Using Your Website
As A Marketing Tool

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Basic Ways People Make Money With Their Websites

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 6, 2014
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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.

Pretty Penny
Creative Commons License JD Hancock via Compfight

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.
 

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Pooling Needed Services With Another Business

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 26, 2014
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Sometimes people balk at the rate someone wants to charge them for services. Often it’s because they’re not sure how certain types of services should be valued. Also, sometimes it’s because even though they don’t know how to do what others do, or don’t want to do what others do, they believe the services are too high and that they can find someone else to do it for less.

You talkin' to me?
Creative Commons License Giacomo Carena via Compfight

Have you ever watched the movie Armageddon? Do you remember this line: “You know we’re sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

With most things in life, you get what you pay for. I provide writing services. So do a lot of other people. You could actually get 10 articles a month from someone in India who will only charge you $10; that’s the truth. There are some good writers in India; the majority charging that rate aren’t the good ones, though.

You can’t get 10 articles from me for that amount. But if you were evaluating your blog or your business, maybe you don’t need that many articles. Maybe you only need half that amount. The thing is, for someone like me, you pay a different rate per article than you would for a package deal. That’s how it is with many things in life. You can go to the store and buy one 16 oz bottle of soda for $1.50 or you can buy a 6-pack for $3.99; which one makes more sense?

In circumstances like this, obviously it costs less to get into a package deal. But what if the price for the package deal is still higher than what you can pay?

That’s when you should look into pooling services by hooking up with another business. In other words, you find someone else who you know could use some articles, then you split the cost of the articles between you based on either a 50-50 split or whatever the number ends up being.

Or maybe instead of articles, maybe you want some consulting on your social media prospects but don’t want to pay the full hourly rate on your own. You could do two things here. One, you could split the cost with another person or you could sponsor a seminar if you have a lot of people that you want to bring or invite. On that basis you’d get a special rate that covers a lot of people at once, and someone like me or others could market it and potentially get other people to the seminar for the normal price.

This is something to think about when you need either services like the type I provide, or other types of services that others might provide. It’s just another way to get what you need while saving on how much money might have to come out of your pocket. However, try to find someone who’s kind of like your business if it comes to articles. For seminars, as long as the topic is the same (like leadership or management training) business won’t have to be similar to have the same types of issues.

By the way, if you’re a business that can do this type of thing, I’ve just given you an interesting marketing tip to use. :-)
 

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What Does It Take To Be An Expert?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 22, 2013
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In some ways I’m like everyone else when it comes to dealing with the concept of the term “expert”. The word has its connotations that make it something to eschew, and at the same time something to aspire to. I’ve hated being called an expert and tried to stay away from it at times. Then I came to grips with the reality that, as an independent consultant in different fields, the best marketing I can think of is to be seen as an expert in those fields where people might actually pay me for what I know and what I can do.

ph-10264
I taught these dogs to fly;
no I didn’t…

I remember reading a book by a guy named Brendon Burchard called Millionaire Messengericon, which I briefly mentioned in a post about two years ago, where his premise is that all of us are experts to someone, and we can turn that expertise into a career if we learn how to do it and have the confidence to do it. That kind of thing makes great sense to me, as in 2 days I’ll be celebrating my 12th year in business for myself. I guess that means I had that part figured out already to some degree.

However, you don’t have to always be making money at something to be considered an expert at it, or at least be trying to be an expert at it. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I might not have a skyrocking ranking when it comes to blogging, and yet I’d like to consider myself an expert at it. I actually gave a presentation on business blogging a year and a half ago that went over really well. Speaking in front of around 60 people or so, who crammed into a little room to hear me talk for about 45 minutes and seemed to enjoy themselves helped give me a bit of a boost that maybe I knew something of which I spoke.

It’s because of quite a few other things that I feel I have the right to call myself an expert on the topic of blogging. I’m expert on a few other things as well, and that’s more the premise of this post. What makes someone an expert, whether they want to call themselves one or not? I have some ideas, and I’m going to relate a lot of it to blogging. Here are 5 things I have for you; let’s see how you feel you stack up to it when I’m done:

1. Some knowledge of what you’re talking about – I like to think I know something about the topic of blogging. As it pertains to this blog, 10% of the articles I’ve written here are on the topic of blogging. Since I’ve written over 1,400 articles here, that’s not so bad.

But that’s not all. I also consider myself an expert on the topic of leadership and management, and to that degree 33% of the articles on my business blog are on that specific topic. Add to that the reality that I wrote a book on leadership and, until the last few months, also wrote a newsletter on the topic, and you could say that I’ve proven myself to be knowledgeable on the subject

2. Longevity – I’ve been writing and talking about leadership for 12 years now. I’ve been a healthcare finance consultant for 12 years now, with just about 30 years in the arena. I’ve been writing about leadership for that same period of time and blogging about it for 8 years, and I’ve been writing about blogging for 6 years now. For that matter I’ve been writing in some form or another for 33 years, which has prompted more than 3,500 articles online and nearly 100 songs and lyrics copyrighted; I hadn’t talked about writing earlier but I don’t necessarily consider myself an expert at that, even with the longevity.

