The Moral to the Story – Keep Your WordPress Installation Up to Date.

For those of you who don’t know how I pay the bills around here, I have this “savior” complex where in I try to save people from themselves.  While others hold their sides as they roll on the floor laughing at the idiots on YouTube who subject themselves to groin shots, I grimace in empathy.

As part of this complex, I launched a service known as Acumen Web Services where I sell self hosted  WordPress blogs to business people who are not geeks yet want to harness the power of the internet in their marketing.  At Acumen Web Services, I have a service known as “Cyber Angel” hosting.  This means that I’ll be responsible for keeping your WordPress blog up to date as part of your hosting with me.

I offer “Cyber Angel” hosting because I’ve watched clients take groin shot after groin shot  over the years and I don’t enjoy it one bit.

Here’s a word of advice:  If your web site is getting nice search engine action, BELIEVE ME the bad guys are hard at work finding a way to grab a piece of your hard earned success.

That’s what is happening with WordPress blogs.  Average, every day people are getting incredible results using WordPress self hosted blogs as their web presence.  Because of that success, there are bad guys (and gals) out there who are always looking for a way to siphon success from these hard working WordPress blogs.

As a result, the WordPress development team is always trying to keep one step ahead of the bad guys.  It’s a labor of love and it upsets me when people complain about the frequent updates.  They’re doing it for YOUR own good folks!

So, updating WordPress is essential.  If it’s too much for you, then get a free blog or hire someone to take care of YOUR self hosted WordPress blog for you.

As you might imagine, I’ve had more than one person throw a fuss over the monthly hosting fee which comes with “Cyber Angel” hosting.   Most are surprised at how QUICKLY I agree to doing it “their” way.  However, for some reason, the ones who ask “Why?” usually end up signing up quickly for the service.  The rest  have gotten exactly what they requested.   I am MORE than willing to set up self hosted WordPress blogs on regular web hosting account, however it comes with the explicit warning that it is the CLIENT’S responsibility to keep the blog installation up to date.

So this morning, I get an email from one of those clients.  At the time of installation, he was all “Scouts honor!  I promise to stay on top of this!”  His last blog post was August 2007.   Unfortunately, while he may have forgotten about his blog, the search engines haven’t.  He wrote a couple of posts which have obviously done VERY well for themselves with the search engines.  Remember, there are always people willing and able to siphon your success!!!  He’s not only not been posting to the blog, he hasn’t stayed on top of the installation issues.

Now he has a problem – a SERIOUS problem.  Seems he’s been getting email messages from unhappy campers as a result of his blog.  They go like this:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am tired of receiving messages containing malicious computer programs (viruses) from your e-mail address!!!

If within 1-2 days you do not stop sending messages to my e-mail address, I will have to address this issue to the Police!…

Today I received a hard copy of your data logs from my Internet service provider. The copy contains your IP address, logs of sending malicious programs and your e-mail address details…
I am sending you the copy of the document containing your data and logs of sending malicious programs as the proof of your fault!!!!!!

You must print the document containing the list of your data and logs of sending malicious programs and pass it on to your Internet service provider with, so that they could find out why the viruses are sent from your computer to my e-mail address!!!!

Ask your Internet service provider to resolve this problem!!!!

Do this now!!!

Once again!!! If you don’t stop sending the letters, I will address to the Police and file a lawsuit against you!!!

I went in and checked and by gum he is running an old version of WordPress.  Go figure.  I quoted him on what it’s going to take to “fix” the problem.

By the way, I can’t imagine that this is helping his company’s “brand” or image in any way, shape or form.  While I’m sure the frustrated sender of the email above will NEVER forget my client’s company (which has been featured in the email address of each and every spam message being sent)  it won’t be a good thing.

If you’re not running WordPress 2.6. X UPGRADE NOW!

Selling Nothing But Air

What are you selling?

Make the mistake of asking a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman that question and he’ll whip out his cleaning machine and be into his sales pitch faster than you can scream, “NO!”  If his sales pitch were a bullet, you’d be dead before you hit the floor.

Ask that same question of a doctor, or an attorney, or any other kind of “service professional” and you would probably be met with a blank stare followed by the response,  “I’m not SELLING anything.  I’m a [fill in the blank].”

Unfortunately, NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is further from the truth. If you’re in business, you’re selling something – PERIOD!

If you’re in business and you can’t pull out  a product to hand to a prospective customer for review, then chances are strong that you’re in the business of selling nothing but air.

