Creating your image and/or brand

I was reading on Adam Struve’s blog about having an image (in terms of a brand) online that you should watch out for and protect. Reading this prompted to me to create this post in regards to your own online identity and how your image is portrayed and ultimately received by others.

We all hear these stories about being careful with what you post online because once it’s there it’s nearly impossible to remove. This is so true and in today’s online world that we sometimes forget the things we do in life make there way back to sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Sometimes we’re doing the posting and sometimes other people are.

There’s truly no way to escape some form of getting your “15 minutes of fame”. I suppose there’s those of you who thrive on this kind of attention and have decided to post every last detail of your life for everyone to see.

But what about when you’re trying to start a business online or maybe delve into an online venture such as blogging or selling products? Do you intend to cross-publicize your personal life with your business life? If so, does it matter?

To me, it does. Not only am I super cautious about what I post online (as well as monitoring things that others post), but I’m even more cautious about expressing my own personal views while pitching a product to a customer. I’ve always learned in the workplace to keep your personal opinions to yourself and why should it be any different online?

All of this is especially true when you’re creating a brand image for your company and/or blog. Imagine you go through all the trouble of creating your website, posting content to it, spend time getting links, conversing with other bloggers out there, making a great logo, etc., etc. and then your image is tarnished forever because of some unruly Facebook photos!

Consider the brands above; how would you feel about spokespeople from these companies spreading their personal opinions about politics, religion and money? You might start to get the feeling that the company as a whole also shares those thoughts.

We can all agree that it’s not fair for people to judge one another, but let’s face it–it happens and we all do it. For the same reasons you would not go to a job interview dressed in sweats and sandals, you would not want to your mix personal life (and opinions) with business.

As Adam said on his blog, “Your brand follows you.” Think about this when creating your brand. If needs be, simply create a second Facebook account and use it only to promote the business side of you.

I’ve also talked about trademarking and copyrighting efforts to further increase your brand’s image.

Getting links to your blog

It’s no secret that the popularity of your blog is directly related to how many websites link to your content. Google and other search engines equate the amount of links to your website to the quality of it’s content. It’s interesting to note that your blog can have the most original and focused content in the world, but if nobody is linking to your site, you’re not going to rank very high in search results. And as you would imagine, the opposite is quite possible.

So how do you do it? How do you get people to link to your site especially if that person’s site is potentially a competitor of yours? The answer somewhat eludes most webmasters and every site’s situation is different. The truth is that some site owners overlook this important fact. With all this focus on search engine optimization, original content, creating e-books, posting updates to social media sites and advertising, it’s hard to pay attention to every detail.

Well you can start paying attention now because this information is probably the most important part of getting traffic to your site(s). Before I go into the details of how to get it, let’s look at the different types of traffic that’s floating around the Internet.

Targeted Traffic

Targeted traffic is usually from advertising streams. As an example, if you purchase Google AdWords, you’re essentially buying keywords that are related to the content of your site and the ads will show up on other sites that are simliar to yours. If someone on that site likes your ad, they’ll click on it and come to your site. Other forms of targeted traffic are from email campaigns that send out advertisements to people who have signed up for email alerts for specific information. Today, search engines are making attempts to return search results that are targeted to each user, but this is still only one piece of the “ranking” pie.

Type-in traffic

As the name implies, this kind of traffic is from people that simply type your domain into their web browser directly to come to your site. This traffic is the most difficult to obtain from the start unless you own a fairly generic domain name. Think about your own Internet usage. Have you ever wanted to lookup a topic such as cell phones and just typed in Type in traffic for your site will come with time as people start remembering your site.

Search engine traffic

You’ll start to notice as you build your site and keep adding content to it that people will just start showing up. Search engines are always adding new content by sending out their spiders to locate information on the Internet to catalog it in their databases. Also, as you start posting content, you might end up writing about something that doesn’t have a lot of coverage on the Internet and this will dramatically increase traffic to your site.

Other traffic

There are many other places your site will start receiving traffic from. This traffic is not worth mentioning because it’s not only a small amount overall, but it’s also not the type of traffic you want. There are sites all over the Internet that make attempts to link to every site possible. Some even get more organized by sorting these links into categories. These sites are sometimes called link farms and are frowned upon by search engines. If you ever see offers on the Internet the purchase links on these sites with promises to add your site to “hundreds of targeted websites”, you want to avoid them. They can actually cause negative effects to your hard work.

Find those links

All this traffic is wrapped around the concept of getting links and now it’s time to learn the basics about how to get people to link to your site. If done right (and ethically), this process might be the most time consuming (or not). One way to do this is to let the fates decide: simply post your content and as people find it, let them link to it on their own. The second way is to go looking for the links.

The best way to do this is to just ask people to link to your site. Go around searching for sites that share similarities to your own and find out if the owner would be willing to link to your site. Usually this means he/she will want you to link back to them as well.

Link trading

This is a surefire way to get links to your site. But you need to know that webmasters will not link to your site if you don’t have original content or if your site looks like there’s not much substance to it. Also, they will not want you to link to them because bad sites can cause negative light to shine on good sites. Each webmaster might have varying rules for their link to be displayed. Link trading can be a time-consuming process, but it can prove very valuable to your site’s performance.

A good tip for your site is to create a links page close to your home page and accessible from it as well. My advice is to make a link like mine, This will ensure that all your web links will be clearly visible form your site and webmasters love this.

