Business blogging at the weekends: Is it worth it?

Have you ever wondered about the value of posting content to a business focused blog, like this one, during the weekend?  If you have, you might find my experience interesting.

Blogging on a Saturday

Reader numbers here drop like a stone on Saturdays.  I get around 50% of my weekday average, sometimes even fewer.  Yes, there are exceptions to this, but typically I see around half as many readers show up.  Even yesterday, when I published 2 blog posts, I saw only a very slight increase in numbers.

Blogging on a Sunday

Sundays are very different! Reader numbers on a Sunday are the same as a regular weekday.  In fact, I have had some of the busiest days ever here on a Sunday.

Based on my experience, if you write a business blog and you are thinking of publishing content on one day over the weekend, I would recommend a Sunday.  Not only are reader numbers higher on a Sunday, I typically see a greater level of reader engagement  too.  That is to say, a higher percentage of readers will comment here or email me.  Page view numbers (per reader) are also higher on Sundays than on Saturdays.

Do you publish posts at the weekend? Let us know your experience!

In order to make this post as valuable as possible, I would like to know what your experience is, of publishing weekend blog posts – in relation to reader numbers.  Are my experiences typical? Please share your feedback!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Why yesterday was so special, and why every day should be the same!

Yesterday, I received some fantastic news! You know, the kind of news where you immediately burst into tears of joy – that kind of fantastic news.

One of my closest friends, got the results from a scan and found out that he is going to be fine.  This came after 3 weeks of tests for what initially looked like an extremely serious health condition. We put an impromptu party together, got a load of people around and had a great time.

This made me think…

My friend’s actual situation was no different yesterday, than it had been a week, month, year or decade earlier – yet there we all were, overjoyed that he was going to be his normal self.

It seems that we only REALLY value things, like; our health, our relationships, our friends etc, when we think we might lose them.

Here’s a thought

Wouldn’t it be fantastic, if we could all tap into that same level of sheer joy right now, today and every day, for all the things we have, but maybe take for granted?

I know that some countries and cultures have a few days each year, where we give thanks or show particular appreciation for our mothers or fathers.  But there are 365 days every year, which are worth celebrating.

Like today!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

What do your links say about you?

What do the links on your website or blog tell prospective clients and customers about the kind of person you are?

One of the reasons that Google has become the dominant player in the search engine market, is that so much of what it does, reflects the way humans think.  If Google’s algorithm spots that your website is linking to what it calls a “bad neighborhood” it will penalise the site with a worse ranking in Google’s search results. 

I wrote recently about link exchanges and how they can hurt your site’s reputation.

In exactly the same way, if a prospective client or customer visits your website / blog and sees that you are linking to something that they believe is dubious, you will drop in their regard.  This can have a massive negative impact on their decision to contact you.

Just as our parents told us to be careful about the kids we hung around with when we were young, today, as businesspeople, we need to be careful not to associate our name and reputation with the wrong crowd.  Many people see a link as an endorsement.  After all, we certainly wouldn’t link from our site, to a site that we thought was dubious, right?

I think it’s a good idea from time to time, to review the people and companies we link to and the kind of message, which these links give to people when they visit our site.

If you were checking out a potential service provider, what kind of links would put you off?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Bad company?

I had a great conversation yesterday, with the owner of a New York based SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) business.  We were talking about the way that Google penalises websites, if that site links to what Google calls a “bad neighborhood.”  Here’s a brief clip from the Google Webmaster Guidelines;

“…avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.”

I find this extremely interesting!

What Google is doing there, is exactly the same as you and I do, when we see that a person, business or brand is associating with something that we believe to be negative.  If Google believes we are linking to something dubious, it assigns less credibility to us.  If we, as people, see that a person or brand is linking to something dubious, we do exactly the same.

Just about every book on personal or professional development, advises us to be very careful about the kind of people we associate with.  I still recall getting into bad company as a kid, and then being accused of things I never did; simply because I was associating with the kids that were responsible for 99% of the mischief in our area.  By linking with these kids, I was making it easy for people to think that I was “like” they were.

There are a number of good reasons for this sage advice.  For example, if we associate with negative people, it’s all too easy for us too, to become primarily negative in our outlook.  Conversely, if we associate with people, who are goal orientated and positive in their outlook, it’s a lot easier for us to remain primarily positive.

