February 5, 2016

Best Password Manager

Don’t Write Down Your Passwords!

We were joking around on Facebook. Someone had found a book, described as the Internet Password Book, that you could buy that allowed you to write down all your passwords, including the login URL, user name and password for all accounts including social media sites, banking institutions, email and subscription or services sites.

password organizer notebookBad idea.

Very. Bad. Idea.

What happens if you lose it? What happens if someone swipes it?

Would you write down the combination to a safe and pin it to your bulletin board?

I did an online search and confirmed that a number of manufacturers selling these things and some of them are even titled!

  • Secure Password Manager
  • Internet Password Keeper
  • Best Password Manager
  • Password Organizer Book
  • Internet Password Log Book
  • The Personal Internet Address and Password Organizer

If you have a book of secrets, wouldn’t you want it to be as plain as possible? Maybe you’d even want to disguise it like a kids fairy tale book or a textbook on quantum mechanics.

You wouldn’t want to attract attention to it! [Read more…]

Profitable Content Creation – What to Do When You’re Running Out of Content Ideas

This is the first of a couple of guest posts by Jeff Herring, a man I’ve known and respected for quite some time.  It’s an important subject: Content Creation.  Please join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, January 30!

Jeff Herring Content Creator

Fun guy. GREAT information!

Profitable Content Creation – What to Do When You’re Running Out of Content Ideas (3 Big Tips)

Content creation is a great way to bring in more prospects and profits. And you do want more prospects and profits, right?

The struggle for many content marketers, both new and experienced, is consistently coming up with ideas for creating content. I’ve noticed that many go through a few stages in their struggle to come up with content ideas.

Let’s take a closer look at those three stages and more importantly, what to do about each one.

3 Stages

Stage 1 – Ideas are not flowing – When you sit down to create content you have to repeatedly stop and think about what to write about. The flow has not stopped, it’s just not as easy as it normally is for you.

What to Do – Step back and brainstorm. Make a list of content ideas. Don’t edit – just brainstorm. This is something you need to be doing anyway, so you always have a list of content ideas from which to pull.

Stage 2 – Ideas are a struggle – Even when you look at a list of your ideas, nothing pops out for you. It feels like you are seeing the ideas on a list, but they are not making sense in your head, and not making the trip from your head to your fingers.

What to Do – Take a trip to your supermarket and check out the titles on the covers of the magazines in the checkout line. Thousands of dollars have been spent deciding how to title these articles. Find titles that you can use in your niche and get busy creating great content.

Stage 3 – You are beginning to believe in writer’s block, even though it does not exist. Ideas are not only not flowing, ideas are just plain stuck. Your frustration level is high, and you’re honestly getting a little bit frightened by your lack of ideas.

What to Do – Go to your topic in EzineArticles and look at some of the top articles in your niche. See which ones are getting lots of traffic. Choose an idea that you know will appeal to your community and simply do a better job with it.This is not plagiarism. This is research because you are simply looking for ideas. You are not copying what someone else has said, you are just going to do a better treatment of it because of your skills.

The Next Step – Your next success step is to grab your spot in the upcoming webinar on Wednesday January 30 at 6 pm EST – “How to Create Prospect & Profit Pulling Content in 20 Minutes or Less with Jeff Herring” Reserve your spot here => http://JeffHerring.com/kurt


Success – How Bad Do You Want It?


What’s it worth to you? How far are you willing to go? How bad do you want it?

Do you have what it takes?

Those questions have come up a lot lately. Business has been challenging. The economy is tough. The job market has been tight.

I see it with my clients and students. I’ve discussed it with respected colleagues.  I see it on reality TV. I read it in books. Several have posted declarations on Facebook. It’s a good question to ask yourself.

Do you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe?

For me, the subject came up first when Robert Terson, author of the book Selling Fearlessly, and I talked about it a few weeks ago and he shared this YouTube video, Success – How Bad Do You Want It?.  It made me think of some people I admire who have the dedication, “bandwidth” and stones to succeed, whether times are good or challenging.

Then I went to a sales seminar, where it was made very clear that your success is closely related to your efforts.  “How bad do you want it?” was asked several times.

