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Case Study – Blog Success Story

I’ve talked a lot about blogging, and how important a blog is for your business. So today I want to focus on a blog success story that shws what people can actually achieve in business with Blogging and Action. No, it’s not some fancy product

Case Study In Finding Blog Visitors

OK – so you may have arrived here attracted by the thought of learning how to find blog visitors…. but I’ll tell you right away, important as that is – it’s not just about getting the visitors, it’s about building a blog community (aff link)

How To Start a Blog and Build A Business – Free eBook

Most of my regular readers already have a blog, but otherwise if you’ve reached this page it’s probably because you are wondering how to start a blog. In fact even my regular blog-savvy readers can benefit from the free eBook I am giving away, as

Review of Copy and Profit Blueprint

This article presents a review of Copy and Profit Blueprint, a course I bought from Neil Stafford, owner of The Internet Marketing Review. Neil has been producing quality information marketing products for over 12 years now, in the Internet Marketing niche, and also in many

Using Internet Marketing Training Course

Bit of a rant today, but the positive message is how I used some training to fix something that made me cross! As an aside: We’ve probably all bought online courses before. It’s one thing to buy them, but USING Internet Marketing Training Courses we’ve

Content Marketing For Free Traffic

You’ll probably have seen many references to Content Marketing as the best and most ethical way to improve the ranking of your sites in Google’s “eyes”. In a nutshell, this involves “curating” interesting and high quality content from authority sites and adding it to your

Build A Blog To Build A Business

Well, it’s my birthday today – so I ALMOST had a day off, except…. my son and family were coming to see me, but they had car problems and got delayed coming back through France (Russ lives in Spain).

Anyway, my lovely sister scooped me up for a birthday meal yesterday and Russ and all his girls will be with me on Monday.

So although it means I will have had two days of birthday treats, that left Sunday – my actual birthday – with a bit of a gap, which of course I decided to fill by working! So much to catch up on….

Never mind – birthday chocolates and wine are on hand for this evening and I shall treat myself to a quiet evening, looking forward to my delayed visitors arriving tomorrow.

Free eBook: Build a Blog, Build a Business

In case you wonder why I’m so busy that I decided to work on my birthday, it’s because I have been putting the finishing touches to a new free eBook I am using to invite people to subscribe to my training emails.blogging-build-pxbay

It’s written for people who want to start an online business, but either don’t have a blog, or they have a blog but it’s not yet performing as well as they had hoped.

I firmly believe – and I’m sure regular readers will agree – that you should base any online business round a self-hosted WordPress blog. My new, free, eBook goes into more details of “why”, “how” and what to do to get beyond the basic “Hello World” stage.

It’s not about complicated stuff like coding and CSS. I know many people enjoy that and are good at it – but I believe you can still have a successful blog without that. Happily I am starting to see sales from my own blog (here) that prove the point!

If you think you could benefit from these tips, please download a copy: Build a Blog, Build a Business.

And as if finishing that off wasn’t enough to have on my plate this weekend, I’m not far away from the launch of….

My First Paid-for Internet Marketing Product

Social Media TrainingDrum roll….. I’ve talked about it for long enough, and finally my first “paid-for” Internet Marketing launched. There have been a few teething problems, but hopefully getting there now. Anyone who has ever done this will understand, I’m sure!

The product is also an eBook, and it’s the result of my coaching with Neil Stafford – mentioned earlier in the year. It would have launched a long time ago if it hadn’t been for my parents’ ill-health crises, which obviously took priority.

Fortunately, Neil and his right-hand-man (and techie guy) Pete waited patiently for me to be in the right place “in my head” to finish the process.

Social Media and Your Blog

My first “paid-for” product is about Social Media, with an emphasis on using the main social media platforms to get traffic to your blog – which should be the heart of everyone’s business.

It’s aimed at people who have already been able to set up their basic social media profile (so not for absolute beginners), but for people who – having got the basic pages set up – want ideas and resources to take them to the next level.

So Why The Free eBook?

I decided that my “product portfolio” needed my free “Build A Blog – Build A Business”, because there seemed too big a gap from the Social Media eBook that is encouraging readers to direct people to their blog, when most of the purchasers probably had no blog to point at!

I came to this conclusion by doing a survey on my “list” and most of them hadn’t even taken the first steps towards building an online business, despite my “opt-in” pages being firmly aimed at people wanting to start an online business. (It’s there on the right!!)

So, hopefully the free eBook, which will be an unadvertised give-away within the paid eBook follow-up emails, will bridge the huge gap that people face between making a few hopeful posts on Facebook and Twitter, and building a genuine business on their OWN blog.

(Free resource: I used Survey Monkey to compile a questionnaire, then included it in a broadcast to my list. The results were illuminating and depressing, but have made me rethink my strategy!)

Social Media Training Affiliates Invited

If you would like to promote my eBook to your subscribers or in any other way, you can open a free account at warriorplus.com, then click on Affiliates | Marketplace | Get Links and search for my vendor ID (joyh). Request approval and please mention you found this on my blog :-)

Affiliates will earn 50% commission and the eBook will sell for $9.95. There are no complicated up-sells or down-sells – that may come later in my coaching LOL
birthday-cake-px

Back To My Birthday

The chocolates and wine are calling… So with apologies for a short post this weekend, I will go put my feet up!

Case Study – Blog Success Story

I’ve talked a lot about blogging, and how important a blog is for your business. So today I want to focus on a blog success story that shws what people can actually achieve in business with Blogging and Action.

No, it’s not some fancy product I’m trying to sell you. All I’m trying to sell you on is “Blogging” AND “Action”. If you do one without the other, you MAY be successful with an online business – or you may not. Correct that – without Action you haven’t a chance….

But if you combine the two words Blogging and Action, you multiply your chances of having a blog success story twenty-fold.

