Category Archives: Business

Blog Posts, Comments, Business, Rankings…

I found this quite intriguing, enough for me to decide to write on the topic. I got inspiration for this post from not one, but two blog posts. The first one was from Marcus Sheridan on a post titled 10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model. This post led me to the second post by John Falchetto, titled The Right Traffic And What The 4hour Workweek Post Taught Me About Blogging.

John started with the premise that out of all the blog posts he’d been writing, he was getting lots of comments but none of it turned into business. At the same time, he felt that people reading some of his posts were missing some of the points he was trying to make, and of course that took away from the effectiveness of them, in his mind, and thus the possibility of getting the kind of traffic he was hoping for.

Marcus took this a bit further, and added a conversation he got to have with John.

First, he owned up to how many comments his blog has gotten in a very short period of time; puts me to shame. Second, he owned up to the fact that he hasn’t sold a single product geared to his main business from this blog, even with all those comments.

Third, after his conversation with John, he started to wonder if maybe there were things he could do with his blog that John was starting to do, that being to make sure to write a post a day, sometimes more than one, and increase the prominence of the blog, at the possible exclusion of comments, to potentially generate more income. Of course I’ve kind of simplified the thoughts of both posts, so it’d be a good idea to go read each one of them.

I commented on Marcus’ post, but not on John’s, mainly because John asked a question I wasn’t sure I could answer in a short comment: ‘Which lessons has your blog taught you?‘.

Good question, eh? Well, let’s take a look at it if I may, based on not only the question, but their two posts and the title of this post as well. Numbers please!

Tech Cocktail Week: Mixer & Startup Showcase | 7.11.14
Tech Cocktail via Compfight

1. I used to have a pretty tight blogging schedule for this blog; I still do, but not necessarily by design. I had a yearly goal of 300 posts a year, plain and simple. That meant 25 posts a month on average, and I was able to do it. At some point, though, I decided that it shouldn’t only be about the numbers of posts; I wanted more comments.

So I slowed down the number of posts somewhat, and I started getting more comments. I still don’t come close to the number Marcus or many other people get, but it did increase.

Yet, do you know when the biggest period of growth this blog ever had was? That week last November when I had two blog posts a day, the first one being a regular post and the evening one advertising one of my products.

The overall traffic for this blog shot up drastically, even if comments dropped significantly. Both my Alexa rank and Google Analytics said my numbers increased. And do you know when I had the most traffic to my business site?

The week after when I did the same thing on my business blog that I did on this blog. Very few comments but a drastic rise in visits.

This does seem to prove one thing; the more posts one has, the more traffic one gets. I know someone is going to say “I don’t write that many posts and look at my numbers.” I’ll just point to my latest business blog as an example; I added it to my SEO site in August and without many comments traffic has risen 65% in less than 90 days; wow!

2. With traffic comes higher rankings… of sorts. My Alexa ranking for my SEO site has gone from 2.78 million the day I started the blog on that site to 483,000 and change on Thursday.

That’s not bad for less than 90 days, and that’s just with a post every 3 days. And without all that many comments; it does say something for having more activity. It doesn’t address where the blog would be if I were posting daily, but for now the traffic stats are undeniable.

3. Well, we do have to come down to business, don’t we? Comments don’t equal business; both Marcus and John are correct on that. We all still want comments, but John’s now increasing the number of posts regardless of the number of comments, and Marcus is thinking about it.

Me… I’m not sure. Well, I am sure, but I’m not sure what I can do about it. I’ve always said I didn’t expect this blog to make me a lot of money, but I did hope that it, in combination with other things I was doing, would at least generate more business interest than it has. However, my SEO blog has yet to generate any business interest either, but I figure it’s still kind of early.

I might be able to get a boost after a live presentation I’m a part of next week at a conference called the BizBuzz Social Media Conference here in the Syracuse area, where I’m talking about business blogging; at least it’s part of the overall strategy. But a stat I will report based on a little case study is that out of 36 keyword phrases I came up with before starting the blog I’ve increased in the number I’m found by from 13 to 23, and the rankings are higher as well for all but 2 of them. So, the potential for business there has increased, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway, those are the lessons blogging has taught me regarding these things. Now, I have my own questions. Do you believe writing more blog posts would help your blog improve its rankings? Do you believe you’d be capable of increasing the number of blog posts you write, even if it were just as an experiment? And finally, what do you want from your blog, or blogs?

