November 22, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Secrets to Success – What Are Yours?

Posted by: of BSETC on 05/12/08

Everyone has secrets to their success. It’s what makes them tick and it’s what makes them get things done. I’d love to share with you the secrets to success that I have found and would love to hear about yours.

I think that regardless of what we do in business, be it blogging, administration, bookkeeping, etc., we still need to have that secret in order to push forward.

1. The Speed of Implementation.

I can’t take full credit for this. I mean, I’ve always done it but I didn’t come up with that line. I don’t really know who originally said it but I saw it on an Eben Pagan video and it resonated so well with me. To be successful, you must take your ideas and implement them – FAST. Don’t hold back and don’t dilly-dally with details and with trying to be perfect. Get it up there and out there and tweak as you go.

2. Using Your Strengths & Delegating the Rest.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Let’s face it – we all know you’re brilliant but to be successful, you need to learn that you aren’t the best person to do everything in your business. Read the E-Myth Revisited for a great take on what it means to wear many hats as an entrepreneur. It’ll make you realize that you should focus on what you’re good at and then delegate out the rest. Find the right people and they’ll pay for themselves.

3. Surround Yourself with a Good Support System.

This is essential. I’ve always been blessed with a great support system. My family has always supported my dreams and has never held me back (even if some of them – like wanting to be a millionaire before I turn 30 – seems far-fetched) and my husband is numero uno in terms of providing me with space and time to grow and build my business. Learn to surround yourself with positive people and rid yourself of the toxic people.

4. Only Do What You Love to Do.

I try to implement this daily. I don’t do anything I don’t love to do. Why? If I do things I don’t like to do, I run the risk (the high risk) of doing a poor job at or taking light years to turn it around to my client. We’re not meant to do everything. We’re just not. It’s the same with clients – we’re not meant to work with everyone. We’re meant to do the work where our passion lies and where our heart is because THAT makes us successful.

5. Only Work With People Who Energize & Inspire You.

This is really important. While it sounds similar to the support system, this refers more directly to your clients and/or customers. I’ve had an interesting entrepreneurial life thus far and I’ve met both really amazing clients and other clients whose styles did not mesh well with mine. I’ve come to learn that I’ve got certain characteristics that not everyone can get used to – for example, I only do scheduled calls due to my busy work schedule – and if the people I work with can’t come to terms with that, we won’t work over the long-term. So, find people that you are inspired and energized by and who embrace your talents and understand the way you work.

6. Limit Your Overhead.

Don’t do things in a complicated way. I swear to you, for everything you want to do in your business, you can usually do it on the cheap AND get a really professional result. I’ve hardly spent any money on marketing or advertising for my business. Aside from my website, I have very little marketing overhead. My websites are done inexpensively too because I do them myself. I understand that not everyone has that talent but do your research, stay in the green and you’ll become more successful. Think of how much less stress you’ll have when money is not an issue!

7. Be Aware of Your Human-ness.

I love this one. I often find that in the land of the entrepreneur, too many people forget that they are human (or that those they are talking to are also human). What I mean is that often times, things are done or said that would never be done or said if both parties were standing in the same room. Treat your fellow entrepreneurs with respect and you’ll go a lot farther. This too is something I’ve learned as I’ve grown as a business owner and moved out of that ‘corporate’ mindset.

8. Be Generous.

Don’t be afraid to give away information or help out your fellow business person for nothing in return. I don’t mean start giving away your services for free but sometimes, provide advice or give away an ebook and do it for free. Don’t ask for a favor in return and don’t ask for payment. Just do it. It feels great and people will remember you. Michael Port, a past client of mine, used to quote often “Long after you’re gone, people won’t remember what you said but how you made them feel.�

What are your keys to success?

Business Blog Interview

The other day Mike Sigers of Simplenomics interviewed me for his Hot Seat radio show about the benefits of a blog for businesses. The segment ran about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Hmmm…that didn’t work. I’ll have to ask Stephan about that. Well, you can download the show here.

