Business cards. They’re old. They’re square. They’re usually boring. They haven’t really changed in 100 years. But they work. Giving a person a business card is still one of the best ways to seeing customer conversions. So, how should you design your business card? Here is an infographic to help you design one killer business card!
It’s easier than ever these days to steal a photograph. With crystal clear screen captures and cheap, effective photo editing software, no matter how you watermark images, label them with metadata, or make them “non-clickable” people still can take your photographs and pass them off as their own. Or maybe they aren’t trying to pass them off as their own but are using them for their own purposes without permission.
So, who’s using your photographs and how do you find them?
Well, I’d like to introduce you to an easy starting point in your attempt to go all Sherlock on us.
Google Image search. It’s a two step process that’s easier than ____________ (whatever comes easily to you).
1. Go to images.google.com
2. Drag and drop any image file into the search bar
From here you can use a couple different options to see where your image is showing up. Is this going to be 100% accurate all the time? Probably not. But it does give you a good starting place if you believe that someone may be using your photographs without your permission. So, go catch those photo thieves! Happy investigating.
We are living in the informational age. Some have estimated that we create more content every 48 hours than the entire world created up to year 2003. With that kind of content creation we obviously need to be discriminative with what we choose to take in as we only have so many hours in a day.
One of the ways that I take in content is by reading blogs. You probably knew that already. Another way is by listening to podcasts. I have a 20 minute ride in to work every morning which turns into 27 minutes in the evening with traffic. In that 47 minutes I am able to take in quite a bit of information to help me in various facets of life.
Here are my Go-to Podcasts (in no particular importance order):
1. The Briefing with Al Mohler – This is, as you will hear at the outset of every episode, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. I typically have this on in the morning and will start it on the way out the door.
2. Ask Pastor John – This podcast is on my phone because it is short. It gives me something to chew on throughout the day. To think through my own belief on the question of the day. I try to squeeze this one in each morning before getting to my desk.
3. White Horse Inn – This theology podcast from Michael Horton is a longer podcast that typically dives pretty deep into a subject. It is a weekly podcast that I try to listen to if I have a larger space of time.
4. Grace to You – John MacArthur’s podcast is my Wednesday evening after church podcast.
5. Truth for Life – Allistair Begg’s podcast. I listen to this infrequently.
6. Relevant Podcast – As far as my podcasts go this is the one that is like a break for me. Relevant magazine produces great content and their podcast is typically a good mix of humor and discussion about life. Thursday evening drives home get this one.
7. Desiring God Audio – Sermons from the ministry of John Piper.
8. Life on Fire TV – A video podcast focusing on entrepreneurial endeavor. Because this is a video podcast I rarely keep up on it.
9. The New Yorker Out Loud – I don’t often read the New Yorker, but I do enjoy listening to this cultural podcast. It’s a quick weekly podcast that highlights some of what is in The New Yorker.
10. Freakonomics – This is the newest addition to my lineup. This podcast, like the books it is patterned after, “explores the hidden side of everything.” Extremely interesting listen!
11. This American Life – Rarely listened to, this is a first person podcast featuring stories and short fiction pieces.
12. TED Radio Hour – TED talks are my go to for learning. You will see that I have two TED podcasts, this one from NPR and another from the official TED site. Excellent.
13. TED Talks Audio – These short talks range from politics to science to art to religion. The experts you hear from are incredibly helpful in their talks and your mind is sure to be blown most times you listen to this one.
14. Hubspot – Another video podcast that rarely gets watched, but I have it because Hubspot is the place for content marketing information. If you are into marketing you should be well acquainted with Hubspot… or so I hear.
15. Duct Tape Marketing – Another new addition to the lineup. I have yet to listen to an episode, but I hear good things about this.
16. Smart Passive Income – One of my blogging “mentors” if you will, Pat Flynn’s weekly podcast on being a smart blogger. This guy is super authentic and ready to help you.
17. This is Your Life – You’ve heard me talk about Michael Hyatt before, this podcast is a must for all bloggers and would be super beneficial for all leaders. Michael is transparent and honest about what it takes to make it in the online world.