Man, I love when people make me think! 🙂
 

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Figuring Out Trust Revisited

I’ve written about this concept of trust quite a few times on two of my blogs, which includes this one. The last couple of times I’ve specifically addressed the topic here here was when I wondered why we don’t trust sales people and then when I wrote about why it’s sometimes hard to trust people in general. Now I have another tale for you.


by Thomas Nes Myhre

For about six weeks my brakes had been squealing. I thought it was related to the brake job I’d had 3 weeks earlier at Midas (yes, I’m naming names). I waited 3 weeks, then took it back to them to take a look at the work they’d done. After 10 minutes the mechanic comes to me and takes me into the back to look at my back brakes, as I’d replaced the front brakes. He tells me that they’re metal on metal and that they’re in real bad shape. He also tells me that I need brand new tires. Then he gives me an estimated cost; I’m thinking “are you out of your mind?”

I decide not to do the work there, mainly because as I was sitting in the chair waiting for them to take a look, I started thinking that I’d just had my back brakes done last year, and remembered that I’d actually had them done at Goodyear. My thinking was that if it were the pads, I’d take it back to them and that should be that.

At the same time I started thinking about a few other things. I’d just had my car inspection in July and passed with flying colors. They had mentioned that at some point in the next year I should look at my tires, but there were no red flags. I wondered if my bad brakes were so bad why didn’t the inspection catch it, since that’s one of their checks. Then I wondered why these guys hadn’t said anything about my back brakes when I’d brought the car there weeks earlier. Frankly, things didn’t add up.

So I waited until one day this week and finally took it to Goodyear. Everything was still squeaking, but all I asked them to do was take a look at my brakes overall.

Less than 30 minutes later I got a call at home. The guy said they had taken a look at both my front and back brakes and that there were no problems with either of them. He said they weren’t sure why there was a squeak (more like a squeal), but that the brakes were fine. He then said I would need to replace some tires before winter and that there was a tire sale coming in October and that I should wait for that.

Wow, what to do? Who to trust? The Goodyear guy tells me my brakes are fine, but are they if they’re still squealing? I mean, since they’d have to replace the pads for free, are they pushing me back until something else goes wrong? And what about the Midas people? I’m still feeling insecure about them as well. At least I don’t owe any money.

Move the story ahead to yesterday. My wife’s brakes were also squealing, and she’d had her brakes done last year at Midas a week before I’d had mine done. She decided to take her car to Goodyear after hearing my story about Midas. I figured we’d see what they had to say about her car.

She calls them back after a couple of hours, as we’d gone out for awhile. They tell her they can’t find anything wrong with her brakes and aren’t sure what’s causing it. She’d also had her car inspected in July, and she had no red flags about anything, including her tires. So they didn’t charge her for taking a look and all is as it was.

Wow, talk about major differences. My trust level has gone way up with Goodyear and way down with Midas. I used to always go to Midas whenever I needed brakes, and that particular Midas for nearly 25 years. Of course it’s changed hands often, which means you never really know about the people running things after awhile. But there’s a major difference in $450 and zero, and zero twice against the possibility of close to a thousand dollars means a big deal to me. Guess who’s going to be taking care of my car from now on.

We don’t always get a chance to find out whether we’re being lied to or not. I got a major break this time around because I got to test the truthfulness and reliability of one company versus another company. I’m not going to say that all Midas stores are dishonest, but I’ve certainly just run into one that I don’t trust all that much.

With any business you provide, including your blog posts, are you always making sure you’re being as honest as possible? Have you visited blogs that make you feel like they’re lying to you, or being dishonest? Do you call out dishonesty when you see it? Would you have had the guts to write a post like this one? Go ahead, share your thoughts and your tales.
 

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Being Good In Business

I’m not a great business person. True, I did celebrate the 10th anniversary of my business this summer, so I have found a way to stick around for a good long time. But I’m not a great business person; sometimes I’m not even sure I’m a good business person. Let me tell you why.

Two weeks ago I had to go to small claims court to get money that someone owed me for work I completed. The thing is I made one of those crucial mistakes that probably hits all business people at some point in their life. I did the work before I had the person signed the contract, and then he decided that there was something about the work he didn’t like and he didn’t pay me all he owed me. I did the work because this is someone I’d known for a while and thought I could trust; Judge Judy would have chewed me out for this mistake.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me since I’ve been in business. It is the first time I was owed enough money to sue for. Luckily I won; yay! Or did I? What I agreed to is half that day and half the following Friday, and to also help finish the project, which this guy hadn’t finished even though in court he tried to tell the judge that he’d gone to somebody else to help him with it. Of course I knew better because there are very few people that do this particular thing I do. I did my part, and today if he does his part I should have a check in the mail. The thing is it’s five days later than I should have had this money. That’s being a bad business person.

