How To Better Engage Your Readers

The best way to engage anyone is to ask them questions about themselves. Most people have one favorite subject in common and that subject matter is “me…me…me…me…me…me”. Isn’t that your favorite subject?

I was fortunate to have one of the companies I worked for early in my career force me to go to what I thought was one of the most lame sales training courses called “Dale Carnegie”. After all, I was 20 something and I knew all I needed to know…right? Wrong! I think you find that out when you hit 30 something…you know, not knowing as much as you thought you knew. Though I was forced to go to this training class I thoroughly hated, I chose to make the best of it and take away as much information as possible. After all, I was there….they were there and I didn’t have a choice. So, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

One of the greatest gifts I took away from that sales training coarse was reading the book “How to win friends and influence people” By Dale Carnegie. I highly recommend this book to any person who will take the short amount of time it takes to read it, it will change you and your relationships. It will help you understand that people simply want someone to take interest in “their stories”, what is going on in “their lives” and that taking an interest in other people really is the number one way to build better relationships.

On that note, I would like to encourage you to add questions to your blog posts to better interact with your readers. There are many simple questions you can ask as you close out your blog posts, here are a few ideas:

1. How will this information help you?

2. How do you plan to use this information?

3. How else might I be of assistance to you with the information I have provided above?

4. What experiences have you had that may add to the discussion?

5. After reading what you read, what is your commitment to implementing in your own blog or website?

I will close by having you think back to the last social gathering you were at and recall if most of your jasminelive conversations were about you or the person/people you were conversing with. Which of those conversations were most interesting to you? How often were you engaged in “interesting” conversation where you were learning about someone else, what they do, etc. If you are the type of person who finds yourself learning about others during conversations, I bet those people think you are a GREAT conservationist! I love the old saying “you have two ears and one mouth….remember to use them accordingly”.

I really am interested in your thoughts and opinions and truly wish to know how you plan to use this in your next blog post, networking event or sales call.

Thank you for taking your time to visit and hope you find the information useful. I hope to help you learn everything you want and need to know about blogging. I welcome your questions (site specific is good) and definitely your suggestions. I hope to answer your questions before they come up or when you find that you have one. By clicking on the Orange RSS Feed button on the left side of the screen, you will be automatically updated of new information available without having to "check in" to see what's new. It's the easiest way to keep up to date. Thanks again for stopping in, I value your time!

Blog Marketing – why blogging IS marketing

I recently came across a situation where one of my clients was told by his business consultant that his blog was for one purpose only. To educate people and share good information. My client was told that his blog should not be used for “marketing purposes” and I tend to disagree.

If your blog isn’t to be used for “marketing”, then what is the purpose in having it? Now don’t get me wrong, educating people and offering jasminlive visitors valuable information is crucial to the success of your blog, but factoring self promotion and marketing is also important. You have to find good balance in your blog to make sure you are educating your readers, after all that is what most people are looking for when they read blogs, they want information and providing valuable information will keep them coming back for more.

My recommendation to you when creating a blog post is to educate FIRST and market second. If you approach your posts by marketing first, you will most likely loose the interest of your readers within a few moments.

The best way to use your blog as a marketing tool is to provide valuable information with hyperlinks directly to your product pages where people can take action with the product or service you are offering. It serves three purposes:

1. Blogs create fresh content which is what “Googlers” want and what Google wants to provide.

2. Leads potential clients to the place to take action.

3. Create links throughout your site or from your blog to your site, which helps with your quest to work with Google.

How To Name Your Blog

For those who wish to get started on blogging, whether it be to make money or to keep in touch with family and friends, trying to figure out what to name your blog can be one of your biggest challenges. I have an easy solution to what many find to be a big “road block” to moving forward.

If you want people to be able to find your blog via the Internet Search Engines like Google, the fastest and easiest road there is to find a domain name for your live jasmin blog that matches what people are searching for related to your subject matter. If you have read earlier posts on how to get found on Google, you understand that the Google algorithms are programmed to help people searching on Google to find the most relevant results. Typically, the most relevant results to any search would be a domain name that matches the search term…right?