It was a morning much like any other morning. I was sitting in bed having just done some morning reading and I was surfing the blogs I normally read. I came across an article that interested me and read it with much intrigue. By the end of the article I had put together my own opinion of its content and of the situation which it addressed. Then, I did something I hardly ever do on blog posts…
I left a comment. I took the time to punch in my name, website, and email address, then I commented away. And this one comment taught me two things about blogging.
Commenting Creates Community
The first thing I noticed after leaving this comment was that I instantly had contributed to, and thus fostered the creation of community. Certainly people write for their own pleasure and their own benefit but typically a person writes for the benefit of others.
When people comment on your writing you instantly gain a connection with them, whether positive or negative, that creates community. Your blog goes from being a monologue to being a dialogue. And everyone likes a dialogue better than monologue, no matter how awesome the speaker is.
When you read blogs take the initiative to write an insightful comment. It doesn’t need to be long, but it should contribute to the conversation. When it does you will find that people will listen and respond. In the blogosphere, this is what you want.
Commenting Gains You Readers
Your participation in the community should not be ultimately for self-fulfillment, but a true interest in helping to create the community of that particular blog, but what you will find when you leave a comment is that you benefit as well. People who resonate with your comment will instantly trust what you have to say about the given subject and will be more likely to visit the area of the web where you spout off information.
This is why it is important that when you leave your information. That way people can find you. In the particular instance that I referenced above I received an average of 25 unique readers referred each day for over a week. Now that might not seem like a lot, but multiply that by several hundred comments over a year and you find that commenting pays off. It is an investment into the community that not only contributes to others but also helps you out.
I’m no pro when it comes to this stuff. In fact, for a lot of you this is probably a relatively “duh” post, but there may be others out there like me who find that this information really pushes them to that next traffic goal. What’s so great about commenting is that it is so easy! You are already reading, already forming your response, you just have to take a couple minutes to type that up.
Take the time to interact. It helps the community of the blog you are reading and it has some benefits for you as well. So, a couple action items for you as you consider commenting. These are things I’ve been trying to do for 2 weeks and it has helped a lot:
- Determine to leave one insightful comment each day – this is the contact necessary to create community
- Respond to the follow up comments of that comment – interaction is the ingredient necessary to foster that community
- Always leave your website information when you leave a comment – this is the road map necessary to continue the community you have created
How do you create community and gain readers through commenting?
Every month I have made the commitment to publish my earning reports for my blog in hopes that the transparency will show my readers that they can make money by blogging if they are committed to working hard. I am new at this and you will see that in my numbers but already in the second month I have grown both numerically and financially. Here is what happened this month and what I learned as a result.
Monthly Blog Earnings and Stats
- High views 2,021 views from 1500 people; blog eclipsed 12,000 views
- On March 5th I crashed my website and the database costing me all of my earnings: -$229.00
- First Bluehost affiliate earnings: $65
- Two web design jobs received because of blog posts: $251.00
- Adsense: $9.92
- Accepted into Ligonier affiliate program
Income: $325.92 ($74.92 without design jobs)
Net Total: $96.92
What I Learned in March
- First, don’t crash your site. Anytime you have to make changes to your database or anything else for that matter be sure you are slow, deliberate, and you have backup. Use a hosting client for your site that provides backup. I suggest Bluehost. This will save you so much headache. I have to say that the two days that I spent trying to fix my site after the crash were two of the most stressful days of my life. Hundreds of hours nearly lost. Thankfully for a price I was able to get it recovered. Lesson learned.
- Along the same lines, I learned that ramp up after a crash is slow. Leading up to the crash I was averaging about 400 views each day. After the crash I did not break 250 views on any one day. All my momentum was lost and I had to start all over.
- People value your interaction. I have found that people do like when you talk to them. I have tried to be more consistent with my commenting back to my readers.
- Your headline is everything. This is something I knew but I need to continue getting better at creating attention grabbing headlines. Hello Copyblogger.
