Wednesday, December 16, 2009

0

Google Alerts: Who is Talking About You Online?

Google Name Alerts

by Felice Gerwitz



What are People Saying?

You have been online for some time, and now you wonder how you are doing. Is anyone talking about you? Are your products interesting? Does anyone care about your blog, twitter or facebook posts?

Other than asking your friends, your blog readers, or posting a query on your social media pages, it would be difficult to really know. After all, how do you tactfully ask... "Is anyone paying attention to all this great information I'm giving you?"

Going Deep Undercover with a little help from Google:

Google to the rescue. You can set up a range of queries to check the internet to see what people are saying about you and recieve the informaiton via your email address. It is very simple. Go to the following url:  http://www.google.com/alerts Here you can set up the information you want queried. Make sure if you have a common name to include a middle initial or name.

Here is what you will be asked:

Search Terms:
Type:
How Often:
Email Length
Deliver To:

You would type in the search term you would like to find. As for type you can search blogs, news, web, video or groups. I have mine set to "comprehensive" which means all of those items will be searched. As for how often, I set mine to once a week. Options are once a day, or as it happens. For email length you can select up to 20 results or 50 results. For delivery you can use your email address.

Search Terms

You can search as many terms as you would like. If you sell a particular product you can query the name of the product. You can use this to go to a blog post and answer or comment. This allows you the added exposure of posting to blogs where you have good information to offer. Remember you can fine tune your search results to blogs or specific areas such as news. In the meantime when you see your name mentioned when appropriate post a comment. You don't want it to appear that you are spying on the person mentioning your name, but you can use it to your advantage.

Random Views without Purpose

You can get carried away with this, and all online pursuits if you do not have a purpose or focus. Remember to keep your marketing plan in mind. Use this service in the way it is designed, to obtain information that will help you to give great customer support, and fill a need, or learn what your customers really think.

Have you used this service effectively? If so, share your results or tips with us.

3

Free Keyword Research Tools

If you want your business website to be found on the internet, then you need to make sure that your website content is "keyword rich". And in order to know what keywords you should include in your content, you need to know what phrases people are searching for in your industry.

A great way to find this information is by using free keyword research tools. They can help you optimize your website copy to display in search results when people are looking for your kind of business. They can even help you discover new market niches for your business.

Google offers a great keyword research tool that can help you to find these keywords:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

For example: If you own a nail salon, you could enter "nail salon" into the keyword search tool, like this:

You'll see that the Google keyword tool returns to you phrases that people have actually searched on that match your original phrase. So now you can view this list of keywords and pick those popular terms that most match your business or service, and you can then modify your website or blog to include these popular search terms and attract more people to your site. Having these keywords in your content is how Google determines when your site should be displayed in someone's search results.

Here are 2 more free keyword research tools that you can also try:

http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/

http://www.wordpot.com/

So, there you have it - have fun! And if you have a favorite tool for finding keyword phrases that you like to use, please leave a comment here and let everyone know about it - We all look forward to hearing from you!


Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
Cape Coral, FL Empowered Networking Chapter
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Your Blog Purpose

Okay, so you've decided to write a blog. What are you going to do with it? Have you created a plan? Many times blog posts are random, the thought of the day, or perhaps as piece of someone's mind. What keeps the reader coming back for more? This is a much discussed topic around the water cooler of internet gurus (virtual cooler of course). Here is the answer: sought after information. 

In analysis of good blogs I have found a current thread. The popular blogs are all giving readers something they want, good information about a topic. One of my favorite blogs is written by a literary agent from CA, who has around 2500 followers. He gives very good information and he interacts with those who post on his blog. He answers questions, clarifies points, and when his audience recommends he changes his blog post to include a vital point he forgot, he adds it.

Decide on your focus. Yes, you can change this. A blog, after all isn't a book...but it is an article (well, a short article). Therefore you should have a focus of what you want your blog to accomplish. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I 
    • want to be branded as an expert
    • want to establish a brand
    • want to create a readership of eventual buyers
    • want to monetize my blog
    • have a clear vision and goal for my blog
    • have the time to write blog posts

If the answer is yes, then here are some ideas to jump-start your blog purpose and keep readers coming back for more:

1. Write an ongoing series. If you have a topic you can write about in great length but know a good blog post is around 350-150 words, you can break it up into shorter posts.

2. Write about important information in your niche market or field. For example, if you are a Realtor and have great advice on finding key locations, make suggestions about how to find a good home repair person, what to look for in a good home inspectors, lawn services, etc. You would be giving good value on your blog, you will have readers coming back for more.

3. You can interview important people to know in your trade or industry. This too can be an ongoing series, or perhaps a one-time per month event to keep the posts fresh and interesting.

4. You can review products or books. This is a good way to do something you enjoy as well as report on your opinion. Remember, if you really dislike a product it might be better not to write about it. Reviews should be even handed, pro's and con's and fair.

5. Use a great technique (similar to this blog) and one I use regularly on my blog for authors, obtain guest bloggers. Why? It gives you credibility (getting others to write for you), establishes a routine, people are posting to your blog, and new content.

Best of all be consistent. I think the blogs I dislike the most are the rambling blogs about nothing in particular. Get a focus in your article, keep it short and best of all, give value. That will keep readers coming back.

Felice Gerwitz is an author, publisher and consultant for aspiring authors.
http://www.InformationInANutshell.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

1

Focus - Your Eye Glasses for Life


I've been very fortunate thus far in life to not require eye glasses for reading or for distance. But the time has come that glasses are required for reading. Although I can see to read without glasses, my vision becomes crystal clear with glasses. Glasses help me achieve my goal of reading faster and more easily.

The equivalent of glasses for your Life vision is Focus. Accomplishing a goal without focus is like trying to read without glasses - everything seems a little blurry, your progress is slowed, stalled out or you have given up or decide to do something else. The video clip below gives some great tips on Focus and the difference it makes in your progressing and achieving your goals.



Is your vision for 2010 a little fuzzy? Contact me for a complimentary 1/2 coaching session and increase your focus and move from clear to crystal clear.

Karen Zeigler
Speaker & Life Coach
Inspiration to Change Coaching
www.inspirationtochange.org

Friday, December 4, 2009

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What do you stand for?