OK – you caught me, that’s a made up statistic :-)

I’m going to look at how Blogging and Action has helped TWO online businesses today. One of them is my own blog. This one you’re reading! More importantly, the other one belongs to my great online friend Edward Thorpe, and his blog is about….

Living on The Far Side of 55

Edward’s blog FarSideOf55.com is packed with lifestyle strategies and tips to “keep on living”…. with the focus on living in good health, of course.

eds-header

And when I say “packed with”, I don’t mean in the hypey-way that you may be encouraged to buy some Bright Shiny Object that’s going to revolutionize your online business because it’s “packed with” amazing one-click wonders.

Each of Edward’s blog posts is genuinely FULL of topical news, health tips- and those “Candid Stories”:-)

In his inimitable style he publishes his own brand of solid information, research, laughs, common sense, healthy eating advice, strong opinions, and some reflections on life – often mixed all in one post! Goodness knows how he finds the time to research everything.

He has a natural writing talent and I love every post!

You can “meet” Edward here, on his About page. Quoting from it, to give you a flavor of his style:

How old am I, you may ask? Sorry, I’m too old to remember… I do recall December 13, 2013, marked 41 exciting years with my wife Treasa. (You’ll have to ask her just how excited she’s been.)

And here’s one of his candid stories: How to Piss Off Your Doctor Mr MD

Why Is This A Successful Blog?

Let’s qualify first, before someone does an in-depth analysis then comes along and says Edward’s blog isn’t (yet) in the top “n” earners for this niche… By successful (today), I mean on a well-deserved path to success.

As far as I can tell, Edward’s blog only started in late May 2014. Come back in a few months and I expect great things in Edward’s future. (No pressure….)

  • First and foremost, it’s because Edward’s targeted a niche audience he can identify with and speak directly to. I’m on the “far side of 55″, so the title grabbed me right away, and then as I dug deeper, I saw the relevance to his target audience (baby-boomers, “retired” and expecting to enjoy life, looking to live healthily, and with an interest in complementary therapy)
  • Having had my own health blogs, I also appreciate how much sheer hard work has gone into tracking down the information in the posts.
  • He KNOWS the challenges we’re facing as we age gracefully, (or disgracefully!). Not to mention his dry humor and writing style….. He has built up a relationship so that readers really feel they know him and his lifestyle. I look forward to seeing what he and his wife Treasa and the rest of the gang have been up to – the successes AND the challenges! Checkout Camping With The Grandkids!
  • He’s taken care of the basics of a successful blog: relevant domain name and a self-hosted WordPress blog, so he has control over his own site.
  • The writing style is distinctive and enjoyable. The grammar and spelling are good.
  • Edward has survived those first critical few months of starting an online business. The vast majority of internet start-ups  just quit after as little as three months.
  • he blog is monetized, but without being “in your face” and Edward’s suggested products are hype-free; backed up by researched information and sensible cautions – see this post about Resveratrol
  • Because of the links to the sources of his research, there are lots of outgoing links to a variety of authority sources.
  • Edward is building a blog community, as I’ve encouraged in the past. He replies to comments on his blog and is also reaching out to other bloggers – no doubt appealing most to those, like myself, in his target audience. You can see on this post that his followers are increasing.
  • He is using CommentLuv Premium – a blogging community in itself, used by many successful bloggers
  • Because his posts contain multiple topics, I know that even if the headline topic doesn’t “grab me” as relevant, I will read it anyway as there’s sure to be something in there that will strike a chord. For example this post: Congress Being Asked To Rescue Social Security. Living in the UK, I’m afraid I have no interest in “Congress and Social Security” – but because I know Edward’s blog, I was pretty sure there would be something else interesting for me. Sure enough, there were TWO items: 9 Home Improvements for Your Aging Parents  and Bedtime Habits That Put You To Sleep.
  • It’s topical – here’s a post with Thanksgiving Quotes that will stay evergreen.
  • eds-middionI like the “clean” look of the site, with the header and mission statement that immediately tells me what it’s about and why I should read it.
  • The clear menu includes About and Contact options, with posts split into relevant groupings.
  • Edward includes videos that encourage people to stay longer on his site: eg Eating Less Could Slow The Aging Process and Prevent Memory Loss
  • Edward is using Google Analytics to track his site statistics and visitors.

Possible Additions To The Far Side Of 55

I hesitate to make (uninvited) suggestions to another blogger with a blog I like so much, and especially without having the benefit of knowing “from the inside” what Edward has already done on his blog. I don’t read HTML code very well, so some of the points I’m suggesting, he may already have done!

But that won’t stop me.

I think I can say that Edward and I are good online friends and if he thinks I’ve got it wrong, I’m sure he’ll tell me with good humor. Hopefully fast enough that I can amend this post before too many more experienced bloggers see it :-)

Here goes….

  • Having so many external articles etc, I hope Edward is using a plugin to check for broken links. I’ve found in the past that these links sometimes go off-line and become broken. So it’s good to be alerted to them promptly, because Google doesn’t like broken links! What I tend to do when this happens is – I first check the link manually, sometimes the site was just slow loading etc and it’s NOT a broken link – but if it is, I adjust the link so that I still give credit to the main source.
  • Edward has great content for the search engines to find, and while I’m not one for doing a lot of SEO, I do like the free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to give the search engines a helping hand.
  • Fashions come and go – WordPress tags “were” in, they may now be “out”. Personally I still use them “just in case”. Hopefully with judicious use of Tags, additional topics not mentioned in Edward’s title can be highlighted too.
  • Because I enjoy this blog so much, I remember to go and hunt for Edward’s posts. Other readers may not remember (heck we’re “far side of 55″) … so I’d encourage Edward to add a sign-up form to make sure people come back by sending subscribers  link to each new post plus a list of the contents. He could add a simple fact sheet as a sign-up incentive and then follow the steps in a course I recommend: Copy and Paste Blueprint.
  • Also add an RSS button. (Damn! My own has disappeared…. quick hunt needed!)
  • I’d like to see a Search box to help me find posts more easily
  • Also a Site Map. HTML variety for humans, and the search engines like to have their own XML one. For the HTML one I use Simple Site Map because it lets me display my posts grouped by category. The XML site map comes as part of the Yoast plugin I mentioned earlier.
  • This content deserves to be shared repeatedly. I use the free plugin “Revive Old Post” to “Retweet Old Posts” and give them new life.
  • I’d add a PinIt button so that readers can easily add their favorite posts to Pinterest. Edward has some great images and while it probably wouldn’t be a massive source of traffic, Pinners tend to like complementary health tips, so it could be another way to find new readers. I use the button that comes with the free plug-in “Digg Digg”, but there are plenty of other ways to do it.