On another front, I’ve been waiting to be paid by a company I did work for back in April. In this case I did sign a contract which said that I would get paid when they got paid. This was with another guy I have known for some years who told me that their clients usually pay them within 30 days so that I should have my money relatively soon. This could have turned out to be a very big contract so I went with it.

Instead, new players got into the game, the contract got cut short, and I have been waiting for my payment ever since. I had actually been told that I would have this payment a month ago and I’ve been looking for it for a while. Then last Monday the same guy contacted me and tells me there had been an error in the office that was finally corrected and I should have my check this week. Of course nothing has shown up yet.

If you’ve read this blog or my business blog for a while, you know that I basically have three tenets that I base my perception of every person I meet on. Those tenets are honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness. Sometimes in business we tend to make allowances for things that we wouldn’t make allowances for in our personal lives. This sometimes impacts us negatively when it comes to business, whether we work for ourselves or for someone else. After 10 years I’m supposed to know better; I need to start proving it.

Here are five rules I’ve got to put into effect for myself if I’m going to stay in business. These wouldn’t hurt anyone else to follow if they needed business tips, whether your business is online or off-line, and in some cases whether you work for someone else or not. So here we go:

1. I will no longer do any business with anyone without at least getting a deposit up front. The amount of the deposit will vary based on how big the contract is, but it will be anywhere from 25% to 50%. Truth be told, on the first story I told you if I hadn’t got the amount of money I got up front I wouldn’t have been able to get the entire amount in small claims court, and I would have had to make a decision whether to take him to full court or not. That would’ve been really expensive based on the amount of money he owed me, and I could’ve lost out totally. So maybe I wasn’t such a bad business person at all.

2. I will stop lowering my price for most services I provide for someone else. I mainly do this for people I know, but that turns out to be a bad thing when I’m doing something that’s very technical. One of those things you start to learn is that people don’t respect you as a professional, even if they know you, if your price is too low. I was trying to do the first guy a favor which I thought could result in a lot of business on the back end, and he used it to his advantage by delaying the payment I deserved. Sometimes we need to realize when we do specialized services that we need to stick to our guns and our price and dare people to find someone else who can do the work for them. And if they go searching and can’t find someone, if they come back to you raise the price for their wasting your time.

3. I will better define certain terms of my contract so that there is a definitive as to when a project is completed. In this case I did the work in the time I said I would do it, but I never really indicated when I expected to be paid. I did write that I expected to be paid within two weeks of the end of the project, but that left him to interpret that the project ended when he thought it was over. That left me without being paid for seven months. That’s a mistake that won’t happen again.

4. I will better define what will be delivered and what the client can expect. When it comes to SEO work, clients need to understand that the only guarantee they can really get is that their presence on search engines will improve, probably a lot if they have no ranking, but if they have a presence already results might not be as drastic.

When it comes to the specific healthcare work I do, realizing that everyone can’t do it and those other people that do this type of work, which are mainly the very large consulting companies that charge upwards of three times what I normally charge, are someone that I can beat with a better price and better customer service attention.

5. I will not only work to maintain my integrity and the standards and tenets I’ve set for myself and people in my personal life, but I will hold people in business, whether it’s their company or themselves, to the same standards if I’m the one who’s going to be working with them. This is a concept known as “finding the type of clients you want to work with”. I will not work with just anybody for the sake of getting money. I have found that to be mentally draining and not much fun. True, work isn’t always supposed to be fun, but if work is beating you down get away from it and go do something else.

And those are my five things. Is there anything you’d like to add?
 

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An Important Blog Page If You’re Looking To Do Business

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

A woman is down on her luck and has been for a long time. She’s very religious and has always gone to church every Sunday of her life. One day she decides that she’s never asked for anything, and decides to pray to God to ask for a favor.

“Please God, let me win the lottery so that my life will improve.”


not a service I’m providing

She makes this request every day for a week, a couple of times more than once. Finally, the following Sunday, she gets down to pray but says “Please God, why won’t you answer my prayers. I’ve always been a loyal follower, and now you’re my last hope. Won’t you allow me to win the lottery?”

Out of the blue comes a voice that says “Lady, you have to meet me halfway; go buy a ticket.”

Trust me, it’s funnier when said out loud. lol

Anyway, I lead with that joke because I was talking to someone about this blog. I’ve always said that I had never really expected to make money off this blog, but that it wouldn’t depress me. I said that I’d written more than 1,100 posts on many different topics, many addressing things I could do for others, but I’d gotten very few responses. I said I wasn’t sure what else there was I could do other than continue to write every once in awhile about things I could do for people.

My friend listened and then asked “Do you have a services page on your blog telling people what you do?”