  • Your education – nothing but air.
  • Your experience – nothing but air.
  • Your services – nothing but air.

Sometimes referred to as “knowledge professionals”, many of us who live and work on the web are selling nothing but air.  We are joined in the “real” world by dozens of service professionals whose services can not be wrapped and mailed.   The list of those selling nothing but air includes plumbers, dentists, attorneys, doctors, chiropractors, electricians, acupuncturists, realtors, writers, accountants – the list goes on and on.

If this were a paper for a professor in business school,  I’d be using the more “technical” term for selling “nothing but air” and I’d call it the intangible sale.  Then, I’d begin prattling on about the strong connection between MAJOR SALES and INTANGIBLE SALES.   I would point out that while not every Major Sale is an Intangible Sale, every Intangible Sale is by nature a Major Sale.

Thank goodness this isn’t a term paper on Web Marketing 101!

Just as a refresher, there are two types of “sales” your business can make.  There are Minor Sales which are sales that don’t warrant a lot of time or energy on the part of the buyer.   Almost anything offered for sale in a Wal-Mart would qualify as a minor sale.  Even the few items that are sold by Wal-Mart that would meet the criteria for a Major Sale are reduced to Minor Sale status thanks to Wal-Mart’s permissive return policies.

A Major Sale is one where the buyer’s financial and/or emotional investment is significant.  As a result, the purchase warrants significant time and research into alternatives. In the Major Sale, another key factor is that there is the potential for a long-term relationship between you and/or your business and the customer.

In other words, in the Major Sale – the consequences of making a purchasing mistake are high.

  • Choosing the wrong doctor can be a matter of life and death.
  • Choosing the wrong tax professional can mean the difference between business success and business failure.
  • Choosing the wrong divorce attorney can mean the difference between splitting your assets or turning them all over to your soon to be ex-spouse.
  • Choosing the wrong Realtor can mean the difference between buying a house the floods or buying one that is high and dry.

Our town of Port St. Lucie, Florida was making national news after Tropical Storm Fay rolled through.  We got  a lot of rain dumped on our fair city over the course of a few days, exposing to the world a critical flaw in our fair city.  Explosive growth combined with poor planning by city officials = exceptionally poor storm water drainage.  As a result, much of the city was shut down by extensive flooding.

I was getting a manicure last week and he conversation turned to Fay and the extensive flooding that resulted.  I asked my manicurist if she was affected by the flooding.  Her response, “We had a REALLY good realtor who told us when we began looking to buy a house up here about the problems the city has with drainage.  As a result, we purchased our house with the possibility of flooding in mind.  Our house sits high and dry thanks to our realtor’s advice.”

Attention: All Realtors – especially those of you who are “afraid” that the internet is going to replace you-  it won’t if you understand what it is you’re REALLY selling.

Three years later, a manicurist in a popular day spa is still singing the praises of her exceptional realtor – the one who guided them as they made a Major Sale Purchase and kept them from buying a home that was susceptible to flooding.

This is why when you’re in the business of selling nothing but air why it’s so important to build TRUST with prospective clients/customers.  We live in an age which can be defined as a “No Trust Zone“.  Building trust is an essential part of making the sale when you’re selling “nothing but air”.

Realtors – you are selling nothing but air  a.k.a.  – your expertise of your local housing market.

Attorneys – you are selling nothing but air  a.k.a.  – your expertise at negotiation and persuasion.

Doctors – you are selling nothing but air  a.k.a.  – your expertise of the human body.

Accountants, you are selling nothing but air a.k.a. – your expertise and knowledge of the tax code.

Once you recognize the fact that you’re selling nothing but air, it sets the stage for creating physical product you can put in someone’s hands.  Writing a book, an eBook or even a blog is a great way to “bridge” the trust gap and demonstrate your expertise.

Do You Measure Customer Service By Satisfaction or by Complaints?


When it comes to business, measuring is an integral part of success. While measuring sales, marketing even web visitors is common, many businesses fail to recognize the need to measure customers service… and with good reason.

Measuring customer service is hard and quite honestly, most businesses are not created with customer service as part of their business DNA.

Customer service as part of a company’s DNA is the absolute best description of what it takes to truly deliver on the customer service front… and it’s so not mine. That phrase totally belongs to Ben Yaskovitz. It’s in Tip #4 of his latest blog post Using Great Customer Service as a Differentiator.

