Have you ever thought about why you blog?
I blog because I am happy?
I blog because it is fun? I blog to make money?
I blog to escape boredom?
I blog for therapy?
I blog because I am a boomer and I want to exercise my brain?
Have you ever thought about why you blog?
I blog because I am happy?
I blog because it is fun? I blog to make money?
I blog to escape boredom?
I blog for therapy?
I blog because I am a boomer and I want to exercise my brain?
Now we’re down to the number 1 reason to manage your websites and blogs: money. It’s simply less expensive to learn how to handle most website and blog tasks than it is to pay someone to do them for you. The most obvious cost to your business is any ongoing website or blog maintenance you’re paying to a web designer. I’ve heard from clients that they’ve spent anywhere from $75 to $600 a month on maintenance. The difference in pricing is related to the amount of work done in those contracts. • A $75 a month charge included 1 major update a month, in this case, my speakers association chapter adding their monthly meeting to the site. • The $600/month charge was for website hosting, maintenance, and keyword optimization; that’s what my dentist pays to maintain his page 1 Google status in his geographic area. I hope your webmaster costs are either zero or somewhere between those two numbers! What other costs might there be? Well, you remember the true story of my client whose website was shut down by a disgruntled team member, yes? She directly lost revenue because her website wasn’t available. It would have been difficult on short notice for her to replace the site she had planned, but if she’d had control of her domain, she could have pointed it to an alternate site until things were resolved. What about creating opportunities BECAUSE you have HTML and CSS skills? The Internet likes speed! Being able to come up with a custom page on your website or blog that specifically addresses a new opportunity provides a huge advantage over your competitors who can’t or don’t provide such targeted information. In fact, imagine being able to send to a prospect in email the URL of a specially created web page on your website. Wouldn’t you sit up and take notice if I said I have a message just for you at such-and-such a page? With a simple tool, I created custom pages with individual names on them for the folks on my mailing list, using a simple HTML page and a tool that merges names into those web pages. Like so many other highly-targeted messages, custom web pages have a big impact. And this technique is easy and inexpensive to do. So with basic HTML and CSS skills, you can not only save maintenance costs, you can create opportunities for new business in targeted, memorable ways. I hope by now that you’re all out of excuses now for putting off earning something that can make you money. It’s time! The product is now available for purchase. There’s no time like the beginning of a new year to make a difference in your business by learning HTML and CSS. Head on over to http://www.ICanFixMyWebsite.com and get all the details of this program. I look forward to working with you in our coaching sessions, and getting 2010 off to a great start. You can choose to have $10 of the product price donated to the Red Cross for Disaster Relief to Haiti. Just choose Yes on the Order Form (near the bottom), and I’ll take care of the rest. — Toolie The “I Can Fix My Website” program is up and running! Get your copy right now at http://www.ICanFixMyWebsite.com. Toolie®
Reason 2 of Top Ten Reasons to Manage Your Own Websites and Blogs
One of the challenges entrepreneurs face when trying to grow their business is the point at which they begin to acquire helpers. Some use virtual assistants, some use their teenage or college-age children. Like any employment situation (virtual or contractual), the entrepreneur spends time managing the relationship as well as the work. It's no different when you've hired a web designer to maintain your website for you. It takes time to decide what you want, communicate your decisions, and manage the results. It's a necessary part of delegating the work, and provided you have good communication, it doesn't have to be time-consuming. I'll leave you to imagine what it's like when your web designer is NOT a good communicator. Perhaps you already know.... We've discussed how nice it is to have schedule independence from your web designer: that is, you being able to make changes to your site WHEN you want to, even if it's after hours. Now we're talking about how much TIME it takes to manage the relationship with your designer, and whether that time investment is appropriate for "the small stuff." I was on the board of my speakers association chapter for 3 years, and during that time I was directly involved with maintaining the website. We had a web designer who handled our maintenance for us for a reduced rate, and he was pretty good about handling the changes in a timely manner. But by "handling changes", I mean we wrote everything out for him, and even formatted the text in Microsoft Word the way we wanted it to look on the site. We sent in a Word doc, and he reproduced the changes in HTML on the website based on the text we had sent him. It took 2 hours to prepare that Word document, and it probably took him another 90 minutes to 2 