Making your Site Work Globally

The best way to make your site international is to have access to a translation application visible. I don’t do this myself because I keep a translator from Google in my Chrome web browser. A simple solution. People who only know one or few languages should be prepared to encounter other languages. It is then their choice to translate, run away or ignore them. Of course, it depends on how interesting and well put together the site looks, that first impression.

Trying to cater to multiculturalism, global protocols, and international readers is a good thing, in moderation. But, you can’t possibly include everyone.

Instead, identify your own location. Show where you are from and who you are. Some of your readers will be happy to find they have something in common with you (at least geographically) and others will be interested to know more about your culture, history, traditions and point of view.

The advice given with this post (link below) is mainly cosmetic. Design and colours can make your site have more international or global appeal but I don’t think keeping it neutral is really in your best interest. Boldness, drama and colour will do more for your site than becoming neutral or bland.

Source: Think Global: 3 Tips to make your websites Internationalized • Inspired Magazine

Modern Blogging is too Limited

Modern bloggers are limited by caring too much about other stuff – Google, SEO, readers who might or might not come back, advertising, and so many other business and marketing related things. Since blogging became a business and a marketing scheme, it has limited itself. Blogging stopped being really creative, innovative and inventive. It lost that loving feeling.

When did you last feel excited about your site? The day you started it? Over the holidays when you added some Christmas images? When you took that week off and came back to it?

We should be feeling excited, happy or at least interested in our sites all the time. Modern blogging has taken that away. If you blog to make Google happy, to make your readers happy, or to perform marketing tricks, when do you blog to make yourself happy? Don’t start telling me you blog to make money – it’s your business. If you really believe that why are you here? Go away. Yes, go, leave… now.

Creative blogging is about doing something you can love, enjoy, value beyond dollars and cents.

What do you really want from a blog? When you got the idea did you visualize something fabulous, in full colour, a showcase for yourself, your ideas and your path to fame and popularity as a celebrity of your own making!

Sure you did. I don’t know anyone who didn’t start a blog with the idea of becoming a web celebrity, even if they didn’t (and would never) tell anyone else or admit it to even their best friend and most trusted brother or sister. At one time people were calling themselves a web or Internet personality. It was a way of saying they were someone other people knew online. Setting yourself up as a celebrity tempts people to pop your bubble. So, the best way to be a web personality is to just do it and not talk about how famous, well connected and popular you are. Just be and let the chips fall where they will.

These days the blogging celebrities seem to be people who tell us they are celebrities – they tell us how to make money and market our blogs/ sites. Most of them, if you do the fact checking, have not had a site for a full year. Maybe they have an attitude, a way of writing, which people listen to. That does not mean they know what they are talking about. It does not mean you should listen to them and believe all they say or do anything they tell you to do.

Blog your own way. Be creative. Be inventive. Discover your own way to blog and be happy with it. Have fun. Creative something you really like rather than something you feel obligated to work towards.

You can be a happy blogger. Just stop caring about what what everyone else is doing.

Ad Blocking May Change the Way the Web Works

The open web was around before advertising and SEO and the commercially focused web. The open web was not based on making a buck by turning the web into a spam pool.

If advertisers want my attention they can find a better way to get it than aggravating me to the point where I block their ads!

But, it’s so much easier for them to keep on spamming. Using sneaky, under-handed and aggressive tactics treats people like robots. No one wants unavoidable advertising, running on bloated software, forced on them over and over and over. Why do you think people go ad blind? Part desensitization and part self preservation, ad blindness keeps people from getting spam overload.

Capture

PageFair chief executive and co-founder Sean Blanchfield, said: “With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse.”

Source: The impact of ad blocking set to hit $41bn | The Drum

Why Have a Membership Site?

I’ve been thinking of ways to keep my domains active, other than using them as blogs. Keeping a blog is time consuming, every day. I’d like to have a few sites active as blogs (those I can sustain reasonably) and find some other use for the rest. A complimentary use would be smarter than spinning off in another direction.

So, membership sites came up as an idea. Not only could I find another way to use the domains/ sites but they could manage to pull in some money which would make the whole thing a little self sufficient.

However, what sort of membership content would work for me and what would people find useful? This is where I am in my planning. I did find a post which had me thinking…

I’m going to share two different ideas for members only content. The first, value content, appeals to your audience from a learning and business perspective, while the second, insider content, appeals to your audience from a more curious angle. Either approach can be effective. Ideally you find a way to use them both.

Value content is content that will help your readers make money or do something they’re really interested in. It’s especially useful and relevant to your readers.

Insider content gives your audience some insight into you and your work routine or life. Humans are naturally curious and interested in people we admire. Entire TV shows and magazines are dedicated to documenting celebrity life.

