Social Bookmarking – Facebook

I doubt I need to explain to you what Facebook is, but I thought I’d give you some pointers on how you can maximize your Facebook experience while promoting your website at the same time.

Use Facebook to promote your site

If you’ve ever used Facebook to post blogs, you’re already at an advantage. The first thing to know is what each of the different Facebook pages are and how they can further help your cause. There are three types of Facebook pages:

  • Profile Page — This is your standard Facebook profile. If you have an account, this is was you’re already familiar with. Beyond all the normal profile features you get, you can use a profile page to post blogs and events. This tools can be used to submit articles (as blog posts) and showcase this content on you profile wall.
  • Fan Page — I wrote an entire article about how to use a Facebook fan page to advertise and promote your business. Before creating a fan page or even a group page, read it because there are some significant differences between them. A fan page is basically a public profile that you set up for your business and people will become fans of it instead of friends.
  • Facebook Group — A group page is basically the same as a fan page except that you can’t promote it via social ads. Another difference is that Facebook users have to join your group to become a “friend”. Group pages tend to be used more for actual groups such as clubs and organizations.

Blogging tools

Another advantage to using WordPress is that there are many plugins that allow you to post links on your wall that lead back to your blog site automatically. What this means is that if you post an article on your WordPress blog, the plugin will automatically post the link on your profile page.

All of your friends will then be able to see your post with a small introduction of text that describes what the content is about. If you posted any images on the site, it’ll show a thumbnail on Facebook. The top WordPress Facebook plugins:

  • Facebook dashboard widget — This is a simple solution to bring the Facebook data to you. Using the dashboard widgets available in WordPress 2.5 and above, this plugin will process your Friends status updates RSS feed, your posted items feeds and/or your Facebook notifications feed, and add a widget for each to your WordPress admin dashboard. So now you can keep up with whats going on in your friends lives from anywhere without needing to access Facebook!
  • Add to Facebook — This plugin adds a footer link to add the current post or page to a Facebook Mini-Feed. While the plugin is activated a link will appear after the content of the post with the text “Share on Facebook” or the Facebook icon or both. Clicking this link will bring the user to the Facebook site. If the user isn’t logged in they will be prompted to do so. Once logged into Facebook the post will be added to the Mini-Feed of the account.
  • Wordbooker — This plugin allows you to cross-post your blog posts to your Facebook Wall. You can also “cross polinate” comments between Facebook and your Wordpres blog.

    Various options including “attribute” lines and polling for comments and automatic re-posting on edit can be configured.

Facebook ads

Facebook ads works just like Google AdWords where you purchase ad space based on keywords which makes your site visible to a targeted audience. This is a great way to get your business in front of millions of users. I was reading a blog post that showed the 10 rules for advertising on Facebook and I think it’s some of the best information I’ve seen on this topic. Check it out now.

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Site Creation – Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Managing relationships with your clients and sales prospects is a challenge within itself. The moment you lose sight of goals for satisfying your client’s needs, you begin to lose sight of your company’s overall objective. CRM for the most part involves goals for acquiring new customers by attracting and winning them over, retain existing clients, winning back former clients and reducing marketing and customer service costs.

With technology, performing these tasks becomes easier and more streamlined. In the past, a suite of software and hardware tools were need to manage your company’s customer relationships. However, “cloud computing” has now taken over as the go-to format for this task. By utilizing web-based software through companies that offer these services, your company benefits from not having to pay initial startup costs for a CRM system.

CRM Key Benefits

  • Streamlined sales and marketing processes
  • Higher sales productivity
  • Added cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
  • Improved service, loyalty, and retention
  • Increased call center efficiency
  • Higher close rates
  • Better profiling and targeting
  • Reduced expenses
  • Increased market share
  • Higher overall profitability
  • Marginal costing

Is this for me?

Unfortunately CRM software is not just something you buy, install it and then sit back to watch your company improve overnight. While software can surely help you meet that goal, it requires hard work and most of all, dedication from a team of valuable employees. Collecting information from your clients is only worth your time and money if it’s used correctly.

Before you set out in this venture, your company needs to decide what data it needs to pull and how it is to be used. As an example, if you were a clothing company, you would want to study your customer’s spending habits at particular times of the year. Since the clothing industry revolves around styles, seasons and trends, this information is extremely valuable to ensure that you’re offering the best products to your customers, but more importantly, at the right time!

If you ever wondered why stores ask you for your birth date, your phone number, zip code, etc. it’s because they’re “mining” you for bits of information that can help them sell to you better. Even store security cameras that were once only used to catch thieves are now being used to watch how people navigate stores and find things (or not). All of this data is helpful to everyone involved in the company from the product buyer to the person that stocks the shelves.

In the online world, things are a bit different, but the rules generally apply. How you design your website such as page layout, colors, links and more will ultimately define how your customers interact with it. You can use tools such as Google Analytics to find out more about where people are clicking on your site, where they came from, how long they stayed on your pages and the list goes on. As an example, if you sold a product that for some reason was selling much better to people in Finland than the United States, you might want to consider creating a second version of your site in the Finnish language. You will drastically improve your sales to those customers in Finland who could not read your English page.

