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How To Start A Blog

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 what I’m writing about here, because what I’m

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

Free Traffic From Blog Commenting

One way in which we are taught to increase backlinks to our blog is by leaving comments (with our link) on other people’s blogs. This is a way to get free traffic from blog commenting. Because this can be time-consuming, many new marketers look to

Making Squeeze Pages

Why do I need a squeeze page? Making squeeze pages is one of the tasks I’ve always found most difficult online. Squeeze pages are pages that collect a visitor’s name and email address, often in return for some information and usually free. Once visitors have

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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How To Start A Blog

best seo pluginMost 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 what I’m writing about here, because what I’m about to introduce to you is valuable information that even experienced bloggers are raving about!

You might imagine “How to start a blog” would be a simple question to answer, but it’s not.

The reason it’s not simple is that – as with everything else in life – it depends on your budget and how much time you can afford to spend (or waste) getting your site up. If you have all the time in the world you will probably choose to do-it-yourself.

But remember – time is money. You can spend weeks or even months:

  • Fiddling about learning how to design a site,
  • Then finding you made a big mistake, then re-doing it,
  • Then learning a bit more
  • Then realizing you made ANOTHER booboo…..

and so on. I know, because I did just that (more below). And all that lost time could have been better used on marketing my business.

A Better Way to Start a Blog?

Without doubt, the best approach is to get help along the way, with some free training to start you off.

I actually began this post a few weeks ago, as I needed to write a process to show beginners how to start a blog that I could include in my eBook’s follow-up series.

Although I’ve started a few blogs in my chequered Internet Marketing career, I found that putting the process down step by step was harder than I imagined. Then I heard that my trusted business colleagues and friends Sue and Dan Worthington were releasing a product “Social Blog Blueprint”. So I put all my own efforts on hold to see what Sue and Dan were releasing. I’ve had a sneak preview and it meets all their previous high standards.

If you are short of money, yet want a fast start with top quality, training don’t hesitate. Click here for ten free “Starting a Blog” videos:

Preview of Social Blog Blueprintsocial-blog-bleprint

  1. Introduction to “Start a Blog” challenge
  2. Choose your niche
  3. Structure your blog
  4. Get your blog online
  5. Make your blog beautiful
  6. Add content
  7. Posting schedule and finding content
  8. Start posting: headlines & editor tour
  9. Traffic tactics, avatar, “blog hopping”, RSS feed
  10. Plan for traffic generation going forward
  11. Advanced techniques plus social media integration

The Social Blog Blueprint teaches customers how to create a successful & profitable WordPress Blog, fully integrated with all Social Channels within just a matter of days.

In fact, even a complete newbie could have a brand new WordPress site up and running within the hour.  These simple tutorials take you step by step through purchasing a domain, hosting, installing WordPress, themes, widgets, posts, literally everything you need to get your blog up and running fast.

Help For More Experienced Bloggers?

Of course that’s just the beginning, and you’ll quickly see there’s more to professional blogging than just putting your site up. But we have you covered with subsequent modules.  Even seasoned WordPress users will learn, as, Sue and Dan teach their techniques for:

  • Traffic generation
  • SEO
  • Monetization
  • Social Media Marketing to improve your blog’s visibility, and get your blog content shared

I mentioned above that this article started out with me trying to write my own “start a blog” guide for beginners. I quickly abandoned the idea when I saw Sue and Dan’s Social Blog Blueprint. However, as I’d started it, I WILL leave in place the story of starting my first blog. (I deleted the painful instructions – Social Blog Blueprint has done a far better job.)

(First - click here to reserve your place on Social Blog Blueprint - it’s a dime sale, which means that the price rises with every sale!!)

How Should I Have Set Up My Blog?

Because I have been a computer programmer for 30+ years I expected I would find it easy to set up my own website. I was wrong, and some sites I set up were so bad I completely scrapped them, before ending up with this one.

Although it “does the job” fine, I have learned everything the hard way and it has taken me many hours of revising and repairing. Being brutally honest, with what I have learned over the past few years, there are many things I would do completely differently if I were starting from scratch.

I really wish I had had saved time and stress by getting help and / or training from the outset. So I recommend you NOT to make my “go it alone” mistake.

Professional Service To Set Up Your Blog

If you understand the value of your time and therefore the benefit of having a professional do the job for you, my recommendation is to use the service below. It’s not cheap, but it will be money well spent.

