Are you the sole proprietor of a business? Are you a 1-person shop? Whether you’re trying to make a living online, supplement your income or build a nest egg, more and more people these days are looking to the Internet as a way to make money. Every day hundreds (maybe hundreds-of-thousands) of websites and blogs are being launched in this country alone. So how do you stand out? Even after identifying your niche, doing your keyword research, understanding your target customer and carefully mapping a business plan … what’s the secret to success? How is it that some people are sitting back and boasting that they’re making 6-figure incomes while some of us are struggling to pay the mortgage? How does the “little guy” (or “gal”) compete with companies (and individuals) when you’re faced with limited resources?
Paul Colligan (someone you may want to follow if you’re serious about getting your blog/website found online) talks about the ISYOT (“I’ve Seen You Out There”) effect. The ISYOT effect is a lot like the marketing term top-of-mind-awareness but it applies to being seen online – to the point that you’re being recognized on the Internet. Somewhat the same way you would be recognized if you were networking face to face in the brick-and-mortar world. So how do you do that? How do you build confidence, trust and name/face-recognition online? Paul recommends being seen everywhere using social networking sites, podcasting and media channels like YouTube. Participating on Facebook and LinkedIn, Tweeting, posting videos on YouTube…. all things that we know we need to be doing but if you’re a one-person-shop (or even 1 and ½ or 2)…. How do you get started? How do you make the ISYOT effect work for you?
I was commenting on an interesting blog article the other day and I clicked off the little box to be notified by email if someone replies to my comment or if someone adds a new comment. Should be simple right? (I mean I just gave them my name and email address in order to leave the comment in the first place.) So, I should be able to just click and go on my merry-way. Right? If the author replies to my comment (showing how much they care and that they value what I have to say), I’ll be notified. If someone else cares enough to comment, I’ll get to know what they’ve added to the conversation. I’m clicking to be notified because I truly found the article interesting and I want to follow it. So why, did I wish I hadn’t started the whole thing?
Seems these days, everyone knows someone who’s blogging. Whether it’s for fun or for profit, people are blogging. In my previous post, “To Blog or NOT to Blog. That is the Question”, I geared the discussion towards people who want to make money either directly with a blog or by driving traffic to an existing website (presumably where you’re trying to make money promoting a product or service).
Ok… you’ve “opened the virtual doors” to your business/blog by telling your friends, family and anyone else who would listen. So what now? (Maybe you’re seeing flashbacks of Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”… “if you build it, he will come”.) As reality sets in, and you’re not seeing an increase in the number of visitors (or commenters) or more importantly you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for (sales, email addresses, attention…), you may start asking yourself what next? Well, there are lots of things you can do like using the Google Webmaster tools, submitting your URL to directories, commenting on blogs and optimizing for search engines but…
Let’s just get back to the basics here…
Are you experiencing slow response times? Is your website sometimes unavailable? Are you frustrated by incompetent tech support? Is it time to choose a new website hosting company?
Looking for low-cost ways to drive traffic to your website? Establish an online presence, build awareness and make connections – basically the same methods that entrepreneurs and businesses have been using to promote their products and services for years. In addition to networking on the Internet by participating in forum groups, message boards and social networking sites, you can also comment on blogs. There are even online communities for people who are serious about commenting. One of the more popular ones (and the one that I’m a member of) is the ComLuv network. CommentLuv is a “plugin”/program that works with blogs. When a member of the ComLuv network comments on a blog that is running the CommentLuv plugin, in addition to their comment, a link to one of their blog posts will be included. This is a wonderful opportunity for a blogger to get a “backlink” (link back to your blog/website). Thousands of blogs have installed this simple plugin. In addition to building awareness, useful and constructive comments can help to build a reputation too.
Anyone who has tried to build a business knows how important it is to build awareness. If your customers don’t know you’re out there, how are they ever going to buy from you? So, how do you build awareness? Advertising is one way but you can also network. If you’re a business with a local customer base, you may already belong to a Chamber of Commerce or a networking group like BNI (Business Network International). So, what’s the equivalent of a Chamber of Commerce or BNI on the Internet?
In last week’s post, I talked about using RSS feeds to get updates on blogs and other websites such as news media. I specifically mentioned blogs and news websites because those are the two types of websites that are most likely to have RSS feeds. Of course, the reason for having an RSS feed is to easily give your readers access to your updates. And blogs need to be updated. Believe me when I say a successful blog is a commitment.
Well, I don’t know whether I chose the right domain name or the wrong one. (Is there such a thing as a right or wrong name? Maybe “better” would be a more appropriate term.) I like the domain name that I registered for this website. It’s easy to spell and it reflects the content I write about. It’s a name that I believe I can build a brand around. So why was I having second thoughts about it?