What an elegant, descriptive way to describe the perfect delivery of exceptional customer service.

Ben goes on to tell of his own customer service testimonials from his start up Standout Jobs.

Exceptional customer service has earned him not only testimonials but also new sign ups for the service. Obviously customer service is part of the Standout Jobs DNA.

This really contrasts with my own experience with another start up. However, a more recent and horrible tale is tole by Marketing Pilgrim Andy Beal who writes a tale of customer service gone bad with his blog post Office Depot Joins the Reputation Deadpool.

In a nutshell, Office Depot put out some ATTRACTIVE bait to capture a new customer by offering a great limited time offer of a special low-low price on a Toshiba Laptop. That’s the way it works. A a business, you entice a customer to try your product or service with an offer that is too good to resist. Office Depot even sweetened the already sweet deal by offering next day shipping. You can’t build a successful business on profit margins this thin, but it’s necessary to win new customers.

Then, as you fulfill the order, you amaze the customer. You meet or exceed their expectations with the hope of winning that customer as a steady customer for life… or at least, the next few years.

In Andy’s case, Office Depot was trying to woo him away from his “steady” office superstore, Staples. At the very least Andy expects flowers, a nice dinner and a movie. Poetry, a moonlight gondola ride and ridiculously expensive champagne would have sealed Staple’s fate as soon to be “used to be”. Instead, Andy was stood up and then sent a bill for flowers he never saw and a dinner he never ate. Andy’s devotion to Staples has grown ten fold as a result of the experience. Meanwhile, Office Depot’s brand is being drug through the streets after being tarred and feathered.

Obviously customer service is NOT part of Office Depot’s DNA.

Kelly over at Maxiumum Customer Experience writes:

Your customers are skeptical. There are customers who want you to provide delight, and then there’s this lady. Depending on your industry, there may be thousands lined up behind her. At this point she’s not looking for delight. She’ll take a discount or some other special offer, but what I heard in her voice says it’s not what she’s looking for.

She wants to know somebody at this company cares.

BRAVO Kelly!!! That’s a hit the nail square on the head kind of observation!!!

Does anyone at your company care?

Trust me, if there isn’t anyone who cares, it’s going to show. It’s surprising how a truly sympathetic ear can take the edge off of the burning rage that builds when you feel you’ve been reduced to a number.

How do you measure customer service?

Leadership Tools offers these as ways to measure customer service quality.

  • Customer Attrition Ratio = number of customers leaving / total number of customers (for the same time period) – the higher the ratio, the less likely it is that your company is consistently delivering quality customer service.
  • Sales Growth – your reputation precedes you. If people are still buying from you, and referring others, chances are they are happy with the service and they are loyal to your organization.
  • Customer Survey Results – directly asking customers to rate the service level they receive is by far the best way to measure service quality.
  • Customer Complaints – be thankful for each complaint that comes to your attention. You can only provide a thoughtful response to customer issues once you are made aware of the issue. When customer’s complain they represent not just their issue, but perhaps an issue that is affecting others.

However, it’s all for naught if customer service isn’t part of your company’s DNA. It’s cool to care about your customers. Pass it on!

Viral Marketing and Your Business

For those who don’t know, viral marketing is when you create a marketing piece which recipients naturally want to “pass on” to others.

For example, when an employee of an Indianapolis, IN suburb flower shop put out a sign with a serious spelling error, it became an viral marketing piece. (See the photo here at Funny Marketing Blunders: Flower of the Month)

This example shows one of the key elements for “viral marketing”…it includes a powerful image.  The example of the above situation is a “you aren’t going to believe this unless you see it with your own eyes” type of marketing blunder.

It also illustrates another “viral marketing truth”…. use humor.  If it’s funny, people will be prone to pass it along.  (Fortunately, the flower shop wasn’t selling tutoring services!)

Funny is hard to pull off for most of us… but there are other tools which can be put to use in the creation of the “viral marketing” campaign.  Viral marketing campaigns tend to live on the edge… in the land of the extreme if you will.

Another viral image that found its way to me is this one:

viral marketing image

The only difference between this “viral” picture and a “viral marketing campaign” is that this picture isn’t “selling” anything.

That’s the biggest problem with most viral marketing campaigns, it’s hard to sell and be “viral” at the same time.

Viral requires extremes and most businesses aren’t comfortable venturing into the land of extremes.

