SoloSEO

Great Read: How to Get an Influencer’s Attention

Posted by Michael D Jensen on March 24th, 2010

Every so often I read a blog post or article that really impresses me, and that happened this morning with Tamar Weinberg’s (@tamar on Twitter) post called How to Get an Influencer’s Attention over at Techipedia. She obviously put a lot of time into it, and received back a lot of noteworthy responses. Not only are the responses great, but it also gives us a great list of Influencer’s! A few of my favorites:

Seth Godin

I’m a huge Seth Godin fan, and his response doesn’t surprise me because it is in-line with the same message he gives to his audiences:

PR people shouldn’t try to get my attention.

Readers with something to say should email me.

Marketers should make great products that loyal readers or long-time friends or trusted colleagues choose to tell me about!

Pete Cashmore
I completely agree with this one as well, don’t waste your time crafting a huge email, just get your point across quickly.

I think keeping it short and to the point is most likely to get a response — having a clear message or request that gets the idea across in a couple sentences. Everybody is short on time these days, and the more succinctly you can express yourself, the better.

There are a ton more responses, and a great summary at the end from Tamar. Read the rest at Techipedia!

Add comment Visited 11165 times March 24th, 2010 Michael D Jensen

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  • Finding Motivation When You’re “Not Feeling It”

    Posted by Michael D Jensen on March 20th, 2010

    SEO is rough, let’s face it. One minute, you feel like you’ve found the key to long-term wealth and high keyword rankings. The next minute, you read an article that makes you rethink your entire plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotional roller coaster — changes in attitude that can disrupt your business plan and leave you feeling stressed out and constantly panicked that you are missing out on “the latest thing.”

    To top it off, no one really knows “everything” about this industry, and every industry certainly has new ways to pull in traffic and conversions. To succeed at this game, you need to persist through inevitable failures. But how do you find the motivation?

    #1. Slow and steady wins the race

    Remember the old tale of The Tortoise and the Hare. The hare sprints ahead, assuming an easy victory. But he gets distracted and meanders off course. The tortoise, meanwhile, slowly plods ahead, ignoring the hare’s progress (and his lack thereof). Eventually, the tortoise passes the hare and wins the race. SEO is a marathon. By acknowledging its marathon-like nature and refreshing and reviewing your business plan and process regularly, you can keep yourself on course and beat all of the hares that are currently miles (and search engine rankings) ahead of you.

    #2. Do it for the love, not for the money

    Studies on motivation suggest that entrepreneurs who pursue their passions tend to do better in the long term than do entrepreneurs who pursue goals strictly for financial ends. If you don’t love what you do, the bumps in the road will destroy you. True passion is the cure.

    #3. Keep an even keel — emotionally and financially

    As your SEO practice gets underway, expect ups and downs. Protect yourself by buffering your budget. Build a stable income stream (preferably more than one) to support your venture, and save up for “rainy days” that for some can last many months. If you lack this anchor for your budget, you will feel more pressure to act “quickly” instead of “intelligently” and this can lead you to make costly long-term mistakes.

    #4. Take care of your health

    Get exercise, eat healthy, take time to be with friends and family, meditate, get enough sleep, get some sun, and don’t spend too long at the keyboard at one stretch. Remember, you are in it for the long haul. If you burn out too quickly, or push yourself to meet unrealistic deadlines, you will exhaust yourself and your business will suffer.

    We all have the spark of success inside us — awakening this spark requires showing compassion towards yourself and towards your business and planning realistically and conservatively.

    Add comment Visited 6803 times March 20th, 2010 Michael D Jensen

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  • How to handle SEO client problems

    Posted by Aaron R Stewart on March 9th, 2010

    As an entrepreneur and SEO professional, you crave credibility and good relationships. This is all well and good. To nourish any business relationship, you should go “the extra mile” – not just because it’s savvy business but also because it’s the right thing to do. I know in this day and age that might be a concept most don’t embrace anymore, but I think it is paramount, even just to sleep at night.

    On the other hand, we’ve all had hair-pulling situations with SEO clients. Phone calls in the middle on the night requesting next day edits on a random white paper. Mandatory six-way conference calls that meander and have no point. Heated e-mails randomly directed your way.

    So what should you do in these kinds of situations? More importantly, how do you determine when to give in to weird client requests/demands and when to jump ship?