Business Blogs Can Bring You Killer PR

When talking to people about the benefits of business blogs I often mention “establishing your credibility.” This goes hand-in-hand with “getting killer PR.”

Let’s face it, journalists are having to do more with less, so they’re more and more likely to turn to Google and other search engines to track down “experts” in a given field.

As you continue to build your blog over time, creating great content in a specific niche, Google’s more likely to return your blog as a result when a journalist starts researching a column or article. I’ve never hired a PR firm, and I work out of the top right corner of the US us locals call “Maine”, but I’ve gotten quotes in Inc., BusinessWeek Small Biz, and other periodicals and the local evening news because of our Web marketing blog.

In the Independent Street blog over at WSJ.com, Kelly Spors writes on How to Get Killer PR and gives five important tips. Just add “Write a Business Blog” as number six and you’re well on your way.

Do You Need a Blogging Regimen?

As a certified Business Blog Consultant–I’m still awaiting the paperwork, but I’ve been assured it’s on it’s way–I work with a number of businesses on their blog and other Web marketing strategies. Being a blog consultant is tricky; much of our work is up front.

We often design a blog, set it up on either WordPress or TypePad, strategize with the client, identify influential bloggers in their industries, and show them how to work the software.

Often, that’s where our work ends. Some of our clients blog regularly and see the expected, positive results and return on their investment. Others, unfortunately, put up one or two posts and begin the shame spiral of neglect.

Although I’ll sometimes nag a client who’s blog is whithering on the vine, there’s not much I can do–short of ghost blogging–to get their blog back in shape.

Which is why I wrote Jumpstart Your Blog: A Business Blogging Workout Regimen. The article reviews some blogging basics along with the amount of time new bloggers should spent on each activity.

I’m not sure if this is a salvo against abandoned blogs, a wake-up call to companies that have neglected their blog, or a reality check to people who are thinking about a blog but don’t realize the time and passion that needs to be committed to a successful business blog…I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

If you do have a new or lapsed blog, perhaps all you need is a workout strategy. What do you do when it’s been a while since your last blog post?

Is Blogging Recession Proof?

There are two groups of people who apparently make hay during  a recession: journalists and Web marketers.

I’m not sure if this recession is different than previous ones, or if I’m just more aware this time around, but it seems to me that every business magazine and marketer is talking up the recession.

Business magazines run cover stories like “You Can Beat the Bad Economy.” (BusinessWeek Small Biz). Marketers talk about how to sell, market or profit from a recession in ezines, blogs, teleclasses and seminars. (I should know, I’m talking to a fellow marketer about doing a teleseminar on this very subject.)

There is one truism to a recession: market more. Yes, while everyone runs for cover, this is the time for you to ramp up your sales and marketing efforts.  One of the most cost-effective ways businesses can do this is through a blog. And, as every one else scales back on marketing, it makes your life so much easier.

Even with falling advertising costs, your blog still costs less; basically a few dollars a month in hosting fees. And, with a falling economy, there’s plenty of topics to discuss. A quick search of Technorati includes such posts as:

Hmm…maybe that last one hints that even bloggers aren’t immune to the recession…especially those who are reliant on Google Adsense to make a profit.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Blogging from a Legal Standpoint

Too many articles about the legal ramifications of corporate blogs focus entirely on the negative side of blogs. This makes sense; corporate lawyers are hired with the intent of keeping the company safe and limiting risk. Marketing, extending your brand, and keeping employees and customers happy are someone else’s responsibilities.

However, As Blogging Grows, So Do Its Do’s and Don’ts, over at Law.com’s Legal Technology is a much more even-handed approach. (In fact, its do’s outnumber its don’ts about 2-to-1.)

There’s advice for public companies (do be mindful of security laws…risks associated with…making material misstatements that could manipulate the stock price and expose the company to liability for securities fraud under Rule 10b-5), companies with trade secrets, and just about anyone else.

