Monthly Archives: February 2010

My Secret to Blogging

My blog is really important to me.  Not only as a marketing tool, and a great way to get yourself out there and linked to, but I really enjoy sharing thoughts about Internet Marketing and for the most part I have gotten great feedback.  This year I am working on the #100blogs challenge to write 100 Blogs in 100 (week)days.  So Monday through Friday I try to write a blog, be it personal or professional, it all usually ties back to the web SOMEHOW.

It is a struggle finding topics to Blog about, and everyone will find their own method, but I started writing notes to myself of possible topics on the inside of my accountability journal.  So on one side, is my daily to-do list, and on the opposite side, the left side in my case, is usually a list of two or three options to blog about.  This way I can go back and say, “Ok, I need a topic” and there are options from the saved thoughts of previous days.

That’s great, but what happens when you get busy?  This past week I haven’t been home much, and I tend to blog as an afterthought towards the end of the day.  So how do you stay on top of a daily blogging routine?  Write in advance!

So because I missed a couple of days this past week, I had to look at it and ask myself what the solution was.  What would I tell a client to do?  Writing blogs, in many cases four before you post one, ensures that even if you miss a day, you only have to catch up with yourself and your readers will never notice the gap in content.

So today, when you sit down to write your blog, why not write two?  Keep one in the can for a rainy day, and tomorrow write two as well and post today’s extra blog.  Make an editorial process of it, because the last thing any of us want to do is disappoint our readership.

What are you going to blog about?

Do or Don’t? Clients on Facebook

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It has been a very active week!  Last night we recorded TechInTwenty with fellow SEO pro Ryan Kelly from Pear Analytics.  Launched the first mySA Voices Blog and have been very busy getting ready to launch several small business sites here in San Antonio.  About a week ago I promised @AnaFlores that I’d blog about drawing that line between clients and friends on Social Networks.

I’ll sum up this entire article, don’t draw any lines!

You should never publish anything on any social network of any kind that you wouldn’t want a potential employer or client to see.  That isn’t to say you should not be yourself, but if you’re the best there is at keg stands in your circle of friends it may be best not to let that get photographed.

Social Networks are a part of your personal marketing, and @lettergirl covered this very recently in her video.  You have to BE CAREFUL what you put out there, and that means posting honestly but also tactfully.  It can be nice not to feel alone when we post our personal struggles online but some of those are better just shared with friends in person and not left online forever.  Immediate affirmation vs. long term value.

I have clients on my Facebook and I have friends on my Facebook and because of that I follow the same guidelines I follow on this blog.  If I sit down with a client, do I want them to know this about me?  Do I want this to come back to haunt me?  Could this be taken the wrong way?

At the end of the day, our personal brands are becoming more and more important.  How do you want to be represented?

My Fear of Stairs

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In 2007 I joined the Air Force.  It was actually my first visit to San Antonio, but there I was, an enlisted Airmen arriving in hot dry Texas.  A few weeks into my training my ankle swelled up to roughly the size of a football resulting in my spending the next several days admitted to Wilford Hall on IV meds.

To this day I’m not 100% sure what went wrong but roughly six months later I was released from the Air Force from complications related to that initial hospital visit.  My knees have never worked quite right since then.  The final diagnosis, be this correct or otherwise, was Patella Femoral Syndrome but I have to wonder, why does it still hurt?

My knee hasn’t given out the way it used to, but taking the stairs and going on long walks has become an activity to associate with pain.  Lately I’ve been in a wonderful whirlwind romance, and of course, she lives at the top of a case of stairs, in a three story apartment home.  Just my luck right?

I can take the stairs, sure, but it is a slow process, often painful whether I like it or not.  The first few days it was a chore, and I kept trudging up the stairs but I’ll tell you as time went on this “knee pain” label I’d given myself seemed like something I could actually overcome.  I’d actually jog up the stairs, taking them like I did as a kid.

