AboutUs.org – A Wiki Website for Websites

It never hurts to have one more way for people to find out about you and your business, and that is exactly what AboutUs.org is about. Aboutus.org is a wiki based website that is for business and organizations to help people find out and collaborate and connect with each other.

Aboutus.org is an interesting website and it could not be easier to add your own website to the wiki. Unlike directories where you have to enter in all the information by hand, with Aboutus.org all you need to do is type your domain name into the search box at the top. If your about page already exists you will be taken to it. If your about page does not exist it will automatically be created for you. I recently completed a new website for the RM of Aberdeen and took a quick screencast of Aboutus.org creating their about page. The information is pretty basic, but that is the beauty of a wiki, it is easy for anyone to add and contribute to the wiki page.

I will have to take some time and register to update the lgr.ca AboutUs.org page. Of course if any of my clients have a glowing review that they would like to add you would be welcome to contribute. 😉

Here is a short video from YouTube about AboutUs.org explaining more of what the website is about.

Go and take a look at AboutUs.org and add your website to the wiki. You never know, perhaps your next big client or job will come from them finding you there.

Blog Marketing off the Internet

Epiblogger mugThere are many ways to market your blog, both on and off the Internet. I think as bloggers we don’t use some of the more traditional marketing methods. Perhaps it is a case of not having any money to create t-shirts or order promotional items or maybe we just don’t think about it.

I was recently in Calgary and we went to the Aggie Days at the Stampede grounds. It was a lot of fun for the kids. There were lots of animals for the kids to pet and things to look at and play on. There was also a whole section of exhibits that were there promoting their various wares. Everything from the ultimate mouse trap to a corn maze that is built every year. The great part of the exhibits were of course the many promotional items the kids were able to pick up. There was a buffalo stress ball, bumper stickers, taste testing of sausage, pens and all kinds of promotional items.

If you can find some money to create and buy some promotional items here are a few ideas you can try.

  • Pens – Every one always needs a pen. Pens as promotional items are a classic. But how do you get them out if you are not showing at a conference or tossing them out in a parade or some other large gathering? You can try talking to a few local businesses and ask if it would be alright to leave some there for people to take. You can always have a supply with you and just leave one behind where ever you go like the bank, coffee shop and restaurant. People always pick up pens and before you know it you will have handed out your supply.
  • Clothing – Become your own billboard. This one does not take a lot of money really. You can create one or two t-shirts, hats, hoodies etc and wear them. Why should you be a billboard for Nike or some other large multinational corporation when you can be a walking billboard for yourself. If you can make a few up give them away as presents to your friends and family.
  • Mugs – People use mugs everyday, why not have your logo on it. This might not have the reach of a t-shirt but people will notice a shiny new mug and a great logo. Most photo finishing stores do photo mugs, travel mugs, and all kinds of interesting items. You don’t need to place an order of 100 to get a custom job done. The place I ordered the Epiblogger mugs from also make water bottles, puzzles and mouse pads.
  • Key Chains – Key chains are a lot like pens, everyone needs one. you could pass them out the same way as passing out pens, just leave one behind everywhere you go.
  • Magnets – I like getting fridge magnets, these could be harder to pass out than pens or key chains, but you could take a supply with you on a walk and simply stick them to lamp posts and mail boxes as you walk. Don’t know how many people would pick them up and you would need a type that could survive the elements a little. Another idea would be to canvas a parking lot and place them on cars. Then people would take them home and put them on their fridge.

I’ll admit the mug in the photo was not meant as a promotional item, but as a nice thing for Rhett and I to have, but there is a place for promoting your blog offline as well as online. These traditional promotional marketing items are good because they work. People need them and use them. Think about how many times you have walked away from somewhere with their pen in your hand. You might have that pen for years and every time you use it you are reminded of that business.

What types of promotion methods can you think of that you could use to help promote your blog off of the Internet?

