Archive for November, 2007

Are You an Internet Wall Flower?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

No matter how much we wish it were true, you can’t just hang out a shingle and wait for clients to show up. Yes, it’s anxiety provoking but in order to find clients you have to network face-to-face. Even if there isn’t an entrance fee, networking isn’t free. At the very least it costs you time; the time in attending the event and the time in preparation. So when attending a face-to-face networking event you wouldn’t put on your best suit, get a haircut, make sure you’ve got your business cards, practice your elevator speech – and then go stand in the corner. So why do you do it on the internet?

You don’t think you do that, eh? I bet you put dozens of hours and hundreds if not thousands of dollars into your website. Then when that didn’t get your phone ringing, you spent more time and money on search engine optimization, a newsletter and maybe a blog. Phone ringing yet? If it is, it’s probably not enough to cover the expense of all that work.

Maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t find clients via the internet. That’s not true. The reason why you “can’t” find clients via the internet is that you’re lurking in the background.

You Are a Wall Flower.

Don’t think you’re a wall flower? Let’s start by looking at your blog. (This example could apply to your website and your newsletter too.) Here’s the litmus test: of the two questions below, which did you spend more time thinking about?
What will I write about?
How will I get people to read this?

If you spent more time on the first question, you are a wall flower. It’s easy to do. You spend more time thinking about infrastructure than connecting. You ask yourself: What blogging system or newsletter system will I use? When will I post to my blog or send my newsletter? What will I say? How does it look?

Not that these questions aren’t important, but in these questions you have focused on what you can directly control instead of what seems nebulous i.e. getting people to read your blog, sign up for your newsletter or visit your website. That’s only half the equation.

“If You Build It They Will Come” Only Applies to the Movies

Yes. You have to build a website, blog and newsletter. But, that’s not enough. You have to think about “Who do I want to read this?” and “How do I get them here?” The answers to those questions are longer than I fit in this post. But you can start to answer those questions by asking yourself “Where does my target market hang out on the internet?” Then go there. Really. It’s that easy. Stop being a wall flower and go say “Hi.” If you can do it in person, you can do it on the internet.

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Don’t Want Those Holiday Catalogs?

Friday, November 9th, 2007

I live in a house built in 1935. It was built for mail sent in 1935. My mailbox is a hole in the wall next to my front door that takes a sharp downward turn. It’s great for expending expensive heat and terrible for accepting mail. My magazines get mangled and my important mail winds up hanging in the breeze waiting for anyone who wants it.

Now that the Holiday Season is approaching, I know the mail hole is going to get really bad. I do most of my shopping online. Unfortunately retailers assume that because I buy things online I buy from catalogs. I don’t. But these “savvy” retailers send me catalogs which clog up my 1935 mail box.

So, Guy Kawasaki, I’m sorry you had two hours to kill in the Monterrey Airport, but you’ve probably saved my sanity this holiday season with your mention of I signed up for it. It was easy. And now I won’t have to put these catalogs in the recycling pile.

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Is There a Social Media Expert in the House?

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

I’m working on an article about blog promotion and needed a definition of “social media” so of course I looked it up on Wikipedia where I found the following message:

So, if you’re an expert on social media, you might want to sign up to be a Wikipedia editor. (Personally, I wouldn’t want to paint such a big target on my back but maybe you’re braver than me!)

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Is Self Publishing Right for You?

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

It seems like every service professional has either written a book or is planning to write a book. They’ve heard time and again that writing a book will build credibility and attract new clients. And increasingly, they are turning to self-publishing or print-on-demand as a way to publish their book.

It seems to me that professionals turn to alternative types of publishing because it’s less intimating than the traditional publishing process. When you self publish you don’t have to write a book proposal, you don’t have to pitch your book and you don’t have to deal with rejection. However, there are real drawbacks to self publishing you need to consider before you inadvertently waste all the hard work that goes into writing a book.

Mike Schultz of “The Service Insider Blog” has an excellent article “The Self Publishing Fascination” that includes points to consider about self publishing. He also writes about at what sales point you can expect various business benefits. I strongly recommend reading this article if you are considering writing a book.

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It Was too Good to Be True. Blog Comment Links Don’t Count After All.

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

When RainToday published my article “How to Blog Without Having a Blog” earlier this month, they requested a few edits and called it “Using Blogs to Attract Attention”. Prior to publication, the editor asked me to address the question of whether or not links in blog comments help your website’s rankings.

I posted the question to a trusted SEO forum and while I didn’t get a definitive answer, no one said “No. They don’t count.” So in the article I made the claim “You can improve your website’s rankings with links from blogs.” My reasoning was that when you either put a link in your comment or put your domain name in your signature, the links will be counted by the search engines. It seems reasonable, right? A link to your website counts as a link to the search engines. That’s where I was wrong.

I should have realized that the search engine spammers had already thought of this, abused the hell out of it and Google had to put a stop to it. To prevent “comment spam” Google uses the “no follow” tag. The “no follow” tag tells the search engine spider not to follow a link which prevents the search engine from counting the link toward a website’s rank. So while humans can click on the links, they don’t help your website’s rankings after all.

It’s not all bad news though. Links in the blog post still count; just not the links in the comments. Also, humans can still click on the links and wind up on your website which is the ultimate purpose of SEO after all. In the quest for better rankings, we tend to lose sight of the fact that SEO is not an end in itself. The purpose of SEO is to get visitors to your website. It doesn’t matter if they got from doing a search on Google or if they got there from a blog as long as they get there.

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