I wonder how many times a day that question is asked in sales meetings, fitness centers, weight loss clinics, schools, counseling centers or in team meetings? A lot.

Some Golden Nuggets

“If you don’t succeed, bring in another excavator.” Todd Hoffman

The guys on Gold Rush on the Discovery channel epitomize it. Their environment is tough, their season is short, their resources are limited and the risks are significant.  The show always makes me think of the lessons that entrepreneurs and business men and women can learn by watching these guys battle the elements, setbacks and their lack of resources. If you need some inspiration, watch this show!

What’s at stake is significant!

One of the miners has a goal of 1,000 ounces of gold this season, 1 speck at a time.  A thousand ounces of gold is worth $1.65 million and they only have about 3 months during their season to find it before cold weather moves back in.  Their season began with snow that still covered claims and equipment.  Getting the excavators and trucks going was an initial challenge.

They faced interim challenges too.  Todd Hoffman decided to double-down this season with 2 sites, double the crew and a brand new trommel, which separates gold from dirt and rocks.  Todd  faced numerous challenges getting his 2 mines up and running, was given an ultimatum by his financial backers to find 300 ounces ($495,000) in 3 weeks or lose funding.  Both Quartz Creek mines had near crippling delays and setbacks, but the 300 ounce goal was met and made for great TV!  I expect him to meet his 1,000 ounce goal, but who knows?

“You’re all millionaires. The only thing is you gotta get it out of the ground.”

Dakota Fred, who began gold mining late in life, has had his share of challenges, but exemplifies the perseverance and resourcefulness that is sometimes required to succeed in life, says “Perseverance. That’s what it is. Perseverance. Do what you have to do to keep moving.”  His season almost ended when his excavator broke down.  Ordering in the part needed to fix it would have taken weeks.  So with a mixture of ingenuity, a friend’s collection of old parts and a blowtorch, Fred was able to fix his excavator and get back to mining at Porcupine Creek. “I gotta work on this thing non-stop until I get it finished.” he declared. Indeed.

Dave Turin expressed a similar view: “When you’re in the Klondike, you don’t have the ability to run into town, so we must adjust.

There are a lot of self-made men on this show, from the producer, to the miners and undoubtedly, their wives made great contributions…and sacrifices.

Parker Schnabel

Age is not a limitation in the Klondike.  17-year-old Parker Schnabel runs a mine that has been in his family for years.  When cash got tight, Parker accepted a contract to rebuild a bridge that gave him enough money to make payroll and pursue mining. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

He even blew up a big rock outcropping with dynamite that prevented him from getting his equipment up to virgin ground that his grandpa always said was a mother lode.

It wasn’t, but Parker soldiers on.

More Golden Nuggets

Sometimes it pays to declare your goals publicly.  Sometimes you share it with a close friend or spouse.  It gives you the chance to get some feedback, but it also puts a little pressure on, especially if you reveal measurable goals.  Jack Canfield talks about reviewing your goals on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, I’ve found many people never stop to write down and keep their goals.  That’s a huge impediment to success.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Canfield also talks about the importance of daily affirmations.  Most are done in private and many are done once in a while.  Sometimes publicly!

Lots of people do just that on Facebook.

Kayvon Khalilzadeh said:

I am absolutely, positively, totally committed to do what ever it takes to build my dream business.
No matter how long it takes.
No matter what obstacles I have to overcome.
No matter what doubts may surface.
Because it is now or never.

I might print that out and hang it above my monitor.

Some reflect on a good year and declare their intentions to crush it next year.  David Schloss made great strides, both personally and professionally:

‎”2012 was my year: In business, 3.1x increase in revenue and 8.5x increase in profits from 2011. I also managed to lose 25 lbs throughout the year and pay down a nice chunk of student loan debt.

To think that in October 2011, I was in the ER for heart palpitations with a heart rate close enough to a heart attack because of stress. At the same time, I barely had enough money to afford car payments let alone my own place. I was managing a long distance relationship that I was unsure would last because of the distance. Fast forward to January 2012 where I debated whether or not I was truly prepared to take my business to the next level. In that same month, my business partners insured me that with the right vision, strategy and hustle I would prevail. In April 2012, my business surpassed all of 2011’s revenue, June 2012 I had my first 5-figure revenue month, and in December 2012 we had the highest new client, revenue, and profit margins ever.

