The Truth About Your Blog Stats

If you’re new to Google Analytics or confused about how to use it effectively to help grow your business then chances are know your blog statsyou (and your pocket perhaps) may benefit greatly from understanding fully what the numbers really mean and how to use the tools to help you gather intelligent info about what is making or breaking your website.

When I first took a look at my numbers utilizing the Google Analytics tool, I was completely perplexed.  Yet, the information offered some mystery that I knew I had to further evaluate.

Statistics…What???

I don’t know how but by some miraculous reason I managed to ace my Statistics 101 class in college.  However, the numbers I was looking at behind my website just seemed like a whole different animal. And if you are anything like me, I couldn’t scream help fast enough before my eyes started rolling back into my head and I was overwhelmed with trying to make sense of the seemingly important data that was flashing right before my eyes.

Thankfully, I have a great mentor who not only offered some guidance but also has a Blog Statistics Workshop replay that helps break down the numbers into edible pieces. This allowed me to understand what it all meant in order to work efficiently on getting more traffic.

It is true for many of us who run businesses online that our Google Analytics tool is the go to place for reference in order to see what our website traffic looks like.

But when you get there, wouldn’t you want to know what the numbers really mean? Why they’re so important? And what that information tells you about the health of your site?

In Know Your Blog Stats,  Kelly discusses the significance of  this information and what it tells you about your readers.  If you think you already have what you need, take a look at this article I read in Inc magazine where it describes how you may actually know less than they think about your website’s analytics.  

Billions Are Connected

There are billions of Internet users across all continents around the world. I think it comes to no surprise that the number keeps growing by the day. This means that as time goes on, there will be more businesses competing with each other online and more people available who can potentially be your customers.

Many people have come to rely on the Internet as a referential point in making a decision about something.

Think about it. How many times a day do you “Google” something, look something up for a review or attempt to make a decision about a fancy restaurant you’ve never been to without first searching for it online?

Because of the prospective of reaching an extraordinary amount of people online, businesses have vested interest in developing solid marketing strategies that are competitive in nature and produce the desired results

How do businesses produce results?

By learning about what is working in their business and doing more of it while identifying what is not working in order to trash it or tweak it as deemed necessary.

What can you do to figure out if your blogging is working? [Read more…]

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Before You Run That Blog Contest

giveaway-fver1

Before you run a blog contest, stop and ask yourself why you’re doing it.

There are so many blog contests going on every day.  Just look at giveaway submission sites like my own blog network’s Mom Giveaways and you’ll see hundreds of miscellaneous contests to enter every week.

Its a whole sub-culture. Giveaway devotees spend hours every day running from blog to blog, dropping their name and email in the comment section of every contest they can find.

Blog contests are great for driving traffic to your blog – at least that’s what we used to say.  Is that really still the case in the middle of 2009 when your giveaway competes with hundreds of others every day?

Don’t run a blog contest just because you see ‘everyone else’ doing it.

You have to realize they may have different motives than you do in the first place. [Read more…]

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Five Steps for Success From a Life Coach

aureliaI asked Aurelia Williams of Real Life Coaching to pop in with some advice for our Sparkplugging Interns.  They have taken on a big project working with me and the other Sparkplugging Authors for ten long weeks – on top of their own busy lives and businesses.  I want to make sure to give them extra encouragement along the way and I couldn’t think of anyone better to help me do so than Aurelia.

Are you ready to learn the secret to success?

If you follow the five simple suggestions below, you will find that you will be able to accomplish more success than you ever thought possible!

Step One: Keep your eye on the prize

You know how it goes. You start a brand new project and are filled to the brim with enthusiasm. Some time passes and you are still happy about the project, but you start noticing the difficult things.  More time passes, and you’re no longer enthusiastic at all, but keep going because you know it has potential. Finally, you start to question why the heck you are doing this in the first place. Then it happens.  A new project pops up. You feel excitement start to build again, but for this new project instead of your current one. You decide this one will be MUCH better, and jump ship to pursue this new, exciting opportunity. Sound familiar? [Read more…]

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Knowing When It’s Time for a Change And Embracing It

alice-sebaThis is a Guest Post from Alice Seba, the Internet Marketing Sweetie.  Alice is a good friend I have had the pleasure of partnering with on several projects that brought welcome change into my life and business.

I don’t know about you, but when I started this online gig (which soon became a lifelong journey), I had no idea what I was in for. I had no business education, no experience and just thought…heck, I could do something with this Internet thing.

Fast forward 7 years later and it’s been an amazing road with many successes to share…and a few bumps as well. Looking back, I can see there is one important key that has allowed me to grow and keep moving forward – and that’s the ability to see the need for and embrace change. You see, BOTH things are important.

