26 Ağustos 2008 Salı


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10 Ağustos 2008 Pazar

7 Step to Make your Blog Profitable!

Here’s a rough breakdown of Alexis’ methodology for locating a profitable topic -

  1. Choose an audience - In this section Alexis provides a list of 13 types of people who all have desperate problems that need solving. People who are in trouble with the law, who want to lose weight, who are going through divorce, etc. Alexis provides a very frank description of each type of person, which is critical so you can establish a strong rapport with the audience you eventually choose to sell to.
  2. Find websites devoted to your chosen audience - The next step is to find the locations online where the type of person you identified in step one congregate. Alexis suggests you outsource this research and explains how she does it.
  3. Study your potential audience habits and language - This step is all about isolating the root problems people in your chosen audience have. You do this by monitoring conversations at the websites you found in step two.
  4. Isolate desperate problems - Taking what you learned in step three, you determine where the money is. What are the problems people are desperate enough to spend money on? Find the most common questions people are asking.
  5. Find the pain - Once the desperate problems are determined, the next step is to understand the psychology behind the problem. Alexis offers a great list of nine common psychological needs humans have. The problem you find must relate to at least one of these issues (for example, does this topic relate to helping someone keep their job? or maintain their health?).
  6. The Dealbreaker (as Alexis calls it) - This is all about traffic and reaching an audience. It’s not simply buying pay per click traffic for the hottest keywords you find in WordTracker, although that can be part of it. Alexis explains why it is critical to figure out how your desperate buyers go looking for solutions and not simply follow what is considered standard practice to drive traffic.
  7. Assess the competition - The last step may seem obvious, but I was impressed that Alexis focused on differentiation as a strategy if the market is very crowded and specified exactly how to do so (for example, by using different media like audio instead of text). She also provides a competitor assessment form to help with analyzing the competition.

24 Temmuz 2008 Perşembe

how about this idea from Poland? (!)

Former prime minister of Poland Jaroslaw Kaczynski told members of his conservative party that people should not be allowed to vote online because the Internet attracts those who like to watch porn while drinking beer.

sounds like he was kidding, however he wasnt...

16 Temmuz 2008 Çarşamba

The conversation of you!!!

From your career to your business, it is wise to think about the current and future conversation about you on the web. When you have a talk with someone at a networking event, that conversation lasts only as long as you’re speaking and in the memory of the people who were listening. Conversations on the web that may passionately express a strong opinion in the moment may live for years, long after the opinion has faded away.

Right now you are probably on the web in some form whether you planned it or not. My invitation is to participate in the conversation that you want about yourself on the web. Trying to control everything that is said about you on the web is not what I’m talking about (and a poor use of time that would drive you crazy.) Just as speaking without thinking in public can have immediate negative ramifications personally, doing the same thing on the web can have ramifications over a longer period of time. For example, when I first started searching my own name on the web I was shocked to find an upset note complaining about a faulty product associated with my name. When I investigated further, I found out that I had actually posted the note a year ago to the manufacturer, and Google had pulled the note out of context with my name attached. This opened my eyes to the importance of paying attention to what I put on the Internet and the value of spending some time attending to that. I am not talking about falsely representing yourself on the web to look good, but I am talking about insuring that what’s on the Web represents the type of person you are committed to being. So you see, “the conversation of you” on the Web is your permanent virtual showcase, including more than just what you do or your job. It is giving people a sense of the total person, beyond a mere description attached to a job.

Just as in business networking in person, trying to be everywhere all the time does not work well. My advice about business and social networking is to start by picking one to three good networking sources. Work with them and get to know them, — even though every one of your friends may be sending you an invite to other online groups you’ve never heard of . For example, you may want to start with linkedin.com, or a local business group like inside919.com. Allot a set amount of time each week for learning about how to use it, or even go to some training on the topic. From You Tube, to blogs, to the site’s own resources, there are a lot of free educational resources on the web to help you learn to navigate wisely. Watch what others do and notice the effect it has on you, both positive and negative. Remember to use the same social skills you would have in person on the web (sometimes people forget this key point.) Don’t over-dominate one community group with listings of things you are selling. Make sure to lead with value and contribution.

Being part of networking communities on the web is as important to a business owner as it is to someone with a “career job”. The saddest thing I have seen is the hardworking employee doing their best to “take care of their family” by focusing only on doing their job. When someone takes no time to build a conversation about themselves outside the company and is suddenly laid off, it is a lot harder and more costly to market yourself for a job on the web when you are unemployed. It is a good idea to talk to your PR person, marketing person, web developer or career consultant to have these conversations aligned strategically on the web. Even if your name is not unique, you can make it stand out with quality information attached to it. Using a Blog reader or a news aggregator is a great way to keep track of many information sources in one location. Look forward to seeing YOU on the web!