You may be asking yourself how exactly you figure what people are searching for…and again…pretty easy to figure out…IF you know where to look. Google has a “keyword tool” I like to use to help me figure out what to name my websites and blogs, which I STRONGLY encourage you to utilize before you name your blog or register your domain name. The best way to use this tool is to type in different search terms that match the desired subject of your blog. You will see a list of results with numbers that indicate the search volume for each term.

Your best bet is to find a term that has the highest number of search volume and try to buy a domain name to match it. To give you a good example, I will use one of my most recent clients, “Moore’s Martial Arts” in Livermore, CA. Moore’s doesn’t currently have a website or domain name for the school located in Livermore, so we are starting from scratch.

The steps I went through to find the “perfect” domain name are as follows:

I search using the keyword tool for terms that included Livermore martial arts. Martial arts being the most generic term I could think of to describe what they do. Upon doing my research, I found that there are close to 600 searches each month for the term “Livermore Martial Arts“. When you consider the amount of search volume for that particular keyword, it would make great sense to see if I can obtain the domain name “Livermore Martial Arts”, which is exactly what we did.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is important for me to note that just because I have identified a great domain name that matches the search term, it in no way guarantees this website will make it to the front page of the search engines. What helps get you to the front page of the search engines is good content that is relative to the term you wish to be found for. It is also VERY important to submit your site to the search engines by submitting your site map. No site map…no search results.

Should you build your own blog or hire someone

The question of the day…Should I try to build my own blog site or should I hire a professional? Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of both…

Do It Yourself:

If you create your own blog, it will take time away from whatever it is keeps you busy now. Building your own blog without the help of a professional designer and the assistance of what to include/not include could keep your blog from reaching its full potential. If you consider yourself to be pretty “techy” and like this sort of thing, I encourage you to dig in and get your fingers “dirty”, if indeed you will actually follow through, the key here being…will you actually follow through and get it done? By creating your own blog, you are in control and don’t have to depend on someone else to make changes and updates that are often needed on any website. You created it, so you know how to change it, update it or fix it if need be! If you don’t happen to have an eye for what looks good and create your own blog, you may get visitors to your blog that “bounce” the second they arrive because your blog isn’t inviting or looks cluttered.

If you do decide to create your own blog, we do encourage you to create a custom look and feel to your web blog and the easiest program to do that is Artisteer. It requires NO PRIOR web design knowledge or experience and could not be more user friendly. It is a great program and they do offer a free demo. Visit this link for a full video tutorial on how to use the program. The tutorial shows you how to build a simple, but completely custom blog theme in 5 minutes! Yes, the video is 5 minutes with no outtakes or secret shortcuts. The whole blog template is built in 5 minutes.

Hire A Professional:

Hiring a professional to set up your blog in most cases is a one-time fee because once a blog is set up it is done. I have many clients who hire me to do exactly this because they either don’t have the time or just choose not to do it themselves. It is not that time consuming for someone like myself that has done it many times and very cost effective if you have the funds available. Feel Free To Contact Me For a Quote. A professional will most likely set up your blog to match your company website or be able to integrate your company logo by using design software that you may not be familiar with. As mentioned above, check out Artisteer and the tutorials to see if this is something you simply wish to take on yourself. It really is easy with a little video training! Hiring a professional will require a small investment, but typically when you have some “skin in the game” you are more likely to follow through with the actual blogging. Your blog will need to have some structure to it and a professional will obviously have more insight in to creating that structure.

NOTE: If you do choose to hire a professional to create your blog site, make sure that your agreement includes training on how to log in, create blogs, and manage the site. There isn’t a lot to managing a blog other than adding “blogs” (content and articles) regularly, but you will need some guidance to get you started. If your designer doesn’t include training, you are strongly encouraged to “pass” and find one that does. As you can see there are benefits to both. You may possible wish to try designing and creating your own blog if you feel you have the time to do so. If you find you aren’t succeeding at it, then hire a professional. What have you got to lose! It is also important to subscribe to this blog because I offer ongoing tips on how to add “widgets” and plug ins on how to make money with your blog and stay consistent with it!