A lot of home business owners embrace change, but many don’t know when they NEED it. Many change for change’s sake. They get bored with what they’re doing. They tried something half-heartedly and decided it just didn’t work. Another opportunity comes up promising greener grass on the other side and they hop on over. This type of change can lead you on the path to nowhere and FAST. [Read more…]

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What I Learned at BlogWorld – and How to Make IT Happen!

Going to this year’s BlogWorld (enjoy the pics) was a real treat for me. First of all, it was my very first blogging conference yay! Secondly, it was paid for by our wonderful sponsor, Epson yay again! The list goes on and on: I met most of the other SparkPlugging authors, what a great group and great time. I got to spend a good chunk of time with my dearest friend in the world, Wendy Piersall. I love her more each time I see her! We had a fantastic travel experience on Southwest Airlines you won’t believe it when you watch this video! And of course, I met some of the most amazing people and listened to information-packed presentations. A number of fun-filled, information-filled experiences all tied up in one tidy package named BlogWorld.

I have to mention that there was a downside; the Sahara Hotel was the most god-forsaken place I’ve ever stayed. But the upside is that I’m now willing to try camping. I figure if I can survive 4 nights at the Sahara, I can deal with doing dishes in river water and peeing in the woods. See, I even learned that I possess greater survival skills than I would have thought!

But I brought home more than that. I have to admit that, prior to this conference, I didn’t fully understand the power behind blogging and other social media outlets. I was a twit about Twitter, I didn’t understand the level of relationship building that these resources offer, and I had a limited scope of understanding about on-line marketing. I had the honor of doing several interviews with people who get it and teach it. And each time I walked away with a 100-watt light bulb glowing above my head and it feels great. I could go on and on about the things I learned and the people I met, but today let’s talk about how to keep the light bulb bright by creating and following through on the action plan.

I’ve come home with tons of insight, information, and a goals list the length of my arm. Now, how do I assimilate, process and take action? Isn’t that what we all face when we complete a workshop, seminar, or conference? Urrgghh! It’s so overwhelming! Here’s the process I use when I learn a lot of new stuff and want to put it into action. It takes away the feeling of being overwhelmed and helps me feel good about what I’ve learned. If you have something to add to the list, please do!

  • Create a bulleted list of the most significant takeaways and AhHa moments.
  • Divide the business into chunks; products, services, public speaking, and future products, services and growth plans.
  • Now list your tools; blogs, marketing resources, on-line marketing/websites, social media outlets, email lists, etc
  • Cross-reference your conference takeaways with each individual piece of your business. What will you add, change, and phase out? For instance, I’ve learned more about the value of interviews so I’m adding one interview per month to my SparkPlugging blog. I came to grips with the value of Twitter, so I’m building short snippets of time into my day to participate and TwitterFeed my blog posts. And I learned more about the power behind FaceBook, so I’m going to create a presence there and add that to my list of resources/tools. Obviously, since this was a blogging conference, most of these fall into the on-line marketing section of my business. But I also have ideas for the products and services pieces of my business and I’ve built those ideas and the research behind them into my plan.
  • Next make a goals list with targeted dates for completion and each step you will take. Don’t forget to build in time for your learning curve. It’s important not to set yourself up for failure.
  • Do one thing at a time! This is important. When I came home last week I felt anxious and frustrated. I felt like I was behind the trend and would never catch up. How was I going to make these enhancements to my business overnight? The answer is obvious; I can’t. This process helped me create balance and resume my more natural state of calm, confidence, and orderly thinking. That’s the state I need to be in to create change.

This may sound like a lot of work, but frankly, it took me about two hours to achieve. When you separate and cross-reference, it’s easier and less overwhelming. Now I have a list of steps that I refer to each day and I don’t have to decide or think about what to do. That’s half the battle!

What’s the next educational experience that you plan to embark on? Hopefully, this action plan will help to make your investment of time and money create a strong impact on your business. And remember to have fun doing it!

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18 Amazing Articles to Help You Work at Home

It never ceases to amaze me to see the quality of expertise from the readers of this site. You all really blow me away! I’m pleased to present 18 business and life balance How-To’s ‘crowdsourced’ from our reader community. These are extremely well written, in-depth articles that could stand alone as ‘special reports’ or even mini ebooks in some cases!

Crowdsourced Expertise from Sparkplugging Readers

Help with Getting Started Working from Home

Lorna Doone Brewer from Freelance Parent on Finding the Right Home Based Business to Start

John from Business Opportunities and Ideas on How to Turn Your Home Business Idea into a Home Business

Cory Huff from A Good Husband on How to Make Sure Your Marriage Survives Your Work at Home Transition

Mary-Lynn Foster and George Krueger from BiggSuccess on How Do I Find My Passion?

