Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Online Marketing Agencies - Ft Lauderdale Boca Raton

A number of people have asked me how to find out more about online marketing and about local vendors (Ft Lauderdale and Boca) that can help them. Heres a few starting points (tell them that I sent you) :

SFIMA - Meets once monthly, Thursday night, in Los Olas around a speaker in online marketing. Very well organized. Online Marketing focus. South Florida Interactive Marketing Association - Welcome to SFIMA

Florida Direct Marketing Association - Meets usually at lunch at the Westin Hotel around a speaker. Focus is direct marketing, more on traditional mail and catalogs than technology but there is overlap.

There are also venture capital, start-up, and technology oriented groups but it's been a few yeas since I have participated.

Local online marketing vendors? I'd mention two in a positive way:

Ten Golden Rules - Smaller multiskilled organization. Broad set of skills (and a great public speaker about online marketing). Based in Boca.

MoreVisibility - Larger organization (several dozen) mostly focused on search engine marketing.
Again, tell them that I sent you.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Blog thoughts for beginners

Starting any blog on any subject is a great start. So is clearing up a few hours to work on it on a regular basis. You can think alot about blogs but since it takes no money and less than an hour to get started, this is an obvious place that the best way to learn is to do.

Here is my 2 cents on blogging ....

1. Blogging is a mix of writing and socializing. There are no keys to success that work for everybody. In fact, there are no measures of success common to everybody. In one of my cases, my goals for a blog tend to evolve faster than the blog. For instance, I started one blog as a simple way to keep track of my unanswered marketing questions and to record what I had learned. A simple business journal. Another was a place where I kept my rough draft of new newsletters or web pages (kids online learning fun). Both are evolving into places where people come to comment. I'm pleased.

2, Like most activities, there are some basics to learn. Three examples: Brevity, linking, networking, and promotion.,

2a - Brevity. Everyone seems to prefer short tight entries with links to related topics. This type of writing takes a little time. Also, bolded headlines. Integrating pictures is nice too.

2b - Links. Linking with the right text to the right place takes a little technique.

2c - Networking. A social skill. Most blogs are part of a group of blogs, a blog-crowd, -cloud, or -sphere. This allows you to comment and link back and forth to other people. A type of conversation. Finding people who complement and will work with you can be tricky. These relationships are also immensely interesting and fruitful. Lastly , promotion. This means that the blog can actually be a tool to promote and idea of to sell a product. Also, getting the blog rated and popular requires clever promotion and the right types of links. You can aspire to getting traffic only from links or also from search engines. If you want search engine traffic, you need to think about keyphrases. If its all links, you need to pick your link-partners, web rinks, ad-exchanges etc judiciously. There are plenty of articles and books. Try for instance, this blog overview.

3. Blogging can evolve into a business, become a support tool for another business or mission, or become a way of socializing or introspection. Of course, while a blog is good for support, often a forum is better. See the new online learning parents forum.

4. Most bloggers start by trying to write alot and by reading alot of others blogs. Then, they get rid of their blog and start again. Sometimes, they do this frequently. Often, they constantly consider redoing their blog but feel that they have gone too far to turn back now. No advice here other than almost everyone is always contemplating restarting or not.

5. Don't worry at first about the look. You can spend alot of time worrying about the graphics and structure or, you can get to the point which is to start posting. Once you are started, you will probably have a much better idea on what look, what layout and what imagery you want. You might even find a friend online who will put it together for you. So don't start by hiring a graphic artist to design it or a programmer to structure it. You can figure these things out later.

6. Traffic building - Blogging is also a great way to build position in the search engines. Its been suggested that B-L-O-G is not so much an abbreviation for Web-Log but the secret to a Better Listing On Google. Each blog update is, depending on your settings, automatically entered into the search engines (pinging the engines is usually an automated function with each new article). So a frequently updated blog gets alot of search engine attention and can both pull traffic (if keyworded properly and with some link popularity) and help create page rank for sites it links to. I think this effect will soon diminish since so many people are using it but the impact of blogs on your position in google is so far is striking, google seems to treat them as news sites and give them special attention.