Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What's Your Secret Business Weapon?

Do you have a secret weapon for your business? Speaker Felicia Slattery says her secret weapon is a Virtual Assistant. See why here!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quoted in recent article

One of the perks of being President of the International Virtual Assistant Association this year is that I periodically have the opportunity to speak with reporters from around the country. I recently spoke with Luara Raines of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and am pleased with this latest article about the Virtual Assistant industry. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Why Blog When You Have Facebook?

This is a great post by blog guru Denise Wakeman on why you should have a blog even if you're an avid Facebook user. Great food for thought and a reminder that you need to back up your content, regardless of where it resides!


Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Value of your Twitter Followers

Web Worker Daily has a great blog post on the value of Twitter followers - do numbers mean more than quality?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Give Away the Farm!

Speaker and blogger Liz Ryan reminds us not to give in to those asking for freebies just because "the economy is bad". An important reminder to all business owners, no matter how long we've been around! Check out her article here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting Started on Twitter

If you're new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it. It looks deceptively simple on the surface, but quickly becomes very complex when you start digging into it. I gave a class last week on Twitter to local business owners and I’ve never seen so many deer-in-the-headlights looks! You’re not alone if you don’t “get” it yet.

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing. Here are some tips to get you started:
  1. Sign up with a user name that will build your brand, use part of your real name, or tell others something about you. Make sure the name isn’t too long as it counts towards the 140 character limit when others want to connect with you.

  2. Next, start following as many people as you can. (Follow me here.) Business colleagues are a good place to start – follow them and then browse through their followers/following lists to see who you know or want to connect with. You can also find top Twitterers on sites like Twinfluence.com and Twitterholic.com.

    Remember that you don’t need to know them to connect – in fact, it’s useful not to know them yet! Also look under Twinfluence for people in your town and connect with them. You’ll soon find that those you follow will start following you back and as you’re numbers get up there, you’ll build more and more momentum.

  3. Start posting regularly (1-2 times/day is good) about what you’re doing in your life and in your business. Use keywords. Pique curiosity. Link to articles & webpages you find interesting or would benefit your target market. Reply to those you’re following and start meaningful conversations. Retweet posts from others that you find valuable or interesting (or your target market would). This is where paying attention to what others are doing is beneficial. Do what they do!

  4. Use Twitter search engines to find those who are talking about your keywords, locality, areas of interest, etc. These includes sites such as Twitter Search, TweetScan, Monitter, and TwitScoop. I also use Twilert to have my favorite searches sent to me via email every day.
On Twitter, it pays to be active, follow tons of people, and post useful information with a smattering of personal insight thrown in.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s a Wiki on Twitter – this section is about Etiquette:

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help in Twitterland. We've all been there and stand ready to help show you the way! See you in the Twitterverse!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your 7-Point Annual Website Tune-up

by Donna Gunter, The Boomer Biz Queen (TM)

Every time you take your car in for an oil change, most shops give you a 15- or 30-point checkup when they change your oil to alert you to any other potential problems you might experience in the future. In the same way that your mechanic conducts a regular inspection of your automobile, you need to conduct an annual checkup of your website.

Here are 7 critical areas that need to be checked yearly on your site:

1. Copyright notice. In years past it would take me until March or April to update my copyright notices primarily because I had to go in and update every single page of my site. More recently, however, I've used an includes file, which is one file that can be inserted in many pages to hold my copyright and contact info. Consequently, when I need to update the copyright info, I open this one file in my HTML editor, update that file, save and upload it. Once it's revised, the new information miraculously appears on all the pages in which it's included, updating them all at once.

2. Opt-in forms. The beginning of each year is a great time to ensure that all of the opt-in forms are working on your site. Do you need to add additional fields to the opt-in form to collect mailing addresses, for example, or to ask how visitors found your site? Is the information contained on your confirmation page (the page to which a visitor is sent upon her initial request to opt into your list) still current and relevant? How about the thank you page (the page to which your visitor is sent when she has confirmed her desire to join your list)?

3. Autoresponder followup. Next, review the content of the autoresponders that you've set to follow up the opt-in. Are they still current? Do they mention offers or upsells that are still available? Do you need to update any copyright or contact information contained within them? Are they making it through spam filters? Use this tool to ensure that every email gets into your contact's inbox: SpamCheck from SiteSell.

4. Signature files. Does your email signature file contain a call to action that's still working for you, or does it need to be updated? Have you changed any portion of your contact information? After you review your signature files in your email client, do the same check of your email signature file in your shopping cart program or autoresponder program.

5. Client attraction device. Take a look at the free giveaway you provide to your visitors in return for them opting into your list. Whether it's a document or an audio or video file, update the copyright and content information in it and review any biographical/profile information that you list about yourself or your business. Is the content you provide in this giveaway still valid and current? Do you want to keep the current call to action, or does it need to be updated to better fit with your current business model?

6. Missing images and dead link check. When your website fails to properly display images, your business appears unprofessional. Tour your website to ensure that all images are displaying as they should. If you link to or make reference to many resources on your site, run a dead link check annually to weed out or update those that no longer work. You may be able to do this with your HTML editor. If not, try the free weekly link checking service offered by iNetDog.

7. Order forms. Be sure that your order form works all the way through. Most online business owners, when checking order forms, stop at the point where they need to enter credit card information. If your merchant account agreement prohibits you from using your credit card to order from your company, ask if they have a test card number you can use, or have a reciprocal agreement with a colleague to check each other's forms. Check your followup autoresponders that are set to go out after someone makes a purchase, as well, to ensure that they are still up-to-date.

Websites that are obviously out-of-date or aren't working properly are a huge deterrent to doing business with you. Check these 7 key areas yearly on your site to convey to your visitors that your site is regularly updated and maintained.

Internet Marketing Strategist and Boomer Biz Coach Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online retirement businesses that they love by demystifying and simplifying the tools and strategies needed to market and grow their businesses online. To claim your FR*EE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at OnlineBizU.com. Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cindy Opong wins VAccolade Award

Wow. I am totally speechless this morning. I woke up to the announcement that I was nominated for and chosen to be the recipient for January 2009 of VANetworking's distinguished VAccolade award. This is a huge honor as it means I've been recognized by my peers for outstanding service in our industry. I am so appreciative and feel undeserving. When you love the work you do and enjoy volunteering to make an organization (or multiple orgs!) better, you certainly don't expect to be recognized in this manner.

You can see more information about the award here and also here.

And you'll want to also check out VANetworking's homepage. An awesome forum for Virtual Assistants and businesses looking to find a VA.

Thanks to Tawnya and everyone behind the scenes at VANetworking - you rock!