hours to format the text in HTML and upload it to the site. So a total of 4 hours went into those web pages every month. If we'd had access to the site ourselves, we could have made the changes directly in HTML (in 2 hours), and had them visible to the public immediately instead of 4-24 hours later. It was a better use of his time to work on tasks that we weren't capable of doing, like the original design, or major updates to the look and feel of the site. The kind of work he was performing was simple edits that we were capable of handling. Consequently, our chapter switched to a membership site that better served our needs as an association, and one that we could manage ourselves. Are you doing the same thing? Are sending your web designer text formatted in Word and then having them do it over again on your site? I can almost promise you that even if you're exporting your text as HTML out of Microsoft Word, your designer is NOT using it directly. Word produces notoriously bloated HTML, so most designers ignore it or run it through a cleanup filter before posting the text on your website. Do it right the first time; as an entrepreneur you don't have TIME to do it OVER again! Learn HTML and CSS, and handle these simple updates yourself! With a combination of how-to videos, demos, website layouts, one-on-one coaching, and the support forum, the "I Can Fix My Website" program has what you need to learn these skills quickly and easily. You'll save time by handling website and blog updates yourself, and leave your web designer (if you have one) free to concentrate on the big stuff they really enjoy. Next: Reason 1 - Saving Money on Your Monthly Online Budget Toolie®
Reason 3 of Top Ten Reasons to Manage Your Own Websites and Blogs Here is Reason 3 of my Top Ten Reasons to Manage Your Own Websites and Blogs. by Toolie
"The story we're about to tell you is true. The names were changed to protect the innocent." (from the TV show "Dragnet") I wish I were kidding about that. What I'm going to tell you IS true; I'm just glad it doesn't happen very often. I got a call last week from a client; I worked on her website last fall. She is an author whose book wasn't yet available at that time, but she was doing a number of things to prepare for the book launch. My client had a social media site created by one of her team members. After we handled a few updates to the site I had worked on previously, she shared with me the debacle that accompanied the release of her book. After weeks of work on the social media site, the site was launched. A few weeks later, my client and her team member had a misunderstanding. This woman did not take the situation well, and in retaliation, shut down the site for 8 days right at the time the book arrived in stores. My client did not have the username and password to the site because it was hosted with other sites owned by other people, and controlled by the team member. She had no way of replacing the site in time for her book launch. A third party intervened in the situation and got the site back up, but by then the damage was done. Fortunately my client has a loyal following, and she didn't lose much revenue, but it was emotionally devastating. After all her diligence and hard work, losing control of her site when she needed it most was a situation she resolved to never allow again. In the "I Can Fix My Website" product, one of the first things we talk about is the importance of having the domain registered in your name, with your contact information, and for you to have control of the domain account's username and password. The same is true of the hosting account; it needs to be YOUR credit card and contact information on file so that you can change it if (God forbid) your web designer turns on you. (Some of my students have told me that I become somewhat animated when discussing this, but it is for good reason.) In the Action Guide that accompanies the product, I have space for you to write down your usernames and passwords for all of your domain registrations and web hosting accounts. You can also note whether your domains are privately registered (where your personal details are omitted so that you're less of a target for spammers) and which email address you used with the registration. I have had to help reclaim domain registrations for some clients because the domain renewal email went to an account that no longer existed. I understand the importance of keeping good records for your domain registrations so that you don't lose them! With these simple precautions (and some other advice I have for you), there's no reason why you can't take control of your sites and protect your valuable online business assets. I want to see YOU confidently switching to the Code view in your web editor and saying "Bring it on! I know how to use HTML...!" I look forward to working with you on these and other important items during our coaching sessions together in the "I Can Fix My Website" program. Tomorrow: Reason 2 - Saving Time on Quick and Easy Updates to Your Sites Toolie®
Hi, I sure hope you are enjoying this series by guest blogger Toolie. I also hope you are getting the message about posting different types of blog food. The series is a feast that can last a long time. Rosie
I’ll tell you a secret about web designers: they like to design, not to maintain.
