Small Business Owner in Florida Feels Disgusting

If you live in Florida, then you know that our wonderful state isn’t known for its high paying jobs. Indeed, all you have to do is look at how much our teachers are paid to realize the meaning of what is NOT a high paying job. And it’s not just the teachers…

That’s why I was amazed after reading a story reported in the Sunsentinel about a small business owner who his employees a rise of 35 percent to 50 percent.

“I had one employee who was almost full time, and I was paying her $10.50 an hour. This was disgusting.” Andrew Green, the owner told the Sunsentinel!!!

grow-your-online-businessAnd so he gave one of his employees nearly  double of what she was paid before the rise (from $230 per week to $537 per week) and a warehouse worker an equally impressive rise from $500 to $730 per week. As for his operations manager, the pay rose to $800 from $600 .

Florida is a wonderful place to live in.  But it could do with a more appropriate pay structure, which would boost the economy and make a whole lot of workers a lot happier, and a lot more productive.

Want to know how low pay jobs are affecting the web design industry in Florida? Well, here is one example, out of many which illustrate this point. I was once approached by a prospective customer (based in Fort Lauderdale) about a complex customized design his new company needed and they were shopping around.  They had gotten quotes from just about every web developer on the planet and wanted to know if I could match and possible better them.

After a lot of back and forth, we decided to have a face to face meeting and I discovered that wed design agencies based in the South Florida area were quoting prices that were nearly $10.000 lower than those based out of state.  (I am not even talking about New York where some quotes were over $50.000 higher)

Would Florida Low Pay Job structure be the reason for that kind of discrepancy?  Quite possibly.

Mr. Green’s decision to give his employees a substantial rise means that his own profits will be lowered by 12.5 percent .  What do you think? A small price to pay for a small business employers or the recipe for disaster because the only way a business can make up for this type of reduction in profit is by way of hiking prices up?

And what happened with the client who was shopping around?  I excused myself from this particular deal!

Do you have a project in mind?  If you do, Let’s Get Started

 

 

 

In the web design industry, you are as good as the people you hire

I run a small but very busy web design agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  It’s been quite ride since I first started in 1996 and for the past 20 years or so, I have been the Jacques of all trades, or should I say the Stevie of all trades, growing my business, one customer at the time and making sure that the foundations I was laying for myself were set on solid ground.

team-work

When I first started in this business,  I used to do everything myself. From making coffee in the morning, to sweeping the floors, to paying the bills, to talking to my clients, to paying more bills, to making more coffee…  etc…

And when, at long last, all of the above was done, (except for making coffee of course, there’s always time for that), I would then sit at my designing table and start developing my customers websites… well into the wee hours of the following morning…

In truth, it was nothing more or less than any other small business owner out there would do, but whilst the rewards of running your own business are extraordinary, they come at a cost in terms of time spent, building your business by yourself, one website at the time.

And then my business started to grow and I found myself working even longer hours trying to juggle every thing myself.

“Hire someone” my (much wiser) wife would say but I always had a prepared answer.

It’s my business I used to say, I don’t have the money to hire anyone and besides no one would ever work the way I work..

I was a control freak.

You know the kind?!

Hiring did sound like a good idea, though, and thus I tried, but in the web design industry, in any industry really, you are only ever as good as the people you hire and finding the right people to work with you can be a real struggle sometimes.

It certainly was for me… And the turn-over was exhausting.  From placing an ad, to reviewing job applications, to interviewing a prospect, to hiring that prospect, to training him or her, and then having to be on your guard because of the mistakes he or she makes, from the … “sorry boss, I can’t work today, I was bitten by a dog”…. to and even more unpleasant task of having to say to someone… “sorry lad, I am going to have to let you go”… finding the right people to work for you is a real challenge.

Why am I telling you all this, you are asking?

Well, because after a long time looking, I finally found the right people, and they are so good at what they do that make me look even better.

Like Michael for example, my Graphic Designer who’s banners and graphic you’ll see on this website. Who works hard, and makes my day when I look at his artistic creations in the world of graphic design.

 

 

 

The 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing You Cannot Ignore

Over the past few years, the percentage of people who use social media has gone up in leaps and bounds and it doesn’t look like this trend is about to be reversed.  Quite the opposite. For that reason…

… Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help elevate your audience and customer base in a dramatic way.

More and more people, by all accounts will be joining this upwards trend and if you or your business rely on traffic, then here are the 10 laws of social marketing you simply cannot afford to ignore.