Getting started

The costs associated with setting up a CRM solution can vary greatly depending on your desired results. CRM is a service and much like advertising, it doesn’t come with a sticker price. You can spend as little or as much as you wish, but also like advertising, you get what you pay for. Large companies can expect to have a CRM budget of around $500,000 while very large companies have been known to spend over $10 million!

Small businesses and/or small website operations can of course forgo having CRM teams and multi-thousand dollar budgets by simply opting to introduce some basic CRM software in their tool set. Even software such as Microsoft Office Outlook with Business Contact Manager can perform basic customer relationship management tasks.

When you’re a small business, the goal is to maintain a relationship with your clients. You do this by sending out newsletters, monthly updates, special offers, birthday cards, etc. As an example with my site, I have RSS feeds that users can bookmark so every time I post content or make updates, they get the information without having to come back to my site to look for it. I also offer a monthly newsletter to anyone who signs up at my site. This newsletter is really a way to condense monthly updates while offering new information and promotional items that aren’t on my site.

Customer surveys are a great way to interact with clients. You can offer people discounts the next time they shop with you if they are willing to answer some basic questions. This way, you not only get the information you’re after, but you may also gain a lifetime customer!

Online CRM

As mentioned above, cloud computing has really taken off lately. Cloud computing is basically a set of online tools that would normally be spanned across 3-5 software programs installed on your computer. For example, instead of using Outlook for your email, you use webmail from your company domain. For CRM, there are a plethora of online services that offer tool to manage your customer base. One of the larger ones is They offer services starting at just $5 per month.

The advantage of online CRM solutions, besides the fact that you don’t have to buy and rely on software, is the ability to grow your needs only when your business grows. You don’t have to buy one $5,000 package for the 5 clients that you have. You can start out small and add tools as needed.

More information

These sites have much more information on this topic and they’re worth a look if you’d like to move forward with a CRM plan.

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Writing a press release

When you hear the term, you might get the impression that this form of media exposure is intended only for the “real” businesses out there and people like you should stick to the YellowPages. The reason for this thinking stems from the fact that people mistake press releases for sales pitches. In reality, a press release is a form of newspaper advertising used to generate buzz around your business and/or product.

A press release can be a sales pitch, but you don’t want it to sound or look like one. The idea is to give an editor something to write about. Newspapers couldn’t exist without news and they’re reporters don’t always get the stories because they happened to be caught in the middle of it. So, let’s bring the story to them!

This guide will focus on HOW to write a press release. Finding out where to send it varies greatly on who you’re sending it to. Generally speaking, you can send a press release alone as nothing more than a one-page writing or you can go all out and develop a full press kit. More on this later. Right now, let’s get into the creation of your first press release.

The easiest way to do this is to break apart a standard press release template and focus on each section. A standard template I recently found online looks like this:

Top Section/Headline

The very top is self-explanatory as you can see. Simply start with some professional letterhead for your company or website and begin thinking of your headline. This headline should be written just like you see in a newspaper and should grab your attention just like it too. Keep it short and concise. Again, remember that you don’t want to come off as promoting your business. Use the headline to offer the best part(s) of your story. Pretend that you know the editor is only going to read the headline. He/she needs to know right from the start what this release is going to be about. Formatting tip: the headline should be in all capitals.

For our example, we’ll be writing a press release for a webhosting company. As we go along, I’ll show you a good and bad example for each section.

A bad headline:


A good headline:


Body – Introduction

This section is known as the lead paragraph and its goal is to provide a more detailed description than the headline can offer. This paragraph should condense the entire story into an “introduction-style” format that enables the editor to gain a firm grasp on what’s about to be told. Use this section to speak the facts and stay far away from lies, exaggerations and sales pitches.

A bad lead:

A new webhost named, which offers the lowest priced webhosting plans anywhere and is regarded as a top webhost has just announced that they will be offering no bandwidth limits on their already extremely valuable webhosting plans.

A good lead:

The Internet is a changing forum. Today, websites are packed with more and more content-rich media such as music, videos, Flash and web applications. While the Internet has evolved, hosting providers have not. Anyone who operates a website knows how expensive it can be if their website goes over its bandwidth limit. To top it off, these sites can be shutdown for the remainder of the month until the counter is reset. A new hosting provider seeks to change this. has recently announced their plans for providing webmasters worldwide with no bandwidth limits every webhosting plan. According to John Smith, the CEO of, web hosts need to wake up and realize that limited accounts will no longer “fly” in this new wave of Internet technology.

Body – Bulk

The rest of the body is used to reiterate the text you wrote in the lead paragraph. This is where you dive into all the little details of your story. Use quotes from people that express a concern that your business is addressing and/or quote other articles that can also relate to your claims. Ideally, you want to provide credible backup to your claim. Of course you still want to remain concise, so don’t overdo the quotes or you may not sound legitimate. If you’re offering particular services, try not to make this section look like a flyer, but if you can integrate the information with related sentences, you can get away with it.