Moral values is generally a personal view of values. And personal morals tend to reflect beliefs which can reflect the influence of religion, culture, family, and friends.
Ethical values embraces Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

What is business ethics?
There really is no such thing as business ethics. Terms like “professional ethics”, “work ethics”, and “business ethics” are misnomers. The principles we use in the workplace should be the same principles we use in other areas of our lives – they are just applied to business situations.
Sometimes, due to workplace pressures and a lack of ethical behavior by competing companies, some people feel that ethical principles are open to a relative interpretation. “When they do it differently, we’ll do it differently.”
So “What do you stand for?” You can find no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealings and strict adherence to the view that you for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well. Human relations – be they personal or professional – should not be zero sum games.
“Trust is at the root of any economic system based on mutually beneficial exchange. In virtually all transactions, we rely on the word of those with whom we do business. Without mutual trust, and market participants abiding by a rule of law,

no economy can prosper.” – Alan Greenspan

If you value your reputation, and would like the trust of both clients and contacts, a strong commitment to ethical values is essential.
Whether the circumstance is business or life, ethical values should be ground rules for behavior. When we live by these values we are demonstrating that we are worthy of trust.


Joann Frazier

President of Empowered Network, Inc.

Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples - SWFL

Women's Professional Network

Thursday, December 3, 2009

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Convert Word Docs to PDF Online - for Free!

PDF is an electronic document format that can be read by using the freely available Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is widely accepted as the format of choice across most major browsers, computers. mobile devices, etc.

There are many advantages to supplying your commonly used documents in pdf format on your website:

* Your document will look exactly as you expect it to look for anyone, no matter what kind of computer they have - MAC or PC or cell phone - and no matter what browser they use - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, etc.

* If you need to make a change to a document, all you need to do is upload a new one to your website so your recipients can download the latest version.

And just imagine all the money and trees you'll save by not having to throw away those outdated printed price lists and marketing materials by letting them download your information directly from your website in electronic format. When you need to make a change, just modify your original Word document, convert it to a pdf, upload it to your site and you're done - no waste and no expense!

And best of all, here is my Wise Web Lady secret tip -- a great free resource where you can upload your Word docs online and convert them to pdf format - for free:

http://www.pdfonline.com/

I use this service frequently and I've always been happy with the pdf document that is created. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
Cape Coral, FL Empowered Networking Chapter
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

0

ABC's of Blog Feeds and Submissions

Blog Post Feeds
by Felice Gerwitz 




We will build it and they will come is truly the stuff of movies. You can build it but they won't come unless your blog is syndicated. What is syndication? It is an air-wave or channel that your blog runs on so that others can find it, or "stumble-upon" it. Having a blog go "live" that is on a feed of its own is normally taken care of through your blog platform, whether it is blogger, wordpress or your own website blog. Yet, having an RSS feed and letting other directories know about your blog is a good idea and can increase your readership.

Blog Directories or Search Engines


One way to list your blog is to do a search of the top blog directories and submit your blog. Here are a few that I have used:

Blog Catalog
Technorati
Stumble Upon It
Search Engine Directories Yahoo/ Google
My Blog Log


Blog RSS  Feed Submission

FeedBurner
RSS Network
2RSS
RSS Mad

Of course visiting other blogs, and posting a comment is a good way to get interaction. I have recently tried, using marketing strategy to use social networks to get the word out. This is a very good way, as well. Do you find one directory especially helpful? Have you noticed a jump in your visits after submitting your RSS feed? If so, share the link, or result information with us.

Monday, November 30, 2009

1

Brain Freeze



Have ever attempted to slurp down any Icy or Popsicle too quickly on a summer's day? If the answer is yes then you'll remember what happens next - Brain Freeze!! It's funny to everyone watching but for the person caught in the brain freeze it's pretty debilitating. Everything stops until the brain freeze passes. Unfortunately adults can experience a different brain freeze of sorts every day. One that stops progress in its track and sometimes stalls it permanently.

The adult version of a brain freeze occurs when we use the word "try" in our vocabulary when referring to goals, actions, or tasks we would like to accomplish. In speaking engagements I've explained this principle by a little exercise. Let's do that now. Pick an object sitting in front of you (a cup, pen, etc.)

1. Pick up the object. Ok, now put it down.
2. "Try" to pick up the object. What happened?

Almost without exception people participating in this exercise are stumped with what to do in step #2. Our brains do not know what to do with "try". We can do a task or Not do a task but we are stumped when we "try".

So whether doing a task like sales calls will help you achieve your goal or Not doing task like aimlessly surfing the net remember eliminating the word "try" will unlock the brain and get your brain back on track towards your goals.

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Lists to LIVE By

If an alien landed on earth today it wouldn't take him long to figure out we are a society that lives by lists. There is the daily to do list, the grocery list, the bucket list, every day brings another top 10 list of trivial and often useless information. And the "list of lists" goes on and on. But for the most part the lists can be a source of stress, frustration, and feelings of incompetence. By the day, by the year, by the life time there is so much to do! Each time one item is marked off, three new ones are added.

So is there a list or lists that can actually bring fulfillment, enjoyment and more happiness to your life? I contend there is. In fact I think it will not only bring you those things but also will allow you to have a greater impact on your family, your customers, and those you serve. So what is this list? Your Priority List. In fact I recommend you have two: Professional Priority List and Personal Priority List. Here's an example of what those might look like

Professional Priority List
~Developing new business
~Managing existing clients
~Leading and mentoring employees
~Continuing to learn and grow my skill base

Personal Priority List
~Self-care: eating well, working out, pampering
~Spending quality time with husband
~Spending quality time with kids
~Spending quality time with friends
~Exercising my faith with involvement and service
~Managing the household
~Fun and recreation

So it's your turn. What matters most for you? What REALLY matters most to you? Make your personal and professional priority list. But the exercise doesn't end here.

Now that you have a list of what matters most to you - your professional and personal priorities take 5 minutes and look at your calendar for the last two weeks. How many events, tasks, activities did you spend time on that when evaluated really aren't on your list of priorities? It's not uncommon that more than half of things people spend their time on don't even reflect their top priorities. The potential to experience joy, satisfaction and happiness lives in your calendar. You will begin to experience more of what matters to you when you schedule less of what doesn't.

