Storms come and storms go.

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The other night a storm came through, the first real one of the summer. The lightning flashed and the thunder boomed. I shut down all my computers to wait it out. The kids were excited to see nature put on a show.
It reminded me that life happens around me even if I don't do a thing.
The Internet grows every day. How can we make a difference? After all we are just one person. You can make a difference. Studies have shown that normal people have about 500 people in their world. If you are working with the public there could be thousands. Facebook has a measurement called "reach". That how many people do all of you fans have. A fan is someone that likes a page on Facebook.
With Linked in they call it your network. How many people can you touch witha post or comment you make?
The other day I looked on my LinkedIn page and saw that I have under 500 contacts but I have over 2 million in my network. What does that mean?
When I post something to LinkedIn it goes on all of my contacts pages and it would then be possible for all if their contacts to see it. Facebook offers the same thing. But with a possible reach of many more. I am now working with both Facebook and Google directly learning how to get the most from a little. They both make their money from Advertising so they want you to spend big. But you don't have to. You can take you existing budget and move it to on line for just one or two months. See what it does for you. With online you can track it all down to the click. You know how you money is working for you.
One work of warning! Don't spend a dime unless your website is ready to convert the new visitors to clients or Contacts. It is worth a call to me to get more info. Or you can come to our Monday night workshop at Fuel coffee shop in Great Barrington from 5-7 starting next week on June 4th.
Life will past you by. So get up and make a difference in your life and business.
Talk to you soon.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Each day we have tasks

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Just as the clouds rest on the hill tops for only a short time each day. We can not rest on the work we have done. We need to find that rhythm, that beat that keeps us going.
Some say routine. Whatever you call it find it and own it.
If you do simple things each day, like post a problem you product solves. A joy that your product or service brings. You will bring people to you.
If you sell you product on the web you sales will increase. If you have local services you will raise awareness. Just think of it as that one thing a day to build your business.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Today is a good day to start.

20120529-060739.jpg Yesterday there were parades and celebrations. Honoring our fallen Heroes. Today is the day to become a hero and make you business successful. We are lucky we work for ourselves we have the success of our business in our hands.
For an investment if time we can talk about our business, get it in front of our clients. Show them why we are the best at what we do.
Take 15 minutes a day, an hour a month, down time in you day. Find a way to make it work. Create content in your web site. Write about what you know. You web site is the most effective tool in your marketing plan.
Make sure it is posting to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Get most out of your work. Even if you have said it before say it again in a different way. It will reach different people.
Web sites can and do make a difference in the way your clients see your business. Make that difference today!
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Relax, take the day

20120528-064222.jpg We all need time down. Time to reflect on what we have done. Time to rest in the shade. So have a great day today. Spend it with friends, honor our fallen Hero's.
Tomorrow is a great day to start posting great content to your web site. Follow up on a conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Put up some pictures on Pintrest.
The most cost effective way to get the word out about your product is also one If the best.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Seed your web content all around the web.

20120524-072856.jpg If you want food in the late spring and summer you need to start planting now. It is the same with your Internet Marketing it take time to grow.
You must engage you visitors get them talking about you products. Don't try to plant too many messages into any one email. It will only confuse the message. Keep your message free from weeds and extra words.

Above all just get out there, read, create content, take pictures, comment on other blogs. Get involved
in the conversation.

If you put yourself out you will be surprised at the. Creating content on your blog the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the new one pintrest. Are all good.
Get up and do it now!
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Find a community in the fog.

20120523-062358.jpgOver cast, gloomy you wake up in the morning and look outside. That is what you see. In life we all have choices we can look at the fog and wish the sun would be out or we can see that the fog give water and life to nature. It serves a purpose. We really don't need to know what that purpose is. Just accept it.
Life throws many things at us every day. Live your life with an open heart and open eyes and you will know what to do.
In a few weeks we are going to start a weekly Internet workshop. It will be a place to ask those silly question. Meet with others in the community to talk about SEM, Content Creation, Design, credit card acceptance, email marketing. All that and more. We will build our online community with support of our physical community. If you are in Great Barrington stop by. June 4th between 5-7 at Fuel the coffee shop. Bring you laptop be ready to give and learn what we have to offer.
The coffee and tea will be hot and the support will be strong.
If you are not around here. Find some other businesses in your community to meet with. Allow your physical community to support your online community.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Love what you do and it will grow.