Source: 3 membership site ideas

I’m not sold on Members only content. Yes, it likely works for many people. But, it also makes more to keep track of and organize for the site owner. I’d need to schedule more content. Content in addition to my regular posts. Likely, longer posts which would take more time to write. Considering I want to work my way back to daily posting, this type of content is not sustainable for me.

Instead a membership could be for use of a discussion forum which the site owner moderates or live content/ chats. The live chat, podcasts and etc. could be kept available as archives (when the content is a month old, not so fresh that a membership has no real value) for your site readers. But, members get the time spent with you to ask questions, get feedback, etc.

There is also the ebook or newsletter. I’d consider an ebook, but keeping it fairly short. I’m not at all keen on the newsletter idea. I really don’t think anyone still reads those. I don’t.

Of these ideas the discussion forum seems the most sustainable for me. But, is it useful enough for people to want a membership?

Telemarketers on Twitter

Do not do this!

I’ve been noticing a trend in Twitter following. Not the usual types who want to grow the amount of Twitter followers by following anything for no reason. But, businesses with Twitter accounts who then follow people as a way of introducing/ marketing/ spamming their business or service.

See below for an example. I blocked out names because it seemed the right thing to do. I’m sure you can find them if you really want to, but, why would you want to?

twitter spamvertising

I don’t often check who has followed me. There are always new followers and no one seems to say whey they followed me. (I often send a note when I decide to follow someone – because I actually do have an interest in them).

Why did this company, selling food products from the US, choose to follow me? No reason other than marketing themselves. They don’t know anything about me, what I like, where I am located and if I like gluten-free processed food products. This is no different from telemarketing which still plagues home phones no matter how long you have been on the Do Not Call list.

Just like telemarketing, this Twitter spamvertising is annoying, aimless and meaningless.

Aimless because they target Twitter, no filtering for location or anything else. Meaningless because this does not build goodwill even if it does randomly get their product attention – it’s not good attention and it will not bring good intentions.

Of course, I do not follow them back. Within a few days or weeks they will unfollow me so they have room on their account to follow another batch of a thousand or more Twitter accounts.

Maybe they make a sale from all of this. Which is why they do it. Someone will be followed and actually be local and interested in their product. This person may assume the business deliberately found them and chose to follow them in particular.

However, even if they do get one sale, is this technique worth the animosity it causes and the precedent it sets for others to use the same scheme? I think not. Why? Because the very people who use this sort of telemarketing/ spamvertising are the very people who pitch a fit about spam in their own personal (or business) accounts on Twitter, email and the old home phone too. If they don’t like it why do they feel justified in causing it?

18 Personal Service Home Business Ideas

home biz ideas

Personal Concierge

People who run their own home based business as a personal shopper, running errands for other people, are also known as a concierge service. Concierge are the people who work in fancy hotels, making sure the guest have all the extras they need. The concierge would book tours, order them a taxi or a limousine, whatever comes up. It’s a wonderful thing to have someone you can count on to help you with the little extras, if you have a lot on your plate, need help and can afford to pay for it.

Photographer

Take photos of people at events. Photograph pets for their owners. Learn a little more about light and shadows then look for work as a professional photographer. You don’t need the expense of your own darkroom or developing film now so photography can be a simple home business.

Event Planner

Weddings, family reunions, local business events, there are endless events going on all the time if you track down the sources. Talk to a veteran event planner and see if you can apprentice while you get the hang of things and build your list of contacts and sources for cakes, flowers, party supplies and etc.

Local Newsletter Publisher

Your local area may already have a local newsletter, distributed in stores and other businesses in the area. If so, consider formatting your newsletter online instead. But, gather businesses who want to reach more customers and provide the content to fill the newsletter with news, tips, stories, events, and ads.

Packing and Unpacking Service

Not only can you work with real estate agents to provide a welcome to new people moving into the neighbourhood but you can offer your own service to help people pack to move or unpack when they move into their new house.

Pet Sitter/ Walker

If you like animals offer to pet sit for the evening or a weekend (or longer if you are able to). This may be in your own home or you may come to the home of the animal. If you can, offer extras like pet grooming.

Yard Work

Whether it’s raking leaves, shovelling snow, cleaning a pool for Spring… there is always outside yard work to be done.

Internet Services

Building a website is not the job it used to be. These days you can spend some time learning the software and put up a finished site in an hour. Not everyone wants to do this however and those people will pay to have someone do it for them. You can also set up their online portfolio with social media accounts. Offer Internet lessons to teach them how to use social media and update their site too.

Tutoring

What’s your best subject? Offer your services to parents with school children who need some extra help and your expertise. English, math, science… but don’t forget piano playing, sewing and other skills you have.

Collectibles

The idea isn’t to build up a collection for yourself but to find and add to the collections of others. Pick items which you have an interest in and know something about then search for them online, in second hand shops and from other collectors who may want to sell. Connect yourself to people who collect and want what you can find for them.

