Why Your Business Needs a Blog, but You Should Not Have One!

Blogging can serve your business goals in many ways. However, you must recognize first it is all about communication. Or a little more accurately, a conversation. It is not a place to post re-hashed marketing materials, or to overtly sell your product! OK, that is about content… there is one more important piece than even the content when it comes to blogging: consistency & communication. Blogging requires commitment to producing good content. Producing good content takes time. If you aren’t going to make the commitment to regularly posting to your blog–or having a staff member responsible for doing so–then don’t do it! Nothing looks worse than a blog on your web site with the last post being months ago! You don’t have to post daily, but if you really want to build something with it, I recommend that pace. It will get you in touch with your customers in the marketplace and get you feedback you may have never received through another channel. Weekly is probably the lowest post rate I would like to see for a business, and something in between is perfectly fine.

Now, saying this, I’m coming off a week of no posts… which brings me to my next point: blogs are about communication. Communication is a two-way street, you have to listen as much as you speak… or as the old saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth, so maybe you should listen twice as much as you speak. Translate that into blogging by getting out and visiting your peer blogs and others that are in your line of work or related and get into the conversation. There is plenty of business in this world for everyone to have their piece. And when it comes to blogging, I can bet most of the other bloggers out there are not your competitor down the street!

Another part of this is you need to tell your regular readers & subscribers what is happening in your business or personal life if it is going to interfere with your regular schedule. If you look back at my last post, you will find I put a short two-line note at the end warning that there might not be any posts for the next week as I was preparing to sell my home. People understand changes in what you do… when you tell them! (I am thankful for my faithful readers, and have amazingly increased my subscribers over the past week!) If you don’t, they will just go away not knowing what happened and feeling like they’ve been left out in the cold. I hate to say it, but that is the experience I’m having right now in trying to sell my house… and I haven’t even listed it yet! Have you ever lost a customer before they walked into your store? That’s what I’m experiencing now–from the customer’s point of view.

While I still have more work to do on the house… I’m going to try and get back to my daily posting schedule. Though it may be spotty… I warned you! 🙂


We must have passion. Be it for our work or in our relationships. Without it, we have no inspiration to drive us forward. I have been searching for mine, for a long time. I’m about to make a major change in my life in order to further my search for my personal passion. You must find yours if you wish to be successful in life… in LIFE, not just business. Your business may be a major part of your life, but don’t let it become too much. Remember your family, your friends and your loves. People come first.

This morning, I was reading Mike Sansone’s latest Dialing 8 post, and was led to reading some wonderful work of Kammie Kobyleski’s Passion Meets Purpose blog. The first post I happened to read was, The Search for Passion & Purpose. Kammie tells us how we should live life passionately. I don’t want to give it away, but the fourth paragraph of her post hit home for me. But, as an insight, she tells us, “To live out loud and play full out!” Many of us in business don’t play enough! We need to remember the child we once were…

Posts may be light for the next few days. Tomorrow I’m listing my home for sale, and I still have things to do to get it ready.

How Brick ‘n’ Mortar Businesses Can Use a Web Site

For all the information on the web, it seems when you are running an off-line or brick and mortar business, it seems difficult to find useful web resources on how you can leverage the web for your business. Everything seems so on-line business oriented. Here, you don’t have to worry. I hope to provide you with both some ideas on how you can use the web to your advantage, as well as point you at some resources.

There are some core reasons for using the web to improve your business:


Even if the product you sell can only be delivered in person to your customer, common with a service-based business, having a web site helps people find you. Combine the general concept of marketing with tools like Google Maps, and your stores need to be findable in that interface! I did a test search for “Chinese restraunt Boulder, CO” and found many restaurants to choose from. I doubt they would deliver to my current location in Tennessee… but, I’ll also bet there were many that did not show up in the list because they did not investigate using the web for their restaurant. It’s the modern day yellow pages… and a lot cheaper!


Online sales! For those of you with products that can be shipped, or perhaps a service that can be purchased as a gift card for a local customer. It’s a must, even if you don’t sell electronic goods. Just check out eBay and the millions of dollars that pass through there daily! An online store can be simple, or as complex as you want to make it.

Vendor Research

If you are selling off-line, you need product to sell. Buy it online in bulk or wholesale, and sell in your physical stores. You may have current vendors that would welcome you doing business via their web site, as it make work easy for them too.


