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I didn’t write a lengthy article for today, just a quick thought to ponder.

“Preparation is the key ingredient that positions you for success. You may not realize it now, but what you do today will be the building blocks for your future. Focus on the important things that enhance your skill set, stop doing those things that are not working for you, and become all that you were destined to be!”
J. Michelle Martin

To see more helpful hints for entrepreneurs and tips from affordable blog design company, visit my Official Fan Page at: http://www.facebook.com/webdesignsbymichelle

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Eliminate Spam Comments on Your WordPress Blog

You probably know by now (especially if you have a popular blog or a blog that is ranked high on the search engines) that you are getting an increase in Spam comments on your blog. It can become very annoying, as you have to go in and delete each of them manually.  Some days you may get over 100 spam comments.

Before I get into the solution, let me first define what SPAM comments are. Spam comments are comments that are automatically posted to your blog by automated bots or scripts. Some people have software that they use to target sites that they know are getting high traffic. The comments that they make usually are garbled keywords and hyperlinks that do not make any sense. You will know right away, because the comments are not relevant to anything that was said in your article post.

Several people have called me within the past few weeks to ask how can they reduce spam comments on their blog. Let me tell you in 4 quick steps how to do this. I have implemented the these solutions on my own personal blogs and also for many of my clients. They have confirmed that the number of SPAM comments were reduced by 95% almost immediately after the plug-in was installed.

Here are the steps to reduce the Spam Comments on your WordPress Blog:

1. Install the ASKIMET plugin on your blog. This plugin will check your comments against the Akismet web service to determine if the comments look like spam or not.

2. Install the SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam plug-in. It adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress on the comment form, registration form, login, or all. This plugin prevents spam from automated bots. Or you could try the reCAPTCHA plugin as well. This plug-in is an anti-spam method.

Here’s how the reCAPTCHA plug-in works. When someone tries to post a comment to your blog, they will see the graphic and will be required to type the words that match the image. The spam bots cannot see and read these images like a real person can, therefore they will not be able to get through to post the spam comment.

An example of what the reCAPTCHA image will look like on your blog:

3. This is all that I needed to reduce the Spam on my blog. If for some reason, you still have issues with Spam after implementing the first 2 options, some bloggers have recommended closing comments to your old posts. These old posts are normally targeted because the spammers know that the posts have been around a while and have been indexed and ranked by the search engines vs a more newer recent post.

4. One final way to prevent Spam and Junk e-mail in general is to not post your email address on your site. You could use a contact form instead.

Well these are just a few methods that I know have worked for me. What other options have you tried? Let me know. Please share your comments in the comments section.

Also stay connected with me and join my Fan Page by clicking the Facebook “Like” button on the right sidebar of this page.

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Social Media for your Business

I attended a workshop yesterday on Social Media.  The session turned out to be really aimed for beginners using Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But I always learn something new in every situation, so I decided to stick around to see what new techniques or lessons I could learn.

Not only was I able to contribute a few tidbits during the workshop, but I also learned something new. I believe the best thing of all was the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs who run businesses online.

So this is just a quick post to let you know that I will be sharing frequent tips on how to use Social Media more effectively in your business.

Thanks, and check back often for Social Media tips and other online marketing techniques.

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What are you doing to stand out from the Facebook crowd? Do you have a Facebook fan page for your business or organization? I wrote an article about it several weeks ago.

If so, you may be eligible to participate in a special offer that I am running. Next month (June), I’m celebrating the  official two-year anniversary of taking my company (Millennium Professional Consulting, Inc) online.

I wanted to do something special for the fans of WebDesignsByMichelle.

To celebrate, next week I am offering a Custom Facebook Landing Page for your business or organization for 60% off of my original price. That’s right, you can tell people what your business or organization is all about and stand out from the FB crowd!!

To get started, see the rules here.  If you meet the rules, this offer is good for the next 3 people that contact me via the Contact Form on this blog.

I’m taking a break for the Memorial Day Weekend. But I will be back on Tuesday…so stay tuned to the wall on my fan page for more and don’t miss out on this great offer.

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How to Change Your Facebook Fan Page Username

If you are the administrator for your Facebook Fan page, you can choose the username for your page. Just be sure to choose a name that you will be happy with forever because you cannot change the name or transfer it.

What are the requirements to secure a user name for your Fan Page?

If your page has 25 fans or more, you are eligible to claim a username. I reached 25 fans on my new blog, so I was able change my username. There used to be a limit for businesses where you needed 1000 fans in order to change your username. But this is no longer the case, 25 is the number at the date of this posting. Change yours by going to: http://www.facebook.com/username/

Here is what the ugly URL used to be:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/WebDesignsByMichelle/100280366680491?v=app

Now you can find my page with a prettier URL:

www.facebook.com/webdesignsbymichelle

Why would I want to secure a user name for my Fan Page?