And one final question. When you created your priority list were You on it? May I ask whose list will you appear on if you don't appear on your own? When we refuse to address our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs our personal growth stalls. Instead of being able to care for all the important people in your life you run out of energy, get frustrated more easily, and lose the joy of living.

Now next time you need to create a to do list, project list or other list of tasks to be done first grab your priority lists. Use your Priority Lists as a foundation for what activities make your list and which ones don't. Now that is Lists to LIVE by.

For additional resources on this topic check out Remodel Your Reality: 7 Steps to Rebalance Your Life and Reclaim Your Passion by Kim Fulcher, CEO of Compass

Karen Zeigler
Life Coach
www.inspirationtochange.org
www.mylifecompass.com/karenzeigler
karen@inspirationtochange.org

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2

How to Quickly Resize Photos on Your PC

Resizing your photos can take a lot of time, especially if you are looking to resize a lot of photos at once. But there is a great free option available that you can download to your PC that can make this task much easier.

If you are running Windows XP, then you can download the free Image Resizer Tool directly from Microsoft. This great free utility lets you right click on your images on your PC and click on a new selection "Resize Pictures" where you can easily resize your photo to a more managable size for the web or for emailing.

Or, if you are running Windows Vista, you can download the Photo Resizer Clone Tool and you will have the same free functionality available to you.

Both utilities make it easy to resize a batch of photos in one click. You can highlight all of the photos you want to resize, then right-click and select "Resize Photos". The resize screen that pops up lets you select from standard resize sizes or you can customize the size that you prefer.

By default, a new image for each highlighted original will be created with a new name for you. Or you can select Advanced and select from several other customized settings.

I used this technique when Joann recently asked me to upload new photos to the Empowered Networking Photo Gallery and it saved me a lot of time. Give it a try next time you have to resize your photos and let me know how it worked for you!

Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
Cape Coral, FL Empowered Networking Chapter
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

0

Getting More Blog Traffic

More Traffic to Your Blog
by Felice Gerwitz



So, you have a blog. You took the time to format, check and double check those keywords. And you find that you don't have any blog traffic. How do you get people flocking to your blog? Advertise. How?

The Problem:

Many people approach blogs in the opposite way that they approach other business ventures. No one would think about opening a store front and then letting people know about it. There would be all kinds of promotions, grand-openings, announcements, and/or print ad campaigns to let people know about your new business. It is no different online. One of the best was of getting more traffic to your blog is by advertising, and I don't mean click ads although they can be effective, they are costly. Yes, you need a blog in order to advertise it, but once you do, all your other social network and print ads need to be in place.


The Solution:

Let your facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social network followers know about your blog. Use blog widgets to allow your readers to send the information about your blog, easily to their social network sites.

Twitter and Facebook users are always looking for good content for their followers. A blog post that is a good read will be happily tweeted by your followers. Create a link so that the reader can easily do this with a push of a button. There are all types of add ons for your browser that make this easy. We will discuss some of these application in future posts on using social networking.

Other Quick Ways to Get More Blog Traffic


  • In your signature line in emails.
  • On your business card
  • Letterhead stationary, brochures
  • Website
  • In your newsletter
  • Print Ad
  • Banner ads
  • Forums
  • Responding to other blog posts
  • Article writing
  • Social networking
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Plaxo
    • Youtube
Regardless of how you announce your blog post, be sure to choose at least two or three ways to advertise with each post. If you do, you will notice a marked incline in the number of followers and comments. Did you find this information helpful? If so, help us by letting your social networks know about it. And...do you have a good way to advertise your blog? What has worked well for you? Please share your insights here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

0

Why you should wait to upgrade to QuickBooks 2010

"New QuickBooks 2010 is available!
Hurry and get your copy now!"


This is one call-to-action that I suggest you delay. Some users may be required to upgrade immediately because Intuit will no longer support some critical services in the older versions. But, for everyone else my suggestion is to wait just a few more months.

Every year, Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, releases the latest and greatest version with much fanfare. Please be aware that this new software is being released with undetected bugs that will cause you much frustration. These bugs could cause QuickBooks to become very unpredictable, locking up the program or shutting it down completely. Even the simplest of tasks can cause fatal errors.

Now that I have your attention, let me assure you that this is only temporary. Once the public starts installing the new version, error messages and user feedback reports will start pouring in to Intuit. Their engineers will analyze this information and create update patches to be downloaded and installed. The update quantity will start to dwindle as the bugs are repaired and in a few months the majority of the issues should be resolved.

With that said, I do encourage you to buy the 2010 QuickBooks program. It offers some great new features that will definitely streamline your business. My suggestion is that you wait until after the first of the year to prevent a mountain of frustrations. The QuickBooks program was created to help business owners simplify their accounting tasks. Both Intuit and I would deeply regret any new user developing a dislike for the program because of this stumbling block.

So when you do install the new software, make sure you update immediately before you start using the program. The update will be lengthy, so expect to start it and walk away for a while. The wait will be worth it! And if you encounter any issues after that, give me a call. I’ll be glad to help.

 

Monday, November 16, 2009

1

The Inner Game - Play to Win

When you think about playing a game what is one of the first questions you ask?

Chances are whether it's football, tennis, golf, bridge or monopoly the main interest is what does it take to win? Even in the most recreational board games or the family football game at Thanksgiving - we generally play to win! Whether it's bragging rights until the next family gathering or big dollars at stake. We understand the primary goal of being in the game is to win.

But when it comes to the game of life are you playing to win? If there were one strategy that would catapult your efforts to the finish line would you clear your calendar to learn it? Would you spend time each week training and fine tuning the strategy? It's easy to say YES! But the truth is many already know that one strategy and yet do nothing.

Every win, every success in your personal life, every success in your business, your relationships, your health all begin with the power of a thought. Zig Ziglar puts it this way "Others can stop you temporarily. Only you can stop yourself permanently." In Proverbs it's said like this "As a man thinketh, so is he." The game of Life is won when you win the inner game of the mind.

