The 8 Most Important Words You’ll Ever Write

Could the livelihood of your business really come down to just 8 words? Yes. I know, if I gave you 8000 words, you could dazzle me with your brilliance and convince me that I should listen to and buy from you, and only you. But, no one is going to give you 8000 words, or 800, or even 80. Why do you only get 8 words to capture your audience of potential clients? You know the answer to that one. Just take a look at your day. You go to your email inbox, and choose which ones to read based on this:   Your RSS reader likely presents the blog posts from the day in a similar fashion. My Feedly inbox looks like this: On Twitter, you’re limited to 140 characters. Facebook claims status updates of 90 characters or less do best. And even Google+ has taken the “description” out of the snippet that shows when you share an article there, leaving you with just the headline of the article. Not only are we too busy to make decisions based on more than 8 words, we’re conditioned to make such decisions by what we’re given. So, what are those 8 words? You guessed it ~ your headline. (Yes, it could be a few more words, or a few less, but “6-10” wouldn’t have made a very compelling headline for this article . . .) Whether it’s the headline of your blog post, or the headline of the email you send to your subscriber list, you better treat it like a college final, or else . . . your audience...

Is Your Blog Hurting Your Online Business? (Part II)

  When you started your blog, you undoubtedly had high expectations. After all, if a blog is a must have for your online business, it must be because it’s going to do amazing things for you. Right? In a perfect world, yes. In reality, sometimes. In the first part of this article, we talked about 3 things your blog does that could actually hurt your online business. And here you were, just trying to help . . . Here we’re going to look at those 3 factors again, and this time talk about how you can use each of them to help your business. (Now would be a good time to take a look at the first part of “Is Your Blog Hurting Your Online Business?,” if you haven’t read it yet.) 1. Are You Updating Your Blog With Great Content? The issue here is two-fold. One, you have to be consistently updating your blog. And two, you have to be providing your audience with great content. Defining “consistent” Perhaps the good news, and the bad news, is that “consistent” might mean something different to your business than it does to mine. I’ve been blogging for five years and I’ve had people tell me I needed to post every day, once a month, and about every number in between. And the thing is, none of them were wrong. They were all successful with the way they were doing it. Here’s what I can tell you about the meaning of “consistent:” You need to have a schedule. Don’t post 3 times this week, then just once next month. Pick the...

Is Your Blog Hurting Your Online Business? (Part I)

  You know your online business needs a blog. Everyone who’s anyone says it. And they’re right. So, you bit the bullet and set it up. But, your blog isn’t doing what you were led to believe it would do for you. About 4 people are reading your posts. New customers aren’t flowing in after discovering your blogging brilliance. You’re struggling to keep up with your blog. And honestly, some days it feels like you’re wasting your time. So, what gives? You know those “experts” are often just plain wrong. And maybe this blogging thing is their way of distracting you while they rake in all the money? Before you let your blog die the familiar death that so many do, let’s make sure you’re doing it right. Yes, that expert advice you received that you must have a blog is solid advice. But, what they might have failed to mention, is that there’s much more to it than the quick and easy 5 minute install on WordPress leads you to believe. Your blog is not something you’ll ever check off your to-do list. It requires your consistent attention. And if you’re not caring for it like it’s your child, then yes, it could actually be hurting your business. Certainly that’s the last thing you need. Let’s get to work on fixing that. First, let’s take a look at the 3 main reasons you’re blogging. Then we’ll consider how your blog could be working against, rather than supporting, those reasons. Why Are You Blogging? Maybe you’ve never given this one a lot of thought past, “because I’m suppose to.” But,...

3 Keys to Attracting an Engaged Social Media Following

We’ve been talking about how to attract quality people to connect with you on social media. And how that strategy beats the time-consuming task of chasing the numbers. I told you that the best way to attract an engaged social media audience is to put out quality content, consistently. And then connect with others who are happy to help promote your content. Now it’s time to look at exactly how to go about doing those things. What is Quality Content, and How to Create Some A big part of social media is sharing other people’s content. And certainly you want to do that, and do it often. But, ultimately, you’re going to need your own great content to establish yourself as an authority in your market. With content marketing being “where it’s at” right now, it’s not good enough to just write anything and put it out there. Your content has to be quality, or no one’s going to come back for more. When I write, my foundation goal is always to produce something that will make people want to add me to their “favorites.” That could mean subscribing to my list; adding me to their Reader; or putting me on their Facebook Interest lists, Twitter list, or “special” Google+ circle. That’s how you define “quality.” How to create quality content could fill at least a book, but here are some of the important starting points to get you thinking: Be relevant and creative: This can be a little tricky. You want to be creative, and write about things others aren’t writing about. But, you also want to be relevant, and cover...

How to Create a Profitable Business When You’re Broke and Dumb

There are two big lies that keep most would-be entrepreneurs from even starting an online business. Today, we’ll eliminate both of them. If you’re in love with your excuses, if they make you comfortable and you like being comfortable, if you like talking about change way more than doing anything about it, you should probably stop reading here. But if you’re willing to own up to the fact that “I don’t have any money,” and “I don’t have any technical ability,” are excuses ~ and NOT valid reasons for failing ~ then let’s get started erasing those excuses. “I don’t have any money” Usually, “I don’t have any money” means either (1) you think it takes way more money than it does to start an online business, or (2) you aren’t putting your business above your daily Starbucks on the priority list. Let’s talk about exactly what it takes to start your business. There are people who will argue that you can do all of this for free. Maybe that’s technically true. Maybe. But, if you want to create a profitable business, rather than a hobby, you’re going to have to spend a little money. I know, you’re broke, but really, it’s just a little. 1. Domain Name First, your online business needs a website. Resist the urge to go with a free blogging platform such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com. Free blogging platforms weren’t meant for doing business. If you’re not convinced of this one, take a minute to read my article on 2 Big Reasons Your Online Business Needs WordPress.org. Because you’re going for what’s called a “self-hosted”...

How to Easily Replace Your Google Reader

Despite the Change.org petition garnering over 100,000 signatures, I don’t see Google changing its decision to end its Google Reader service effective July 1, 2013. So, if you’re worried about how you’re going to track your favorite blogs after Google Reader is gone ~ or about how your loyal readers are going to keep up with your blog ~ I have easy answers for you today. I recommend you take three steps to make the switch from Google Reader to a new RSS Reader. These three steps will (1) save all the feeds you have in Google Reader, (2) allow you to choose the best replacement RSS Reader for you, and (3) get your new Reader up and running with everything from your Google Reader easily in place. Step One: Google Takeout I’m don’t think this step is even necessary, but I did it out of an abundance of caution. On the Google Reader blog, it states that if you want to retain your Reader data, including your subscriptions, you can do so at Google Takeout. Google Takeout allows you to download an archive of all of your data from most any Google service. It’s a simple process. First, go to Google Takeout and select “Choose Services,” and then select the “Reader” button: The screen showing your Reader size will come up. Click the red “Create Archive” button at the bottom of this screen: Finally, the download screen will come up. Once it says “complete,” you can click the blue “download” button and it will download a zip file of your Reader information to your computer. The screen will look...