The article can be summarized by the final quote:

The key to sticking with the “Do’s” is remembering that corporate blogging is like any other business communication that represents the company: Honesty and common sense go a long way to keeping the company (and its blog) on the right side of the law.

Jumpstart Traffic to Your Blog with these Web 2.0 Steps

I stumbled upon this post about 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Website [or blog] over at College Startup.

It leans heavily on Web 2.0 sites like Reddit and Digg and some upstart called Netscape. However, if you’re looking to reach a new audience this post has the links you’ll need to try out.

I took the author’s advice and posted Top-Level Domain Survey (or what to do when your .com is taken) to his number one recommendation and got about 30 hits in 30 minutes from the source. Not bad for 2 minutes of work. (Not including the hour or so I put into creating the survey and blogging about it.)

YMMV depending on your audience, post and title.

Blogging Article for Innkeepers

To promote the fact I’ll be speaking at the next Maine Innkeeper’s Conference, the group asked me to write an article on blogging for their newsletter. (PDF, 1.3MB)

There’s also an article in there on podcasting as well.

How Chopsticks Can Drive Traffic to Your Blog

Google “chopstick instructions” and the flyte blog comes up third. Until a few days ago, we were number one, and still are if you include the quote marks.

What does this mean for you? It shows how you can drive traffic to your blog (or Web site). And, if you were a Chinese restaurant or sold Asian cooking implements, the power of driving qualified traffic to your blog.

It was a few Friday afternoons ago and I was a little fried. I read the miserable translation of the chopstick instructions on the chopstick wrapper (“Chinese glonous history?”) and found it funny. So I scanned in the wrapper and blogged about it.

I purposefully wrote a post title–which would become my page title–that should capture the interest of anyone wanting to learn how to use chopsticks, “Chopstick Instructions: How to Use Chopsticks.

Within about two days I was number one for “chopstick instructions” and I find that I get a few people every day who come to my blog looking for chopstick instructions.

Now of course, I can’t take advantage of this audience. If any of them are interested in Web design and Internet marketing it would be a random occurance; certainly not worth the time of scanning in the wrapper and blogging about it.

However, it shows that there are people out there looking for help in certain areas of their life or business. What instruction manual or how-to can you post to your own blog to drive qualified traffic?
You need to get inside the head of your best customer or prospect, determine what she wants, and help her achieve it.

And, unlike your Web site that may have a certain structure, you can easily throw in how-to articles on your blog on anything you like, just to test the reaction. You can also write articles that might take advantage of current events, such as “How to Vote Twice on Election Day” or “How to Eat Your Kids’ Halloween Candy Without Them Discovering It.”

What are your best prospects looking to achieve? Now you have your writing assignment.

A Blog Conversation

Posted by: of One By One Media on 09/12/06

An interesting development transpired here at BBC, a blog conversation broke out.  BBC contributor Stephan Spencer’s post PR Firms Comment Spamming? began a small conversation with the VP of Connors Communications.  Stephan had assumed a comment left on his blog about the long tail was a PR firm touting the latest client’s software program.  Although Stephan was mistaken in his assumption, through the use of blog mining or RSS (now I’m assuming), Mike Levin the person that left the comment, was able to correct his mistake.  In fact Mike was touting the application he had developed for Connors Communications. 

An open conversation was the result, and although Stephan and Mike may disagree on the use of comments on a blog, it is clear that their exchange was civil, and exactly what companies can use a blog to develop, an open commuincation with their customer or clients. 

Sorry Mike, now it’s my turn to provide some feedback.  After going to the Connors website, I wanted to rush to read your blog since you had indicated you were a passionate blogger in your comment.  I looked far and wide and could not seem to locate that blog.  On a whim I decided to check out the hard to find navigational site map link and searched a long time again before I found the link to your company blog.  You are correct by stating in the comments here:

I read many blogs, and sometimes I am compelled to leave comments, just as comments on our blog are welcome. I think if you read a few of my blog posts, you will find me to be sincere and on the level.