For example:

…and Joe, from says, “I can’t believe the amount of overages I pay every month!”. Serverocity has gotten fed up with webmasters that share the same sentiment. Because their plans have no “overages”, nobody feels gouged.

In the above example, I was able to make a specific claim about my business’ service, but you can see how well it fits into the previous quote.


‘boilerplate’ is an old term that defines a block of text that is continually used over and over. It referred to an unchangeable section of text that could be used on printing presses. Right after the body, you are now free to discuss more clearly what the business is with details such as when did you first open, who founded it and what the overall purpose is. This, again is not a sales pitch–it’s simply a short paragraph that talks about the business.

Bad boilerplate: – the world’s leader in webhosting services. We offer 5 hosting plans to choose from that will fit well in anyone’s budget! Stop by our website today or give us a call now. We can work with you on any number of specific addons or needs that you require.

Good boilerplate: was founded by John Smith in 1998 and is home to thousands of websites. Serverocity also offers free web design tips, how-to guides and industry news through its website and monthly newsletters.

After the # # #

The three hash symbols simply means “no more copy”. In other words, anything written after this line is not part of the release and should not be considered part of any reporting done with this document. After this line, you would want to put some personal information like:

To receive more information on this subject, please contact John Smith at: 555-555-5555 or to request an interview, please contact

That’s it! You’ve just created your first press release. So what should you do with it? Start sending it to your local newspapers or if you can offer a service nationwide, send it everywhere you can. It costs nothing more than postage to send these out, so as many as you can get to, the better. Of course there’s no guarantee that anything will get printed, but that’s ok. If you do get printed and your business benefits from it, then you just got more customers and didn’t have to pay much for them!

Promoting your new blog

You now have a blog up and running, you have your own domain name and you have your ideas for original content. Now what?

It’s time to get some readers and hopefully turn them into subscribers! Naturally, your blog will get picked up by the major search engines, but the question is how long will that take and once listed, how long will you last? To increase you chances of becoming popular, start with the content of course and begin using the tools you already have in front of you.

Social Networking

You might already be a member of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, so start promoting your website there. Of course you don’t want to hound your friends every five minutes to look at your site, but you do want to display your recent additions whenever you can. For Facebook, get the WordBook plugin installed on your blog and let it do the work for you!

WordBook will seemlessly connect to your Facebook account and post a note to your wall that links back to your blog’s entry. This way, when you write something on your blog, your friends will know right away what it is after reading a small excerpt and then they can click through if they like what they see. In time, you may start to notice backlinks appearing for your site. More on how to get links to your site.

You can add all your Twitter tweets right to blog using downloadable widgets to show your web visitors what you’re twittering about and in turn, you may end up with a few more followers.


Create a signup form on your site that allows users give you their email address in exchange for daily/weekly/monthly updates. Don’t slack on this one! If you promise a weekly newsletter, make sure you have one! Once your readers start to see that you’re not updating your site, they will lose interest fast.

SEO Firms

These companies will charge you a fee to optimize your site and they often promise certain results based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Although I will say “be careful”, I don’t mean to imply that these “results” are impossible to achieve. I’m just saying that some of these companies are less-than-reputable and even though you might see a huge spike in traffic at first, you could end up ruining your web image down the road.

Anyway, what they do is go over your site and offer information on how to create better pages, how to correctly use keywords, titles, descriptions, images, etc, etc, etc. In theory, the idea is to get your site looking great for your users and even better for search engines.

A word to the wise–all of the information that you will pay someone else to tell you and/or do the work for you is available for free on the Internet. I might actually be creating a section just for this topic!


You know all that free stuff you get at conventions and concerts?! Well to you and I, it’s all about the free t-shirt and a lot of stickers because we obsess over “free” things. But if you turn the tables, you’ll notice that the company giving it away couldn’t be happier that you’re wearing their t-shirt. After all, they don’t have to pay you to do it and you’ve now become a walking billboard!

You can do the same thing for your website. Make up some cool products you can give away with your logo on it and start handing them out. Or maybe you can run a contest on your site. How about giving stuff away to everyone who signs up for your newsletter? Of course, this costs money to you, so you want to make sure that the stuff you give away is actually something that someone is willing to wear or use.

By the way, for those of you that don’t know, SWAG has been defined as Stuff We All Get.

Print Advertising

This one is more relavent for those of you who actually provide a service or product, but anyone can use ‘free press’, right? Don’t underestimate printed materials just because you think they’re antiquated! A lot of people still read them and the best part is that it’s printed material. Printed materials often get much better exposure than other forms of advertising.

Take for example a tv commercial. If your commercial plays once on tv, you were only able to show your ad to the amount of people that were watching that exact channel at that exact time. Let’s say that number was 10. Now take a print example: a newspaper or magazine. One copy can lay around a home or office for weeks and be read by everyone that happens by. Even if that one copy only reaches the same 10 people, imagine what hundreds of thousands of copies could do for you?!

Press releases in a newspaper are a way to not only announce your new business, but promote it at the same time. Contact your local newspaper to find out more about this. More on writing press releases.