Click here > for KTS Publishing Blog Setup and Management

Remember – time saved on the one-off job of starting a blog is time you can more profitably use in marketing your business – a job that needs doing repeatedly.

Conclusion

So there you have my “how to start a blog” article, which is very much a “Don’t make my mistake” lesson. I recommend one of two choices, depending on your budget available:

Do-It-Yourself: Video training and course > Click here for Social Blog Blueprint

Professional “Done for you” service > KTS Publishing Blog Setup and Management

How did you start your own blog? Do leave your experiences below.

Scottish Independence Referendum and Blogging

UnionJack-mfI’m one of the most non-political animals I know, so when I write about the Scottish Independence Referendum (that happened on September 18th 2014) there has to be a blogging / marketing connection, tenuous as it is!

If you’re one of my UK readers you almost certainly can’t have failed to notice the Scottish Independence campaign that declared its result this morning.

For non-UK readers, in a nutshell (and I DO apologize to serious readers here) Scotland wanted to become an independent country rather than remain part of the United Kingdom.

Yes Or No?

Being British, rather than Scottish, I had no vote in the matter and along with most people I spoke to, I vaguely imagined that there would be a “Yes” vote – that’s to say, a vote in favor of Scottish independence by the Scottish voters, the only ones with a vote.

I presumed this because the only people with whom I had discussed the matter were Scottish people who were very passionately in favor of their Independence, and I assumed their passion and fervor would carry the day. This is no comment at all about the validity of their case as they have some real grievances that should be addressed.

That said, I’ll admit freely that I have always have been in favor of staying a United Kingdom, but my reasons were largely sentimental – nostalgia for happy holidays, beautiful scenery, bagpipe music, haggis, (yes – really), whiskey, salmon etc – and with no logical foundation. (OK – a tinge of greed for their oil!)

Had I been offered a vote on the subject I would certainly have taken the trouble to learn more – but it was just another of those political decisions that would be foisted onto me from “on high” whether I agreed or not.

To present a non-biased blog post, here’s the Independent Scotland website!

Given that I imagined my spending power would be as welcome in Scotland after either a Yes or a No vote, I just watched the debate with interest from the side-lines, wondering how all the myriad practical problems would be handled in the months to come.

For instance, on my next P&O Cruise Sail-away party, would we still be waving Union Jacks – or had P&O been quietly running down their stocks….? You get all the serious questions here!

flags

Wake Up England!

Suddenly, about a week ago, it was almost as if everyone in the UK (who has any clout) woke up and realized the enormity of what could be about to happen.

I started receiving impassioned emails bemoaning the threatened split, Scottish music pod-casts, and invitations to rallies and marches. As if by magic, south of the border we all really LOVED Scotland and were begging “Don’t leave us!”

I “Tweeted” with the rest of them. Finally someone cared what I thought….

Then the “smear and fear” mongering started, with several high profile companies currently based in Scotland leaking the news that they had contingency plans to move out of Scotland in the event of an Independent Scotland.

Not on My Watch!

The Queen was pictured glum-faced in the new-papers, and for once the leaders of our main political parties saw (more or less) eye-to-eye. They could NOT preside over the break-up of the United Kingdom. It would NOT sit well on the CV!

Scottish Independence Referendum Results Statistics

The “just in time” passion and emotion of the marketing campaign fueled an unprecedented 84% turnout – the highest in any election campaign since 1951. Almost 45% voted for Scottish Independence, 55% against.

In the end, the campaign was a close call and the United Kingdom had been snatched from the jaws of its death. It was so close run that when I woke up and heard the results coming in this morning I thought the Independence voters had won and I was sad for what England would have lost.

Then as I “came to” fully I realized we were still United; and I was glad – yet sad for my Scottish friends who believed so fervently in their cause. I hope they will see the fulfillment of the last ditch promises that have been made, and that we truly can be “Better Together”.

Passion and Fear, Marketing and Blogging

Like any good marketing campaign I believe the Scottish Referendum decision was made on emotion – Fear (of loss) and / or “Love” – real or imaginary. When it’s crunch time, logic goes out of the window.

And that – dear reader – is how YOUR marketing campaigns will be won or lost. On emotion. Not logic.

As bloggers we too are “Better Together”, so I’d welcome your comments. (Who wants to blog into a void?)

