and you should too if you don’t already! It’s free and easy to install – https://www.google.com/analytics). So I logged in and went to Traffic Sources >> Sources >> and clicked on Referrals.
After Google and some of the social media sites I promote my posts on like Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon, I found that there were several sites that sent me good traffic!
See the images below regarding what I found in my Referrals section.
(Here is how you access Referrals in Google Analytics)
(CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR FULL SIZE)
Why Should You Know Who’s Referring Visitors to Your Site?
Sites that send you traffic are friends indeed. Think about it like this: with an online business, traffic is lifeblood – and the referring sites are your veins. They pump life into your business and allow you to make more money or just get more eyes on your content. Don’t underestimate the power of your referring sites and the inbound links they use to send traffic your way. As you’ll see below, you should adjust regularly to optimize the opportunities already in front of you.
Tips for How to Use The Referring Site Report
- Visit the Sites – Go visit the site and make sure you are using the traffic and exposure you are currently getting to your maximum advantage. If the site is a blog, comment to further solidify your presence there. If the site published an article of yours, contact the owner to see if you can post more or become a regular contributor. If the site is an article directory, add more articles.
- Look for Patterns – Is there a certain type of site that you get more traffic from? Are you getting a lot of people coming from your social media marketing? Look at what efforts you’re currently making to see if they’re paying off. For example, if you contribute weekly to a blog in your niche but you’re getting little or no traffic, then it may be time to trim non-productive activities.
- Look for Additional Opportunities – While you’re visiting referring sites, take note of any opportunities for additional traffic from related sites. See who else they’re linking to and check them out. You never know when you’ll find another great source of traffic.
- Contact the Site Owners – If you have not yet been in contact with the owners of the sites that are sending you traffic, send an introductory message. Introduce yourself and let them know they’re a top referrer for you. Say thank you and leave the discussion open. Ask what you can do to help them achieve their site goals; by extending a helping hand, you’re making contact and opening up for a business relationship.
There are sites on the Internet with tons of traffic. Why not take advantage of a win-win situation by getting yourself found on these sites? Tracking with Google Analytics will help you successfully do so!
Do you know who’s referring visitors to your site? If not, it’s fine time to get into your Analytics and thank those who have been so good to you!
One of the most memorable Christmas movies of all time is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring the incomparable Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It’s the ultimate feel-good movie, perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered if their life holds meaning.
Here’s the lowdown: George Bailey, played by Stewart, is on the verge of collapse. His small building and load company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the mean rich man in town is poised to swoop in, and though he has a house full of adorable kids and a gorgeous wife (Reed), there’s never enough money to go around. George decides his family and business would be better off without him. On the brink of suicide, he’s saved by a fledgling angel, Clarence.
Clarence goes on to show George what his life would be like if he’d never existed, and the sight ain’t pretty. By seeing all the people he’s touched, George realizes that he has created a strong network of love and support – he’s created a tribe. And it’s this tribe that pulls together at the end of the movie to give back to George, helping him out of his current difficulties.
The lesson to you should be obvious: Your tribe can, quite literally, save your life. You should be building not only a viable business, but a community – one that supports and cares for each other. If you’re just out to make a buck, don’t be surprised if no one leaps to defend you or lend you a helping hand when things go bad. And they will go bad.
You can get “slapped” by Google. You can get your PayPal account frozen. You can get brought up on charges by the FTC. You can get hacked, robbed, or plagiarized. It happens.
But if you have friends like George’s, you’ll have a whole team of folks on your side. But one thing to remember: George had friends he’d created just by being a good guy, doing the right thing at the right time, not worrying about what was in it for him. He stood up for what was right and shook hand after hand, even when it cost him personally.
He didn’t build this community by selling junk or automating his Twitter feed or spamming everyone. He did it the old fashioned way: By caring.
Some business techniques never go out of style.
What’s your thought on tribes? Please share this article and leave your feedback below!
Well, the answer to the question depends on the content and who the “other people” are!
So today’s riddle was sparked by an interview my girl, The Cubicle Chick, sent me highlighting Michael Stelzner on Blogcast FM entitled “How Social Media Examiner Made $1.7 Million in Its First Year of Business.”