I read a few of your blog posts and you are definitely on the level and sincere.  The problem or at least what made it difficult was the navigation to your blog.  If you don’t make it easy to access those blog posts people may never get to find your wisdom.  A simple “Read Our Weblog” button or link in the top left with the rest of the navigation would prove to be beneficial to you and Connors Communications.

Great job gentleman and lets keep up the blogging conversation.

Realtors Turn To Blogging For Sales

Posted by: of One By One Media on 08/31/06

Kate Kaye of ClickZ reports that spending for marketing budgets for real estate is waining in the regular newsprint of old. Realtors are spending more and more of their ad budgets online. Citing a study performed by Classified Intelligence she indicates:

So, if 58 percent of real estate agents surveyed are raising ad budgets this year, where is the money going? Where they are spending the bulk of the money online, in fact, is on their Web sites. Twenty-six percent spent 10 percent and 29 percent spent 20 percent of their budgets there. Just 6 percent did not spend at all on their Web sites.

Impressive numbers but where are they actually spending the money? Andy Beal believes he knows where the revenue is going and that is to blogs. In fact as Mr. Beal states:

While Realtors are reducing their offline spend, the report shows there is no clear winner for online ad spend.

But I know the answer. Want to know where real estate agents are investing their online efforts? Blogging! Yep, I lose track of the number of new blogs that I see each day that relate to the real estate industry. But don’t just take my word for it, take a look at these charts…

chart.png

Andy makes a good point about the discussion of real estate, but what is interesting to find are blogs about real estate that are being tracked by Technorati have reached nearly 1000. The reason I find this interesting is because less than a few weeks ago I did the exact same search for a presentation to a real estate agent and it turned up only half that number. Real estate blogs are popping up all over the blogosphere and Google shows that over 91,000,000 search results come from searching blogs for real estate. After doing some other snooping around it looks like some in the real estate businesses are spending huge amounts on pay per click campaigns and for paid search. Of these companies I was unable to find any of them working natural search through blogs. Being the investigator type, I was curious if I could find a blogger on Google that was in the denver area. Real estate always seems to be on the rise here in Denver so a realtor can be found on every street corner. I searched Denver Realtor. At the time of this writing, I was able to find that the number 2 search result turned up Kristal Kraft. It just so happens that Kristal is a realtor in Denver that has a blog. Today she has a beautiful picture of balloons being launched in the blue Colorado sky. I’ve not personally talked with Kristal but rest assured, if I was looking for a realtor in Denver, she may get my call only because I was able to find her easily.
Realtors in the real estate business are clamoring for a piece of the online pie, but those realtors that hop on the blog bandwagon will find themselves out ahead of those still trying to attract the home buyers and sellers via that thing rolled up on the driveway. A very small investment has given one blogger a leg up on the competition.

Content: The Gold Standard For Your Business Website

Posted by: of One By One Media on 08/22/06

Good quality content is like the gold standard to companies wanting to be found through organic search. Many SEO experts will all agree, after you have a website optimized for search there is nothing better than good quality, relevant content to make you successful. This is what drives the robots and spiders used by search engines to find information about you and your company and eventually to your site. If you don’t have constantly updated and quality content on your site, the spiders and robots will stop visiting and stop telling the world about your business.

Why do I continue to mention quality content? This question is often asked by my clients that want to merely throw up some stuff on their website about their company without really having a voice or direction to the content. The first thing a business should recognize is that their website is often the first chance they will have at an audience for a potential customer. The content on their site should be relevant to the customer’s needs. A customer wanting to look for a replacement battery for their latest gadget doesn’t want to come to your site to learn about the history of your company and why you started business, they want that battery and they want it now. If your company is on the cutting edge of that technology you should be talking about that gadget and why your company is providing the best replacement batteries for the best cost and can have it to them when they want it. This is what the search engines can root out and find for their searching customer.