It is estimated that social media has overtaken google in the amount of traffic it generates and for that reason alone, a judicious online marketing strategy through social media sites can help harvest all that traffic.

As mentioned above, the power of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more can elevate your target market and possible clients base in a dramatic way.

Social Media Law

By Alejandro Escamilla

 

It’s vital that you understand social media marketing fundamentals.

Understanding the fundamentals of social media marketing can guarantee success. These 10 laws is your great guide to become a successful social media marketer. Build a strong relationship with your audience and target market.

1. The Law of Listening. Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking.

Being a good listener is one of the best attitude a social media marketer should posses. Social media marketing is not all about telling what your products or services all about, you should also know what your target audience wants and what are important to them.

2. The Law of Focus. It’s better to specialize than to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Multitasking is not a good idea in social media marketing. Compared to broad strategy, focusing on content and social media marketing can build a strong brand that will help you business gain more profit.

3. The Law of Quality. Quality trumps quantity.

Quality is be above all things. It’s better to have quality social media marketing than to talk more with less effect.

4. The Law of Patience. Social media and content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight.

We all know that social media marketing success is not achievable in just a click. Put more patience in your work, just remember if there’s no pain, there’s no gain.

5. The Law of Compounding. If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more.

This discussing and sharing of one’s information starts new access points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. These entry points might develop to a large number or thousands of more possible methods for people to find you online.

6. The Law of Influence. Spend time finding the online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and are likely to be interested in your products, services and business.

Find and interact with online influencers in the industry. Make sure that they share quality content and audiences and most likely be interested with your services, products and business. Building a relationship with this kind of people can open a new possibility in your company.

7. The Law of Value. If you spend all your time on the social Web directly promoting your products and services, people will stop listening.

This is a simple, yet one of the most important law. Concentrate much more and less on conversions on developing relationships with online influencers and making incredible content.

8. The Law of Acknowledgment. You wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so don’t ignore them online.

9. The Law of Accessibility. Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience.

10. The Law of Reciprocity. You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them.

Source: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

 

 

The Right Way To Start Your Online Business

As you probably know, starting your own business is not an easy endeavor. It doesn’t matter whether yours is going to be a traditional “brick and mortar” type of business, or an online business, there are no quick rich schemes that you can use to make money! And if any one tells you otherwise, then let me tell you quite frankly, they are more interested in lining up their own pockets than helping.

So let me be clear…  To have a successful online business requires a lot of work.  I have been doing it since 1997 and I remember being elated the first time I received an $87 check from an affiliate program I had decided to market.  That check came 4 months after the launch of my first website, and I had to wait for another 3 months before I received another payment.

And as time went by, the frequency by which I was getting my payments went up until it became a monthly event.  A year later, I was making around $800 a month, which was not a bad start at all, but was never enough for me to leave my 8 to 9 job.

In the beginning, I remember saying to my wife, let’s use that money for our next vacation, and so the following year, we spent $4500 on a cruise, wiping out in the process every penny I had earned online.

Still it felt great and I knew that if I had been able to generate all that money on a part time basis, what would I be able to earn if I worked a little harder?

And as my expertise of internet marketing began to grown, one day a friend asked me to handle SEO for his site. When my efforts started to show results, a friend of his contacted me, and another and over time, I found myself receiving call for help for an increasing number of people who had heard from me by the best marketing tool of all: word of mouth!

15 years later, I am fortunate to be able to say that from very humble beginnings, I am now able to enjoy the type of life which, as an online businessman allows me (and the people who work for me) the freedom of doing what we like and at the same time be financially settled.

On any given month, we (a team of very knowledgeable professionals and I) take care of an average of two hundred websites. We specialize in getting quality traffic to those websites, which is of course essential to their success.

I know people for whom no amount of money is ever enough and I see them work hard amassing more and more money, and that is of course their rights. I have always taken the view that by over extending ourselves, it is often the case that we become less effective in the services we provide, and this why we are always very careful to select new customers when we think we can help them!

There is a popular expression that tells us that we can run once we have learned to walk. To that I would simply add that first we must learn to crawl, then stand up, after which we can begin to walk, run, jump etc…

Starting a business online is the same thing. There are no short cuts that can be taken. No amount of brilliantly written sales pitch will ever change that. It is just the nature of things. But there are certain ways to make sure that the process of success depends on how serious people are, how eager they are to achieve their goals and how fast they want to be able to fulfill their personal aspirations.