I still have a long way to go for my health and wealth, but I’m just setting an example for persistence, motivation, and execution. Make it happen!

I’d take that kind of success, wouldn’t you?

Kevin Dockery recently defined the word optimist for me and I thought I’d include it, “An optimist in the midst of failure sees what ways he is responsible for that failure, and attempts to find ways to challenge himself and remove obstacles.

Someone else posted this quote:

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.
– Babe Ruth

So how will you answer the question?

Are you going for gold in 2013?  I am, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Whatever it takes, but I’m going to enjoy every minute!

Success. How bad do you want it?

Please leave a comment below. We’ll all get jazzed!


How To Evaluate Your Own Website

This is a guest post by Dan Morris, someone I have a lot of respect for.  Find out why at FreeWeeklyMastermind.com and LettersFromDan.com

Do It Yourself Website Review

I am so annoyed by nagging problems. Even little things like fixing the spindles on the porch railing at home. But that porch railing isn’t making me money (in fact I’m procrastinating because it costs me money to fix it). The worst nagging problems are things like website tweaks that you know would increase conversions, sales, and morale if only you had 20 minutes to focus on it.

So I say make that moment today. Here’s a quick breakdown on how to give yourself a site assessment.  I break them down into 7 sections right off the bat. I look at SEO, List Building, Monetization, Internal link structure, Voice, Funnel and Social Media integration.

Let’s start with SEO. First I got to Google and type in: site: http://yourwebsitename.com and see what pages are indexed. I then look at page names, permalink structure, and meta descriptions. What I want to know is how optimized are you. I also want to know what your page names are to see if you’re attracting newbies, buyers, experts or nobody. You can learn a lot about your own habits from this exercise.  Ideally your permalinks (url’s) are set-up so that your content “title’ appears right after the slash. For instance http://yourwebsitename.com/how-to-grow-avocados/

What you might find is that your urls are not that helpful. Sometimes I see the domain url trunk followed by /cat=69 or /2012/03/5464 or /state/county/city/public-works/contact-us  Think about this. . . in all those examples you could really boil it down to the domain and the extension. For instance http://yoursite.com/nashville-public-works-contact-information. With SEO, the overall goal is to prove relevance, so look for relevance in everything you can. (At this point, don’t change anything just start making the list of things you could be doing better).

You’d be remiss if you didn’t look at the Search Queries part of Google WebmasterTools. This is where Google tells you where every one of your keywords is ranked.  That’s where you get to celebrate and see what’s working. Here I like to scour the results looking for trends. I personally recommend you read them aloud. Reading a list of keywords 500 deep is not easy when you’re looking for trends. But reading them aloud and you’ll instantly recognize when you say the same word over and over again. When you find similar keywords popping up, you know Google is finding you somewhat relevant for those terms. And that can be a great thing!

Then take a look at your list building efforts. Where are your calls-to-action? Where is the email opt-in form? What’s the offer and does it look like that offer is being tested. Are you getting opt-ins during blog comments or not? (If they’re going to put their name and email in to leave a comment, you might as well ask if they’d like to be on the newsletter list).  Basically how does the whole thing work?

Then on to monetization. Are you using AdSense and is it optimized? Are there offers built into your site? And what part of that is visible above the fold, and what part is able to be engaged when you scroll down. Every site is different here. A law firm is likely going to monetize leads, not traffic. The question is can you tie money to site visitor entry points? Can you tie it to site activity? And if you can’t tie money to either activity, entry or contact form submission . . . why do you have a website?

Internal link structure goes back to both SEO and user experience. Are you using a related posts plugin correctly? Is your linking optimized for the search engines? Is your linking optimized for the reader who wants to get smarter in every blog post? There’s not much to say about that other than take a piece of paper and see if you can draw your site structure – not from memory but from going page to page drawing links.

Another critical area is voice. And that one is easy – does your site have any character to it? Or is it straight bland posts. Period.