Both Digg and Stumbleupon are both sites blogs and businesses use to try to ignite various viral marketing campaigns.  Caroline Middlebrook offers a great example of creating viral marketing campaigns for StumbleUpon in her post Stumble Bait – Harnessing the Viral Power of StumbleUpon.

Her advice is good no matter WHAT type of viral marketing campaign you want to create.

Good Quality Customer Service

As business owners, providing good quality customer service should be a top priority.

One thing about Web 2.0… when your customers don’t experience good quality customer service, they can usually find someone who is blogging about either the product or service you provide OR about rotten customer service experiences. Even if your upset customer isn’t a blogger, he or she can surely comment on a few hundred blogs easily enough, including the ones maintained by your local media outlets.

Catherine Lawson shares 4 Amazingly Stupid Ways To Lose Customers and can’t help but sharing the business that inspired her to write the list.

Steven Bradley over at VanSEODesign writes in his post Practicing Good Customer Service Is The Best Way To Market It

It’s hard to find a business nowadays that doesn’t claim to provide excellent service, but how many really do?

You can claim all you want that you care about your customers, but unless you really do those claims are worthless.

Marketing it as good won’t change the fact that the service is awful. And when your customers talk about it they going to tell others about their bad experience.

I’ve been battling customer service demons left and right lately. The most recent was last Thursday. It began when my home phone rang and I answered it. On the other end of the line was a college recruiter who wanted to speak to my soon to be a senior in high school son about playing football (on scholarship) for their university. Unfortunately, the next six phone calls in the next few hours were not college scouts but rather telemarketers. Three of those phone calls were from Cooking Light Magazine.

I had subscribed to Cooking Light Magazine to help support the organization that runs the football kicking combines in which my son competes. Because I had subscribed in that manner, they had my phone number. What a horrible, AWFUL mistake.

This is the SECOND time Cooking Light Magazine has unleashed their demon dialer upon me. Last month, my phone began to ring incessantly. Hanging up or ignoring the calls seemed to be interpreted as a sign to “call more often”. After two days of this, I answered the phone and ran the gauntlet. I listened patiently and pushed buttons to indicate I wouldn’t be renewing my subscription which expired 6 months from that time. Now, it’s happening again!

I was enraged. I went to the Cooking Light Magazine website to get a number for customer service. THERE ISN’T ONE LISTED! I dug out the last issue and after much searching, found the phone number in 2 point arial font on the last page of the magazine. I called and was subjected to yet another push button automated guantlet.

As I struggle through this, I have the subscription services page up for Cooking Light Magazine. There I see that their “sister” publications are:

–Coastal Living – for people who love the coast
–Health – America’s best source for women
–Southern Living – the best of the South
–Southern Accents – fine interiors & gardens

DARN! I like ALL of those magazines and right now, I’ll be da@ned if I will EVER buy or subscribe to ANY of them.

When I finally reach a human, she’s begins by asking me if I’d like to share my email address with them.

“HELL NO! ” was my enthusiastic response. “I’m sorry that you have my phone number! Why in the WORLD would I give you my email address as well?”

She’s confused by my anger. She doesn’t understand why I don’t want to get five or more automated calls a day for weeks on end. When I ask for my number to be removed, I’m told it will take 90 days.

So, for the next 3 months, I can expect to experience times where I can either have my phone ring off the hook or I can spend 15 minutes to listen to pre-recorded spiels trying to get me to renew my subscription to a magazine.

My name is on the roles… they think I’m a customer. But I’m not. I’ll never purchase their magazine again because of the treatment at the hands of their customer service department. Instead of a customer, they’ve created an enemy. Just as the businesses Catherine writes about in her post about losing customers have created enemies as well.

Writing this post reminded me of when Patrick wrote about a customer service disaster with Ingram-Micro: Unfriendly to Small Business?

Think those rant style blog posts don’t stick in readers’ heads? Think again!

In Patrick’s case, he got a prompt apology from Justin Crotty, VP of North American Operations.

Nobody’s perfect. Good quality customer service is often a goal rather than a reality. However, in the case of Ingram Micro, they are actively managing their “brand” and standing behind their stated desire to provide good quality customer service. Justin illustrated how sometimes a customer service disaster can actually demonstrate your dedication to providing good quality customer service! I know I was impressed to see Justin’s prompt reply to Patrick’s post.