By the time you get to read this post, Edward will have implemented some of these changes. He doesn’t let grass grow under his feet – which is why he WILL be even more successful!

How My Business Benefited From Edward’s Blog!

I mentioned earlier on that MY business has benefited from Edward’s blog! Here’s how:

  • Edward has joined my blogging community and we regularly comment on each others’ posts, so I stand to get traffic from his site, and vice versa
  • He has reinvested his profits and purchased some of the products I have recommended in these pages – thanks :-)
  • Best of all, he has been kind enough to say that I have helped him with his online journey – and that gave me such a confidence boost

Happily, it’s not just Edward who is buying my products. Other sales are starting to come in too – sometimes from work I did quite a while ago and had forgotten about. (e.g. old blog posts and revenue from domain and hosting sales.)

What New Bloggers Can Learn From Edward

Quite simply Edward just shows what can be achieved by “Taking Action Blogging”. Remember – that’s not a glitzy product…. The steps are:

  • Identify a niche market
  • Gather together your fans / readers – and interact with them
  • Understand what makes them happy and what problems they are having (lack of mobility, can’t sleep, aches and pains)
  • Provide well researched and interesting solutions to those problems
  • Personalize your posts so that people feel they know you as a human being, not “just” a reporter
  • Spend a little money to learn from others. In addition to the course mentioned above, Edward bought this course about getting visitors to a blog
  • Most of all action / elbow grease – just get on and DO IT…
  • ….Regularly

Edward has done a great job and his blog is one of my favorites.

You might be thinking that Edward has years of experience with computers or a complementary therapy qualification that gave him a head start towards the success of his blog….

Not so. If you look at his About page you’ll see his background includes:

  • U.S. Army helicopter crew during Vietnam conflict
  • Retired from General Motors at 46
  • Salesman: lots of different stuff – read the post!
  • Self-starter – owned a swimming pool service, office cleaning service, general building contractor and managed beach-side motels
  • Health challenges overcome by applying the topics he talks about
  • In general, family man with more life-experience than most of us will ever have

I don’t see anything there that qualifies Edward to be a successful blogger, OTHER THAN:

  • Willingness to turn his hand to new challenges
  • Writing from the heart about his own life experiences and
  • Most of all – applying hard work and determination.

Finger-pxTHOSE are the qualities and actions will turn a new blogger into a successful blogger with their own blog success story.

So…. it could be YOU.

Thanks To Comment Authors For November 2014

Scary News and Important News

thanks-col-pxScary news – it’s suddenly December, and time to round up November by thanking my comment authors and giving you chance to catch up on any posts you missed.

The important news is that my Mum is home from hospital and she and my Dad are happily together again. Although they are both “fragile”, we’re all in a happier place than we were last month.

Business Networking

Other news is that I have joined an offline business networking group (Links4Growth). It’s not one of these organizations where you have to pay mega-bucks, speak each week, and find substitutes if you miss a meeting. There are a variety of different style meetings to suit every possibility – breakfast, morning coffee, lunches and evenings. Having only just joined my first meeting is next week.

Holiday in Spain

house313x171Another – good! – reason I am “behind” is that I spent a week in Spain staying at my son’s apartment / business.

Even in November the weather was warm enough to walk about without a coat, although it wasn’t scorching (which was good!)

It was wonderful to catch up with the family and hear that the business is going well.

Summary of November’s Posts

Although still not completely back up to speed, I managed 3 posts this month:

Why Internet Startups Fail included an infographic listing 10 reasons why 90% of new online businesses fail in their first four months. I added my own experiences, and readers chipped in with their own thoughts.

A Case Study On Finding Blog Visitors introduced readers to the idea of Building a Blog Community, and the excellent course I had bought. If you haven’t yet picked up Adrienne Smith’s course you’re missing a treat. Pop over to my post and read all about how it has helped my business to grow.

Avoiding Distractions From Your Business – obviously prompted by my last couple of months – reflected on the type of distractions (good and bad) that throw us off course, and looked at some ways to stay focused.

Thanks to My Comment Authors in November

So all that remains to round off the month is to thank those who left great comments and made my blog a more interesting place to be. Hope to see you again soon – and I will be visiting YOUR blogs too!

Total Comments on this blog in November 2014

Hello, My name is Edward Thorpe.
I dropped 9 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Harleena Singh.
I dropped 4 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Adrienne.
I made 4 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Joan White.
I made 3 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Bilal Ahmad.
I made 3 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Tim Bonner.
I made 3 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Carol Amato.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Oloyede Jamiu.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Mark.
I made 2 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Mi Muba.
I made 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Stephanie Nissen.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Sandy.
I made 2 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Suprabhat.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Gurwinder Singh.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Emebu.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Atish Ranjan.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Mustafa Gaziani.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.

 

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Avoiding Distractions From Your Online Business

ballerina-px-smallest

I know I’m a sucker for distractions from my online business – but what on earth has a ballet dancer got to do with it?

Well, quite simply, when I was considering a focus for my post, I was reminded of a dancing technique called “spotting” that dancers use to maintain control of their balance and direction of travel.

I turned to Wikipedia for a better explanation and found the following:

The goal of spotting is to attain a constant orientation of the dancer’s head and eyes, to the extent possible, in order to enhance the dancer’s control and prevent dizziness.

