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Friday, August 22, 2008

Updating My Website

After almost three years of looking at the same gloomy website, I have decided to give it a face lift. I have some ideas about how to arrange the data and some new pages that I would love to create but I haven't quite meshed out whether or not I want to change the color scheme. I am thinking that its current green, blue and black font on grey background is starting to look depressing.

I originally picked those colors because I thought the "coolness" of them would bring calm, peace and serenity to the pages. I am at a much different point in my life and in my business now. I think I want to make the color scheme much more vibrant to emphasize my love of life and desire to live it to its fullest. My favorite color is purple so maybe something in the red, orange, pink and purple family. I'll have to hunt around in FrontPage to see if there is something that I like. I have to also consider that my business cards follow that same color scheme but they don't look so drab. Maybe FrontPage has a theme using the same colors but looks more crisp.

I plan to upload the new site within two weeks. It may be even sooner depending on my workload. I am really excited to be finally redesigning it. I am hoping that the new site will make it much easier for potential clients to access the information they seek and provide more insight into my expertise. Something else new is that I will have a direct link from one of the navigation tabs directly to this blog. Previously, my "Blog" link actually went to my articles so this is a nice change.

I am also making room for my Building Bridges radio show which I plan to make bigger and better now that I have some great guests lined up for September. You can expect great things to happen on the show. Additionally, I am finally getting back to working on my CAN-TV show of the same name which should air by December. The show schedule, guest bios and archives of past shows will all be available on this new tab of my site.

Once I have uploaded the new site, I will definitely let you know. As always, your feedback will be very important to me at that time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wow! A Money-Making Tool to Add to Your Blog!

I was hunting around the web today (I won't call it procrastination since it was actually productive) and came across a really neat tool. The funny thing is that I was looking for a personal finance type widget that would offer money-saving tips to add to a new blog I'm working on. Instead, I find this great widget that you can place on your blog or website to collect tips from people!

Why do I find this exciting? Well first of all, I get a lot of requests from people asking about creating partnerships to my primary site at I am very wary of those because often their sites are not relevant to my own and the content is usually really poor. Linking back to these sites would be to my own detriment as search engine spiders really don't like that type of thing. Secondly, these partnership requests are always from someone requesting a spot on my home page. That is a huge no-no to have your home page littered with unsightly ads. This new tool allows me to fix both of these problems and get paid!

ScratchBack allows you to place a widget anywhere on your website or blog that can accept monetary tips from your site's visitors. Your visitors "tip" you for providing them with useful, quality content and, in return, they get to place a text or image ad in your "topspot." You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, hence the name, ScratchBack.

The topspot is just a nifty name for a position in a links list. What happens is that every time a visitor tips you ($5 minimum), they then get to place their ad in the top link in your ScratchBack widget. When a new visitor makes a tip, their ad pushes the last tipper's ad further down the list. This happens with each new tipper until the original tipper's ad eventually is removed. You can have from 5 to 20 spots and designate any price $5 and up for each. For instance you might limit topspots to 5 on your home page and charge $100 each but decrease the price and increase the number of spots on pages further into your site. You could also choose another time increment from 1 to 30 days for ad display rather than have the ads automatically roll off. You can create as many ScracthBack widgets as you like but you can't use more than one on the same page or else it won't work.

Now here's the even cooler part! There are absolutely no refunds. Your visitor is simply "tipping" you for the great information you are already providing on your blog or website. This is a much better concept than those goofy "donate" buttons on everyone's blogs that have somehow always seemed misleading to me. Furthermore, if someone places an ad that I don't like, I have complete and total control as well as the right to remove it. Since there are no refunds, no harm done. I still get paid via PayPal. That means no worrying about Adult content or really bogus and shady ads that my readers wouldn't be interested in. Of course the developers of ScratchBack have to get something in return for their ingenious creation so they take a very slight commission (at the time of this blog posting the payout to publishers is 90%).

I am giving this tool a try starting today. You can see my ScratchBack widget on the top left of this blog. I am only charging the minimum of $5 for my topspots here so if you want to reward me for informing you about this tool, by all means tip me and advertise yourself as well. As an added incentive, if you are a great affiliate marketer and have affiliate links that would be of interest to my readers you can further monetize your efforts. There is even a directory of ScratchBack users that you can use to locate sites that cater to your target audience. I would love to hear about any other ideas you might have in using this great tool so leave me a comment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Neat Goal Setting Tool

I was searching the web looking for additional time management tools that might come in handy and came across GoalMaker. This is a great piece of software that downloads right to your pc. It walks you through creating a database that you use to set up SMART goals including deadlines, constraints and resources needed to complete the goal. You can then track your progress. What's more, the software can work in conjunction with MS Access and Outlook making a streamlined system of accountability. Using this in conjunction with RescueTime can be a great benefit.

As an even added bonus, you can download a free trial right now. For coaches who can really use this tool to add value to their client's sessions, you can upgrade to the "Consulting" edition which will allow you to duplicate the databases and either include this goal-setting tool as part of your standard coaching practice or add it as an upsell. Click the banner below for additional information.

Plan to Succeed with GoalMaker

Flash Searchable By Search Engines!

Since I have been going to the gym every day, I have finally found a way to get all of my trade magazine reading done. I now read them while sweating away on the cross-trainer elliptical machine and recumbent bike. It's amazing how productive this has been. I am already on my third trade mag this week.

In any case, today I ran across an article in eWeek called "Uncovering Dynamic Web Content" written by Darryl K. Taft. The article discusses how Adobe, Google and Yahoo have teamed up to make Flash SWF format easier to find online. This is a huge relief for SWF users as, historically, it has been a cumbersome task to code in a workaround that would be more search engine friendly in order to have their site's most relevant content spidered and indexed. As a matter-of-fact, in my own article, "7 Tips to Save Money on Quality Web Design", tip number 7 strongly cautions against using Flash technologies for this very reason, aside from it also being rather expensive.

The article goes on to say that existing users of Flash SWF format will not have to do anything extra to get the technology indexed. As Adobe, Google and Yahoo add these capabilities, your Flash files will get their turn in line. That being said, I think it will be important to continue to maintain periodic search engine submission as a safeguard.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthday Follow-Up

So I know you are dying to know what I did for my birthday, right?

Well, I did go ahead and use some of those great coupons on my bday. I visited Baskin Robbins for a free icecream, went to Noodles & Company for a free entree and a few other locations. It was great! I took my daughter and her boyfriend with me. It was a lot of fun.

That Friday I went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Indian Cafe, located on Bryn Mawr. It's a fairly new establishment. I ordered the Chicken Tikka Combo which was delightful. I absolutely loooovvveee naan. This flatbread is so delicious and a great compliment to the chicken and rice. I capped off the celebrations with a birthday networking event hosted by Chicago Black Professionals Meet-up group. It was held at Nacional 27 which is a great cerviche bar and salsa club. The mojitos were to die for and the music was top notch.

All in all, I must say that I had a wonderful time and can't wait to do it all over again next year. Now that I belong to so many birthday e-clubs, I should be able to plan well in advance so I can take advantage of more freebies. This was a great way to save money and still have lots of fun. If you don't take away anything else from my weekly ramblings, please know that fun does not have to break the bank. You can enjoy yourself in anything as long as you have the right mindset and positive people to accompany you.

Remember, my birthday coaching special is still running until August 22nd. Hourly coaching is just $31 until then to celebrate my 31 years of life. You must send an email to me with "Happy Birthday" in the subject line in order to take advantage of this offer.

Until next time!