How to Get 5 Million Visitors to Your Website
Want to get 5 million people to come to your website? Per cartoonist and web designer, Matthew Inman, here's how:
An entrepreneur is someone who starts, organizes or manages a business and takes on financial risk to invest in their idea. However, an entrepreneur is so much more. An entrepreneur:
Do you have these attributes or can you learn to adopt them?
Start up businesses require all of these attributes where businesses who have been open for many years may allow you to depend on other select people in select positions.
Watch your friends who are employees. Every week they know when they will be working and exactly how much they can depend on receiving for their services. In a new start up business, an entrepreneur can make an educated guess about what they may make that week or month, but it is never definite. You may get that call you are waiting for on a Saturday morning or may be $3K short this month, requiring extra attention. Can you stomach that roller coaster?
In reviewing what it takes to get started, do you notice any fears arising? What are they? Make a list of these fears and examine how relevant and valid they are?
Look at each fear and work through it. Is the fear something that is based on something that you can easily work through or is does it raise the hair on the back of your neck and bring on a stress headache? If the fear is debilitating, get some professional help to work through it. If you ignore it, it will most likely surface again and again later in your business. It’s best to learn how to deal with it in the beginning.
Once you have gone through these exercises and all signs point to moving forward, you embark on your real journey. Your next steps are exciting, maybe scary, and somewhat overwhelming at the same time.
Now you have a firm business idea, but what to do first?
First, breathe and accept that this will be one of the toughest and most trying periods in your life. You will be doing both your normal routine AND heaps more work in the same amount of time. Do not make other engagements, such as agree to host a bridal shower. Do not chose to launch your business prior to a move, birth of a child, or a wedding. Notify your friends and family that you will be stressed and that you will need help. Communicate to any employees or subcontractors when they can expect to hear from you. You will need days to breathe and days for yourself. You will have to fight the “shoulds” and carve out some time for yourself and your family and/or friends each week, if not each day. You are not a machine, even though your mind may work like one. You will need to turn off your phone and your computer. You will do better if you take breaks because you will refill your well of inspiration and reenergize.
"I used to get so into my work that I would lean into my computer, breathe shallowly and quick, and work so fast that I wouldn’t even notice the hours moving by. I would only stop when I needed to use the bathroom and would then rush back to work. I eventually gave myself daily headaches and other ergonomically-challenged and stress-induced problems. After paying for endless massages, acupuncture and chiropractic appointments trying to correct my aches and pains, I finally realized I could make positive changes in my body by altering my patterns. But I didn’t know what to do. Additionally, it was really hard for me to justify taking a break. My husband then mentioned to me how happy I look after every hike, bike or run and suggested I take a 30 minute break to go exercise. I fought him at first, but after I exercised a few times during the day, I was amazed at how much more productive I was when I returned and how much better I felt. (This is a documented time of when he was 100% right ." - Sara Zimmerman, Entrepreneur Bee
If you don’t work with your spouse or want to hear him/her make suggestions, stay motivated to set alarms on your computer, your phone or get an egg timer. This will allow you to work hard without having to pay partial attention to when your break or next appointment is scheduled.
If you have the resources to rent an office space in a commercial setting right away, spend some time arranging it in the most productive way possible. If you are working on your funding sources or will be working from home, carve out a space where you can have a door or a separator of some sort. You need to be able to make a visual boundary between you and your work, as well as your work from your family or roommates. Working in the living room confuses people- they assume you are available for discussions and you will soon find yourself working when it is time to sit down for dinner.
How to Be an Entrepreneur
Maintaining a work life balance is a true art.
Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices. – Betsy Jacobson
Maintaing the work-life balance means having the will power and determination to work during work hours and stop when work hours are over. It means learning to say no because it is not time to work, even if you know you need to finish a project. It means scheduling the extra hours to get the project done, but also putting the same importance on family life and/or recreation time. However, keeping a balance gets more challenging when you are an entrepreneur, especially one working out of the home.
Working at home for yourself provides more challenges than working in an office with hours and expectations set by someone else.
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” - Charles Buxton
To work at home, it requires a very determined personality type that can set and keep work hours (such as 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, or Tuesday through Friday 9 to 3, etc). There is no one saying you need to work other than you. Therefore, if you find yourself being easily sidetracked by home projects or the call of playing outdoors, working at home may not be your cup of tea.
