May 072015
 

website or blogYou’re probably confused about whether you REALLY need a website or a blog when you start a business. Most business owners will tell you to have both. But do you have to? I’m going to present the case for having a blog first.

What is a blog?

A blog (short for weblog) is a discussion or informational site consisting of individual entries or “posts”. Blogging is a form of social network and twitter, facebook and linkedin (although it now has “Linkedin Pulse – but that’s another post) are microblogging platforms. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from static websites.  Bloggers not only produce content to post on their blogs but they also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers.

A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, websites and other media related to its topic.

Why should you start with a blog?

One word — cost.

1. It’s free unlike a website which can cost you from $1500 to $5000 to build it then anywhere from $75 to $200 a year – every year! (Typepad has a cost of $8.95 per month)

2. It’s easy. You only have to write one “post” to get up and running. (Post is the name that a blog gives to what you may know as an article.)

3. It’s kept on external servers like yahoo mail, gmail or hotmail are so you don’t keep it on your computer and it’s backed up by them (wordpress.com or typepad or blogger) not by you.

4. You don’t have to have the whole thing “finished” like you do with a website.

5. It takes a lot less of your time. You only need to write blog posts on it as infrequently as once a week.

6. You can do it yourself (or you can hire someone to set it up for you then teach you how to write the posts.) (see my service to Build A Blog for you.)

What is different with a website?

Simply – it costs more and here’s why.

It costs your time to decide what you want it to look and the number and topic of pages to have.

It costs for a website developer and a copywriter (if you don’t write your own content).

When you decide to have a website, you need a domain name (the name of your business or yourself) and a host (somewhere to keep it). The domain costs about $7 the first year (to get your business) but annually after that about $15.

How are they different?

The only thing that makes the two different is the cost of hosting.

You can use your own domain name with a blog (the one they give you is yourname.wordpress.com as an example) and as with a website you pay to own the domain name.

You may choose to have someone develop your blog (colour, template, text, etc) and that will cost you. The good news is that you can start simple and keep adding to it.

Start with a blog – you can always create a website later. In the meantime grow your business and direct people to your blog!

So  … are you starting your business “on a shoestring”? Then you can do it by using a blog! What did you start with – a blog or a website?

photo credit: This is for Everyone, Mosaic by Sue Edkins, Mostly Mosaics at East Sheen Library, photo by Robert Smith via photopin (license)

Aug 202012
 

meet over coffee or teaWe know that networking is one of the ways to build relationships and thus our business. We also know that networking is more effective when it’s done face to face. As baby boomers we aren’t as comfortable or knowledgeable with social media as those who grew up with it. (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

Recently I heard how one of my business friends Diane Young of Circle of One is using linkedin to find people to get together with. I haven’t heard or seen this anywhere yet.

How do you do it?

1. Go to those in your contact list in linkedin and groups you’ve joined.

2. Choose local people who are in a similar business to yours that you’d like to know better.

3. Call them by phone (I know it’s an “old” method but much friendlier than email.) and invite them to get together over tea or coffee. Give them times you’re available and ask for theirs.

4. make a date to get together.

It’s as easy as that.

When you get together you’ll learn more about them and they about you. Get to know them. You’ll have a business acquaintance for life!

You can also find many things in your conversation to blog about (if you have one). Be sure you blog about the meeting itself. Be sure and link to the other person’s website when you refer to them. Remember that a blog is a marketing tool and every encounter could become a post.

 

Do you have any innovative ways that you use Linkedin? Tell us about them in your comment.

Jul 062012
 

Linda DessauWe met at a networking event (of course!) here at Ashbridge’s Bay in the Beach in Toronto. Then she moved away to Barrie which is a town about 1 hour north of Toronto. We’ve kept in touch and I subscribe to her weekly blog. She’s always been a freelancer and therefore a woman business owner.

Before she moved there she had international clients and while she still has them, she’s become very involved in the local community. She has been featured in the local paper and on local television, goes out to many local networking events and she volunteers with C.O.P.E. Service Dogs, an organization that trains service dogs..

Linda gave the names of several coaches who she has used and who’ve influenced her and though they’re in the interview recording, they’re so helpful I’ll name them here. Donna Douglas is a local woman who offers workshops on how to start a business and write a business plan. Kristen Bereis is a “trust-building in marketing” coach and Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing along with his co-owners offers services on his website to provide you with the resources, mindsets, and strategies you need to navigate through the change and disruption around us.

If you want to learn more about how Linda built her local business in a small town or about why she calls herself a blogger then listen to the recording of my interview with her.

Click below to hear our interview. If you want to save a version to listen to at a later time, click where you see “Download MP3″.

MP3 File

 

Linda can be reached via phone at 705-737-3491 (Eastern) or her email linda [at] contentmasteryguide [dot] com. Her website is contentmasteryguide.com. You may ask her any questions or use her services.

