Archive for December, 2010

Listening is essential to customer service

Posted in Quotes on December 30, 2010 by wolfwomyn

Listening to our clients, or potential clients, is extremely important and helps to build the trust necessary for good business relationships.  I’ve made a screen saver out of different quotes.  Especially those that will help me in my connections within the business world.  Hope you all are having a safe, and very happy holiday.

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Focus on listening. Listening is a sign of respect…a demonstration that people and their ideas are important. When people know you’re willing to listen, they will share their ideas as well as their frustrations. Listening enables you to build a foundation of trust that is essential to motivation.

~John Baldoni ~

Quote for today

Posted in Quotes on December 21, 2010 by wolfwomyn

I love quotes.  They are at times inspirational and fun.  I hope you enjoy.

“Most of the limitations you think you have are the ones you have decided on. They are often entirely self-imposed. You might think, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I would never do that, my parents could never do that, I never played baseball, I never climbed a mountain, I never, never, never’… It’s the old broken record in your head. Throw out that negative thinking right now! Learn to play a positive message in your head because it’s all about attitude.”

David Patchell-Evans

Did You Know That You Can Create PageRank?

Posted in Business on December 16, 2010 by wolfwomyn

First things first: What is Google PageRank? It is an algorithm
created by the founders of Google to estimate the importance of web
pages. The basic idea behind the PageRank algorithm is the fact that
a link (also called hyperlink or backlink) from page A to page B can
be seen as a vote of trust from page A to page B. The higher the
number of links pointing to a page, the higher its PageRank, and the
higher its rankings inside Google’s search results.

One detail that you need to keep in mind is that each link has a
specific value, which is determined by the PageRank of the page
where the link is located divided by the total number of outgoing
links on that page. For instance, if a page has a PageRank value of
8 and 4 outgoing links, each of those links will pass 2 points of
“link juice” (the calculations on the algorithm are more complex, but
this is the basic idea).

Most people focus on getting external links to increase their
PageRank, but they forget that internal links also pass link juice,
and this is how you can create PageRank within your websites.

Now let us use a simple example to illustrate the concept.

Suppose that you just created a website with one page only, the
homepage. At this point your website has a PageRank of 0, because it
is not even indexed by Google.

You then convince a friend to link to your website. The page where
the link is placed has a PageRank of 10 and 2 outgoing links, so
your website is receiving 5 points of link juice from that link.

Now your website would have a PageRank of 5. If you then proceed to
create a second page on your website, linking to it from the homepage,
that second page would also receive 5 points of PageRank from the
homepage link, increasing the total PageRank of your site to 10.

And there you go. By adding a second page to your site your managed
to actually create PageRank.

As we mentioned before, the calculations of the PageRank algorithm
are more complex, but the basic concept remains. That is, every time
Google indexes a new page from your website, the total PageRank
within your website will also increase, because that page will be
receiving link juice from the other internal pages of your site.

Getting external links is obviously essential to having a high
PageRank, but increasing the number of pages that Google indexes
from your site can also help, and most people neglect this.

For example, if you are trying to position your mini website on
the first search result for a specific keyword you could try
adding more pages of content to that site, to increase its overall
PageRank.

Finally, if you want to monitor how many pages Google is indexing
from your website, simply search for “site:yourdomain.com” on Google.

Daniel Scocco
Daily Blog Tips Newsletter

Communicating Your Needs to Your Web Designer

Posted in Business, Musings on December 14, 2010 by wolfwomyn

Communicating with a web designer can be the most difficult part of the hiring process because you and the web designer don’t speak the same language when talking about the details of a website. This article explains how to get your ideas across to the web designer you want to hire.

Ok, so you’ve decided to hire a professional web designer to build your website. You spent some time looking for the right person. Eventually you found the right web designer that you believe will design the most “remarkable”, “extraordinary” website the internet community has yet seen.

