Turning Your Passion to Profit – A Workshop & Mini Trade Show for Entrepreneurs

Turning Your Passion to Profit - Entrepreneurs Workshop & Mini-Tradeshow at FGCuUpdate:  August 28, 2011

The 3rd Annual Event will take place again  on October 1st, 2011 8:30 – 3pm at the Student Union at FGCU.

Keynote: Normal Love, Chef, President & Founder of Norman Love Confections

Presenters:

 


Presented by the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University & Southwest Florida Business Today

Saturday, October 23 2010

8:30am – 3pm

At Lutgert College of Business at FGCU Campus

Click here for Full Program, List of Presenters and Registration Form (PDF)

 

On the afternoon Technology Panel Discussion

How Do I Know What My Web Site Is Doing For My Business?

Birgit Pauli-Haack, Owner Pauli Systems

Take a walk with Birgit through the maze of Web site analytics options as she shows you how to track the effectiveness of your Web site for little or no cost.

 

Utilizing Technology For The Success of Your Business
Shelly Osterhout, Founder CSA, Inc.

Shelly answers your questions on topics ranging from determining what type of computer system is best for your business needs to the changing state of technology and how to harness its power to grow your business.

Getting The Monkey Off Your Back
Charlie Ingram, FounderVeritas Employer Services
You started your business because you enjoy your business not all the administrative stuff that comes with it a lot of it legal or regulated, thereby required. Explore ways to free up your time while stillkeeping up with the paperwork? and making all those deadlines.

Using Social Media As A Tool To Build Your Business
Theresa Ayers, Owner Get Smart Women
Theresa shows you how to incorporate internet technology, creativity and innovation to maximize your company’s Web presence through the use of social media.

 

Do You See What I SEO?
Mike Ricker, Owner Management Specialties Web Services, LLC
Mike understands what it takes to maximize yourWeb site presence through the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and will answer your questions regarding ways to improve your standing on the Internet.

 

Comparing 4 Most Popular Blog Engines – Which one is right for you?

Original posted on Relevanza, Inc. Site

Which Blog Software is right for me?  How do I get started? Who can help me?

These are all valid questions!  And there are no easy answers.

Most of the time your decision will depend on a few variables you will need to consider. And, sometimes, after writing (blogging) for a year or so you may decide your original assumptions are out of date or have changed.

What does one do then? Start over? Shell out more money to convert your original site?

Our team deals with a variety of different software writing/blogging packages – and we’ve tried many more. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The world of Internet communication is filled with trade-offs.

So let’s get started…

My number one software for about 3 years is WordPress. It lets you start out as a small site, get up and running fast and keep growing. With the help of the community of this open-source platform, you are able to grow and increase the features set and sophistication of your web presence.

In 2012, there are 60 million websites built on top of WordPress. Fifteen percent the new domain names (URLs) set up last year use WordPress. It’s an easy choice when you have a new business and need a website: build it on top of WordPress, self-hosted.

But what if you have had a website and don’t have the time or funds to convert the site?  Using a subdomain (blog.yourdomain.com) with any of the free services will get you started. When the time and circumstances are right, you can migrate the whole site into one content management system.

WordPress.com & WordPress self-hosted (WordPress.org

WordPress.com & WordPress self-hosted (WordPress.org) come from the same stable of open-source developers and migration from one to another is easy when your site matures.

We published last week an info graphic by WPBeginners that illustrated the main differences between a WordPress.com and a self-hosted instance of WordPress for your website. Read more here:

So the two top spots, in our view, are taken by WordPress self-hosted (WordPress.org) and WordPress.com.

Blogger/BlogSpot

There are two more free services that have a long history as well as a lot of users. One is Blogger, the blog engine run by Google, which just recently received a total overhaul and is now equipped with small business level features, like integration of AdSense and site analytics as well as some great layouts.

Blogger was, a long time ago, the distant cousin in Google’s software family. It’s one of the oldest blog engines and has had a large following, especially among individuals and personal blogs. Only recently with the arrival of Google+ has it experienced a major feature upgrade and was integrated with other Google services. Various themes are available but, of course, not as vast as for WordPress.com or Tumblr. Whoever stuck it out on blogspot.com has been rewarded with an interesting upgrade. For serious businesses, connecting it with a domain should be obligatory.