20120522-053020.jpgIn my life and travels around the world I have seen many religions, many ways of life. The one thing that they all had in common at their core was love.
I think that is a strong driving force. It is one of the things that gets us up every morning.
Our companies need love too. They demand time and energy. If we want them to grow we have to take steps to make it happen. I was talking to a marketing director of a local non-profit yesterday. She said we can't afford you and I'm the only one to make this happen. In that situation you have think outside the box as they say. Ask the question. "what can I do to make a difference?"
I believe more every day the Internet is the way, to teach, to reach, and to bring people, real people together. And for those non-profits out there bringing people together create power and excitement for you organization.
Love what you do. Enjoy it, but remember you can't do it alone. If you don't have the money to pay then ask for help. See what happens. Find a way to make it work. To use the Internet to make your organization grow! You have to make time and take that first step. Now start you day with love and peace. See where it brings you.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Summer is almost here. What is your SEM plan?

20120520-105628.jpg Summer is almost here, what is you plan to add content to your web site? The kids will be home. Life will get busier than it already is and you don't want to lose the gains you made.
Can you take a few hours a week? Sit down make your posts and schedule them. If you are on WordPress you can.
Plan for the month so you can think about what you want to say. Planning is your best friend. Maybe write a long piece one one subject and break it up into parts.
I know that a lot of this sounds like common sense but sometimes you need to here it. Happy blogging and have a peaceful weekend.
Bob

We live in the Berkshires…

20120517-061244.jpg We live in the. Berkshires of Massachusetts. We live here because it is beautiful, fresh, good food, local food, good local Artists, and theatre. We live here to raise our children. It is not so easy to make a living. If you are not depending on second homers, and tourists. You are supporting a company that does.
The Internet is a way out of that. It allows us to do what we want and still live here. To live in a small community you must work together to build your business.
Starting on June 4th we are going to have a new way to work together, build each others company and outs all at the same time. We will meet at Fuel coffee shop in Great Barrington MA. To support and work on our web presence together. Using the power of our local community to build community on the we web!
Join us, bring your laptop, net book, and come to work with us. We will be there from 5 to 7 starting Monday June 4th. Make a difference in you life and you community.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Facebook is your is gold

Today Facebook has upwards of a billion users. Everyone of those users has given personal information about themselves. Even if you turn off all access to that information it is used to display ads and uses those stats to every page you go to on Facebook. If you didn’t know there is a thing called insight the stats package for Facebook.
That is where you can go to see the stats of you page. Great info.

20120516-124911.jpg Blogging then posting that blog post to Facebook then to Twitter WILL
make a difference in your web presence. Just do it. Get off your butt and make a difference in your life and the life of your business.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Energy to get it done.

20120515-070640.jpg A coffee shop with the name Fuel is one of the places I go to have client meetings. I is a nice place to talk have a tea and just work done.
Finding your pace is important. To everyone, we thing of runners. But it really applies to business owners also. How do I get all done and still have time for myself? The first change is to think of yourself first and give your clients real expectations. Decide what you need to do for yourself first!
Yes I have said it twice. It is the core. When you are running a business it is a multi year marathon. If you burn yourself out too soon you will fail. Make a plan or have a clear vision. How do you get to the point where you can have someone else doing the work for you so you can focus on growing your business. If you need help planning, get the help! There many resources around the help you manage your planning.
Just like your web site you business is always changing. If you have been doing things one way for a long time, look around, are there news ways of doing it? In less time? Less cost?
Bottom line if you feel like you are in a rut need a change. You are! Get up look around what’s you gets you fired up. You don’t need to work 18 hours in a day forever.
Again start with you, find out what you need. Then you will be in a better place to help you client, employees, and vendors make you business sing,
Have great and peaceful day.
Bob

As the rain brings life, content brings visitors.