It goes without saying I look at the complete sales funnel. How does it work today, tomorrow, seasonally and in tune with your audience’s changing level of sophistication.

Finally, but not least important is your social media integration. Does your audience believe you’re an influence? Do they identify you with your niche? Are you visible everywhere or just to your sphere of influence? And are you using your profile to bolster your plan? Go to Klout and see what Klout thinks you’re influential in. It’s just a computer algorithm, but it does have some relevance. If your niche isn’t in that list – you’re probably not using social media right. You can do the same thing with Twitter lists. What lists are people putting you in? Business or Football?

It’s not hard to do your own objective site review, but it does require that you step back and look with fresh eyes. Be critical. Do it 10 times and frame your questions in terms of where your audience came from. Look at all those things from the perspectives of your dad, your friend, your colleague, someone who doesn’t know you, someone who got there by accident and your loyal followers. Does your site appeal to all of them, or just a segment?

Most importantly know that EVERYTHING you do online is a sacrifice. If you choose to use Adsense you sacrifice opt-ins. If you choose to have a shopping cart you sacrifice affiliate income. If you choose to appeal to the masses, then your conversion rate will be acceptably tiny. Know what you’re sacrificing and own it because a good site makes sacrifices to serve an audience and a goal.

If you’d like to have me do a complete video site review for you, please contact me at dan@lettersfromdan.com . If you want to do it on your own, feel free to ask any follow up questions in our forum at http://FreeWeeklyMastermind.com

How To Use Online Communities to Promote Ideas, Services and Products

Panel Discussion: How To Use Online Communities to Promote Your Ideas, Services and Products

Metropolitan Club How to Use Online Communities panelists

J.D., Mana, Fred, Matt & Kurt

I was recently honored to be on the panel at Metropolitan Club of Chicago’s Business Alliance presentation on using online communities to promote your business.  Fred Cadena moderated the program that included Mana Ionescu, president of Lightspan Digital; J.D. Gershwin, CEO of Owlish Communications and Matt Gierut, COO of CMScentral.net.

A friend of mine likes to say, “There’s a time to learn and a time to earn,” and roundtable discussions, conferences, webinars and mastermind groups are, not only great places to learn – think ‘continuing education’ – but also opportunities to meet your peers, competitors, customers, prospects or potential partners.  And even though I was on the panel, I learned some things that I’d like to share with you.  I would also recommend connecting with Mana, J.D., Matt and Fred for valuable connections and nice people to be around.

Biggest Takeaways

How to Use Online Communities to Promote Your BusinessMana shared a Social Media tool, SocialBro, which is an app that helps you find and manage people on Twitter.  Want a list of everyone on Twitter within a certain geographical range who list their job title as IT Manager?  No problem!  I often prune people I’m following who have stopped tweeting, which improves my following/follower ration, which has more benefits than I can go into here.  It identified people I was following, who hadn’t tweeted in months or a year much better than the app I most often use for such chores.  It found more dead accounts, 300+, and made it easy to unfollow them.  Thanks, Mana!  That was worth the price of admission alone!  SocialBro has more features and benefits than I’ve had time to explore.  I’m still on their free trial.  Their pricing looks affordable and allows you to filter your list, browse your community and manage your lists in one easy dashboard.

Attendees were furiously scribbling away during the discussion, as was I.  Here are some of the tidbits that were presented:

  • When you think about your social strategy, think about “conversations” and “influence.”
  • Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are great for finding people and beginning conversations. (Find people and get them to love you)
  • Google ranks pages, not blogs.  That’s important to know and explains why blog posts should be tightly optimized.
  • Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit are working well as social media links that affect SEO. Add Yelp to the mix.  Reviews are the new links.
  • Google+ is becoming very powerful and may replace Facebook or seriously erode its market share as a community.
  • Video is a very popular way for people to consume information.  YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine.  Vidler and Vimeo are also great places to post vids.
  • Zappos increased conversions 400% by adding videos of products to their website.
  • LinkedIn profiles are replacing resumes.
  • J.D. recommended that you embed video on LinkedIn.  There are 3 ways to do it.
  • End blog posts with questions.