Secrets To Being Found on Google

There are lots of techniques and a bit of a science to getting your website found on Google. I am going to do my best to explain some of the most simple and basic things to increase rankings. If the information I have given you here doesn’t do the trick, it is best to hire a professional. Hiring an SEO Company that knows what to do and NOT do will help you. You must follow Google’s rules if you want to play in their “sand box”. Getting your website to page one of Google is like hitting PAYDIRT, IF the search term you rank for is a term people other than yourself are searching for. I have heard more times than I can tell you, “my website comes up on page 1!” Yes it comes up on page one, but only when you type in some “long tail search term like “online printing companies located in Dublin, CA”. I am willing to bet that my printing company PrinterBees would come up somewhere on page one for this term without any effort. Just a hunch as it would be the most “relevant result” for that search. “Long tail search terms” like stated won’t help your cause, and you don’t want to focus on a search term you will never stand a chance of ranking for like “printing”or “mortgage”, which is very generic and highly competitive. For my printing business, it would be crazy for us to think we could get the term “business cards” as a newer online business. Because we print business cards for companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, ACN, Herbalife, Mona.vie and specialize in real estate printing or real estate marketing these would be good terms to focus on and not as competitive. While they don’t have the traffic and the search volume that a term like “business cards” would have, it will help us gain popularity when we rank and improve our Google Ranking which will in turn help us rank for more popular terms moving forward.

Because I really do want you to see that what I am explaining here really does work, I encourage you to “Google” the terms I have listed above so you can see that we really do rank on page one of those particular search terms. At the time of writing this article, we are working on other terms to improve our rankings. Those terms are “bookmark printing”, “print bookmarks”, “online printing’, “business card printing”, “door hanger printing”, color flyer printing”, “hang tag printing”, “save the date magnets” and a few others that I can’t think of at the moment. Feel free anytime to check our progress, I feel the best way to teach is to lead by example.

A few words about Google and why Google matters so much to your success on the Internet. Think of Google as a librarian, a really busy librarian! This particular librarian sends you business….lots of business and you aren’t even required to pay a fee for all the business the librarian sends you! It is all FREE!!!! (Yes, you can do pay per click, but why when you get traffic for FREE) We all use Google because we can pretty much always find what we are looking for when we “google” something, right? Would you keep using Google if every time you went to search for something, you didn’t find what you were looking for? Not a chance! So, if Google wants us to keep coming back, and they do…they have to consistently give us good and relative results or we will find a new “internet librarian” to help us. The only way that Google can continue to give “googlers” accurate search results is if we, as website owners/webmasters do a good job of communicating to Google exactly what our websites are about and help Google to understand what categories our websites should be filed under. If Google isn’t clear where your website should be indexed, it is most likely just sitting out there in cyberspace not accomplishing anything for you other than being printed on your business cards, fliers, banners, postcards or other printed materials you use to market your business. Your marketing efforts in this day and age should include some sort of Internet marketing plan and if it doesn’t, you will be eventually left behind, sorry to say that, but it is true. The Internet has well over 2 BILLION searches done on it every month and if you think your services or business offerings aren’t being searched, you are definitely still living in the early 1990’s. This video produced by Google in late 2008 helps to explain how to “speak Google”, get ranked on Google and more importantly how NOT to spam the search engines and lower your rankings. Google wants you to succeed and they will give you very specific instructions if you just listen to what they have to say and more importantly FOLLOW THE RULES.

Lesson one:

GET A BLOG!!! I know I sound like a broken record, but I wouldn’t keep mentioning it if it weren’t so important.

Lesson Two:

Blog! Your blog will do you absolutely no good, if you don’t actually blog on it. If you don’t feel it is something you can keep up with, hire someone to blog for you. Blogging is really what will help your rankings and is the fastest and easiest way to accomplish “getting found on Google”. One of the things that Google “spiders’’ look for as they crawl the Internet is new/fresh content. Blogging = new and fresh that is also the most current.