Pictures in Google Earth

I really enjoy using Google Earth, as many of you probably do as well. One if the things I enjoy most about Google Earth is looking at the photos that people have uploaded through Panoramio. They usually show up as blue dots on Google Earth.

Back in January I submitted a few photos I took around town and that the Town of Rosthern gave me. I am happy to say that the photos were accepted into Google Earth and you can now see them. I have plans to submit several more of my own photos and photos of the Town of Rosthern to give people a sort of virtual tour of our town.

You can also view YouTube videos in Google Earth, and people can watch them as they browse through Google Earth.

While adding your photos and YouTube videos to Google Earth might not bring you much traffic to your website, it is another way for you to help get your name or brand out there so people see it. That can be very useful if your website has a geographical component. I know I will be exploring these options more in the coming months.

Besides that it is just fun to see your stuff in Google Earth!

Epiblogger Valentines Giveaway!

Rose. Found at: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/891304Happy Valentines! It has been a really great month and a half since we opened the doors here at Epiblogger and we wanted to celebrate a little with our first giveaway. We thought we could give away our first month and a half of income to one lucky reader, but then you would end up owing us money!

Then we thought it might be nice to hold an Entrecard credit giveaway. We have been pleased with the number of visitors that come on a regular basis from Entrecard and have gotten to know a few of them through comments and visiting their blogs. We have just over 1000 Entrecard credits in our account so for this contest we will give away 1000 Entrecard credits that you can use to advertise on other blogs, purchase graphic design or browse the shop and see if there is anything you might like.

How to Enter
To enter our great Valentines contest is pretty simple. There are three ways and you can enter as many times as you like. Only comments and trackbacks that are dated February 14 will qualify for the contest. Epiblogger is on Central Standard Time so plan the time of your post so it arrives here on the 14th.

  1. 1 Entry – Take part in the conversation and leave a comment on a post, any post. All comments made on February 14, 2008 will get you one entry into the contest. Please make it more than “Great post”, “Nice post” or we might miss it.
  2. 5 Entries – Write a post and create a trackback to Epiblogger. Take the conversation back to your blog and link back to us. Each trackback gets you 5 entries in the contest. Trackbacks to Thoughts posts are exempt, see the next way to enter.
  3. 10 Entries – Want a lot of entries into the contest? Write a new post from an idea from a post in our Take a Thought category. There are lots of great ideas in there to get you writing. Just create a trackback to the Epiblogger Thoughts post that you got the idea from.

The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received on the 14th of February and the winner will be posted here on Epiblogger after they have been contacted and the credits transferred. You will need to be a member of Entrecard to take part so if you are not a member yet go and take and look and sign up.

Happy Valentines and Good Luck!

Making Money is about Trust

If you want to make money on the Internet, you need to earn the trust of your readers. Trust is something you have to earn, it does not come easily. Readers have to trust that you are telling them the truth. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does not trust. While the reasons are many and varied the reality is we don’t trust. Businesses value the bottom line over people and all marketers are liars, trust is not easy to find.

We all find different reasons to trust the businesses/websites we use. One of the online businesses I use regularly is Amazon. I trust Amazon because my experience of them has been good. The items I order ship quickly and the prices are fair. I have also read many good reviews of the company and I believe that I will receive the same level of service. Amazon has earned my trust and gets money from me because I trust them.

The same is true of the blogs I read. I trust the bloggers I read to give good advice and be truthful. For example: Problogger. I trust that the information from Problogger is good advice on blogging. He has been doing it a long time and from what I can tell offers good advice.

How do you earn people’s trust? Everyone will have different reasons for trusting your website or blog. Some people trust the bloggers that publish their monthly earnings. If those bloggers can make $xx,xxx amount of money obviously you can trust what they say. Some blogs you trust because they have given you helpful advice or because of how long you have been doing something. There is a reason I say that I created my first website in 1994 on my about page. It helps people trust that I know what I am talking about. How you earn people’s trust will depend on your website, but if you can’t earn people’s trust you will not make any money.