Note: If you haven’t heard who Mike Stelzner is, he’s the Founder & CEO of Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest online social media magazine, a site I frequent often and has some awesome resources so check it out!
Back to the question at hand…throughout the interview, Mike kept mentioning a very important equation he’s entitled the Elevation Principle Formula:
Content + Other People – Marketing = Growth
(Here’s the official elevation principle formula: GC+ OP – MM = G. Spelled out, the formula reads: ‘‘Great Content’’ plus ‘‘Other People’’ minus ‘‘Marketing Messages’’ equals ‘‘Growth’’)
Mike assures you will have much greater success by focusing on this concept and I agree! But let’s take a moment to break down the formula, shall we?
What is great content and how do I ensure my content is killer? Well, I previously wrote about some important keys to writing engaging content so in short, once you know your audience, your content should appeal to them. Think about sites whose content you like and why and whose sites you continue to go back to. What elements do they have that you can carry over to your site while keeping it specific to your audience?
Bottom line, deeply engaging content that is personalized for your readers is the first step on the right track to balancing the formula.
We’ve all probably heard that it’s not just about who you know but also who knows you. Likewise, this part of the equation can be broken down into two parts:
- On one hand, you have your target audience – those you are creating your awesome content for. This is “who you know.“
- On the other hand, think about the people you can connect with and get to know (directly or indirectly through third party sources) who can become your champions and supporters. These people can be the experts in your field who can vouch for you, talk about you to their audience, and do joint ventures with. Because “they know you,” their loyal following will be more apt to check you out as well!
There is only one thing to say here about marketing messages: It’s not about you!
Remove the sales pitches and the company advertising and anything else that can dilute your content and/or confuse your readers. People inherently want great content without going through a bunch of bull to get it.
Launch – Get the First Chapter Free
I just read through the first chapter of Mike’s new book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, which you can get for free here. I highly suggest you do so. You don’t even have to buy the book to get the full message (although I’m sure he’d like you to : ) ) because the first chapter should get you thinking about how to approach your business differently to spark more success – I know it did for me!
Over to you…
I’ll leave you with this: “…focus on people, not yourself and not your business; they will love you and be your biggest fans…” -Mike Stelzner
What do you think about the Elevation Principle? Please share your thoughts below!
Being in business for yourself can sometimes be a lonely lifestyle. Sure, there are hundreds of forums, blogs, and conferences where you can connect with others, but even when you’ve been around for a while you can feel like you’re all alone in your business. When you have little or no in-person connection with others who are in your position, you can start to feel like you are the only one on the Internet who’s worried about how Google’s latest decisions will affect your page rank, who’s still trying to figure out the latest social media tactics, or who’s having trouble updating to the latest version of WordPress. You can forget that there are thousands of others in a similar situation, asking themselves the same questions, struggling with the same issues.
Not only that, but those in your day-to-day life, who know you in the “offline world” do not have a clue what you’re talking about, and oftentimes tend to bring more negativity than helpfulness to the picture even when they try to be on your side. Unfortunately, that can make you feel even more alone, especially when you have a setback and no one to help pull you through or to even just say “that happened to me, too!”
This is where having an accountability partner (or a small mastermind group) can save the day!
So, What’s an Accountability Partner?
Definition: Accountability partners are formalized relationships with one or more people who help keep you on task.
In its simplest terms, it’s like having a business consultant at your side to call upon when you need one. Another way to relate is to think of an accountability partner as your personal trainer for your business who helps to push your boundaries and tell you when you’re slacking. Ultimately, you make it your goal to help each other succeed.
Here are some of the roles accountability partners can fulfill:
Cheerleader – This type of partner can boost your confidence, give you assistance when you need it, and help you celebrate your successes.
Co-traveler – Co-travelers are at approximately the same point in their journey as you are. They’re like students in the same year in high school or college. You’re learning the same topics and implementing the same strategies and tools. Sometimes you help them, sometimes they help you, and sometimes you just muddle along, secure in the fact that you’re both in the same place (somewhat like a “Study Buddy”).