    Here are some good working tips:

    1. Get opinions from other people whom you trust

    Often, we get so knee-deep into these SEO situations that we cannot see the forest for the trees. Talk to friends. Get an objective read on the situation. Take yourself out of the equation to arrive at a more professional and resourceful decision about how to proceed. Getting the emotion out of the situation can be the first step to properly rectifying it.

    2. Break ties honorably

    If you decide to break ties with a client, do so professionally and honor the terms of any contract or agreement, if at all possible.

    Always be a good guy (or girl). Even if a client has behaved unprofessionally or even abusively, that doesn’t give you an excuse to return the favor. I always want to feel like I came out of a situation doing all I could to make it right. You always sleep well at night if you do.

    3. Remember: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush – not six or seven

    Sure, it can be a pain to lose any client – and not just because it throws your budget out of whack. No one likes dispensing bad news. But beware of the tendency to overvalue what you already have. Sure, an abusive client may provide a steady stream of work. But every ounce of energy you waste attending to the abuser’s tyrannical demands is one less ounce you have to lavish on a new prospect. We have found the often heard saying of 10% of clients take up 90% of you time to be true, unless you make the hard decisions to dump some of them, or never take them on in the first place.

    This tendency to overvalue current assets is all too human, by the way. For instance, who hasn’t had a friend who has been mired in a terrible relationship? This person will admit that he/she should get out of it but ultimately refuses to break things off because of a fear that he/she will never again find anyone “that good.” It’s nonsense. But sometimes you can’t see it if you’re too close to it. That’s why reliable outside feedback is so key.

    4. Serenity now

    To paraphrase (and butcher) the serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the SEO clients I cannot change but want to keep; the courage to change/get out of dysfunctional SEO client relationships I can change; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    Well, that’s really clumsy and ineloquent, isn’t it? Hopefully, it still drives home the point. Doing what is best for your company, and doing it the right way, can get tough, but in any small business, it sets you up for greater things in the future.

    Add comment Visited 6571 times March 9th, 2010 Aaron R Stewart

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  • Avoiding Problem SEO Clients

    Posted by Michael D Jensen on March 2nd, 2010

    As an SEO professional, you are always on the prowl for new business relationships. There are many great people out there to work with. But there are also many “problem clients” who for whatever reason turn out to be more of a hassle than they are worth. These type of clients will disrespect your contract or call you at 3:30 am with random questions about some minute issue. How do you stay away from the bad clients and keep the good guys on the bus?

    Here are some tried-and-true rules of thumb to separate the wheat from the chaff (or the curd from the whey or whatever other metaphor de jour you want to use to describe this process):

    1. Eyes out for red flags

    - Does a new client keep you on the phone for 30 minutes to talk about her dog? Red flag.

    - Does the client repeatedly reschedule calls/meetings for arbitrary reasons? Red flag.

    - Does the client complain to you at length about a previous writer or partner – and his complaints make absolutely no sense? Super big red flag with sugar on top.

    2. Listen to your “spidey sense”

    Do you get a strange intuitive sense that something about a business or client is not quite right? 99 out of 100 times, this is but the tip of the iceberg. Don’t waste time hooking a fish that’s going to die once you get it into the aquarium (sorry, again, a pretty weak metaphor there).

    3. Incomplete references or credentials? Bad news

    Everyone on the Web is in some sense flailing. This medium is so very new, and we all wing it to an extent. That said, sometimes a leap of faith is just jumping off a cliff. Protect yourself. Check references and credentials whenever you engage a new client (or have questions about an existing one!)

    4. Get it in writing – and get it clear.

    Set clear expectations. Tell the client precisely what you will deliver and when and how you will deliver it. Remember to keep expectations low and then over-deliver too.

    5. Baby steps.

    Don’t do $5,000 worth of work before getting your first check. It’s okay to spec out on what might ultimately only be a $50 assignment. But before you invest too much time/money/heartache into a project, make sure that the client shows you the money!

    4 comments Visited 6894 times March 2nd, 2010 Michael D Jensen

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  • SEO 101: How to crank out content for SEO

    Posted by Michael D Jensen on March 1st, 2010

    It is a cliché in the SEO world that “content is king” – that to feed the hungry search engine beasts of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, you need to churn out targeted, keyword focused, and most of all useful content. This leads to the long-term passive pay-off that is the SEO pot of gold.

