Dec 21, 2007

A Year's Worth Of Blogging Ideas

Several real estate professionals have recently asked me how a Realtor might approach blogging. Well, here's one blogger who has some ideas, and has compiled a year's worth of blogging ideas in one link:

This blogger, Mary McKnight, if focusing on ways real estate professionals might blog. Of course, her blog is more of a blog about blogging, and is intended to lead you to purchase a website design. Nevertheless, I found a few nuggets browsing through this link.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

New to blogging? Save yourself time and hassle:

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Why I Dumped BlogRush

It is late December, 2007, and in the first three months since BlogRush was released, I've seen quite a few bloggers get excited about the possibilities of this technology.

BlogRush is a widget that can be easily installed in your blog's sidebar. BlogRush employs the concept that if you post BlogRush on your blog, other bloggers will publish BlogRush on their blogs, and, similar to Google, BlogRush finds similar blogs to advertise within the BlogRush Widget.

BlogRush claims that you earn a credit for every time you surf a BlogRush blog or every time you refresh your own Blog. More than that, much like an MLM or pyramid scheme, you earn credits for other people who install BlogRush who also visit your BlogRush feed.

Personally, I found results mixed. I won't say that you CAN'T get traffic from BlogRush, because that isn't true. BlogRush DOES deliver traffic. However, I didn't see a "rush" of traffic through Blogrush, either. Out of all the referring sites to, BlogRush ranked #14 on the list. Considering that the 80/20 rule applies to my blog's statistics, as much as any other site, I made the decision that #14 in traffic wasn't worth cost to my blog's real estate and sacrifice in design/layout cost. BlogRush looks nothing like the rest of my blog. So, I dumped BlogRush for this go-around.

You may have experienced better traffic through BlogRush. If so, please let me know how you did it. In the mean time, I'm going to put more energy into Digg, Stumble, Technorati, and Blog Carnival to boost my blog's traffic.

I surveyed even the top bloggers, and they reported average clickthrough rates for BlogRush right around .05%, definitely not high for anything to promise a rush of traffic.

This said, I'm not completely abandoning BlogRush forever. I'm waiting for their next revision to come out where I can customize the widget for my site. When that happens, I'll reconsider it.

New to blogging? Learn more from the stellar resources gathered to help you grow traffic faster and increase money through blogging at Profitable Business Blogging.

Copyright © 2007 by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact. SUBSCRIBE to our feed to get more tips on blogging, sales, interactive marketing, starting a company, and team-building.

Sales Territory Plan

You would be shocked at the number of salespeople who I've met who do not write a territory plan unless their manager first asked them. Yet, how many salespeople would raise their hand in confirmation when asked, "are salespeople, in a sense, in business for themselves?"

I'm not sure what the problem is; whether laziness, lack of focus, or other reason for poor planning, but without a plan, you plan to fail.

My first boss out of college used to tell me "Plan your work, and work your plan." It was great advice. Our branch went from being a dog at $300K a month to over $1M within one year of implementing his management methods. And one of those methods recommended each salesperson having a plan for their territory.

It is a technique I recommend in Cold to Gold Mind Spark Sessions TM, too.

This article will outline the crucial elements of your territory plan. What you put in it is up to you. If you like, you are granted permission to copy this article and use it as an outline for your own personal territory plan. Otherwise, my firm,, is available to help you craft your own sales plan.

The elements of a successful territory plan are as follows:

1. Cover Page (make it look like you care, if you're going to show it to someone else)

2. Executive Summary (this is just good protocol)

What are the highlights of the plan? Write this last.

3. Mission

What is my mission? This should be no longer than a paragraph, and succinctly state my primary focus.
"Achieve Quota, be significant contributor in company, enable path to promotion to occur."

4. Objectives

What are my primary objectives? List 3 - 7 items I must accomplish to realize my mission. For example:
 "Overachieve Quota each month. Sign 5 new accounts by May 1. Develop vertical market strategy by June

a. Set SMART objectives: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-activated.
b. Keys to Success - Identify key items over course of year which will enable attainment of objectives to occur most easily. For example:

"Identify key value proposition, articulate through email, phone, and in-person."
"Solid utilization of company resources, including upper management and technical team."

5. Territory Summary

Provide overview of territory targeting:

a. Current partnerships;
b. Current customers and reference accounts;
c. Geographical description of territory - where are accounts clustered;
d. Top accounts - listed by vertical market;
e. Current Competitive landscape, by product/service offering.

This is important. Many salespeople overlook their competition.

6. Sales Strategy

a. Define Customer Buying Criteria, by product/service/solution;
b. Define My Company's solutions, by product/service/solution;
c. Define Account list by geography, vertical market, solution category (service offering);
d. Define which solutions I want to target to which group of prospects/accounts.

7. Sales Approach

a. Script out how I want to approach each prospect, by solution;
b. Script out how I want to approach each prospect, by phone;
c. Script out how I want to approach each prospect, by email;
d. Script out questions for first meeting which must be asked in order to determine needs;
e. Structure how I want to spend my day/week/month -- this should take into consideration my own peak moments.

Example of a Definitive Action plan -- Immediate objectives

Action Plan Target Date Completed?

Write Business Plan January 1
Define Account List January 1
Define Top Prospects January 1
Send Intro Email January 10
Meet Top 10 January 20

Now I have a plan. You can too. Just use this format!

Last thing to remember: Work the plan!! Follow-up, change things that don't work, add new ideas to the plan each quarter. This is my personal format I use - hope it works for you. If not, try your own plan. The key is to know who you want to work with, what you're doing, when you want to do it by, how you want to go about it, where you want it to occur, and why this matters (who, what, where, when, why).

If you're seeking help growing your sales, ARRiiVE Business Solutions offers training on sales process and topics like "Cold to Gold: How to Overcome the Fear of Cold Calling to Build Lasting Relationships."

Learn more about the business challenges we're helping leaders resolve.

Sign up for your own Cold to Gold workshop here.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2010 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 20, 2007

Get A Free Online Calendar

Have you been seeking a tool for your online calendar? I tried several in the past year and never quite found the fit for price/performance until this week, when I found a reference at Duct Tape Marketing to get a free online calendar through Google Calendar. I'd used Google calendar for my band, but never thought of using this seriously for my business until this week.

In a nutshell: I LOVE Google calendar!

Check out how I implemented it here:

I'm using this particular calendar to list my speaking events (still loading these up) and also my radio shows (want to be a guest?)... there are so many ways to use this, limited really only by imagination. Calendar entries post an RSS trail into your calendar events, which is another way to make sure your events get discovered online! Plus, comments work like RSS feed comments, too!

There are several different views for Google Calendar:

The first view is a view of my agenda.

This is nice because I can see a list of all upcoming activities laid out, with all the TEXT DESCRIPTION for each activity also clearly displayed.

The next view is the Calendar view for MONTHLY activities (see above). This view is useful to be able to see each bullet entry for the month, then the user can click on the date they are interested in. This is probably my only complaint about Google Calendar - they don't list enough of the daily activity or give me enough choice over how this is displayed in this view. I'd like to see more text in my monthly event postings view.

However, considering that this is "beta" software, I wouldn't be surprised to see more options in the near future show up through Google.

The last view is a weekly view, which I won't picture here because I found this view only useful for personal use.