When what you want is at the top of those stairs, do you hesitate?  My instinct was to nurse my legs, to take it slow, and that is wise to a point, but as my super secret romance tells me; “Sometimes you have to do things because it’s good for you, even when you don’t want to.”

The same applies in so many other areas, the hard thing might be the right thing, the label you thought you had might need to be overcome, and what is at the top of those stairs might just be worth the trouble.  What are you putting off doing because of a label?

What is waiting for you at the top of the stairs?

SEO Tips for WordPress Bloggers

WordPress is one of those software suites that has penetrated small business by storm.  I’m a big fan of WordPress and this blog is written using the WordPress software.  There is a very easy way to target some keywords in your blog, and because Search Engine Optimization is a great way to bring new eyes to your business let’s talk about how we can optimize WordPress.

The key to any Search Engine Optimization plan is keyword research.  The Google Keyword Tool is where you start for this every single time.  What is it you hope to talk about, and how are people searching for it?  Knowing I’d write a blog about SEO for WordPress I put in “SEO WordPress” into the Google Keyword tool.  The results were not surprising.

“SEO WordPress” itself gets 22,000 local monthly searches on Google alone, and another 22,000 for “SEO Blog”.  I looked down the list, there is insufficient data for “how to seo wordpress” so we ignored that one, and the other keywords like “seo optimization” or “blog theme” were just too generic.  So “SEO WordPress” and “SEO Blog” seemed like great keywords to target with over 20,000 local monthly searches each.

So my headline is not going to be the same as the URL for my blog.  WordPress is fantastic in that it makes the Headline or Title of your blog into the URL, for the most part if you include some keywords in your title this is fine, but you may want to go a step further and put keywords on their own as the URL.

It is best to use four or five words for the URL.  The rule of thumb is, you want to include keywords, but not so many keywords and not so obviously that the URL becomes unappealing for someone to want to click.  The URL is often the preview of a blog article, so if your Title is “Puppies are Neat” and your url is “dog-breeding-puppies-puppy-bark-chihuhua” that is going to be an intimidating scary link that no one will want to click on.  Well, unless you love Chihuahua’s.

Moral of the story, target some keywords with EVERY piece of content you create.  Target the SAME keywords if that is what will bring you the business, but it is rare that only one keyphrase will bring in business so spend some time creating content to reach those other keywords you otherwise might not hit from your homepage.

Content is king in any SEO campaign, but that doesn’t mean we can’t target that content for best results!

Was this helpful? SEO can be frustrating, so if you have any questions please just post them in the comments below.  Check out the Image Freedom homepage for the full SEO kick.

Refine your Web Plan

Lately I’ve been organizing my life with the help of @MichellePoteet of Reclaim Order.  Michelle helps people connect with the organizational techniques that work for them.  I’ve purchased countless books, read blogs and just wasted a whole lot of time on other people’s plans for their own organization, instead of coming up with my own.  Michelle helped me do that.

The funny thing here is, the same does not apply to your web site.  We let perfect be the enemy of good in our personal lives, and we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, but we cannot do this and still successfully navigate the online sector.  Does this mean your web site needs to have the biggest flash navigation and boldest color scheme?  Nope.  You just need to answer YES to our Web Design Fundamentals.

Can anyone find my web site?  Will they take some action when they get there?  Will they come back after they take that action?

This is an all or nothing endeavor.  Will you refine your plan over the years?  Of course!  What is important is establishing the plan to begin with.  How am I going to draw traffic to my web site?  Can I get by on SEO and Social Media or do I need to invest in Pay Per Click advertising?  Does my web site have a clear call to action?  Once my visitors have met the call to action, does my site give them a reason to return?

The important thing is to build the plan WITH your web professional, don’t let your web professional dictate these things to you.  I preach about how I know best, but it is still YOUR business, and I can never love your business like you do.

Refine your plan.  Ask those questions, make sure you’re always meeting the YES answer to each question.  Anything less than YES is unacceptable.