You don’t do “Social Media”, You ARE Social Media!

Social Media Marketing is You!From its inception it is what the Internet has always been — social. That’s why the Web has evolved to the become the life changing behemoth it is today.

Let’s define social:

so·cial [soh-shuhl] –adjective
1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.
2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.

Note some of the words used to describe social — devoted to, companionship, social club, connected with. These terms tell anyone serious about social marketing how they must think so they can be considered part of social marketing.

Social media marketing takes time and focus.  You need to be involved, participate, share and react — or it isn’t “social” media marketing. For me, the Web has had this social aspect from the start. I’ve realized and embraced this advantage by making connections, being involved, sharing information and expertise, being available and approachable — being social!

Social media is really just the buzz word du jour. Social media is simply a more focused segmented version of where we started in the early 1990s — and a natural evolution.

For those that are not yet social (and continue to convince themselves they can still succeed without being “social”), this is a critical time to realize that how you have chosen to use technology, up until now, has simply been an excuse to not embrace the very fiber of what makes the online world tick.

Clients struggle with the understanding that the participation factor is what makes or breaks any online program. They want social to just happen; buy a service or a bunch of Likes or Followers and you’re “social”. Then, the more Likes or Followers you have — that’s a sign of being social — job done. Wrong.

What good are all those Likes and Follows if they don’t turn into customers? What Likes and Followers are is your opportunity to connect further!

It is more comfortable and easier to accept the passive “brochureware” mentality where site visitors come by (that is if they even find your site) and fill out a form with their questions.   Some answer these inquiries faster, in more detail and more professionally than others.  

But that’s the limit of their involvement. They rely on organic search engine rankings (no longer a valid business model) while making little to no effort to positively affect those rankings.

Again, wanting it all with no involvement and by taking no quantifiable action.

You don’t do social media — you are social media!

Few are proactive, very few are truly immersed, and those who solicit their customer’s input or offer a venue to submit commentary, engage in conversations or ask questions publicly are negligible. Rather than being involved — most choose to impersonate a billboard in the middle of a long stretch of deserted highway.

So how do you have to think, today, at this point in time when approaching social media marketing? You have to become your best marketing tool — yes, you!

Are you willing to take your participation in technology to the next level?

Think about…

  • Being useful. Advertising is no longer just a message that a business owner wants to “get out there.” The “new” best advertising is something that is useful to your target customers, which ideally also communicates the value of the product or service you are promoting.
  • Making a social media commitment. Advertising used to be about campaigns that started and ended. Yeah, there are still “campaigns” such as Pay Per Clicks, however social media is not a campaign in that sense, but a continuous commitment. Because it takes time for a community and trust to build.
  • Reading and reacting in real time. For the first time in history, the two-way nature of “digital” means you not only can, but must, read and react to your customers’ feedback or input. Good or bad. Search for your business name or primary product or service. See where potential customers are asking questions and jump in and help out. Let your knowledge and assistance self-promote — don’t get sales pitchy.
  • Finding out what works. Find out what works for your business. Determine what you have the most fun doing. Some prefer Twitter over Facebook while others dig Linkedin. What do your customers expect, desire, request? Use that knowledge to cater to that while adding your unique personality or spin. Find what works for you and what you enjoy most otherwise folks will probably pick up on your lack of enthusiasm.

These are just a few of the things that you can think about right now to start to drive your social marketing efforts online today. Want More? Check out my Social Media Category.

Reality Check Time…

If your competitors take advantage of technology, are social, are involved, are blogging, are podcasting, are creating videos, are using all the tools available to them to connect with their markets, the less chance you have of being viewed as relevant.

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”
~Jack Welch

At your service,
Judith

Why I Left Facebook (and never really did G+)

So Done With FacebookYes, I have posts here discussing how to use Social Media. All those posts also note that you need to really “work it” for social to produce benefits. And, I can attest to that — when I’ve been active on social media sites you do connect and find networking opportunities.

You have LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, G+ and slews of others — some more niche and market specific social sites. We are told we are to spend our time on all these sites — just in case anyone who may want to do business with us is there. It is very time consuming to nurture relationships and cater to current and potential customers on all social media sites and do it well. (And don’t forget to make videos for YouTube, run your business and service your current customers too.)