Tumblr

Tumblr - Follwo the world's creatorsThe other free Blog service that made it onto this list is Tumblr which had its greatest year in 2011 when it went from 11 million users to 90 million users. Tumblr is a blog engine with a restricted set of features but what it lacks in options or integration it makes up for with social network integration, ease of use, mobile integration for visitors and contributors and search engine visibility. The themes are mostly customizable with a few clicks and settings. The range of out-of-the box features allows for a fast set-up and wide distribution over the social webs. It also has a great array of social features called like”? and “reblog”? to spread the work.

Yes, you can integrate it with your own domain name or subdomain of your exisiting website. Our Social Media Bootcamp blog is built on Tumblr and helped us assess the blog engine in a real life setting that requires rapid updating from various locations.

Compare 17 individual features to find the right solutions for you.

All four blog engines allow you to update and post via mobile applications, be it from your smartphone or tablet. That feature is important these days and, for us, is a serious qualifier for this list.

Below, you will find a list of features, an overall comparison of the four engines. We have the three onsite free services stacked up against the WordPress self-hosted installation.

A comparison table features/ advantages and disadvantages for Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr. If you see the symbols, (++) ,next to a feature, it means you shouldn’t start a blog without it, even if you work with your web developer, who might have a different preference. When you see this link, (How?), the link will take you to a page that explains how to implement a particular feature on the blog platform. I didn’t research all features for their ease of implementation but I was curious about a few and checked them out. Underneath the feature matrix you’ll find brief explanations for each feature listed.

Compare Features across Blog Engines

Feature WP.com Self-Hosted WP (WP.org) Blogger Tumblr
Account Costs free hosting fees $8 – $35month (or higher) free free
RSS feed/
Category feeds (++)
yes/ yes (How?) yes/ yes (How?) yes/yes (How?) yes/no
Own Domain (++) $12 – 24/year ~10 – $40 per year 10 p.year + GoogleApps yes (How?)
Subdomain Existing Domain $12-24/year n/A Y-Integration of GoDaddy free of charge yes, no mention of cost. (How?)
Multi-author w/ WP.com profile yes w/ un/pw from WP instance yes /w google account yes/w.tumblr.com account
Multi-Blogs  w/ WP.com Profile no w/ google account yes/ w/tumblr account.
Post via email (++) yes yes yes (How?) yes
(How?)
Auto-post FB/Twitter FB/Twitter no Twitter
Mobile Version (++)  Yes Yes/via plugin & theme yes yes
Export/Move content yes yes no/yes via customized import/export scripts no
Adsense/Adserver integration no, you will see other people’s advertising with your content yes on any network, with selection of theme Google Adsense account yes, via customized Theme.
Social Features on site yes no yes yes
Share Buttons(++) yes yes, plugins available yes, yes
Spam Filter for Comment (++) Yes Via plugin (Akismet) Auto-system yes
Allow 3rd Party comment system no yes, via plugin no yes, w/ Theme

Import blog yes, WP from Tumblr (How?) yes, other WP yes, Blogger blogs only.
(How?)
from Blogger (How?)
Post via Mobile Apps
iOs/Android/others (++)
yes/yes/yes/ (How?) yes/yes/yes/ (How?) 3rd party apps yes/yes/no more..

What do the features listed entail and why they are important?

Account Costs

The costs mentioned here are the initial set-up fees. Depending on your level of comfort with configuring your own account settings and the settings of your blog, you still might need to hire a professional for the initial set-up. The costs referred to here are only the initial costs to have an account and start a blog. Some of the other features mentioned in this comparison chart will incur additional charges.

RSS Feeds:

Are essential and needed to reach the widest possible spread of your posts around the internet. Either your integration service set-up will use them or your readers will use them. Around this blog and on Above the Noise we have a whole series of RSS related posts. On your blog, you will need to have categories in smaller groups to help your readers find relevant content. (++)

Own domain/subdomain:

As a business owner, you need to make sure that all your online activities support your brand and market your domain. Even if you use one of the free systems, you should invest in your own domain and connect it to your blog on WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. (++)

Multi-Author:

A Blog becomes much richer if you include others from your staff and or associates as authors on your blog. The burden of coming up with new content can be spread around and for your readers the experience is so much richer when they can hear multiple sides of an issues or different ways for problem solution or just different opinions. All blog software allows for multi-author set-up. All you need is an account, either on the service or on your self-hosted WP, for example. ‘

Multiple Blogs

Most people won™t have a need for multiple blogs. It’s hard enough to fill one blog with good, relevant and engaging content. But, sometimes as a business owner in a niche market it might be useful to team up with strategic partners and create a multi-topic blog and be great resources to each other’s customers. It also is helpful when you are part of a networking group with a decent online presence that you can guest post on the networks site, i.e., also on the same system.