So – no – I haven’t started a website about dancing. I’m just using this as an illustration of how I sometimes feel I am spinning out of control, and hoping to find a solution!

Types of Distractions

Family – Of late I have had urgent family distractions, and those just have to take top priority.

Technical – I’m sure everyone else gets them, but I just seem to sink deeper and deeper into the mire with these. I was happily blogging away and someone very kindly warned me that my site was showing up as having malware on it, which obviously needs fixing urgently – so thanks Sandy :-) My webhost responded very quickly to tell me they had cleared it – but I’m left wondering how it got there. I have Wordfence installed, plus several other plugins recommended on a security package I bought. I have an obscure password and username. Now what?

Quick Jobs – I showed someone some pictures and they asked me to zip them up and email them. Five minute job? Oh no… not for me.

  • I had upgraded Winzip earlier in the week – but now it’s telling me I am not upgraded
  • I used another free program and now my email program tells me the zip is too big to send. It’s NOT, it’s just 79kb after zipping
  • I tried to login to my webmail to see if my mailbox was full (that’s another problem I have to fight some time) and I can’t even do that, so email technical guy and wait….

The “Day Job” – My blogging is a part-time venture, and “the day job” pays the bills of living to a comfortable standard. So it has to come first, and boy has it taken up some time of late – which is good news in one way, but not good for my blogging business! Don’t even get me started….

Lack of Control – I had a little online business pootling away merrily, but it relied on one supplier, who suddenly said I could no longer trade worldwide. Regular readers know the story, (and how I fixed it) anyone interested can read it here as a warning of a mistake to avoid! This was lack of foresight on my part, but still took a long while to “fix”.

magic-compNew Things To Learn – I have much to learn on this blogging journey, and I keep coming across things I need to learn about. I’m not talking about fast income made by applying some magic 5-click formula. In my blogging community I have found so many great mentors (too many to mention for fear of missing someone out) I trust and want to follow that I am finally cured of chasing “Bright Shiny Objects”. But there is so much I’m eager to learn I hardly know where to start!

The Ballerina?

In trying to focus on my intended direction of travel I find my eyes continually pointing in one direction but I need to bring them back to my intended direction.

It’s not just ballerinas who spin! Cars sometimes have spinning wheels, and that means they are going nowhere. They may be sinking in quicksand as I sometimes feel I am sinking in problems and/or information. This can be more commonly known as ‘information overload’ or ‘paralysis by analysis’.

The Dangers Of Free Information

It’s tempting, when starting an online business to garner as much free information as possible – but you will quickly find that “free” comes with the price tag of your email address and a series of emails coming afterwards with the specific aim of distracting my attention elsewhere.

I’m learning now to be very selective about who gets my email address. I know who I want to follow, and I can either follow them on RSS feeds or on my blogging community – or I just go find their blogs!

Another danger of “free information” is that I maybe won’t value it as much as a course I have paid for.

Just like the ballerina we need to direct and maintain our focus, to avoid spinning out of control and to keep traveling in the correct direction.

The Danger of Loss of Focus

Focus is one of those ‘by-words’ that people just take for granted that they understand. They (and I) believe they are focused because they commit to sit down at their computer and ‘do’ business for X number of hours.

Then distractions such as my list above occur and I go deeper and deeper into the quicksand trying to fix them.

With some distractions, although you think you are “working hard” you might actually be wasting your time because you are not focused on your end goal; the worst part is if you succumb too often to that type of activity you will start to spin your wheels.

But obviously some of these problem are so urgent that they need solving immediately. If my site is showing malware and my emails are not “going” I can be blogging away to my heart’s content but to what purpose?

At the end of some days I feel I have worked “hard” but only at fire-fighting. From this post you will probably gather that today has been one of those days. At the rate I am going I will probably end it with more problems than I started with. (Although hopefully at least I will have one finished article!)

How To Decide Which Tasks To Focus On

The great author Stephen Covey developed a method of classifying tasks in a quadrant according to Urgency and Importance.

I found it well-described on this blog post by Ian Smith Coaching.

Try Stephen Covey’s method when you are deciding how to prioritize your tasks and decide what you should focus on next.

How to Focus When Starting an Online Business

I won’t turn this into an article on Goal Setting, because you’ll find plenty of those on-line, just be sure you HAVE a goal – and most important of all, know WHY you are starting your online business.

You will probably first of all come up with a long-term goal. But you’ll quickly find you need to set short-term goals, because personally I find that to focus on long-term goals allows me too much scope to “stray” into the realms of “possibilities”.

  • To stay focused on my short-term Goals I keep Google Calendar permanently opencalendar in my Browser (in fact it’s my default start page). I have tasks assigned to each day, and if a task hasn’t been finished by the end of the day, I move it onto the next day. Pop-up reminders make sure I don’t miss something important.
  • For medium-term goals, make lists and commit to doing at least one thing on the list regularly (say once a week). Stick with it until you thoroughly explore it as a possibility.
  • I have distinct “email” slots in the day, but for the rest of the time I try to ignore my email through the day – glancing over only the email that is from known senders. For instance if I saw an urgent message from a Day Job client, that needs to be checked. (Note the word ‘glance’ here – don’t get involved!) Your email in-box looks like a war zone, right? So make folders or labels for each program or product. Just shuffle the emails into the appropriate folders or projects.
  • Use the Facebook “Save” feature to set to one side articles you want to follow up
  • Take the phone off the hook, or if that’s too drastic screen calls with an answerphone. I have found that if people are prepared to leave a message it’s probably important – otherwise the call is for THEIR purposes. Usually to sell me something.
  • If you work from home, make sure that friends and family understand that you being at home isn’t open season for long chats and cuppas through the day. They wouldn’t do it if you were working for an employer. Set their expectations politely.
  • Shut down Social Media windows / Skype it’s just too tempting to pop over and look at the next joke or interesting article. It’s not best practice if you have the time to do it “properly”, but I automate much of my Social Media posting. Again I allocate myself a slot in the day when I am allowed to “Like” cats and dogs and share articles that might be useful on my pages. I’ve written elsewhere about Automating my Social Media.
  • Set timers – allocate yourself a set period of time to do a job and set an alarm on RescueTimeyour phone to stop at that point. You’ll probably have to go back and refine what you did, but with practice you’ll get used to working to a deadline.
  • Use some of the free Time Recording software available online. You’ll probably scare yourself to death as you see how your time dribbles away. I tried a few, but the one I like best is Rescue Time. I use the free version. There IS a paid version, but the free version was perfectly fine for me.