Sponsored links

Many websites are now offering link placement offers where you can pay a webmaster for a link on their site. The costs vary greatly based on the popularity of the site and where the link is located. Most websites will tell you the factual details of this placement and maybe even an estimated traffic count so you can value your dollar as much as possible. There’s no shame in buying links and in time, you won’t have to pay for them because eventually you’ll be the one charging!

Sponsored ads

The most obvious way to get traffic is to buy ads that offer your site’s link on countless other related websites across the Internet. This might be a more viable option to those of you that operate businesses online, but anyone can buy ads; if you’re willing to pay for them. Essentially you pay a small fee every time someone clicks on your ad.

Publish content

This one is more about publishing suplemental content. Your site will already have everything you’ve added to it, but every now and then you should consider creating something that people can download and pass on to their friends such as an e-book or maybe even a consolidation of a few of your posts. Be sure to place links to your site in these documents to ensure that no matter where it ends up online, people will always know where it came from. Also, give permission to other sites to use your content in lieu of posting a link to your site.

Email marketing

Be VERY careful with this one considering the amount of spam that is going around the Internet these days. I would suggest only emailing those that have signed up to your site and only email periodically. You don’t want to flood them with content that they can easily get by going to your site. Try and stay away from purchasing email lists.

This is just a basic covering of ways to get links to your site. As times change, I will undoubtedly be updating this section.


Starting a Blog

You’ve heard of them and you’ve undoubtedly seen them, but have you ever thought about starting your own? A lot of people in your position have probably asked themselves this question, but usually there’s doubt in their minds. They doubt whether they’d have something to talk about or if people would actually read it. Above all, how can you create a “new” blog in the vast sea of information that is the Internet?

Well, fortunately, none of that matters! What matters is if you have an interest in something or you love your hobby, create a blog for it! But, the key is to have an interest…if you’re wanting to quickly move into the realm of making money with your site, you might be heading down the wrong path. More on this later.

Before I get into the how, let’s talk about the why.

Everybody has different reasons why they start a blog. Some start them because they want to share every detail about their personal life, some love reviewing products and want to give advice to other people, some are experts in their fields and love to talk about it! The end result is always satisfying to that person because they know that as long as they can help one person or share their insight to someone, then the job is done.

Here are my reasons for starting a blog:

  • Share information
  • Show off your personal life
  • Talk about something you’re interested in
  • Help people with their problems
  • Make some extra money

I’m sure that last one really caught your eye! 🙂 You might not know it, but you sure can make some extra money with your blog. How is this possible? Well, it’s all done through advertising and search engine placement. It sounds pretty easy, but there is a lot to learn about this by checking out my other guides, but for now, lets get your first blog up and running.

You may have heard of sites like and These sites allow you to setup a blog without any actual knowledge of website building, servers, computers, etc. They are a really great start for someone starting out, but I have to vote against using them. The reason is simple: professionalism. If you use a free blogging site, your web address will be something like: At first, this won’t matter, but as you build and build and your site’s traffic starts growing, this can matter a whole lot.

Advertisers for one, generally don’t respond favorably to those types of web addresses. They prefer actual domain names. The flipside, however is when you get a domain name, you incur costs. When you calculate the cost of a domain and the monthly cost of having a webhost, you may start to shy away from this idea altogether. However, I’ve put together a nice little deal for new bloggers out there where I can host your site for free! Read this for more details.

Getting Started

Step 1: Decide on a topic

Brainstorm some ideas about what your want your site to focus on. There are a few ways to go about this. You could create a general blog about all of the computer industry or you could hone in one one specific topic such as the Mac operating system. Another possibility is to cover one smaller area of the larger one like a blog about all operating systems. Each one has it’s perks and obviously will vary greatly in workloads.

Step 2: Start your blog

After you’ve decided on your idea, it’s time to get the blog going. If you’re going to use a site like or, simply go to one of those sites and signup for a free account. If you have a domain and a hosted solution, you’ll need to install some blogging software. I use WordPress on all my blogs and you can download it for free from It’s the same software you’d be using on a free account at

I’ve created some guides to help you with this step. Check out how to use or how to install WordPress on your own server.

Step 3: Configure your blog

After your blog is up and running, you may want to consider adding some design to it. The generic template(s) aren’t very pleasing to the eye. If you know anything about HTML, CSS and/or PHP, you can customize your blog to your heart’s content. However, I use a much simpler approach (it also saves time): use themes. Themes are pre-built “looks” for your blog that integrate tightly with the software. I get all my WordPress themes from Their themes are the best in my opinion and if you don’t want to pay for one, check out their free ones! You can also check out TemplateMonster for a much large collection of website themes, but be sure to only browse the category for WordPress to ensure maximum compatibility.

Check out my Guides section for more information on this.

Step 4: Start blogging

Alas! The step we came here for! Now that you’ve got everything sorted out, you can start adding your content. Here’s is where your blog begins to shine. These tips will help you when blogging:

  • Always blog ORIGINAL content
  • Try to post at least one item a day
  • Stay focused on your topic(s)
  • Always give credit where credit is due
  • Obey copyright laws
  • Ensure your posts are accurate and free of grammar mistakes (remember, “professionalism”)

Congratulations! You now have your first blog! Once you get the feel for how everything works, come back and discover the many, many ways you can promote and monetize your blog.

More information can be found under the Guides category.