Design is fun. It’s creative. It’s self-expressive.
Maintenance is detail-oriented. It’s dull. It’s repetitive. But it’s also necessary.
If a web designer enjoys managing details, then carrying maintenance contracts is a good source of ongoing revenue and most web designers will offer to maintain your site for you. Regardless of what you spend on a webmaster though, the rub comes when you need something changed NOW. Right now. Not 2 days from now, not tomorrow, NOW. Scheduling, turnaround times, and your webmaster’s workload all come into play. Once the initial design is done, webma sters are usually not very interested in doing updates to their already-perfect creation.
You must think I hate web designers — I don’t, not at all! After all, technically, I AM a web designer. I do a limited number of site projects for clients who are in a hurry and who are happy to pay for me to do the work. But I don’t do maintenance for them. Any project I take on involves training package for them so that my clients do the maintenance.
It’s not that I don’t like maintenance; I too could make money as a webmaster. But I have a business of my own to run, just like you do. And I have found that my clients are happiest when they really own and run their own sites. (That’s also why my product includes 3 hours of one-on-one coaching time to get you up and running.)
In a previous installment of this series, we talked about making your website or blog a cash-producing machine. How are you going to do that if you can’t make updates quickly? With a site designed for easy maintenance, you can be in charge of those updates yourself and take care of them any time of the day or night. In the “I Can Fix My Website” course, I teach you what is “a site designed for easy maintenance,” so that you can create or refurbish yours with that goal in mind.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a night-person, but I get my greatest ideas in the evening. The phones settle down, we’ve had dinner, I kick off my shoes, and suddenly in the evening, my head is buzzing with ideas. I do most of my writing then, and I want to be able to set up new pages as soon as the writing is finished. If I had to wait until the next day for a web designer to install my updates, I’d go crazy. Being able to create and install new pages, new features, new opt-ins when I need them is the best of possible worlds for me, as business owner of cash-producing websi tes.
Even if you are not the one who creates your site, it still belongs to you. It’s your business at stake, so it pays to know how to operate it inside and out, even if you ultimately delegate some of the work to others. When it’s 7 pm on a Sunday night and you want to add something to your site before Monday morning, I can almost guarantee that neither your virtual assistant nor your web designer will be picking up the phone when you call them for help.
The Internet loves speed. Those are customers whizzing past your site. Get them to stop by and view your latest creations: products, writing, services, all described and made available on YOUR schedule, because you know how to wrangle your site yourself. My website training product plus coaching program will teach you how.
Tomorrow: Reason 3 – Controlling and Protecting Your Business Sites
When I showed the first draft of my website training product to my mentor 2 years ago, he sent it back saying, “where’s the Internet Marketing information?” He was absolutely right. There’s no point in putting a business website or blog on the Internet unless you plan to do the necessary homework and preparations to turn your website or blog into an Internet cash-producing machine. The days of “having a website to have a website” and “if you build it they will come” are long past. You must be attentive to and proactive with your sites to attract the customers you want. You want to make it easy for them to contact you, and if applicable, enable them to buy online.
In my “I Can Fix My Website” training program, we start with HTML and CSS skills to learn how to build a website (the skills also apply to blogs). Before we even begin, though, we start with keyword research. When someone types a search into Google, Yahoo, or MSN (the big 3), they’re typing the words and phrases that are meaningful to them.
You’d better know what those phrases are before you build your site. You don’t need to subscribe to a keyword research service like Wordtracker (though I’d recommend it for at least one month while you’re planning), but you must know what words your customers think of when they go looking for you. They don’t always use the right vocabulary for your product, service, or profession, so you must include the words and phrases THEY use, as well as the correct keywords and phrases.
