Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 30, 2015
Although I find blogging to be a popular subject for many people to talk about, there are still a lot of businesses trying to figure out not only if there’s any kind of return on investment in doing it, as well as whether they have the time or the inclination to do it. I have a story that might be illuminating.
A few weeks ago I got an email out of the blue from someone wanting some consulting advice from another state. I sent her my phone number since it wasn’t included in her email (major lesson; always include all of your contact information in your business emails) and said she could call me the next day.
She did just that, and we talked for about 10 minutes about the possibility of my doing some work for her, work that will pay nicely. I asked her how she’d heard of me. She said that a friend had sent her some kind of newsletter that included a link to a blog post I’d written and that it intrigued her because it looked like something she needed for her company.
I asked her if she remembered which blog post it was and at the time she didn’t. She said that she’d find it and send it to me. When I got it I was surprised because it turned out to be a post I’d written almost 3 years ago.
So, someone else liked my post, used it as inspiration in a post they wrote for a newsletter, put my link in it, someone else got it and liked it and forwarded it to a friend, that friend then liked it enough to call me. And I have a shot at getting business out of it. Sure, years later, but what did it really cost me when I wrote that post many years ago?
I tend to write fast, so it might have taken me 5 to 10 minutes at the most to put it together, and it stayed on the blog for years, and now look at what’s happened. Even though I don’t get the contract, I had a shot at it.
That’s the power of blogging; that’s why I talk about it all the time. You never know who might find your content and be impressed enough about it to contact you for business.
Of course, now I have to address the question I’ve seen about whether every business should have a blog or not and whether it can work for everyone. That’s a question that’s hard to answer easily, although it’s an easy answer.
The answers are thus:
* If you can have consistent content, it can work for you;
* If you can’t it won’t work for you;
* If you can’t talk about what it is you do it won’t work for you;
* If you’re the only one who can do what you do in your area, no matter how small a business it is, it can work for you, but still refer to the first bullet;
* Same if there are a lot of other businesses doing what you do but few of them have a blog (I tell this one to accountants all the time, most of whom don’t have a blog);
* If you have a regular website that looks decent that you can associate your blog with it can help
My opinion; if you can blog and you can talk about your business, a blog will help more than it will hurt unless you stop writing on it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 8, 2015
Back in October I wrote what turned out to be a popular post, if you believe Analytics, 10 Business Social Media Tips. I knew it would be popular because people love list posts. It was also relatively short; sometimes that works well.
About 5 minutes ago I wrote the follow up post to that one; then it totally disappeared, and I actually know the reason why and I’m not going to get into it right now, though I suspect alligators. lol However, it wasn’t bad, and I sat here thinking for a couple of minutes wondering if I wanted to try to recreate it or just let it go and move onto something else.
This is we’re talking about, so I’m going to go ahead and write it anyway. Course, with this preamble it now might take 3 minutes for you to read it, but them’s the breaks.
1. Don’t sign up for all social media accounts and services if you’re not going to use them.
2. You don’t have to be a great writer or speller. Be a good writer and use spell check.
3. Blog commenting is the best way to drive traffic to your website or blog; trust me on this one.
4. Make sure you share the links to your websites and blogs as often as possible, wherever you have the opportunity to share them.
5. Don’t always agree with people just to be polite. If you disagree with something say it; just don’t be too aggressive if you can help it.
6. Give people a chance to share your content. Notice that with this blog you can share it on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.
7. Whether it’s your opinion or not, make sure you know your facts first. You can bet someone will know the facts and won’t hesitate to tell you.
8. Never forget to share other people and their links with your readers if they’re the inspiration for what you’re writing.
9. Don’t be afraid to make videos. Remember, what you see in a video is how people see you in real life.
10. It’s okay to ask people to follow or connect with you sometimes, just don’t overdo it. Every once in awhile people need a bit of encouragement to participate.
Whew; I had problems remembering two of the things I originally said but came up with 2 more instead. Now go enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to give me a thumbs up.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 8, 2014
Imagine you’re searching the internet looking for someone to provide services for you. Imagine that you come across a website that looks pretty neat and professional. It not only offers the services you’re looking for but many others. And look, there are lots of testimonials on the site, and even pictures of the people who gave those testimonials, just like this one:
Looks pretty good, right? Now imagine you’re someone going about your business, and you find out about a site like this, go to take a look, and lo and behold, there’s your image clear as day, supposedly advocating for a site you’ve never heard of, with a totally different name and in a business that’s not your own.
In this case the lady’s name is Kristi Hines of Kikolani, not Pamela, and she’s one of the top internet writers in the country. She knows a lot about SEO, but that’s not her primary focus. She was stunned to find out that this company had someone obtained her image and used it in their advertising.