The point is that we are all different, we all have different aspirations and needs, and owning an online business is to my mind the surest way to achieve whichever goals we set for ourselves.

I hope that whatever I have learned along the way will give you the knowledge and the tools to realize your own aspirations and goal.  Let me wish you success for your online business.

Back links and Blog Networks – Time To Review Your SEO Strategy

If you have used search engine optimization and back link building in order to improve your SERPs (search engine results page), then to say that this past month has been anything but crazy in the world of Internet Marketing is an understatement.

In past articles I have been talking about Google’s Over Optimization Penalty and the effect it has had (and is still having!) on anyone who has been using Search Engine Optimization to garner “favor” with the search engines, and in particular with Google.

As the dusts is starting to settle, and internet marketers slowly get up from their recent slumber, yet again a new reality has just hit the fan, and this one could have even more serious implications as to any future strategy.

After all, over optimization (which Google has recently decided to tackle) is a “lesser culprit” so to speak since it is easy to remedy.  But the steady building of backlinks to improve the relevance of a page which had been part and parcel of any SEO strategy is yet another area in which the search engine giant has turned its attention to, in an effort to regain control of its search engine.

It all started when the measure by which a search engine would rank a website (based on keywords density and online seo) was altered when Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders) expanded on the concept of keyword density and introduced the concept of Page Rank.

The idea was that important pages or websites would be those with the most important number of links leading to them.  In other words, if your site had 5 incoming links coming to it, and your competitor only 4, then your site would more likely feature higher in the search engine (all things considered) than your competitor’s because each incoming link would be considered to be like a vote from one site to another.  The beauty of this concept was that the determination of search engine relevance would be made by websites, which themselves were leaders in their own industry.

In terms of internet marketing, it was a Eureka moment because for once, internet marketers felt that the ranking of their own sites no longer depended solely on Google, but on other websites, if only they could find a way to get as many sites to link back to their own.

A monster was created.  First we had farm links where links could be purchased and this method worked for a while until the folks sitting at their google desks wised up to this and introduced methods to combat just that.

Then eZines were introduced where a webmaster was able to post an article pointing to his/her own site, and provided this article did not infringe on the terms of that particular ezine, said article, after manual review would then be made public and bingo yet another incoming link. This worked too, until of course people started to abuse the system and posted thousands of articles with the sole purpose of linking back to their own site.

The Panda upgrade took care of that one, as a number of eZines, including the biggest one (EzineArticle) had hundreds to their pages de-indexed overnight.

Around the same time, blog networks were created with the sole purpose of allowing internet marketers to automatically post articles (spun articles) in an ever increasing number of blogs becoming part of the networks everyday. Some of these blogs became a repository of poorly written and badly spun articles with little to no value to any reader.

These blog networks made it it possible for enterprising webmaster to write an article, spin it to dozens (sometimes hundreds) of other articles, all with keywords linking to their own websites.  In a few days, a new site (sometimes just a few pages deep) could receive hundreds (if not thousands) of incoming links, making that site relevant in a short period of time, a feast which then made it possible for this small and new site to “dominate” the search engines!

This practice allowed many people to make lots of money on the back of the back linking theory, often times at the expense of webmaster who had been trying to increase the relevance of their own website by writing quality articles offering unique and interesting content to their readers.

Google just recently put an end to that and blog networks have been de-indexed throughout. Once such network is Built My Rank which has one of the most popular network and which, through the abuse of some of its members, became yet another repository of bad content.

The good news is that if you are one of those responsible and conscientious webmasters, always trying to provide good content to your readers by writing unique and quality articles, then all of a sudden you are no longer competing with volume link builders who were once able to out rank anyone in a matter of days, but with equally conscientious webmasters who also try to only provide quality articles to their own readers.

The bad news, is that this concept of volume linking has (in my mind) put to rest the theory that it was not possible for an unscrupulous competitor to put your site out of business by adopting an “untoward” attitude and say get your own site penalized by creating poor articles with links to your site and posting these articles in bad neighborhoods.   In my opinion, this debate is now over, and I can quite imagine circumstances where your might one day become the subject of the google de-indexing chop just because some idiot (I am being kind) has decided to do to you the very things that Google wants to weed out!

It’s my opinion, and of course, I welcome yours!