As I looked outside this morning I saw a Robin on the lawn looking for worms.  I remembered the saying "the early bird catches the worm".  That is not always true. Recent studies have shown the best time to put up your post is between 1pm and 3pm EST weekdays.

20120514-073540.jpg It works for me to write posts in the morning before the phones start ringing and my day starts.  Should I post them later?  I think we give it a try and find out.  Will more people see it?  I know a few things.  It will go off of Facebook and Twitter faster.  It is when people take lunch, more to the point when they get back from lunch and check Facebook.  I also know that my sites ranking has steadily going up.  I have been getting more Twitter followers, and more Facebook friends.  It is starting to work.  Also if you have not guessed by now I have for the most part been posting from my phone.  It is forcing me to keep it short, sweet, and to the point, although the spell check can be a challenge.  Try it, post every day.  Talk about you and your company.  Do it for the health of you business.  Do it for the future.  Do it now!
Have a beautiful and peaceful day.
Bob

A place to work your on your web presence and talk SEM.

Come one, come all.  Every Monday night starting in June.  Look for times in the next few weeks.  We are going to meet at Fuel in Great Barrington, MA. to talk Internet Marketing, SEO, Blogging, and whatever you need to get help on.

20120513-062458.jpg it will be a place for networking in the real world.  We all work together to succeed online.  If all you do is create one post a week that will be more than most and you will see you web site rise in the ranking.

It is something that all businesses need but just don't have the money to pay for.  This will be a drop-in workshop to work on your web site at you pace.  There will be no stress, no hassles.  Just support to get you on you way.  Come down join your friends and community to build a strong online presence for the Berkshires. I will talk about it more the closer we get.  Have a great and peaceful Sunday.
Bob

Computer Therapy this morning at 10am EST

Today at 10 am I am running an old show from our archives on web site design and Internet marketing.

20120511-061529.jpg This show will help you get through the everyday issues of getting a web site up on the Internet and getting it seen.  Remember if you need help I can help you with any facet of the Internet.  I can even help you get off you butt and get you going.  Listen and just get up and do it.  Call me at 413.528.6386.  Do it today: get going on making your web site work for you.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

What to ask a Web Designer before giving them money:

So you need a web site for your buiness or orgainzation.  Where do you start?  A friend will say I know someone that makes web sites or a family member will say I am making web sites for some friends.  This is all well and good if you are creating a web site for your family.  A personal journy through life.  A place to put your throughts. 

Gettng anyone to create your web site is a process.  You need to get this right if it is your business or non profit organisation.  You need to step back and ask a few questions of yourself, your board, or partners.  The more prepared you are the better the result.

  • What is the purpose of this site?
  • What do we expect from this site?
  • What is a conversion?
  • What do we have to spend on this site?
  • Do we need to hook it up to Social Medias?
  • Do we need a logo?
  • Who is going to write the copy?
  • What colors do we want?
  • Name 3 web sites that we like.

Then it is time to talk to a designer or developer about your site.  Ask them a few questions:

  • What other sites have you done?
  • Do you manage the site once it is up?
  • Can you train us to manage the site?
  • What is your process?  It is best to get a written document so you can take it all in and ask questions.
  • What are the costs for creation and on going costs for hosting and management?
  • Have you created a web site like this for someone else?  Can I see it?
  • Can you show me 10 or 15 web sites you have built?
  • What content management system do you work on?
  • Do you have referances?  Can I talk to them?
  • How do you bid the project?
  • How do you deal with changes to the project once it has started?

These Questions will get you started on the road to building your website.  Remember to check in and get milestones from the start.  There seems that there is always a reason and it always takes more time to finish than first throught so be ready for that.  If you need your website in a month then maybe you want to have a phased approach.  Get a page up now that serves your current needs and then make the website what it needs to be.  Also remember that websites are always changing and growing, they're never really done.  It is always a work in progress.  So don't use a Site under Constuction sign on your site.

I will talk about this more over the next few days.

