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Quote For the Day for Entrepreneurs

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones that you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

- Mark Twain

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How to Write a Post on WordPress Blog (#3)

Happy 4th of July! I hope you all are having a wonderful day so far.

I thought I’d share today one of the questions that I get asked quite often after I create a professional blog for a client. How do I write a post in WordPress?

In order to start posting content to your blog, you will need to login to your WordPress admin. This is the area where you can write articles and posts, add categories and links to your blog, maintain comments, switch out your blog’s theme, and more.

To write a post on your blog, follow these steps:

1. Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard). The url would be http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php

2. Click the Posts tab.

3. Click the Add New Sub Tab

 

4. Start filling in the blanks.

5. As needed, select a category (from the far right side), add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post.

When you are ready, click Publish.

For more information on how to write a post, click on the link: http://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts

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Welcome back! This is week #2 for my Blog Design Question of the Week series. Like I mentioned last week, this is an opportunity for you to ask a question that’s been on your mind. Or for those of you who know the answer to the question or have something to contribute, please feel free to chime in and join the conversation. The more the merrier. :)

This week’s question came from a recent client of mine. It is a question that I receive quite often actually… Does My Business Need a Blog?

This is an excellent question. I personally feel that blogs are underutilized and overlooked in many businesses and non-profit organizations today. The way I see it, if you have  a business then you must have customers. If you have customers, then you need a way to interact with them. It’s that simple.

You may be thinking that a blog is JUST an online journal where people talk about their personal lives or blog to help raise funds for a specific cause. Contrary to what you may think, a blog has a lot more potential to grow your business than you may be aware of.

There are 3 reasons that your business needs a blog:

  1. Interact With Customers - Utilizing a self-hosted blog is a great way to interact with your customers. A successful online presence should involve blogging about relevant information about your business on a consistent basis. The goal should be to engage your audience by sharing brief and valuable information about your products and services. Another key for meaningful interaction with customers or potential clients is to integrate your blog with other forms of Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. You may want to reference this article that I posted earlier titled “4 Tips for Marketing Successfully With Social Media”. Finally, wherever possible, try to encourage participation by inviting your readers to engage in the conversation.
  2.  

  3. Drive More Traffic – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical component of doing business online. Many of the top marketers have often said that the key to a successful business is “location…location…location”! This concept does not only apply to traditional brick and mortar businesses (a company that possesses a business or store for operations). It is also relevant for online companies. So, whether you are operating your business from a suite in a strip mall, a home-office, or blogging from your neighborhood coffee shop; it is important that people can find you. Effective SEO techniques is the best way for your potential customers to locate you online.
  4.  

  5. Become the Expert in your Niche – Establishing your expertise is synonymous with branding. You must effectively communicate your brand to successfully establish your expertise. Many of today’s brand leaders have an entrepreneurial spirit. In order to generate sales and/or followers your audience must view you as knowledgeable, credible and helpful. A great way to enhance these characteristics is by having a will to succeed and through a path of continuous learning. Immerse yourself into your industry or the product line that you are involved in with a goal of learning everything about what it takes to succeed. Seek out classes or mentors if necessary.

So does your business REALLY need a blog? The answer is definitely YES!

If you already have a self-hosted blog for your business, do you need to look into adding some basic SEO techniques or an online marketing strategy? If you do not have a blog, maybe you should look into starting one today. If you need any assistance feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to help.

Thanks and have a blessed day!

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Every week (probably on Mondays), I will post a new Blog Design Question of the week. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. It doesn’t have to be just on blogs though. The topics can range from Blogging, Entrepreneurship, Web Design, SEO, Social Media and Branding.

My goal is to share knowledge and solutions to help you with any challenges you may be facing as you grow your business online. And I’m hoping to learn new things via this process as well. :)

Please join in on the discussion and get involved. And feel free to answer any of the questions by leaving a comment.

So let’s begin…..this week’s question….What is a Facebook Landing Page? This question was actually asked a few weeks ago by one of my fans on my own business FB Fan page.

If you have created a Facebook page for your business, then you are off to a good start. The next step in really engaging your visitors would be to create a landing page. This would be mainly for your 1st-time visitors that come to view your page. This landing page is your opportunity to welcome new visitors and tell them what you would like for them to do now that they are on your page.

On my custom landing page, I basically tell my new visitors who I am and what to expect on my page. And then I invite them to “like” my page and stay connected with me. For some of my clients, I have recommended that they make a special offer or discount that will help convert their visitors into “fans”.

Without a landing page, the visitors will just land on your wall. They may be confused as to what you offer as they browse through the most recent status or posts on your page. So why not make the best use of your time and your visitors’ time, by telling them up front about your brand. This is also a good time to clearly tell them what you would like for them to do. I have found that when people are clear on what you are asking them to do, they are usually more responsive.

Here are a few examples of FB landing page designs that can give you some inspiration for your page. I design landing pages, so feel free to check out my design portfolio and contact me if I can be of any assistance.

  1. Starbucks – One of their landing pages is for Gift Cards. They currently have over 23 million fans. Here’s the url: https://www.facebook.com/Starbucks?sk=app_338375791266
  2.  

  3. Coca-Cola - http://www.facebook.com/cocacola?v=app_10442206389
  4.  

  5. Honda - http://www.facebook.com/Honda?sk=app_151110348284973
  6.  

  7. Burts Bees - http://www.facebook.com/burtsbees?sk=app_162758917099774
  8.  

Feel free to share a link in the comments section to your landing page.

 

 

 

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Ever wondered how you can get more Twitter followers? If so, you need to stay tuned to a new blog that I just created for a client in Texas called getfollowersontwitternow.com. Check it out by clicking here.

www.getfollowersontwitternow.com

GetFollowersOnTwitterNow.com [Blog Design

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If your firm is a non-profit organization (i.e. 501C3, Charity or Religious Organization), it is very important that you learn how to use the Internet to connect and to compete to attract donors, volunteers, members and participants to your organization.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with one of the local Housing & Development Organizations here in Atlanta, Quest 35, Inc., on redesigning their website and customizing a Facebook Fan page. The organization was looking to attract more donors through social media and they wanted a blog. Click here to check out the new site and their new custom facebook landing page.

It was a really great project. It made me more aware of the issues facing the homeless community. I also saw a greater need for non profit organizations to spread the word about their cause and to educate donors about their organization.

And what better way to do that, than through having a web presence for your non profit organization.

So how can a website or blog help build awareness for your non profit organization?

5 Benefits of Having a Web Presence for Your Non Profit

There are many ways that your organization can benefit from having a website or blog:

1. Credibility – Having a professional and informative website increases credibility to your organization.

2. Fundraising – There is an increase in the sum of money that exchanges hands on the Internet today. Due to more secure tools for transmitting financial transactions, like Paypal, there are numerous ways for your donors to make donations to your organization without the worries and hassles of the more traditional donation process.

3. Cost Effective – It is more cost effective to put information about your programs and causes on a website’s home page, where it is easily accessible by everyone, than it is to advertise by more traditional means.

4. Raise Awareness – With a web presence, you can make people aware of your organization, encourage them to support you, while increasing your visibility.

5. Connect With Supporters – Your website and social media networks allow your donors the opportunity to interact with other donors and philanthropic experts. The blog and/or social media pages give your visitors the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations (that may lead them to make a donation and/or other contributions).

Overall, a website permits your visitors to learn more about your organization that they are participating with or are potentially interested in participating with.

Best Practices for Creating a Web Presence for your Non Profit using a Website or Blog and Social Media

  • Use Social Media – like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Blogging. Some social media networks are more effective than others. According to a Case Study created by the redroostergroup organization called Social Media for Nonprofits: Who’s Doing It & What Works, Twitter was proven to be more effective than Facebook for non profits. The reason was mainly due to that Twitter is easier to keep up to date and therefore more organizations used it on a regular basis. 

    Blogging was also ranked as very effective for connecting with existing audiences.

    Linkedin could be beneficial in helping you find networking contacts, business and corporate donations, and to recruit for help.

  • Create Facebook Page – If you create a Facebook Page for your organization, your visitors can “like” your Page and become a fan of your organization.

    Another great option is to build a custom landing page so that your visitors are directed to a page to find out what you want them to do instead of just landing on your default Wall page. Be sure to give them clear instructions, if you would like for them to do something.

    You can also set up a Cause page (like a fundraiser event or campaign) or a group on Facebook for your organization.

  • Blogging – Like I mentioned earlier, blogs have been proven to be effective for connecting with your existing audiences. Your blog needs to have good content and information that will make people take action. Tell them as much as you can about your organization so that they truly understand your story and why they should care about your cause as well. Do your very best to keep your supporters up to date about what is going on in your organization with news and events updates. And it is also a good ideal to have email subscriptions on your blog so that you capture your visitors’ contact information. They can opt-in to stay in touch with your organization.
  • Video Sharing – Create a video for your organization and share it on Youtube and on your website or blog. This will increase traffic to your website which ultimately builds more awareness for your organization.

Your organization has the potential to reach higher heights and make a difference in the lives of many people and communities. You just need to figure out where you are with building awareness for your non profit and create a plan to take your organization to the next level.

And when you do, you’re going to see your organization do some amazing things!

So how about you? What things have you done to build awareness for your non profit. Let us know in the comments what you’ve found that works.

Contact WebDesignsbyMichelle.com for help with building awareness for your nonprofit organization. We specialize in branding, social media, web design and blog design.

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Website for Local Nonprofit Organization

I just finished a website redesign and custom Facebook landing page for our new friends at Quest 35 Housing, Inc. Check it out and let us know what you think!

www.quest35housing.org



http://www.facebook.com/quest35housing

facebook.com/quest35housing

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4 Tips for Marketing With Social Media

There is so much information on the web today about marketing with Social Media. But there seems to be some confusion on how to actually use social media to successfully grow your small business or organization – especially in this economy.

So I want to share a few tips and strategies that is sure to benefit your business in this new year.

What is Marketing and Social Media?

First let me begin by defining what is Social Media. It is basically a set of online tools that allow communities and individuals to stay connected on the internet. These social networking sites are usually free and fairly simple to use. Just about everyone I know is using some type of Social Networking site today.

There are many Social Media types. Here are a few:

  • Blogs,
  • Social Networks
  • Video sites, and
  • Podcasts

Some of the top Social Networking sites right now are:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook and
  • YouTube.

Here are the four tips to market your online business successfully with Social Media:

  1. Create Your Personal Brand. This is a very important step (especially as an entrepreneur) as you are growing your business. Your brand is not what you think about your products and services, but it is your customers view of your business. You need to make sure that you create a personal brand that makes you totally unique from your competition. You also need to stand out and be noticed as the expert in your field. One way to do this is by launching a blog or by creating a Facebook Fan page for your company. See Steps #2 and #3 for more details.

  2. Create a Blog and make it the central hub for your social networking sites. You can launch a blog and give your views about things that pertain to your line of business. You could answer questions that your website visitors leave on your blog. This is how you can begin to get noticed as the authoritative voice in your field. In addition, be sure to make your blog the central hub for integrating all of your social network sites and information in one place.

  3. Devise An Online Marketing Plan / Developing Marketing Campaigns. Do you know what the latest trends are in your industry? What type of things are happening currently in your niche area? You need to have a clear understanding of these type of things in order to develop an effective marketing plan to grow your business. Start researching your competition and find out the type of activities they participate in online. Once you gather this type of information, create a written plan for how your blog and social sites will be used to market your business. Create an outline of the marketing strategies and tactics that you will use to achieve your objectives. After you implement your plan, be sure to go back and assess how well it is working. Tweak any areas that need adjusting and reiterate this process from time to time until you have a solid plan that repeatedly works well for you and your business.

  4. Design All of Your Marketing Materials Around Your Brand. Make sure that all of your marketing materials such as your business cards, logo, websites, brochures and other marketing elements have a consistent theme and message. Keep in mind that your marketing materials make up the first impression that your potential customers will see. So be sure that you are making a great, first impression.

If you are a beginner in marketing your business with Social Media Marketing strategies, it could be a lot to handle if you try to implement everything at once. So don’t panic. I recommend that you just start slowly by building a web presence online with just the three Social Network Sites that I mentioned earlier. And then you could expand by building an online presence on some of the other sites like StumbleUpon.com, Digg.com, or Google Buzz.

Now is the time for you to get started on marketing your business successfully with Social Media marketing strategies in 2011.

I hope you found this article interesting and have a better idea on how to market your business using Social Media strategies. For more details on Social Media Marketing Strategies, be sure to sign up for my FREE guide at the top left of my blog, “Social Media Marketing Strategies for 2011: 30 Strategies That You Can Do Today to Grow Your Online Business”.

So, what other things are you doing with Social Media to grow your business in the New Year? I would love to hear your comments.

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I can recall a childhood moment back in North Carolina. I was in the 5th or 6th grade. I was very excited to be taking an advanced computer class. It was the 1st day of class and the teacher informed us that there would be an upcoming assignment that day. I was eager to find out what the assignment would be.

The teacher asked everyone in the class to write a simple program using the BASIC programming language that would animate an object to move across the page.  How do you make an object move across the page? I wondered. This is going to be one long day. :(

I started to hear little fingers typing. I looked around the classroom at the other students and it seemed like EVERYONE had already logged on to their computers and started coding.

The next moment was the darkest moment of the day for me…

Above all that was going on, I realized that I did not know how to turn on a computer.  Where was the power button? I looked under the computer…to the right….to the left….everywhere.  This was very embarrassing, to say the least.

To make a long story short, I figured out how to get the computer turned on that day. lol

By the end of the day, I had completed my 1st animation project on a computer. (Yaay!) I figured out how to create a fish-like object, and yes I sent that baby soaring across the computer screen. (lol) :)

After making it over my biggest hurdle of the 5th grade, I couldn't wait to get home to tell my mom and dad that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up – and it was no longer a nurse. I told them that I wanted to work with computers. I had a dream that I would one day own my own computer company.

Well, I guess I learned to overcome obstacles and get past my fear at an early age.

Later I graduated from college with a dual degree in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems. I started my career in Corporate America designing computer systems for companies like Pricewaterhouse, IBM and Dow Chemical.

After 16 years (and still an entrepreneur at heart), I decided to step out on faith in 2007 and launch my own computer consulting business, Millennium Professional Consulting, Inc. It has since expanded to include Branding, Web Design, Consulting, and Book & Magazine Publishing.

So I say dare to dream! Your dreams can turn into reality if you keep the faith. My motto in life is… "If You Can Dream It, You CAN Achieve it!!"

If you can dream it, you CAN achieve it!

Your Thoughts

What childhood moment positively shaped your future? I would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts or comments below by clicking on the hyperlink that says "leave your comment" or "leave a reply".

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Entrepreneurs Can Change The World

Click Here or the Picture above to Watch the Video

Over the past few years, I’ve spent a bit of time reflecting on my business and how I can become a better entrepreneur. As a result, I plan to periodically post something here on my blog on the subject of entrepreneurship.

Almost everyone I encounter lately, is an entrepreneur or have a desire to be an entrepreneur. I have heard it said that home ownership is the “American Dream”. Well I now believe that owning a business is the “new” American Dream.

All of us have not been called to be entrepreneurs, but for some of us, it is our calling. It is our passion. And for some, it is your purpose in life.

How many of you reading my blog today want to start your own small business, a corporation, or even a 5013C?

Many of you have already done just that. Some of us have the desire to build something that we can call our own. Just remember, you are not in it alone.

There is a community of people here (and is steadily growing) that share  your same interest, and I am always here and available to provide you support as well.

One of the keys to a successful business is exposure. So a blog or website, and social media outlets (like Facebook or Twitter) are a good place to start.

Another one of my objectives over the next several weeks is to help you stay motivated. Perseverance is the key to success during the start-up phase of a new business. So never give up on your dreams!

Finally, if you are like me, you have so many ideas that you want to implement that there are times that you don’t know where to start.

Well let me share a personal tip with you that has helped me tremendously in my business, and even in my personal life as well.

Take the time to write down your thoughts and ideas in a journal or any place that you can keep your mental notes. Then turn those notes into the appropriate deliverables.

Let me give you a practical example. After writing down your your thoughts and ideas, you could then turn them into goals. After that, you would convert those goals into a business plan or marketing plan. Or for some that have a book in your spirit, you would be turning your mental notes into an outline for your book or start working on the book proposal. Whatever you do, just keep writing and documenting your thoughts!

Give it a try for 3 weeks and see what happens. Leave me a comment and let me know how this works for you.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the video that I found a while back on YouTube and use it as motivation to get started. You can play the video at the beginning of this article, or click here. Enjoy!

To Your Entrepreneurial Success,
Michelle

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