So now what? Explaining to the web designer the layout design you have in your mind can be a very frustrating process. You will find that putting the “picture” in your mind into words can be a difficult task. Actually in most cases this is the biggest hurdle between you and the final outcome. No matter how talented the web designer is, if you can not communicate with him properly, in his own professional language, he will not be able to use his talent to achieve your design.

There are two possible situations you may face:

  • You know what content you want on the website but have no clue how to present it to the user.
  • You know what content you want on the website, and you have the layout in your mind, but you don’t know how to implement it.

In both cases you will need to explain your thoughts to the web designer. Although most people who read those lines are probably thinking that being in the second situation is better then being in the first situation. However, real life experience shows the opposite to be true. Giving a web designer the complete freedom of action regarding the web design based solely on the website content is usually a smart thing to do. You will find that explaining to the web designer what the nature of your website is, whether it’s a product that you want to sell or a hobby item, is much easier then trying to explain to him the temperate of the color schema or an undefined shape that you would like to have in the website header.

Actually for both of the situations, I would suggest you use the same approach, but with a minor modification to each situation. If you know of a website that has all the features you want or need and/or a site that looks the way you want your site to look, be sure to give the site’s url to the web designer. Doing so will give him some idea of want you want. You will both be looking at the same thing but will actually look at it from a different angle. Therefore, it may be better to give him more than one website as an example. The more websites you find that can express your feelings and/or needs, the easier it will be for web designers to understand your intention without you having to use a single “technical” term. Chances are that you won’t find a single website that has all of the feature you want. After all, if such a website already exists there would be no place for your new web site to be born. Use several websites to express the different features you want. Spend as much time as necessary until you find just the right websites to provide examples of your needs. Doing research at this stage will definitely save you a lot of time later trying to point the web designer in the right direction.

Although you are the one who needs to express your self to the web designer, you must learn to listen to him as well. When he uses technical terms, ask for their meaning. Do not finish any part of the conversation unless you are absolutely sure that both sides are on the same page. Remember that when a web designer speaks about the temperature of a color, he is not talking about the next day’s forecast.

Remember, you hired a professional web designer because you want a professional looking website and you couldn’t do it yourself. So, trust the web designer’s judgment when they tell you something you want won’t work or isn’t the best way to accomplish your goals. After all, you are paying them for their expertise. Don’t try to tell them how to do their job.

It is OK to require that a web designer gets your approval each step of the way so you can tell them if one of your goals isn’t being met. Also, if you really don’t like how something looks and want it changed, tell them immediately. Don’t wait until everything is done and then decide you don’t like it.

A final word about cost

You have agreed on what needs to be done and the web designer has given you a price quote. Simple modifications and bug fixes are usually included in the price. However, other major changes or outright revisions may or may not be included. Make sure the agreement states what is included, what constitutes a revision rather than a fix, and how many changes you can make after delivery without incurring additional costs.

Author: Warren Baker
http://articles.webdesigners123.com/communicating_needs_web_designer.php

How To Build Your Credibility As An Expert While Blogging

Posted in Business, Musings on December 9, 2010 by wolfwomyn

This is a guest post by Eduard Ezeanu. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I don’t run ads on my blog; I don’t do a lot of affiliate marketing. The primary way of monetizing my blog is selling my own products and coaching services in the area of communication skills.

I’ve learned that when your strategy for making money with your blog is to sell something you have created or something you do, then your credibility as an expert is crucial.

People have to trust that you are a professional and that you can provide them something of real value before they decide to buy from you. The amount of traffic you get is not highly relevant if your readers don’t believe you are an expert in your field.

The good news is that there are specific ways of using your blog which reinforce your credibility as an expert. Being passionate about communication, I was eager to explore this topic and test various methods of building credibility as an expert through blogging.

Here are the methods that have worked best for me and I believe will visibly benefit any blogger:

1. Develop Your Expertise, Not Only Your Blog

I think many bloggers skip a step in their search for a source of income. They start blogging and growing their blogs, but they do little to actually be experts in the area they blog about. They revamp ideas they read in books or on other blogs, and then they wonder why readers won’t buy their products.