If you’ve never been to the Metrpolitan Club on the 67th floor of Willis Tower (Sears Tower), you’ve really missed a breath-taking view, fabulous opportunities to network with Chicago’s business leaders and great dining, social and educational opportunities.  Half the reason I joined the “Met Club” was to be a member of the Business Alliance.  If you’re in the area, you should too!  Let me know if you’d like to meet some time.  I’ll give you a quick tour and then turn you over to the appropriate people for a better introduction!

What are your favorite ways to use social media and online communities to promote your ideas, services and products?


NAMS Membership. Awesome content, support and resources at an awesome lifetime membership price!

David Perdew - NAMS

David Perdew – NAMS

There’s a time to learn and a time to earn.  I think anyone, regardless of the business you’re in needs a sort of self-directed continuing education program.  For me, NAMS is it!

Awesome Lifetime Offer!

You’ve heard me talk about how much I like the Niche Affiliate Marketing System’s conferences, weekly free training and awesome forum and support. It’s a must-do of time and money for me!

The information available helps get website ROI, including Search Engine Optimization, podcasting, video, social media, e-c0mmerce, joint venturing, product development, strategy, content creation and so much more.

The founder of NAMS, David Perdew has a one-day offer of LIFETIME NAMS MEMBERSHIP that is available to the first 100 who sign up. If you’re already a member, you can sign up for Lifetime membership and cancel your old membership.

How cool is that?

There are some things that are included and some that are not, so read these FAQs carefully:

1) Is this on top of my regular membership? Answer: No. Once you purchase this membership, you can cancel your previous membership.

2) Do I get a refund of my previous payments? No, this is a one-time opportunity. No prorated refunds for any previously paid memberships, but no further recurring payments either.

3) Is this the same membership benefits as the current membership? Absolutely, no change. It’s just a heck of a deal.

4) Will I have to pay again? No.

5) Does this include all products? No. Like the current membership it is just for the MyNAMS membership – the Micro Workshops, NAMS workshop, Workshop replays, and previous month’s download products are not included just as it is today.

Photo of NAMS membersHere are the rules:

1 – The first 100 people can purchase the MyNAMS
Total Business System membership – the one you may be
currently paying a monthly, quarterly or annual fee for –
for just $97.

2 – Then you’ll cancel your previous membership. There
will be NO refunds or probated rebates. This is an add-on
opportunity, but once you do this…

3 – And you’ll be a lifetime member with all the current
member benefits.

This one-day offer to the first 100 people who sign up for lifetime NAMS membership is part of a marketing test of price, customer loyalty, incentive rewards, market speed,
e-mail responsiveness and feasability.

The ROI of this offer should be astronomical! Get better business training, content and tools for your online business today!

https://mynams.com/amember/go.php?r=261&i=l39 (affiliate link)

Let me know how it works out for you!  If you take this offer up, I’m sure I’ll see you at one or more of the next conferences in Atlanta.

I can’t use the word “Awesome” enough to describe this!

— Kurt

How to Spy on Your Competition and Research Your Niche

How to Competitive Intelligence: How to Research Your Niche

Kurt Scholle speaking at NAMSMy presentation, “Spying on Your Market With Social Media” at The Niche Affiliate Marketing System conference in Atlanta last week, I shared some free tools to gain knowledge of what solutions your market is looking for and who is talking about what.  This information is important for several reasons:

  • Find out who is looking for products or services that you offer
  • Determine exactly what solutions they want
  • Understand what they think about your product or your competitor’s
  • Find out who is following whom on Twitter.  Even who is following everyone of up to 5 people on Twitter

Social Media usually takes place as a conversation by one or more people and monitoring those conversations can be enlightening and profitable!

10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools to Listen to Your Prospects, Customers, Competitors and Subject Matter Experts

Here are a few of the Social Media monitoring tools I shared at the conference.  At the bottom of this post, I’ll share with you how to get the complete presentation and more.

First, sign up for Google Alerts and get a daily email from Google, listing sites they’ve discovered for any keyword or phrase you specify.  I have Google Alerts set up on my name, products and services I want to track.  You can also monitor competitor names and products or news events or just about anything pertaining to your industry.  You can also sign up for Yahoo Alerts for a slightly different take.