Your Best Tips To Focus On Your Business

Over to you now, please!

  • Do you find it hard to focus on your business?
  • What distractions do you find hardest to cope with?
  • And finally, please share your own best tips for focusing and avoiding distractions from your online business goals.

 

 

Case Study In Finding Blog Visitors

OK – so you may have arrived here attracted by the thought of learning how to find blog visitors…. but I’ll tell you right away, important as that is – it’s not just about getting the visitors, it’s about building a blog community (aff link) of people interacting and discussing what you have written.

If that’s not an idea you’re familiar with – take a few minutes to watch a video about building a blog community here, and you will meet Adrienne Smith, winner of the title “Engagement Superstar” for 2011.

Within a few months of starting this blog I was lucky enough to “bump into” Adrienne’s blog – which isn’t hard – she’s “everywhere”.

It was immediately obvious to me that she was doing something VERY right, and I was doing something VERY wrong here.

So I’ve followed her articles and picked up as many tips as I can along the way, waiting for her posts eagerly.

How has she helped me?

  • I have learned her methods
  • I have been exposed to her contacts
  • I’ve experienced her engagement at first hand, because she’s given me encouragement and help in comments on her blog and on mine.
  • Best of all, she’s really cared about the ups and downs of my blogging career.

Any Downsides?

Of course, great as this has been, I’ve had to pick it up post by post from her blog, and I’ve sometimes thought – “Oh, if only I could get all this in one chunk to refer to over and over again….”

Now You Can!

Well you’re in luck, because Adrienne has just launched a course pulling all her wisdom together AND MORE! (So don’t be a cheap-skate and try to pick it up from just the posts – you’ll miss out.)

I’m not going to copy / paste the contents of Adrienne’s sales page here. Click the banner or one of the links to the page and you can read it for yourself.

Instead I’m going to do something a little different and hope it works.

I’m going to do a case study of the rewards a blogger can see by applying Adrienne’s teaching, and I’m going to do it on my own blog!

Case Study: Following Adrienne Smith’s Teaching

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I hope you will have noticed that it’s gradually becoming a busier place to be – and that’s despite the highs and lows that take me away from it more frequently than I’d like!

But I didn’t just want to FEEL my blog was improving. I wanted to prove to myself, and to my readers, that my blogging has improved, following what I have learned.

So I decided to look back at the first post I made on this blog, in September 2012 >> A New Start

What an embarrassment.

The first post, supposedly announcing my grand New Start,  was nothing more than the few words above my newly added November 2014 update.

It was unimaginably BAD – I’ve even tarted it up a bit from what it was! But now….

I Am Building A Blogging Community!

On that first post did you notice the pre-November-2014 “engagement” (visitor interaction)?

There were THREE comments – and TWO of them mine. Hahaha!

Remember, that is on the post that has been online for the longest time of all (so theoretically could have been found more often than all the others)?

Even I can see that my blog has improved since then, thank goodness! If you’d like more information on its progress, I’ve actually published it as an update to that first post.

I added it there partly to beef that post up a bit, but mainly because I don’t want to obscure the big picture, which is that much of the difference between my first post (as it was) and my improved 2014 posts (see my recent posts in the side-bar) is from following the example of Adrienne and (of course) some of the people* I met through her blog community.

*Too many to credit individually today, but if you are new to my blog, you can see some of them here Thanking My Comment Authors

What Else Have I Done?

  • Well, of course I’ve added more content – but not as frequently as I added to some previous health blogs that hardly received any visitors, despite being packed with detailed and well-researched information. I was posting daily in the case of one lonely blog :-(
  • I have focused better on this ONE blog – but I do still go off at tangents (business and personal)!
  • I am being coached by Neil Stafford in the UK – but not on blogging. He looked at it and said “Just carry on what you’re doing with your blog”!
  • Having learned to interacting with other bloggers, I also reached out to people on social networks – more about some of my social networking friends in a future post.

Despite the extras above I feel, and hope you will agree, that my blog two years on has benefited greatly by the addition of a blogging community freely sharing information with each other.

And this improvement has been just by following snippets of Adrienne’s teaching on her blog, without the benefit of her entire course, which I have now bought.

You have seen what can be achieved WITHOUT the benefit of the course, but YOU have chance to learn in hours the lessons it has taken me months to learn.

So – over to you. It’s YOUR turn now. Click over to see how I learned to get more visitors to my blog – and more importantly get more engagement from my blog visitors.

build-blog-community

Infographic on 10 Reasons Why Internet Startups Fail

Have you ever wondered why Internet Startups fail so often? You see a blog/business you like the look of and you start following it, then slowly you notice that the activity and posts tail off, then stop and – perhaps some months later – you get broken links from their comments on your blog and when you check it out, whoops, no longer there.
Chances are it’s because of one of the reasons below, and underneath the infographic are my own thoughts:
Infographic Why Internet Startups Fail

Here are some thoughts on the reasons above.

Expect Fast Results

We live in an age of instant results – and no more so than on the Internet, where a Google search for information will bring you more “facts” than you could process in a month!  So it’s not surprising that people can be duped into thinking that building an online business will be equally as instant.