9 Temmuz 2008 Çarşamba

Let me see! "Seth godin"

Mark Brooks had a Kindle idea which got me thinking:

1. Let me see the percentage of people who have bought a book and actually finished reading it. (The Kindle knows, right?) Even better, let me see Kindle books that are finished by people who finish books that I finish!
2. Let me see a map of my town with the location of pedestrian accidents highlighted by color.
3. Give me a listing of all the houses in my city sorted by (value of house/taxes paid). That would go a long way to bringing equity to the assessment system.
4. Sort restaurants on Open Table by the percentage of reservations booked by returning diners.
5. Sort Facebook invitations in order of how many times someone has been unfriended.
6. Sort credit card offers based on data from Mint or Wesabe... show me the credit cards with the fewest bankruptcies/financial troubles among recipients first.
7. Sort corporate email by how many people in my company have indicated that a sender is important.
8. Let me see stocks ranked in order of recent purchases by successful investors.
9. Let me review bids from builders ranked in order of complaints filed or the length of time between first application for a building permit and finished building.
10. Let me see potential online dates sorted by how frequently (or infrequently) the person goes on first dates.
11. Sort car models by crash and repair data.
12. Let me see my salesforce ranked by closing rate or cold call rate or customer satisfaction.
13. Let me see my inbound call data by hour, sorted by number of rings before answer, or by percentage of calls unanswered.
14. Let me sort my customer service requests by customer value. (Including loyalty, purchases and referrals).
15. Let me choose a doctor by malpractice suit rate.
16. When I watch TV online, recognize the pundit and flash historical accuracy rates on the screen while she talks.
17. Blank out comments on posts that agree with my point of view.
18. Highlight the floor of the trade show and let me see which paths are walked the most. Or give me glasses that let me follow in the footsteps of people I admire. Or let me walk on paths no one else is walking on.

I guess I'm talking about passive contributions of public behavior information to traditionally-sorted data.

8 Temmuz 2008 Salı

An Adwords Success Story (Twiddy)

Life’s a Beach

Twiddy used Google AdWords and Google Analytics to transform the way it does business and boost its percentage of bookings made online by 50% in the past year.
Stuck in Duck

People said Douglas Twiddy was crazy when he started renting vacation homes in the Outer Banks community of Duck, North Carolina. “There wasn’t much here when Twiddy was started in 1978,” explains his son, Ross, who now serves as director of marketing for Twiddy & Company Realtors. “The joke was: are we gonna see a car come down the road today?”
Douglas went on to open a second office in nearby Corolla, an equally sleepy town back in those days. To acquire new customers, Twiddy & Company sent out thousands of rental brochures, first in black and white, and then in color. “It was a huge day when we got the color brochures,” Ross remembers.
Sun, sand, and surf
Since then, the Outer Banks has become a major tourist destination, enticing visitors with its sunny weather and stretches of unspoiled beach. Meanwhile, the rise of the Internet has fundamentally altered the way people plan and book their vacations. So in 2002, Twiddy shifted its focus to driving traffic to its website, and shortly after began advertising online with Google AdWords™. “We started with the simple question: how do people find us on the web?” Ross recalls. “If somebody’s going on vacation, the first place they surf to is Google. And a lot of visitors to the Outer Banks have never been here before, so that’s really where Google and Google AdWords come into play.”
AdWords offered many advantages over Twiddy’s original marketing activities. “With brochures, updates or changes made to the homes throughout the season couldn’t be communicated to guests,” says Ross. “With AdWords, we can adapt our campaign depending on our inventory. Once a house is booked, we take it off the AdWords campaign and put another available home or week in its place. And we respond to what people are looking for. If people want info on oceanfronts, we post more info on oceanfronts. That’s the beauty of AdWords.”
To drive targeted traffic to their website, the Twiddy team set up campaigns based on specific categories, and later separated out distinct campaigns for brand-related and high-performing keywords. “AdWords worked immediately,” Ross says, “and we knew the good old days of the brochure were over. Effective marketing strategies were shifting from print to the Web. We were in the Dark Ages, but after we joined AdWords, we went right to the Renaissance.”
On the right track
As they began devoting more resources to their AdWords account and their
website, Ross and his team set up Google Analytics™ to gather in-depth performance and navigation data. “We use Google Analytics because it’s free and has worlds of information that we can utilize to make the right decisions,” says Evan Roberts, a consultant from Labitat Inc. who works with Twiddy on search engine marketing.
In November of 2006, the team designed a new website based on information provided by Analytics. They now run regular reports and monitor traffic to each page, using that data to fine-tune the site. “We look at how each individual page is doing and at navigational style and behavior,” Evan explains. “We’re constantly rotating the homes we display on our landing page. Google Analytics tells us what’s working. We also set up a quick search function on the site, and Analytics lets us see what people are typing in.”
“We put a lot of emphasis on delivering traffic from Google to Twiddy.com,” Ross adds. “But once they get to Twiddy.com, what do they do? That’s where Google Analytics has helped us. The more knowledge we have about bookings and our website, the more confident we are using AdWords and increasing our budget based on what the data says.”
With Analytics, the company can also evaluate the success of its AdWords campaigns and adjust its approach on a regular basis. “We look at which words are converting and use that data to make changes to our AdWords campaigns,” says Ross. “The cost per conversion has really become the compass for Twiddy’s marketing.”
The future looks bright
The company still uses brochures and some print ads, but AdWords has become its most successful and measurable marketing channel. “Other advertising methods haven’t produced results like AdWords,” says Ross. “You can’t tell how well they’re working. AdWords is intelligent marketing. There’s nothing else out there that produces the costs per conversion we’re looking for.”
With the help of Analytics, Twiddy has seen even greater success from the AdWords program in recent months. From 2006 to 2007, the percentage of bookings made online jumped 50 percent, while individuals citing Google search as the way they found Twiddy increased by 47 percent. Clicks on Twiddy’s ads went up 26 percent, and the account’s overall clickthrough rate (CTR) increased by nine percent. Twiddy has also used AdWords to take advantage of the Outer Banks’ growing popularity: “People will hear about the Outer Banks on the radio, and then they’ll go to Google to do research and click on our ad. Our presence there helps raise our stature as a service they can trust.”
If Ross has any words of wisdom for other advertisers, it’s the importance of tailoring their campaigns to their goals and needs. “AdWords gives you the tools you need,” he says, “and it’s up to your imagination and creativity to make it work the best for your business.” His advice for their next travel destination? “The Outer Banks. How can you not wanna visit a town called Duck?”

