blogging as mainstream career?

Friend was asking me, I want to quit my job and start doing what I really love to do, and get paid as well.

The obvious answer, start blogging!

The reality is, you don’t really make enough money in blogging, it is not as easy as it seems, like any other paying job, it takes hard work to make enough money.

But I still told my friend to start blogging, no not because I believe it is easy to do, and you will make easy money stay home, I coined blogging as a option for one reason, you will eventually find what you really love to do.

Let me explain, the success of the blog is purely based on the content, and then how much you and your blog site is connected with the similar mind.

Content:
You write a good and useful content, you need to do research on the topic, that means you learn, and then document what have you learnt, to do this consistently you need to find the subject that really matters to you, more you learn more authoritative you are in your own subject.

More authoritative in your subject, you will attract people with similar interests.

As you become subject matter expert, there are people looking to use your knowledge and willing to pay for it, these people come in touch with you through the contacts you have established, this is a simple concept, say if I am good at plumbing, some of my friend is going to refer their friends to me or to my contents when they need plumbing help.

Now I am doing what I really love, I know better about the subject, I have connection would turn to me for help, since I am good at it, I can start charging for the help I may extend.

Blogging is not the solution itself, it is just a medium, help you find what you really love and project yourself as the expert in the topic.

Key to blogging success is:
1. Content
2. Consistent content
3. Connect with right people

BW

how do i build a website for my business or brand? step by step guide for newbie or beginner.

BW

 

how do i build a website for my business or brand? step by step guide for newbie or beginner.

intended audience for this blog post is:

  • you never built a website before
  • you dont have any web development experience or knowledge
  • you want to build a website for your business or brand

i am going to walk you through the simplest possible way to get your website up and running within few hours, for your business or brand or just for yourself like a profile page.

when we say building a website we need to have the followings:-

  • domain name
  • hosting
  • design

domain name:

first, you should register the domain name for your website, there are many domain registrants available, personally i prefer namecheap, they are cheaper, as well as they have better domain management, we will come back to that in detail in another post, mean time, when we buy a domain, we need to configure the domain to point to hosting, so this domain management is very important for newbies, , and they have very easy registration process.

once you have your domain purchased, you need a hosting to run the website from, that brings us to second part of the blog:

please note: if you are buying hosting from Midphase, skip the domain purchase step, as they provide one free domain with hosting you purchase, which will do all the necessary configurations with the hosting for you. i recommend this path.

hosting:

this is the where a people will get lost, and end up hiring professionals to do the work for them and end up paying huge sum, to make it worse the hired professionals might make the things complicated and forever you are on their hook, this doesn’t have to be this complicated.

buy hosting from MidPhase which i use personally, they have very good support team, they reply back with solution almost immediately.

  1. when you have purchased the hosting, you will receive the email from hosting company containing the login details for your hosting account
    1. if you have purchased domain from other than hosting company itself, then you need to configure the domain such a way it knows where its hosting is, that instruction will come with the welcome mail, or take support desk help, they are friendly and does this for us.
  2. login to your hosting account and there you will find “softaculous” there you will find “wordpress” in the right side navigator menu, select wordpress and press install
  3. once you have your domain pointed to hosting, wordpress installed for the domain, you are ready with the website, now you need to configure your website.

design:

depending upon the requirement, you select the look and feel of your website with the tons of wordpress themes available for free, if you need very customized  website, i would suggest woothemes, they are very good.

now you have a shiny website for your business / brand.

 

diamontip.com / rantsonsoftware.com / shanmugaraja.info are all running under wordpress and with the same hosting i recommend.

how social media is impacting 1-800- numbers and news media – live tweets from cognizant

this is a compilation of some interesting tweets from @ArchanaRaghuram who was live tweeting the social media related event happened at @cognizant, here’s the tweets that caught my attention and my thoughts beneath it:

 

We are not just consumers of information anymore, we are its creators- Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

How we process and find news and information is changing dramatically – Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

Online journalism is now a fair part of how we get information – Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

When was the last time you heard a news for first time in news papers or tv news ahead of internet? you probably might have, the point is it is getting rare these days, i am avid tweet users, almost all the key news i hear, let it be technology, current events, business reach me through the sources i follow in twitter and other online subscriptions, ahead of those tv news or print newspaper.
there’s a huge swift taking place around us, not all the news we hear in social media are valid, but they win because it is often spoken by either friends or by the people involved, it is our duty to adopt these changes and get benefited, make our brands social media friendly and be heard.