Joan Elias was the owner of the ad agency that gave me my break. She used to say, ” A satisfied customer will tell 3 people. A dissatisfied customer will tell 12.” Recent research puts that figure at closer to 16… and that’s without factoring in the power of Web 2.0.

There’s a lot of talk about “branding”… well branding is nothing more than a customer’s experience with your company, pure and simple!

Spotting Marketing Crooks and Liars

My clients are the best people on the planet! They are honest, trustworthy and loyal which are traits which make spotting marketing crooks and liars difficult.

See, people who are honest tend to view the world through that lens… the lens of honesty and integrity. Even the most “web savvy” are not immune to getting hooked by marketing crooks and liars. (Read the Itty Biz post 7 Home Business Lessons From StomperNet for an in depth explanation from a web savvy business owner who got “caught up” in the game.)

I OFTEN tell my clients that part of the “service” they pay for when they sign up with me is that they don’t have to get “burned” because I’m already heavily scarred from the 3rd degree burns I’ve suffered over the past 12+ years on the web.

After reading the post above, I got a message in my inbox the other day from a client who is toying with the idea of buying a “program” which will teach her the “secrets” to Google Adsense.  She sent me an email that goes like this:

My partner and I were just talking about the possibility of putting Google Adsense on our websites as guaranteed income. Just something we are thinking about. An example of this is on: [blog address that I’m not going to justify with a link]

This guy said that he has a guaranteed income of $15,000 thanks to Google Adsense.

Our question is-can this be done on the type of websites that we have? We are just wondering…

Thanks Kathy!!!

My reply:

Of COURSE you can add Google Adsense code to begin displaying ads on your blogs.

The way you make money with Google Adsense is when people come to your website and click on the ads displayed a.k.a… leave your site to go to another site.

The secret to making money with Google Adsense is traffic… lots and lots of traffic. It also helps to have really CRAPPY content because that way, visitors won’t find what they’re looking for on your site and will click on one of the ads displayed to find a site that does have the information they seek.

So I go to the site she sent me and there’s this guy who has his own typepad blog which is not “domain mapped”. The blog has an alexa ranking in the 1.2 million range. Adspy tells me he has 2 Google Adsense ads, both are running on this blog and he has them positioned in the navigation bar at the bottom. As anyone who makes money with Google Adsense will tell you… put your ads at the bottom of the page… that’s where the REAL money is made with Adsense. (Tongue is planted so firmly in cheek it hurts with that statement!)

However, because my dear, sweet, lovely clients would never lie to get clients, they assume that this guy is also a straight shooter as well.

Google Adsense can be a GREAT way to make money with very little effort from your blog, but it’s a numbers game pure and simple. From my experience with Google Adsense ads, I average about $1 for every 1000 visitors. Since the client who sent me that email gets about 2500 visitors to her blog every month, she can expect to make about $2.50 a month from displaying Google Adsense ads on her blog. Needless to say, that is far short of the promised $15,000 promised by this wannabe marketing guru!

In direct contrast to the idiot I refused to link to who promised guaranteed income of $15K, I’d like to introduce you to Courtney Tuttle. In his post, Smart Farmers Don’t Plant One Seed at a Time (and Neither Do Smart Internet Marketers)

As we’ve taught you more and more about sniping I’ve had a recurring fear for our readers. The fear is that you’ll do a little “case study” of your own, with one site, and after a few months you’ll get that number 1 spot on Google. It will be a big victory, because you’ll feel like you cracked the Google code, you’ve made it, arrived, etc…but then the site won’t make much. Maybe $3 to $5 per day.

Personally I think a $5 per day site is something to be excited about when it’s part of a portfolio of ten similar sites. But if you invest 6 months into getting that one site ranked, and then another month or two watching it get to $5 per day, you’re going to be mad.

Court’s the best… that other guy my client found is the worst.   Learning to tell the difference sometimes means getting burned but if you’ve got a blog, you can at least share your experience with others.  (Thanks Naomi!)

Web Promotion Advice

Sometimes, when you’re trying to promote your website (be it a blog or a traditional website) it can feel like you’re in a tiny row boat being tossed about on a roaring sea. It’s easy to feel lost in the sea that is the internet. Website promotion via the web is a “natural” but to really stir things up, create a website promotion strategy that includes OFF LINE promotion tactics.

Website Promotion Advice

Web Promotion Tool #1: Off line or hard copy newsletters

Darren Rowse of recommends allowing offline publications to print your content. In Darren’s case, he gave permission for a newsletter to translate and reprint an article he had written. As a result, he got 50 new sign ups for his photography website.