Be extremely selective who you align your name, reputation or online presence with.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Looking for answers?

If you have some BIG challenges facing you right now, this post is written JUST for you!

In my experience, most business owners greatly underestimate their ability to make things happen; to turn things around and create a big, positive impact.  They see some of the challenges facing their business or their life in general, and use their imagination to visualise all the worst case scenarios, instead of using it to find effective answers.

You are capable of amazing things!

Here’s what I believe: A business problem can only beat you, if you allow it to.

That’s because you have within you, the basic tools required to either solve a problem yourself, or to find someone who already has the answers you need.  When you look at the various challenges facing you right now, using that answer-focused mindset, it’s interesting how much more resourceful you feel and become.

The late Anita Roddick once said;

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”

Whatever you have facing you right now, start focusing your resources on the answer.  If you invest enough time researching the answer or finding the people with the answers you need, you will have those challenges whipped in no time.

Time wasters and your business!

It seems that some things in business just never change. Like those people we affectionately call time wasters.

I was prompted to write this, after being emailed today by a reader, who had wasted a lot of time dealing with a time waster.  This guy claimed to be interested in using her as a freelance designer for a large project.  She later found out, after meeting his colleague at a networking event, that the person she had been dealing with, was simply pumping her for free advice, for a project he was going to do in-house, for his boss! The reader explained that she has only been in business for 6 months, and “feels like a fool” to use her own words, for falling for this trick.

As businesspeople, it’s important for us to learn how to spot the time wasters as soon as we can, BUT without missing the people who are genuinely interested in our products or services.

I wrote a post about time wasters, that gives a few tips.

In my experience, I find that the longer you are in business, the better you become at spotting time wasters.  Do you find that too?  I’d like to know.

Sometimes, it’s possible to spot patterns of behaviour, that immediately alert you to time wasters.  In my own business, for instance, I’ve discovered that whenever someone tells me via a social network, that they are going to get in touch to find out about working with me, they never do.  After all, if someone’s interested in speaking with me, it’s easier for them just to call or email me.  Interestingly, 100% of my clients simply got in touch with me, without any public pre-announcements.

Here’s where I would really appreciate your help!

It would be extremely useful if you would share any of YOUR tips for spotting or dealing with time wasters.  If you have anything you would like to share, please leave a comment and maybe help someone avoid the kind of frustration, that lady in the email experienced.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Are you marketing with a hammer, an axe or a chainsaw?

How would you describe the way you market your business?

When I used to speak with marketing students, I would explain the three basic small business marketing approaches like this.

Marketing approach 1: Chopping down a tree with a hammer

Yes, you can chop a tree down with a hammer but it will take days of needless, backbreaking work.  This is what happens when you use the wrong tool for the job.

Most of the small business owners I hear from fit into this category.  Instead of using the correct marketing tools for what they want to achieve, they use the tools they are comfortable with.  They complain about their lack of success, but keep repeating the same old errors.  If you are not getting the results you want from your marketing, stop whatever you are doing and make sure you are using the right tools for what you want to achieve.

Marketing approach 2: Chopping down a tree with an axe

Yes, you can chop a tree down with an axe and instead of it taking you a few days, as it would with a hammer, it might only take you a couple of hours of hard work.  This is what happens when you use a tool that’s designed specifically for what you want to achieve.  It’s massively more efficient.  You get better results, for less effort.

From a marketing perspective, a far smaller group of small business owners fit into this category.  These are the people, who have invested their time refining how they market their business and thus eliminated what didn’t work and embraced what did.  What’s left is a shiny set of effective marketing tools.

Marketing approach 3: Chopping down a tree with a chain saw

You can chop a tree down with a chainsaw in minutes; without even breaking into a sweat.  Like an axe, it’s a tool that’s specially designed for the job.  Unlike the axe, which was designed hundreds of years ago (or more), today’s chainsaws use the very latest technology.  So, not only will the chainsaw do the job, it will do it better, more accurately and  in a fraction of the time.

From a marketing perspective, very few small business owners fit into this category.  These rare people are the ones who have not only discovered some marketing tools that work; they have also discovered the perfect tools for what they want to achieve and the most effective way to use them, so they get the best possible results.  They plan their marketing ahead of time and make far better decisions.