    To succeed, you don’t want to get stuck fine tuning content and rewriting blog posts forever. You need to get stuff out the door so that you can get indexed, get ranked, and make a living.

    So what’s the secret? How do you quickly create high quality content – stuff that’s really good and useful and that’s optimized for the search engines?

    1. Get stuff out the door

    Fritter away time fine-tuning your web pages, and you will eventually get discouraged, and your writing will also suffer. Do NOT be afraid to make mistakes. Build web pages, write your blog posts, tweet your tweets. Do whatever you need to do. But just get content produced. You will learn by doing.

    2. Focus on keywords, but make it natural

    Content needs to be first and foremost natural and good for readers. When you optimize and emphasize for keywords, keep each article focuses on one keyword or phrase, but you can also include variants on that. You spread your article too thin when you focus on 10 keywords.

    3. Get input from coaches

    Even if you majored in literature at an Ivy League College, you no doubt have a lot to learn about how to write for the web. The internet is a wild world with its own rules for what constitutes “good” or even “acceptable.” You can’t do it alone. You have to talk to people who’ve made a living at this business. Read about how SEO works and how the web writing community functions. Attend SEO and Internet marketing conferences, specifically go to sessions on copywriting and content.

    4. Group your assignments

    Instead of just doing 1 page for a topic at a time, try doing 10, 20, even 50 pages on the same topic. This may sound like a terrible chore to some people – who wants to write 50 pages in a row about long-term healthcare insurance, for instance? But if you are going for volume, then grouping helps. You can get into the spirit of the topic easily. You can also do research upfront and then have it all laid out in front of you when you write your pages. Take notes while you do research of different article ideas, and use keyword research as a tool to create pages for your topic.

    5. Protect your hands

    If you plan to bang out more than a few pages a day, you need to be aware of the ergonomic dangers of overtyping and keyboard misuse. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and repetitive stress injuries run rampant among web professionals. Take breaks, stretch, eat well, and maintain a good keyboarding set up. Listen to your body.

    6. Develop and refine your system over time

    You are not going to get it right the first time. You are not going to get it right the second time. Hopefully, a few days into the process of cranking out good SEO pages, you will begin to develop a rhythm. Get feedback from everyday people as well as SEO professionals to better develop your style, attitude, and routine. Keep reading. Keep building your skills. Focus on easily attainable short-term goals to string you forward.

    7. Hire writers if you can’t do it yourself

    If you don’t have the time to write your own content, consider hiring a content company like Applied Content, our content writing company. We have a team of very skilled writers that can do lots of high quality, unique content, very fast. If an hour of your time is worth more than the cost of an article, you should seriously consider assigning out your writing.

    2 comments Visited 7730 times March 1st, 2010 Michael D Jensen

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  • The Only Constant Online is Change.

    Posted by Aaron R Stewart on February 24th, 2010

    As many of you know, Michael and I have put a great deal of time and effort into building SoloSEO as an important service, a recognizable brand, while hopefully providing our clients the best Do-It-Yourself SEO tools available. We were the first to offer a comprehensive set of online SEO tools, all located in one place. It has been a great learning process, and quite a bit of fun. We both love learning new industries, and obtaining as much knowledge as our pee brains can handle.

    Over the last few years we have pursued a number of new opportunities, and recently came to the realization that SoloSEO’s tools are a perfect fit within one of our other online service/products. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to take the SoloSEO tools private and utilize the SoloSEO tool suite in a different manner.

    The company mentioned above is called EdgeAbove. A service and system we believe is revolutionizing the network marketing industry, by addressing many of the online challenges these companies face daily. SoloSEO’s tools will now be incorporated into this system, providing EdgeAbove clients a seamless and simple method to SEO their own sites. It is an exciting opportunity.

    We will continue to blog on SEO matters here on the SoloSEO blog, especially on changes and interesting developments in the industry. We will also leave all our previous posts up indefintely for anyone looking to learn a bit more about SEO in general. It is a fascinating industry and very important to understand if you have desires of launching a successful online buisness.

    It has been and will continue to be a great online ride, happy SEOing to each of you.

    1 comment Visited 7090 times February 24th, 2010 Aaron R Stewart

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  • Twitter & SEO Keyword Research Tools

    Posted by Aaron R Stewart on March 13th, 2009

    Graphics compliments of www.aoddesign.comAs some of you know, I have recently been trying to get into Twitter. It has been a very interesting ride. I have met many incredible people, and learned much about a variety of business models and ideas. The Twitter community is growing rapidly with Mashable reporting an astounding 752% increase in 2008. Many project 2009 will be even higher. Who uses Twitter is a question I had in my mind when I first dove in. The best explanation of Twitter I have ever heard, was from twitter user @wisekaren who tweeted to me the following:

    “FB (Facebook) is for people you used to know; Twitter is for people you’d like to know.”

    Which is a comment I have learned to be absolutely true.

    As I see it now, Twitter is a social media platform that provides opportunity for real business growth, understanding, learning, and networking. In social media realm Twitter is like the infamous lunch date tactic all we young executive types use(d) when we were expanding our careers, working 80 hours a week, but still wanted to meet someone worthwhile, without blowing a whole evening and serious $$ on someone who was not quite right. Twitter gives everyone the opportunity to sample ideas, musings and knowledge of others, not only in your same area of expertise, but in areas of expertise where you have great interest, but lack knowledge.

    There are some great Twitter help aides out there, that assist in getting the most out of Twitter data. Some of the Twitter tools I am now using include: TweetBeep, created by my biz partner Michael Jensen. TweetBeep allows you to save keywords and keyword phrases, then the TweetBeep service will email you tweets containing your keywords at predetermined times. Imagine putting in some important keywords for your business and receiving the resulting tweets with those keywords every morning. You can easily see emerging trends, and pick up other related keywords that should probably be considered in your SEO keyword strategies. It is a marvelous SEO tool.

    I have also been using TweetGrid. This is a web based tool/system, which allows the selection of 6 topic keywords, and then streams all tweets containing these keywords. If you want to learn about a topic quickly, pick a keyword you are interested in and watch the data fly by. This is also a great way to find and engage Twitter users directly who have similar interests, and perhaps strike up a relationship for future work together, or at least someone we can bounce ideas off. It is an excellent tool to leverage Twitter.

    For folks on the go, there are many amazing Twitter tools that provide the benefits of Twitter on the road. I personally use Tweetie on my iPhone to tweet, but there are many others, including: Twittelator, Twitterrific which offers all of Twitter’s functionality and TwitterFon, which is a free, but very basic iPhone Twitter client.

    Some other cool Twitter tools for the iPhone include Fastweet, which allows for quick reading of many tweets. GeoTweeter which adds GPS coordinates to your tweets, GPSed, lets you share maps of your travels to Twitter and Twitter Trend which gives you a snapshot of what topics are really hot on twitter for the last 24 hours. Very cool.

    I know many of those that use SoloSEO are small business owners, and are working diligently to get their online business screaming. We can see how much work is being done through the use of the SoloSEO SEO tools. Please also consider using Twitter to bolster your online exposure, and knowledge about your online market, it will make a difference.

    Just a quick note on some Twitter rules of engagement (suggestions really). When someone “follows” you on Twitter, it is a good idea to follow them back. How many followers you have is a big deal to many. It doesn’t indicate exactly if you are a good Tweeple, but does show how popular you are on Twitter. Following people who show interest in you makes good sense, as many will have something in them you will be interested in. I have learned this tidbit over time, and am now in the process of ditching those I follow that don’t follow me, and following my followers. Its just good Karma. Also, on Fridays there is a custom of recommending good Twitter users others should follow. You simply list the user’s usernames with a hashtag (def. a keyword with # at the beginning of the word, which allows organization a group of tweets) of #FollowFriday somewhere in your tweet. For example, I tweeted earlier today the following:

    #followfriday @brucecarlson @tamar @mattlaclear @chrisbennett @mdjensen @wisekaren @LoriLeavitEvans. Great folks, great follows.

    Which essentially tells those that read my tweet that I recommending these 7 users as worthy to follow.

    Those are just a few things on Twitter. The best way to learn and love Twitter is to just jump in and get going. Sign up for Twitter here. At anytime, if you have a questions about how to use Twitter, just tweet about it, and you will find just how helpful and responsive the Twitter Nation can be. Hope to see (follow) you soon.

    Finally, we would sure appreciate a follow once you get up and running. @mdjensen & @aaronstewart

    Twitter graphic above provided by AddDesign

    Add comment Visited 18312 times March 13th, 2009 Aaron R Stewart

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  • 9 Steps to Land & Keep Fortune 500 Clients

    Posted by Aaron R Stewart on February 19th, 2009

    I’ve been inspired today by a post written by Demian Farnworth entitled: What a Cocky CEO Can Teach You About World-Class Blogging. The post was excellent, and as a small business creator and owner, I loved the points made in the blog on keeping our companies “focused, lean, fast.” Embracing these attributes usually keeps you competitive, especially against larger companies, which can occasionally bog down under the weight of their own hierarchy, policies and procedures.

    However, in my experience in working with large clients, I have learned much about them. When I was younger, I used to get quite frustrated with the sometimes arduous process to get anything approved, or to get policies changed, in order to make it possible for clients to use our services and technologies. But over the years I have learned to be patient, as we have seen that once the required changes have been made, and the contracts signed, there is nothing more satisfying than the stability a large client can provide to small business cash flows, and A/R collections. We currently spend more way more energy running around attempting to collect from small clients, than we ever had to spend waiting for a large client to put everything in place for us. So to all small businesses out there thinking about servicing large clients, go for it. It may take years to get a contract in place, but once it is there, it is a very comfortable place to be. In one example, one of our current Fortune 500 clients took almost 5 years of discussions before we actually got the business, but we have now been working with them for over 3 years, and just renewed our contract for 3 more. It is very, very nice in these economic times to have a contract in place with a sound, stable client.

    So how do you land these large clients? Is it an art? Are there any tricks? I have thought about these questions quite a bit over the years. There are no tricks per se, but here are some steps we have found to be very helpful.

    1. Before approaching a client, learn everything you can about the company, their history, the current management team, read all the latest news articles. I love to look over their stock price, and history. Many working within the company will watch the stock closely, as it has much to do with how their salaries, bonuses, 401K and retirement will be calculated. Whatever you can do to increase your knowledge about them, and what they do and are about, the better off you are going to be once the discussions begin. With every phone call, I have found the opportunity to ask them about some aspect of their company, or mentioned something I have learned, or I congratulate or commiserate with them on their stock price. Once they know you really know about their company, you have made an impression that is invaluable.

    2. Don’t be afraid to follow up. There are many demands on employees at large firms, they are required to attend all kinds of meetings, produce reports, and they do not have as much control over their time as small business folks do. The polite, squeaky wheel does eventually get the grease in this case. We try to follow up at least once a week during the courting period. That is a lot of contact when it takes years to finally get in place, but again, think of the long-term prize, and keep your expectations realistic on the amount of time required to get the deal done.

    3. Make sure your product is not only great, but it is a near perfect fit with what they are doing. Do not call and fish to see if they just may possibly have needs for some form of what you could possibly do for them if they had time to listen and share what their needs are… (annoying run on sentence used purposefully) ;) There have been many times we have pitched our product or service, which fit well with what the potential client was doing, but while talking to them we realized we could offer other products and services that might be even better based on their immediate needs. We would then approach them later with a new proposal that is not only more comprehensive, but excites them more because of their current needs. This is a great way to get the ball rolling more quickly.

    4. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, even during the negotiating process. One of our current largest clients was actually a referral from a client we were in negotiations with. Those you are speaking with know others in other companies in their line of work. They went to school together, attend conferences together, might be in local organizations together, and they will know if your services might prove helpful at another firm. A referral from a person of stature in a large company, to their counterpart in another firm is golden. We literally started working with the referral company the same week the referral was made. It was a fabulous surprise.

    5. Take the time to travel and see those you are talking to. As small business folks, we don’t always have the working capital to fly all over the world on a whim, but maybe consider taking a family trip to a city where you have a potential client. Michael and I were in a city for SoloSEO business, and since we were going to be in the area anyway, we just called up a potential client we had been working with in another opportunity and said “hey we are going to be in the area, and were wondering if we could come by and meet with you?” They were very accommodating, and we actually got to meet with entire executive group. We had a great discussion, demoed some stuff, and moved the discussion along more in a hour, than we had been able to do over the previous 12 months.

    6. When all else fails, invite them to golf. Oh laugh if you must (and my wife will :) ), but there has been many times when I have tried and tried unsuccessfully to get someone on the phone or to answer an email. But eventually I will call, when someone tries to give me the brush off, or if I have to leave a VM, I will say “well, I have a tee-time today at 2:00, and have had an opening, just wanted to see if _______ wanted to join us.” I am either put on hold and put through, or I get a call back in less than 5 minutes. Great thing about golf, I then have 4+ hours with the person I needed to talk with. And, never, never, never allow them win, that’s terrible. If they beat you straight up, fine, but if you can take it to them, then you will earn their respect. Once you trounce a CEO, President, VP or anyone else on the golf course, you have their attention, respect, and they will take your calls from then on, guaranteed.

    7. Probably the most important, just be yourself. You are good enough, just as you, to hang with anyone, no matter how big the company is in your sights. Your products and services are (hopefully) excellent, and you will do a good job for them, and make their company more competitive or efficient. As long as you can focus on this, the whole process is easier to exist through. I have no doubt that what we have to offer the companies we approach can help them be better at what they do. If they choose to use us, they will see amazing results, and they will be grateful they decided to work with us. If they choose not to go with us, it is their choice and their loss. Chances are we will work a deal with their competitor, and the original company will eventually learn how good things could have been. ;)

    8. Once you have landed the big client, keep them by providing customer service they have never experienced in-house. We try to respond to any request or comment from our Fortune 500 clients as soon as they come in. We will tell them instantly what we are doing to address the concern, and how long it will take to get it done. When someone works in a large company they are used to their request taking days, and sometimes weeks to be addressed. So they are happy when things are dealt with more quickly, but we don’t allow ourselves to become complacent because their expectations are way low. We respond as quickly as we possibly can, even though we don’t really have to in order to keep them happy.

    9. When contracts eventually come due, and it is time to negotiate, realize these companies are going to do all they can to keep the price as low as possible, or to lower the price. They have budgets, supervisors, and stocks holders they have to be concerned with. We like to have at least three possible pricing options for them, with varying levels of products and service we can offer at these varying price points. The client can then choose what is best for their needs. In all the packages we can be profitable, and we have addressed the concerns our clients have. If we are doing our jobs right, we usually know what these concerns will be, by listening during time we spend working with them.

    Working with large clients is challenging, it is demanding, but it is incredibly interesting, and most of all it is very enjoyable. I consider the people I work with at these firms to be great friends, I enjoy their phone calls, visits, and solving their challenges for them. We have gained quite a bit of business by current clients just asking if there is anything we could do to help them solve a new problem. In many cases we have, and it has developed into a new product or service we can then offer in the marketplace.

    So get out there and land a big client(s), it can be done, and when it is done, it will be well worth all the effort.

    1 comment Visited 9505 times February 19th, 2009 Aaron R Stewart

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  • Can Twitter Help Small Business?

    Posted by Aaron R Stewart on February 17th, 2009

    In my attempt to learn and grow, I have really focused on being a participant of Twitter the last week. It isn’t something I am comfortable with, I prefer to avoid the public eye, I prefer the shadows and the back row, to the sunlight and the attention. I wasn’t always this anti-social, it has just developed over time, as I have discovered being in the public domain can be very time consuming. I now make a conscience decision to put my efforts into things more important to me personally, which usually brings me little to no notoriety. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I even shut down my Facebook account, just due to the inordinate amount of time required to reply to all the Facebook foolishness. I can’t stand games, games when dating, board games, video games, game shows, card games, puzzle games, if it is a game, and not a sport, I am rarely if ever interested, much to the dismay of my wife and kids. So with all the games in Facebook, a personal Facebook page was much more of a distraction, than a personal advantage.

    As far as my initial reaction to Twitter, at first I fought it, and it has taken me quite a bit of time to warm up to the idea. I am still a newbie, with only 49 followers and 205 updates, but I have been following people for just over 8 months, so I do know some stuff. My initial reaction… It is a part of social media that doesn’t take up that much time, and there is just enough interaction to make it interesting, without being annoying. Best of all, you can just say on the sidelines and watch the whole thing if you want. I like the idea of requiring users to say something relevant in only 140 characters. One thing I have found to be most interesting is I tend to read items those I follow read and recommend. About 2 years a go I got into reading blogs everyday. I would set aside an hour a day to just read blogs. Business, SEO, technology and health blogs were my favorites. As updates would occur to these blogs throughout the day, I would click over and get caught up. But as many of us know, the information distributed through blogs these days just keeps coming, and there are more and more really good blogs out there all the time. Eventually it got to a point where I couldn’t keep up, and now I will maybe get to read the blogs once or twice a week now, and usually I just skim and look for a headline that catches my attention. My RSS feed is quite a lonely fella these days, and is basically ignored.