Web Promotion Tool #2: The Postal Service

ScribeFire suggests using snail mail as a website promotion tactic in the post Offline Blog Promotion Techniques:

Go Postal – this morning I got to my PO Box to find that inside it was a rather large parcel. Inside was two things – a book and a T-shirt. I didn’t know the name of the person who sent them to me but on the accompanying business card and note was the name and URL of a blog which I will check out later today.

A popular blog gets hundreds, sometimes thousands, of emails each day. Most of the time it’s people seeking the opportunity to be showcased on the popular blog. Its a great website promotion strategy to partner with a popular blog to promote your own website, however you need a way to stand out from the crowd. Taking the time to send a card via snail mail can be the difference between making contact and getting marked as spam. Including a T-shirt, a book or another promotional piece in the mailing is even better!

Web Promotion Tool #3: Traditional Media

Way back in the late 1990’s, if you listened to AM radio, you would have heard ads for the largest bookstore in the universe. These wacky radio ads featured such silliness as trying to rent warehouse space on Mars because no where on earth was big enough to house all the books offered for sale by this emerging online bookseller. You’ll probably recognize the name of the online merchant that ran those ads:

Traditional media has been slammed of late because it’s a “spray and pray” approach to marketing. In most cases you’re reaching tens of thousands of people who are NOT prospective customers. However, if you can create a compelling and captivating message, you’ll find that traditional media can be even very effective at driving traffic to your website.

When people find your site via a radio, television, newspaper or magazine ad, this is known as a DIRECT REQUEST. According to the WWW Observer, this is what is known as Low Bounce Rate Traffic and is exactly the type of traffic you should be striving to create.

Web Promotion Tool #4: Social Networking Media

BlogGrrl in her post A Very Long List of Ways to Get Blog Traffic lists 13 different social networking sites plus another 36 tips on ways you can introduce your website to new people.

Web Promotion Tool #5: Commenting on Blogs

This one usually makes my skin crawl when I read someone who advises people that they don’t need a blog, they can just comment on other people’s blogs and get all the benefits of blogging without the time and expense of maintaining your own blog.

Commenting on blogs is NOT a substitute for having your own blog, but it can be a great way to promote your website.  The key here is to find the right blogs to comment on.  Rather than go over that, University Kid has a post on the subject Make Money Online By Blog Commenting.

When making a comment, make sure you give it the care and consideration you would take if that information were appearing on your website.  A blog comment can act like a banner ad for your website so watch what you post!

These 5 Web Promotion Tools are just a few website promotion tactics.  What ones have you used to promote your website?

Building Trust with Blogging

Marketing wisdom teaches that it takes 8 “touches” to build enough trust with a stranger (a.k.a. a potential client/customer) for them to contact you for more information. This is just another way of saying that you have to build trust with potential clients/ customers before they will consider doing business with you.

Trust is built through communication.

Blogs and blogging are the buzz words of the day and with good reason: Blogging is a GREAT way to communicate and communication is essential to building trust.

The question that has plagued business owners for generations is HOW do you get the opportunity to make those touches or build that trust up front.

In the old days, small business owners would rely on using traditional media to make those touches. It was strictly one way communication, by the way, but it was all that was available at the time. Business owners would buy ad space in newspapers, magazine and air commercials via radio and television to establish a basic level of “trust” with their potential clients. If nothing else, spending the money to air those ads assured potential customers that the business being promoted was a legitimate business…. the first brick in building the wall of trust.

Using traditional media to reach a large audience is still a GREAT way to begin the communication upon which trust is built!

I strongly encourage my clients to consider using “off line” media to promote their businesses. Traditional media is a GREAT way to introduce your business to a wide array of strangers. When you use traditional media to promote your business, be sure to set the “call to action” for them to visit your blog. Think of the radio, television or newspaper ad as an “introduction” to learn more… via your blog.

However, before you issue such an invitation, be sure that the your blog is doing what it needs to do: BUILDING TRUST!

That means your blog posts will need to be written with your customer/client in mind. The chiropractor who blogs about how a song speaks to his soul is NOT going to be inspiring trust with potential patients. The chiropractor who blogs about how chiropractic helps relieve back pain will find that his blog is indeed inspiring people to call for an appointment.

If you have a blog… then take a fat felt tip pen and a piece of paper. Write the following in big letters and put it where you can see it as you blog:


What do you know? Why should I trust you? Can you really do what you say you can do?