Drill sergeant – Everyone from Oprah to Olympian Michael Phelps has a trainer or coach who pushes them just a bit farther than they think they can go. Let’s face it, most of us need one of these in our lives to serve as the whip-cracking, kick-you-in-the-butt person to keep us on task to the goals we’ve set and committed to!
Shoulder to cry on – Every once in a while (hopefully, only every blue moon), things go nuts. Plans derail, projects fail, or you just want to tear your hair out because of technical issues. When Murphy’s Law proves true, you may just need to vent to someone who knows what you’re going through. That person can be your accountability partner.
Brainstorming partner – Wondering what headline will convert best? Need some thoughts on what to offer as an opt-in “bribe” on your new mailing list? Trying to figure out the shortest path between Point A and Point B? Grab your accountability partner and start brainstorming.
Accountability Partnerships Are Powerful
Creating an accountability partnership not only gives you the opportunity to get help in the areas you need support, it also lets you apply your knowledge and wisdom to someone else’s business, helping them reach new levels of success.
Regardless of what type of accountability partnership you form, you can definitely grow your business quickly when surrounded with others who are committed to helping you succeed. It’s like having your own million-dollar mastermind group without investing the seven figures!
My Wonderful Accountability Partners – #Sistatribe
Andrea, Roshini, Danyelle (doing the leg lean!), and Kesha at Show Me The Blog Conference.
Sistatribe Photos by Urban Tableau.
This past Spring, Danyelle Little of The Cubicle Chick, Andrea Amir of Smart Money Chicks, and myself started talking about our goals and how we may be able to help each other reach them. It’s the conversation that started our ongoing weekly discussions! We lovingly nicknamed ourselves – Sistatribe. You gotta have a name right!
Then, while we were all at the Blogging While Brown conference, we pulled in our girl Roshini Cope of Glamazini.com (yes, we pulled her in and just basically told her she’s in our mastermind group!) She passed the initiation test!
Each of us brings to the table different experiences and knowledge. For me, they have been the ultimate accountability partners in helping me get to the next level in my business. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t met Danyelle, through whom I met Glamazini and also who introduced me to Andrea. I don’t even want to think about it!
Now we are kindred spirits and are not just accountability partners but besties, as Glamazini says. We have regularly scheduled discussions, meet up often, and though Andrea is in Atlanta and the rest of us are in St. Louis, it’s like we see her just as often as if she was here.
Do you have an accountability partner or participate in mastermind groups or would like to form one? Please share your experience and feedback in the comments below!
First, let me say, there are two ways to get more Twitter followers – 1) a fast way and 2) a better way.
- The fast way is to buy them. Do I recommend that method? NO! Don’t waste your money!
- The better (and to me the more enjoyable way) is to gain them over time through interactions, engagement, and meeting people.
Remember: it’s not about the quantity but quality
To help drill home the better method to get more twitter followers, I’ve
snatched reused this infographic from Twiends who has offered some safe and ethical ways to get more twitter followers for free. They’ve broken these ideas up into methods you can use online, things you can do on Twitter itself, and offline, real-world methods too.
Oh yeah, follow me (@xdwebsolutions) – I don’t bite!
Click image for full size
What are some ways you gain new Twitter followers?
I was on Twitter one day chatting it up with The Cubicle Chick about quick breakfast options and I shared what I normally drink in the mornings – Myoplex protein shakes.
Next thing I know, EAS Sports Nutrition, creator of Myoplex, tweeted me. Unexpectedly, I got offered a free sample of the shakes in my flavor, Chocolate Cream of course. : )
Lovely, right? Well, check out what I really received in the mail in this video!
Thanks again EAS! I am set for months!
Over to You…
This is just one example of how a company uses Twitter for brand and reputation management. There are plenty more cases. I just want my entrepreneurs and small businesses to know not to be afraid to use Twitter like the larger companies. It’s a great tool for customer service, reputation management, and fan engagement!
Do you use Twitter to monitor your brand?
So you want to know how to leverage your content and work less than your competition? It’s simple really. Check this out!
Repurpose Your Content
The best way to get the most bang for your buck, or in this case for your time creating awesome articles, is to repurpose it. Here are six (6) ways you can do so (there are many more; the sky’s the limit – just get creative!):
- Publish your initial piece of content, a blog post for instance, providing value to your readers.