But there’s more to Internet Marketing than just keywords. And there’s more to having a website or blog that markets for you than just the site itself. The initial “currency” of your site is your emai l list. How are you going to collect your emails and build your list without the opt-in box AND the sequence of pages that ensure that they complete the opt-in loop? What if you decide to give away a free report or downloadable product? Do you know how to create a squeeze page, and its accompanying thank-you page and autoresponder?
These are specialized pages that you could create using your existing web page template. However, one of the keys to a successful opt-in sequence is not allowing for other choices on the page (with certain exceptions). You will have a better opt-in rate if, when they arrive at the “squeeze” page, you limit or eliminate other things they could do on the page. If they see your website or blog navigation and can go elsewhere on your site, you miss out on capturing their email while their curiosity is highest. Do you know how to create a custom page for this purpose? You can learn how. It is NOT dif ficult: my course will teach you how.
HTML email templates are another item that many marketers use online. They’re an attractive way to deliver your message, but those templates are also fraught with layout problems. I learned recently in working with one of my clients that some of the online web-based email programs almost shred the layout of a typical HTML email if you don’t know how to set up the template to keep it together. Because of my skills, I was able to research the issues and set up an HTML Email template for my client (and one for myself) that still look good in programs like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Windows Live Mail. (Those of you who read my emails using those programs have probably already noticed how much better my HTML emails look now!)
The “I Can Fix My Website” training product comes with a free 3-month membership to my support forum. If you have quest ions or problems with your email templates, your site, your squeeze pages, your autoresponders, your graphics, or anything else related to building your site, you’re going to be able to post your issue online and get answers right away. You can also research solutions that I’ve provided to other members, not to mention having access to my virtual “Rolodex®” of website and blog tools, links to good scripts, and lists of recommended utility websites to support you as you build and customize your sites.
It just makes sense to learn HTML and CSS: they’re your ticket to building and maintaining the websites and blogs that work to bring you paying customers. My course will teach you those skills quickly and easily.
Tomorrow: Reason 4 – Making Changes to Your Site on YOUR Schedule
Have you ever seen a cool image, graphic, or feature on another site
and wondered how it’s done? With a little knowledge and some
curiosity, you can find out how it’s done, and maybe produce something
similar on your website.
On most websites, it is possible to view the source code of a site in
your browser, and even examine it in your favorite HTML editor. (I do
this all the time when I’m trying to diagnose a problem for a client.)
I also collect URLS to code for neat things like countdown timers,
background snow effects, and other features that I’ve spotted on other
websites. I don’t use the code, though, without first finding out what
Most of the time, the code that makes those nifty features appear is
code someone paid for, and with some investigation, I can go find the
site and buy it myself. I am in no way advocating theft of other
people’s intellectual property. (Did you hear what I said?) I’m
talking about doing research in the code so you can go do the right
thing (by buying the code), and enjoy the benefits.
There are sites on the Internet where you can go shopping for features
by the type of code you want to use. Let’s say you want to add a
background “snow” effect for your website during the holidays. My
favorite source for such things is www.HotScripts.com, a centralized
other languages). You don’t have to be a programmer to install the
scripts, you just need to know enough HTML to place the code in the
right spot (very much like you do to install a Facebook badge or
Some scripts on www.HotScripts.com are just features you add to your
websites; some are entire programs you can buy. Most of the free
scripts simply require that you keep their website URL in the code to
give them credit, which is absolutly the right thing to do. Some
scripts will allow you to remove that credit if you pay a registration
fee, which is also fair. Here are an example:
http://www.dseffects.com — will let you use the script for free if
you keep the author credit within the code. It costs $24 for a license
for one domain so you can remove the author credit, and $80 for up to
10 websites. (What a bargain!)
Some sites let you take their images as long as you make a copy,
rather than linking to their image. Here’s where I found a page of
animated snow GIF files:
The site owner allows you to make a copy for personal use, and
explains on this page why you cannot simply link to the images.