What I love the most about this software is that Google Calendar not only display my calendar instantly on my website after updating through my Google account, but it also EMAILS me my calendar events for each day. It's like having your own personal secretary online. I'm using two different Google calendars, one for my speaking and radio show events, that is displayed publicly here:

And, the other Google Calendar I'm using is the one for my personal schedule. I'm still figuring out how to integrate that with ACT and OUTLOOK and exploring which way of managing my time is best; however, I know that I am strongly considering what platform will be easiest to manage my face-to-face and the one that pings me automatically in the morning is probably the one that wins. I'm just too busy to keep track of everything all the time, and this feature is a life-saver!

A note on using calendar tools for blogs: I'm only linking through a text link at my blog ( Bloggers have become conditioned that "calendars" mean another way to list posts - something I personally feel is a poor way to list your posts and confusing to blog visitors. So, my calendar link is simply a link to "events" at my blog. If you've posted a calendar at your blog that WORKS and is NOT another way to show blog article posts... can you please share?

If you're wondering how long it took me to configure Google Calendar, well, it took less than 1 hour, I just clicked all the buttons until I figured it all out. You can also re-size the calendar on your page by changing the width/height fields in the code - easy as pie. You can also choose the standard view - either month, week, or agenda. I like the agenda, but early polling seems to indicate people like the full calendar view.

Here's three simple and easy steps to set-up your own Online Google Calendar:

1. Go to Google, and sign up for a Google account.
2. Click on Google MY ACCOUNT button.
3. Click on Try Something New: CALENDAR

Once you've got Calendar, you'll then want to click through all the different options on the page. I've found this is how Google navigation works: Just click on any link, see what it does, then you'll know how to use the application to the fullest power.

The most important menu option is a very small link in the left toolbar that says "manage calendar" and offers three choices:

1. of Calendar. Mine says Scott Andrews, although yours will have your unique Google Name. This is the most important link, as you scroll down you'll find the "Embed this Calendar" link and code. You can customize the code to your site's look and feel. I lowered the height to make it fit above the fold at my site, and aside from that I loaded it verbatim.

2. Share this calendar. This option is nice because if you have a personal administrator they can be authorized to update your calendar for you. This is very useful also for group calendar sharing.

3. Google Calendar Button. This button gives you a link and image so that others can click on the button and SUBSCRIBE to your calendar. I like this, because now others are alerted to events.

If a user wants to dial into my radio show, for example, yes, they can subscribe through the TalkShoe option, but now they can also just subscribe to my events calendar and they get the news this way, too.

I'm sure there's a lot more you can do with Google Calendar. I'm still figuring out all the ways I can use this, but it already is driving me to book more speaking engagements, fill in the schedule for the next three months of radio shows, and also it will help me book additional events because now bureaus and event coordinators can see my schedule and get an idea that I'm active. This is important to me, as perception is half the battle of getting booked, and this now presents the perception to the public that works for my image.

If you don't like Google Calendar, I found a few more resources today for calendaring online at this site:; however, I found Google met my needs just fine.



Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE {dot} com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved.
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Dec 18, 2007

Business Networking Strategies on Innovations In Business Show

Join the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business Show, Wednesday, December 19, 2007, at 2:00 PM PST.

Guest speaker: Jennifer Cannon, CEO of and

WEDNESDAY - 2:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM EST (duration ~ 1 hour)

Call in and talk live:

  1. Call Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
  2. Enter Talkcast ID: 37798 then enter # key.
  3. Enter 1 then #

Join via Internet CHAT (cool, because you can text in Q's!):
1. Become a TalkShoe member
2. Download and install TalkShoe Live client
3. Visit to join the talkcast at the show time.

Click here to visit/follow the show: (select "follow the show" box).

Scott Andrews, host of Innovations In Business, interviews Business Networking Master, Jennifer Cannon, CEO of and, about the promise and potential of social networking for business. Is the Chamber of Commerce a thing of the past? What's happening with online networks? We'll discuss the opportunity, the challenges, pratfalls, and more, related to both face-to-face and online networking. Don't miss this exciting guest and master of modern networking strategies to gain valuable insights into boosting your own business's promotion.

Rave Reviews: "The breadth and depth of material here is outstanding. I look forward to hearing more great interviews." -- Andrew Long, CEO of Critical Pathfinders

"Thank you for answering my question and providing such insightful information." - Jeanette M., caller on recent show

Visit to learn more about this exciting, fun, and educational show.


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Increase Traffic With TwitterFeed

Here's a quick tip to increase promotion traffic for your blog:

Automate your "Twitter" by adding your Blog's RSS feed to through This will create an automated method to post your blog articles to, which I integrated with FeedBurner for easy automated Twitter posting.

How to use the TwitterFeed RSS Publisher:

  1. You'll need to set up an account at
  2. You'll need to login through one of a variety of methods TwitterFeed provides.
  3. You'll need to provide your RSS FEED.

I recently added TwitterFeed to my Twitter account and noticed a healthy traffic flow of new visitors hitting up my blog from this feed burner.


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales and marketing, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions, ARRiiVE Business Solutions, Twitter,, and TwitterFeed are all trademarks of their respective owners. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 14, 2007

Creating Real Relationships From Social Networks

Ten years ago I felt like I was falling out of touch with my nephew and confided this with my sister. Terri (my sister) said, "Scott, how much time are you spending with him? Kids judge your love by how much time you spend - not just the words you say." Is this not true about the business people we care about, too? The quality time we spend together will determine the value of the relationship.

I think of social networks much like I think about the "social" aspects of going to church (this isn't a plug, just a comparison). We can go to church, and attend services, say hello to greeters, the people next to us, and then leave. From that little interaction we might say that the church offers little social value to us. But, if we get involved in a small group, Bible study, or Sunday school class, we might get to know people on a more intimate level. I remember that the kids who went to my study on Thursdays, sang in youth choir with me, and went on trips to Mexicali with me during Spring Break always knew me better than the kids who just showed up at services with their parents. We spent time together! I've always found that's the way to get to make meaningful relationships is to spend TIME together, asking questions, sharing meals, laughs, and some level of intimacy beyond a face or computer screen. Online social networks, in a modern business sense, can be much like a big church, where we poke in and see interaction, we see relationships, but if we don't get involved we don't get much experience from it. Like anything, any network and relationship requires time to develop.

Blogging, on the other hand, reminds me more like playing my sax in church. Now, this is different because the spotlight is on me. You may know me, but I may not know you. I could play a sax solo in church and the whole congregation comes up to me afterwards, saying things like "Hey Scott, great solo! That rendition of Amazing Grace really touched me... " but playing my sax created a rather unfair relationship because they think they know me - my music touched them - and they know my name, but I don't know them at all other than their face! They especially forget to tell me their name when saying "Hi!" and that, to me, is a biased and unfair relationship. It's almost impossible to remember names when 40 people say "Hi Scott - good job!"

Blogging can be really similar, if you're not careful. For example, you might feel you know me, because you've read to a post and identified with my thoughts or opinions, or you subscribed to me feed(s) because I made you laugh, cry, feel, or think something refreshing, but I may not know you at all unless you comment, call, or email me directly.