 

Consumer driven service platform, where consumers serve as help desk and answer questions about a product – Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

We tend to trust people who are like us. A company’s CEO is the 2nd lowest trusted just above government- Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

Interestingly when a CEO goes social like @anandmahindra then they tend to inspire lot of trust- Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

Dell certified its employees for different level of social interaction on the behalf of the company- Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

 

SalesForce rewards employees who solve other employees problems through social media- Ghosh @Cognizant

— @ArchanaRaghuram July 17, 2012

while we talk about the change in how news and information are consumed in social media, there’s also a very huge change happening in customer care industry, we already talked about this social media based customer care in the past and problems customers facing with ivr. either brands willing or not, customers taking their opinion, problems, queries about the product to social media, they get results from their friends and others, if it is problem, they influence friends (potential customers), it is companies to duty to keep their ears wide open and listen to their customers in social media to improve or even to stay on business.

days are gone to address customers problem 1-800- numbers, it is time customer care solution providers adopt these social media has a channel to address customer problem apart from phone calls, email, and sms. we need to invest in social media search technology, that will aggregate through social media updates for specific keywords, and whenever found, let the companies decide to reach the unhappy and happy customers either directly via social media itself or other means a customer would prefer. if you are working on social media based search technology please get in touch, i would like to hear from you.

Google

why it is important for B2B business to have a blog?

why it is important for B2B business to have a blog? Or why it is important for B2B business to have rich contents online specific and relevant to their business offerings?

B2B business model is often selling enterprise level products to other business or providing services to another business, when the business will search for the product or service is when they have need for it, either direct need or indirect need, and in the case of direct needs, the business will look for the product or service that will solve the problem for them, in that case they will search for the companies that provide that solution, they select the companies( or product) based on the budget, how exactly the solution fits in for the solution they are looking for, and of course the brand or how trust worthy the company is to buy the solution from them, to get the answers for all these questions they have two options

  1. Directly approach the companies
  2. Do some research online.

If they are directly approached, its well and good, companies will have their marketing and support team in place to convince and add them to their invoice, but if the company choose the other way around to do the research online, they probably need to fed with proper information already, it is companies responsibility to be present where customer(company) going to do get their research details from, first place customer going to begin their search is from “www.google.com” or other search engines like bing and yahoo, their search could be anything like these:

  1. How do i solve problem xyz
  2. Who are best in providing solutions for xyz
  3. Reviews on abc products
  4. How to use abc product

As a company we need to provide contents for these topics, and ensure our information tops the list of search engine result page, and catches potential customers eye, not necessarily these contents should be provided from our blog alone, that is one mandatory step we need to make, also we need to ensure we have presence in all key areas like industry specific blogs, forums, websites etc literally wherever our potential customer goes fishing for information, we may have to write contents from third party point of view and refer to our primary website.

thats pretty much explaining why we should have blog and content presence, what if we dont do that?

Well, unless we do extensive advertising or we have super strong market presence, we are bound to get buried over the pile of information without getting noticed by the world, and if we are going to take word of mouth approach, you know how fast we are going to snail from customer to customer. When customers search for the solution exactly your product/service will solve, customer going to find the information provided by some other company merely matching their requirement, probably going to get in discussions for next stage.

we know why we need a strong content presence for the B2B company and what effect it will have when we dont, now let us see what needs to be done:

  1. Have a corporate blog that talks about your product, not say ‘we have product xyz, wanna buy?’ sort of contents, but explaining each and every features and how it is going to solve real world problems, who could be best to write those content than your engineer, support and marketing personnels?
  2. Have social media presence, not just just top three facebook, twitter and google+, but also those least popular sites even with the slightest chance of your potential customer might use it.
  3. Talk customers language, replicate other customers language, this cannot happen in your own blog but in relevant forums, sites etc
  4. Measure and channelize the flow, so your customer came to know about product/service, have proper ‘call to action’ in place.