I interview these women business owners to demonstrate to you that  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! How have YOU used Linda’s experience in your business?

Apr 142012
 

spam or junkSpam is another name used for junk mail – it’s unwanted. (It’s different from a virus on your computer but that’s another blog post.) When we received junk brochures by physical mail (before computers) we threw it in the garbage. But now that we have computers and email, it has come back again. Most of us know what spam/ junk email is.

Our email provider (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, the our website hosting company, etc) has a junk mail filter (as it’s called) that they use to remove some of the spam emails before it gets to you AND many of us also have spam filters (macafee, spamassassin, symantec, etc). (Image: Patchareeya99 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

Why Blog Comment Spam Requires ANOTHER Spam Filter

Blog spam is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards. Phrases used can be quotations, stolen comments, “nice article”, something about their imaginary friends, stolen parts from books, unfinished sentences, and nonsense words or the same comment.

I recently received “spammed comments” to my blog posts. Since these comments were positive I not only allowed them (my blog requires that I look at every comment and decide whether to allow or disallow it) BUT I even replied to a few

What a mistake – they were spam! Fortunately I realized after a couple of weeks that they were spam so I installed akismet which is a blog comment spam filter/ stopper.

 

So to summarize – you need an email spam filter and if you have a blog then you need a blog comment spam filter. Thank goodness I got one.

Do you have a blog comment spam filter? Which one do you use? Tell us so we know :-)

 April 14, 2012  Posted by  Blogging, Technology Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Mar 302012
 

Whenever you talk about business, you don’t know who is listening. You could be in line at woman listening the grocery store, at a health club, on the phone with someone trying to sell you a newspaper subscription, having a coffee or tea with a friend, picking up your dry cleaning or ordering a prescription and say something about your business. You never know not only who is listening but what they are interested in or who they know. (photo by Ambro: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Talk as if you are being heard (that doesn’t mean louder) when you’re a small business owner or be very quiet and secretive if that’s what you want or ne.

Find ideas everywhere

I subscribe to the weekly ezine from Joan Stewart , PRextraordinaire. She wrote in May 2006 that if you really listen, you will hear and thus find experiences to write or have special events about. As a writer for a paper for many years, she was always looking for new stories and for a new slant on old ones.

She’s right. I don’t get out often now and therefore get my ideas for my blog posts from “everyday” events. Yes I have a lot of past experiences and knowledge I can draw on as well but I also use things like movies I go to, buying groceries, or watching TV.

Talk about your business

I ALWAYS talk about my business no matter where I am or who I’m with. I could be in line at the bank, at a doctor’s office, in a taxi, or in a coffee shop. Always be marketing no matter wher you are or who you’re with. It’s a mindset – a way of thinking and seeing the world.

You never know who’s listening or where you’ll be when you get an idea. Tell me one of the most unusual places you were and got a prospect.

 March 30, 2012  Posted by  Blogging, Marketing Mindset Tagged with: ,  2 Responses »
Feb 272012
 

follos blogsYou’re confused about whether you should have a blog or not. You thought it was just a personal journal and not for business. It’s come long way and you should think about having one for your business specialty.

What is a blog?

A definition that Darren Rowse of Problogger took from Wikipedia … ‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.”

All large businesses have them now.

Should you have a blog for your business? It depends. As a startup business check several of them out even before you build a website.

QUESTION: OK. If a blog is defined as a website and I want to have a website for my business, what’s the difference between a blog and a website?

 MY ANSWER: That’s the subject of another blog post.

How do you find them ?

There are directories of blogs that you can go to. Go to google and on the far right to the left of the tiny magnifying glass type in blog directories and a list of blog directories will come up. Each are good but choose the one from technorati and then choose a category.

How do you choose which blogs to follow?

Remember when I wrote about reading books I talked about how to choose them? Well do the same thing for blogs.

  • Study blogs about your topic. It’s professional development or Research and Development and it should be ongoing.
  • Go beyond your topic. Stay at the leading edge. That’s how I learned about “neuromarketing”.
  • Find blogs about how to start a business and how to market. Remember that you can’t know too much.

What to do when you find them

Take a “helicopter” approach. “Shadow” some.

  • Read them.
  • Study the content.
  • Learn from the “look and feel” of them. Does it attract you or not? What do you or don’t you like?
  • Sign up for and follow a few.
  • Watch their titles and what they write about.

 

Don’t start a blog yet. Just observe to learn about them. Choose a niche, write a business plan and a marketing plan. Then when you have done your own website be a guest blogger (I’ll write more about this in a blog post) and then have your own blog.

Comment here whether you’ve found blogs you like or whether this post is helpful to you. Let me know :-)

 February 27, 2012  Posted by  Blogging, Business Basics Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »