Larry Brauner

In Creating a Home for Your Blog I discussed blogging platforms and stated my preference for starting a WordPress.org free-standing blog for greatest control and flexibility. Review that post to decide what’s best for you at the present time.

Blogging communities such as Blogger.com or Wordpress.com, and social networking sites such as MySpace and Yuwie will host a blog for you.

However, if you decide on WordPress.org or another free-standing blogging platform, you must set up an account with a web hosting company.

Make sure to select Linux shared web hosting and not Microsoft hosting.

Here is a partial list of web hosting companies to consider for your blog:

Each web hosting company has its own features and pricing structure. All these hosting companies are mainstream. They’re listed in alphabetical order. Choose the one that best fits your plans.

If you choose a WordPress.org blog, and you have never used WordPress before, ask a freind or colleague to help. You can also contact me, and I will provide you with personal help for a very modest fee.

One side note: If you’re looking to buy domain names, 1&1 Internet offers .com domains with private registration for $6.99 per year.

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Larry Brauner

Marketing and Keyword Research

I met Marcus Hochstadt several months ago through our participation at one of my favorite social networking sites for bloggers called Entrecard.

I recently previewed and gave a thumbs up to Marcus’ new keyword research home study course which will help you identify niches in both US and international markets.

The training is geared to both newbies and advanced Internet marketers. I got some great ideas from watching the videos.

Marcus shows in great detail how to use a number of free but powerful research tools.

Here’s what I wrote in my review:

I enjoyed your course very much.

I liked your in-depth look at free tools that people can leverage and assess online market potential as well as select relevant keywords.

Your introduction made a case for research, and I was lead to believe that the course would be for beginners. Once I got into the body of the course, I realized that it is also valuable for professionals.

I have experience, so I found your course very valuable, because it took me to places where I hadn’t gone before.

Read the course details and place your order at Marcus’ blog.

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Larry Brauner

This post is somewhat longer than usual. Sorry for that, but I put a lot of work into it. I hope you like it.

Last Wednesday during my regular bi-weekly business mentoring tele-conference I revealed several powerful business success secrets.

While I was specifically addressing entrepreneurs, small business owners and sales professionals, these principles apply to all people and to all areas of our lives, not only business success.

Have you noticed? The year 2008 is half over.

Near the end of 2007 I posted Personal Development: 10 Simple Success Strategies to “help turbo charge your personal development in the New Year”. This may be worth re-reading if some of your goals and objectives have lost much of their earlier inertia.

Commitment

What are you committed to?

Mike Hernacki in The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want wrote:

“In order to accomplish something, you must know what you want and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.”

It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? However, it is your intention and commitment that set The Law of Attraction into motion on your behalf.

Want proof?

Reflect back on your most important accomplishments, such as raising a child, getting a college degree, running a marathon, starting a business, or developing an Internet presence, and you’ll agree that your commitment to your success was absolute.

It wasn’t that you felt obligated. Rather you felt that the goal was extremely important to you, and that you would deal with any obstacle that might arise — without knowing in advance exactly what would be demanded of you on your way to success.

Without total commitment The Law of Attraction would have probably delivered an obstacle that you would not have been willing to handle, and you would have failed.

This success secret is so important that I’ve read Mike Hernacki’s timeless book about a dozen times over the past decade.

Acquiring New Skills

I am commited to ongoing personal development and acquisition of new knowledge and skills. I read mind expanding books, blogs and e-books.

Your objective may require the mastery of new skills – or it may not. Your willingness to do what it takes is what really matters. If new skills are required, then you must be ready and willing to learn them.

Working Hard

You may be required to apply a great amount of effort. When I wanted to run the New York Marathon in 1984, strenuous preparation was absolutely necessary. In 1985 that was still true but to a lesser extent, since I had maintained a high level of fitness in the interim.

Tenacity and Persistence

Let’s bring this home.

You want to develop a presence at one of your favorite social networking sites – or you want to write a blog – or you want to build an Internet presence. These objectives usually require a high degree of tenacity.

So often people abandon online social networking, blogging or social media optimization without realizing their objectives. They weren’t willing to persist. Perhaps their belief system was weak.

I have been social networking online for many years. I have continuously posted to this blog for nearly eight months.

Why?

I know what I want, and I’m willing to persist until I achieve it.

Belief

As I stated in Personal Development: The Law of Belief, “Our motivation and how we act is determined by our underlying beliefs.

“If we don’t believe that something is possible, we won’t even try to make it happen. Please listen to a conference call I recorded on 8/22/07 that illustrates this concept.”

A healthy belief system is critical to success in business and life.

Treat Your Business Like a Business

Production

Showing up counts for something, but it doesn’t count for enough.

Success in business and life depends on producing value either directly or indirectly through people you influence.

If you have a job and don’t produce, you won’t get very far, and sooner or later you won’t have a job.

If you have a business and don’t produce, you won’t have money in the bank.

If you don’t come through for people, you won’t have their friendship.

You must make a positive contribution in order to be successful.

One way to ensure that you’re productive is to set daily or weekly goals or benchmarks.

For example, let’s suppose you’re in sales. You need to make six product sales per month to meet your business objectives. In order to make six sales, you need to make 15 presentations. To get 15 appointments, you’ll need to speak to 60 people.

You work about 20 days per month. On average you will have to speak to three people per day in order to speak to 60 per month.

Your benchmark or goal becomes three a day. If you focus on 3+ per day with consistency, you will likely make your six product sales per month.

You’ve succeeded at breaking down your abstract monthly goal into concrete daily actions.

Diversification

Big corporations employ a wide variety of media and messages to bring their product to market. They advertise on television, radio, in print and through direct mail. They experiment with many versions of their ad copy.

You cannot do everything a giant company can do, but why not learn from their example?

If you use half a dozen methods to reach out to your potential clients, you’ll enjoy these benefits:

  • You’ll achieve success with some approaches, even if others fail.
  • You’ll attract a wider variety of clients than using a single method.
  • You’ll be able to see which methods perform better relative to each other, so that you can refine your marketing plan.
  • You’ll lower your overall risk through diversification.

Here are some of my favorite marketing channels:

Over time you’ll develop your own favorite marketing channels if you haven’t already done so.

Tracking and Analysis

If you want to make informed business decisions, you must track your results and analyze your data. If you can’t do it yourself, then you must get an expert to do it for you or show you how to do it.

Tracking and analysis are not something optional.

Let me ask you, would you even consider driving your car with your eyes shut?

You can’t afford to run your business with your eyes shut or even partially covered.

Cost per Acquisition

One of the most basic marketing measurements is cost per acquisition, the amount that you’re spending on average to complete a sale using each marketing method. Simply put, it’s the total spend divided by the total number of sales.

It is important to consider your staff costs including your own time, not just the out-of-pocket expenditures for design and media.

Cost per acquisition is an excellent way to compare marketing channels, but there is one very important caveat. Customers from one marketing channel may be more valuable than from another. Therefore marketers must take into account customer long term value, the other side of the equation.

Customer Long Term Value

Customer long term value can be difficult to calculate, but it is generally approximated as the income you expect to earn from a customer over a 12 to 24 month period. If your business is on the risky side, lean towards 12 months. If it is very stable, then 24 months may be appropriate.

To be successful, cost per acquisition cannot exceed customer long term value. It ought to be less.

Trend Data

You can also track your performance or the performance of your staff. Trending performance data and marketing data over time will help you see the bigger picture.

Masterminding and Mentoring

As stated in my post Even Mentors Need Mentors, “I learn from reading many books, e-books and blogs, and from speaking frequently with friends and mentors. Having mentors has greatly shortened my learning curve.”

Masterminding with your peers and seeking out mentors will help you as much or more than any other single strategy mentioned in this article.

Please feel free to comment and share those strategies that have made the biggest difference in your business and personal endeavors.

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Larry Brauner

I’m taking a couple of days off from work, and I’m leaving you with the following thought:

A website is not necessarily an Internet presence.

Some websites are no more than online business cards. They display the owner’s contact information along with some eye catching graphics, but provide little or no information about the business or organization.

I admit that such a site is not very common, but they do exist.

Here’s one that actually belongs to a web designer who is selling “Engine Optimized Web Solutions”:

http://marriedtotheweb.com

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

Seeing is believing!

If there is information, but it’s contained in a flash presentation, then from a search engine’s point of view the site is devoid of content. Search engines are unable to decipher flash or pictures.

When pictures are part of a website, it’s important to tell the search engine what the picture is by using an “alt” description atrribute in the HTML “img” tag. Then the picture adds search value to the site. Also, if for some reason the picture doesn’t load, the description will appear instead.

If there is a lot of good information on the site, but there’s no way to capture a visitor’s contact details, or there isn’t an effective search engine optimization strategy, then the website is merely an Internet-based brochure.

Mosts websites are online brochures and no more. They lack an effective lead capture mechanism, or they lack an effective keyword strategy, or all too often they lack both.

Blogs are naturally full of rich content. Add to the mix a choice of subscription methods for lead capture and good keyword research, and you have the makings of a blog marketing strategy.

In my Blog Marketing and SEO Training series, I hope to provide you with lots of creative input as you develop your online presence.

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Larry Brauner

Yesterday I was asked how it is that I’ve learned so much so quickly about social media marketing and search engine optimization.

My response was simple.

I learn from reading many books, e-books and blogs, and from speaking frequently with friends and mentors. Having mentors has greatly shortened my learning curve.

I do admit that I am a much more focused learner than the average person. I was able to finish high school math at 15 and by 19 I was one of the top chess players in New York.

As an adult I’ve gone on to acquire skills and expertise in many areas including business analysis, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and online social networking at social networking sites, the original motivation for this site.

One of my greatest teachers and mentors was Eric Marder, founder of Eric Marder Associates and my employer for 23 years. One fundamental thing he taught me about business was that I should always seek the truth.

At 56, I still place a very high priority on continuing education, personal development and masterminding with my mentors and peers. You can ask any of the friends with whom I consult most often, David Alexander, Ivo Jackson, and Tom Long.

Other friends and mentors whom I wish to acknowledge:

My Private ClassroomDiane Hochman of My Private Classroom, like myself, offers free tele-seminars and webinars. To receive announcements and invitations to these classes, join my e-mail list at my free social media training site.

I used to recommend the training Bill Arnold offers through Network Success Builders, but came to realize, as I wrote in Orovo and Network Success Builders, that Network Success Builder’s training was mediocre and that Bill Arnold lacked personal and business integrity.

Make a commitment to read at least one business or marketing book each month. Choose mentors to guide you and then set aside time each week to learn something from them.

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Larry Brauner

Or is it?

Your plate is very full. Don’t get me wrong. I understand. I really do.

You wonder how you could possibly fit blogging into your hectic schedule. You also wonder whether you have the wherewithal to adequately research and write articles week after week, something that you believe good bloggers ought to do.

Before addressing these issues, let’s take a step back and discuss a scenario that you’re familiar with if you engage in business networking at your local small business association, chamber of commerce or business networking group.

Business Networking Model

At a business networking meeting, you meet several people you feel you’d like to get to know.

Business Networking MeetingYou exchange business cards, and being a sharp networker, you resolve to get in touch with these new contacts as quickly as possible once you return to your office. You know very well that if you want to get something going, you’ll have to be the one to take the first step.

Unfortunately most people simply won’t follow up. They’ll hope that you’ll be sufficiently impressed with them and their business card, brochure or website to pick up the phone and call them to get the ball rolling.

You’re not as impressed as they would like, but you do understand business networking and human nature, so you take the initiative and give them a ring.

Your phone converation goes well. You ask enough questions to build rapport and to identify at least one business problem they have for which you should be able to provide a solution.

You sense that it’s too early in the relationship to try and sell them your idea. Instead you’ll maintain contact with them to build mutual trust and respect in accordance with the First Law of building relationships: Nobody cares what you say until they know that you care.

At this point what do the textbooks tell you to do?

They say that you should call periodically and look for newspaper and magazine clippings to send — along with a personal note of course.

Suppose that you have a hundred good contacts, and suppose also that you want to mail and speak to each one about every two months. That’s about eleven calls and the same number of news clippings per week or about two of each per day.

Even if you’re a sociable person, that’s going to be a hard schedule to stick with over a long period of time. You would have to be a master networker to make such a scheme work for you.

Blog Marketing to the Rescue

Fortunately blog marketing comes to your aid.

You invite your contacts to visit your blog, and ask permission to register them as a subscriber.

If they accept, you’ll be able to keep them in the loop with a reasonable amount of effort. Even if you write only one blog post per week, they’ll still hear from you every week. They have the option to comment on your articles and start a conversation within your blog’s community.

They can get to know you really well, and this will help as much or more than sending them clippings every couple of months. They may even give you cues to let you know when they’re ready to do business. You’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell them your idea, and they’ll be favorably pre-disposed to accept it.

All this is wonderful, but there’s even more.

Put Your SEO Training to Work

Many people will find you through the search engines if you’ve done good keyword research, and if you’ve paid enough attention to ongoing search engine optimization.

Make it easy for your visitors to subscribe, and those who like you will.

The search engines will be working on your behalf even when you’re sleeping or on vacation. They work 365/7 and never complain.

Save Time and Effort

If you are very busy, or you’re not sure how to research and write articles, you can rely on the tried and true clipping method. However, you’ll clip online articles instead of newspapaper or magazine stories.

You’ll frame these online articles for your readers in your post, just as you would have done using a short personal note accompanying newspaper clip. You’ll also provide a link to the site where they can read the entire story.

This approach saves you time and effort, and you can still write original content for your blog as frequently as you wish.

In Conclusion

Add to this rationale the Top Reasons Why I Blog, an earlier post, and your decision “to blog, or not to blog” will most likely be affirmative.

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Larry Brauner

Surging Ahead in the Search Engines

Extensive keyword research and long-term persistence are starting to pay off in a very big way.

Last month, in Blogging and Search Engine Marketing, I patted myself on the back for my SEO progress during my first six months publishing this blog.

Blog Marketing and SEO TrainingI didn’t at all expect that in May I would receive more visitors from search engines than in all previous months since my introduction to the world of blogs.

These visits were above and beyond the 2,000+ visits that I received from my subscriber lists and from online social networking at Entrecard, MyBlogLog and social networking sites.

Furthermore, slightly more than 30% of those search engine visitors stayed on my site long enough to read something.

Of the 787 search engine visits to my blog in May, 239 “stuck”.

Why so much growth in one month?

My keyword research helped me choose search terms that were ambitious yet realistic. And my persistence helped me to establish PageRank and credibility with Google and the other search engines.

I continue to add lots of content to my blog and bookmark all my content on major social media sites.

Do you think I might top 1,000 visitors from SEO in June?

SEO Training

The good news is that what I’m doing here with search engine optimization is duplicable, and I hope to empower you through our Blog Marketing and SEO Training series to develop a massive web presence and achieve great success in your particular niche.

Whether you’re starting a small business, growing an established business, or building a network marketing business, I can’t think of a better way to increase website traffic.

Are you ready to receive thousands of search engine visitors to your site?

Don’t miss any posts. Register, it’s easy, or subscribe to my RSS feed! You can also subscribe by e-mail using the form at the top of the home page sidebar.

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