Like always, open to learn and correct myself, let me know if you have any comments through comment section below:

15 Essential wordpress plugins

wordpress-plugin

when installing plugins to your wordpress blog, it is very important to note two things, it should not hard your existing theme, then it should not slow down your blog for its visitors and bottom line is to improve your blog in terms of search engine optimization, navigation ease for visitors, speed for the blog itself

below is the list of wordpress plugins I use in every set-up of my wordpress blogs, kind of default plugins for me.

  • All in One SEO Packseo configuration for your blog
  • Auto Post Thumbnail– generates thumbnail / features image for your blog posts first image, this is very handy if your themes uses featured image / thumbnails.
  • Bing 404  – when a visitors lands with 404 page, he will be provided with possible urls to visit from your blog with the help of bing api
  • Contact Form 7– simple contact form generator
  • Crayon Syntax Highlighter– code highlighter
  • Google Analytics for WordPress– to keep track of your blogs using google analytics.
  • Google XML Sitemaps– very important if you want the blog to be seo friendly.
  • PubSubHubbub– very essential plugin if you write original content and there is a possibility of contents theft, this one will report who wrote this article first.
  • Spam Free WordPress– it will provide auto generated password that needs to be manually copied and pasted to write a comment, very effective in fighting the spam bots.
  • Subscribe To Comments– name explains it all.
  • W3 Total Cache– most trusted WordPress performance plugin. improves the speed and user experience of the site
  • WordPress SEO– again another SEO plugin, not so essential but it is better.
  • WP-Optimize- helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spams
  • WP-PageNavi– if you have too many blog posts, you need better navigation system in place, this plugin does the job.
  • WP Facebook Open Graph protocol – Adds proper Facebook Open Graph Meta tags and values to your site so when links are shared it looks great in facebook, g+ and linkedin.
twitter

using twitter for business / branding

 

You probably already know why you should be using twitter for business or branding, let me give brief intro for that and then head on to ” do’s and don’t of twitter for business / branding “, before starting my twitter handle is @diamontip

Majority of twitter users update their tweets very regularly from various apps range from mobile app to desktop religiously, so that means twitter has a engaged users, they follow tweet updates and update their status updates regularly.

This in return brands and businesses can access customer opinions, convey what they want to convey as a brand/business to its customers. And establish themselves as authority for the topic they choose.

And here’s the Do’s and Don’t's of twitter usage:

1. tweet only what your followers want to hear from you

2. tweet only about something relevant to your business / brand

3. retweet only that matters to your business

4. Maintain follower / following balance, normally if you are following more than your followers, it wont give a good impression.

5. Hashtag every ‘key’ words in your tweets.

6. Search for the hashtag and start talking/discussing with relevant tweeters.

7. Balance hashtag tweets + retweets + url tweets per day, all these three should not be more than your plain tweets per day.

8. Bio should be precise and to the point that explains about your business, brand, what your followers can gain by following.

9. Use good display picture.

Thats all i have for now.

fb

why i decided to create facebook page.

 

I aint a subject expert to tell you what needs to be done, i am here to share my experience with setting up facebook page for the another project i am working on.

first why i wanted facebook page, i read this infographic at marketinconfessions , it states by the time we read these lines (average 1 min) , the following happens inside facebook

• 510,404 Comments
• 382,861 Posts liked
• 231,605 Messages sent
• 135,849 Photos added
• 98,604 Friendships approved
• 82,557 Status Updates
• 79,364 Wall posts
• 74,204 Event invites received
• 72,816 Pages liked
• 66,168 Photos tagged

that’s a lot of activity online, and all these activity carried out by engaging audience, all these numbers are already convincing to have a presence in facebook for the brands, but if you still wondering why, let me explain, as a business you need your own audience and connect with the right people and then engage those audience with your brand, that is were we need to create facebook page, a platform to engage customers along with the brand.