I’m subbed to all the top social media blogs to keep up to date. And with each new e-mail comes even more that I’m supposed to do, modify due to the changes du jour, learn, apply, pay for, subscribe to. Makes my head spin like Linda Blair!

Who has all that extra time? I don’t. I barely have the time to do a couple quality posts here every month, let alone to add the time to check in at all the social sites.

Do you have all this excess time? Of course you don’t. That’s the dilemma most of my clients have to deal with. And, most don’t and I can’t blame them. What typically happens is they do what I’ve been doing — pretending we are doing social by posting here and there and beating ourselves up because we know it isn’t enough.

With only so much time in the day how can anyone do all that and do it well? The answer is you just can’t. Yes, with WordPress and many tools out there you can automate posting — but the negates the whole reason for being social — connecting and communicating. Time to make some hard decisions.

Spend more time online “doing social” to make it produce!

I’m not online 24/7 just because the technology and the tools are there for me to do so. Many think that is what they have to do to compete. Maybe — that’s a decision each person has to make for themselves. For me, I choose to not take away from my off-line life just to be “social” online. So, that leaves me 8-10 hours of my workday to fit everything in.

After logging into Facebook last Friday and seeing that once again I neglected to post my last two Blog posts, I’ve made a decision that works for me. I put up a note stating I would no longer be updating that page. No more Facebook. The only requests I received there were for free advice (there were 4 more waiting for me last Friday) — and in most cases once answered never even received a thank you from the inquirer.

Facebook has been increasingly out-of-sight-out-of-mind. All the rule changes, throttling of post to timelines, privacy and TOS issues certainly contributed to no longer being of value to me.

What about G+?

Well, if you read my Blog you know I’m not a G fan. I’ve seen way too many SMBs destroyed by their algo. Folks who did nothing more than to do what Google wanted at a moment in time just for that to smack them in the back of the head later down the road.

The experts say that if you want to build “authority” in Google’s “eyes” you need to be on G+. That will help with your rankings — could be, maybe, probably — doesn’t matter — I don’t have time! Didn’t have the time from the start so I know I didn’t work it — I’m sure my anti-Google attitude contributed to that. I’m done there too (even though I never really gave it a good effort).

The fact is between giving my clients the service they deserve, running my business and my own Websites, I just don’t the time or inclination to be active on all these sites. Time drain; brain drain.

So, I’m just not going to try any more — and get rid of that guilt that goes along with it. And I have to tell you it is a pretty freeing experience! I’m not at my best unless I really want to do something — and social media has been that monkey on my back for way too long.

Something had to give — and it wasn’t going to be time away from my successful business. So I thought about all the social sites and activities and I asked myself which, if any, I enjoyed most. The answer was Twitter (@IStudio).

I’ve decided to choose Twitter as my “social” site of choice and spend what time I do have there. Want to connect with me? When I have some time; that’s where I’ll be!

But I’m still not making any promises…

At your service,
Judith

Trust is Gold Online; So is Going Social

Partners You Can TrustTrust is not something you can launch with a Website. Well, you can — by having a credible, great looking site that has the visuals and content that instill a perception that lends to trust — but that’s not enough. Just as in the off-line world, trust is built with consistency — over time.

You can’t “buy” trust; you have to earn it.

Search algorithms have trust factors. For example, Google determines trustworthiness of a site by the number and quality of sites that link to a particular site. Although this isn’t the end all be all, Google uses this as just one of many ways to try and determine trust.

Why trust? Because of the reasons stated above… You can’t buy it; you can’t install it. You have to earn it over time. This is also why brands and those that have been online longer tend to naturally be trusted more.

Same goes for Social Media and Networking. From being involved on trusted sites and participating and responding on the networks you know your target market frequents, you can tap into the potential to build that ambiguous trust factor. This means being trusted by site visitors that then don’t hesitate to offer positive reviews on your site and local sites as well as mentions and recommendations on social media.

Trust is Gold Online

Build trust and you build your reputation, exposure, business and network.