Tweetbeep is similar to Google Alerts, but it notifies you of mentions of keywords on Twitter.  The premium version gets you 200 alerts, a 15 minute alert option, and no advertisements!   The nice thing about these 3 alerts options are that you can be a quick responder!

You can find people to follow and engage on Twitter by searching for them by the keywords they use in their bios.  Twellow and LocaFollow are two tools that I use and recommend.  Twellow gives you a great list of categories and sub-categories to help you narrow your search.  They also have a cool map feature that allows you to see how many people list local towns or cities in their Twitter location.

Friend or Follow lists the people you’re following on Twitter, who are not following you back.  Or the people who are following you, but you’re not following back.  Both queries are useful!  You can also find the same information for any other Twitter handle you want, which might give you insights as to who someone has a better relationship, than not.  I regularly use it to prune who I’m following, especially by screening out people who haven’t tweeted in a while!

Another cool way to have the Twitter cream rise to the top is to compare who is following 2 or more Tweeters in a particular niche.  Twiangulate allows you to compare 3 different Twitter handles.  Who Follows Whom allows you to compare 5 Twitter accounts!  Use these tools to compare several people at one company or several industry leaders from different organizations.  Want to know when two tweeps start following the same person?  Twiangulate!

Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content on blogs, blog comments, bookmarks, video sites and more!

Samepoint is a great tool for social media research.  One advantage is that you can search for negative sentiment, which has positive implications!

How to research your niche presentationIf you have any comments, questions or ideas on how to research your niche, please comment!  My presentation went into more detail.

I’ve attended every semi-annual NAMS conference since 2009.  It’s a no-pitch event and the instructors are generous with their time.  Presentations are categorized as Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced.  You can buy the NAMS8 recordings, (affiliate link) including my presentation, or better yet, get instant access to the forum (affliate link) with hundreds of recordings, articles and tools and the community.

There are already some awesome changes in the works for the next marketing conference (affiliate link) in Atlanta.

I hope to see you at NAMS9 in February 2012!

Social Media Strategies from IBM

Social Media Insights from IBM

IBM keypunch stationEd Brill, who heads up Social Media at IBM was on the Noon Business Hour at WBBM Radio yesterday.  What he said bears repeating and is often the point that is hardest for most people to understand.  The benefit of social media is the ENGAGEMENT.  Don’t broadcast.  Engage your customers, partners and suppliers in conversations.  Social media is a vehicle to be in touch with customers in a transparent way.

Your reasons for using social media may vary.  Market research, sales, customer service, recruiting, fundraising or all of the above may be useful.  I know one major hotel brand is now beginning to emphasize social media primarily for reputation management.

In one of my presentations, I have a slide with a graphic on it that shows social media going back decades (actually centuries).  Every example is about communication.  And the social media we think of today involves using recent technology to make more conversations possible, with more people in more locations.

While we now have the ability to post written words, videos, pictures, audio and links, that just adds to the awesomeness of engagements or conversations, not unlike back in the old days – like the 1990’s.  Or 1970’s.  Or 1940s. IBM’s computers were awesome back then as they are today, with more capability, obviously.  And like Big Blue, things have evolved in social media over the past century.

Social Media Case Study

I set up the social media strategy for a client which included Twitter, Facebook and a blog.  I trained the sales staff to Tweet from conferences they attended, which brought more visibility to my client and opened up new in-person meetings – conversations – while they were at the actual meeting.  Valuable!  They began following conferences they attended by following the hashtags of those conferences, which build their brand awareness considerably!

They began following and engaging people using the hashtags of conferences they weren’t attending, which also resulted in more visibility, new contacts and learning from those who tweeted snippets of content.  All from the comfort of their cubicle…or living room.

They are now participating in chats on subjects of interest to their target segments.  Again, more awareness, engagement and continuing education.