But it’s a lie. The reasons and consequences are set out above. Being aware of the truth should help you realize that you haven’t failed, if you’re not making a decent income within a few months …. you just haven’t got there YET. If 90% quit within the first 4 months, you’re ahead of the pack by just “showing up regularly”.

No Product Of Your Own

This was a mistake I made in one of my health businesses – if you haven’t already read the story click here to learn the risk of relying on someone else’s product.

And read my review of the course I recommend that will help you create your own product and promote it. (Over and over again.)

Where Is Your Online Home?

Many people imagine they can build a business totally free. This is a myth perpetrated to lull beginners into a false sense of security.

Building a business on a free platform you don’t even own (e.g. Facebook, Blogger) is madness. It could be taken away from you at any time. The absolute minimum you need is your own domain. Read here how and why you need to register your own domain.

In fact, without wishing to scare you off, I suggest you read my previous post about the costs of running a successful blog.

Not Dedicated

At one level this was covered in the “Expecting Fast Results” section. It’s also about choosing to work on your business when you would prefer to be watching TV. Only YOU can decide how motivated you are. You’ll find plenty of motivational books on Amazon if you need help in setting yourself a meaningful goal.

Poor or No SEO

SEO is Search Engine Optimization, and there are different opinions as to how important this is given that it’s pretty tough to rank a page any more. Many people subscribe to the belief that “Content is King”, and that it’s the community you engage and interact with by blog commenting, building your “subscriber list” and social networking. However, to dip a toe in the SEO world, on my blog I use the free plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast.

No Action Taken

There are so many skills you will need to learn as you build an online business that it’s easy to be either paralyzed into inaction, or – at the other extreme – rush around like a headless chicken, and never complete any one project (the latter is where I tended to go wrong!)

My philosophy now is to do the jobs I enjoy and / or am good at, while out-sourcing the rest (such as eBook covers) to people who are better at it than I am. Yes, it cost me a few dollars on Fiverr.com, but the stress saved was well worth it – and the result way beyond what I would ever have achieved!

Another fault I find hard to overcome is being a perfectionist. Several imperfect actions are probably far better than one that is perfect – if there IS such a thing!

Socialize With Others

I spent several months on a health blog writing what I thought were interesting and well researched articles – but it was like bloggging into a vacuum. Then I realized the importance of reaching out to others interested in the topic.

There are many ways to do this, such as forums, blogging communities and on social networking sites.

The main way I have chosen to socialize with others in my niche is with the CommentLuv plugin.

No Branding

The most basic branding is your own domain name (covered above). Beyond that you will probably want to establish a consistent presence on Social Networking sites to build yourself a community.

Failure to Plan Ahead

“Life” can so easily get in the way – as it has for me this last month, and a couple of years ago. Family crises will always occur and you will naturally want to put family first. And on a happier note, there will be times when you want a holiday!

The simplest way to plan ahead is to have blog posts scheduled ahead of time in WordPress, and broadcasts scheduled to go out from your auto-responder. If you won’t even have access to your emails, most decent email systems will let you send out an explanatory message to say that you’re away and when you’ll be back.

Here’s a post I wrote recently about some of the ways I have been able to automate my business on Facebook – what worked and what didn’t.

No List

This really is the worst mistake of all – and yes, you guessed, it’s a mistake I originally made too. You’ll see I now have several ways that I invite you to opt-in to my subscriber list, with a “bribe” of a free eBook. See my opt-in box at the top right of this blog.

My list is stored in software called an auto-responder that automates my communications with my subscribers. I have to confess I’ve chopped and changed a bit with Auto-responders – trying to save money (blush) – but I always seem to come back to the industry standard, because it integrates with all the other services I use in my Internet business. You can take a $1 trial of Aweber here.

Over To You…

So – those are the most common reasons why Internet startups fail. Obviously your business hasn’t failed – you’re still here…. but please do comment to tell me:

  • Any I have missed
  • What is the biggest risk factor for your own business?
  • How YOU avoided these causes of Internet startup failure

My Comment Authors In October 2014

fireworks-pxAmazing how we find ourselves in November – the month of fireworks – already, and it’s time to do a round-up to thank friends who have commented on my blog this last month.

October has been a BAD month for me in many ways.

Most importantly both my parents have been in hospital. In fact my Mum is still there and has been hospitalized for almost a month except for a couple of days when she was released – probably too soon, as she had to go back again within just a few days. Despite the scare stories you may read in the newspapers, Mum has had excellent care (thanks to the wonderful staff at Bridlington Hospital) and I have reason to be very grateful for our British NHS.

They’re such a devoted couple, in their 90s, that being parted from my Mum has sent my Dad into a deep depression and I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the North of England at their house doing what I could for them. This hasn’t seemed to achieve much as my Mum is still in hospital and my Dad is still depressed :-(

One dreadful day in particular poor Mum wasn’t expected to survive the night and as many of the family as possible drove North to see her – only to find her sitting up smiling brightly and asking for a sherry to go with the trifle she was enjoying! Needless to say my son Matt was dispatched to bring her a glass of sherry and the nurses turned a blind eye. She’s a fighter, that’s for sure.

The Future?

In desperation we have now set up a live-in care package for them as unfortunately it’s not practical for me or my sister to be away from our businesses long-term. Live-in care is not ideal, and takes a little getting used to, but the five hour trip each way is tough to do by myself, and it’s better than my Dad being alone until Mum comes home.

It’s just been a roller-coaster of a month, so business has taken a back-seat for October, and probably will do for the rest of the year too.

Round-up of October’s Posts

I managed just a couple of posts (below) but the second one was made in such a rush between trips “home” to see Mum and Dad that I didn’t manage much promotion and many of my regular readers may have missed it. If you didn’t see it, now’s your chance!

Here are my October posts:

1) Mobile Website Design : sparked off some very interesting comments that I learned a lot from.

2) Retargeted Advertising – Breaking News Story : told us more about this method of marketing that may, or may not, help you increase your sales. I share my own experiences and would be very interested to hear anyone else’s.