Post via Email:

Sometimes it’s just easier to think about writing an e-mail than posting to the web where you have to login, get accustomed to a new interface, when technology distracts from the thought you want to jot down. WordPress programmers recognized this very early on and built in a way to post to our blog via e-mail. (++)

Auto-Post:

In order to make posting to social media less of a chore after you posted to your blog, you might be able to add your twitter account and your Facebook account to the settings page and authorize your site to post as you to the social networks.

Mobile Version:

By the end of 2012, it’s estimated over 50% of mobile subscribers will have smartphones, it’s imperative that your website/blog is recognizes when a mobile device is used to access your site and presents a different view of the site, optimized for mobile viewing. (++)

Export/Move content:

The big advantage of using free and low cost services is the feature set includes provisions to pack-up and leave when you find a more viable system or when you reach the point that you move on. In our 10 year experience as web consultants, the biggest hurdle to successfully moving on is the difficulty clients have in untangling content from the stronghold of hosting services or web developers. Setting up initially on WordPress.com and, later, moving to WordPress/self-hosted (WP.org) is definitely the easiest transition path. The export from the Tumblr, or Blogger will have its challenges.

 Adsense/Adserver integration:

At first it might not be all that interesting for small business to have ads on their website. But it might prove beneficial if you participate in affiliate marketing or for a publishing company that decides to monetize parts of the site.

Social Features:

As a user on the networks of WordPress.com, Tumblr.com and Blogger.com you can follow other users, like their posts and re-blog their posts with a few easy steps. You will not be able to recreate easily this kind of on-site connectivity with a stand-alone self-hosted wordpress site or other content management systems.

Share Buttons:

A row of icons on the bottom of each article that allows for on-click sharing on the most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and also some of the lesser known ones like StumbleUpon, Reddit or Delicious. (++)

Spam Filter for Comments:

Your blog won’t be able to survive long without enabled comment spam filter. This can be accomplished with a built-in feature or by allowing a third-party service to monitor your comment section or prevent spam from being posted. (++)

Allow third-party comment system:

For a richer comment administration, you can consider using an external service for your site. Disqus.com, Livefyre, IntenseDebate are the most popular systems, and provide their own community of people engaging on different kind of sites.

Import Content:

It’s the opposite side of moving between the worlds. One part is the export of existing content and then you need the new software to have mechanism to import your content from another system

Post via Mobile Apps:

Your site might benefit from real-time posting while you are on the road or at an event. Mobile apps on the smartphone or tablet platforms will make it possible to post photographs right from your camera to your website/blog.

Please make sure to post your questions and thoughts in the comment section and what your experience is using any of the mentioned systems. Are features missing? What else would you need to know?

Facebook Business Pages: A Primer

If I build it, they will come — maybe? 

So, you’ve jumped into (or, are thinking about jumping into), the social media fray to expand your business or organization’s online marketing horizons, by creating a Facebook business page. Good for you! You’re on the right track, so congratulate yourself. A lot of small business owners or organizations don’t even bother to create a page — they’re simply not on? Facebook, (or online, for that matter).

Formerly known as a fan? page, a Facebook business page can provide greater visibility and interaction amongst your community of users, members, customers, fans, etc., and expose your organization to an even broader audience. But, just because it’s there, doesn’t necessarily guarantee your page will garner the attention it needs to thrive. With that in mind, rather than detailing the mechanics of creating a Facebook business page, this post will talk about some of the expectations you should set for the launch of your page, and building the momentum. (In case you are interested in the mechanics of creating a business page, you can check them out here.)

It’s a process.

Getting people to like? (or, become a fan) of your page, isn’t as easy as it may seem. Just because you’ve created a business page doesn’t mean people are going to automatically flock towards it in droves and like? it, as soon as it hits the airwaves. In fact, quite the contrary may be the case. Disappointing, right? Think about it another way. Hopefully, in your other business-building efforts, whether they be developing a website, e-mail marketing, blogging, using other social media outlets, etc., you’ve had a plan to launch and grow each one of those efforts. 

Your Facebook business page is no different. In order to flourish and become the hub of activity you want it to be, you need a plan, you need to work that plan, and incorporate it into your ongoing marketing processes. Make sure your core audience knows about your Facebook page, and invite them to it, encourage them to like it, and start spreading the word. People need to be lured to your page.

Assuming you have an opt-in e-mail list, definitely send out an invitation to your subscribers via e-mail (do this several times, over time) letting them know about your business page and encouraging them to join or “like”. Ideally, provide them with a description of the page and an incentive to join. Be sure to have the Facebook logo/badge appear in your e-newsletters. And, don’t forget to include a link to your business page in every e-mail you send out.