Those are all questions running through your blog visitor’s mind. Make sure you keep that in mind as you post to your blog.

The Importance of Creating Great and Creative Blog Titles

Why the most clever blog titles may kill your blog’s readership.

In the world of copy writing, headlines make or break the ad. A great headline isn’t just important for advertising, a great headline can make or break a blog post as well.  There’s no doubt about it,

Great Blog Titles grab attention.

Great creative blog titles not only grab the attention of human readers, but the search engines as well.  However, clever blog titles, while they may capture attention, may not encourage your reader to click and read more.

Dharmesh Shah discovered this harsh truth when he wrote a guest post on Hubspot: Forget digg: Join Mixx Where You Can Still Become A Power User.

He reports on his home blog SEO 2.0 in his post Top 10 Reasons Why Great Content Fails on Social Media that he suspects that the wording of the headline played a significant factor in the failure of a GREAT article.

The headline is crucial, without a proper, intriguing, kick-ass headline the best content will fail.

What the heck is it about? Nobody knew and thus it failed even on Sphinn where otherwise it would have ruled the homepage. I was silly enough to submit it without changing the headline.

Basically the original title just does not give you a clue what the post is about and why anybody should care for it.

Remember, when you’re creating content for the largest publication in the world (the Internet), your audience isn’t seeing this article within a specified context. A blog title that generates a ton of clicks from your RSS subscribers may elicit a big YAWN from other sources such as Digg, Sphinn, Stumbleupon or even Google.

Creating great blog titles takes time.

Make sure that your blog title gives the uninformed reader a clue about what information the post contains. Sometimes the most clever blog title may be the worst thing you can slap onto your great blog post.

Want to learn more about creating a successful blog?  Pick up a copy of the 8 Week Power Blog Launch today.  It’s one of the many essential blogging tools we have to help beginning business bloggers learn from OTHER people’s mistakes.

Do You Twitter? Do You Need to Twitter?

I forget when I first heard of Twitter, but I signed up and quickly lost interest.  With a 140 character limit, I could not IMAGINE why anyone would care about how I spent the mundane parts of my day.

Rewriting the htaccess file for yet another client as I trudge through the endless process of updating their WordPress installation to the most

Oops… no more room.  Maybe I’m just too chatty to use Twitter.

Most importantly, I couldn’t imagine getting anything of importance DONE if I tried to Twitter about it.

My closest Twitter moment was when the Space Shuttle had to be rerouted on it’s landing and passed over my house.  The sonic boom was incredible and once I’d met and talked with my neighbors about it, I went in and posted probably the only “relevant” Twitter post of my Twitter career.

Not only have I not been able to get “into” Twitter… I just haven’t been able to get inspired to “follow” anyone else’s Twitter.  I know that when I say, “I just don’t have time”… it usually means I can’t see any reason to do it.

There… I admitted it.  Twitter just doesn’t strike me as a productive use of my time.

I ignored Twitter and Twitter ignored me.  Then came the SXSW 2008 conference and top bloggers began Twittering about what was going on and suddenly, everyone wants to talk about Twitter.

I’m reminded of the scene from Zoolander:

Mugatu: SHUT UP! Enough already, Ballstein! Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for Christ’s sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

My feelings exactly regarding Twitter.  Micro-blogging!  WTF?  Blogging restricted to 140 characters or less… WHY?  Please… someone… tell me… WHY?

When you promote your Twitter… Are you saying, “Hey, I’ve plenty of time to micro blog about nothing… follow me on Twitter.”

(HORROR!!! I just logged into my Twitter account and I have followers!!!  WTF?   I had to have my password emailed to me as a reminder because it’s been so long since I’ve used it!)

Thankfully, I’m not alone.  Mark posted “Twitter is Stupid” over at Courtney Tuttle’s Internet Marketing School.  Since he broke the ice, I don’t feel nearly so alone.  Mark writes:

A noteworthy blogger talks about how he loves twitter, but then he disclosed his traffic sources: Google – 42%. Twitter – 1.87%. I think that pretty much tells the story.

Go build some links.

Thank you Mark!!!

I truly thought I was the only one…. I truly thought maybe someone had been slipping crazy pills into my morning coffee.

As for the limited number of Twitter followers… sorry to disappoint you with the lack of updates in my life.  Rewriting htaccess files just isn’t that glamorous.