- Email collection is key. This month I implemented an email collection popup using a simple email collection plugin that I installed for free. I was able to gain 16 email addresses and 8 of those subsequently confirmed their subscription.
Overall it was a pretty good second month. I hope this month to double both my traffic and income. We will see what happens. How did your blog do in March? Can I answer any questions?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Maintaining a blog is difficult, but some who are writing savvy may think that the maintaining (that is, the constant content creation) is the easy part. These people tend to be less technically inclined and because of that they are very scared to try and create a website. I’m here to tell you that starting a blog from scratch really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are four tips for starting your own blog.
Decide What Interests You
Blog is really shorthand for a word that became popular several years ago… like when I was seven. The word blog stands in for is weblog. Quickly blog became synonymous with the description online diary. Naturally, when you write in a diary you write about things that either happen to you, or that you pursue, and both usually result from things that interest you.
When starting a blog you want to decide what interests you. Are you into sharing your hobbies? Do you really like food? What is your profession? Are you into sports? No one knows what you like more than you do so sit down and just start writing down the things that interest you most. As you compile a list of ideas take a step back from you messy list and you will probably start to see trends emerging right from the page that is before you.
Cluster Your Interests
Because all of us approach life through the lens of our worldview you will see various trends that pop out from your list and so as you see these grab another piece of paper and start clustering them under various “big idea” headings. As you might notice I have clustered the material in this blog under what I see as three primary topics: Christ, Culture, and Life. Because of this I try to blog with intentionality and connect each post to one of these ideas. Now you might say, “Christ, culture, and life? That’s pretty much covers, well, everything in the world.” And I’ll concede…. you’re right, which brings us to the next point.
Narrow Your Interests
Your job is then to narrow your interests so that you create a niche for yourself. But as we mentioned, the example of this blog isn’t very good then is it? Well, yes and no. I do have reasons for such broad categories. If you don’t think you can produce enough content within one particular niche you will need to stay broad. You also want to give yourself enough room that you don’t feel trapped. So, while most bloggers (and I agree in principle) will advise that you narrow your niche, especially if you are monetizing, your expertise and blogging mission need to govern how narrow you go.
Pick And Stick to a Platform
The next thing to consider when starting a blog are the platforms that you will use. This will depend in large part on your mission as a blogger. By platform I mean not only your Content Management System (CMS– like WordPress) but also your domain registrar, hosting service, and email client. Don’t just use what someone tells you to use. Take a look at all of the options available to you and see which one really works the best for you! See my post from last month on comparing some of the major platforms. Once you pick this platform stick with it for as long as you have a site. The familiarity will help the platform itself to fade into the background so that you can focus your attention where it really matters: writing great content!
Third, you need to do when starting a blog is get into the habit of writing all the time. Carve out a 30 minute block of time when you are sharp every day to focus your attention on writing. Write down everything. Even if it doesn’t pertain to your blog at the time write what pops into your head and save it as a draft. This will do several things for you. It will give you a backlog of posts so that you always have something to publish. It will also get you thinking more and more like a writer. You will start to approach life differently, seeing opportunity in everyday situations to write about. Constant writing will also increase your vocabulary, enhance your precision, and strengthen your argumentation.
Share Content Regularly
Finally, you need to share content regularly. Blogging is all about building trust with your readers. If your readers do not trust you they will not return to your site, much less will they become a valuable part of the community you are trying to develop. So, you need to share content regularly. Does this mean you need to write every day in order to create a successful blog? No, but it does mean that you should be churning out information at least a couple times a week. Not only is the frequency important though, but the consistency is important as well. If you start your blog and publish content on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 am then keep doing that. If you share everyday at 7:30am stick to that schedule as much as possible.
One Final Note | Resist the Urge
Okay, so I lied. I have a fifth tip and I need to share this because I need this tip! Resist the urge to post quality content right after you write it. What I mean by this is that there will be days where you write what you think will be a killer post and your tendency will be to want to publish it before its turn in line. Wait it out. Let that post simmer. Look at it as something to look forward to and stick to your post calendar. Certainly there are some posts that are time sensitive, but for others that aren’t– which are most let’s be honest– be patient and wait to hit publish. Sharing it on its own rather than on a day that you already gave your readers content is a far better strategy.