3. Acknowledgement from others – This one is something you can’t really generate on your own (well, you can ask for endorsements on LinkedIn, but that’s not quite the same thing), so it’s nice when you get to be a part of something like this recent article including myself along with 32 others titled 33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement. I’ve been a part of other interviews as well, and have been asked to write all sorts of guest posts and participate in forums here and there on the topic. And of course there’s my weekly Hot Blog Tips Hangouts on YouTube every Sunday, which is growing in popularity. There are many long time readers and bloggers who say a lot of nice things about my blogging ventures. Of course there’s many who have no idea who I am as well, but it’s not always numbers that make you an expert.

4. Willingness to continue learning – After all these years of all the things I’ve done, I continue trying to be better. I read more and I write more (maybe not so much lately but it’s coming back) because everything new I learn gives me a new perspective on things like and already know something about, gives me something new to write about and to help others with, and it all helps make me more of an expert which of course helps me benefit others.

5. Being willing to share – This is the big one. Back in the day there were a lot of people saying “You give too much away; no one has to hire you because you give it all to them already.” That may or may not be true; I really don’t know. I believe that over the years I’ve been willing to share what I think about blogging, writing, social media, and other things that I’m sure some people really couldn’t care much about but others might find somewhat interesting. After all, the name of this blog is I’m Just Sharing after all. :-) When you’re willing to give, you open yourself up to receiving as well; that’s what the cycle of life, or the laws of attraction, are really about.

There’s my 5 things; how do you match up to them?
 

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Why Breaking Through Locally Can Be Hard To Do

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 13, 2013
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Last November I addressed the issue of how lackluster most of our blogs are when it comes to getting local people to view them. I put up some stats, and I linked to some other articles in that post that I’m not going to link to again; check that one out because it’s different than this one, even though it touches upon the same theme.

Vegetables For Sale - Sacred Valley, Peru
Creative Commons License Theodore Scott via Compfight

Last time I pretty much lamented the situation of breaking through locally. This time I’m going to talk about why it’s harder to do than we think it is. I’m going to do it as kind of a list post, which means my explanations will probably be sort of long. But I’ll try not to make them too long; maybe if I get to 5 I’ll stop. :-)

1. Too little local competition. This one seems strange, but go with me for a moment. If you live in a small community people already probably know who you are. If you’re putting up information on a blog but you’re the only game in town, most people are either going to just drop in or call you on the phone. It’s only when there might be more options when someone actually goes online to find information or businesses.

2. Too much outside competition. Once again, this one might seem strange until you think about what it is you do and if there are lots of other people doing it.

On my SEOX Blog I talked about one of my clients, an accountant, whose site is the highest ranked accounting site locally. While that sounds great, if you look for the major search terms that I’ve worked on for her the site only cracks the top 100 on Google for one of those terms. She beats every other business in town, but all the other businesses that show up aren’t local. They’re national, which means they have the dollars to dominate the local markets in most communities throughout the country, potentially the world. That hardly seems fair but what to do about it?

3. No one really needs what you do locally. That one’s hard to deal with so let’s explore it. Let’s talk about my SEO/social media site and business. I battle national companies for a lot of services and lose pretty badly. But I’m ranked in the top 5 for some things, even at #1. Those things are:

central new york article writing services – Google, Bing & Yahoo #1
central new york blog writing services – Google #2; Bing & Yahoo #1
syracuse article writing services – Google, Bing #4
syracuse blog writing services – Google, Bing #1
syracuse search engine optimization consulting – Bing #5
syracuse search engine optimization consultant – Bing #2
using your website as a marketing tool – Google #2, Bing #1

I’m not even sure where Yahoo’s mind is if Google & Bing have me ranked but it doesn’t really matter. I worked hard on making sure my site was ranked well locally, and for those terms above, out of the 36 I track, I’ve succeeded. Yet, I don’t get any calls or email from anyone. I think there’s only 2 local people who have ever visited it, even after I gave a big presentation locally that garnered a lot of interest… at least on that day.

What this says is that no one locally needs or wants these types of services. The site and the blog get very little traffic in total, even with the blog (averaging 3 1/2 visitors a day) and in the last month there were 10 visits from all of New York state, 6 local visits; that’s kind of pathetic isn’t it? So, sometimes if you can’t break through in the big picture, you can’t break through locally either; that’s kind of depressing, isn’t it?