That's the nature of blogging and social networks. Thus, I encourage people to call me if they truly wish to know me. When someone is serious about being on my radio show, I almost ALWAYS call them and talk with them about their business for 10 to 20 minutes. Yes, that's time out of my day, but the increased business relationship is worth every minute of the time spent, as they'll be referring their networked list to my show, my links, my feeds, as a result of being a guest on the show.

If we want to be really connected, it almost always involves at least an email; or better yet, a phone call. Even better than a phone call is good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings.

When I stand up to give my Cold To Gold talk or introduce the concept of selling to a group, I often ask "What's the best form of selling?" Savvy class members will answer "face-to-face" and they're right. It's the same with any type of relationship we wish to build.


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

Create a new relationship: SUBSCRIBE to our feed. (And don't be shy!)

Dec 13, 2007

The #1 Best Sales Copy Of All Time

I've been studying sales copy in order to improve sales at my websites and through sales letters for clients in my sales training programs and sales consulting services.

Have you wondered what it takes to write good copy?

Well, as it turns out, there's a method to the madness. That's right: you don't have to sound like a salesperson to write good copy. In fact, I found the trick to write good copy is much like telling a good story:

Twenty years ago, two business majors graduated from college. They both went to the same school. They both were about the same height, and roughly the same intelligence. Wind the clock forward twenty years later and these two graduates are now working professionals, only one is a Manager at a company; the other, the company President. What's the difference?

We'd all like to know what sets these two people apart. After all, they're both men in their early forties, both are married with two kids, and both of them enjoy playing a round of golf on the weekend.

What's the difference?

Why did one professional rise to Manager, while the other ended up running the joint?

Well, that's where the copy comes into play. You may notice, this copy sets up a story... you're on a journey, you're interested in what could possibly have set these two people in different directions, even though they seemingly had the same aspirations, education, intelligence, and background. There is no reason to think one would end up any better off than the other; yet, that is exactly what happens.

It's the same with good copy: the site with good copy outsells the site with poor copy. I'm helping people write better copy and improve their scripts all the time. And, you'd be shocked how FEW have taken the time to master this important skill of writing powerful copy. I'm not sure it is because they are lazy procrastinators, get blocked, or because they fail to make the effort; more rather, I think it is because they simply don't know how to do it.

How Do I Do It?

Knowing this, I decided to set off on a search for good copy. I've been studying the top copy writers I can find. I even searched out the #1 best sales copy of all time, a letter inviting subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal. This search led me to all types of copy, some amazingly simple and brilliantly crafted, other copy quite funny, and some, well, let's just say it needed a round file. The search for the best copy of all time produced a wide array of information that could be broken down into three steps. In doing so, I determined the following three rules are critical to writing your own copy:

1. Find other copy in your industry, selling a product as similar or exactly the same as what you are selling.

2. Determine which stacks of copy (or sites) are successful (Google PR, Alexa, Subscriptions, Sales Volume, etc.) and which ones suck (again, same criteria).

3. Swipe your copy from those stacks of copy and rewrite with your own story, in your own words, as closely as you can without plagiarizing the original best copy.

There is an art to writing good copy, just as there is an art to writing good content on a website. If you're going to improve your business, it is probably beneficial for you to learn both skills. After all, the person who has the greatest mastery of his or her native tongue rises to the top of their profession, almost without fail. Writing good copy and good content is akin to mastering your tongue.

What sets the best apart from the rest?

If you are in sales or managing an organization, and wondering what sets the best apart from the rest, look no further than copy: in my history of selling and managing, I've found that 98% of success can be found from the person who held the linguistic golden keys to the verbal skills safe of language success: the person who can write great copy.

This is why a script is so important in prospecting, selling process, and closing deals. If you haven't scripted out successful salespeople, and followed them around to see what they're doing to write all that business, then you're either arrogant or a fool. Either way, you're blowing it!

You can do it, too!

Oh, and before I leave, I want to share that I'm including some of my top tips in writing good copy for prospecting in my newest program, "Cold To Gold: Modern Methods to Overcome Fear, Get In and Build Long-lasting Successful Business Relationships" I'm offering these tips, along with valuable techniques to (a) get more phone calls returned, (b) get more emails opened and clicked-through, and (c) get more appointments. These are based upon real selling situations I've faced throughout my career.

I'm probably crazy to share this mountain of information used to close deal after deal in my own past selling successes, but I figure why not help others succeed the way I did? How many successful salespeople stopped to tell you their secrets of how they got the critical appointments that won them millions in business? I've had a few who blessed me along the path of my own journey, and feel the need to pay it forward to help you, too. I'm also sharing how to get more sales in less time. Because, if you ask me, if you begin the right way, you're more likely to end the right way: with the customer shaking your hand, thrilled to be doing business with you. And, when that happens, it takes less time, fewer calls, and less sweat to succeed.

I know I can't guarantee the success that you might have, as you might only apply part of what I teach, or you might augment it with other things you've learned. But I can promise you that you will like what you've learned, you will find it both entertaining and informative, and you will find my sincere desire to continually add to the program subscription. My personal guarantee is if you don't find the information in the program sufficient to contribute to your success, simply cancel the subscription and I will refund to you 100% of the money you've paid me: no questions asked (although feedback IS appreciated).

So, before I change my mind and start offering this program for the $2,500 minimum I charge for in-person training, you might want to give it a visit and see how this program might benefit you. I'm grateful for your visit.

One last thing: I found the copy from that ad that beat the #1 ad of all time at this site: Check it out and see if it doesn't compel you to want to act on their letter. If you feel you're not ready to write copy like this, yourself, well, there are always copywriters who can help you out. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon to learn more about ways to boost your success. I'll be writing more on the #1 best sales copy of all time in the future, along with providing more useful suggestions to help you master your success in your own journey.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939. Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Part of this article is referring an article by Mal Decker, published in the Wall Street Journal. No infringement intended.

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Dec 12, 2007

Widgets, Widgets, Widgets!

You may have seen the cool way of sorting tags called a "cloud" -- basically a clustered group of titles or label titles grouped in varying degrees of bold & size based upon the frequency of posts into that label title. See the right side-bar cloud in the blog? This widget came out of some trial (and error), and not without growing pain and loss of traffic.

The reason for this is I first tried the "easy" way to implement a cloud on my blog, by using a widget provided by Technorati. I originally experimented with the label cloud widget by Technorati to create my label cloud structure in my blog sidebar. After about a week, I started noticing my traffic was actually going DOWN for the blog -- something that hasn't happened yet upon the launch. In addition, I lost Google Ad revenue, too. Both of these results are not good, obviously. The problem? Technorati's Label Cloud Widget redirects users to the website. And, from there, the users will stay at Technorati and search THEIR post feed, rather than YOUR post feed. This, for me, was a bad thing, because I'm still not ranked as a top 100 power site at Technorati. Upon discovering that Technorati's cloud redirected traffic onto their site, I realized the problem, removed their cloud, and created a cloud structure of my own.

As a result of this experience, I've created FOUR RULES to better widget management:

1. Widgets must add value
2. Widgets must improve traffic if they do not provide high value to the end-user.
3. Widgets must provide value equal or superior to the real-estate cost of placing the widget.
4. Widgets must visually appeal within the design of the website.