What tips would you give people who are just starting out in the blogging world?
The following is a simple guide to Facebook photos. The sizes listed are accurate as of the publishing of this post and will be updated if Facebook ever changes them (which I don’t believe will happen).
Your profile photo is what appears throughout Facebook. It is displayed prominently on your Facebook in the top left of your timeline. The pixel dimensions are 160×160 pixels.
The cover photo is the photo that spans the width of your facebook profile. It is 851×310 pixels and usually is the most memorable thing on your page. It is certainly the first thing that will catch the viewers eye upon visiting your page.
Highlighted Post Images
When you make a post you can choose to “highlight” it. You access this option by clicking the small carat that appears on the top right hand side of the post you have just published. When you choose the option to highlight the photo what Facebook does is make it span the width of your page. It becomes 843×504 pixels.
One thing you may have noticed is that when you upload your photographs to Facebook, crystal clear images become blurry, less sharp, grainy, and just don’t look as good. This is because Facebook compresses the images that are uploaded to its site and as a result some quality is lost. Because of this some people have found that posting is frustrating. It is said that to avoid this and to get the highest quality image on Facebook you should upload photos at one of two sizes.
- 2048 pixels long edge
- 960 pixels long edge
Uploading at these dimensions will allow Facebook’s compression algorithm to run without losing quality.
Let me know how these work out for you!
There are many ways to leverage Facebook for your business and one of those ways is by allowing others to review you business, product, or service. But lots of people do not know how they can set their page up to allow these reviews. In this Social School post I will walk you through how you can set your page up to accept reviews and to show the power of a five star rating on the top of your page.
Access Facebook Page Settings
Obviously you aren’t completely facebook illiterate so the first step is easy for you. Login to your facebook profile. If you are an admin to a page you will see your pages in the left hand column. Click on this link to view your public page. When you are there you will notice that beside your page’s profile picture are a few elements: You page’s title, the number of likes, and the insights about who’s “talking” about your page. Once we are finished our goal is for a starred rating indicator to appear right under this.
From the same screen, scroll up to the top of the page. You will now see some options in the Admin Panel. Click on “edit settings.”
Now you arrive in the settings of your Facebook page. It is here that you will do the remainder of the work.
Set Up Facebook Reviews
Click on the tab for “Page Info” as pictured below. The third option under this tab is for category. The key to getting reviews is to set your page to a category that requires a location field. For the purposes of our illustration I will set my business to category “Local Businesses” > “Local Business.”
At this point you have saved your category and can move down the page to your Address. Update the address with a specific location and hit save.
Once you hit save you can go right back into the same “Address” field and you will see that it looks a little bit different. You will notice a Bing Powered map that appears on the page. Beneath this map you will now see a field that says, “Show map, check-ins, and star ratings on the page.” Make sure this box is checked. Save your work.
** Home Based Businesses see addendum at bottom of post. **
The Finished Product
If you navigate out of that page and back to your Facebook page you should see a difference. Underneath the title of the page your ratings will now start to appear as people go through and review your page.
If you scroll down the timeline of the page just a little bit, you will notice that there is now a review box as well where your customers can read past reviews.
That is how easy it is to get reviews for your Facebook page and start leveraging the words of all your loyal brand fans! Leave me a comment if this was helpful. Ask questions. Tweet if necessary.
Addendum | Home Based Businesses
Another common question along the same lines is about adding reviews if you are a home based business that doesn’t want to give our your home address. Although I wasn’t sure of a way around the setup Facebook has, Sarah Bell, has shared with me that there is a way that you can do this. In the address section add your home address and proceed with the steps to get reviews as outlined above. Once everything is all set up simply go in and delete the street address, leaving only the city and state. Reviews should remain enabled on your page! Try this out and let me know what you think. This has been confirmed by Joe Della Bella.