Almost every day people approach me as a Life Coach to help them work on specific goals. Yet as we begin to talk about the goals they want to achieve, the steps they are taking, the steps they want to take, etc. there lack of movement towards their goals generally grinds to a halt because of their thoughts. Fear, self-doubt, lack of confidence, self-defeating thoughts, are just a few of the issues that quickly come to the surface as the key struggle that is holding them back from achieving their goals and the life they desire.

Here are a few of the tips and tools that I use personally as well as work with my clients on implementing in their lives as well.

~Become aware of the thoughts you are having. Write them down or even say them aloud. The power in this is that once these items are stated objectively it's clear they are untrue.
~Take the thought captive. Throw out the thought that isn't serving your success and replace it with one that does serve you. For example: Thinking "They don't need what I have to offer so why make contact" to thinking "What I offer is of value and to serve others I must reach out".
~Feed your mind with what is true, what is positive, what is right. You can do this through books, tapes, music, the people you choose to listen to or associate with
~Identify the area of life that the negative thoughts shows up for you the most. Whether it's in relationships, career, health, or others. Then begin educate yourself with successful means, methods and thoughts of how to win in that area.
~Reprogram your thoughts. Now that you are aware of the negative thought, you have taken the thought captive, now it's time to replace the negative thought with a positive truth.

And like winning any game, your inner game gets stronger with practice, practice, practice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

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What does Passion have to do with your Fort Myers Business?

What do you imagine the world might be like if we always lived aligned with our passions? From my perspective and experience, people would be happier because they could make all their decisions based on what is right for them; attracting more of what they want in life. They could move into action toward their goals with ease and clarity about what is important to them. This clarity and focus could increase their success and their Joy Factor. Magic happens! Are you ready to have that type of magic appear in your Fort Myers, Cape Coral, or Naples World?

The test is one that you cannot fail, one of the reasons it is so wonderful. It is also different in that we usually have to learn something first and then get tested on it. This experience is the opposite. Once you take the test, the learning begins.
The test I am referring to is The Passion Test. It is the basis of the best-selling book by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. They were once married, now they are not – just best friends – but that is a whole other beautiful story.

Why is living with joy and passion important for you and your business? Here it is, plain and simple. When people are happy and living a life they love, they are more successful.When will you increase your Joy Factor and become wildly happy on a regular basis, enjoying increased success and truly loving the life you live? How about today?
Begin with these three simple tips that will connect you to your gut. You have heard the term listen to your gut? Here is another way to honor that statement.
1. Gain clarity on your passions.2. Use them as a compass3. Trust your direction
“When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent you are clear.” Janet Bray Attwood
When you are fuzzy about what you want, then you get fuzzy results. Are you clear or fuzzy about what you want to create in your life? Is it aligned with your passions, your deepest desire? You may be saying, “I am not even sure what my passions are!” This is where The Passion Test comes in. Keep reading for details on how you can take The Passion Test. Gain the clarity that will support you in living the life you love. Even if you just have a very basic idea of what it is, spend time pondering what it would look like in your life if you were living it.
One of my passions is to be the Goddess of Joy! I know that when I am taking care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, spending time in nature and smiling often, that I am living in alignment with that passion. I put focus there and get to be the Goddess of Joy every day! I got clear on this passion and it has manifested in my life in a much stronger way. Once you gain clarity on your passions, you can use them to support you in making decisions. How many times have you come across an opportunity to do or have something in your life, but you could not make a decision? Once you get clear on what your passions are, you’ll use them as a compass to support you in making decisions.
One of my colleagues who took The Passion Test training with me, got very clear that one of her passions was to make a positive impact in the world through speaking. She wasn’t quite sure how she was going to do it with a full time job, yet she was certain that this was what would bring her the most fulfillment. About a week after she claimed that passion, her boss came to her and offered her an early retirement. Can you guess what she did? She used her passion for speaking as a compass to guide her decision. She chose in favor of her passions, even though she was second guessing how she was going to pay the bills. She has now started to build a career as a speaker and Passion Test facilitator. It is a lot easier to choose when you are clear on what brings you fulfillment.
As a Fort Myers, Cape Coral, or Naples business owner, you come across decisions daily. What do you use as your compass? You can get a compass at a camping supply store, or you can find one in your heart. You choose. -Wendy Watkins, Passion Fruit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

0

What is Your Internet Strategy?

We all start out with good intentions when we decide to build a website for our business.

But if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

The sad truth is few businesses have a well thought out website business strategy.


Most know that having a business website can be important to increasing their business bottomline, but few will see any significant improvement in increased sales or profit unless they have a well thought out online business plan.

Finding the time to develop an effective internet strategy can be difficult and time-consuming if you don’t know the right questions to ask. There are so many other things in your business that require your attention, it can be tempting to push ahead with building a website before taking the time to prepare.

But without a clear strategy in place, poor online business decisions can put an added drain on your already strained budgets, and can even be the difference between staying in business or closing up your doors.

To be effective, your website and online marketing strategy need to be part of your overall business goals and objectives. It needs to be aligned with your current offline business plan and strategies so your online tactics work with your business and not against it.

Once you know where you want to go, your path to get there becomes very clear and the tools that will help you get there become even clearer.

Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

0

Keywords: Optimizing Your Blog Post

Part 3

Keywords

The word "key" has many connotations. For me, it deals with opening the proverbial door to find something new. Therefore, when I think about keywords I believe they are important to any well written blog post. By using them effectively you will help your blog rankings. Here is the information in a nutshell:

Why Should I use Keywords?

Keywords are used by the internet search engines to help organize data. We are all well aware of the power of looking up a string of "keywords" to find something of value online. I penned a book many years ago for families using the Internet, "Virtual-Field-Trips: An Online Study Guide."  In this book I had to explain how to search online! We have come a very long way. In fact, back then Google was not even one of the choices of recommended search engines.

As the internet continues to change, we can only hold onto the coat-tails of those in the know, and be dragged along, or we can arm ourselves with the information to be the leader of the pack. One suggestion is to follow blogs such as Marshable and others that stay ahead of the pack with timely information.