    However, with Twitter, when someone I respect and follow recommends something to read, I will take the time to read it. It they give me a couple of bad articles in a row, I just quit following them, and the bad recommendations go away too. It has made choosing where I spend my time reading much more effective and beneficial then going out and just searching the various blog sites on my own.

    Twitter in business has proven to be very successful, with many good case studies. Comcast and Zappos both use Twitter to interact with clients, address complaints or comments broadcasted over the Twitter network. With Twitter the public can actually see the interaction taking place, which I think bolsters both sides. Because it is a public setting, customers complaints and comments carry more weight, and companies have more incentive to take notice of these individuals. Additionally, much goodwill can be earned when companies publicly address these concerns, and solve the issues within the public forum. It is potentially a great result for both parties. Additionally, Twitter has been used to increase sales. Dell Outlet has used Twitter to broadcast sales items and great deals on their products at their online store. Dell recently published a tweet which stated they had been able to sell $1 million worth of products using Twitter.

    So how can we approach Twitter as small business owners, and brand builders. One thing which if common in any media, we must remember we are our brand in many ways. We need to show our personalities and just let it go. I enjoy following those on Twitter who are fun, who share insights to not only their business, but also into themselves a little bit. I like reading how others struggle with the everyday life items, it makes them human, and frankly more likable. So I would suggest discussing business and your work goals, but also let them see who you are, you may not know it, but others will find that kind of honesty and willingness to share very I don’t like doing it, I am sure many of you won’t. There is just something that feels fundamentally wrong about throwing myself out into cyberspace, and not being totally sure where it will land, or who will read it. I had to deal with the same feelings when we started this blog a while back. Just as a final note. For those on Twitter currently, who are attempting to create or build your personal or business brand. I would suggest leaving the F-bombs and foul language out of your tweets. I know there is Freedom of Speech in this country, and I know everyone is free to spread whatever they want, but we as potential clients are also free to choose where we buy, and what we read, and I for one am not going to read or buy from a person who can’t spend the brain power to come up with a few better words than the sludge some sling up there in the tweets. Here is a link to an online Thesaurus, please take a minute to come up with a few less offensive words before your next foray.

    So far Twitter has been an interesting experiment. Twitter is far less annoying than Facebook, and has proven to have some benefits I did not expect. It doesn’t take much time, and finding and following good people on Twitter can actually be quite beneficial. Throw in the opportunity to interact with clients, and perhaps increase sales, and I would say Twitter and small business can be good partners for a long time to come.

    Sign up today at Twitter’s Sign Up page, and give it a try. You can follow my musings (tweets) at www.twitter.com/aaronstewart.

    2 comments Visited 8136 times February 17th, 2009 Aaron R Stewart

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  • How to Implement “Canonical Tag” To Reduce Duplicate Content

    Posted by Michael D Jensen on February 12th, 2009

    The Big 3 search engines have agreed on a meta tag standard for identifying a page’s “permalink” or “Canonical URL”. One problem a lot of sites experience is having the same content show up with different URLs due to search features, categories, etc. This can hurt your pages and your site, and so having this solution can really help out with the problem.

    So now that the big 3 are all going to “honor” this new tag, how do we implement the “Canonical Tag”?

    Step 1: Identify what the permalink URL is for the page. You need to figure out the one URL that you want used when search engines (and people too) look for and list that page.

    Step 2: Now you need to figure out how you are going to dynamically call that URL from each page including when the page is pulled up from different search parameters or what not.

    Step 3: Once you know how to get the URL, place the following tag inside the <HEAD> tag with the canonical URL:

    <link rel="canonical" 
    href="http://www.mysite.com/mydir/mypage.html">

    If you have any questions about this, please leave a comment!

    Add comment Visited 8641 times February 12th, 2009 Michael D Jensen

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