A more straight-forward username will make it easier for Facebook visitors to remember your name. This is good for your branding or online marketing strategy.

If you like these tips, be sure to become a fan of my Facebook page where you will get more information like this for free.

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7 Things To Stop Doing Now on Facebook

I read an article today on Yahoo that was published in the June issue of Consumer Reports Magazine. According to Consumer Reports, there are several things that Facebook users need to stop doing immediately.

I thought it was a good article, so check it out here when you get a chance. But to quickly summarize, the mains points are:

1. Do not use a weak password on Facebook

2. Do not leave Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile

3. Do not Overlook Useful Privacy Controls

4. Do not Post Your Child’s Name in a Caption

5. Do not Mention That You’ll Be Away From Home.

6. Do not Let Search Engines Find You – go to the Search section of Facebook’s privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. This will help prevent strangers from accessing your page.

7. Do not Permit Youngsters to Use Facebook Unsupervised

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this post is just a high-level summary of the article posted on the Consumers Reports site. You can read the full article here.

So I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and quickly implement some of these social network security measures if you haven’t already. Like my mom always says, “Better safe than sorry”….

Happy Facebooking!

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Facebook: No Longer a “Fan”

I am sure that most of you have noticed that Facebook changed one of their branding strategies recently.

Our Facebook users can no longer “Become a Fan” of our business pages, and they now have to click the “like” button .

When the new strategy was implemented several weeks ago, it impacted many branding strategies of companies.

Many folks complained. But at the end of the day, you pretty much need to accept the change and make the necessary adjustments to your FB branding strategy.

So with that said, I had to change my customized landing page on Facebook.  Prior to Facebook changing their strategy, I had a call to action for people to “Become a Fan” on my WebDesignsByMichelle page. It now says click on the”Like” button to connect with me.

You can take a look at how I implemented it  here and get some ideas on ways you could do the same thing on your page. Well, custom landing pages for your business is a different topic…

Back to the topic on hand. The one thing that I think is pretty neat about having the new “Like” button on your page or blog is that once your visitors “Like” your page, it stays on your page.  As a result, others can see how many people like your page.

In addition, it seems to be much easier for your site visitors to say they “like” something on your site than on the contrary to state they  are a “Fan” of your business.

So to add the “Like” button to your site, you just need a widget that has been created by the FB developers. You can find more info on the plugin  here. You can add a Like button to any page with an iframe tag.  The code looks something like this and you just need to change your website name in the bolded section:

<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/widgets/like.php?href=
http://www.webdesignsbymichelle.com"
        scrolling="no" frameborder="0"
        style="border:none; width:450px; height:80px"></iframe>

If you ever need web design help or would like to chat about building a custom landing page for your business, ministry or organization, just let me know. Also if you need assistance applying the “Like” button on your website, I can help. I am currently offering these social media services and more.

So what do you think about the new “Like” button vs “Become a Fan”. Do you “Like” it?  :-)

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Facebooking!

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Serving Others – A Rewarding Path to Success


Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me? - Brian Tracy


The Most Rewarding Path to Success is to Serve Others

I was a Management Consultant for over a decade and have been an entrepreneur / self-employer for almost three years.  It has been a very rewarding experience for me.

Many people tend to think that being an entrepreneur is the quickest way to success.  I am not sure that I totally subscribe to this theory.

In actuality, entrepreneurship is not for everybody.

But, if you feel that you are being led in this direction, I believe that you have to make it about others in order to succeed at it.

I have found that no matter what your business, job, ministry or occupation is – the more you give, the more you get in return. Basically, you reap what you sow. The most rewarding path to success in entrepreneurship (and really life in general) is to serve others.

Make it your business to serve others.

Most great businesses are rooted in the concept of providing exceptional customer service or serving others.  If you are interested in starting a successful business, I recommend you start by finding a way to serve others.

One of my God-given talents is the gift of creativity.  In my spare time I love to Scrapbook, play the piano and write songs & poetry.  It is something that I enjoy and it comes natural to me.

As a result, when I decided to leave “corporate America” and become an entrepreneur, one of the first areas that I gravitated toward was Web Design and Development. This industry allows me to exercise my creative side and serve others.

So, as you set new goals for your business or if you are in the start-up phase of a new business – seriously think about what you can do to serve others.  Whether it is starting a car wash, a restaurant, or a financial planning agency – put people first and success will follow.

A successful entrepreneur is a Servant Leader.

Every entrepreneur should strive to be a “servant leader” which means that your primary goal is to serve others.  When an entrepreneur puts people first, I guarantee that your business will see a vast improvement in achieving results.