Here is a great article from Jeff Quipp that covers the trust issue in Social Networking. Even though it is dated 2008 — the advice is timeless! 4 Pillars of Social Media Algorithms … Trust x4

Now you have a good idea of why you need a Social Media plan and where to start implementing it. I’ve been doing this from the start — going on 20 years now and I have to tell you that right now is one of the most exciting periods in the Webolution. If you have an static Website — you are simply glorified brochureware. You need interactivity components where you can reach out to visitors and they can do the same to you — and I’m not talking a contact form.

WordPress Makes Social “Easy”

There are too many social sites and WordPress sharing plugins to list here. But I do have a couple posts that can help you get your functionality and plan in place:

The possibilities and opportunities are endless due to all the ways you can share information and interact with your current and potential customers! Time to get Social!

At your service,
Judith

My 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

The IStudio Best of 2014At this time of year the “resolutions” articles can get overwhelming and redundant! Being my 2014 Resolutions still apply, I thought this year I would share with you the “best of” from The IStudio®.

Each year during the slow week between the Holidays I look at my various site’s stats and try to gleam information, discover patterns and most importantly look at what was most popular so I know what site visitors are interested in.

This year the 10 Most Popular Posts were not surprisingly mostly about WordPress but we had a few other topics that were also of interest.

Top 10 Most Popular WordPress and Marketing Posts of 2014

  1. How to Update to the Latest WordPress Version
  2. WordPress Categories, Keywords and Tags; Oh My!
  3. Crafting Link Worthy Content
  4. WordPress How To: Trick Out Your Registration Page
  5. WordPress How To: Restore a Messed Up Page, Post or File
  6. 7 Online Copyright Myths
  7. Whoo-Hoo! SEO *is* Dead!
  8. WordPress Child Themes: Why You Need One
  9. Choosing the Right WordPress Premium Theme
  10. WordPress How To: Do the Mother of All Backups

The above is pretty much a “101” for any site owner don’t you think? Bookmark, read, learn and thrive in 2015!

At your service,
Judith

4 Truths About Free Search Engine Rankings

4 Truths of Search Engine RankingsThis December I will enter my 20th year as an online consultant. And still on a daily basis I am faced with explaining the truth about free (what is now called “organic”) search engine rankings.

Especially after the launch of a new WordPress Website, one of the primary follow-up issues is the client wanting to know when they will be in the “top 10.”

Every time this conversation takes place, the other side is clearly in shock and awe over the reality of what is required, the time and effort needed and the challenge to be embraced.

You’ve heard that phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch?” Boy, does that apply to search rankings! Yes, the “free” listings don’t cost you anything like PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising does. But don’t kid yourself, there will be costs if you are serious about being ranked on the top page ahead of the tens of thousands, hundred of thousands or even millions of other sites fighting for the same spots.

Reality vs. Hype…

Before we continue; keep the following in mind. Now that there is even less available real estate “above the fold” for organic rankings due to even more ad blocks than ever — being in the top 2 is pretty much what you need to attain if you want to be seen without scrolling.

Add to that thought, if hundreds of thousands of sites all want to pull on the top page for the very same terms you do, you have to do what is necessary to be perceived as the cream of the crop — the top two! That’s a tough hill to climb.

This doesn’t happen by osmosis or just because you think your site is all that. Each site in your market probably desires those positions as much as you do — but desire aside, what makes the difference?

Choices and Action!

There are many great resources online that guide site owners on the reality of what is required to succeed — here is the list I rely on.  

Unfortunately, many ignore this reality to assume that they can tweak this, or do that, throw some keywords here or there, not spend any time or money and the rankings will happen just because they want them to. That won’t happen.

Free rankings on the top page, top 10, top 5, top 2 are very difficult to attain — if ever. Yes — if ever. You have to take a serious look at the your market and consider “what makes my site so much better than the multitude of competitors already in those slots, for my target phrase, that I warrant being above all the rest?”

If you do not have a rock-solid realistic answer to that question, you probably do not yet know what to do to produce that result.

Top rankings cannot be demanded — they have to be earned! To think that you can state, “I want to be top 2 —  make it so” without realizing that as a site owner there are things you have to do and consider, consistently and for the long haul, is wishful thinking at best.

Each search site, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing all have their own proprietary algorithm that take hundreds factors into consideration when determining how to rank a site.  Albeit none are perfect, these algorithms are constantly evolving and changing all to offer the searcher (so they say) the most relevant results based on a the search criteria used.

That’s your mission; to be the most relevant quality site for the terms you want to rank for.

4 Tips Truths

Remember Websites and search engines are just computers talking to computers. The algorithms rely on the content of your site and the ability to detect your credibility and link status throughout the network from other quality “authority” sites. Even still, as complicated as these algorithms are — your best chance to attain rankings over the long-haul is pretty black and white if you keep these 4 tips truths in mind to start:

  1. ADD VALUABLE CONTENT: You must continually grow your site with relevant useful information of value to your site visitors that also is worth linking to. Search engines know that anyone can exchange links — that doesn’t indicate quality or value. You want to attain one-way links into your site (by crafting link worthy content) — that is a vote of confidence that you have a good site and information. Structuring your posts popularly matters too — read this. Blogging, articles and a prudent use of social media tools can help you accomplish this task.
  2. LESS IS MORE: You simply cannot cover all your keyword phrases on your top page or on any one page within your site (or in some cases with one site) for that matter and expect to pull on the top page. The keyword stuffing days are over. The more you are about; the less you are about any one thing. Search engines will rank the most relevant site/page/article related to the term searched for. You need to have detailed concentrated pages about individual topics to accomplish this. Work towards having ûber-niche articles that use your established collection of target phrases.
  3. LONGEVITY: Sites that have been online longer and updated more often will rank higher than those just launched or rarely updated. Not because of age alone, but because the longer a site is around, if managed properly, they tend to have more info, articles, followers, links. So use the test of time to build and grow your site to use this interactive technology for all it’s worth!
  4. DEPENDENCE: You don’t want to depend on organic search rankings as your sole venue for new visitor acquisition. Search Engines should be part of your plan but not more than content, features and social networking efforts. You don’t want all your eggs in the search engine basket.

You can’t “buy” your way into the top positions in the free/organic SERPs. Unless you integrate the above efforts and have a long-term plan, you will most likely never enjoy top rankings.

So what is a Website owner to do? Work hard at continually making your site the best it can be within its competitive market for your target customer.  If you take away anything from this article it is those last 4 words.

Add articles, white papers, a Blog, directory, forums. Cater to your customers by determining what they want and give it to them! Strive to be the one-stop-shop for your target market and take the time to get out there and network and participate!

By having this approach, and doing your best to accommodate your market, you not only make your site visitors happy but you give the search engines what they look at to rank you accordingly.

And, even if you don’t attain those top 2, or even top page rankings — because in some cases that may simply be impossible, you’ll have something much more valuable — dedicated and loyal customers who will talk you up! Priceless.

At your service,
Judith

Marketing Mission: Target Those Who Care

Social and Blogging ToolsEvery couple of weeks I make a point of poking around the MediaPost.com Website looking for interesting articles and info I won’t run into in my daily travels.

Today, I tripped on an article from 2008 that is just as relevant now which included a quote that inspired this post!

“…the most compelling form of marketing is one that establishes a rapport between our organization’s expertise and those who care.”
~ Justin Talerico
[ Article: Why ‘Social Conversion’ Is A Term You Should Know ]

The above article is a must read for any Website owner or online marketer to continue their understanding of the benefits and integration of social media. Why the above quote and article? Because almost daily I work with folks who do not know who their market really is, what they care about, how to address their concerns and needs.

When we are talking about the details of their new WordPress Website, I ask them what does your market care about? This helps to determine the focus, navigation and structure of the site. We do want to cater to what potential site visitors care about, right? After asking that question I am generally met with silence… Most site owners have never thought of their marketing from this perspective before!

If you are one of my clients or read any of my stuff, you know that I encourage social media use and Blogging because of the opportunities it provides to connect with your market. Every single thing we do online is in fact marketing. Every bit, byte, graphic, e-mail, post, article — everything!

When reading this commentary, with the quote above in the very last paragraph, the author hit a home run — heck, a grand slam! That one line says it all! Considering there are billions of Web pages and millions of quality Websites out there — you need to consider, learn about and use every available tool in the toolbox. Social media is one such tool. Having a Blog that shows your personality, passions and areas of expertise is another.

Concentrating on those with goals you can help with, aspirations you can encourage, needs you can fill, concerns you can resolve, are those who will care about what you have to offer. They will see you as genuine and approachable because you are mirroring what they are thinking about. Knowing what your target market cares about allows you directly and specifically talk to those concerns, desires, hopes, needs.

Every serious business should be leveraging their business’s expertise with those who care! You do this by being social and using all the tools that are currently at your disposal to start this important dialog.

You cannot be everything to everyone; nor is it even wise to attempt to be so. But by doing what you do best, typing about it with passion and personality while sharing your experience freely — being “social” — those who care (your market, your target customers, your suppliers, your partners) will welcome the opportunity to be part of the conversation.

At your service,
Judith

21 Twitter Tips You Need to Know

21 Twitter Tips Almost everyone has a Twitter account, but surprisingly many folks aren’t sure how to best use Twitter for their business. Some even make the mistake of having one account for both personal and business — which doesn’t always work out to well.

Below are tips you can use to help your business rise above the noise when using Twitter for your business:

  1. Business Only Account: for business topics and Followers.
  2. Use a Great Photo: Use a great head-shot and preferably the same one you use across all your online channels.
  3. Succinct Description: Include a keyword or two in your 160 character description to clearly relay your areas of expertise.
  4. Don’t Jump to UnFollow: Give folks a couple days to follow back.
  5. Be Visual: Tweets with Horizontal graphics get reTweeted more.
  6. Use Hashtags: and follow those that interest you.
  7. Reciprocate: Follow and Favorite those who reTweet your Tweets.
  8. Timing Matters: Tweets sent on Fridays around 4p EST get reTweeted most. Some experts advise to post each Tweet 4 times to hit all times zones: 9a, 12p, 3p and 6p being the most popular times.
  9. Consider Time Zones: If you have something really important send your Tweet 4 times to cover all 4 times zones.
  10. Follow Leaders in Your Field: Birds of a feather…
  11. ReTweet: Only Tweets of value. Start with RT @[person’s handle].
  12. Don’t be a Hog: Leave space for replies by sending shorter Tweets of only 125-140 characters.
  13. Shorten URLs: Don’t waste your limited space with URLs. You can use the “Get Shortlink” button to the right of the articles permalink. I use Bit.ly which allows me to then see the activity and stats for each.
  14. Share Your Content After: ReTweeting another person’s Tweet. Your will then be seen by that user and their followers if they check you out.
  15. Tweets That Matter: Quality over quantity.
  16. Tweets on Your Website: WordPress offers a slew of plugins for this.
  17. Spruce Things Up: Integrate special characters to stand out.
  18. Make a List or Two: Lists allow you to group accounts of interest and create lists to share with followers.
  19. A Dash of Personal: Sharing a few personal things here or there help to make you more approachable. But be very selective!
  20. Engage: Use @Reply to start and/or join in the conversation.
  21. Twitter Glossary: Read and learn.

That should be enough to get you going! Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter for your business!

At your service,
Judith

10 WordPress Website New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2014At this time every year we review our business status and methodologies and come up with resolutions to try to improve our success and profitability in the year ahead. 

Considering online is more fluid than ever before excluding your WordPress Website from this important effort would be a serious oversight, right?

That’s why I’ve created this article for you so that you have the basics to focus on as we enter into the new year.

WordPress site owners are safe to assume that there is no standing still or resting on your laurels when it comes to doing business online. That’s when your perceived competitors fly right by you!

Here are the important issues, in my experience, most WordPress site owners can improve upon. I’ll also pepper each with links to other articles here on my site that cover each item in more detail for your convenience:

10 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions

10. Honest Self-Assessment: First I need to do a honest self assessment to make sure I am up to speed with the latest WordPress, Themes and Plugins available. While it doesn’t get any easier than WordPress, the “set it and forget it” days, are years behind us. Online is now the playground of serious businessmen and women with the insatiable desire to succeed — which means being ready to learn and embrace the maintenance WordPress sites require and the skills necessary to reach your goals. Are you honestly up to speed?