We all know that in 2014 the human mind is easily distracted, the eye is caught by image (whether still or moving) far more easily than by text. That is why adding pictures to your blog posts is very important. Pictures help peak interest in your content, explain what you are talking about, and give emotion to what you are saying. But if you have blogged for any amount of time you know that picking images that match your content can be difficult sometimes. More than that, you not only have to find images that match, but you also have to find images that are legally able to be used.
Yes, you can get sued for using images that belong to others- even if you attribute it to them.
Sure, you have the stock option through Getty, iStock, ImageBrief, or Lightstock if you blog Christian content, but those sites can get very expensive. Very expensive just isn’t an option when you are starting out. So, here are three websites that can help you as you blog. These websites provide images that are able to be downloaded and used on your site free of charge. All of the images on this site are taken by my talented wife, myself who is not so talented, screenshots, or from one of these sites.
This must be a newer option and I’m still exploring it. Look for my upcoming in-depth post about Getty Embed.
Nearly half a million photos totally free and legal to use on your site.
Compfight provides filters you can use for creative commons and commercial licensed photos.
A free photo archive of reference photos available for public consumption and use in all creative pursuits.
Try each one. Which is your favorite? Do you have other resources you’d like to share?
Recently you may have seen the post that I did that walks you through how to create custom tabs on Facebook. It was a pretty popular post. Almost every day it receives quite a bit of attention. I love custom Facebook tabs, but I’m here to bring you some bad news today. Facebook pages are being updated and so these tabs may not have the pop they once added to your pages. Let me try to tell you everything that you need to know about the new “streamlined look for pages” as Facebook is calling it.
You may have seen this message recently:
It appears that one of the things Facebook wanted to accomplish with this update to pages is to simulate user experience by targeting what they really feel like your visitors want to know. They have cleaned up pages so that visitors can quickly locate key info about your business/brand. This is important as we all know because customers are quickly distracted. The quicker they see our contact information, geographic location, Purpose, Identity, the quicker they are to pledge allegiance by subscribing, liking, following, +1-ing, or hopefully, purchasing. This seems to be a queue they have taken from Google+ Business Pages. See the front and center pertinent info on my wife’s G page?
The layout changes that will take place are as follows:
- Right Column Content – All page updates (posts of any kind) will display on the right hand side of the page.
- Left Column Content – Business information: Location, Hours, Website, Mission, Etc. It will also have containers for photos and videos.
- Horizontal Menu Bar – In the photos that Facebook released you can also see a new menu bar to help you navigate through the page content. This is why I mentioned the custom tabs above. Many people are concerned because they have invested money… sometimes a lot of money… to use these tabs for giveaways, polls, links, etc. Will these disappear? Well, one thing’s for sure, they are no longer front and center.
- Tabs – So, where did they go? Rumor has it that the only place to access these now will be by clicking “More” in the new menu bar. Understandably this frustrates a lot of people, but equally understandable is Facebook’s right to be innovative and try new things. We will see how it works out.
- Improved News Feed Visibility? – Facebook also mentioned that the “one-column display means that all of your posts will appear consistently on your Page and in News Feed.” How this will change I am not sure yet, but you better believe marketers will be keeping their eyes on it as grave concerns about “likers” hardly ever seeing content has been an issue for some time now.
In addition to the layout changes there will be changes to the admin panel. The key to these changes are simplified access to your ads and tools. The explanation can’t get too much more detailed than that at this time, except for:
- Menu Bar – There will be a menu bar on top of the page as you scroll so that you can access the info anywhere, immediately.
- Pages to Watch – All Admins will now have the Pages to Watch feature and will be able to gain increased data on the pages that they are watching.
Overall Impression of Change
For the most part I like the changes. It feels way cleaner to me, and I’m all about being clean. You can be busy if you want, but I want everything neat and orderly. Sure, people are going to complain about the changes and especially about the custom tab conundrum no doubt, but I think that overall Facebook is moving pages in the right direction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. Picture screen shot from Facebook for Business public profile. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”