- Bookmark your post on several of the large social bookmarking platforms like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, etc.
- Change up the article a little bit (spinning it as some people call it) and publish it on Ezinearticles.com.
- Create an ebook and publish it to free e-book directories like ebook88. I just started doing this myself and it’s pretty easy. Just create a PDF file from your content, add some graphs or other supporting documentation, and voila! You have an ebook
- Create audio content from the post. This basically creates your very own podcast! There are many ways to do this but one free, easy way is to use Cinch.fm. You can also add your audio to iTunes and other podcast directories.
- Create video. You knew this was coming right?! Get out your flip cam and record yourself actually explaining to your audience what it is you’re talking about. Or if you’re camera shy, create a powerpoint slide and discuss your topic while advancing through engaging, yes engaging, slides. Note: no one wants to see you read from slides with a bunch of text!
That’s it! Easy peasy
You don’t have to make it difficult at all. Don’t do too much work and work less than your competition who isn’t doing all of these things. As you can see from above, you have created one piece of content and have transformed it so the potential of more eyeballs on your content expands!
How many of the above methods (or other) are you using? Please share this post with your network and leave your feedback below!
I had a dream someone I knew won the lottery and threw some chump change my way. I started thinking about all the ways I would spend the money.
Okay, I like to pretend I have a lot of money anyway. Who doesn’t, right? So after all the fantasizing was over (which was so much fun by the way!), I seriously thought about how I would spend the money on my business if I had it.
Let’s say that amount is $5000. Woo hoo!
Now… what should I do with it?
I could spend it on:
- Education – Learn even more about online marketing, new technologies, new media. This includes trade books and magazines, self-help books, and attending professional seminars. Going to lots of seminars may allow me to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers and maybe work out some beneficial deals.
- Mentor/coach - Have someone tell me what to do, step by step, to take my online business to an insanely successful level. This could get me from point A to point B a lot faster.
- Outsourcing - Hire out the backlinking, article marketing, and website maintenance. Oooohhh, a ghostwriter can even create a new product for me. This would leave me time to work ON my business rather than IN my business. I’m talking major outsourcing here!
- Hire an assistant - I could actually have a staff of one, who does everything I don’t have the time or desire to do. I couldn’t pay them forever on the $5000, but I would actually be able to make a lot more money if two people are working my business instead of just one (me).
I thought this was a pretty cool exercise because it will keep me thinking about the money I am already earning and how it can be spent back into my business. Next up – prioritize the goals above and decide what I should do first… : – )
What about you? How would you spend $5000 if I graciously dropped it off at your doorstep? Weigh in family!
While I was at NAMS6, a Niche Affiliate Marketing Systems Workshop, I learned that one of the best ways to cloak your links, especially your affiliate links, is to use the cPanel Redirects function in your hosting administration area (hosting must use cPanel, like Hostgator and Bluehost). This little tip was suggested by Bob The Teacher as he says it’s safer to use than third party programs that may be here one day and gone the next, consequently, causing you to lose all of your links!
First, What’s a Redirect?
A Redirect is a feature that allows you to send visitors who try to access one URL to another URL. These redirects can be temporary or permanent redirects (most used and recommended).
Why Cloak Affiliate Links Using Redirects?
Well, it looks so much cleaner. For instance, which of the following would you rather see, use, and remember?
- https://freeblogfactory.com/ref,brown-1308515603 OR http://xdwebsolutions.com/freeblog
- http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=107871&u=517569&m=15608&urllink=&afftrack OR http://sharemysale.com
See how much better it is to use redirected links rather than the actual long links themselves? It can also help protect you from those who try to steal your affiliate sales (yes, there are people who do that!).
How to Create a Redirect Using cPanel
Watch the quick video below for a more detailed look into how to setup cPanel Redirects.
However, there’s one caveat to this solution…
During my testing of cPanel Redirects, I found that my newly created links weren’t working and I couldn’t understand why. So I went to my old trusty, Google, to help me solve the issue.
Well, lo and behold, this method doesn’t work properly if you are using WordPress or other CMS that uses a .htaccess file to manage access permissions.