Here's more detail on these four rules regarding boosting value in using widgets on your website or blog:

1. WIDGETS MUST ADD VALUE. A widget must provide additional functionality VALUABLE to users at your site. For example, I'm seeking ways to make my blogs more interactive. To that end, I'd prefer having a box talk to you when you drop by the site. However, this may not be the way my blogging audience wants to be interacted with. So, as a test, I'm trying out Meebo's live chat widget in the meantime.

Many widgets can add functionality to your site. From a calendar to weather station, there are many types of widgets you COULD add to a blog. The question is: does this functionality benefit your visitors in the way they want to interact with your site? If the answer is yes, then try the widget out and see how it plays out for you.

2. WIDGETS MUST IMPROVE TRAFFIC. You MUST be careful with widgets. When I installed the Technorati cloud, I lost a significant stream of visitors to my blogs. When I corrected the problem, my visit/page views continued to grow as they had been before loading the widget. Not a bad lesson to learn for a week's worth of traffic, but you can bet on it I won't need to learn this lesson twice: a widget shouldn't direct people off of your site, unless you're getting a return value equal or superior to the lost traffic. In the case of Technorati's Cloud Label widget, I couldn't see the value, and replaced the cloud with my own Blogger cloud (by the way, I used this code: If you use the code approach, make sure you back up your template, first! I had a problem installing on one of my blogs that cost me an hour to fix because I didn't back up first.

Other widgets that I've recently tried out that did not provide an equal return on the lost traffic (or lost real estate cost on the blog) included: Amazon widgets, A-Store Widgets, and a blogroll that I disconnected.

Getting traffic directed away from your site is not usually a good thing, if there is no reciprocal value. However, gaining traffic through a widget can be a great thing:

A widget I really like is one that draws traffic TO my site, such as this cool widget by SpringBox, which you can click on the "get this widget" on the lower right of my side bar in this blog to pick it up for your own website. What's great about the SpringBox widget is that people who load this on their blog are redirecting their site visitors to my blog and my blog-posts. It is a nice way to share blogs without redistributing the RSS FEED (which, to me, is piracy). The best way to avoid piracy is give people a way to syndicate your content, with the exchange being that traffic can come back to you. This is essentially what I'm doing with Springbox's widget. I'm still experimenting with these types of widgets; however, the general rule I've come to adopt is: when in doubt, remove it.

3. WIDGETS MUST RETURN (EARN) VALUE WORTHY OF THE REAL ESTATE COST. Putting a widget on my sidebar is essentially giving up landscape that could be used for other purposes. I have plenty of information to share with readers, but I will put a "language" translation widget up because this will result in more eyeballs staying on my page - especially those who cannot read English. In addition, I'll put a Google search box widget in my sidebar, because then people can search the blog more easily and find related articles fast. I'll include Google Adsense, because it's making me money.

Note: The best location for Google Adsense is under the header bar, not the sidebar. I found that my earnings through Google went up 50% when I added my link across the top of the blog, versus only listing it in the side bar and at the bottom of posts. That seems to be the #1 most important place to advertise for ads: under your header bar, text link 4 across the top. These links are the ads that get clicked the most. Many readers IGNORE the sidebar, so remember this, too.

4. WIDGETS MUST NOT DISTRACT OR NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR DESIGN. As with any website function, also make sure that a widget does not distract from the visual appeal of your website. All items ought to flow naturally and look as if you could have designed them and put them there yourself. Sure, a widget name in the corner makes it obvious that it's a widget, not custom-designed tool, so you've got to decide if installing something that ugly is acceptable for your blog.

I'll discuss monetizing widgets in a future post. I believe widgets are going to be increasingly important to websites, as people seek unique ways to interact, provide value, and relate to each other through the web. Consider this: Rockyou's volume is over 100M a day with their widget offerings, so there is volume in widgets. Just make sure the value your readers get back is worth the volume you're giving up.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions. ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939. Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

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Dec 10, 2007

The 7 Worst Ways I've Ever Made Money

I've decided that this year I'll try to be a little more humble. I know, here is this Leo, larger than life, deciding to admit to a few of my failures, or rotten experiences, in life. I've always been a bit entrepreneurial. But there have been times when I got into things, that looking back, I can't exactly say were "highlights" in my career.

Here's my Top 7 Worst Ways I've Ever Made Money:

7. Pizza delivery guy.

This job loved me. Only problem was, it didn't pay well. The good news was that it was pretty low stress after getting fired from my Florin Mall Marketing Assistant Job. I wasn't fired from the marketing job for being a crappy marketing assistant -- I was fired because the books got messed up, and it made the Director look stupid in front of the merchants association. Of course, she never admitted that the whole reason the books were messed up was because she hired this guy to be an intern and he stuck his imbecile head in the books. Before I realized what he'd done, he was two weeks into it and made a complete mess of things! With his screwups and my not really being a guru on accounting, it cost 20 hours at $100 per to get it straightened out with the accountant. Back to the pizza delivery, this was okay, but people really ought to have their money ready when they order pizza. I hated waiting there while it grew cold. Pay: $5.95 an hour + tips. Sweat: low. Worst side-effect: smelling pizza all day long, getting chased by dogs and small children. I never had anyone named Spicolli order a pizza at school, though.

Best lesson learned: Distribution is much more profitable when you're delivering high-ticket, high-value items.

6. Selling lemonade on a street corner.

Like many youngsters, this lemonade job idea was my first entrepeneurial approach at making money. I was about 10 at the time, and I thought it would be really cool to sell lemonade. I was offering cups for about a quarter. I sat out there with my sign, table, and lemonade for about 5 hours. The only problem was: I lived in the country. My customer total after those 5 hours was only THREE customers. I'm surprised I sat there that long, looking back. Afterwards, my Mom told me that the lemonade cost $1.50 at Scolari's grocery mart, but she wouldn't charge me for it. Thanks, Mom. Pay: crappy. Sweat factor: not high. Worst side-effect: being bored to tears!

Best lesson learned: no matter how good your product and marketing might be, you won't make sales unless you product or service gets noticed by a lot of people. And that can't happen if you are marketing out in the boon docks.

5. Cleaning toilets at camp Fox boy scout camp.

Now, here's a doozy: once upon a time, I actually volunteered to clean toilets! Well, not exactly. I just wanted to go to Camp Fox. My older brother went and asked me to come. He thought it would be a good idea to get me out of the house during my summer vacation. Turns out that I had two choices as a volunteer: KP or maintenance. Riding around in the jeep looked like fun, until I realized that the jeep drove to the bathrooms. My brother lasted three days. I stayed the week. Pay: zero. Sweat factor: medium. Worst side-effect: ew. You really don't want to know...

Best lesson learned: People love free help, but offering free help doesn't create profit. I'd rather work for money than volunteer, unless the volunteering connects me with another job I might love and that might be highly profitable.

4. Selling door-to-door security systems for retail.

Now, this one doesn't show up on my resume. Not because I got fired. The boss loved me. In fact, he told me I'd written the best sales plan he'd ever seen in his life (I now offer that as a service to ARRiiVE Business Solutions clients). What sucked about it? I can't put my finger on it, except that selling retail security systems to busy small business owners just seemed like a weird way to sell. It didn't help that my head was all messed up from my divorce - never an easy time to start a new job. Pay: decent. Sweat factor: high. Going door to door increased my respect for the Kirby salesman. Worst side-effect: getting chased by the black doberman guarding a used car lot. Now I know how postal delivery workers feel!