 

What Does The Over Optimization Penalty Mean In Terms Of Content

By now, you have probably heard of Google’s latest update or might even have received the dreaded message from google in your webmaster tools … “We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”

Part of the latest Google dance (From Panda to Penguin?) the aim of the search engine giant is to weed out the “bad” from the “good” so that when you make a search on Google, only the best websites will be shown to you.  If this means that all the “crap” content is going to be eliminated, then we can only applaud!

If you wonder how does google rank a website. then you might be interested in an article I wrote about this subject which draws on an explanation provided by Matt Cutts himself, and which makes for an interesting read, whether you are an “old hat” at online marketing, or a beginner.  To read this article, click here!

One of the things people have been doing in order to spread their message across as large an audience as possible is to write articles and post them on blog networks. There was so much garbage being posted that they brought absolutely nothing to the average reader and were just there to provide “link juice” to someone’s website.  For most of us they were more than a nuisance, so you can imagine what the folks at big G felt.  If you do not, here is an interesting article about what you should and should not do, provided by Google Webmaster Central

Spinning an article is a practice that can land you in trouble if you don’t do it well as this example provided by Google demonstrates:

… example of a site with unusual linking patterns that is also affected by this change. Notice that if you try to read the text aloud you’ll discover that the outgoing links are completely unrelated to the actual content, and in fact the page text has been “spun” beyond recognition:

Why would you spin an article?

To maximize the exposure of your content by writing quality articles and syndicate them (cross post them) throughout.  But since syndication mostly mean that the same article (actually it’s not just articles, but any content) is reproduced time and again, the element of uniqueness comes into play and the second and subsequent following iteration of the same article begins to carry less weight in terms of the old Google love.

Hence the idea of article spinning… which is based on a very simple premise:

Write an article –> Spin it –> Post it

So what is spinning an article, and what does it mean to you?

The first thing to do obviously is to avoid doing the type of spinning mentioned in the above example!

You probably know what spinning an article is but just in case you don’t here is what I mean. I will use one sentence, spin it so that it may produce numerous versions of the same sentence, designed to “trick” the search engine into thinking that each new version was sufficiently different from the other to be considered unique.

Here goes.

Every morning, I take a walk.

If I add a synonym, word, expression or sentence that means the same thing, I get this:

{Every|Just about every|Each and every|Each} {morning|working day|day|day of the week}, {I|my spouse and I|we|my partner and I} {take a walk|take a stroll|go for a walk}.

This odd looking sentence can then be spun, using a spinning software to produce the following sentences.

 

  1. Just about every working day, my spouse and I take a stroll.
  2. Each and every day, we go for a walk.
  3. Each day of the week, my partner and I take a walk.
  4. Every morning, I take a stroll.
  5. Just about every working day, my spouse and I go for a walk.
  6. etc….

Clever spinning experts are able to be so intricate that they can produce tens, if not hundreds of different versions of an original.

When you look at the “spun version”  of the original article, you might think, cool, there are not the same sentences, there is no way a search engine will know what I am trying to do.

But won’t it?  I am not so sure.  I am convinced that Google and other search engines are getting as close as possible to that “unattainable” goal which is Artificial Intelligence, and they already have the technology that would enable them to know the various combination of synonyms each word can represent.  Do they have the means to independently analyze each one the millions or articles that get submitted each day?  Perhaps not, but it’s getting there.

So my advice to you would be that Article Spinning can still be a very powerful means of being able to spread your message and brand around, but you need to more conscience about you go about this particular task!

So You Want To Start Your Own Business!

It’s a brand new world out there…

In fact there are those who believe that the world faces unparalleled challenges and watching the news these days doesn’t make for easy viewing.

From famines to wars, tsunamis to revolutions, it seems that we have embarked on a rollercoaster that is leading us to chaos real fast.

And then there is the economy, the job market, or lack thereof, the millions of men and women who are unemployed…

For them it’s often times a nasty world out there…

And as their numbers pile up on excel statistical sheets up and down the streets of Washington, London, and elsewhere, most of these men and women wake up every morning, go to job interviews, fill one job application after the other and hope that their efforts, today, will finally bear fruits.

For some, today will bring good news, whilst others will go to bed at night, discouraged but full of resolve that tomorrow will be different.

And a few others will finally come to the conclusion that perhaps now is the time to fulfill their life long dreams of becoming their own boss.

And for these folks this brand new world they enter is one filled with promises and hope!

And challenges… And risks…