Second, you need a space set aside for work during work time. It doesn't have to be a fancy office- it can even be a table in a corner. But it needs to be set aside for work as well as have a means to closing it off from work. An agreement about this space needs to be made between you and housemates or family members: when you are in your work space, you are not to be disturbed. The same goes, when you are out of your workspace, you are not to be working. A door or even a curtain that can be pulled closed can help make this boundary more visible. If you don't have that, then even having a blanket that covers your worktable after work hours will keep it hid from you so you can't sneak in a few minutes between dinner and dishes.
In this day of technology where emails can demand your attention at any given moment, it is important to extend your work hours to your mobile devices. Yes, you may want to sneak a peak at your phone after work hours are over just to see if your big account has been accepted. However, the more you can train yourself to turn off after work and NOT check your emails, the more your family members and housemates will respect the time you set aside for work hours (and the more you will get out of your own work hours). If you are always working, then it will be harder to get uninterrupted work hours during the day. Furthermore, if you never stop working, then you never have time to revive and to be the other roles you have as parent, child, sibling, friend, etc.
The Work Life Balance
Work Life Balance by Jen Dohner
What is Work-Life Balance?
The web has been seeing another spike in hacking attempts on websites lately. It’s important for you to do your part to help keep your site safe. Hacks can be a real pain to remove, and unaddressed malicious content on your site may even result in your site being removed from search engine results.
You can think about protecting your site as being a lot like protecting your house. If a criminal is smart enough, and motivated enough, they are going to break into your house, no matter what you do. However, taking a few basic precautions can help protect your house against most would-be wrong-doers.
This is just a short list of the most important best-practices for the management of your site and information. If you have any questions or concerns about your site security, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you have a blog on your content management website, you will have the option to enable or disable commenting. For bloggers who plan to blog at least once a week, commenting provides an interface to interact with your viewers. However, some small business owners are noticing the malicious nature of spammers and are receiving more spam than actual comments. In this case, disabling commenting may be a better option, especially if blogging is done less than once a month.
To help you decide, here is a rundown of the pros and cons of allowing commenting on your website:
When deciding whether or not to allow commenting on your blog posts, the most important decision to ask yourself is “Do I plan on blogging regularly, and will my posts benefit from the potential feedback of my readers?” If the answer is yes, it is probably worthwhile to enable comments on your blog. If your answer is no, and you only plan on using your site’s blog to post periodic updates about your company, or other “read-only” posts, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by disabling comments on your site.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about comments on your site, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Each year updates are needed to keep your website working its best, and to keep it safe and secure. The updates your site needs will vary according to the changes made over the year to web standards, web browsers, mobile devices, and, most importantly, to attempt to close any potential security holes which may leave your site open to attackers and hackers.
Websites need maintenance, just like cars do. When you purchase a new car, you drive it around, have some fun, show it off, and don't think about its needs too much at first. After a certain amount of time and miles, you bring it in for an oil change, rotate the tires, change other fluids and filters, change out the belts, wash it, maybe even get it detailed. Generally this type of maintenance will help keep your car running smoothly and will provide reliable transportation.
Now imagine that you do NOT do the regular scheduled maintenance to your car, and instead wait 5 years to do anything. Your car will most likely be running poorly (if at all) and will need a ton of work, which will most likely cost more than it would had you done regular maintenance. A website is just the same, needing regular scheduled updates. The longer you wait, the more likely your site will be working poorly and will cost more to overhaul, and the more likely it is to have major issues.
For content management websites using open-source platforms, such as WordPress, the cost of updating your site generally depends on the theme and plugins you use, your site’s functionality (eCommerce, etc.), how customized the features, functions and design of your site are, and how long it has been since your site was last updated.
If updates are done, the site will continue to be seen as intended in newer browsers and mobile devices, will have heightened security, and will, most likely, run a bit faster. If updates are not done, some elements of the site may not be working correctly in certain new web and mobile devices, or in newer versions of desktop browsers. Most importantly, any bugs and security loopholes that have been found since your site was last updated, in any elements that your site utilizes, are much more likely to be exploited by hackers and attackers. Failing to update your site leaves it extremely venerable to attacks.
Some updates may break your site, create conflicts between site elements, and/or write over customizations, if not done properly. If you choose to attempt to update your site by yourself, please be aware that the process is usually considerably more complex than clicking on the automated “update” buttons, which simply writes any available new, updated, files over your existing site files. If you make a WordPress update by yourself, you may very well shut your entire website down. Some fixits to incorrectly updated sites have cost upwards of $500, in addition to the other work that needs to be done, because the site was updated incorrectly by the client. Please be 100% sure of what you are doing before you click “ok” or “update.”
