Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SEO -Let's get it crunked!

I was searching the net looking for ways to update my sites ranking and I was tempted to start plunking down some hard earned yen to get that Site Engine Optimization up and running! Then I saw the prices!

The SEO Guy has packages starting at $795!
SemperFi Web Design has prices starting at $899 and professional rates $2,900/3 months!
NJ SEO Company has three packages with the most economical starting at $950! 
eckweb internet marketing offers the lowest price at $150/month! They offer a variety of price modules, but their website doesn't look all that great! After watching over 100 videos by Andrew Lock Marketing Maven and creator of Help!My Business Sucks! I think eckweb is listing their price packages the wrong way.

I even know of an organization here in Tokyo that is paying about 1,500 yen a day, which equals to about 45,000 JPY/month, to keep their site on the first page under certain keyword searches. That's a pretty chunk of change when you think about it. Will throwing money at the problem make a difference?
Uhh, when you are a broke entrepreneur you have NO money, but you have plenty of time!

You may be surprised to know that some people don't know what SEO means! So maybe I should go back just a bit or you should read, The Beginners Guide to SEO   by Seomoz.  This step-by-step guide is FREE! (Remember when I mentioned having NO MONEY!) Seomoz has some pricing plans if you want to skip the reading and start delving into your piggy bank, but if you want to keep yourself focused and keep money in your pocket, try reading this guide first, before you break the bank!

I found some free links for you wannabe SEO newbies (like myself)!

Before you start yelling at me in all CAPITAL letters I just want to say right now I am doing the best I can, but you can't get angry every time someone mentions this behemoth of a company. I am going to give you a hint, it starts with an 'm' and ends with a 't'.....Did you guess yet? That's right Microsoft. I told you not to yell. All of my MacBook loving friends are glaring at me right now. But Microsoft has a free download to help you optimize your website.  It's called Microsoft SEO Toolkit:

The hottest website platform is WordPress and I host my site on WordPress so I went looking for an all in one SEO optimizer through the plugins.

I won't regale you with the hours it took for me to sift through the different plugins in order to find the one that was easy to understand, but I will say I narrowed it down to SEO Design based in Chicago! Their plugin was easy to understand and offered a simple video tutorial to explain some of the first steps in using the plugin. Unlike some of the other downloads that had over 7 million installations this one was simple, clear and to the point!

I will say that my favorite on-line marketer Andrew Lock posted a video about WordPress back in December 2010.

I found another site called Link-assistant. They say they are "The Only World Standard SEO Software." If you read the SEO guide for beginners you will find out how important links are in building your site. Just be wary of companies that spam you into building links that have nothing to do with your business.

The more you hear, read, or learn about SEO you will understand that it is changing constantly based on the algorithms by Google. Fortunately, some of us don't have to worry too much about falling prey to the volatile changes of these methods. If you are a small-business owner in a niche market you may be able to remain afloat if you keep offering informative content.

Hope some of these tips helped! Please leave a comment on this blog if you agree or disagree with some of my comments. If you have great links you would like to add, feel free. You can also join my newsletter which will offer valuable tips and insight for entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You Always Need a Plan Z!

For the past three years I have slowly trying to build up to a large group of students to attend Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Camp. I have tried a variety of ways for gaining followrs who believe in the arts and who believe that real learning comes from opening the doors to our inner creative spirit.

1)Contacted someone from local group about marketing. This organization then proceeded to start a program exactly like mine.

2)Met with university professors who are in the arts and have a love for the arts.

3)Attended and currently attends various networking events throughout Tokyo.

4)Co-hosted events with other organizations within Tokyo.

5)Purchased ads in local media.

6)Sent targeted mailings to organizations that have art programs.

7)Created online accounts for twitter, facebook, and an active blog.

8)Organized art events for kids.

9)Created a meetup group that was closed by the meetup organization for unclear reasons.

10)Offer an affiliate program for small schools and groups that don't have a summer camp program.