One of the most important strategies of the blog is to feature short bios of each member of the sales team.  People Google people they become aware of or are going to meet.  Having them land on the blog post of the featured employee is great for two reasons:

  1. It allows you to serve up whatever information you deem most important to foster a professional engagement.  (I could do a whole post on that alone!)  It will help make the prospect desire to know more and meet.
  2. It gets your prospect in your neighborhood.  Once they’re on your blog, they can experience all kinds of content about you organization, staff, products or services.
#2 is a power tip most people never consider.  It really works well and allows you to provide information on your terms and move people more quickly through a sales funnel.
Ed Brill also spoke about the importance of sites like Yelp and Foursquare to measure consumer sentiment, but they also allow for different forms of engagement.  If you’re interested in hotel marketing online, Trip Advisor is a must for the same reasons.  Regardless of your niche, there are many choices available.  Select a few and see how they perform.  Toss what isn’t working in favor of something that does.

Get started. Revise later.

Ed also suggested that you set up Google Alerts to keep track of any mentions that appear online.  I will add that you should also add alerts for your products, key employees and competitors.  Whether you’re just starting out or primarily just concerned with reputation management, as cited above, listening to your market is often your best first step.  People are talking about you right NOW!  Do you know what they’re saying?  I wrote more about this in How to Set Up a Social Media Listening Station.  By the way that’s one of my most popular speaking topics.

Ed may be from IBM, but everything he said on WBBM’s Noon Business Hour applies to businesses of all sizes.  They key takeaway? Engage.
One other thing, social media as with anything worthwhile, takes some time and resources to do right, but can be amazingly inexpensive and return a significant Return On Investment (ROI).  Get started, take action, revise as needed, rinse and repeat.


How Often Should You Optimize Your Website for Search?

How often should I optimize my website for search engines?

I’ve come across this 3 times this week. Someone asked how often they should optimize a website for the keywords they want to be found for. Then my wife’s work was told by their web guy that their site only needed to be optimized twice a year. And now I hear a marketing acquaintance talk about a client who had some keyword research done for free and then asking her to update the meta tags on the website.  The free SEO guy says “Search Engine Optimization only needs to be done quarterly.”

Stupid is as stupid does.

And this guy can’t update the site himself?  There is something drastically wrong here!

Let me correct this flawed information and show you how to benefit from it. Obviously the people suggesting that SEO needs to be done only twice a year or once every 3 months have no real-world experience in Internet Marketing.  That people are listening to these Bozos (and paying them) is really troubling, but you’ll benefit by doing things the right way while your competitors sit around for 3-6 months waiting for results.  And when that doesn’t work, they’ll revise (or usually not) and wait another eternity for the Search Engine Gods to smile down on them.

Stupid is as stupid does. (Sorry, I already said that)

First, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is techniques, policies and tactics used to refine a website to attract visitors who search for information in Google, Yahoo, Bing and hundreds of other search engines.  What works best on one search engine doesn’t work as well on others, and that means for individual keywords!  You can have a top 10 listing on Google and be in position #70 on Bing for one keyword and have the exact opposite results for another keyword.

Second, there are at least 2 dozen places to optimize a webpage for Search.  In reality, only 5 or 6 are useful to address and it takes experience to integrate all of those together, not only SEO, but so that the content reads well.  So for the guy who did the free keyword research mentioned above and asked the marketing specialist to update the meta keywords, he is ignoring writing effective headlines, placing proper keywords in page content, cross-linking pages on the site, optimizing images for search…the list goes on.  It takes time to revise, wait for the Googlebot to visit, assess the results and revise again.

Stupid is as stupid does. (Sorry!)

Third, one of the most important elements of optimizing a website for search is to build incoming links to the website.  We could discuss this for days, but here are some major points:

  1. The number of inbound links can be important for increased rankings, but the quality of the sites the links come from is more important.  The best links come from “authority sites” that are related to the subject.  For example, a link from a news site, association or chamber of commerce site is much more valuable than a link from “Betty’s Blog” or something equally unrelated.  Sites with higher traffic levels are preferable to sites with little or no traffic.
  2. Building links to a website is a long, time consuming project, especially for websites in competitive niches.  It doesn’t happen overnight and for successful websites, it’s a marketing tactic that never really ends.
  3. And while there are services out there that will sell you inbound links for insanely low prices, most of them are known to Google and others, who devalue those links, if not ban your site altogether!
  4. Search engines spider different sites with different frequency, often based on how often the site content changes.  CNN and other news sites are crawled by search engines constantly and new articles begin showing up in search indexes almost immediately.  They crawl smaller sites less frequently so you want to update your site on a regular basis to encourage more visits from more search spiders.