Meet other business owners. Either friendly competitors or peers in another market. You both can learn from each other. They may have run into a problem you have recently, and already solved it! If you own a franchise, this is great way to make connections with other franchisees. Of course you can meet other businesses that might be compatible with yours so you can send each other customers. That’s what networking is all about.

Customer Support

Today, many people look to use a businesses web site first for support before picking up the phone. Having great information about your products, and solving potential problems in their use just raises your value in your customer’s eyes. I love it when a vendor as a knowledgebase of questions that previous customers had, with the answers already there! I not only look for my current problem for solution, but browse the categories so I know what is there in case I need to return.

I hope these have given you some ideas to research and inspire you to use a web site for your brick and mortar business. Here’s a few great resources I found on entrepreneurship and business:

For other blog resources specific to your product, service or field, try searching for your product name and ‘blog’ in your favorite search engine. I also recommend reviewing online blog directories such as Technorati or Blogflux. One of the reasons I suggest in researching blogs in your field, is because it becomes very easy to network with other like-minded people whether it is the publisher of the blog or other commenters on the site. It becomes a very natural community of people with a common interest. Speaking of which… get involved! If you find a site you like and read something interesting, make a comment! Join the fun! Feel free to comment here and add to the list of ways the web can be used for off-line businesses. Everybody wins from sharing information!

WordPress 2.2 Upgrade, Google Analytics Update, and other Statistic Issues

I’ve been seeing various posts around that WP 2.2 had been released, but I was under the impression it was going to be delayed longer than this. I guess they’ve put the push on to get it out, because I just downloaded it! Go get your WordPress 2.2 today! I have not installed it yet… I will install it on my development server here at eh house first, make sure everything works… then upload. I know not everyone has this flexibility–but, you could… I’m using a 10 year old box to test on! If not, be sure to carefully follow the upgrade procedure. The most important step being to backup your database.

I noticed this morning that Google had given my access to the new Beta Google Analytics interface that they are rolling out. First impressions are that it’s pretty and makes better use of space, but I haven’t evaluated it in detail for functionality yet. I ‘ll do that this weekend and give you a report!

Speaking of statistics… is anyone else wondering why different stats packages don’t give identical or at least reasonably close numbers when comparing well-defined categories of information? Either they all have different definitions of the terms, or none of them knows what they are doing! As you may have noticed with my end-of-month analysis for April Stats Update, there was quite a bit of variation. And it continues… while I spotted some configuration issues on my part in some places, many are just big questions. I’ll give you another wrap-up on my stats again the beginning of next month, adding my evaluation of HitLinks to the mix. I’m paying for that one, so it better come out good! Being logical minded as I am, I don’t understand the variation. I’ll probably have to pick a day and do a manual analysis of the logs with a spreadsheet to compare.

PS–The stats for the past couple days here have been weird! yesterday, the pageviews were triple the day before! And today… almost nothing! Very strange two days. 🙂

More Top 5’s and a Few Fans

I need to get back to the real subject here, but I will continue to spread out my Top 5 selections over the coming weeks.

I need to explicitly give thanks to a couple sites that have included me in their Top of the Top 5 postings:

  • John Crickett’s Top 5s – Blog Posts About Business, where he categorizes all the business related selections. John also gave me a great idea which I’ve passed on to Darren Rowse… include a category field in the submission form next time he does a group writing project.
  • Joe Rawlinson’s post, Weekend Reading – May 12th is another great selection of business oriented posts. Hey! These selections are turning out to be on-topic for this blog… funny how that works!
  • Darlene McDaniel’s guest post, Top 5 Writing Project – Good Stuff! at Small Business Boomers, another small business oriented blog, lists her selection of posts focusing on blogging resources for small business. Darlene’s own blog, Tough Questions? Great Answers! is also another great resource. I see it’s a member of the b5Media Business Channel… Guess I’ll have to check that out, as should you!

Here are five more of my favorite selections:

Back to business tomorrow…

Chasing a Dream is a Do Follow Blog

In checking out some of the ProBlogger Top 5 entries, I visited Susan Drigger’s Top 5 Sins post, and while there noticed a nice little icon, “No Nofollow, fight spam, not blogs” that reminded me to check the no follow status of my comments. Oops! WordPress strikes again… it was there! With the addition of the DoFollow plugin from Semiologic, comments and track backs are now nofollow-free.