If you’re outside the UK did you even NOTICE all this fervor and passion South and North of the England / Scotland border?

When making purchasing decisions, are YOU most swayed by emotion or logic?

Fake Bloggers Named

Picture the scene, it’s late Saturday evening here in the UK and it’s not been the best of weeks, so I’m consoling myself with a little glass of red wine and doing my final email check before retiring for the night.

Because I use “Blog Commenting” as one of the methods of getting free visitors to my site, I subscribe to the newsletters of several high profile bloggers and we’re regular visitors to each others’ blogs.

They are good writers and publish some interesting and very informative articles – I’ve learned a lot from them. Reading their articles and commenting is a pleasant way to end the day feeling productive.

Then, all at once – shock, horror, my own face is staring back at me from my in-box in the newsletter from Enstine Muki, together with several other bloggers I subscribe to. But what caused my heart to skip a beat was the label – Fake bloggers.

Enstine’s blog is normally one of my favorite “reads”, and I thought he and I had exchanged some interesting comments. I’ve worked hard on my blog and done my best…

So what on earth could I have done to be named on his blog as a fake blogger?

fake-bloggers

Names of fake bloggers here…

I’m not going to repeat what Enstine said about me and my fellow bloggers. You’ll have to read his blog and form your own opinion. True or false?

Enstine Muki names fake bloggers – click here to read it.

The site opens in a new window, so don’t forget to come back here and let me know what you think in the comment box below.

The Value of Blog Commenting For Free Traffic

In case you’re wondering about the value of the time spent on blog commenting, I was recently checking my Google Analytics and the stats showed that the major source of my referral traffic comes from blog commenting.

I even got one fairly nondescript and unoptimized complementary health post on page one of Google and I’m sure it was just because of the number of comments on a fairly controversial topic.

What did you think of Enstine’s article? Do YOU use blog commenting and have you found it helpful? I’d love to hear from you.

Property Rental Rant

Regular visitors to my blog will know I normally write about Internet Marketing, blogging, and starting an online business. So if that’s what you’re looking for – GOOD. There’s plenty of that on the site-map.

Today is a Little Different

Normally I’m placid and easy-going, but every so often something just “gets to me” and I have a rant. Today’s one of those days – and it’s been building up over a few weeks now.

I’m not really sure I should have published this article – because it’s not related to Internet Marketing. In fact it started out as something else, but my fingers just went their own way.

I’m angry and I’m upset. Because I’ve been…

Taken For A Mug Again

The only link to the Internet that I can really think of is “hacker”, loosely defined as someone who isn’t supposed to be somewhere and wreaks havoc. So forgive me the digression please.

No, I haven’t had a website hacked, but a part of my off-line business has been “hacked” and ruined and it’s going to cost £10,000 to put right. So I am cross and I am upset and I really didn’t need this.

Believe me, it’s not just online that softies like me are mugged off.

Being a Landlord in the UK

The background to my rant is that one of my off-line income streams is property rental. Not in a big way by any means. I have a flat I own jointly with my sister and we rent it out.

We didn’t put our savings into a conventional pension. We decided instead to use them to get a rental property to bring us a monthly income, and on the whole it works well – although it’s not the piece of cake that people imagine.

Tenant’s Rights

Yes, there are some terrible landlords out there, and I guess that’s why the UK laws are so heavily weighted in the favor of protecting tenants at the expense of the landlords.

Believe me it’s gone too far the wrong way now.

Three years ago we completely re-decorated and re-carpeted our flat and let it out.

Big mistake – and it was my fault for taking pity on someone in distress – we took on a tenant whose credit rating didn’t check out. But she told us a sob-story about being a single parent, husband left her, and she needed somewhere to live. At the time she had a job and the figures said she could afford the rent on the salary she was earning.

Let’s call her CP – not her initials, but my sister has a “name” for her that I won’t repeat here.

Rent Arrears Mounting

So far so good and CP paid her rent on time for a couple of years. Then she lost her job and got into arrears. Some rent came in occasionally but over time it was less frequently and less money. At the end of her tenancy we asked her to leave, because this is the pension income we have worked hard to provide for ourselves and OUR standard of living was starting to suffer.

In the UK we have a system whereby people struggling to pay their rent get “Housing Benefit” from the government. CP told us her housing benefit was “delayed” and when it came through she would settle up with us. Whether she got it or not I don’t know, but we weren’t seeing it.