My good friend and colleague Dave Taylor has coined the term (and I wish I had done it first) “Findability.” This may seem to basic and it is beyond simple, but many companies don’t understand the concept. Taylor describes findability in his latest speech during the Affiliate Summit in Florida thus:

 

“…findability is the concept of how easily can people find you when they’re looking for your service or product.”

The yellow pages in my home is taking up wasted space. I simply do not use them to find a business or product. I use a search engine like Google, MNS or Yahoo to get me what I want when I want it. Recently, my wife and I needed a plumber to take a look at our water heater. Where did I go to find this plumber? I went to Google and stuck in the search phrase “water heater, maintenance and plumber and Longmont, Colorado”. Within minutes of that search, I had a plumber on the way to my home and he was gone in 4 hours (I’m definitely in the wrong career option). Now imagine if you were the hot water heater guru in Colorado and every day posted a little something about water heaters, maintenance and plumbing, you could guarantee you would probably be very high on the list in the natural search results. You didn’t have to out bid that other company that came up in the paid search results. Your company was front and center on the screen because you provided that search engine quality content that was updated constantly and robots and search spiders where there waiting in line to gobble up what you have to say about your industry. Taylor in another portion of his talk in the affiliate marketing conference made me chuckle with:

“I don’t care whether you’re a marketing and affiliate program, or you’re marketing products as an affiliate, either way, if I’m searching for your product or service, and I can’t find you, you really have a problem. And for most small businesses, I think it’s absolutely the case that they’re already dead, and they just haven’t noticed yet.”

Thanks Dave and those of you that are interested in the rest of what Dave has to say about “Findability” you can see his whole presentation at the Affiliate Summit 2006 East and at his own site at The Intuitive Life Business Blog. 

Content is the gold standard of blogging.  Keep it fresh, keep it relevant, and keep it contstant.  You won’t be one of those small businesses out their walking around with the walking dead.

Business Blog Consulting Contributors in MarketingSherpa Top Blog Awards

Posted by: of Thinking Home Business on 06/28/06

Good news on the blog awards front.

Blogs produced by John Jantsch and Andy Wibbels, contributors to Business Blog Consulting, have made it into MarketingSherpa’s Top 10 Blogs and Best Podcast for 2006.

MarketingSherpa, Inc. is a research firm publishing case studies, benchmark data, and how-to information for marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals. The Blog and Podcast Awards listing is based on a readers’ choice poll, following an email broadcast by MarketingSherpa to 237,000 readers, described as primarily marketing professionals in corporate America.

Voters were asked to rate blogs on the basis of personality, usefulness, design & readability, and the question ‘would you revisit?’ For each of these the quality choices were: excellent, not bad, blah.

The Best Blog on Small Business Marketing award went to John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing weblog, started in August 2003. This is the third year in a row that this award has gone to John’s blog. I’m not surprised.

I’ve always been amazed at the amount and frequency of quality information and observation by John on Duct Tape Marketing.

And I see that now, as posted here last week, John has upped the ante, transforming his one man blog into a blog channel, with twenty two contributors on various aspects of small business marketing. Now that’s leverage! And judging by a bit of a tour I’ve just done of sites within the channel, this is already a great resource for small business, with articles on all sorts of topics, from managing people, to PR, to how small businesses can sell to big businesses – you name it, I’m fairly sure it’s there.

Andy Wibbels, the ‘Original Blogging Evangelist’ and from my personal experience a great blogging coach and mentor, took out the award Best Blog on Marketing to a Specific Consumer Demographic for his Andy Wibbels site. The citation says: Andy’s blog tells marketers and blog-writers how to attract the blog-reading public. Andy is also author of best-selling ‘Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging’ and was an award winner in last year’s MarketingSherpa awards as well.

Congratulations John and Andy!

Debbie Weil has also posted about the MarketingSherpa awards on her BlogWrite for CEOs -  highlighting a few of her favorites among the winners and listing a few more blogs she recommends.