Lesson Three:

When you blog, make sure that you use the keywords you wish to rank for in your blog AND that they link either to a page on your blog/website or to another blog post to create internal links in your website. This is also called “deep linking”

Getting Indexed on Google Lesson Four:

Use the social media networks like YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter to name a few. You also will want to create your own YouTube channel and make sure to name your videos according to the key words you want to be found on. I encourage you do to “podcasts” and post them on YouTube to create links to your site. A great product for doing video pod casting is the “flip” hi definition digital video recorder. It is about the size of a deck of cards, does great videos and comes with software that allows you to upload straight to YouTube. What could be easier. Using the social media networks creates links to your site. An example of some of the social networks which should be on your radar are listed below this article. Clicking on them will also allow you to bookmark this article which will help other people find it.

Getting Indexed on Google Lesson Five:

Mixed media – What the heck is “mixed media“? Mixed media is the use of text, images, video and sound and your blog. Your blog is the perfect place for mixed media type content. One of the most important things to remember with your images or anything media related is to NAME THEM PROPERLY. This is so important, so I will say it again…NAME YOUR MEDIA FILES PROPERLY.

You are probably asking…how do I name them properly? First let’s examine what NOT to do. If the images in your website have names like “banner1.jpg” how does this help Google know what your website is about? Files not named properly tell Google a whole lot of nothing! What if you named your images like we do on Printerbees. On our “business card printing page”, the images have names like “business-card-printing.jpg” or “color-business-card-printing.jpg”. When Google comes across these images, what do the file names tell Google about our website? It helps Google to know we are in the business card printing business. One of the simple things often forgotten and overlooked is the use of “alternative text” also knows as “alt tags”, these tags that are always an option when you add in an image to your website or blog. The “alt text” tags help people who are reading websites without downloading graphic images like on cell phones or don‘t automatically download images know what the images are. Using alt tags also gives Google one more clue of where to index your site! Every clue you give Google helps your cause.

Lesson Six:

Naming your pages: How you choose to name your HTML web page files and blog posts is very important. Every clue you can offer Google helps “your cause”. For your Word Press blog, make sure take advantage of your ability to use the “permalink” editing option, right below where you title your article to make sure it matches your content OR gives Google the proper hints about what you website or blog is. For your HTML pages, use all lower case letters to name your pages AND used a “-” between any words. I have had make many repairs to the names of my own files from making this mistake many times. Remember, always in lower case AND no spaces in your files name, always dashes. Same goes for naming your images or anything else which will find its way to the Internet on your website.

Lesson seven:

Proper tagging: When creating your website or blog, it is important to have proper “title tags”, .“meta description tags”, “meta key word tags”, and “Robot. Tags”. I know it sounds overwhelming, but with blogging it is super easy and very helpful if you wish to rank. Again, it gives Google the clues it needs to know where to “index” you.

This is what they all mean:

“Title Tags” – The title of the page within the site or blog. Make your title tags relative using the information above. It is also what shows up as the title of your page or site on the search engine listing. While putting your company name may seem important, you may consider leaving it out if it won’t encourage someone to “click”.

“meta description tag” - This is a SHORT, did I mention “short” description of what the web page is about and should include your keywords. If you make your description too long, it could end up counting against you (I will explain this part in future lesions), so use your words wisely and this can end up being the description that shows under the page title in the Google search results so it should also be a good “heading” that captures the persons attention who is reading it when they find your site in the Google Index. Also, make sure it includes your most important keywords.

“meta key words tags” - this is a list of words that best describe the subject of your website to the search engine. The list should not be too long. Did you hear me??? The list should NOT include too many words. Keep your code clean and precise, it works in your favor.

“Robot tags” - Your robot tags tell the search engine if the search engine spiders should crawl the page or NOT crawl a particular page. You are probably asking yourself why you would have Google NOT crawl one of your pages. Well, the answer is simple, the fast Google can crawl your site, the relevant pages of your site, the better. There is no reason to have Google “follow” your companies “Contact Us” page for instance. That particular page most likely has nothing on it that will improve your chance with Google, so why have the spiders crawl that page. You want them in and out as past as possible. To have the spiders crawl the page, use the word “follow”, to keep the spiders from crawling a page, use the tag “no follow”. You will see this option in Word Press, for HTML pages, you need to manually add them in.