And I’m a WordPress Chick!
So, Then, What Are Your Options?
If you are using a CMS, like WordPress, there are other options.
- PHP redirection (advanced method and you need to know a bit about PHP)
- Pretty Link Pro (premium method)
- Pretty Link Lite (free and easiest way to get started; link is to WordPress plugin)
- SubDomain redirects (i.e. URLRedirect.xdwebsolutions.com; not really recommended as it will most likely still be too long depending on your domain name)
What do you use to cloak/redirect your links? Don’t forget to share with your network!
If I had a dollar (nickels don’t work anymore) for every time someone asked me about Facebook scammers or anything about how to protect their Facebook accounts from malicious activity, I might have enough to buy me that new MacBook Pro I want! LOL
Well, lo and behold, Facebook has released an official Guide to Facebook Security and it’s available for free to download:
It’s a short – 14 pages in all – guide written by former Senior Director of Internet Safety at Symantec, Linda McCarthy, security research engineer at Purdue University, Keith Watson, and teacher and editor, Denise Weldon-Siviy, so I’m inclined to trust what they say : )
The online guide explains how you can:
- Protect your Facebook account
- Avoid scammers
- Use advanced security settings
- Recover a hacked Facebook account
- Stop imposters
Top Tips for Staying Secure on Facebook
Here is a quick snippet of info from the guide:
- Only Friend people you know.
- Don’t share your password (ummm, self explanatory!).
- Change your password on a regular basis.
- Share your personal information only with people and companies that need it.
- Log out of Facebook after using someone else’s computer.
- Beware of “goofy” posts from anyone—even Friends. If it looks like something your Friend wouldn’t post, don’t click on it.
- Scammers might hack your Friends’ accounts and send links from their accounts. Beware of enticing links coming from your Friends.
Do you have any other tips to share or an experience with Facebook that will help others stay safe? Please share this valuable resource with your network!
With all of the social networks available to us today – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, and Foursquare, how do we keep up and stay engaged on each one?
Well, cross-posting is one way to get a message across to each social network. But is that the best solution?
I found this image below from Robin Dickinson’s blog and thought it was too funny and most relevant to this topic.
Pros of Cross-Posting
- Saves time by posting once and publishing across multiple networks
- Provides a large reach for your message to more than one audience
Cons of Cross-Posting
- The biggest con is our followers are most likely following us on most, if not all, of our networks simultaneously and some people may consider it spamming to see the same message over and over again.
- Followers may get bored with your messages when done indiscriminately and decide to unfollow you.
- Each social network is different with different audiences and expectations.
So Now What?
Okay, I will not be the one to tell you not to cross-post. I think it is warranted in some situations. However, the trick may be to spice it up a little bit and create a different spin for each network.
Do you cross-post? What are your thoughts? Please share your feedback and share with your network (yes, all of your networks:-) )
The other day I ran across an old ebook I printed out back in 2005 (don’t shoot me but a few trees were killed in the process!). In it were some very good pointers, or Small Business Boosts as the author called them, that are still relevant today for those of us who are marketers. So I thought I’d share them with you.
Small Business Boosts
Boost your Business
Care for your Customer
Develop plans and Systems
Fish where the fish Are
Give more than you Get
Hire out the Rest
Invest in your Business
Know your Customers
Learn all you Can
Manage your Time
Negotiate like a Pro
Open your Mind
Promote your Service
Quote it Right
Take your business to the next Level
Visualize positive Results
Work on, not in, your Business
You must go the Distance
Zen your Mind, your Body, and your Office
These simple business nuggets were brought to you by Lena Claxton, author of Small Business Boosts (Lena’s website, ontrakmarketing.com, doesn’t exist anymore but I still wanted to provide the proper written credit).
Do you have any other quick small business boosts or marketing nuggets to share? Share it below and don’t forget to spread these tips to your network!
Have you ever spent all day in front of the computer and then look up at the end of the day and wonder, “What the heck did I do today that was really productive for my business’ bottom line?” Yes, I’ll admit I’m guilty; I’ve had my share of non-productive days!