Compare that approach, to the more typical small business owner’s attitude to marketing. Marketing is something these guys do when there’s a problem; like the loss of a major account or the sudden realisation that they are not making any real progress.  So, for example, they might decide to “try a mail shot” and send a poorly written letter (which is essentially a sales pitch) to an out of date list of people, who never asked to be contacted.

They then usually proclaim; “we tried mail shots – they don’t work!”  I’m assuming they are the same people who think “cars don’t work” because they don’t know how to drive! 😉

Most people reading this, will see themselves primarily in one of those three general groups.  The best advice I can give you, is to get yourself into that third group, as quickly as you can!

Can I pay you a premium fee for a premium service – PLEASE?

Yesterday, after one too many unanswered tech support emails, I invested in a new web hosting provider.  The new provider is around 400% more expensive than the previous one, but their customer service is extremely good.  I had already researched them months ago and was really impressed.

My old provider offered an very reliable service; as you will know if you come here regularly.  However, although their service was extremely good, their customer service was extremely poor.  So, when things went wrong, it was painfully frustrating.  That’s why they lost my business.

Here’s why this matters: I didn’t want to leave my previous provider!  I wanted to PAY THEM MORE to offer me a better service, but they don’t offer that option.  They do offer a more expensive hosting plan, BUT it’s serviced in exactly the same way as my previous one.  I would get more server space, but have to suffer with the same unmanned support phone line, and the same frustrating email tech support system.

Ever thought of offering a new, premium version of your service?

Have you thought of adding a new, elite level of service to your business, for those like myself; who are service focussed and happy to pay a premium for a premium service?  I know you already offer a great service, and so do many of your competitors – Remember, some of them will be reading this post too and nodding in all the same places as you!

That’s not what I am talking about here.

My suggestion, is to think about offering something that’s on a totally different level.  There are a couple of really good reasons to consider this:

  1. The percentage of the marketplace that’s prepared to pay 2, 3 or 5 times as much for an elite service may be small, but it’s also far less competitive.  In some industries, this massively valuable segment is hardly targeted by any providers at all!
  2. If you have existing clients or customers, who would like an even better service from you, you have something perfect to offer them.  So, instead of losing what could be your best clients or customers, you actually end up making them massively more profitable instead.

Is this the right thing for EVERY provider to do? No, of course not!  It will suit some business owners and not suit others.  That said, if the idea of offering a new, elite service interests you and you believe you have the resources to develop a whole new level of service, why not give it some thought?

What kind of elite service would YOU be prepared to pay more for – And why?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Growing pains?

Do you find it odd, when business owners complain about the growing pains caused by the success of their business?

After all, it wasn’t growing that caused them the pain.  It was their decision not to plan ahead!

As business owners, we need to always have an eye on the future.  It’s not enough to be blinkered by what’s happening today, this week or this month.  We need to make plans today, which focus on our business as it will be next month, next quarter and into the longer term.

For example, we should be speaking with service providers today, so that they are ready for any expected increase in our requirements. After all, you don’t want to wait until your website falls over under the pressure of your success, to start finding a better hosting package or provider – right?

Now is the time to put processes in place, so that as we grow, our operation naturally adapts.

Are there people you should be speaking with today, about your future success requirements?  If there are, go and have those conversations, so that you can enjoy the rewards of success and the personal and professional development that comes from growing!

What do you really want?

What do you want to achieve by the time you reach your next landmark birthday; (ya know, those birthdays that end in a zero?)

What do WE want?

We live in an age, where we are being professionally influenced for the vast majority of our waking hours.  Every time we listen to a radio, watch a TV or sit in front of a computer, there are highly skilled people trying to convince us to change how we think and take some kind of action.

  • Advertisers want us to buy their products.
  • Celebrities want us to buy their sponsor’s products.
  • Politicians want us to see things their way and give them our vote.
  • Charities want us to help them make a difference.
  • There are even voices that want to tell us what shape our bodies need to be and how we should dress.

With all these inputs trying to shape what we think and believe, it’s good from time to time to get back in touch with what WE WANT, based on OUR VALUES and what matters TO US.

The next time you are putting some goals down for your business or yourself, make sure they are what YOU want.  Not what you are supposed to want.  It’s a lot easier to get motivated, when it’s our own goals and targets we are aiming for!