Lesson learned: Make sure you understand the work you'll be doing and want to do that type of work before you sign up for the position.

3. Selling timeshares for an ego-maniac.

Actually, selling timeshares can be fun. The schedule isn't too grueling (you're usually out in less than 8 hours), you get to work at plush resorts, and the pay can be fantastic. You're talking about people's dreams. And sharing dreams and what other people love most in life ought to be fun, right? Well, sort of. You're forgetting that I was selling to people! This means people who often have serious issues. And many people are not pleasant to be around, including some of the people who manage you. I won't name names, but this one particular manager was so awful that he didn't let me go to a wedding, called me a slacker, and threatened to fire me -- of course, I was at work on valium with a wrapped-up toe (I'd just had surgery on my foot three days earlier), and he'd already promised I could go to the wedding right up until the minute I was walking out the door. Yep, he was the worst boss I've ever had.

As for some of the tours? Some people forget to bathe. Yeah. For days. Others are incontinent. How bad do they smell? It depends. Other people think it's funny to bring their baby on tour. Some babies are cute. Other babies cry... for hours! I had one couple going through a divorce while on tour. The guy's wife decided to flirt with me. Talk about awkward. Some people that go on these tours are so old they cannot hear, see, or even say much of anything. However, they can sit there for two hours for their free gift! It didn't happen to me, but I heard one tour actually DIED during their tour. It happens. Money: actually, quite good. You can make anywhere from $50k to $400K a year selling timeshares. Sweat factor: some days good, some days bad. This job is mentally exhausting. Hours not bad, but you lose your weekends. Worst side-effect: having to endure the long, drawn out squeak from the buttocks of a 90-year-old-man as he stood there, kinda smiling at me, passing gas in the elevator. I don't think he knew he did it. If he did, well, shame on him. The job probably shouldn't make the list, because it's actually a pretty good job, all-in-all. But not when the boss is an egomaniacal jerk!

Lesson learned: If you have an egomaniacal boss, and you have a strong ego, it is probably a matter of time before one of you will have to go. Make a decision who it ought to be and then operate intelligently from that position. If it is you, find another job: quick!

2. Digging trenches under poison oak.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm can really appreciate when someone else digs a ditch: when I see that long, three foot deep by one foot across hole carving through the landscape, it makes me very happy. Yes, a ditch, when dug by someone else, truly is a splendid thing. Now I can lay the pipe, plumbing, wires, or whatever that needs to get put in the ditch to complete connectivity. Yippity skippity! However, I must admit that I don't want to be the guy digging the friggin' ditch! Why? Because it is really hard work. I'd rather work with my mind. I'd rather sell something. I'd even rather give a presentation (something many consider worse than death). Certainly, I'd rather play my sax. Or even play video games. That's right: I'd rather do anything besides dig that ditch. Yes, I've dug ditches. But I can't say I enjoyed it. Enjoyment: zero. Hard work factor: very high. Pay: very low. Worst side-effect from this job: poison oak (Dad thought my brother and I would be great at stretching a water line 1/3 of a mile up-hill through a trench under the oak trees when I was 10 years old. Yeah, my Dad sure had a winner of an idea that time. I had poison oak everywhere for 3 weeks. I think I still have scars on parts of my body.)

Lesson learned: If you have a nasty, difficult, or particularly hard job in front of you, it is better to hire someone else to do it than do it yourself.

1. Working for Taco Bell as a "deep-fryer".

Not that it was bad, it just didn't pay a lot. I actually normally worked as a cashier (it is more like me to handle the money than the grease). The absolute worst job they have in the restaurant is the deep fryer guy. I did that one weekend when our fryer was out sick. I also almost died of heat stroke as it was 102 degrees outside and the restaurant didn't have proper air conditioning. I think I consumed 12 Dr. Pepper's in one day. I never could understand why the fryer guy seemed to enjoy his job. After all, I never met a fryer who got promoted to manager in that position. Total earned: <$500 (sucky, huh!) total sweat factor: way too high. Worst side-effect: a horrible case of acne. I think my face still has a few pockmarks from that one.

Lesson learned: Learn what the worst job in any business is and always make sure you don't end up doing it. The story of the guy who went from the bottom to the top is more rare than common.

In retrospect, I do recommend you find work to pay the bills, especially until you figure out a way to moonlight and make money doing the things you love. But, there are definitely jobs that you might enjoy more than others. Try to stay away from toilets, doberman pincers, and digging ditches under the Poison Ivy -- you'll be glad you did!

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Let me know how you like it...

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

Dec 7, 2007

Funniest Business Idea

I recently read an article at ShoeMoney, where the author talks about mistakes in business he's made over his lifetime. Some of these are pretty funny, and worth reading. This one was the most funny:

"ShoeMoney Petroleum Company -
(I cant believe im actually telling these in public)

Ok Follow me here -I want to purchase a Gas Station and Give away Free Gas

The catch is like the gas would come out really slow and also you would be limited as to how much you could get per week. (Like max 50 gallons a week).

How do I make money ? EASY - I would setup paintball guns around the gas station with webcams that would let people from the internet take shots at the people filling up there cars with gas. You could charge per shot or a xxxx amounts of shots per month for a set fee.

PROBLEM - I talked to a city council member about this and he told me there was a “no flying ordinance” or something rule within city limits however I could maybe do it in the country…"

Do you have a funny business idea? Please comment and share! Maybe these are good ideas for a reality show? I read in the comments below this that one user thought a better idea would be to have women in bikinis (a Hooters gas station?) who then get spashed with paintball guns.

The things some people think of!

Did you ever play the game Inventors, by Parker Brothers? I thought it was funny. One invention had this idea that you could fly by putting a chicken coup cage on your head. Yes, someone actually patented the idea a couple of hundred years ago. It seems some Big Ideas are just Dumb Ideas. I have yet to see anyone fly with that contraption on their head. They had some other ideas like an automatic hat tipper. I suppose that one gentleman felt it was a nuisance to tip his hat to people as a gesture of kindness. Thus, a gadget to save him the hassle. Then the people in society changed dress fashions and just stopped wearing hats. Oh well. So much for that idea.

Why not share your funny business ideas here? Maybe I'll even have a contest on this one. The craziest ideas people ever have in business.... stay tuned....

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 6, 2007

A New Social Website

Have you heard the term Web Democracy?

I heard Guy Kawasaki, the former evangelist for Apple Computer, mention his new baby, Truemors, and he called it "Democratizing the Web". I'd not heard of that expression, so I checked it out. At first, yet another social networking site. But I had to dig deeper. Basically, I see Truemors as being kind of like Digg, but more social (not just tech/geekspeak). You can become a Truemors blogger or journalist through their system, and thus then become a contributing member of their system. I'd consider Truemors a new type of social website.

Guy built Truemors with very little investment other than lots of time and staking his name on it. Initially, he received some negative press. However, I'll point out that press garnered over 300,000 page views within ELEVEN days! I wouldn't mind negative press that send that many visitors to ARRiiVE, because I'm sure most of those visitors left feeling like Truemors has a voice and a place on the Web to accomplish their vision: democratizing the web.