If your site is infiltrated by a malicious attacker, it must be restored from the most recent “clean” backup, or manually cleaned of whatever attack has infected the site. This process can be very time consuming, in the event of a complex hack. While it is, theoretically, possible for a site to be hacked at any time, leaving your site running old versions of WordPress, theme cores, and plugins, is like leaving the doors and windows to your house open. Your house may still be broken into if you lock the doors and windows, but it is, certainly, less likely.
If your site has been flagged as a "malicious" site, and your web browser displays a safety warning when visiting your URL, it is extremely important to "take down" your site, and do your part to stop malware. Until your site is clean of malicious attacks, it should not be accessible on the internet.
If you have an eCommerce site, keeping the site up-to-date becomes even more critical. As an e-merchant, you are responsible for the safe transfer of the payment information of your clients. Leaving an out-of-date eCommerce site on the web is not only irresponsible, but likely violates the terms of your Merchant and Gateway agreements.
Additionally, during this time, I recommend updating all passwords, which your web developer can help you with at the same time.
Updates are needed every 6-12 months. Updates are required by your web hosting provider, are essential to keeping your site running smoothly, and are mandatory for the security of your site. YOU are responsible for asking for updates to be done on your website. Contact your web developer to get a regularly scheduled maintenance contract.
Many businesses and organizations create Facebook Fan Pages not knowing that it can become an amazing marketing tool. They simply sign up, assuming that it is just the thing to do today, next to filing a fictitious business name and ordering business cards. After floundering around in the Facebook waters wondering what to post, when to post, and how to gain followers, a page may start to gain popularity simply by the amount of customers it has. However, simply having a sea of followers does not mean you are using Facebook to its fullest potential for your marketing growth.
According to 5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Exposure by Brian Carter, "photos often get from 5 to 20 times as much interaction as any other type of Facebook post [statuses, links or videos]." As the VP of Marketing for Infinigraph writes in his article, there are ways to maximize your posts through unique imagery and inspired requests for engagement, as well as other suggestions.
If you are an administrator of a Facebook Fan Page and are looking for ways to increase your feed exposure, check out 5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Exposure for some healthy insights.
When I was in college taking science illustration courses, I was introduced to pen and ink. [And when I say "pen and ink," I do not mean normal, run-of-the-mill pens; I am talking about pens with nibs that you dip into an inkwell (really old school!)]. My initial reaction upon introduction to the pen nib and ink well made me think about the Declaration of Independence. Once I started clogging up the ends of my nibs and dripping large blots of ink everywhere, I realized what a feat creating an error-free document truly was.
The goal of using this new medium was to test multiple pen nibs to create different sized lines and alternating stroke widths in each line. This is useful when you would like an illustration that has an interesting line, with a hand-drawn feel, yet is concise and interesting.
After I tired from my explorations of ink blobs and the new curse-words I invented during this process, my professor recommended I create a sample sheet of lines. How boring, I thought to myself. A sheet of lines? Ugh! But after I started, I realized that this indeed was a great exercise that was far from dull. It inspired me to see how many different strokes or lines I could create.
I created hatchmarks from different nibs, with different pressures, different strokes, different directions, etc. The result is this sheet that I can use as a reference point for future inking projects.
Creating a video for your business can help you effectively demonstrate your product or service to your clients. A well-produced video can:
Additionally, a well-produced video will show potential clients that you are concerned with quality.
So what are the steps towards creating a video that can enhance your business? 5 Tips to creating Stellar Videos by Rob Toledo highlights some essential elements that should be considered, including planning, image selection, determining call to actions and more. If you are interested in producing a quality video for your business, be sure to read through these great video marketing tips.
There are only 3.5 months left in 2012, and only about 10 weeks until Thanksgiving (also known to us Truckee/Tahoe-folk as the beginning of the Winter tourist season). If you have holiday products you will be promoting, or if you are in a service-based industry and need help learning how to even out the slow times, now is the time to be marketing.
Unless you have a background in marketing, most business owners need a helping hand. Some common questions I am asked are:
From large, detailed marketing plans to small, one page plans, I have helped guide many businesses to their goals. If you just need a little help getting things rolling and want to jump-start your business, shoot me an email. If you want to get started, here are some things that you can brainstorm:
Make a list of all of the places you are currently advertising and people you are marketing to, list how much these cost (money & time) and write down the return on investment you are getting, per item. See where this list takes you and let's make a plan to help you obtain your goals.