I’m going to stop at those 3 because I need to ask this question openly; should we care? That one depends on what you do and what your hopes are. I talked to my accounting client to determine if she still wanted me to write content for her this coming year. She said yes because she actually got a couple of clients this year because of both the website (which I created for her last February) and the blog, which, as I said, makes her the highest ranking accounting firm online in this area. People are always looking for accountants, and if they want someone local, they’ll dig deeper to find that person. I’m happy for her because it’ll cost me nothing to do my taxes. :-)

For me, it’s a more difficult question. I’m not going to advertise SEO or social media services anymore because there’s no market for it, and I can use my time otherwise. I’m cutting back on what I write on that blog so the wealth of articles that are there will have to carry the day more than new stuff. I’m also not going to advertise writing services anymore, at least not through that site or blog, since that doesn’t seem to be how people are finding me anyway. And, if I’m not getting national or international business from that site, and it’s getting few visits anyway, why bother with trying to do local business, or at least advertising for it?

This article makes it seem like it’s all about me but it’s not supposed to be. I ask you to put yourself in my place when evaluating what you’ve been doing online and try to make the determination as to whether it’s working for you if you’re local. Having a presence is one thing; that’s always important. But at some point if the benefit isn’t equating to the business, you might have to make some evaluations of it all.

If you’re not trying to get local business then this entire post might not mean much to you unless you extrapolate it into just who you’re hoping to do business with, and how you’re doing with that. It’s not always about business for everyone, but if it is what do you see when you look at what’s happening for you?
 

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Facebook Edgerank, Et Al

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 21, 2012
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Facebook pages; how much fun are they? Truth be told, obviously some people aren’t having much fun at all because they don’t put much new content on it, if they put content on it at all. Two weeks ago I spent some time going through some of the pages I liked to see if they were doing anything, and those that weren’t I “unliked”; you know, when I was a kid that wasn’t even a word. lol

Facebook pages are an odd duck, if you will. We create them because everywhere we’ve gone to talking about them says they can help us with our business. I’m not all that sure, but I do believe that if done right they can at least help give you a presence. But who’s seeing that presence, and what can you do to increase your presence?

There was this article on Jeff Bullas’ blog titled 6 Ways to Increase the Marketing Effectiveness of your Facebook Page, which includes this very cool infographic. It talks a little bit about Edgerank, which is the name of the algorithm Facebook uses to decide just how many people who have liked your page will have the opportunity to see whatever you put on your page. It’s based on a few things; how often those people have come to your site, so they participate in any way, do they ever share, etc. Actually, they use the same algorithm in determining how many of your friends and which friends see your general posts If you’re connected with 1,000 people on Facebook, you can bet that if 100 people ever see any of it you can count yourself lucky, unless you’ve made yourself popular.

Why do they do that? They do it because people share way more long form information on Facebook than they do on Twitter. On Twitter, every person I’m following has the ability to have me see everything they post via a general column. I have the ability to select certain people and put them in segregated columns so I definitely see what certain people post as opposed to everyone, but if I decide to check the general column the skies the limit.

On Facebook people share pictures, blog posts, etc. Some folks write long form prose of some type. If Facebook showed you every single thing that everyone posted, you’d be overwhelmed. Yes, you do have the ability to segregate your audience on Facebook at all, something I’ll cover at another time, but it’s still a lot of stuff.

So now you know why you don’t see everything from all your friends and why everyone doesn’t see everything you put on your Facebook page. How can you improve the odds of getting more people to see your stuff? The link I provided above gives you 6 ways. I talked about more ways in a blog post I did on my SEO blog titled Finding Material For Your Facebook Business Page, which is a pretty good follow up to the link above if I say so myself. The idea is that, at least for your business page, you want to add more content to it so people have more to see, and you want to add more images because it’s been proven that people react better to them, but what if you’re not a bit time photographer, or the images you have don’t quite fit what your business is about?

Now, you might want to know how it’s going for me, since I adopted the process I talk about in my link about 3 weeks ago. I mainly post links from my business site since, well, it’s my Facebook business page. lol I do post a link here and there from this blog, the motivational stuff, but not all that often.

For the full month period before the last 3 weeks Facebook was my 5th best source of traffic, and I only had 21 visits. In the last 3 weeks Facebook has moved up to #3 and I had 55 visits in that time. Not only that but I went from a page duration time of 1 minute and 4 seconds to a whopping 14 minutes and 39 seconds. Why anyone would stay on a page for that long I couldn’t tell you, but what could be happening is that people could be sticking around and looking at other pages. And one more thing; from Facebook it’s a lot of repeat visitors, as the rate of new visitors is only 29%, as opposed to 95% from Google and 79% from Twitter.

Not so shabby I’d say. Anyway, I’ve told you about Edgerank, shared a link to an infographic, and a link to my post about ways of finding things you can add to your Facebook business page to help raise the number of people who come by. What else would you like to know? :-) By the way, if you’d like to see my page look to the left and click on the link that will take you there; always happy to have more likes for that page.
 

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