It has been time for this blog to be updated for a little while now.  Updates have been moved to the back burner as I launched my new blog (CoolCaroftheDay.com) and got that concept off the ground.  And while I still plan on freshening up a couple of my other blogs and sites (LaneBailey.com and GarageHomesUSA.com are both due), I thought this was a good place to start… and I might as well drag it out for a little while and bring all of you along with me.

I will be making the changes as I write the posts (not as they are published… I usually write posts a little ahead of time).

The first part included adding a newsletter/email subscription form.  Over at Problogger, it was their first step in revitalizing you blog for 2012.

I already had a MailChimp (affiliate link) account, so I didn’t spend any time doing that.  I spent about 15 minutes creating a list on MailChimp for this site, installing the MailChimp Plug-in for WordPress and getting all of the settings right.

 

Image representing MailChimp as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

At MailChimp:

 

  • After creating a MailChimp account, go to “Lists” on the menu at the top of the page.
  • Click the big red “Create List” button.
  • Don’t worry too much about the sign-up form… you aren’t really going to be using it, just make sure you have the info boxes on it that you want.
  • Mouse-over “Account” on the top menu.
  • Move down and click on “API Keys & Authorized Apps”
  • Push that blue button that says “Add A Key”

 

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...
Image via Wikipedia

In another tab, open your WordPress blog…

 

  • Go to Plug-ins > Add New
  • Search “MailChimp”
  • Install the MailChimp plug-in.
  • Under settings, the first thing it will want is the API Key… copy/paste it from MailChimp.
  • Select the right mail list from the drop-down.
  • Edit the settings so that you have the text you want and the widget looks the way you want it to look.
  • Go to Appearance > Widgets to install the widget in the location you desire.
  • Open up your site in a new tab… adjust the widget and settings as needed.

Like I said, it only took about 15 minutes for me to do all of that.  It might take you a little longer, or you might be able to knock it out a little faster… I hadn’t done it for a while, and had to stumble around and take a few bad turns.

Good luck kicking off your email list… and while you are here, why don’t you sign up for mine.

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facebook engancha
Image via Wikipedia

My pal Mike Mueller is a FaceBook Whiz.  He has been all over the new Timeline feature from FaceBook… even though most people don’t even have a clue what it is yet.

 

Whether you are a fan of it or not, the new Timeline is coming.  You might as well get used to it and use it to its best advantage.  Mike has a few tips on his blog, AreWeConnected.com, and I’m sure there will be more coming in the future as he delves deeper into its capabilities.

Mike has a lot of other great takes on the Social Media sphere… as well as a great portfolio of FaceBook Pages he has designed for clients.  He’s also a huge hockey fan and a great guy.

One of the things I whole-heartedly agree with agree with Mike about is the use (on non-use) of FaceBook Profiles as a sales tool.  FaceBook’s Terms of Service specifically address using profiles as a marketing tool.  In a word, don’t.  That is the reason that they offer FREE FaceBook Pages for businesses.  In surfing around through a few profiles, it didn’t take long for me to run across a few that were basically real estate agent billboards.

So, check out Mike’s post… check out the new Timeline Profile feature and dive into the future.

 

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Just about all Internet marketers (that would be anyone that markets on the internet, not just internet based companies) want to create a “Viral Ad Campaign.”  The dream is that for almost no money, they will create an ad or campaign that everyone just HAS to share with all of their friends.  It will end up getting more views that a Super Bowl ad, and more click-throughs than tabloid pics of Brittany Spears with a shaved head.

Humor, shock and amazement are the ingredients… but the exact recipe is pretty tough to figure out.

Click the pic to go to Voltier Digital's post on Going Viral.

I don’t have a relationship with Voltier Digital… I just saw the graphic and thought it would be a cool share.

map of Treasure Island, from the first German ...
Image via Wikipedia

You can’t get there without a map.  And even a poor map is often better than no map at all.  The map DOES need to be accurate enough to show you where things are in relation to one another… but the scale can be off.

Maybe you can think of your blogging/social media map as a kind of treasure map.  At the end, you will get the desired outcome from your efforts.

There are a few steps that you have to go through to get there.

  • Figure out what you want.  And “money” is not the right answer.  That is a byproduct.  Some examples might be finding new business or expanding market share.
  • What is the best path to take to get there… work the path backwards.
  • If we are looking for new clients, maybe we would get them from marketing to an expanded email newsletter list.
  • In order to expand the email list, we need people to opt in
  • To get the opt-ins, we need to have compelling content with a clear call to action.
  • Since we have compelling content, we need to make sure that we are getting it in front of people that have an interest.  That would likely be through SEO and Social Media.

That is a pretty broad, unfocused view…  And several of those steps might actually involve a map of their own… or several steps.  The important part is to take a little time to think about it, and maybe even draw a map.  Mind-Mapping software is a pretty cool option.  I often use FreeMind, which is an Open Source option.  But a sheet of graph paper and a pencil might be just the set of tools to capture what you need (you can concentrate on WHAT you are doing rather than on HOW to do it).

The important thing is to actually do it…

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There are three tools that will do more to promote your website than ANY other.  And they are WAY under-utilized by the vast majority of bloggers.  They are simple, inexpensive and almost everyone has them already.

smile, business cards and a hand to shake
The right tools...

 

Did you find them?

  • Your winning smile
  • Your firm handshake
  • Your business card

Yep, 20 million tech tools out there, and most of them are free.  Some of them are even viral, but the absolute best ways to promote your blog are probably right there with you, right now.

For most of us, the people we want to read our blogs the most are actually the people we might interact with “in real life” (IRL).  They are local and you might even see them daily or weekly or monthly.

Walking up to a person, flashing your winning smile, shaking their hand with your firm handshake and handing them your business card, with a short explanation of what your site is about is WAY more likely to create a new reader than almost any other marketing you can do.  But there is another benefit, as well.  The cool side benefit is that the person you meet is also more likely to share your site with their friends… if they find compelling content.

I guess it often comes back to that compelling content, doesn’t it?

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