We’re not talking abject poverty here. One the few occasions when she granted us access to the flat there were half-opened bottles of wine, flat-screen TV, “music gadgets” – and emails were sent to us from an iPhone. Her car also seemed to need such regular repairs that she couldn’t pay us.

The Vanishing Housing Benefit

Once upon a time Housing Benefit was sent directly to the landlord to ensure rent was paid and the money was used for the purpose intended. All that changed some time ago, so that the person struggling could “learn to manage their money”. HAH. She managed it OK.20140904_103740

We also started to be concerned about the state of the flat and asked the agent to get her to clean it up. He assured us she had and then she stopped letting him or us in. In English law, I am told the flat is “her home” not “our property”.

The debts grew and there were excuses and sob-stories and lies. Like an idiot I gave her the benefit of the doubt and we didn’t start court proceedings to get her out. About six months ago she told us she had a new job and would start paying again. To be honest, having seen the deterioration of the flat, we felt that if she was content to live there and pay rent it would delay the big renovation costs that we could see coming.

End of Tenancy

Anyway, to cut a long story short she didn’t go, she didn’t clean up the flat, she didn’t pay rent. Finally we flipped and prepared court papers, telling her we would start proceedings if she didn’t go right away. Of course we ended up giving her another month to find a friend who would take her in and someone who would “move” her.

20140904_103711

Her moving out was a farce and she left us with a stack of furniture she no longer has room for that we have to pay to have removed. (Sofa, two cupboards, a bed, broken freezer – just to mention what comes to mind!)

But worse than that the flat is totally trashed.

See that mark on the floor on the left, by the yellow handle? That’s not a shadow. That’s the difference between the carpet that was covered by her furniture and the carpet exposed. That carpet was brand new three years ago, and it was of reasonable domestic quality. It is beyond cleaning and has to be ripped out from every room.

A door is damaged (see above), a new cooker that we put in is totally ruined, burned and will have to be replaced. Our new curtains have been torn. Two wall sockets are smashed as is the central heating thermostat. Two ceiling light fittings broken – I mean what do you do to break TWO ceiling light fittings? The kitchen units are so filthy and battered that we’re ripping them out.

Yes, she lost her deposit, but that won’t go anywhere near clearing up the devastation she has left. And she also owes us a third of a year’s rent.

What Now?

So now we start the mega-clear-out and the estimated costs are of the order of £10,000. Not to mention the fact that the flat will be uninhabitable for at least two months – probably three until a tenant can be shown round and move in. And to add insult to injury the local government insist that we pay council tax while the property is empty.

Yes, we could have taken her to court earlier, but that costs money and takes a couple of months during which time the rent arrears would have mounted. And it’s no use suing her for money she hasn’t got! We just wanted her to go as fast as possible.

My rant is not about the rent arrears. She lost her job. Could happen to anyone – although she seems to have totally abused the UK’s very generous rescue system….. and got away with it.

What is angering and upsetting me in equal measure is that she could totally ruin our property and turn it from a freshly decorated and newly carpeted flat in a pleasant area of NW London, into a filthy hovel.

If I don’t make a lot of progress on my Internet Marketing business for the next few weeks you know what I’ll be doing instead :-(  Getting quotes and supervising the rebuild of our “hacked” flat.

Sorry for the major digression. I had initially intended to write about the “lack of focus” I have been suffering from over the last few weeks, but it’s hard to focus when all this is swilling round in your head.

 

 

Top 100 Blogging Tips For Small Businesses

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If you are a small business blogger, does the statistic in the image scare you? Credit

If it’s shaken your confidence, you need these blogging tips for small business people.

We’ll start with the two basic skills a blogger needs to escape that 81% trap.

  • Have a good level of writing skill
  • Able to compose / find interesting content or they will soon lose their readers

Everyone makes the occasional grammar and spelling mistake – no-one’s perfect. But in the age of spell-checkers etc there’s really no excuse for multiple errors. They reflect badly on the professionalism of the author.

That’s not to say I don’t read and enjoy some “less than word-perfect” blogs – but the personality of these bloggers must really shine out to make me forgive more than a minimum of errors.

Beyond these absolute basics are tips and tricks that professional writers use to “super-charge” their writing.