Help with Website Building & Internet Marketing

Joe Cheray from WildHeartWorks on How to Market Yourself for Free via The Net

Easton Ellsworth from Visionary Blogging on How to Build Blog Traffic Using the Visionary Blogging Method

Barbara Ling from BarbaraLing.com on Beef Up Your Mailing List by Powering Up Your Autoresponder Mastery

Lisa Lehmann from Studio Jewel on How to Set Up an Etsy Shop

Gary Lee from MrGaryLee.com on How to Build a Landing Page for an Email Autoresponder

Sarah Lewis from Findable Blogs on How to Get a Custom Blog or Website Design on a Small Budget

Kristen from Tubby Bundle on How to Use Twitter: Simplified

Help with Time Management & Balancing Work and Home Life

Jenn from Boutique Bargains on How To Manage Your Time Better While Working In A Home Office

Brandie Kajino from Home Office Organizer on Managing & Balancing Time in Your Home Office

JoLynn Braley from The Fit Shack on How To Stay Healthy & Fit While Working From Home

Chris Perrin from The Par System on How to Manage Your Time Better While Working in a Home Office

Karen Hanrahan from Best Wellness Consultant on Working from Home and Planning a Perfect Day

Help with Growing Your Business

Mark Silver from Heart of Business on “Profitability: How to get from ‘just enough’ to ‘extra.’

Katja Presnal from Skimbaco on How to Leverage Twitter to Help your Business Grow

And a bonus #19 by Will Scott from Search Influence on How to Outsource Your Brain for Fun AND Profit

Special thank you shout outs to HappyGreen and GroupWritingProjects for spreading the word about this project!

Here are More Business and Work at Home How To’s from our Reader Community and More Website Marketing Ideas.

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Crowdsourcing Business How To’s to Help the Work at Home Community

Last year, I ran two Group Research projects – it was a group writing project with a twist. The community around this site had a lot of things they wanted to learn about, and I knew that many readers would be able to help each other with their expertise.

So we put together a big group “Wish List”. I gathered questions that everyone wanted to get answered, and then we split the task of writing How To posts that accomplished some fantastic goals for the participants:

  1. Readers were able to showcase their expertise to the rest of the Sparkplugging community
  2. The quality of the posts that were submitted was so high that they became ‘Flagship’ content on the participants’ own blogs
  3. The final roundup post sent tons of traffic to the participants’ sites (and a year later continues to send traffic their way)
  4. Readers who needed help with specific questions about online marketing, blogging and working at home got their questions answered from quality sources of information.
  5. (Read :: this is advertising for the ‘cost’ of writing a post!)

So here’s how our crowdsourcing works

I’ve wanted to repeat this project again for a long time – it’s a ton of work but it’s so rewarding, so let’s help each other out!

  1. Pick one of the following topics to write about OR suggest a topic
  2. Leave a comment saying what number you are choosing or what topic you want to cover
  3. Write up a quality How To post, or video blog it (posts must be new, and not previously published)
  4. Either trackback or leave a comment with a link to your post by noon CST Wednesday May 21st

Engage in the conversation and get to know each other better!

On Monday I asked readers what they wanted to learn more about. Here are some suggested How To post topics, but feel free to add your own:

  1. How to setup a landing page and funnel the information to a autoresponder?
  2. How to leverage Twitter to help your business grow?
  3. How to manage your time better while working in a home office?
  4. How do I get out of the idea stage and to take the leap into getting paid for my work?
  5. How do I break out of working too much because I live in my home office?
  6. How do I discipline myself to work more because life is so distracting in my home office?
  7. How can I drive more traffic to my site?
  8. How can I increase the profitability of my business?
  9. How do I know when to quit or when to persevere?
  10. How do I leverage my blog into more consulting gigs?
  11. How do I find the right business to run from home?
  12. How do I start an Etsy/Silkfair shop?
  13. How do I market myself as a freelancer/consultant?
  14. How do I get started with email marketing?
  15. How do I choose the best way to sell my products online?
  16. How can I market myself online for free?
  17. How do I get more RSS subscribers to my blog?
  18. How can I build more community around my website?
  19. How can I build my audience outside of the blogosphere?
  20. How can I pitch mainstream media to get them to cover my business?

So now I turn it over to the crowd. Please pick a topic, suggest an additional topic, submit your articles, and we’ll have a blast learning from each other. :)

Again, deadline for submissions is noon CST Wednesday May 21st

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