Invite visitors to post their comments, links and photos. Remember, users have to like? your page in order to interact with your page in this way.  Pay attention to the folks who are visiting your page on a regular basis, posting comments, and tagging you on other pages.  These are the folks who will get the word out.

Appeal to your core audience — those who know you.

When embarking on the launch of your Facebook page, remember that you already have a cheering section, or a core audience — every group (hopefully!) does! These are the people who are or may eagerly become active in the quest for change, for leading related efforts and initiatives, and for getting others excited and spreading your organization’s message. Reach out to these folks first, and get them involved in talking about your business page.  And, build your promotional army by hand selecting the major players, (i.e., sponsors, endorsers, major donors, advertisers, etc.), sending them messages thanking them for their support, and then telling them that you need their help. Make them feel important and like they’re a vital force behind  whatever you’re doing. Get them talking about you and tagging you in other places on Facebook. These types of actions increase trust in your “brand” and build your credibility, (in other words, it gives you “street cred”).

Keep in mind that these folks are usually the ones with very large social networks on sites like Twitter or Facebook. Ask them to use Facebook’s Suggest feature to suggest? that their friends “like” your page.  BUT — don’t forget to reciprocate; it’s not all take and no give.  Help your organization by showing a willingness to help your fellow warriors who are on a similar quest.

Make your business page a forum.

Bottom line, no one wants to join a group where they don’t have a voice. They want to interact with others who have a similar passion — and, feel like they’re being listened to. One of the best ways to get people to “like”your page is to use it as a forum where you ask and listen to your audience’s advice. Let your customer, donors, volunteers, etc., lead by turning your business page into a place where users can express themselves — talk about what they don’t like, and things like they’d like to see you do in the future. If you have an upcoming campaign, initiative or product you’re working on, encourages people to offer their input. If word gets out that your Facebook page is where you go to get ideas, suggestions, feedback and opinions, people are going to want to be a part of that. Make your page the place where your audience  can go to get heard.  Remember, the more “eyeballs” seeing your page, the better!

 

Image courtesy of smallbiztrends.com.

 

Online Round Table: How To Set-up and Maintain A WordPress Site

 

Tomorrow’s ORBIT we will discuss what you as a business owner would need to know about WordPress as your website platform.  What decision you need to make and what options you have. What you need to do yourself and how to delegate specific tasks.  How to produce content and how to prepare it for the web. Delegate posting or writing.

 

WordPress is a powerful website platform, with a unique way to support your needs from the vary basis online presence to a full blown social media ready content hub. The site grows with your companies skill levels.

 

Join us to morrow for a unique way to look at web site hosting, content management and continuation of a great communication tool to reach your audience.

 

Register here

 

OJR: Are you wasting space on your homepage? How you can learn about your scrolldown rate

What better proof of a worthwhile information and knowledge sharing activitys, then when participants share reflections and spread it to a much larger audience.

Gerry StorchOurBlook.com and participant of our December ORBIT* Session, wrote about his take-away from  Google Analytics webinar with fellow journalists at the site “Online Journalism Review, focusing on the future of digital journalism.” 

Am I the last website editor on Earth to have found out what scrolldown rate means… and that scrolldown rates are apparently very low… and that this is terrible news for anyone publishing a site? I don’t know if it was a big techie secret that few if any journalists were let in on, but the light dawned for me when I attended (virtually) a recent webinar put on by my friend Birgit Pauli-Haack, who runs Pauli Systems, LC in Naples, Fla. Birgit demonstrated it via Google Analytics on two attractive real-life sites. I was jolted, and appalled, to discover that one site had a scrolldown rate of 5 percent, the other 6 percent. This means that of the readers who call up the first site, only 5 percent bother to scroll down from the first screenful they see.

Gerry Storch, has several lessons for publishers, news sites and others to learn from this…. Click here to learn more

* OrBIT – Online Roundtable for Business Owners on Internet Technology

NewsPress: Blogging as marketing tool to be discussed

Update January 24, 2011:

The presentation has been posted to slidehare.net


Online Resource: NewsPress Business Briefs
The Southwest Florida Small Business Resource Network will address blogging in relation to social media marketing at “The Best” series event January, 20 5:30 – 7pm at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center.

Attendees will learn tips and tools for blogging and the benefits of it.>

Guest speaker is Birgit Pauli-Haack of Pauli Systems, an expert in the field of Web strategy, Web development and Web 2.0 integration.