9. E-mail and Website Etiquette: I will review my e-mail and customer service practices to make sure all communications with customers are grammatically correct, professional in appearance and tone and include the information the customer desires. I will respond to site comments and e-mails as quickly as possible realizing the rabidly competitive environment online will settle for no less — only Extreme Customer Service will do! This includes using my site’s domain name for all business e-mail communications which lends to my credibility. This will make sure that my response to inquiries being recognized instead of being misidentified as spam.

8. Up to Date Company Info: I will check my site at the beginning of the year, then quarterly, to make sure information is current and updated. This includes updating my “About” page to show the now — not yesterday. I realize by not updating, my site is stale, offers no real value to my site visitors and hinders gaining any relevant rankings with search engines.

7. Updating and Adding Content: I will finally embrace the concept that to acquire any relevant organic (free) search engines rankings that I have to change how I view my site. Not as brochureware, but as a living, breathing interactive tool used to acquire, support and keep customers and cater to their needs. If I don’t have a Blog to carry out this task, I will set one up Q1 and commit to posting each week with new useful and relevant information my site visitors will appreciate — and share.

6. The Reality of SEO: Inline with #7 above, I will learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) basics and principles, so that I have a solid understanding about how search engines actually work, how they rank sites, and what I need to consider when adding content to my site. Without a solid reality-based grasp of this information I am literally handicapped and working at a deficit.

5. The King and Queen: While content is King; promotion is Queen. After writing a new article I’ll get the word out to my lists and social networks. I will keep a notebook with me so that when I get an idea to Blog about, create a video or for an article or informative white paper, I’ll write it down and not forget to follow through. Unique helpful information is what makes WordPress Websites popular and valuable in your effort to increase ranking popularity.

4. Useability: I will check my WordPress site navigation, tag and category structure to make sure it is intuitive and not duplicative. If my theme doesn’t allow the navigation I need — I’ll get a new premium WordPress theme. I will make a serious concentrated effort to only categorize my posts in the most relevant category or two. Not 5 or 10 or all! Sticking with only one or two categories allows my site information to be tightly organized and focused. Tags are given the same consideration and contributes to a “user-friendly” experience that allows site visitors to find the content that they are interested in.

3. Social Media: I will investigate all the Social Media networking opportunities and set up my site’s feed to post to my social sites. While I don’t want my Social Media to be on total auto-pilot, having my posts auto-propagate can save a lot of time. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook are just a few of the sites I need to set up profiles on and use to brand and market my business.

2. Secure and Updated: I will update WordPress and my plugins as required and not put this important and necessary task off! I will also make sure my site is secured from brute force and hacking attempts that can effect performance and up-time (and therefore rankings). I will also make sure my site’s visuals and functionality stay current so that my business appears viable.

And the number one resolution that every WordPress site owner needs to embrace to succeed in the year ahead….

Raise your hand and repeat after me…

1. I will pledge to use technology as it is now and whatever it evolves to be in the year ahead to its full potential for my business’ success. From Blogging to Videos, Social Media to creative marketing tactics and everything in-between. By not investigating how to best use these applications for my business is simply lost opportunity. I understand this will take some time and a bit of a learning curve to fully use all these resources effectively on a daily basis, but I am a smartie and I know if it needs to be done for the health of my enterprise — I’m there!

Site owners that embrace the opportunities that technology makes available to them will be found, will gain new customers and will support more business than those site owners who do not openly welcome these opportunities. If you do not embrace these 10 items in 2014, you can bet your competitors who do will reap the rewards.

With all the doom and gloom being fed to us in anticipation of the year ahead, I’m choosing to take a different stance and that’s why I’ve written this article for you. As one commentator I recently heard said, “Time to man up and make 2014 what you want it to be. Don’t be a passive observer but an active aggressive participant. Man up!”

And that’s exactly what I plan on doing here @ TheIStudio.com! Won’t you join me? Wishing you all the best of success in the year ahead!

At your service,
Judith

We Are All Experts in Training

We are all experts in training!I receive so many feeds and eZines that there are times I simply don’t have time to even open them all let alone read them all! But, I am an infoholic and therefore have this uncontrollable urge to stay on the edge by watching and analyzing the commentary, studies and observations of online marketing “experts.”