 

 

Small Business Blog of the Day Site

A lot of small business owners are interested in blogging, but they afraid of starting a blog for fear of not knowing what to write about.

Often, when we’re consulting with a client on their blog we create a “recommended reading list.” It’s usually a combination of blogs from the client’s industry, similar industries, and a “usual suspects” list of blogs on blogging, like Business Blog Consulting (or my own blog, dammit!)

Well, I think I’ll be adding Pajama Market to my usual suspects. It’s a combination of “Small Business Blogs of the Day” and interviews with those small business bloggers. And yes, the “Web site of the Day” concept is sooo 1997, but for small business owners interested in blogging, this is a valuable resource.

Recent featured blogs include Green Cine Daily, featuring movie reviews from a DVD rental company, Wool Winders, a knitting blog from a knitting store, and The Tap Room, a blog from a London pub. How’s that for variety?

If I have one complaint (and apparently I do) it’s the dearth of categories. Currently there are only four: Blogging Info, Personal, Small Business Blog Interview and Small Business Blog of the Day. It would be great if there were some categories that covered the type of businesses, such as “Retail”, “Service Industry”, and so on. As small businesses fall of the home page they tend to disappear.

Still, if you’re a small business owner and you think there’s nothing for you to blog about, be sure to check out Pajama Market first.

If you are already blogging your small business, well maybe you should submit your blog for consideration!

Net Neutrality and Your Business Blog

A couple days back I posted “Net Neutrality and Small Business on the Web” at flyte’s blog, alerting small business owners and entrepreneurs about some legislation that might affect their online business.

I stood up for net neutrality, the idea that all information should be treated equally on the net, and that ISP’s like Verizon and AT&T shouldn’t be able to give preferential treatment to their partners and other large corporations willing to pay a premium for such a benefit. In my mind, changing the current method (which Verizon and AT&T are lobbying hard for) hurts small business.

Within hours there were five comments at my blog (which is a lot for me): four against and one for. (And I wrote that one!)

Commentors questioned why the government should be interfering with yet another aspect of our lives (point well taken) and felt the market should sort it out. Some felt we should leave well enough alone. However, it seems to me that big ISP’s are lobbying for a change to the current system.

Just a few moments ago I got an email from Andy Wibbels — a smart guy if ever there was one — asking for support of net neutrality. Andy asks us to “imagine if the eletric company made your refrigerator run slower if it wasn’t a Whirlpool brand.”

Alternatively, imagine if the passing lane on a highway could only be used by giant corporation’s trucks, and all other traffic needed to take side streets.

What if your competition was a Verizon partner and their blog came up faster in a browser at the expense of your own? GM’s FastLane Blog might benefit from this change, but probably not your blog.

Well, now you’ve heard those in favor of net neutrality. What do the rest of you think?

Business Blog Seminar: PowerPoint Handouts

How to Plan, Build and Promote a Business Blog - PowerPoint Cover

Click image for free report

Last Friday I spoke at the annual conference for NAPO: The National Association of Professional Organizers, on the topic of “How to Plan, Build and Promote a Business Blog.”Since this is a constantly evolving seminar for me, there were significant changes from what I submitted in January and what I presented in March. I posted the handouts to my Web site for any attendees who wanted to download them.

I then decided to open that up to anyone who wanted to download and review the handouts. The target audience for the seminar is entrepreneurs and small business owners, but there’s a lot of information in there for anyone.

The download is free, but an email registration is required. (1MB, PDF.)

Sabre Yachts Blogs The Birth of a Boat

Although I’m not much of a yachtsman myself, living on the coast of Maine I have a lot of friends who own boats, and I’ve learned a lot through osmosis.

One thing I’ve learned is that they can’t get enough of pictures of boats; they refer to it as “boat porn.” It takes an especially tight hold of them when they’re ready to buy their next boat.

Which is why I think it’s such a great idea that Sabre Yachts, (a client of mine,) is telling the story of the construction of a yacht in the Sabre Yachts Blog.