As of now i didn’t do much to my facebook page, just the page has been created, added admin details, linked twitter to the page wall, filled info section. Once i am satisfied with all the information i have provided in facebook page, it is time to get many fans/likes, that’s another milestone, as of now i have no idea how to go about it, will share once i find any.

lon

when you advertise, you better deliver else say NO

 

Small story:

 

once upon a time Lion and Tiger were near the lake and about to drink water, just before that, Lion uttered a loud Roar, and Tiger asked “why now?! just you and me are here, don’t you think its foolish?!” Lion replied, “well, i am king of the forest and i have to communicate the message every now and then, that’s my Advertisement and sending the message nobody come near”

Rabbit over heard the conversation and thought “if only this noise is required i can make noise and drink my share of water peacefully” so practiced enough to give a roar with its squeaky voice while drinking water, one fine day Fox walking by wanted to see where the noise is coming from and spotted the Rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: “when you advertise, be prepared to deliver or handle the situation”

with the power of social media and with proper blending of Inbound Marketing strategies, you will start attracting prospective customers even before you really are something, when you land the customer be ready to deliver else communicate you are not doing it NOW!

why? :-

it is simply over promise and under deliver situation when you don’t deliver what is expected of from you, you are just burning a bridge or future opportunity lead. i am not saying to play it safe, i am saying “deliver” at any cost, if not politely say, NO and direct them in right direction.

when you put your future lead in right direction you make much trusted customer for you, who will turn to you in future as well.

updt

Do you know what is benefit selling?

first, is there such classification as “benefit selling”?

well i am not a management or marketing professional, so i am not sure, i googled and i just found few websites talking exclusively about it, maybe they have different terms for it.

what is benefit selling is?

simply put, you sell the benefit the customers going to enjoy buy owning the product for its unique features etc., instead of detailing out the features.

why this works?

take apple iPod advertisements for example, instead of speaking technical details about the product, they simply say “it loads 12,000 songs, 8 hours of music, sexy chrome finish” that is they are selling the benefit not the product features, this eliminates the customers to put extra effort to relate the features to the benefit they might get.

and in psychology perspective everybody wants to help themselves first, then they are ready to help others.

if a sales person approach a customer and says, “hi buy this mp3 player, it has 8GB space, i will get good commission for each sale”, even if the customer is in need of it, he wouldn’t buy, he wouldn’t buy from that sales person unless he sees some benefit for him.

alternatively, if the sales person approach the customer and says, “do you know listening to music increases concentration power? ”, “it looks really cool to wear a mp3 all the time” and “i am selling mp3 players hand picked myself, want to buy one?”

second approach leaves no option but feeling if he buys the mp3 players he buys only from the second sales person. because he sees the benefit of best hand picked mp3 player, he already know he wants to improve concentration or look fashionable.

that is exactly selling benefits instead of detailed feature information.

lck

how high security leads to business loss?

 

this is back in 2008 – 2009, i started a account with religare trading account, i am not sure how they are performing now, below blog post is about my experience with them in above specified period.

they have this highly secured access method, if i remember correctly, to login i need to provide two passwords along with very ‘unique’ username, and i have to reset my password every two weeks, and whenever you change password you cannot reuse the same password used in any of that two passwords for last 3 times, also password should contain at least special character, caps alphabet and small letter and a number, i am not a creative person for passwords, and with this much restrictions, i nearly have to act like a password generator myself. With all these pain, i end up writing down my passwords. One fine day i gave the service once for all. I still get emails from religare once in a while to checkout all new improvised platform, i never feel confident with them…

It is good to impose tight security, but in the name of security dont impose something unrealistic, for a user your website is just another service he uses, his life is not dedicated for your service.

i wish these password mechanisms are simple for end users.