Some of you are wondering, “What’s the big deal”? If it’s built-in to WordPress by default, it’s got to be right. That’s a matter of opinion. Google introduced the concept of using an attribute rel="nofollow" on links in 2005, to theoretically help reduce comment spam, and create more accurate Page Rank. However, many disagree that it has had much influence on comment spam, and we feel people should get link credit for posting comments. If you would like more information on the controversy, you can check Michael Hampton’s May 2005 post, Nofollow Revisited. It covers the story well, from the intent, how it is supposed to work, and why it doesn’t work.

If you would like to join the Do Follow crowd, as I have–note the new “U Comment, I follow” icon (courtesy Randa Clay Design) in the side bar–visit the No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow Community at BumpZee.

Get Your Own Domain Name

As I introduced in my post, Entrepreneurs Developing Web Sites Must Address These Top 5 Potential Pitfalls, it is an absolute must for small business entrepreneurs, freelancers and other soloists to own their domain name. Your domain name is your business when it comes to a presence on the Internet. Even if you don’t want to pursue setting up a web site now, register your domain name so it will be yours when you are ready.

What is a Domain Name?

Before you can own one, you need to know exactly what you are getting. A domain name is an easy to remember name that represents a company’s computer services on the Internet. I’ll give a couple examples in a moment, but the first thing I want to point out is, what we are talking about is an over-arching name, that includes potentially, multiple actual computer servers. Most people naturally think of www.CompanyName.com to represent a companies web site. But, note that the domain name is also used for other services, most commonly Email & FTP (File Transfer Protocol) services. The actual domain name portion in the example above, is: CompanyName.com, where the www refers to a specific computer, usually a web server in this instance.

When you purchase a domain name, you get the right to use the name for the period of time for which you pay the registration fee. Usually for one to five years on initial registration, though on renewals you can go up to ten years. If you are securely in business, I highly recommend you always register your name for the longest time period offered. That way you don’t lose it by forgetting to renew!

How Should I Choose a Domain Name?

Logically, from my example above, you would probably select a name including your current business name if you have one. If you are in the early stages of planning a new enterprise, you have the opportunity to investigate name availability as you choose a name for your business. I would work on developing a business name in parallel with selecting your domain name. By doing both at the same time, you insure yourself of the availability of your name. You might even have the opportunity to choose a non-obvious name, like Yahoo!, if appropriate for your business. A name such as this requires a significant amount of marketing to develop a brand image, but it is obviously unique, and will stand out against your business competition. You may need to hire a brand name expert for that purpose, and I highly recommend such an expert if you choose that route.

The technicalities of the actual name are fairly straight forward. You choose a generic Top Level Domain (TLD), such as .com, .net, .org, .tv, or a country code TLD, such as .us, .ca, .au (United States, Canada, Australia). A full list of all the officially authorized current domain names is available. There are restrictions on the use of some TLDs, in particular the country codes, which may only be available if you are actually doing business in their country, or require a standard second level name like .co.uk.

Th original .com, .net & .org are pretty much open for any use now, but the selection of names is highly competitive. However, most consultants still recommend as do I, the .com domain for commercial businesses. I would seriously consider also purchasing the equivalent name in the .net & .org TLDs as well as a safety measure against a competitor stealing it. Unless you have a registered trademark, a fight over a domain name is not easy. I would just choose another and move on if it is not available.

As an example of a domain name selection, my own, cdchase.com, is derived from my first & middle initials and my last name. I wanted to keep it short, yet recognizable. I often stylize the domain in print: cdChase.com. You can do the same for print marketing materials, which should always have your domain name! Recently, I have considered purchasing longer forms of my name, but have yet to do so. One that used to be available is no longer… however, if it goes into disuse, I will obtain it.

Tom Brit has some excellent hints in his post, Picking a Domain Name is Harder Than You Think.

You too, can try to purchase domain names that are already owned, but not yet in use or bid to buy them. There are several companies that specialize in this business and there are people out there that actual collect domain names for the prospect of selling them for profit! One of the leaders in this field is Sedo, where I have a domain name parked for resale, ChattanoogaCountryHomes.com (though last night I came up with an idea to use it, so I may retract it!) Parking is a means of putting your domain name somewhere and potentially getting income from it based on searches finding it, and it having paid advertising on it.

How do I Register a Domain Name?