How do I use Keywords?
Your keyword should reflect the topic of your post, be used in the title, and in the first few sentences of the first paragraph. These words should also be used in the body of your text. Make sure your sentences are authentic.
 
What Keywords Should Your Use?

First, identify you client base. Then decide what keywords they would employ when searching for a particular service. Think: "If I was the customer what would I look for?" This will give you a starting point. Searching for keywords can be like looking for a needle in a haystack unless you have some important tools to help you.

How do I find Keyword Stats?
Statistics from strings of words are mined by companies with sophisticated software. These sources allow you to see what words, or word-strings are the most searched for by giving them a number rank. For example the word "book" has a higher ranking than the word "novel" (which means a fiction-book), as you can see the word book would rank higher because it encompasses all books rather than a specific sub-set.


What Tools Can I Use?

Once again, there are free services as well as those with a fee attached. I've use both and will admit that the services with fees tend to be well worth the money. One great feature is they store your data on a page you can access as long as you subscribe to your account and they allow you the ease of downloading an entire list. The service I use is WordTracker, but there are many free services. Use the ones you feel are the best.

Next post: Making your blog shine

Felice Gerwitz
Speaker, Author, Publisher, Consultant to Aspiring Authors
http://www.InformationInANutshell.com
http://www.MediaAngels.com
http://www.MediaAngels.com/socialnetworking

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1

Yes You Can - Say No!

If you have been following along with the last couple posts I hope this finds you with a little less on your plate and a lot more breathing room in your schedule. Shedding those unnecessary tasks and unwanted commitments is a great feeling. Sort of like shedding an extra 10 pounds. Your mind is clear, there is a bounce in your step, you are full of energy and ready to embrace the day. It feels so good!

But just like dieters can yo-yo and put back on the weight you can yo-yo with your time management habits as well. So how do you keep that breathing room in your schedule? How do you keep your plate from overflowing again? The answer lies in a small two letter word - NO! What thoughts are going through you mind as your read that sentence? Here are a few you might identify with:

~I can't say No - what will people think of me
~I can't say No - it's my family, boss, religious group
~I can't say No - I love to do __________
~I can't say No - How much time could it take? I can get this done easily between __________ and _________

There are probably many other reasons or fears that you could come up with as explanations for why you can't say no. But let me challenge you to look for the reasons you should say Yes. Is there ample benefit to you for saying Yes? What questions should you ask yourself (and perhaps your spouse or business partner) to determine whether the commitment you are being asked to make is worth saying Yes too.

As a Life Coach my goal is to inspire you to discover the strength and courage you have within yourself to live your best life. And to empower you with tools that will help you live that life now - not next week or next year. So what questions should you ask to determine whether you should say Yes or No to a commitment that is being proposed.


1. Does the proposed commitment meet my needs?
Now many may say at first glance well that sounds selfish. But I beg to differ. We all have needs and when those needs go unmet life doesn't run smoothly, we lack joy, and we rarely reach our full potential. For instance in my email box today I received an invitation to go dancing with our youth leadership team this Saturday. In reviewing this question to that invitation I can say Yes it meets my needs in four ways - the need to exercise, the need to have fun, the need to bond with other youth leaders that I serve with, the need to have time with my husband. So for this question the answer is Yes, yes, yes, yes.

2. Does the proposed commitment support my values? Everyone's values are different but two of mine are friendship and marriage. I value very much those relationships in my life. In addition in a different angle it also supports my value to serve because this particular get together will be getting to know better the team that I serve with on a weekly basis. So the answer to this question is also yes.

3. Does the proposed commitment further my priorities? Yes again. My marriage is a priority and so is my health. This commitment is the best type because it supports multiple priorities and I get to have fun while I'm doing it. This is the appropriate use of multi-tasking.

4. Do I have enough time and energy to commit 100% to the proposed activity? In my example since this is a one time event so I can say Yes. If this were an invitation to take a dance class as a group over 6 consecutive Saturday nights then my answer might well change from Yes to No.

Take a minute and put those four questions on an index card. Tuck them in your planner or by your computer if you schedule your appointments on line. Now next time you are asked to take on something new, see if you can give the proposed commitment 4 yeses. If not then remember: Yes You Can - Say NO!

0

Step Away From the Cash and Hand Over Your Receipts

Documentation is an important key to any bookkeeping system. Income, expenses and everything in between require a thorough and accurate paper trail. This is even more crucial for cash transactions because the paper trail is virtually non-existent and without proper records, the business cannot claim the cash expenses on its tax return.

I have found that most business owners tend to treat cash by a different set of rules. It is in their possession, there is no record of it and it is free to use as they wish. However, these undocumented transactions affect gross income, overall expenses and the business’ bottom line profitability. And deep down inside everyone knows how the IRS feels about it!

Cash income needs to be deposited into the bank account along with other forms of payment received. If business expenses are paid with cash, it must be documented with receipts (see QuickBooks Tip below). This is also true of ATM withdrawals from the business account. Receipts verify where the cash was spent and any remaining cash should be deposited back into the account with full disclosure of the cash source (ie: “remainder of ATM withdrawal 10-12-09”).

Retail businesses might find it helpful to have a Daily Cash Sheet to record each day’s activity. This sheet will help track the cash receipts as well as the cash expenses that have occurred. If cash receipts accumulate for several days, the total of the eventual cash deposit must equal the sum of the cash receipts for all the days included.

Often an owner/shareholder will use personal cash for a business expense. There should be an equity or liability account to code owner cash transactions. An accountant can recommend the appropriate type of account for tracking this based on the situation. It is important to keep good records of how much money an owner/shareholder has given her company as this money could either be repaid or recorded to increase the equitable value of the company.

A business may not have a locked petty cash box, but handle business cash as if that box existed. Document every penny – who, what, where, when and why. These documented transactions will outline a history whereby the petty cash activity can be reconciled just like a bank account. These methods will keep the business IRS compliant and maximize the ability to analyze the business’ activities.



QUICKBOOKS TIP:  Making a deposit where income cash was spent on an office expense

1. Receive Payment from the customer as cash.

2. Create Deposit in bank account.

3. On an additional line of the deposit, enter the source of the expense (Office Max), the expense account (Office Supplies) and then the expense amount as a negative number.