As I was planning my day this morning, I realized that a lot of people really don’t have a system in place to actually be more productive ALL day (at least the better part of the work day).
So if you regularly find yourself looking back at at your life wondering what in the world happened to all your time and why you have very few results to show for it, take a look at my action guide and see if it helps you (hopefully it does)!
How to Re-capture More Hours in Your Day
Here’s my simple process I use to accomplish tasks:
- Write down all the things you want to get done for the day. Everything from writing, creating content, or planning your next project to answering your email and balancing your checkbook. I like to keep my tasks online using Toodledo (affiliate link). Their free version is all most people would need though. Check it out!
- Assign a specific time to each task or group of tasks. Anything from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Chunks of 30 minutes or less work best.
- Select a task, start a timer (using freeware like XNote Stopwatch), and focus on nothing but accomplishing that task. This means you don’t answer the phone, you don’t get up for a drink, you don’t log onto Facebook – none of that. You remain focused on the task-at-hand! Note: It may also help to turn off phone/web notifications so you won’t feel the urge to check email or see who just sent you a Facebook message!
If you practice these three simple steps regularly, it will totally revolutionize the way you get things done in your life – guaranteed (yes, that’s a guarantee or you can get your eye juice back from reading this post LOL)!
Why Does It Work So Well?
I’m no psychologist, so I can’t tell you for certain why this system works, but I can share with you what effect using it has on my brain in order to almost force it to want to take action on a consistent basis.
It boils down to the fact that it uses these three key elements:
- An end-result or goal (each of your daily tasks) – Our brains love goals, big or small, because they’re built to be goal-seeking machines. Give your brain a goal, and it immediately goes to work finding ways to achieve it.
- A specific timeframe or deadline (the time you assign each task) – Once your brain has a goal, a deadline is the fuel that motivates it act! The shorter the deadline, the more revved up your brain gets.
- Believability (the order and structure of the system) – Instead of surrendering yourself to lackluster results because you see your day as an overwhelming, uncontrollable mess, this system breaks your day down into small, manageable pieces that you actually see yourself getting done with ease. When you believe you can, you will (okay that was a little cliche-ish but you get my drift)!
Set your timer and get to work on item number one. Yes, this is a race. Sit down, focus and do your best to get your work done in the time allotted. Once it’s finished, cross the item off your list.
Get up, grab a glass of water, stretch, then move on the item number two and repeat. Do the same for item number three.
Once you have this system down, feel free to add more tasks, but don’t go over 7 items or your list may start to feel overwhelming. Just work through the items on your list and then add more as needed.
Give it a try and watch your productivity increase!
What do you do to be more productive in your business? Please comment and share!
If you are a blogger, internet marketer, or website owner, I’m sure you have interest in knowing where you stand in Google. I remember when I first started understanding how to use keywords for my website, I would search for my website using that keyword and ultimately show up on page one of Google. Great, right?! Wrong!
It showed up on the first page because Google sometimes customizes your search results based on your past search activity. This usually includes searches you’ve previously done and the results you’ve clicked on. Well, of course since I was constantly doing searches to see where I fit in from the search results and always visiting my own site, it was listed on the first page.
What all of this means is if you have previously visited a website, there is a possibility that your browser has been stamped with a 180 day cookie that will highlight any related keywords pertaining to that site.
The end result is the site you visited may appear higher in the search results the next time you look for something related. While this may not be a problem for some, seeing the search engine result pages “how they are” and not “how they are skewed from personalized search” is a preference.
So how do you see what your “real” results are?
Turn off search history personalization
Google does have an official way to disable the feature (I am listing it first because it’s official, NOT because it’s the easiest way to do it).
Disable Google Personalization: One-Time (Browser Independent)
This is the one I use most often as I like the personalization feature by Google and don’t want to turn it off completely. So in this case, what you need to do is manually modify the search query URL path. To do so, just add this parameter to the end of the search query in the address bar:
The “&pws=0″ parameter removes the search personalization. Voila! Now you can see where your site really stands with a certain search/keyword.
Do you know of another method that wasn’t covered here? Please share your feedback in the comments section below.
After the last couple of conferences I attended, I got to meet so many people with cool blogs and great domain names. Some were not so great but you didn’t hear that from me!