Registering the name itself, is easy once you have determined it’s availability. Most Registrars have tools on their web site to check the availability of a name, so you can start there, and when you find one you like, you click buy it! The tricky part is getting a good registrar. There was recently a case of a registrar (RegisterFly) going out of business… leaving the domain owners registered through them high and dry! The registrar is the technical center of making the domain name system work. So, if they are not providing the services reliably, your web site won’t be reachable. I recommend choosing only an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrar . I use a third-party registrar & DNS services company, DynamicNetworkServices (DynDNS), that allows me to manage my domain name separate from my web host & email services. This allows me some flexibility in the management of my web site & email, as well as other services. Doing this independent of your web host is not that complex, and I highly recommend it. However, most people will choose to purchase their domain name, DNS services, email & web hosting services from the same provider. At least the first time. I will admit I did so too! It’s convenient and easy. However, from a business perspective, I like the idea of specialists handling my services independent of each other. They can focus on what they do best and provide reliable services and flexibility. I would personally recommend choosing from the leading registrars, adding my own due to personal experience with them, and the elimination of one (eNom) due to the relationship with the above mentioned RegisterFly pending class-action suit:

In conclusion…They’re cheap! Buy more than one! You can point them all at the same place initially, then develop specialty sites later. This will help with Search Engine Optimization and marketing. You should own any trademarked product names that you have. If the name is related exclusively to your company, you should own it as a domain.

Well, that should get you started… I probably should have broken this up into multiple posts, but I was on a roll! Feel free to ask any additional questions that you may have. I’d be happy to help!

Top 5 Posts — plus a Bonus!

Well, I’ve just finished reviewing another ten great postings! I think Darren over at ProBlogger should be very proud of the quality he has inspired in his readers for the Group Writing Project. I don’t think I’ve seen a dog in the bunch! I’ve got those special links for you of my next top 10, but first here are the links back each individual day’s postings, including the fianl day four:

  • Day One: Total posts, 132; I want to read 38!
  • Day Two: Total posts, 242; My picks, 80!
  • Day Three: Total posts, 222; I chose 74
  • Day Four: Total Posts, 297! OK, I haven’t gone through this one yet… I’m still catching my breath!

For a total of 893 entries! Wow! It’s a good thing he was picking a winner by using random numbers…

My Top 10 of the Day

That is a great selection and I’ve added several to my feed reader. And had to start clearing out a few pieces of dead wood to make room!

Plus One Bonus

While checking out the links for  Top 5  GTD Computer Tools at Daily Iteration, I came across a comment by Kim Roach with a link to her posting of  50 Essential GTD Resources! That’s an awesome post and a lot of work to create! Thanks Kim!

Technorati Rank from 1,456,027 to 452,359–Overnight!

Wow! I just noticed my Technorati Rank change! I guess that shows you how many blogs that exist out there, and are not being read by many people. My ‘Authority’ went from 3 to 11, so things are looking up. Guess I should add the Authority plugin to my sidebar, next to Douglas Karr’s Technorati Rank. Feel free to use it to add me to your Technorati Faves–click on the heart. If you haven’t noticed before, each individual icon of the four on the left side of this plugin gives you different information when you mouse-over it. And each is a short-cut to the appropriate place.

I’ve added most of the links in my last post to my Technorati favorites. Maybe that influences rank & authority too…

Top 5 Postings

Well, Darren’s had a great turnout for the ProBlogger Group Writing project! After reviewing the list of posts for the first three days, here’s the counts for the one’s I want to check out:

Day One: Total posts, 132; I want to read 38! That’s 29% of all the posts! I’ve made it through the first ten… check below.

Day Two: Total posts, 242; My picks, 80! That’s over 33%!!! Unbelievable…

Day Three: Total posts, 222; I chose 74… for exactly one-third!

I won’t be out of reading material for a long time… I saved the full lists to a separate file on my hard drive so I can load it in my browser and hop to them as I get a chance to review.  Several people have been giving me trackbacks from reposting the entire list to their site, however, I don’t agree with that technique. In general, that is called ‘link farming’ and can get you banned from search engines. There were only a couple, so I went ahead and approved them for now. Though they are subject to review.

My intention is to post only the links I’ve actaully visited and liked! I think that will give you a better filter to choose from. While there are a lot of high quality posts, they aren’t all the same level. However, while I’ve picked a diverse selection of subjects, I suggest you go back to the horse’s mouth links above to get the full lists. There might be others that you are interested in, that I was not.

Today’s Review

I was able to get through ten posts today, after compiling the overall list and selecting my favorites from the first three days. Here they are:

That should keep you reading for a while… I focused on just checking out ther Top 5 posts… if I had started exploring all the archives, I’d never get this written! But, I’ll be back…