In doing so, being an expert in training for the entire life of my consulting practice here at The IStudio®, I’ve realized that anyone who is attempting to keep up, really trying to “get it” and working towards a better understanding of how online marketing works is in fact an expert in training. You simply cannot know it all when what you know is constantly in flux and morphing for reasons yet unknown or documented.

The online marketing gig is still evolving like crazy. Social media and online marketing have taken a turbo turn into an arena that is being tested, analyzed, extrapolated by every “expert” imaginable. Add Google’s “Do No Evil” algo changes and you have a stew of “what am I supposed to do now?”

What is clear is how every single self-proclaimed expert has a different take on what we’re doing, should be doing and/or where we are going when it comes to online marketing. None of them know for sure; they are just sharing their specific experiences. Some of these experts back up what my almost two decades of experience proves out, while there are those who go in directions I have yet to consider causing me to question what I thought to be true just the day before. Others just make me giggle…

If you thought the early days of the Web were the wild wild west; you haven’t seen anything yet. Everything can be tried, tested, analyzed, changed to produce different results — and that can be pretty darned exciting. Every “expert” is on a mission based on experiences unique to them to determine metrics, create successful strategies and more importantly, how to measure everything that has to do with site visitor’s habits and activities to produce ROI. The funny thing is not any program, strategy or “metric” will apply the same to every site, program, market, methodology or strategy.

Each Website is an island unto itself in regard to approach, tools, methodologies and strategies that may work. Yeah, there are some basics and staples that apply to all sites, but by daring to try something new and different — that’s when things really start happening!

Not a single expert can claim to tell any site owner exactly, specifically, what to expect other than to expect the unexpected. There will always be new twists and turns that are unique to each individual site that can cause even the most expert of “experts” to scratch their heads.

Online marketing is a work in progress. Anyone who claims to be an expert will admit that they realize the importance of building on their “expertness” on almost an hourly basis. This is the only way to ensure they have all the information and data available to apply to the project at hand — at that moment in time.

“The world is so fast that there are days when the person who says it can’t be done is interrupted by the person who is doing it.” -Anon.

You know your business and customers better than any “expert” out there. Use that information to your advantage! It is the experts in training, just like you, that push the envelope, try new things no one has yet to try, and re-purpose strategies so they can be born anew.

You too are an expert in training! Choose your sources wisely, read, learn, test and tune and find out what works for your site!

At your service,
Judith

Read This to Keep Up!

Read and Read Some More!Due to the recent Global WordPress bot attacks and caching plugin security vulnerabilities, I was asked a bunch of times this week how I find this stuff out. Suffice it to say I read — a lot!

The next question was if I wouldn’t mind making some recommendations for required reading. I’ll leave out the overly techie stuff, the multitude of WordPress, Marketing, SEO and Social Media feeds that land in my inbox every day and make it easy for you by narrowing it down to the Top 5 I think that as a site owner adding these to your reading list will help keep you in the loop!

  • For the Latest on Security Issues: Sucuri | The Blog @ Sucuri is on top of anything security related that you need to know about.
  • For the Best in Social Media: Social Media Examiner | If you just sub to SME — you really get the whole ball of social media wax.
  • For the Scoop on Search Engines: Search Engine Land | Gives you a once over of the latest trends, discussions and strategies.
  • For the Best on Content Creation: Copy Blogger | Let’s face it, if you can’t write great content; you won’t get read! Honing your writing skills is an ongoing, never-ending process.
  • For a Little Daily Inspiration: Seth Godin’s Blog | We all need to step back and put things in perspective. Seth is gives me my daily reality/levity check.

Add to the above your particular industry sites and feeds and you can very quickly become overwhelmed, right?

Work towards subbing to those resources you enjoy and know you can benefit from most otherwise, you just end up mucking up your inbox and gain nothing because you don’t have time to read them all. I have a bunch of resources I’ve been subbed to for years, while others fall by the wayside when I no longer find them helpful, useful or fresh.

When you narrow down your subscriptions to the core 5 or 10 you *really* need and enjoy, you’ll find you are more apt to learn from and apply that information to your program!

At your service,
Judith