So for the guy who told my wife’s work that SEO only needs to be done twice a year, he’s completely ignoring one of the most important elements to optimizing a website for search.

Stupid is as…oh nevermind!

One other point is that search engines rarely give you the highest ranking they think your site or page deserves because they want to see how it evolves, how people interact with it and how many other sites link to it over time.  Good SEOs refine their tactics, wait for the search engine spiders to visit, assess the results and revise accordingly. It’s not a one-shot deal.  And despite our best efforts, sometimes search rankings can be frustrating.  I had some success with an eye doctor client site.  We achieved most of our objectives in the first couple of months, but we just couldn’t get rankings for the term “optometrist” and their local GEO’s (location geographical references).  It took a couple of months of trial and error, but we finally got them page one rankings for all combinations of GEOs and “optometrist.”  That’s because we worked on it every month for several months!

I’m not saying that SEO is a slam-dunk.  It’s like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get. But you can improve your odds! And you must optimize your site on an on-going basis!

I believe that clients of the two guys mentioned above have websites that are not optimized for all the keywords they should be, are not ranking well for many of the ones they’ve tried optimizing for and aren’t getting much in the way of website traffic, all because of their sporadic approach to website optimization.

I hope you understand what all this means.  If you do it will improve your results, save you money paying Bozo to optimize your website and give you a major advantage over your competition!

There is much more to this!  Please call or email if you’d like to know more.  Toll free: 877 Web-Asylum

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Keys to Business Success & Why Companies Fail

I was invited to sit in on a presentation to entrepreneurs last night by a company that provides an interesting array of services to SMBs around the world. I thought I would share some of the highlights with you for consideration. Many of these subjects I’ve written about in the past and will continue to do so. But I think zeroing in on even a handful of these will significantly boost ROI.

Keys to Business Success: Personal Development, Systems and Accountability

I’m a big believer is personal development – that you must always be learning and improving your knowledge. You can do that by reading books, attending conferences and webinars, taking college course, etc. Consider including that to your MQA Plan. (Monthly/Quarterly/Annual plan that should be assessed and revised on an ongoing basis.

Develop the systems to make your operation effective, efficient and consistent. (I remember best-selling author Dan Kennedy saying the same thing and adding that you could also give your competitors a copy of your blueprint and it wouldn’t hurt you at all as most people would not follow thru implementing it. In some cases – maybe many – I don’t think competitors would understand it!)

Supporting the idea of systems, the presenter Art, stated: “9 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 2 years.  9 out of 10 franchises succeed.” Why?  The franchises are provided systems, checklists and specific training.

Art talked about becoming an “Intuitive Performer” and used Michael Jordan as a classic example.  MJ never looked at the ball when he was dribbling.  He focused on other things that made him great. Successful people strive to become intuitive performers.

I think this was where Art began talking about determining your hourly rate – he likes to use $524/hr as a bogey, which is $1,000,000 per year at 40 hours per week.  His point was why do a job that you can pay someone else $8 bucks an hour to do?  Jack Canfield discusses this concept at length in his excellent book, “The Power of Focus” and you can read even more in “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.

Accountability is another success key and you hear alot about it lately.  And why not?  A strategy that you fail to execute is really just a pipe dream.  If you can’t be accountable to yourself, you need another person at your level who you can confide in work with to ensure accountability.  Mastermind groups can be a great way to accomplish this.

Why Companies Fail

So, why do businesses fail?

  • No capital or under-capitalized
  • No success blueprint
  • No brand strategy
  • No marketing system
  • No accountability
  • No e-Loyalty
  • No corporate structure
  • No business coach
  • No list building system
  • No social media strategy
  • No newletter/eBook/blog
  • No mastermind plan
  • No residual or automatic income plan

I couldn’t agree more and will address more of these in posts to come.  But, what do you think?  What will you work on improving?  What do you need help with?

Are you an intuitive performer?