This method will decrease the total to match the deposit slip and will also increase the business expense. The client gets full credit for their payment, the business expense has been documented and the deposit matches the bank statement activity making the monthly reconcile easier.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

0

Blogging: Time Saving Devices

Part 2
Blogging: Time Savers

We've already established that time is a commodity many of us do not have in abundance. Therefore, making the most out of our time is essential.

Here are some other quick and easy-to-use time saving tips when blogging.

1. Have a theme for your blog
2. Ideas
3. Plan a series
4. Use blog features
5. Scour news stories
6. Be user friendly
7. Get rid of nasty code



1. A Theme:

Having a theme for your blog will greatly cut down in the frustration of wondering what to post next. This will give you a place to begin. Use a notepad (or word document on your computer) and list some ideas for your blog. Pick the one idea that is the most encompassing of your general overall customer reach or client base.

2. Ideas

I have too many ideas and too little time. Therefore a handy device that I use is Mind Mapper software. You can search online for free versions, in fact Wikipedia has several download links for free software. This has been a life saver for me in terms of organizing ideas for upcoming book projects. This can even be used for work flow, or to-do lists. I own software that has been purchased (MindMapper 5.0) and it has paid for itself many times over. When writers block strikes you can look at your idea list and pull some fresh ones out. Make sure you add some when you take some away.

3. Plan a series

One idea can lead to another and another. If you think about your blog post as one long series that will help you keep with the topic flow and expand upon another thought. I personally know authors who have taken their blog posts and turned them into free e-books or obtained book contracts because of the number of blog followers. Why would your readers come back daily to check on your posts? Is it because you have enticed them with a "what's coming" at the end of the post? Use these devices and watch your numbers soar. (You will spend less time in advertising your blog as well.)

4. Use your blog features

You can write blog posts many days ahead of time and schedule when they will become "live." This is a time saving feature. Write when you have the time.


5. News Stories

Does your blog contain up to the minute news? If not, you may consider inserting some trends from time to time. This helps your readership, does not take long to find (make sure you subscribe to information sites that provide good sources), and will liven up an otherwise  same-ole post.

6. Be user friendly

Are there applications on your blog that will allow readers to tweet or facebook a post of interest? Does your blog speak down to people or is it easily understood. If you use a word the reader may not understand do you link to the site with the information readily available. Don't make your reader work. Let your blog be a place to find information quickly and easily.

7. Nasty Code

If you use a word processor to write  your blog (and you should), many times there is html code that is embedded in the document. If you control-copy-and-paste from the word document into your blog post screen, you will bring all that code along and mess up your blog post. Use this simple life saving technique. Copy your word document (Highlight your document (Ctrl key and A), then hold the Ctrl key, and hit the "C" for copy)...then open notepad... and paste (Ctrl key and the letter V). Then copy the entire document from notepad and paste it into your blog. It will look identical to your word document all without the annoying code.

Review shortcuts to copy and paste:
Highlight All: Ctrl + A
Copy All: Ctrl + C
Paste All: Ctrl + V

Next post: Keywords...using them will help your blog ranking.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1

Local Search Engine Secrets

If your business relies on local customers, then you need to be sure to make it easy for them to find you. And a great way to make sure they can do that is to make sure you are listed in the online local business search engine directories.

When someone searches online for local businesses, they typically enter something like "Dentists Ft. Myers, FL". Because location has been included in their search request, this causes the search engines to user geographic location information to decide what to display as the top matches to their request. And, in order for the search engines to find your business for possible matches, you must submit your business information to online business directories.

Get Listed - Google, Yahoo, and MSN all have local business listing directories that you can submit to - for free! Here are links to a few of these major online listing services for you to get started:


Google 10-Pack -
Once you are listed in these online directories, you have a chance of getting your Google local profile listed in the "Google 10-pack" for your local business searches. These are local listings that Google places directly on the first page of search results. Here is a sample of what a google 10-pack display looks like:


Tips for Better Ranking -
The more complete your online listing information is, the better you will be ranked in Google search results. Here are some tips on what to keep in mind while submitting your listing information:

  • Complete all business information
  • Include your business hours, website, and forms of payment accepted
  • Include a photo of your store or your logo
  • Include Customer Reviews


The more places your business is listed on the web, the better your chances are of the search engines ranking your site higher in search results. Search engines like consistency in your information and quantity. The more websites that have backlinks to you and the more business directories that you are listed in, the better your chances are that your business will rank higher the next time someone searches for a business like yours in your local area.

Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1

Create Some Breathing Room

In my last post I compared the stress of having too much on your plate to overeating at a Thanksgiving meal. Although creating breathing room on Thanksgiving is just a matter of unbuttoning the top of your pants, creating breathing room in your schedule is a little more challenging. There is no magic button or switch that you can flip that will give you a little more room in your schedule or time in your day. But freedom from stress and schedule overload is achievable when you are willing to do the work. Since you have created your vision of what your stress free life looks like then I’m confident you have come back to roll up your sleeves and do the work to begin living your Best Life now. Keeping your Vision at the top of your mind will make the tough decisions that follow much easier to accomplish and in some cases even enjoyable. So roll up your sleeves, grab a pen and paper and let’s get started creating some breathing room.

Create the following table on a piece of paper. Create 6 Columns with the 6 items listed below across the top. Then begin to fill in the activity column with the tasks, work, and responsibilities that fill your calendar on a typical week. I’ve provided a couple examples:

Activity - Heart - Impact - Growth - Obligation - Total

Marketing my business
Housekeeping

Now in each of the columns rank the activity 1-5 (one being the least and 5 being the highest value). To explain how this works I would rate marketing my business as a 5 under impact because I believe that task has a high impact to my business and thus my life. For housekeeping I may give the heart category a 1 because I really, really don’t enjoy the task but I would have to give it 3 or 4 under obligation because it is a responsibility I have. Once you have totaled each row then it’s time to identify the activities that have the lowest total score. Circle the lowest totals.

This is where to start the work and hopefully the light bulb has already gone off. These are the activities that you are filling your schedule with that really don’t matter or have very little positive impact on your life. So here is where the tough work begins – it’s time to dump it, delegate it or double up.