In addition, I previously wrote about my own domain name disaster and thought I’d revisit this topic for more tips on how to go about choosing a domain name for your next blog project. I’m starting a new blog project myself (http://uncommonchick.com) and went through this exact same process!
To help me do so, Nicole Dean, Affiliate Marketing expert who specifically helps infoproduct sellers and marketers earn an income online, offers this post for the blog.
More and more moms are getting into the blogging scene. Some for fun, some for profit, and some for both. Why not make money while you’re blogging about your favorite stuff, right?
It’s easier than ever to get started blogging. But the first thing you need before you begin is an idea for your domain name.
What is a domain name?
It’s the “www (dot) SOMETHING (dot) com” that people will type in to get to your blog. It’s like your address.
How do you know what is a good domain name?
There are some standards for what is a “great” domain name verses one that makes you wonder what on earth that person was thinking!
In order to help you to come up with a great web name that you’ll love for years, here are my unbreakable rules for choosing a domain.
1. No hyphens. Avoid dashes and hyphens. I’ve been there. Done that. Regret it to this day.
2. No numbers. Do I spell it out “seven” or is it the number “7??
3. Avoid words that are difficult to spell. Although I once was really excited about using a domain with the word “catalyst” in it — I found that no one could spell the darned thing.
4. Domain should end in .com. I don’t bother with other endings like .info or .biz. People tend to type in .com at the end of everything, so it’s usually best to stick with a .com ending.
5. Domain must NOT have any copyright names in it. I would not recommend using “Starbucks”, “Disney”, or any other company name in your URL or you may get a “cease and desist” email. Yes, even though you’re starting as a little mom blogger, eventually you might get huge. So, it’s best to plan for success in advance and avoid using trademarks in your URL.
6. If you’re looking to sell your blog down the road, it must be generic enough. For instance, I wouldn’t buy “NicoleKnowsFootball.com” to talk about my favorite football team if I planned to sell the site ever, because I’d have to find someone named Nicole to buy it.
And my big, bad unbreakable rule.
7. It must pass the Oprah test.
What exactly is the Oprah test? Well, I picture Oprah saying it out loud. “Today I have with me, Nicole Dean, author of Blah blah blah and owner of NicoleontheNet.com”. Is it memorable? Easy to spell?
You can’t do that with MyNumber1-BestHome-Remedy-Treatments4New-Mothers.net.
Why is this important?
A difficult domain is actually wasted opportunity and wasted traffic slipping through your fingers. If you’re promoting via audio or video (maybe on podcasts or on YouTube) – you need a domain that is EASY to remember. It has to make it into the person’s ears and to his brain and stick. Heck, even if you run into an old college friend and say “Stop by my site www (dot) somethingcool (dot) com” – you’ll want her to remember long enough to actually come to your blog, right? So, make it simple. Make it memorable. And you’ll be glad.
Plus, honestly, it’s a credibility issue. Would you really buy something from MyNumber1-BestHome-Remedy-Treatments4New-Mothers.net? I hope you wouldn’t even think of getting out your credit card for a site like that. SCARY. And would you feel comfortable referring it to your friends? Not a chance.
How do you get a domain name of your very own?
You can get a domain at www.MomWebs.com which is also my recommendation for Web Hosting. As you sign up for your domain, you can get hosting at the same time. And… they’ll even set up your blog for you for only $10. Plus, there’s a phone number that you can call if you have any questions.
With all of that help, there’s nothing stopping you from setting up your first blog.
I hope this has been helpful. And, I really look forward to seeing YOU on Oprah!
Nicole Dean is co-owner of Mom Webs Hosting – www.MomWebs.com where you’ll find the host with the most. It offers everything a mom blogger needs – reliability, unlimited hosting, and customer service that never makes you feel intimidated — all at a price you can afford. MomWebs.com was created to help overcome the technical hurdles that may be preventing moms from sharing themselves with the online world. Check out the free training at MomWebs.com
Guest Post from Nicole Dean
How did you go about choosing a domain name for your blog? Or if you’re jsut starting out, hopefully this posts helps you get on the road to a great new blog!
Image credit: failblog.org