Up to a certain point, blogging in itself is a way to develop expertise, but I find it to be insufficient. If you want to become an expert, you need to also address this subject separately and use other ways to train yourself.
I worked with my first coaching clients for free and I also had another coach supervising me, before I started calling myself a coach and asking money for my services. Also, I only started blogging and promoting my services on my blog after I’ve already had significant experience as a coach. Putting expertise first did wonders for me and the quality of my blogging.

2. Go Against the Mainstream

In any area, there are ideas that are very popular yet any real expert knows to be wrong. This is why instead of reinforcing the same old ideas, many experts will oppose popular ideas in their blog posts and they’ll debunk them.

Do the same and you’ll develop credibility as an expert. Of course, in order for this strategy to be successful, you need to know what you’re talking about, to pick the right ideas to oppose and to back your claims with hard and smart evidence. Otherwise, you position yourself as a rebellious novice rather than a connoisseur.

3. Write with Depth

Almost anybody can write a blog and offer some general advice, much of which may be impractical or mundane. A real expert stands out because they can talk or write about a certain subject with a lot more depth and go into the fine details that make a piece of advice exceptionally valuable.

In my field, many bloggers write advice such as: “Just be confident”. This kind of advice is too superficial to actually help anyone. I write posts in which I decode the psychological process of acquiring confidence and describe it much more precisely. This is what makes me more believable.

4. Quote Scientific Research

Anybody can make claims on their blog. What separates experts from the rest is the fact they crave solid evidence and they put in the effort to keep in touch with the current scientific research in their area of expertise.
As a result, they often quote research to support their ideas or simply to discuss it, and they do so in a skillful way. One of the most important recommendations I can make is to practice reading and quoting scientific research, at least in some of your blog posts. The more you practice, the more apt you’ll become at using research.

5. Associate with Other Experts

Professionals in a certain field often tend to know each other and collaborate. Prove to your readers that you interact positively with recognized experts in your filed, that they appreciate you, and some of their authority will transmit to you.

There are many ways to do this: you can interact with experts using social media, you can guest post on their blogs, you can interview them for your own blog etc. While doing any of these, keep in mind that the main focus is on truly building trust-based relationships with experts, not on simulating them.

At the end of the day, the most important thing I’ve learning about building credibility as an expert is that it only works if it’s authentic. Expertise cannot be communicated with high impact by faking it. You can only do so if it is something you really have and you know how to tastefully reflect through your blogging.

source: Eduard Ezeanu blog

Got A Waffling Customer? Push Her Over The Edge!

Posted in Business, Musings on December 7, 2010 by wolfwomyn

“If you want to avoid being stuck with inventory or downtime during a recession,” advises Seth Godin in a post at his eponymous blog, “you might profit from realizing that people [now] tell themselves a different story when they go to buy something.” Two years ago, your customers might have said: “My time is really valuable, [so] it’s okay if this is a little more expensive than the store down the street.”

These days, however, they willing to wait until the story they tell is, “I got a steal!” It would be a mistake, argues Godin, to respond by cutting prices across the board. Customers will likely interpret this not as a good deal, but as a sign that your company is in trouble; further, it reduces revenue from clients who didn’t expect—or even want—a discount in the first place. Instead, Godin proposes giving every member of your staff the authority to knock 10 percent off the price of a product if a customer asks for a break or hesitates to close the sale.

“For retailers or personal selling situations,” he says, “you can give your staff a pile of ‘manager’s coupons’ that they can just whip out … peel one off and quietly hand it to the waffling customer.”

Godin concedes that no one wants to employ a strategy like this. “But it might be something you have to do,” he says. The alternative is “shoppers who walk out of the store and leave you with nothing.”

Source: Seth Godin’s Blog.