Graffiti Removal

Here, a local business is told to remove graffiti within a specified amount of days. This is left for the business owner to do and if it is not removed in time the city will fine them. So, graffiti, especially when it continues over time, is a problem and a headache. Watch for the businesses which tend to be hit and offer to clean it up. You could even get a contract to come out weekly and take that headache away for them.

Local Tours

Your town will have something interesting to see. Even if you can’t think of anything, there is a reason people are coming to your town. Find it. Offer yourself as tour guide and then… go a bit farther. Offer a walking tour of your town and talk about the history, the paranormal, the UFOs, the ghosts and hauntings. Work with people who run local events, have a bed and breakfast or other tourist related businesses – don’t forget great sources like the local library and museum too.

Home Staging

You may not want to clean someone;s house but you could help set up homes for sale. Look at their curb appeal, see what could be touched up and make to look better for the sale inside and outside too.

Personal Chef

Not a caterer who cooks for parties and events, but a personal chef who cooks for a family (or someone alone and needing a specific diet). You do the shopping and cook it too. Preparation could be at your own home but the idea is to serve the food hot in their home.

Clothing Repair

Can you sew? People need cuffs hemmed, buttons sewn on and rips and tears repaired. If you can do alterations add that to your list of services.

Bookkeeping

Even with the software out there to make keeping books easier, someone still needs to pull it all together on a regular basis. You could have a few businesses (even other home businesses) who you visit weekly to gather the paperwork, sort it out and enter it into the system.

Office Plant Maintenance

Find which businesses keep plants and offer your service to maintain them: water, prune them and fertilize.

Elder Care

Seniors living alone need company and help with things like running errands and organizing.

Keep the Channel Open

This is a great quote from the book: Creating a Life Worth Living, by Carol Lloyd.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening which is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression in unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.

– Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille

How to Work Around Phone Phobia

pink rotary phoneI don’t like answering the phone. I will do just about anything to avoid making a phone call to anyone. If it weren’t for having family who like to call me on my birthday or to make sure I’m still alive during the winter, I’d have no phone at all.

I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want one at all. I did try one for a week. But, I never used it. So I took it back and cancelled the account. No matter how outdated it may seem not to be mobile with a phone stuck to my ear, I won’t be doing it. I do have a mini laptop, that’s mobile enough for me.

I don’t remember just when my phone problems began. I went through a time of having debt problems when I was in my early twenties. I’ve heard that’s how a lot of people develop a phone phobia. But, I had a poor attitude about phones before that.

My Dad was a small business person. Most of the time he kept a home office in the basement. Sometimes he would have a phone number for the business and leave it hooked up to the fax machine when he was supposed to be off hours (not working). But, he could never leave the phone to ring and go unanswered. He would risk breaking his neck by running up and down the stairs, leaping over laundry piles and other stuff my Mom would have (like an obstacle course) on the stairs. If anyone choose not to answer the phone with his same obsessive need to take every call, he would pitch a fit.

It didn’t matter that it was after hours for the business. It didn’t matter that we had one or even two answering machines hooked up to take calls. It didn’t matter that the calls after hours were almost always sales calls, telemarketers and people who wanted charity. Any missed call would cause a huge blow up.

I’m sure I began to resent and dislike the phone during those days. But, I didn’t dread picking it up and answering it or phoning anyone.

Later I worked in a department store. As a cashier you sometimes were required to pick up the phone and send a page out over the intercom. I hated that part of the job. I would do anything I could think of to avoid it. If it meant leaving my place and grabbing something for a customer I would do it. If it meant asking another cashier to make the page for me, that was fine with me. Sometimes I just offered customers a discount rather than paging for the floor staff to price check something for me.

It was ok for the job. They just wanted stuff sold rather than caring how much it sold for, within reason. But, it made me feel silly. So I began making the pages myself. I just made myself start doing them. After awhile it became easier. I even found it easier to answer the phone at home. But, since I stopped being a cashier several years ago I’ve gone back to my old feelings and dealings with the phone. I let the answering machine catch every call. I can listen in and see who it is, then pick it up if I want to, or need to.

It may sound funny to have a fear of the phone. Maybe fear isn’t the right word. I do have a phone in my home after all. I’m fine with the phone as long as it keeps quiet.

Help for Phone Phobia

Plan ahead when you have to make a phone call.

Write out a script, predicting how the call will go and what you will answer. Or, just go over it in your head.

Make sure you have all the information (like account numbers) and a pen and paper ready before you make the phone call.

If you have to face someone on the phone who may be argumentative, negative or hard to deal with for any reason, try getting help from a friend. Have them role play with you. Let them be the boss, service person, etc who you are not comfortable dealing with. Most likely the call won’t be as dramatic or upsetting as you think it will. A friend can give you a different outlook on it. By the end of the role play you could be laughing and the call will seem much simpler then.

Make the actual phone call when you are feeling good. If you are already upset, tired or feeling impatient you’re off to a less than ideal start.