The event, sponsored by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Small Business Development Center, is from 5:30-7 p.m. at 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive in Fort Myers.

Register now!  sbdcseminars.org.  The cost is $15 for members, or $20, which includes refreshments.

Following the presentation is the network’s monthly “Network After Five” social event, where members exchange ideas for growing their businesses.

For more information, call 745-3700.

 

Update: January 24, 2011: The presentation has been posted to slidehare.net

Web Analytics Demystified – December 30, 2010 Online Roundtable

What exactly are Visitors, Page Views, Bounce Rates, Exit Pages, Click Maps, Traffic Sources, and more.

How are these metric terms defined? What are the real life applications? What are actionable parameters? How does integration with online marketing tools work?

Again, we’d like to invite you to our monthly online business owners’ roundtable, ORBIT, designed to help small businesses like yours blast their online presence into the future.  Please join us!

ORBIT provides a fun, informal and congenial online forum for business owners (beginners to advanced) to openly discuss any and all web and technology-related issues specific to their small business.  Maybe you have a question about search engine ranking, or how to integrate e-mail marketing into your existing online presence, or maybe you just have a general technology problem or question that you’d like to “put out there” for feedback. Bring your questions and you’ll receive concrete feedback on how to make the web work better for you and create a web presence that rocks!

 

Small Business Roundtable Event – October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010 – 5:30 – 7:00pm

 

Area owners of small businesses are invited to this free event hosted by members of Southwest Florida, Small Business Resource Network and through direct support from the Southwest Florida, Small Business Development Center.

 

SBRN members will be available at that time to provide business owners with information about the most prevalent topics small business owners need to discuss. Experts in accounting, business consulting, legal, insurance, and banking/lending will be on hand to offer information. 

 Fee: Free

 Thursday, October 21, 2010

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

 

Holiday Inn Fort Myers

9931 Interstate Commerce Drive

Fort Myers, Florida 33913

Click here for Google Map

Register Now!

 

Round Table Sponsors:

 

Turn Your Passion-2-Profit…experience entrepreneurial euphoria!

Birgit Pauli-Haack presenting at 4th Annual Turning Passion to Profit, Entrepreneur Seminar & Tradeshow at Florida Gulf Coast UniversityUpdate October 15, 2012

Today we posted the slide desk for the Online Marketing & Social Media Track from this weekend’s event.

 

“It Starts with a Blog”

Why you should start blogging.  In essence:  Blogging increases Search Engine Visibility within months and gets your site ready for the Social Web, ready for the sharing economy.

“Facebook For Business”

The new Facebook timeline for business: what has changed and how you can streamline your Facebook experience. Walk through the anatomy of a Facebook page, your options for reaching out to existing and future clients through networking and posting.

 

“Google+ Pages & Google Analytics”

Google+ pages are so much easier to set-up and manage than Facebook pages.  And, as a huge benefit, they are part of the search engine powerhouse, Google. This session will cover examples of brand pages and also wraps up the morning with a look at how measuring social media marketing performance can be measured by generating traffic for your website

 

 

http://www.slideshare.net/bph/it-all-starts-with-a-blog-get-your-website-ready-for-the-social-webs

 

http://www.slideshare.net/bph/how-to-use-facebook-for-business-14732776

 

http://www.slideshare.net/bph/turning-passion-to-p

 


What is it that really excites you? What it is that stirs your passion, gets you going?

Is it something you make? Something you do? Is it some service you perform for others? Some talent you have? Find out how to grow a business from avocation to vocation at the Turning Your Passion-2-Profit entrepreneurial trade show and seminar.

Set for Saturday, October 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University, the conference is organized the Small Business Development Center at FGCU and Southwest Florida Business Today and will feature as keynote speaker Jerry Ross, lifelong entrepreneur and Executive Director of the National Entrepreneur Center in Orlando.

Find out more details about the workship and register here. (Scroll down the page to register.)

Relevanza is pleased and excited to, once again, be among the sponsors of this conference. Relevanza Co-founder Birgit Pauli-Haack will lead the morning session on social media and how to use to the best advantage of your young business.

Comcast Business Class is the title sponsor of the seminar. Busey Bank is the luncheon sponsor.

Other sponsors, in addition to Relevanza include Gator Press Printing; Guerilla Media; Noack Mitchell & Company; Brennan, Manna & Diamond attorneys; Edible Arrangements (Cape Coral), Marriott Courtyard at Gulf Coast Town Center; Promotional Incentives; Boost-Creative; the Bob Harden Show and Sign-A-Rama.