Out of the mouth of the uninitiated, I realized it was something I’d never added to this page. Sure, I talked about my business to a degree, but I had never thought about creating a Services page to go at the top of this blog along with all those other pages.

Goodness folks, it has to be one of the goofiest things in the world to forget, but the easiest and one of the most important pages to create. I know I’ve been to other people’s blogs, and some of them have this page. Why I had a mental block about it is beyond me. Anyway, I now have one; it’s fairly simple right now, but as time goes on I’m sure I’ll flesh it out more. After all, it’s mainly to serve a function, not to be overly conversational.

Just something to think about if you’re ever hoping someone will like what you have to say on your blog and then start thinking about maybe hiring you for something.
 

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Why Is Everyone Busting On A-Listers?

There seems to be something new going around these days. I call it the “build yourself up by busting on someone else” syndrome. Frankly, unless you have a good reason for busting on someone in particular, I find it distasteful. However, when the only reason you’re busting on someone is because they happen to be successful, you look petty.


via Flickr

In this case I’m going to talk about the concept of A-list people. On the internet we know who these people are; Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Matt Cutts, John Chow, on and on and on. These are people that have and are making pretty good money online, get invited to speak here and there, and end up talking about how they make money and the like. Okay, maybe Matt Cutts doesn’t belong on the list for that reason, but I’ve seen people saying things about him that aren’t all that nice either.

In the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mindicon by T. Harv Eker, he talks about how people perceive those who seem to have made it as stuck up and only into themselves and how the hatred eventually comes to them, and how he used to think the same way until he started seeing things in a much different light. He saw how many of these people were really generous with their time and their money and saw how just because someone had money and success and influence (did I use that word again?) and it didn’t necessarily make them bad, and there wasn’t anything wrong with them actively trying to pursue these things. By the way, that’s an affiliate link to a book I highly recommend you check out; it’ll illuminate your mind.

What got me initially thinking about this was a guest post on Danny Brown’s blog titled Why The A-list Conversation Hurts Us that I totally disagreed with. In essence, the author stated that we the people should just stay away from these guys and break them down so everyone else has a chance at some kind of success. I totally disagreed with the premise because in my mind if these folks fall someone else will eventually become the A-listers and then another person will come along and say we should beat these people down as well. It’s a cycle I hate, one that I not only refuse to be a part of, but in a perfect scenario I know that most of us, if given the chance, would love to have the opportunity to get there.

Yeah, I know, I hear all of you now saying “oh no, I wouldn’t want that.” Please, let’s be truthful. We write because we want our words out there. We want someone to read them and react to them. We’d love to have more and more people see what we have to say, agree with what we have to say, lament because we don’t say enough of it, and then start throwing money and accolades our way to get us to write more, give them more, and let them love us. Okay, a bit extreme, but you know what I mean. I’m not saying everyone wants this, but I know the majority certainly do.

We want to share our knowledge, do it the old fashioned way. We want to be honest with our message, whether we entertain or pontificate or garner support or whatever it is we do. We want to get there on our words and our passion… just like the A-listers did. We want to be of the people, but we want the people to elevate us… just like the A-listers did.

Just so you know, this isn’t a new thought of mine. Our friend Sire wrote a post back in 2009, the most visited post of his blog ever, titled Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of ProBlogger And John Chow, where he stated that those folks get enough love from others so he’s not going to give them any, and I stated (first comment actually) that I would be continuing to follow those blog because they gave good information, and they occasionally respond to people as well. As a matter of fact, on that post Sire had a nice conversation with Darren Rowse, which I thought was pretty classy of Darren to show up. Sire actually promoted my blog on that post, which was also cool, but he also had to deal with a few people who thought he was using the other people’s names just to raise his own profile, which may not have been fair but man, it definitely worked as his blog took off from there.

And see, that’s one of the points here. I know it’s not what Sire did on purpose, but it’s my belief that so many other people are really just trying to drag someone else down by going after them to inflate themselves. In my mind, if they can do it to those people, they could come back and do it to me. And I don’t want it done to me I don’t know that I could stand on the sidelines and take it without griping to a degree; I’m like that. lol

But maybe I’m just the sensitive type, so I’ll ask you these three questions; this will prove who reads and who just posts drive-by comments and moves on. One, if you were on the fast track to being an A-lister, would you turn it down, shut down your blog and never write again? Two, would you go out of your way to beat someone else down just to build yourself up, no matter what? And three, if you were succeeding at something that you’d worked for, would you like it if someone came along and suddenly started putting you down mainly because you’ve made it, even if they said it was something else (trust me, you’d know)?

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