Thursday, June 18, 2009

Get Committed (Before Starting a Blog)

Straight up: blogging requires a lot of time. If you cannot devote time daily to writing and maintaining a blog, you should rethink the tactic.

However, if you make the time commitment, the rewards can include becoming an authority in your industry, influencing buying decisions and - let’s not lose sight of why we do anything in business - an improved bottom line.

So, before you move forward on a blog, you need to know how much time it will take. Different industries and niches will require different commitments. If you want a real estate blog to be noticed, prepare for a significant daily grind for a couple years because of high internet competition.

Fortunately, most business sectors aren’t as competitive as real estate. Many SMEs do business locally and can tailor their blog to their geographic market to help cut down the blogging competition – and the amount of time needed to be noticed.

In other words, a blog about “real estate in Toronto” will get noticed locally in Toronto long before a blog about “real estate” will get noticed anywhere. If your business deals only locally, your blog doesn’t need to compete with one in Brazil. (If you are in Brazil, why haven’t you subscribed?!)

If your blog gets noticed sooner, it means you will have a smaller time commitment. But don’t think that focusing your blog locally, or otherwise, is an easy way out of a time commitment. The best blogs, regardless of industry, subject or purpose, are tended to daily.

In addition to actually writing the blog, you need to budget time for research. Sure, the first few entries might roll off the keyboard easily because you know your stuff and there’s a lot to tell. But, while everything you know about your business can be written up in your blog, it is the low hanging fruit of blogging. Sooner or later you’ll need to spend more time researching your posts, reading other blogs and corresponding with bloggers, customers and colleagues to get the fuel you need to keep your blog burning brightly - and getting attention.

Not only will a blog help you become an influential authority and improve your bottom line – it will probably help you learn a lot more about your business.

By Stephen Da Cambra

Monday, June 08, 2009

An Internet Search Story

When did TV remote units start controlling functions on your set that you can’t do without the remote? Lose the original and you will need a universal remote that costs more than the TV is worth – and pray that one of the programming codes works for your TV brand and model - to get all your functionality back.

Or, even better (and cheaper), you can search the internet for a replacement of the original remote. How clever I am is that? Find the model number (how do they come up with those – TVR45620pdq8pie4U?), enter it into Google and go get the remote.

We’re not sure if there is a strange trend rippling through the TV remote control corner of the web, but they could use a few lessons in web design. It makes the problem of choosing from unknown online suppliers much worse.

Credibility symbols - BBB, Verisign, etc., - are scarce, they only want online orders, so you won’t find phone numbers, and addresses are hard to come by too. Faced with an absence of the usual measures of trust, you need to find other means of choosing the right online supplier - even if it means checking out the dreaded “About Us” or “FAQ” page.

Sometimes “About Us” and “FAQs” are a waste of your time. Will “About Us” ever say anything other than how incredibly customer driven the company is? FAQs are hard to wade through, even with search functions, and are often filled with trite bits like “Do You Sell Remotes for TVs?”.

However, in situations where customers are unsure of what they are buying, or with whom they are dealing, “About Us” and “FAQs” can win them over.

Check out the “FAQ” at The plain straightforward language (no marketing speak), in response to exactly the sorts of questions a user might have, shows that this company probably does what it says. won the purchase, even though their remote was more expensive.

By Stephen Da Cambra