The idea is to share information, and to share it freely, across multiple categories. "But, isn't that what we're already DOING on the web?" you might ask. Well, yes, and no. When I dug deeper into what is going on with Truemors, I think it is more about the QUALITY of content than mass sharing of content. During the initial launch, there were 450 posts. Of those, roughly half got deleted for being "crap" posts.

I can't blame Guy for that, at all. In moderating a group on Advanced Collaboration at Plaxo, I have found that roughly 50% of all posts into the group are either non-related, unfocused blogshares, or spam. In other words, crap. I've been criticized for moderating my group at Plaxo, but my point is this: what value is a group when posts are filled with UCE, SPAM, poorly written messages, and other crap? Wouldn't you rather have a group moderated for high-quality content? To which, I'm now starting to get some kudos and applause from the group. My hope is that other members will join me in helping moderate the contributions to the Advanced Collaboration group in a positive manner. My own goal in creating Advanced Collaboration was to build a collective platform to contribute, gain ideas, and eventually promote what I'm working on over at Semantic Collaboration.

Although Truemors claims to be unmoderated, the truth is that Truemors is HIGHLY moderated. In order for Truemors to claim quality, they have to be. I, for my part, think that Truemors may succeed. I feel the same curiosity around it as I did when Steve Jobs invested in Pixar. And, we all ought to know how that ended up for Steve (Pixar was purchased by Disney for $7.4 Billion). That's a cool $3.7 Billion dollars in value for Steve Jobs. Not bad, huh?

Not only that, but he gained a seat on Disney's board, which means he can steer future direction of that stock's performance, too, and gain leverage to integrate more Apple-related solutions into Disney, which will help Apple's performance, too. Now, how will this pan out for Kawasaki? My gut tells me that he'll sell it when he feels it reaches such a critical success that someone larger, like Time Warner, might come in and purchase it for billions.

I'm still learning about Truemors but my initial impression is that this site advanced social websites with a more intellectual bent, an "NPR for the eyes," as Guy calls it.

Kudos to you, Guy. Please keep me informed as to how it goes. Heck, I might even post a little there, myself.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Truemors is Copyright © 2007 Nononina, Inc. ARRiiVE Semantic Collaboration, Apple, Pixar, Time Warner, and Guy Kawasaki are trademarks of their respective owners. No infringement intended. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 5, 2007

Building A Powerful Team

Notice: Andrew Long, CEO of Critical Pathfinders joins Scott on the ARRiiVE: Innovations in Business RADIO SHOW today:

Show Topic: Building A Powerful Team
Time: Today at 2PM PST/5PM EST.
Phone Number: (724) 444-7444Talkcast ID: 37798

Web URL:

Building A Powerful Team Details: More than ever, employees are required to work as a team. Join Scott as he discusses the importance of a strong team and how to build one with the CEO of Critical Pathfinders, Andrew Long.

What you'll want to do:
1. Join TalkShoe. Download software 5 minutes prior so you can join in on the chat session.
2. Visit the URL:
3. Join us by calling: 724-444-7444 (enter i.d. 37798) or going to this page on the Web to Chat and Talk Live, or to hear the rebroadcast if you miss the show:

See you there!

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 4, 2007

Top Blogger Template Sites

How To Make Your Blogger Blog Look Unique.

Obviously, 16 templates, divided between 16 gazillion blogs, is going to create a problem for you if you're serious about blogging for business. Primarily, your blog won't look very unique. I've been putting together modules like this one to help provide the maximum value with my Profitable Business Blogging course.

What's the solution? A unique template! As with any format change, BACK UP your data completely prior to making any change. Trust me, you'll be glad if something goes wrong. Okay, that said, I'm not responsible for what you do with your blog. To get your own unique blog template, where can you look? I've put together a list of resources to get you started.

First, before you even change templates, consider changing the HEADER IMAGE, which gets inserted as a write-over of the existing blog header.

There are layout options in the blogger menu that enable you to change your image. I did this first, then tweaked it more and more until I had a graphic that looked almost like my regular site. I wanted the Blog to look a little unique, although I may tweak it more in the future.

The Top Ten Places To Find Blog Templates:

  1. - Quite a few choices here, including coffee, restaurant, luxury car, strawberry, and more. These are slightly less popular than the Blogger layouts. You'll get a lot of three column choices here and they're pretty easy to load.

  2. blogger-templates - There's not as many designs here, but what they've got is good. I like Grey Press and Deep Blue and have only seen each of those a couple of other places.

  3. - I personally like the Neosapian red, white, and black design. Very hip.

  4. GeckoandFly - 23+ templates, easy to install: just download and upload to Blogger.

  5. - You'll find both new designs and retreads at this site with quality design and layout that makes you want to browse more.

  6. - Here's some nice, clean templates for blogger (don't let their name stop you!) They've got designs by color, retro designs, and more. I especially liked their retro designs for people with those types of businesses.

  7. - These templates are clean, with some interesting variations. Since this site is highly ranked, these have also been downloaded 16,000 - 32,000 times as of the time of this writing. I personally like the simple one on page 2 the best.

  8. - These aren't free, but they're good. You'll find a huge assortment of both Blogger and WordPress templates.

Just In Case You DON'T Use Blogger

  1. TheStyleContest - This offers some interesting themes for other blog software besides Blogger, specifically: Moveable Type, Typepad, and Live Journal.

  2. - For PersianBlogger, Blogger, Moveable Type, and others, especially those who speak Farsi, there are some options here.

Feel Guilty Getting It For Free?

For those who like to pay for their software, there's Elegant Themes. Nice themes, you will find these are definitely unique and not used as often as free themes.

BYOB (Build Your Own Blog) Create Your Own Template:

Want to get truly creative? The coolest tool I've found for blog templates is this one, where you can literally customize and create your own blog template for Blogger (or other Blog hosts):

  1. - what's great about is that the format is W3C (ranks higher in search engines) and requires little or NO HTML experience. Here's a groovy example of a blog originally in Blogger, but where the blogger got sick of blogger's look and wanted three columns:

  2. Ahh. Thank you. - Pam Blackstone doesn't really offer TEMPLATES, per se. What she does offer is easy way to change the fonts and spacing in your existing template. Which, frankly, is all I wanted to do, anyway (I have my own graphic for the header).

Template Sites That Require A Second Look:

  1. Stop Design - These are the blog templates contracted by Google for the Blogger Platform. I'm going to recommend against them if you're serious about BUSINESS Blogging or making money from your blog.Let's start with where to find your blogger templates. Don't get me wrong (or flame mail me Stop Design!) because I'm not saying don't use Stop Design to design your custom blog, I'm just saying if you're serious about blogging for $$ that you might want a UNIQUE design. Stop Designs are VERY common, with thousands and thousands using them. If you commission them to create a unique template, you'll be in good hands.

  2. - These are more templates by the Blogger team. Again, free, but they'll be used by many... if you want unique, you'll like the others better. There is a cool i-phone theme, for anyone geeked up on the new Apple i-phone. The reason I'm listing this is because they post widgets and "how-to's" for blogger here. Also, I noticed they're coming out with seasonal themes here, as well as movie themes, like Pirates of the Caribbean.