A quick check of your web site:

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Is your web site up?  How do you know?  There are monitoring tools you can use to find out.  You can see how long it is down and how long it took to get it back up.  The Internet is a tough place; things don't always go as planned, but it is always changing and you can always fix it.  When your site is down is it because you can't see it or is it down in the world?  Sites like http://www.site24x7.com can see if your site is up around the world.  It is possible that your site is not working where you are and is working the rest of the world.  There are great ways to mitigate that.  One is to use a CDN (content delivery network), they put your site on their servers around the world. That way if something happens to your server the site will be up on all the other servers so no one will know.  One of the side benefits is that the site is closer to your users and it loads faster and the load on your server is less, so you can handle more traffic.  CDN's are getting cheaper and more relible, check it out.  Any issue can be fixed. Relax.
Have a great and peaceful day.
Bob

 

Gardens need tending, and so does your web site.

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A garden needs to be prepared. It must be plowed, the rich soil needs to be exposed to bring the nutrient to the surface.
Your website and web presence is the same: you must turn up the keywords that will feed the searches that your potential visitors make.
To do this you need to do the research.  Keyword research is the plow.

Look at your stats, what words are visitors using to find you?

Are they the words that you want to be found for?

Once you have made these lists use a tool like Googles keyword tool to identify the right combination of word that are the most searched.  Add those words to your content and you will be found in more places on the web.  Using the correct words can make the difference between bringing the right visitors to your site or to to your competitor's sites.
People that want to learn more, buy, our give your organization money.  Or the people that don't really care, look for a moment and raise your bounce stats.
It can be the difference between success and failure.
Learn about keywords.  Read on the web or call us we can help.
Have a peaceful day.
Bob

Like day over coming night, SEO can over come low rankings.

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Every morning the earth turns and night becomes day. As sure as that is we have to get up and tend to our web sites. If you had a brick and mortar store you would not expect anyone to buy anything from you if you did not open your doors. It is the same with your web site. If you don’t open the door and put out the sign that says “OPEN” no one is going to find you.
Are not doing everything you can to make it work. Are not putting in 100%. These are questions that we have to answer for our-self’s. We are the only ones that know if we are putting in a 100%. Honestly it is not anyone else’s job to tell us. If our business is struggling then it is up to us to make it work. Even if we are doing fine, can we say that we are getting comfortable with what is going on.
Are we ready if we get blind sided in the future? Look back at the 90s. Everything was going great. Then the world changed. Blame who you want but it is up to us to control our lives and make our businesses grow. We are the only ones that we can depend on. The Internet is alive with the minds of everyone on it. Just trying to do what they feel they should. We can make a difference.

How do you fit? Who are you talking to? Where are they? What do they need to know?
What do I want my visitors to do on my site? How can I collect emails? How do I build community around my site?

These are all questions that we need to answer, over and over again. I am going to talk about each of these over the coming days. But even before I do what are the answers for your business?

Take some time have a cup of tea or coffee. Think about what you need your site to do for you. Make a plan and and take it one step at a time. Do it from a mindful place. In other words take each task one at a time. Put 100% of you into each task! This will help you succeed. This will get you where you need to go and you will be proud of the results. Don’t get me wrong this is not an easy thing to do. If it was everyone would already be doing it. But you are special, you are a business owner. As President Obama says “Small business is the back bone of our Country”
Sometimes we need to kick ourself’s in the pants to get going. Do it now! Make a difference in your business today! Keep reading and we will take this journey together. One day at a time. One step at a time. One post at time.

Keep the faith in yourself and have a peaceful day.

Time to rest or time to move?

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Sunday is a day for rest for many people, a day to spend with family and friends, a day to reflect on the week that past and the week that is coming.
It is also a time that visitors to your web site might have more time to look around. Putting out a special or a bit of information might have a better chance of getting through.
Search Engine Optimizing is all about consistency. Being regular with your posting, always having posts that say what the reader wants to read about. Not to say that you should say the same thing every time. Talk about how, why, and when. Make it a good story. Make it a daily bit of information.
Lastly add a strong call to action!
So get up right now when you are done reading this. Take that step. Write that post, create that page, take the next step on you web presence. Make a difference in the lives of you, you family and your visitor. Do it now!
Have a peaceful day.