Afraid that’s been “it” for October, but many thanks to all the lovely people below who made comments on the few posts I did manage to make!

Total Comments on this Blog in October 2014

Hello, My name is Edward Thorpe.
I dropped 4 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Jan Kearney.
I made 3 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Oloyede Jamiu.
I dropped 3 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Liz McGee.
I made 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Carol Amato.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Suprabhat Mondal.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Mi Muba.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Mark.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Suprabhat.
I dropped 2 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Sam Bralley.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Harleena Singh.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Hollie Hawley.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Angela McCall.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Emmanuel.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Vandefan.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Manik.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Jackson Nwachukwu.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Mike Gardner.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Sandy.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Sherri Stockman.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Harish Sharma.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Sandy Tan.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Una Doyle.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Joan White.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is Adrienne.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hi, My name is jon.
I made 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Joan.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Tim Bonner.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Nisha Pandey.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
Hello, My name is Bilal Ahmad.
I dropped 1 awesome comment.
30 comment authors with 43 comments in the month of October 2014This list was generated by MyCommentAuthors

Retargeting Advertising – Breaking News Story

Apologies for the break in continuity of posting but my Mum is in hospital, so my business time is minimal at the moment. Everything possible is being done for her and my Dad.

Retargeting Advertising

offer-px-webConscious of the need for a quick post today, my eye was caught by a breaking news story about Retargeting Advertising. You’ve probably seen it – where you have visited a website of something you were interested in and then the same / similar advert “follows you round” for weeks at a time.

Someone not aware of retargeted adverts may just think this is coincidence – or an example of the phenomenon known as Reticular Activation that I first came across in the theory of goal setting. Basically, when something piques your interest you notice it everywhere, and the application in goal setting is described here.

While Reticular Activation is probably at work in many cases (if you are considering buying a blue car you’ll probably start noticing many more blue cars) it’s very likely in these days of sophisticated online advertising methods that you have innocently triggered some retargeting advertising, and you are ACTUALLY being followed round by the same company!

Spooky or Clever or Bad Marketing?

Spooky, I’ve attempted to explain above, by reference to the Reticular Activation system, so let’s pursue the “clever” angle.

Here is a better description of how retargeted advertising works, and when you read the full post you will see some compelling reasons why you might think this is a clever tactic you would like to include in your marketing strategy.

With retargeting, a small piece of code is added to the landing page (or website) controlled by the marketer or publisher, which places a cookie in each visitor’s browser, adding them to an audience list. That audience can now be retargeted with a specific campaign aimed solely at them. Source

I was aware of retargeted advertising, and have actually tried it. But before you rush off to buy some retargeted adverts, you may like to read the article below which was the one that caught my eye today.

Seeing the same advert several times can irritate and exasperate its targeted audience, rather than endear them to the company and its product. Source

So the findings of the article above may lead you to conclude that advert retargeting could be bad marketing.

My Experience of Retargeting Advertising

As an online marketer I have purchased retargeted adverts to try and boost my own sales. Although I noticed no improvement whatsoever I have to confess it wasn’t a long campaign as I’m not a fan of paid advertising.

As a consumer, I find retargeted advertising extremely irritating. I tend to make quick decisions – either yay or nay – so to be chased round by the same advert when I’ve already made up my mind is a pain, in my opinion.

Even worse was the occasion when I had already bought something and then saw a cheaper offer from the same company. I was tempted to cancel the original purchase and then take the offer. In all honesty I can’t remember whether I did or not, but I know other people who have done so!

Your Experiences of Retargeted Adverts?

So – over to your for your comments please.

  • Do you think retargeting advertising is clever of irritating?
  • Have you noticed it happening to you – and did it encourage your purchase or not?
  • As a marketer is it a tactic you have used, and did it increase your sales?

I’ll be interested to know what you think.

 

Mobile Website Design

Something of a diversion into mobile website design today! Any parent will know there’s nothing like one of your “children” having a problem to divert you from your declared strategy.

Update: November 2014 – After practicing on Russ and Laura, I am offering this service to clients, So if you know anyone who needs a mobile website, please check out my mobile site design service and get in touch.

Regular readers may remember that my elder son startled the family by buying a “cave house” in Spain to run as a “holiday let”. He then amazed us even more by making a success of it! He and his partner Laura have had many bookings and excellent reviews overall. The only “luke-warm” review came from an early visitor who got badly lost finding his way there. So far Russ’s solution has been to email detailed instructions to visitors, but it did seem that there should be a more high-tech solution available.

casacueva256x319(I had offered to make a website for Russ and Laura, but in reality their entry on booking.com performs far better than anything I could dream of producing!)

It occurred to us that what was really needed was their own mobile website to give to visitors for two reasons:

  • To help them find their way to Casa Cueva with minimum stress
  • To help them remember Casa Cueva on their next visit, rather than going first to booking.com and ending up at a competitor

So when I got chance to learn about mobile website design, Russ seemed an ideal first candidate, and after a day fiddling about (when I should have been book-keeping!) I came up with this mobile site.

So now Russ and Laura have gone from having no website of their own to having a mobile website. I’m still in the “learning phase” so it’s hosted on my site at the moment, and needs a domain name – the obvious ones have been taken.

You can view the site here – but bear in mind that it’s formatted specifically for a mobile device so doesn’t look good on a desktop PC.

The annoying thing is that I’m struggling with the “Find Us” link, which is supposed to give directions – because Russ’s house is so isolated that Google Maps can’t find it! (They tell me that’s an attraction – and it certainly hasn’t hma256x325stopped people visiting.)  However Bing Maps is looking a little more obliging.

And of course, while I was “at it” I had to do a site for my Hair Analysis project – supposedly abandoned after I was banned from selling world-wide. Perhaps it will help me sell a few copies of my Kindle book instead :-)

There’s a slightly different approach needed here, because there is already a “desktop” site for this one. So the solution will be to redirect to the mobile site from the main site if it’s loaded on a mobile device.