Dump It – Is what it sounds like. These are activities that just no longer are important or a priority. Although they may have had a purpose when you started or were serving a goal initially they don’t any longer. Life changes and often times we keep doing what we were doing without even thinking. Pick up the phone, send an email, whatever it takes – take the steps to dump it. And dump it quickly before you talk yourself out of it.

Delegate It – Sometimes activities can score low in the heart, impact and growth category but because they are an obligation we cannot get rid of them. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t delegate it, hire it out, or share the responsibility with another to lighten our load. Stand up for yourself and your sanity and take this step.

Double Up – This is where you get creative. And if you’re not creative then seek out a friend or Life Coach to help you brainstorm. Look at the activities low scoring ones and high scoring ones as well. Where can you double up activities so that you can accomplish multiple activities in less time? Here are a couple examples from my own life. A very effective way for me to market my business is to speak before business groups. Yet speaking before business groups accomplishes multiple activities – marketing, networking, and client prospecting – just to name a few. Another example would be my love of horseback riding and hanging out with girlfriends. So I joined a trail club which is primarily women who get together and share friendship and their love for horses.

And one last tip. If the time cost of the activity isn’t enough then consider the dollar cost of the activity. Get fired up to eliminate those low scoring activities that are not only costing you precious time but money as well.

There you have it - Dump It - Delegate It - Double Up - Do it. Live Your Best Life Now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

0

What is your "Code of Ethics" Part I

We are all on a level playing field. Out to build recognition for ourselves and our companies. The key thing that will drive us forward is Ethics. Values matter and Ethics count, and for this Personal Ethics become the foundation to everything. So what is the meaning of Ethics? The branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. And why do Ethics matter in business?

Would you agree that values guide your behavior when no one is watching and dont think anyone will ever find out? So if you believe that every choice has a consequence, you may consider your decisions/choices longer based on core values. Some of the hardest decisions/choices are easier if you have a strong internal compass and you know which way it points.

So let's help each other increase ethics awareness by understanding our choices in our personal and professional lives.

When a company does business with another that is considered unethical, does this make the first company unethical by association? I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1

Social Media: Networking Online

Part 1

Mastering Time:

Time is the number one commodity we own and the most valuable. In order to run our businesses and become the most efficient we need to master the time-monster. It eats away at so much of our day. I think the last time I heard someone say, “Time just goes so slowly,” was a childhood friend as we awaited the approach of Christmas. We all want to learn  short-cuts, what works, and how to minimize our time online and get more bang for the buck!

Social Networking: Time Thief

As I determine the biggest time robber in my daily life the finger squarely points at social networking, online. Several years ago everyone in my business (I’m an author), jumped in squarely with both feet and took off running. Some of them stumbled, shook off the dust, and took off again. Others sat right where they fell and decided never to get up again. I took the cautionary and scholarly approach, I studied. Not only did I study social networking for almost two years, keeping up with the head dizzying trends, but I joined several social networking membership sites. The old adage you get what you paid for was correct. I received much for the thousands of dollars I invested.

Wisdom in Your Approach to Social Media

What I learned was to be cautious, to be smart, and to be on the cutting edge. One of the things, surprisingly missing from my classes, was to be a friend. Yes, value was mentioned, in “value laden posts”, or “value driven offers”, but none of the classes I took really discussed the nuances of being a friend, first and foremost. All of marketing boils down to one important ingredient: relationships. We like doing business with people we trust, products we like, or helpful individuals.

Be a Friend First

If you learn nothing else about the business of social networking, please know that being a friend and being trustworthy should come foremost in your dealings. No one would believe the marketing ploy with headlines blazing, “Hi! I’m Trustworthy! Give me Your Money!” Yet, everyday we see posts from people wanting us to join a membership site, purchase an eBook or opt-in to one more mailing list (giving our overtaxed email address and name) to receive a worthless eBook product. Unfortunately, these people have given all online marketers a bad name.

The Big-4: Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

In the next few posts we will discuss the nuances of social networking and etiquette, online. We will discuss what I term the Big-4. For me they are Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you don’t know what they are, go ahead and study them. I also urge you to proceed with caution. Remember, the internet is a great place but news travels fast. You will want to set up some precautions and check those security features on you online accounts. If unsure it is better to be cautious.

Here are some tips I have gathered lately about creating a Blog. If you have not entered the world of Blogging but have a website you will want to see if you can enable an RSS feature. Without becoming too technical, this is a way for your information will be updated and sent to subscribers. Feed features are one of the key reasons blogs are so powerful. Your information (if worthwhile) can be accessed easily by readers.

Your Customer Base

A blog is a place to point your customers so they can get to know you. In the arena of social media we are told to not even try to sell unless you have thousands (yes, thousands) of contacts. To begin to attract more customers, you should make sure your blog includes:

Keyword rich content: give the search engines something to find that is keyword specific

  • Content that is informative, entertaining, or at the very least contains value
  • Be Social: let others know about your posts via social media connections, do not go overboard
  • Keep your content unique, this is very important, don’t plagiarize
  • Keep your focus narrow but don't be narrow focused: you can talk about different related topics but make sure it reflects your mission statement or marketing plan
  • Your calling card: your blog reflects Y*O*U…make sure it shines
  • Applications: use them or loose them. If you aren’t using the apps that your blog has available to you, you won’t be driving traffic the way you should.
  • Learn: After two years I know how much I do not know. Take at least fifteen minutes or more each week to learn more about social media, and share it with a friend
  • Be a Friend: this means post a response on this blog and others, email it to a friend and help to propagate the message.
  • Follow a Blog, visibly. Help the numbers by following other blogs
We are all in this together….hmmm, wasn’t that a song? Let’s make this network strong and work together to help each other and share what we have learned with business friend.

Next Post: Blog Basics, time saving devices

Felice Gerwitz
Speaker, Author, Publisher, Consultant to Aspiring Authors
http://www.InformationInANutshell.com
http://www.MediaAngels.com
http://www.MediaAngels.com/socialnetworking

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3

Domain Name Tips for Small Business

Your domain name plays a key role in your online business success. It is what your website is called and how it can be found. Anytime you type into the address bar of your browser, you are using a domain name. For example, when you type http://www.empowerednetworking.com/ into your browser, you are typing in the domain name for the Empowered Networking website.