I’m not going to mention the website because I don’t want to give them the publicity; she might be trying to do something about removing her image as we speak. It’s possible that the company hired someone else to do the work and that company scarfed up the image from somewhere, figured no one would ever find out, and, well, it’s a super cute face with a great smile, so why not.
As you can imagine, within her circles this is getting a lot of buzz. And since these people profess to do something among their multitude of services that she does, and I’d have to say does better than them, word will be getting out all over the internet & social media circles (that’s where I learned about it), and it will put this company into a compromised situation because this is someone a lot of people like.
The point is that it shouldn’t have come to this. Most of us know that the people shown on many websites, especially in the header area, don’t really work for the company. We’re used to stock images and the like; we get it, because no one stands around posing like they do in some of these pictures.
There are so many sources for finding images that one can use for free that it’s amazing whoever decided to grab this image for its use didn’t go that route. It makes them look bad and, online, once word spreads that you’ve possibly done something unethical, even if it wasn’t specifically you, it’s hard to regain any momentum you or your business might have gained.
Remember, your website is your business, not the business of the person who created it. Don’t get caught up like this, and if you’re thinking about doing it don’t do it. I might say who this is one day… let’s see if someone comes along to identify them so I don’t have to.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 24, 2014
Back in July I wrote a post titled Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin. In that post, I talked about how sometimes we all try to do too much and how I had way too many things going on, especially with all the travel I was doing at the time.
I listed some things to think about, but point #4 was especially telling, though most people seemed to have missed it:
Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it.
For those who don’t know me, I have a main business. With that main business, which is incorporated (which means, by law, that officially I’m both the president and CEO of my organization), I had basically 3 business divisions, two of which I market off one website.
First off, I’m a health care finance consultant. In essence, I help hospitals generate more revenue and bring in more cash while making sure they stay compliant, which means aren’t doing things that are illegal. I’m very good at that, with my biggest success being that I helped one hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year; not many people can say that.
Second, I write about and talk about leadership issues, which includes diversity, communications, and all things that involve employees and, well, people in general. With that part I’ve spoken in 9 states and given presentations, and over there on the left, under the Twitter bird, you see the first book I wrote on leadership (I have people reading what will be the second book, coming out sometime early in 2015).
Third… I have a business called SEO Xcellence. The purpose of that business was building websites, doing SEO work and writing. Because of that business I presented in public 4 or 5 times locally and, well, y’all know that I have written for lots of folks other than myself, and still do on occasion.
Let’s talk about this last one.
This business started kind of on a whim. I gave a presentation to a consulting group I belong to as a last minute replacement because our scheduled speaker notified us she couldn’t make it. In one day I put together a presentation on social media marketing, and I gave that presentation the day after. It was such a hit that within a week 3 of the people in that room were clients of mine.
That was quite a rush! Over the course of the next few years I’d build some websites for people and organizations, optimize them, and write some of their content. It was a nice way to make some extra money when I wasn’t traveling as much, which came as we changed presidents and the economy was in the tank. Hospitals weren’t hiring consultants, companies weren’t doing any leadership training, organizations weren’t hiring speakers outside of their area to save on costs… but writing gigs were everywhere.
Over time, it got tiring building websites, and it also wasn’t overly economical anymore. I’m not a designer; I build basic websites that tell the story of a business; in other words, SEO friendly sites. These days, websites are either templates or monsters, both extremes from what I do, and I just don’t have the time to keep up with the technology.
I still know SEO, but marketing it to people who have no idea what it is and learn that it doesn’t necessarily conform to ROI (return on investment) like other businesses do was very difficult. Frankly, it’s hard enough marketing my health care talents without trying to figure out how to market for something that, based on a person’s business, might not work for them.
So, I stopped marketing overall, but I kept up with blogging. Not as much as with this blog, but I was still putting out the articles on some kind of schedule.
Then I got my last gig in Memphis, and I was gone for basically 18 months. Some of my blogs started to suffer.
apple in central New York
My local central New York blog probably suffered the most, but that was okay because it’s a personal blog. My finance blog started to suffer as the quality of guest posts seemed to get worse, and I didn’t have the time to read and fix all that stuff and still, hopefully, write my own articles here and there.
The blog on SEO Xcellence? Truthfully, many of the articles I wrote there work just as well on this blog. The differences were twofold, but neither major. One, the audience for that blog was, hopefully, business people who might be looking to hire someone to do the services that I was writing about. Two, most of those articles were much shorter than things I’d put on this blog. I’ve mentioned on this blog in the past about how what you write changes depending on who you’re writing for.