And, last, but not least, for those of you who want to remove the pesky navbar, there's a whole page dedicated to this, with some simple code inserts. Before you freak out and say HTML Code - uh oh - don't worry. This is not that complicated. It's as easy and copy, paste, for the most part:

A secondary way to test after backing up:

What I recommend to you is to set up a "trial" blog first, using a random, useless name (don't use anyone else's real name or a name someone else might want, just make up something so it is a polite test). Then once you have that blog, insert the same theme as you have now. You might want to also copy a couple of your widgets over, just to see how it would go through the transfer. THEN make your switch to the new design, see how it works. If everything goes well, you'll know how your new design looks without risking your current blog design or data.


Want to kick-start your blog? See how bloggers make money at Profitable Business Blogging.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Blogger is a trademark name of Google. No infringement intended. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Dec 2, 2007

How To Launch A Website

Someone recently asked me How To Launch A Website?

I jotted down a top seven list for her and then quickly realized that I had the makings of a valuable article for the ARRiiVE Blog.

7 Ways to Launch A Website:

1. Start With VISION.

With most of my programs, I'll tell you that you can't do much of anything without first having a vision for what you want to do. Start a website without a clear vision, and your website will be clustered, poorly designed, and lack continuity or miss the target. Worse yet, you might have to shift, redesign, and rebuild the whole thing. And that can be costly. So, first, get clear on your vision:

What is the website for?

Who do you want to reach?

What are they looking for?

Until you can answer these questions in one sentence, don't start your website.

2. Get Your Domain.

I might even suggest getting "potential" domains even before getting clear on your vision. However, this might mean you buy more domains than you need to, and there are enough domain hawks on the web as it is.

One useful tool is to make sure you search for your domain names in a way that NOBODY else can see your search. There's only one tool I know of that lets you do this: When you go for a domain, you want to get two different types of domains. Type A is the domain name for your company name. Reserve your company domain name and all the extensions for it (.net, .org, .biz, etc.). Type B is the domain name for the top key word or key words you wish to go after. When I first launched AspireNow, I had several names available that I ought to have registered ( for example). I didn't register it, so a domain hawk who was seeking for a general ad-catchall site registered it and now won't release it to me. And, there isn't much I can do about it because he's international. So, get your keyword phrases also in domain form, as this is one of the top secrets of keywords.

What if the domain name I want is taken?

If the domain name you want is reserved or in use, you have two choices: (1) Bid on the name. There are several services on the web that provide this service, from to or If that doesn't appeal to you, then do what I did: (2) Choose a different name. In the case of, I simply misspelled my name. Funny thing: by intentionally misspelling the name ARRiVE to ARRiiVE, I created an opportunity for the two lowercase ii's as part of my logo. People now ask me "What's with the two ii's?" I can tell them "before, you felt like you were in it alone, now it's i and i - we - together." I also created a name people remember MORE than the other name.

Some people will state "get a domain host" as a separate function from get "get a domain host" (a host is the company who will host your website on their server). The domain host CAN be separate, but I prefer to have them both tied together. I've been getting my domain names and hosted sites through lately.

3. Develop Your Identity.

This means Name, Logo, Brand, Slogan, Colors. I've read many articles on launching websites and have quite a bit of experience launching sites now. The mistake almost 98% of all websites make is failing to create any type of brand prior to launching their site. Before I launch any of my sites, I always have a logo developed. I have my slogan. I know what I'm doing with the site. If you can't say that, you're probably not ready to POST anything. So, before you create your content or post content, make sure you have a logo. If you need help, I can design a logo for you for under $1,000. In addition, if you want a full brand, name creation, vision strategy, and you're going BIG (you have millions in funding behind your idea, etc.), then you'll want to have a big-time branding firm help you with this.

I recently found some impressive branding elements at Viewpoint and Ovo. One of the best blogs I've discovered discusses Owning Your Own Brand. I've also got a good friend who is a pro at creating identity, who I reference when I need higher-end work. Most sites are going to be fine with a good logo and brand. So, before you go with an unknown, you might want to talk to someone you trust. :)

You can launch without your logo, but you'll be more impressive to visitors if you've got your identity act together. Don't forget to trademark your brand and logo, as well. Once your site gets popular, other domain hawks and site operators will see your popularity and want to copy you. As the saying goes, imitation is the best sign of flattery. Well, try not to get flattered in this way too much and protect your rights.

4. Develop Your Website Layout, Look, and Feel.

Are you a graphic designer? Do you have a good eye? Don't just answer yes if you don't really know. I've seen people with a great eye who could choose what they thought they wanted, but they may not have taken into account what their USERS wanted. Are you marketing to females? Use warm colors. Are you marketing to males? Use cool colors. Is your layout showing pictures? Then you might want to either show thumbnails or start with one classy picture, then invite people to see more.

Keep your space uncluttered. Many sites over clutter their site. If you're not sure what you're adding provides value, leave it off. Or, test it for a week, then see how it impacts visitors.

5. Develop Content.

If you're concerned about how to write good content, I've found that it helps to pick a topic I want to write about. Then, I figure out the headline. It's kind of like writing lyrics for a song. A co-songwriter in my band, Body, says to me "If you have a good song title, the rest of the lyric is easy." I think he's right. It's the same for writing articles. Usually, I'll pick the title and then some sub points underneath that. Sometimes, just three sub points, sometimes five, sometimes the 7 best. Whatever makes the most sense for that topic. Guy Kawasaki likes to do "Top Ten" lists or ten bullets in his talks. This ensures in the instance an audience member might think you suck, at least they know how far you have to go in your presentation (there's an end to the suckiness?). I typically will let people know how many points I'm going to talk about, too.

Within content, it is useful to cross-promote other articles, links, and sites you wish to promote. I cross-link related articles in many of my posts. For example, I'll mention that if you want to launch a blog as a website, and make money with it, you'll probably want to check out Profitable Business Blogging. See, it's that easy? Okay, so that was a shameless plug. Sometimes, I'm more subtle. Either way, you get the idea.

6. Optimize For Search Engines.

If you're not sure on how to optimize for search engines, I'm working on an E-book that will be part of the Profitable Business Blogging program called: G-Juice, Secrets of High Search Engine position. I've developed a few over the last year, in particular. One I'll give you here is to pick a title that has some Google search. Different strategies work for different things. For example, if I'm going for a title with high volume, I'll probably need to write about the subject more than once, and link back to it from other blogs. If you don't know how to pick keywords, you'll need a tool to do this. I use several, or can do this as a service for you through ARRiiVE Business Solutions. The important thing is to build a strategy, then continue to hone your strategy. I don't recommend submitting your site multiple times to multiple search engines. In fact, I don't even recommend you submit until AFTER Google discovers your organically (they give you more power when you do this). It will mean you'll have to wait a few months, and if you can do that, then it is a good idea. Otherwise, get your keywords right, submit to the engines, then work on your other strategies.