Choose your domain name wisely. When choosing a domain name, be sure it is something that people will be able to remember or recognize. Often times, a potential customer or a business associate may not know your physical address or phone number, and going to the internet and bringing up your website is the best way for them to find you. So try to keep your domain name simple and easy to remember.

When you’re ready to get a domain name for your website, you must first search to see if the domain name you choose is available for “purchase”. Now, I put “purchase” in quotation marks because in actuality you are not really purchasing your domain name, you are claiming it, or reserving it, for your use for the time you have registered it for.

You can search for a domain and purchase it at any domain registrar. Examples of domain registrar sites are goDaddy.com, eNom.com, and NetworkSolutions.com. Which domain registrar you use is up to you, as they vary in price and ease of use. Or if you have a webmaster, they can typically handle registering your domain for you.

Purchase your domain name for more than one year. When it comes to search engines, age matters. And the longer you reserve your domain, the better it is for search engines. If you purchase your domain for 3 or even 5 years, the search engines view your website as a more established business and will give it more weight and higher ranking in search results.

Keep your domain registrar login information in a safe place. Be sure you keep track of who your domain registrar is and be sure you have your login and access information stored in a safe place where you can find it. You need this information each time to renew your domain or if you need to move your website. If you do not know your domain login information, ask your webmaster to get it for you so you have it on file.

Be sure you renew your domain on time. If you do not remember to renew your domain before it expires, you run the risk of losing it and giving someone else the chance of purchasing it away from you. Talk about identity theft! Forgetting to renew your domain is like leaving your storefront unlocked, you’re just inviting someone to steal it away from you.

Most domain registrars will email out notices to let you know that your domain is due for renewal, so be sure you keep your contact info and email address up-to-date with your domain registrar so you will get their notifications. And, as an added precaution, you might add a reminder in your Outlook calendar to remind you a few weeks before your domain expires so you remember to renew it on time.


Verify your domain registration information is correct. Be sure your domain has been propertoy registered in your name. You can check this by going to
http://www.whois.org/ and typing in your domain name. Be sure your name and contact information shows under the Registrant portion of the domain. If you have a webmaster who setup your domain for you, their name should show as the technical contact. But be sure your name is showing as the actual registrant for it. So, in case you have a falling out with your webmaster or need to move your site yourself, you want to be sure you have the information you need to take control of the situation and take control of your website domain if needed.

Here’s to Your Online Success!

Betty Walker, the Wise Web Lady
http://www.wiseweblady.com/
http://www.ccstechpros.com/
bettywalker@wiseweblady.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3

What's on Your Plate?

Today there is no shortage of things to be stressed about – the economy, your job, your kids and their activities, finances, relationships at home and at work, and the list goes on and on. To compound stress Thanksgiving and holiday season are just a few short weeks away. Although these holidays are supposed to be joyous occasions they often only add to the list of to do’s and shoulds. In fact thinking about your typical Thanksgiving meal is a good story picture of how stress works in your life. You have your plate and this abundant buffet of lots of great food. The food is so appealing you fill the plate to overflowing. You eat and eat until the next thing you know you are stuffed, miserable and on the couch unable to move. Now you may have just gotten a pretty funny image of Uncle Harry, but it’s true and Life is just like that Thanksgiving meal.


You have your plate for life, there are so many good things to do - you start piling on the stuff. Seems like all good stuff, stuff you feel you should do (like you should try Aunty Betty’s Coconut pie) but at the end of the day the result is the same. You’re exhausted on the couch, miserable and lack energy to do even one more thing. Lucky for each of us Thanksgiving only comes once a year but when it comes to Life we get a new plate each and every day that can be filled to overflowing. But reducing Stress and not overeating this Thanksgiving both are solved with the same first step.


The first step to positive changes in your life is Vision. When you are clear about the life you want then you can take bold steps in the direction of your goals and dream. A clear vision motivates you to identify what’s good on your plate and also what would better serve your values, dreams and goals to be removed from your plate. A clear vision empowers you to say no to the seemingly good stuff and Yes to the life you want. Go ahead – take that first step. The life you want is waiting for you.

0

Networking & the Solo Entrepreneur

So what's the best part about working from home? You rarely need pantyhose or power suits, and you can have a conference call in your workout clothes. But the advantages have a drawback. Not needing to dress up for work means you may not encounter another living person outside of the mail carrier or family members. Running a small business can keep you isolated, minus the benefit of colleagues who can challenge, encourage and support you.

It's possible to partner with other women dedicated to entrepreneurial success; you just need to make an effort to find them. When you do, reach out, contribute, and it won't be long before you feel as though you have dozens of helpful colleagues at your fingertips.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Networking organizations Websites such as Advancing Women and Home Based Working Mom are great resources for networking, with forums for discussion, links for networking with international women and links to similar sites. Also known as forums, message boards on those sites are an opportunity to chat online with women who share similar interests and concerns.

Professional organizations, such as Empowered "Women's" Network in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, & Naples, is an important "in-person" networking resource. Find the one that works best for your schedule and business needs.

Reaching out Regardless of which tool you use to build your circle of colleagues, it takes some work. You could join every site mentioned here and still not make one acquaintance. You must make the decision to be an active member whether its online or in person. How? Genuially reach out to get to know members. A great way is to Ask questions.

Remember--never say anything online that you wouldn't say to your most important client. As long as your posts and discussions have integrity and professionalism, you are on your way to creating the perfect professional online networking group.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

0

Shopping for a Networking Group?

Network shopping?
When checking out a networking group for possible membership:
• Test the waters. Attend the first time as a guest. Groups with membership fees usually allow one or two try-out meetings.
• Closely observe meeting participants. Ask yourself these questions:
Are these the people to whom you want to sell your product or service?
How do you feel about these people representing your product or service to others?
Do these people present a professional image?
• Consider whether you want to be in a group that includes rivals in your occupation or trade.
• Don’t swear off networking if your first experience isn’t encouraging. Not all groups work for every business.