5 Temmuz 2008 Cumartesi

Such a Blogger Story....

EMILY GOULD | The New York Times
What I gained — and lost — by writing about my intimate life online
Back in 2006, when I was 24, my life was cozy and safe. I had just been promoted to associate editor at the publishing house where I’d been working since I graduated from college, and I was living with my boyfriend, Henry, and two cats in a grubby but spacious two-bedroom apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I spent most of my free time sitting with Henry in our cheery yellow living room on our stained Ikea couch, watching TV. And almost every day I updated my year-old blog, Emily Magazine, to let a few hundred people know what I was reading and watching and thinking about.

Some of my blog’s readers were my friends in real life, and even the ones who weren’t acted like friends when they posted comments or sent me e-mail. They criticized me sometimes, but kindly, the way you chide someone you know well. Some of them had blogs, too, and I read those and left my own comments. As nerdy and one-dimensional as my relationships with these people were, they were important to me. They made me feel like a part of some kind of community, and that made the giant city I lived in seem smaller and more manageable.

The anecdotes I posted on Emily Magazine occasionally featured Henry, whom my readers knew as a lovably bumbling character, a bassist in a fledgling noise-rock band who said unexpectedly insightful things about the contestants on “Project Runway” and then wondered aloud whether we had any snacks. I didn’t write about him often, but when I did, I’d quote his best jokes or tell stories about vacationing with his family.

Henry, seemingly alone among our generation, went out of his way to keep his online presence minimal. Now that we’ve broken up, I appreciate this about him — it’s pretty much impossible to torture myself by Google-stalking him. But back then, what this meant was that he was never particularly thrilled to be written about. Sometimes he was enraged.

Once, I made fun of Henry for referring to “Project Runway” as “Project Gayway.” He worried that “people” — the shadowy, semi-imaginary people who read my blog and didn’t know Henry well enough to know that he wasn’t a homophobe — would be offended. He insisted that I take down the offending post and watched as I sat at my desk in our bedroom, slowly, grudgingly making the keystrokes necessary to delete what I’d written. As I sat there staring into the screen at the reflection of Henry standing behind me, I burst into tears. And then we were pacing, screaming at each other, through every room of our apartment, facing off with wild eyes and clenched jaws.

My blog post was ridiculous and petty and small — and, suddenly, incredibly important. At some point I’d grown accustomed to the idea that there was a public place where I would always be allowed to write, without supervision, about how I felt. Even having to take into account someone else’s feelings about being written about felt like being stifled in some essential way.

As Henry and I fought, I kept coming back to the idea that I had a right to say whatever I wanted. I don’t think I understood then that I could be right about being free to express myself but wrong about my right to make that self-expression public in a permanent way. I described my feelings in the language of empowerment: I was being creative, and Henry wanted to shut me up. His point of view was just as extreme: I wasn’t generously sharing my thoughts; I was compulsively seeking gratification from strangers at the expense of the feelings of someone I actually knew and loved. I told him that writing, especially writing about myself and my surroundings, was a fundamental part of my personality, and that if he wanted to remain in my life, he would need to reconcile himself to being part of the world I described.

After a standoff, he conceded that I should be allowed to put the post back up. As he sulked in the other room, I retyped what I’d written, feeling vindicated but slightly queasy for reasons I didn’t quite understand yet.