7. Promote Your Site.

There are several ways you can promote your site. The most popular on the web, right now, include:

a. Writing many blog posts.
b. Posting genuine comments on other posts (please, no spam).
c. Google Ad-words campaigns. I like AdWords because you can control the cost. It starts at $.05 per click, and goes up from there. Other linkage programs, can also be helpful.
d. Other affiliates, such as Amazon, can boost your earnings, but they won't necessarily improve your traffic. Try to pick affiliates that drive traffic back to you, too.
e. Consider a link-share program. The best site I've seen with links is I'm considering adding a similar linking strategy for both of my blogs. It's very powerful to have high-ranking blogs on your roll. Plus, when you give them out traffic, they likely will send some back to you.
f. Free gifts: Ideas for easy (downloadable gifts) include an e-book, software, widgets, or an online training course, which can be automated for newsletter sign-ups. People love free things.
g. I'm NOT sold on free ad networks. I've found that the reciprocal SPAM isn't worth the traffic I've received. If you find otherwise, please do share.
h. Make sure your URL is in your email you send out.
i. Put your WEBSITE name and URL name on your stationary and business cards. Some people even put it on their car!
j. Use traditional press releases. I've found some limited success with publishing press releases. There's a strategy to this. I recommend you contact Jill Lublin at to make sure you do it right, or you can contact me and I'll hook you up. OH - when you call Jill, PLEASE tell her that Scott Andrews, from ARRiiVE and AspireNow, referred you. She knows me and likes to know these things.

Frankly, when it comes to promotion, I'd much rather do PR than advertise. Why? Because PR establishes me as an EXPERT, while an advertisement positions me as a SALESPERSON. Which would you rather be?

Most important tip:

If you're stuck in any of these areas of creating your website, don't be afraid to ask for help. I've helped many entrepreneurs launch their website, create their logo, find their name, and more. You'd be surprised how much people want to help you, if you're doing something they believe in. Better yet, offer them help in your area of expertise. Most people will throw some love back your way just out of human decency. It's good for business.

Have any tips to helping people launch a website? Contact me and share.

You may also find this resource of value: Profitable Business Blogging. I like the acid test: if your time is worth more than $2.04 an hour, you'll more than likely find the tips in this program of very high value in launching your website.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 30, 2007

Get Traffic Through Hit Articles At Digg And StumbleUpon

Social bookmarking sites can help you drive traffic to your site. A social bookmarking site is an online site that enables you to "mark" or share with an online user community what you feel is important. It could be a video, a link, an article, an event, you name it.

Typically, you have to join the community to post. Then, you mark the item, include a description, a title (important), and insert keyword tags to help drive traffic and relevance of topic into the community.

Digg and StumbleUpon are two of the best bookmarking sites you can increase traffic to your blog. These two sites, used properly, can get you quite a few more users visiting your blog than other sites - even pay per click.

One of the tricks I've recently discovered to get a lot of traffic through Digg and StumbleUpon, is to find what articles are HOT in my target categories. I'm experimenting with this, but it seems that if I find an article at Reddit or other place, and then post it to Digg, I get more Diggs than when I post a retread to those places. Interestingly enough, many of the articles I position for SEO and high blog interest DO often score well, in terms of traffic, but they don't score as well at Digg and StumbleUpon as when I find something refreshingly new to those sites, and submit it first.

How can you be first to find a hot idea? Any time you see a post within your target subject matter that seems new and unusual to you, look it up on Digg and StumbleUpon. If it isn't listed, Digg it! Then go over to StumbleUpon and StumbleIt, too! You just might see an additional 1,000 users hit your page over that one Digg or StumbleUpon.

What strategies have you discovered to get more hits from social networking and bookmarking sites? If you have a strategy like this (or better), please share with me here.

If you're not using social booking with Digg, StumbleUpon, and other sites like Technorati, you're missing out on some of the best ways to promote your blog. Just use them more intelligently, in a rifled approach, and you'll do better than the typical generic blasts that receive little mention.

This article is written by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. You may republish this article only AS A COMPLETE WHOLE with ENTIRE LINKS and copyright messages attached. All rights reserved. To read more articles like this, subscribe to the A-Blog.__________________________________

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Live Chat

I'm trying something new today. I've decided to add Live Chat to the ARRiiVE blog and AspireNow's A-Blog. Now, whenever I'm dialed in, you can ask me questions LIVE. This is also cool for people who like to email me, now you can check the blog first. If I'm here, I'll try to be dialed in, so you can just send me a simple text message in the Meebo Live Chat Widget.

It's super easy to use: any AOL, MSN, Yahoo, or ICQ IM chat will work with it.

The next time you're online, check the widget. If I'm here, IM me. You can ask me questions about launching new products, improving sales and marketing, or building teams.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 29, 2007

How To Draw Live Participants To Your Talkshoe Radio Show

My Top 11½ Tips for Drawing Live Participants, by Dave Nelson, CEO of Talkshoe

TalkShoe is built for live interactive podcasting. Many podcasters find that it's more fun, fulfilling, and profitable than regular podcasting! Hosts often ask about the best ways to increase the number of live participants in their Talkcasts. This is definitely one of the key challenges when you’re first starting out. My best advice is:

11) Schedule your Talkcast on a consistent day and time so that your audience knows when to join you.

10) Choose an interesting and descriptive Talkcast name so that people who might be interested will “get it” just from the title. For example, “Grey’s Anatomy Live Fan Podcast” says it all if you’re a fan of the TV show.

9) Always have at least two future episodes scheduled so that when one show finishes, your listeners know when to join you again.

8) Publicize the regular day + time + time-zone of your live show everywhere possible. Put it in your blog, in your email signature, on message boards and forums, on your MySpace page, etc., and have your friends do the same.

7) Build an email list of friends and participants to invite to every episode. Click “Invite Guests” on your Talkcast Profile page and add to your list frequently. Send invitations about 48-hours in advance and again 30-minutes before your live show.

6) Remember that about 95% of listeners will hear your recorded podcast before they discover your live show. During your Talkcast, tell those "off-line" listeners when your show is live (e.g., “Join us live on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.”) and highlight the benefits of joining live (e.g., “You can text chat with other listeners.”).

5) During your live show, say your email address frequently. When people email you with questions or compliments, add their email addresses to your TalkShoe “Invite Guests” notification engine (see #7).

4) Recruit interesting guests and have live contests and giveaways – give your listeners a reason to join live and to interact!

3) Remind people to subscribe to your show. That way, they’ll get every episode, and as they come to “know” you, they’ll want to join live.

2) Keep in mind that participating can be intimidating. Encourage people to move from listening off-line, to listening live, to chatting, to talking. It may take time.

1) Have fun and be entertaining! People will want to join you again and again. For the host, and forlisteners, it’s fun to connect with people that you like; people who share your interests.

½) No matter what, always remember _______________________________.

Please share with me your best ideas for this last item. Thanks!

I've been utilizing these tips to grow my own radio show, called ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business. I've been broadcasting Wednesdays at 2PM PST. Make sure to visit TalkShoe, and type in show i.d. 37798 or ARRiiVE.

Come visit the show when I'm on and interact with me - it makes it way more fun. Or, if you're interested in getting more exposure for your Bid Idea, sent me an email at info [at] arriive {dot] com with a show theme idea. If I like the idea, you're on! You'll need a bio, break plug, and 10 questions for me to ask you about your show theme idea. This is key to my show being a success and helping me make you look like a star. The other thing I request is you promote the show to your own following (list) one week prior and the day of the show, to maximize attendance.

Out of all the points above, I think Dave's point on (a) consistency, (b) inviting guests to make the show more interactive, and (c) promoting the show regularly are all part of why my ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business show is starting to really take off.

Hope to see you at talk shoe for my next show.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Article posted with copyright permission by Dave Nelson, CEO of Talkshoe. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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