11)Constantly promote others programs through my social networking sites.

12)Transcribed a 5 hour DVD for a friend in exchange for translation support.

Those are just a few of the things that I am and have been doing since I was possessed with this idea that a performing arts camp is more than needed in Japan.

My last plan was to use my trip home to network with principals that I met while I was a teacher in NYC. How will this networking event work with the recent media images of nuclear meltdown and fallout pervading the airwaves all over the world? Guess I am making another plan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Suze Orman vs Robert Kiyosaki: My Take

The financial battle royale has reared it simmering, pulsating head on Twitter! No need to wait for the next media frenzy about an author's new book! Just log onto Twitter and follow your favorite expert and you will have their thoughts immediately!  Well it looks like two of America's most prominent financial titans have used their fingers to type messages that question the other validity.

In the corner to my left, we have Suze Orman, author of books like The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke , The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, and a slew of other titles that encourage you to get out of debt and take control of your finances. Orman has her own show on CNBC.  She is in her 60s and she has been fighting the cause of the housewife, newlywed couple, worried parent, single women and she has given them tips on how to become debt free. In these economic times her vision and her message has changed just a bit. When I first started reading her she encouraged everyone to use their homes as an asset.

In the corner to my right, wearing black trunks with a purple and gold lining and trim is Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, creator of the game board Ca$hflow: Learn to Invest in a Fun Way! He has a series of experts and coaching programs that has made his name known in international circles all over the world. He has been published in 51 different languages and sold in over 109 countries! I can't remember when I started reading his books, but I had to be in my late 20s.

Kiyosaki landed the first blow when he was prompted by Orman's, "recent TV segment in which Orman encouraged people to invest in 401(k) accounts up to their employers' matches and to also put money into Roth IRAs. Both types of accounts, which come with different tax incentives, typically consist of stock market investments." (ABC NEWS/Money page 2) 

Kiyosaki believes that Orman is talking to people who "have little or no real financial knowledge to invest in the stock market," Kiyosaki said.

I think this is the key difference between both contenders. Kiyosaki encourages investors to take a historical look at how money is invested, treated, and look for trends that show you how to be a savvy investor. Orman, encourages her people to find a way to invest it with a financial planning service or advisor.  She encourages savings accounts, Mutual Funds, home-ownership, ROTH IRAs, IRAs and any other safe, diversified vehicle to invest your money in.  Are they both wrong? No. Are they both right? No.

I personally think that Orman was a great beginning for someone who is interested in getting out of debt. When I first started reading her books I was confused and looking for answers. With her television shows and socially acceptable dialogue she was an obvious choice for me.  I love Orman's upbeat personality and constant positivity. She has a very, "You Can Do It!" attitude that appeals to me.

However, after I got out of debt, I was left wondering what to do next.  That's when I really started reading Kiyosaki and it seemed as if he answered those questions for me. Invest! Invest in a business that will take you out of the role of an employee and on the road to true financial freedom.  I love this mantra. I play Ca$hflow in Tokyo with Sequoia Entrepreneur Group.  I started my own business and I constantly educate myself on financial matters.  I was a subscriber to Kiyosaki's email.  Where Orman has this sense of positivity about her message, sometimes Kiyosaki can be a bit depressing. I rarely opened his newsletters because the titles were full of doom. I wish I could remember what they were, but I have deleted them.  I will say I do appreciate his, "get off your ass and do something." attitude as can be seen in this video clip.

After I heard Kiyosaki call people who don't want to work hard  wimps and pussies.  I knew I had to do something! I didn't want to just sit around and do nothing. I agree with his more aggressive strategy.  Instead of sending your money to bankers, Wall Street and other financial advisors or planners, we need to take control of our financial destiny.  We need to learn for ourselves how to get the greatest return on our investments.

I don't think Orman or Kiyosaki are for everyone. You have to pick your causes and pick your strategies.  No toolbox is complete without a blueprint.  Both authors give you a blueprint for financial success. However, the question becomes, do you want to be aggressive or do you want to play it safe?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lost on twitter? 2 Twitter Directories to Choose From!