Bentley Collins, their resident blogger, has been taking photos from the factory floor and telling the story of one Sabreline 34 Hard Top Express. (Unlike humans, boat builders usually know the type of boat beforehand.) It’s only two posts in, but Bentley says he’ll blog this until the boat leaves the factory. (Maybe we can then track the boat to its eventual owner and convince him/her to continue blogging!)
Having taken a factory tour, I have to say it’s quite a cool adventure.

Chicago Mattress Store: Blogs Help Local Businesses, Too

Posted by: of AndyWibbels.com on 01/31/06

I finally bought a leather couch a couple weeks ago. Nothing says ‘acclaimed author’ like sliding off a leather loveseat as you type on a laptop – sliding because you’re still in sweats and it hasn’t been broken in.

Anyway.

Ron and I went couch shopping and on our way stopped by Sleep City mattress store in Chicago on Diversey Avenue because we wanted to see about getting him a box spring and a bedframe. We’d been to this store a year ago to get him a mattress and returned this past summer to get me a mattress, box spring and bed frame. The guy at Sleep City set me up with a supah-soft Englander mattress that is like sleeping on a freakin’ cloud. Money well spent.

Anyway.

I wrote a quick entry about this Chicago mattress store on my personal blog and how fantastic the service was, how affordable the prices were and how I generally just had a great experience there (compared to the over-price place just a block away).

Recently, I’m at the gym and a guy we know comes up to me and says ‘Oh, I stopped off at that mattress store you recommended and got a bed.’ Strange, I hadn’t mentioned to Sean about the store. ‘Oh yeah, he’s got that review from you posted at his store.’ Strange, I hadn’t mentioned to Sean about my blog.

So Ron and I go into Sleep City and we’re talking to the guy about the bed frame when Ron spots my blog post. Printed out on the guy’s desk. ‘Look honey, this is your post!’ The salesman then says, ‘You’re Andy! You wouldn’t believe how many people have come in because of that review – and how many people know you!’

Sidestory: I have a massage therapist that I highly recommend back from my structural integration (aka Rolfing) days. I blogged about him too and I get at least one email a month of someone inquiring for his contact info. He recently called to thank me for the referrals.

This is why local businesses should blog. Or give discounts to bloggers in exchange for reviews and posting. You don’t have to be in a ‘techie’ business. If you aren’t findable online you’re dead. Blogs are word-of-mouth made trackable, searchable and archived.
Bonus sidestory: I’m walking out of my apartment building when a car horn honks and I hear somebody yelling my name. I go up to the car and meet two guys I’ve never met before. ‘We though it was you. We love your podcast!’ Then there was the time I got recognized in a local diner for having a blog. You never know your reach…

This is why you should be blogging. To forge meaningful relationships globally and locally. Bloggers can help new customers find you, a blog can help you find new customers.

How Google’s Jagger Update Impacts Your Blog

One benefit–although not the only one–of blogging is increased “findability” of your business through search engines.

I’m a big fan of writing quality content on a regular basis to make your Web site or blog relevant for appropriate searches. I’m not a big fan of continually tweaking your pages or copy to take advantage of any new “hack” that some black-hatted SEO expert may have discovered. It’s a short-term gain for a long-term loss in my opinion.

Still, it’s important to understand what search engines find important, so you can get the most out of the content you have on your Web site or blog.

Jason OConnor has written a great article on the new Google update–code named Jagger–that explains some of the changes he’s observed over the past few months.

Guy Kawasaki Let’s the Good Times Roll

Guy Kawasaki, start-up guru and Mac enthusiast, has started his own blog called Let the Good Times Roll.

The blog offers good info for start-ups, including recent posts The Art of Evangelism and The Top Ten Lies of Venture Capitalists.

Mac fans like myself will also find interesting items, such as Guy’s take on Steve Jobs latest keynote and other Mac-centric posts.

I do wish he included trackbacks and categorized his posts, but you can’t have it all.

 

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