If I decided to use one of his images, I would create a shortcut to
his website in the folder where I store the images so I remember where
I found them.
Now, to do the research initially, you need to know a little HTML. But
once you do, it opens up a whole world of possibilities. This isn’t
just about having the neatest effect to impress your friends; this is
about finding and utilizing features that will benefit your customers.
For example, I found a fabulous live chat program on someone else’s
site, and decided to switch. That allowed me to stop paying a monthly
fee for a chat program that was overkill for my little business. I
found that new chat software developer by inspecting the code,
tracking down the company website, and buying a license for all my
websites. I even recommend and install that chat program now for my
So what are you waiting for? It won’t take long for you to learn HTML
and CSS and be able to track down the features you’ve liked on other
sites. You don’t have to imitate, you can customize. Most of all, you
can assist and please your customers with the website and blog
features that help them buy from you. My website training program will
get you started learning HTML and CSS right away.
Next: Reason 5 – HTML/CSS Skills for More Than Just Web Pages and
Reason 7: Behind-the-Scenes Knowledge to Really Enhance Your Site
At this point, we’re turning from the rather esoteric ideas to more
tangible reasons for learning to manage your own websites and blogs.
You may have suspected that what I’m about to tell you is true, so
I’ll confirm it.
All the really good stuff you can do to enhance your site involves
working with a little code.
There. I said it out loud.
Meta tags. Title tags. Google Analytics. Twitter Feeds. Facebook
Badges. Blog Widgets. Live Chat buttons. All of these require little
bits of code to be created and placed in the right spot in your
websites and blogs. “Tell your web designer to…blah blah blah.” Why?
Why not take care of these small tasks yourself. You CAN learn how.
I also work with a lot of clients who are ready to move away from a
website template for similar reasons. I had a client who took my
training course when I was teaching it via webinars, but who decided
to stay with the website template he already had. After about a year,
he came back and said he was ready to go for an independent site. When
I asked him why, he gave me a list of his frustrations (his words!):
– “Lack of control and spotty technical support – I felt like I was on
my own when things went wrong.
– “Internet-based work meant every change I make went over the web,
and it was dreadfully slow and therefore, a big time waster.
– “I had to upload all images to their web server first and then
access them from there – uploads were another big time waster, took
– “No access to parts of the code, so even if I knew how to change
something I didn’t have access to it.
– “The WYSIWYG was not really accurate, for unknown reasons. What I
saw in the template system was not always exactly as it appeared on my
page, so it was difficult to get things precise – like placing an
image in an exact place, lining up text. So I would spend hours trying
to get it to look just right and then find it wasn’t just right once
it was published to my site limits on the font sizes I could use to a
few predetermined ones.”
Now he has a site of his own, created from scratch and designed so he
can updated anytime he wants. From time to time I get questions and/or
we schedule a coaching session to resolve a problem, but for the most
part, he is self-sufficient. His growth and confidence is truly
breathtaking to watch.
The concepts behind HTML and Cascading Style Sheets are actually
pretty simple. They require attention to detail, but they’re not
difficult concepts. This is not rocket science! But it is interesting,
there’s room for creativity, and it’s fun.
Get the edge on your competitors by being able to make changes at a
moment’s notice. Web skills are one of the best investments you can
make in yourself and your business. My website training program
includes coaching and a membership site where you can post problems
and get answers to questions for a low monthly flat fee.
Tomorrow: Reason 6 – Jazz Up Your Site with Ideas from Other Sites
I get asked a lot about how I can possibly make a living teaching
website and blog skills when there are so many free website templates
and site-builders out there already. My answer is simple: people come
to me when they’re tired of bumping into the limitations that both
website templates and site-builders have. They’re ready to make their
sites work for them, instead of the other way around.