Can't find what you are looking for? You want to be found, but you don't know how to spread the word?
Twitter Social Directories are here! After I started this blog I found heaps of other sites that have listed blogs all the way up to the wazoo! But do you really need to know all of them? No. I am going to give you two that are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The first on is We Follow! This is a low maintenance site. It is very easy to use! You don't have to sign in or do anything special to start using this site. As you type in key words it automatically generates the top keyword searches in your field. So let's say you are looking for summer camps for the performing arts? If you put in visual art you don't get ANY tags. However, if you put in painting, you get 805! Not bad, getting closer! Put in art and you get 9,837! That's a nice number! Now, it's not as high as Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow with over 5 million tweets, but it's a good start. Play around with We Follow and let me know what you think!
Now We Follow seems to be just a directory. I haven't received any marketing tips, email capturing or anything of that nature on their site.  However, Twellow is completely different! Twellow calls themselves "The Twitter Yellow Pages" As soon as you click on their site they offer you a free pdf download on 30 ways to increase business, they highlight their over 4.77 billion followers, and they have catchy names like Twellowhood! Twellow looks like they want to be around for the long haul. I can see this company growing by leaps and bounds. Twellow is a bit more complicated. They want to capture your email address FIRST! Then you can proceed. I can already see heaps of emails in my inbox! So let's do the same test that I did above for We Follow.I put in visual arts, looking good, 1,350 matches! I tried painting, 7,341 matches! Here is the kicker of them all the keyword art yields 105,601 matches!!!! That's humongous!

I love visuals so I made a quick and dirty chart!
We Follow
Visual arts

One thing to remember even though these numbers are pretty high, you want to add that local touch to your search.  Make sure you include your city, state, and country. This will help you find people you share common interests with, but people who live near you. That's very important if you are a small business!

One blogger, Don Reisinger said, "Twellow is a directory of Twitter users that have been placed into categories based on their profile information. It's one of the ugliest sites in this roundup."
His blog entry!
I have to disagree, I personally love it when people use bright primary colors and funny looking faces on their website.  Reisinger does admit, "But what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in sheer size and availability of user profiles." I will agree that it is a bit cluttered, but all of these designers promoting clean sites may not have over 4.77 billion users on theirs. So don't judge a site by gaudy, tacky colors!

I must admit, this blog is about resources that I find and that I want to share with you! So it may seem this is an old topic, but after I discovered We Follow, I did a quick search for other directories and I found blogs  written by other bloggers on the same subject. I don't plan to go through all of them. I like We Follow's simple format. I feel like Twellow will be sending me emails non-stop. But with the sheer volume of choices it seems like a great place to be! I'm only offering you two choices. It's kind of like when you go to The Cheesecake Factory and they have so many options but can only really eat one thing.  Check out these links if you have time, but my bet is after you look at two extremes, you'll be able to make a more informed decision!
By the way, I just discovered this today, don't hate me cuz' I'm late to the party. Love me, cuz' at least I made it!

Here are the links to the other bloggers!
Now, this list gets ridiculous!

Top 8 Twitter Directories

14 Twitter Directories to Find New Friends

Find'Em On Twitter: 15 Twitter Directories Compared

20 Twitter Directories to Find More Friends

21 Twitter Directories and Follow Finders to Expand Your Twittersphere (Uh, this one is way too long!)

I told you it's ridiculous! I didn't read all of these, I did my own search and I'm offering you two! Who has time to search over 56 directories with unavoidable overlap?

If you would like to sign-up for my newsletter where I include videos, motivational messages, games, quizzes, and other helpful info just sign up today! Or if another newsletter in your inbox is too much for you! Follow me on Blogger! I met someone a few weeks ago who told me that she reads my blog! It's a nice vote of confidence, but it would be better if she followed me!

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