When it comes to getting found on Google, on of the most important step is submitting a site map to Google.

In order for Google to know your blog is up and ready for business, you must invite the spiders to “crawl on by” by submitting a site map. Your site map tells Google what pages are on your site and gives the spiders a “map” of where to crawl. A site map also helps the spiders crawl your site fast, fast is important! I personally use Google XML Sitemap. I found it easy to install and set up, and I like it because it is automated. This handy little “widget” keeps Google updated on new posts, pages, etc. This site was being indexed on Google in just a week after submitting my site map via the plugin Google XML. Though your site may not be “ranking”, you can find out if Google even knows your site/blog exists by typing your blog URL blog address in the Google search bar.

The Contact Form 7 plugin is also a great tool I have implemented on my own site so I can easily be contacted or asked questions on blogging, search engines, Google, etc. I found it very easy to add in to the site. Adding a plugin for people to bookmark your articles on sites like “Delicious”, share them via email or “digg” them on the “Digg” social network is very important. Adding this sort of plugin to your blog site will help spread the word. It is really important to getting found on Google because it creates links in to your site. These are just a few on this great list of 20 I have tried myself and encourage you to check out the list. It is a great list and any of these plugin’s can be installed right from the “Add New” menu item under the Appearance section of your side menu.

Time Saving Tips for Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

RoboForm – I use Roboform all day, every day and it saves me so0 much time and frustration! With RoboForm, I am able to keep track of all my passwords, website links, affiliate sites I belong to and so much more.

I keep all of my information on a flash drive that is with me at all times. I also keep a back up of it in my Drop Box in the event I loose my drive and then I always have access to my website addresses, log ins and passwords from anywhere in the world.

Drop Box - Can I tell you how many times I have been saved by my faithful dropbox, which costs me all of about $9/mo? Dropbox keeps a copy of files on your hard drive out on the Internet and available from anywhere in the world! At a seminar yesterday, we needed a Power Point Presentation that wasn’t with us badly. No Problem! Pulled up Drop Box, opened the file and was editing it within about 1 minute. If my hard drive were to crash, while it would SUCK big time…I wouldn’t have the stress of having lost all of my data, because there is an exact copy of it out on the Internet in my Drop Box account. I also love that it is fully automated!

A spreadsheet – if you don’t have Roboform - If you get tired of logging in to my affiliate sites to get the same link codes over and over, keep them in a spreadsheet, and make sure to save it in your Drop Box.

I personally use the “safe notes” feature in Roboform, because my Roboform is always up and then I don’t have to keep opening files. When I get a new link code that I know I will want to use again, I copy and paste it in to my Roboform. All the links are all in one place and I just copy and paste from there. My recommendation would be to use Microsoft Works, because every windows machine comes with it and you can open it anywhere, even when using a computer that doesn’t have MS Office. Make sure to note the expiration dates of any of your link codes so you can update them when necessary.

Artisteer - Generate Your Own Word Press themes in Artisteer . I have mentioned this blogging tool several times because I use it so frequently. I can create a custom theme in less than 5 minutes if I am in a hurry. I can also get really creative and spend as much time as needed to get it just perfect. You need absolutely NO PREVIOUS DESIGN EXPERIENCE to use this tool and it is super user friendly and easy to learn. I have created videos to help you learn even faster.

Quick Press - Have you read a great article or had a great thought, but didn’t have the time to write a complete blog? I use the Quickpress feature in Word Press to make notes to myself about blogs I want to write. I write some notes, save it as a draft and come back it to later so I don’t loose my thought or idea. If it is going to be a good blog post, it will still be a good blog post two days later! I wrote this particular blog post as a draft that I came back to later when I had the time to complete my thoughts on it.

Ring Central Phone and Fax- Ring Central is a time saver for bloggers or any small business owner. This is the service that we use for PrinterBees that makes it “appear” we are in an office location vs. working from a home office. You have the ability to create extensions for different departments that can all ring to one number, you can accept all of your faxes through Ring Central, to the same number. All faxes come in through your email and they come through on a PDF so you don’t even have to worry about misplacing pieces of paper and they are very easy to forward to the person who needs to deal with it.