Here are some ways that you can help people trust your website:

  • Have an about page.
  • Have a contact page that people can use to get in touch with you.
  • Create a blog to get to know people and let them get to know you.
  • Reply to email, the sooner the better.
  • Create a testimonials page or add testimonials to your website.

What are some ways you build trust with your website?

Important Notice to BlogRush

Miracle of miracles I noticed in my referral logs that I had a visit through a BlogRush widget yesterday. I had forgotten all about them, since I don’t run the widget and the last time I logged in they said that my Video Rambler blog was not approved for their network. That made me laugh because as far as I am concerned their network is not approved for my video blog, since it is aimed at families and the types of posts they were displaying would make a marine blush. Anyways, I had forgotten that BlogRush existed until that referral.

I thought I would go and log in and see if anything has improved over at BlogRush. I log into my account and I am greeted with this lovely notice:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Your account is now temporarily inactive because our system indicated that the BlogRush widget is no longer being served on your blog. All BlogRush members must be actively displaying the widget in order to participate in the network.

While your account is inactive you will no longer earn credits or have your blog posts syndicated. However, your referral network activity, and any credit balance, will be fully tracked for your account during this time.

Not that I really care. I don’t want to have another widget on my blog that just slows things down. So to close this off here is a notice for BlogRush.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Until your service actually provides some value to my readers and not just spam, crap and adult content, I will not further pollute the web with your widget. Your widget is hereby banned from this blog and any further attempt to convince me to display your widget will be meet with distrust and scepticism. Any and all future email from you will be marked as spam and treated as such.
The Management

Domain Name Giveaway Winner!

I have been holding off posting this until I was sure the domain transfer went through, but the lucky winner of the Domain Name Giveaway was Rasha who runs RoseateMarketingTips.com. Congratulations to Rasha who is now the proud owner of thewebhostingforum.com. Hope you can give it a good home and make a great site out of it.

You might want to take a few minutes to browse through RoseateMarketingTips.com. There are some gems on the blog. I think the one that caught my eye was Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name, since I have a post sitting in my drafts folder that is on the same topic. Now I will have to go back and look at it again.blank1.gif

Small Business Web Development Gap

blank1.gifI have been mulling this post over for a considerable amount of time. If you have not read Seth Godin’s post “How to create a great website” you really should take a look. He outlines 10 points to creating a great website. I agree with the points, but ever since I read the post there has been something in the back of my mind that just did not sit right with it. Let me try to explain.

Many of the businesses I create websites for are small businesses. Not large corporations, but businesses with usually less than 10 employees. They want a website because they know that in order to help with their marketing they need to be found on the Internet. They don’t have someone in their organization and they are not about to hire someone full time, to sit and blog, update and do all of the day to day tasks that would be needed to create the next killer website. These people are busy running and doing business not making websites.

Seth Godin’s list is great, but is it practical for small businesses that are busy doing business? Is the alternative that they should just not be on the web? I think I will have to let this percolate some more.

Directories are Dead

I have been seeing lots of advertising for the Best of the Web directory lately and I started to wonder if anyone actually uses web directories anymore. Personally, I don’t think I have used a directory for surfing for years. The only reason I ever use a directory is mainly to find the proper category to submit a website too.

directories-dead.jpgI also took a look through the referral logs for several websites that I work on for clients that I know are in the DMOZ directory and the grand total of referrals from DMOZ is less than 25 for the year! Considering the controversy that DMOZ has had, the fact that Yahoo has removed the directory from the home page and not even placed a prominent link to it on the home page, and since Google recently penalized a number of general topic web directories can we safely say that directories are dead?

When was the last time you used a directory to find a website?

One Week Left

There is only one week left before I draw the lucky winner in the Domain Name Giveaway! If you have not entered go and leave a comment or trackback on the post and you could be the lucky one to walk away with a free domain name to do with as you please.

According to NameBoy the domain name is worth:

Appraisal Value of thewebhostingforum.com
– Dollar Value is $6745

To be honest I don’t think I would value it that high, but it if it is you are getting a real bargain!