Blogging Tips for Writers

I found an excellent post from Liz McGee that shows how: “With just a few writing tricks you can create blog posts that are reader friendly, get attention, hold attention and are more focused.”

There are 8 tips in all – here is just one of them. I think you’ll enjoy the rest too.

Everyone likes examples. They illustrate what you’re describing in a way people can relate to. For instance I wrote a post on how to create an article resource box.  In the post I gave lots of examples that readers could use for their own resource box.  Today it’s still one of my most accessed  blog posts. Credits:

Blogging Tips for Business

It’s not just career “bloggers” who are blogging. Traditional businesses are turning to blogging too, as a way of building relationships with their clients and prospects.

A quick digression to explore why blogging has come to prominence – especially in the light of the above statistic about bloggers!

The traditional marketing playbook is broken. Almost everyone – 91 percent, to be precise – has unsubscribed from email lists. Two-out-of-three people (68 percent) who record TV content do so to skip advertisements and, according to DoubleClick, the average click-through rate on display ads is only 0.2 percent. Credits:

That refers to Motorola in 2012 – so neither a small business, nor a recent statistic. What about 18 months on? If a company the size of Motorola isn’t finding a decent return on investment for their adverts, how much worse will it be for small businesses with much smaller marketing budgets?

So, when traditional marketing methods are failing to deliver, the smart business person looks for another way to attract and engage their clients.

Blogging Tips For Small Business

It’s said that a prospect will need exposure to your marketing message at least seven times before they trust you enough to buy from you. But, instead of having seven low conversion adverts that appear briefly and then are gone, how much more pleasant to receive an interesting newsletter (or in our terms, blog post) into your in-box, with a subtle call to action / special offer embedded?

And remember that newsletter will stay online to attract customers for the rest of its life.

One successful “product” blogger is Tanya Burr. Tanya uses her sumptuous blog to attract millions of viewers with their opinions about beauty and cosmetics products.

The beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger and vlogger trained in make-up and worked on beauty counters in department stores, but would record YouTube videos after work, using it as a creative outlet to play with all her products. Credits: Beauty bloggers reveal their secret tips to business success – The Guardian

Another top tip is to stay newsworthy, with posts use relevant and trending keywords.

Here’s what the Business 2 Community blog has to say:

Stay on top of the news. If there is any news brewing in your industry, you want to comment on it. That way, when consumers take to the search engines to look for information about that development, your blog will be among the results.  Credits: 10 Tips for Blogging Success – Business 2 Community (blog)

Blogging Tips From Bloggers

In addition to those using blogging as a secondary aspect of their business – for example Bob the builder posting DIY tips – there are bloggers whose sole aim is to make an income from blogging.

To clarify – Tanya and Bob (above) were running their business first, then added on a blog as a marketing tool. Bloggers such as myself decided to earn an income online and chose blogging as their primary marketing tool.

Among this category of bloggers, my favorite tips are from:

Harleena at Aha!NOW: 5 Basic Steps To Create Your Own Blog

Carol Amato: 5 Tips To Improve Your Blog Visitor’s Experience

Enstine Muki shows: How 15 Top Bloggers Make Money

Tim Bonner has a whole series of: Blogging Tips Shared

And a lady who always over-delivers: Adrienne Smith with 60 Blogging Tips

Did I Miss Your Best Blog Tips Post?

I’m bound to have missed out several great bloggers – so apologies in advance, and just know that when I next read your blog I’ll be kicking myself and thinking – oh no, I missed out xxx.com.  So, do us ALL a favor, and if you have one, leave a comment linking to your own “best blog tips”.

Failing that, please comment and share which of these tips is the most important for a successful blog.

Do YOU Want To Make Money Blogging?

On first sight, this looks a bit of a negative post – but let’s think positive.

With so many failing bloggers, given time, they’re going to quit. Not this week, maybe not this year. But they will quit.

YOU, on the other hand, have persistence and the drive to learn to become a successful blogger.

Follow the tips above and rise above the 81% of bloggers who make less than $100.

Top 100 Blogging Tips For Small Businesses

So, did you count them and find exactly 100 tips?

Duh – you spotted my “fib”. Some of them are double-counts and there weren’t exactly 100. Far more, thanks to Adrienne!

But you know what it’s like….. I had  to have an eye-catching title :-)

From: Joy Healey

Hello, thanks for visiting my blog. 

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