Anyway, during my week at home over Labor Day week I came to a decision that it was time to shut down SEO Xcellence for good. As an act of serendipity, while thinking about it that week I got the notice from GoDaddy telling me that the domain would expire in the middle of December.
That’s pretty perfect timing if you ask me. What I did next was go to the blog and highlight articles I thought I could use on this blog. Then slowly, over time, I moved all those posts over to this blog and saved them as drafts. I also went and looked at any articles I thought I could use here and saved them as well.
Whenever I did that I immediately made those posts private on the SEO blog. I did that because I knew that after some time they’d drop off the search engine’s record, meaning that when I re-posted them over here I’d be good, and there wouldn’t be any question of duplicate content. Actually, since all my sites are on the same server and under the same account I might not have taken a hit anyway, but why take chances right?
How many articles did I move? Well, let me just say that many articles you’ve seen over the last few months started over there, and if I decided just to pop what I brought over here up twice a week until they were gone, I wouldn’t have to write another post until the first week of May. Now that’s valuable stuff!
Not only that, but with some help from Mitchell Allen I’ve marked many articles on that site to be used to help create an ebook about blogging. Yeah, I know, there are lots of them out there, and our buddy Adrienne Smith just created her new course on building a blogging community (by the way, that’s not an affiliate link for me; anything you buy goes totally to her) but at least it would be another product for me; gotta keep making stuff. Anyway, more proof that there is always a use for old content.
In about 40 minutes or so, the very last blog post on that site will appear. It’s very short, telling anyone who’s ever read it (very few people I might add) that it’s all going away, and to come here to look at why. Truthfully, I probably should have consolidated these two sites a long time ago. It’s so much easier having all my similar content in one place, don’t you think? Also, I’m not linking to it because, since the link would go bad in less than a month anyway, I’d have to remember to come back here to remove it.
Shutting down the other site and the other business takes a great load off my mind. I will never build another website unless it’s for myself or a friend. If I get writing gigs, I’ll get them because of this blog. If I get asked to speak at another conference, it’ll be because of this blog.
I’m not the first person to shut down a blog, but I’ve seen many people do it, go on to something else, and not think about the content they have on that site. I’m also not the first person to shut down a business, as my buddy Peter and his brother shut down a business a couple of years ago. It’s not an easy thing to do but sometimes it’s necessary.
By the way, this actually aligns with some of the goals I set for 2014, and I actually mentioned that other business. Nice to see I will accomplish at least one of the goals I set for myself.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ll be thinking about more things as time moves on also. Focus needs to be my goal because my eventually wished-for outcome is to have $10 million in the bank in 10 years. Yeah, it’s pretty audacious; but remember, every rich person who made it on their own started with a dream.
And I can resume trying to build the audience up for this blog again; yay!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 6, 2014
Whether you have a business website or are trying to make money off the web, invariably just being online offers you the opportunity to make money in some fashion. Many people have an idea of what making money online means to them, but it’s often a limited view, which you’ll see if you visit “make money” websites or blogs. I’m going to give you some of the basic ways that people make money, whether directly or indirectly, and a general idea of how it’s done; I’m betting most of you know these ways already.
One, you can make money by selling products. This is the easy one that most people think of, as you can sell products you make or products someone else makes. Affiliate marketing works well for some people who have niche blogs or websites.
Two, you can make money by selling services. You find this more often with people that offer coaching, counseling or consulting services.
When you think of this model, you have to think both short term and long term marketing. For instance, if I have a link up it means I’m trying to sell short term services; not necessarily that I’m hoping you’ll only use me once and go away, but these are immediate services that I want to be paid up front for.
When you have a business website and you provide services, most probably you’re working on long term services, which doesn’t mean you only offer services that last a lifetime, but are looking to build your authority and presence over time so that you can become known as an expert and thus charge more for your services.
Three, you can make money by accepting advertising. Within this model you can include things like Google Adsense and other pay-per-click (PPC) or pay per subscriber/buyer models. If you have a business website you should think long and hard as to whether you want any type of advertising on your site because there’s the potential of you sending people away. However, if you have other sites like blogs that don’t talk about business specifically, accepting advertising is a great way to build income, but you have to be cautious in how you do it.
Advertising can also take other forms. If you write a blog on a certain subject you’ll often have someone ask if they can pay for a link on an article that pertains to what they do. That’s one of the powers of being a prolific writer; there’s always someone willing to pay for some authority to link back to their site. Being known as a publisher or content curator of original information can pay well.
You need to evaluate your business to determine what your websites goals are. If you’re highlighting your business, then stay away from many forms of advertising. If you’re somewhat flexible, there are lots of options you can explore.