I remember when I learned to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. My Dad bought
a bike with smaller wheels, and put training wheels on it. (This was
before we knew we should wear helmets, but thankfully all I ever got
were skinned knees.) I rode up and down the sidewalk, back and forth,
back and forth. After a while I thought I was ready to have the
training wheels taken off. Dad ran alongside me and steadied me while
I got that wobbly front wheel under control. After a few sideways
landings (thank goodness for lawns!) I took off and pedaled as fast as
I could until Dad called me back. It was incredible! I felt like I was
Pretty soon I was doing circles and figure-eights in the street, going
fast, going slow, even racing with the other kids in the neighborhood.
It’s a good thing I liked riding my bike because I rode it to piano
lessons, to my first job at the grocery store, and even to driver’s
education classes during the summer after my sophomore year in high
school. I rode it to go shopping as a teenager, and many years later,
I rode it for recreation and fitness. (McAlister and I even rode bikes
on our first few dates.)
The point is, once I got the hang of riding with training wheels, I
insisted on having them taken off so I could ride my bike without
them. I wanted to feel grown up and free. As silly as the comparison
may seem, being able to maneuver your own websites and blogs gives you
that same sense of freedom and control. And the people who come to me
are usually the ones who want a sense of empowerment, freedom, and
control. They understand the importance of standing out, of being
unique among the millions of websites already online.
There’s another really, really important aspect to consider about your
sites, and that is your brand. Usually by the time entrepreneurs,
virtual assistants, and small business owners come to work with me,
they’ve got a logo and color scheme that they want applied to their
sites. That’s the difference between having a site that looks like the
other 662 sites using your website template, and having a site that is
truly unique and reflects your brand choices. Plus with a site you’ve
built or had built, you have the flexibility to do creative things
with it, such as audio, video, and other interactive features.
A site with a good design gives you so many opportunities to attract
visitors by continually expanding and enhancing it with good content.
In my website/blog training program, we’ll talk about both design and
content to produce sites that really work for your business.
Tomorrow: Reason 7 – Behind-the-Scenes Knowledge to Really Enhance
Reason 9: Seizing Opportunities as They Come Along
If you’ve spent any time reading my emails or participating in my webinars, you know that I emphasize how fast the Internet moves, and how important it is for you to be ready to seize opportunities as they come along. Being able to manage an existing website is great; being able to create one or more pages or even a whole site when you need it is even better.
A couple of years ago (before I really knew what direction my business should take), a colleague of mine from the National Speakers Association invited me to deliver a teleseminar as part of another association’s series. I immediately agreed to participate, and we worked out a series of interview questions. I had one problem though; I didn’t have a website for this particular area of expertise. None of my existing sites were really suitable. I was going to need a website, and fast!
Once I had the teleseminar content worked out, I devised a small website to accompany that content. I didn’t have a product to sell, so a salesletter wasn’t going to work. What I planned to do was provide a special page of resources connected to that content for the teleseminar attendees. I needed a multi-page website that listed my services and pointed to the websites I DID have. The resulting site became www.Tooliedotter.com.
Is it an impressive site? No, definitely not my finest work — in fact, I debated about showing it to you at all. Did the site provide the intended information? YES, it did, including the hidden resources page. The site also included links to 2 online demos I already had, an opt-in box for my webinars, a working contact form for future inquiries, and my Live Chat button in case someone wanted questions answered real-time. The site provided evidence that I had consulting expertise, and provided a destination for consulting inquiries.
How long did I spend on this website? Less than eight (8) hours: in fact, I put it up overnight. It has my colors, my fonts, and a simple design I can expand and update in the future. Did I get visitors to my website as a result of the teleseminar? You bet. Did I get business from it? Indirectly, yes, through my webinars and coaching. Am I going to leave the site like it is now? NO! I’ll be revamping it when the time is right. The important thing is that I was able to produce the site when I needed it.
Most of you won’t need to create an entire site to seize an opportunity for exposure and future business. But wouldn’t be great if you could put up a dedicated web page specifically for an opportunity for acquire new clients? With a little HTML and CSS knowledge, you can do exactly that, any time of the day or night. My new training product/coaching program/membership site will show you how.
Tomorrow: Reason 8 – Branding and Creativity Applied Online