There are 3 characteristics of an entrepreneur who is committed to serving others. They are as follows:

  1. Be a good listener
    Do not be too busy that you miss an opportunity to help others.  Take the time to listen to your customers or prospects, not just the words coming out of their mouth, but the emotions that they are conveying.  Sometimes if you listen with a caring heart, you will find an area where your business can be a blessing to others through a service or product that they may need.
  2. Have a good heart
    You must have a servant’s heart in order to be an entrepreneur that is committed to serving others.  A person with the heart of a servant will empathize with others. Once you hear the person’s story, you have to be able to put yourself in their place.  After you have listened to their need and made an emotional connection, now all you have to do is find a solution that will help or resolve the problem.
  3. Be a good steward
    In a basic sense, a steward is a manager; one who manages time, money or talent.  We should strive to be a good steward over the gifts or skills that we are blessed with.  Some of you may have the “gift” of influence.  This skill is often necessary to be an entrepreneur.  So, use it to do “good”.  Many of our natural skills can be used for the good of others or to the detriment of others if used in a negative way.  Let’s choose to use our gifts to make our business a blessing to others.

Many of us have a desire to be successful.  I stand by what I said at the beginning of this post, the most rewarding path to success is to serve others.

There are other things that you need to do to achieve your goals – like creating an awesome product that people want to buy, hard work and dedication.  But while you are on the journey to success, why not help others along the way.

I know this post is not internet marketing content, but I am hoping it will inspire someone – and for others, be a confirmation for what you are already doing.

How about you – what’s been the most rewarding path to success for you in your business? Let us know in the comments.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to my blog and sign-up for my monthly e-newsletter. Thanks and have a blessed day!

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I was reading a question somewhere on a business forum the other day. Someone was asking “Is it possible to make your website come up first on Google in your local area when people type in keywords about your business?” And “if it can be done, how do you go about doing it?”

Ironically, I was working on a project for one of my clients this morning, when an email came into my inbox from a different discussion, but on the same topic of 1st Page Ranking on Google for local business.

So I just wanted to take a minute to say that it is possible to rank on the 1st page of Google in your local area for certain keywords.

It is possible to rank on the 1st page of Google in your local area for certain keywords.

 You do not have to be a top SEO expert to do it. But I do believe that it helps to know a little about targeted keywords and to have an Internet Marketing strategy in mind. It is okay if you do not. You can always find someone with a little more experience in this area to help you out.

For example, I recently had a goal to rank on Google for various keywords in my industry. One of the keywords that I was striving for was “Affordable Blog Design in Georgia“. I developed my strategy and implemented it late one evening on my computer. The very next day, my company’s main website (www.Millennium-Pro.com) and my new blog that you are reading now (www.WebDesignsyByMichelle.com) was on the 1st page of Google!

As you can see by the screenshot, my main site is ranked #1 on Page #1 of Google out of about 117,000 other websites.

My main website (www.millennium-pro.com) is also ranked #1 on Google for the keywords “affordable blog design in atlanta“. As you can see from this 2nd screenshot below, my site is in slot #7 on Page #1 of Google out of over 344,000 other websites.

Well as soon as I get a break, I plan to create something (a guide or step-by-step document to help you). In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about this topic or other SEO Internet Marketing tips, be sure to subscribe to my e-newsletter (sign up in the top right section with the opt-in box). Also be sure to subscribe to get my posts in your email box to stay up to date. Fill in your info below:

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I had a few people ask me recently about how to set up a Facebook fan page. I also had a discussion last week  with one of my clients about, “What is the difference between a Personal Profile and a Facebook fan page?”  And “when do I set up a Profile versus a Fan Page?”.

I have to admit that I had a small issue when I set up my Facebook page for my business. I only wanted a Business profile. But when Facebook asked me for my name, I didn’t know that a personal profile would be created with my information.

So what did I do, you ask?

Well, I decided to just roll with it. :-)

I now have a Business Page and a Personal Profile. It has actually worked out well, because I can have a personal relationship with my friends (talk about family and any other personal thoughts and ideas that I have).

Then on the other hand with my Business Page, I can focus on talking to my “Business Fans” about things that they are interested in hearing — like how do I market my business or organization online?”

I know that there is still some confusion around setting up a Facebook Page for your business, ministry or non-profit organization. So I decided to write a quick guide – How to Set Up a Facebook Fan Page that I hope you will find helpful. It is an 8-page document with screenshots that steps you through the setup quickly. It also illustrates the differences between a Personal Profile vs a Facebook Fan page.

For more details and to obtain your Free Guide on How to Set Up a Facebook Fan Page, be sure to sign up for our FREE e-newsletter via the form on the top right hand side of this blog. The free guide is an attachment that you can immediately download once you enter your information.

I will be sending out more tips like these in my future newsletters. So be sure to sign-up, and also if you like the information that I am sharing, be sure to subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed. You can also subscribe via email form below:

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Thanks for taking the time to read this. Have a blessed day!

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