Work in progress at the time of writing!

Reasons To Consider Mobile Website Design

Of course it’s not just micro-businesses like Russ and Laura’s cave house that need to think about how their websites look on a mobile device.

Out of interest I checked out a few local one-man-band businesses such as plumbers and electricians.

There are many unloved and half-finished websites “out there” and even now (October 2014) some small businesses with no website of their own.

It may even be that companies with no web site at all would be well-advised to go “mobile first”, as suggested by one of the articles below.

In case any-one is in any doubt about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, here are some interesting articles I found in recent news.

 

The smart phone market has grown tremendously in the past two years as reflected by the sale of over 1000 million iPhones, 70 million iPads, not to mention smart phones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC. The huge volume means that your website cannot remain PC centric any more. A mobile friendly version of your website has become a necessity, rather than a facility. According to Nielsen, 77% of the world populations are mobile users. An unfriendly mobile web design drives users away, besides giving a poor impression about the company itself.

Studies have revealed that about 25% of mobile owners make their purchasing decisions with the help of mobile phones.

A well thought out website design strategy can avoid having two different sites to maintain, one for mobile and another for PC. This can be sorted out by RWD or Responsive Web Design, an approach to designing websites for optimal viewing experience across devices. Credits: Mobile Web Design – A fresh look at Website Design – WhaTech

People Depend More On Mobile Devices

The increasing number of mobile devices being bought have, unsurprisingly, led to an increased amount of use. Just a few of the reasons are:

  • Wi-fi “hot-spot availability has increased
  • The fast pace of life means people want to keep “Busy” all the time: on public transport, as passengers in cars, in queues, between courses in restaurants!
  • So-called “baby-boomers” have had a greater take-up rate of mobile technology than expected
  • More online shopping availability from small sized companies as well as the giants such as Amazon and eBay
  • Business meetings away from the office
  • An increasing number of work from home businesses may also contribute

This has led to interesting conclusions such as this assertion that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website your business will be left in the dust:

….statistics showing that over 10% of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and 40% of online shoppers use their mobile device to check out new products.

The fact that more people are using the Internet to research products for possible purchases illustrates how having a Web presence has become an essential part of doing business in today’s world. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 47% of the people researching local businesses (other than restaurants, bars, and clubs) use online resources. Credits: If Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Mobile Devices, You’ll Be Left in the Dust – AllBusiness (blog)

Approach To Mobile Website Design

So having determined that a mobile-friendly site is essential for any modern online business, there are two possible approaches.

  • Ensure that your “desk-top” website “responds” to the device it is being viewed upon and will look good on a mobile device (responsive web design)
  • Have a completely different website to be viewed by mobile devices

Responsive Web Designs – or Not?

WordPress users, like many of my readers, are (on the face of it) well-catered for because they are able to choose (and most certainly should choose) a theme that is “Responsive” so that their site will adapt to being viewed on mobile devices.

There are some good SEO reasons (detailed in the article below) why this is preferable to having a separate website.

Responsive web design is basically reformatting or in simple words converting a website into such a format that it can be accessed from the different devices like – smartphone, tablets, desktop, laptop etc. With a great mass of the population relying much on the devices other than the desktops or laptops to search the internet, it is now sort of a mandate for the web designers to opt for the mode of responsive web designing to regulate the incoming traffic towards the websites. Credits: Why Responsive Web Design is Good for SEO? – Business 2 Community

But there’s another side to the coin, and there are also good reasons (see the article below) for having a completely separate website to be viewed on mobile devices.

Responsive design is great, but marketers need to take it a step further. Users interact with websites differently, depending on the accessing device. Tablets are routinely showing higher conversion rates vs. websites in some shopping categories. Mobile first is a designing mindset. It is not that mobile is more important, but because mobile has the most restrictions, it makes sense to start with mobile and add to it for the full web site design. Credits: Why Mobile First Should Be The Mantra For Web Design – MediaPost Communications

Your Mobile Website Design

At the end of the day it will be down to personal decision (and probably budget) which approach you take, but you should certainly check how your site looks on a mobile device – especially if you have an e-commerce site.

Which approach to mobile website design have you taken, and why? I’d be interested in your comments.

Remember, if you would like me to prepare your own site, check out my mobile site design service here.

My Comment Authors in September 2014

As September turns into October and the evenings get darker, it’s time to once again thank the loyal commentators who visited my blog throughout September.

And here are some of the posts they commented on:

  • A collation of over 100 blogging tips – Self explanatory, thanks to the well-respected bloggers featured in the post
  • Property Rental Rant – Apart from a tenuous link to hackers, this was just me having a rant. It has nothing to do with Internet Marketing, other than that it’s one of the reasons I need to diversify my income!
  • Named as a F.A.K.E. Blogger – I got caught up in a great publicity stunt, conceived by Enstine Muki, that saw my site get more new visitors than any other post
  • The link between the Scottish Independence Referendum and Blogging – What bloggers can learn from this high profile (in the UK!) marketing campaign
  • Social Blog Blueprint – This newly launched product is so much more than “How to start a blog”. Even seasoned WordPress bloggers are enthusing about this product – which will take any blogger by the hand and guide them through the mysteries of social media and blogging

I’ve had a busy month in my non-blogging business, so I must admit I was quite relieved to find I’d averaged a post a week. Anything you missed, I’ll be delighted for you to revist.

So – all that remains is for me to thank everyone who left comments on my blog, and to encourage readers to visit their sites and engage with them.

Total Comments on this blog in September 2014

Hi, My name is Edward Thorpe.
I made 5 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Carol Amato.
I made 5 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Mark.
I made 4 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Suprabhat Mondal.
I dropped 4 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Sandy.
I dropped 3 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Adrienne.
I dropped 3 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Jan Kearney.
I made 3 awesome comments.

 

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