Entries in resources (7)

Thursday
Feb172011

Thursday Link Roundup

Work your Strengths (or why I will never be as cool as Danielle LaPorte) - While this is about personal strengths it easily translates into artists strengths, plus it’s just a good reminder to embrace who you are.

Just in Case You’ve (Already) Broken Your Blogging Resolution - Keep your content fresh and engaging with these suggestions.

How Flirting Can Improve Your Work - Need help getting started on that next big project? Flirt, it will break the ice.

How to Get More Email Newsletter Subscribers - I’m not sold on needing to send every week, but the rest of the tips for building your subscriber list are worth putting to use.

Perception is Reality - How professional do you look from the outside?

Thursday
Feb102011

Thursday Link Roundup

The Final Frontier: How To Craft Spacious Goals - Another inspiring piece by Tara Gentile. Dare to dream big!

The Marketing Secret That’s Hiding in Plain Sight - A quick reminder about being consistent, both with design and voice.

The Space Matters - Just a little something to think about.

Is Your Low Social IQ Dooming Your Blog? - A new way to look at why you might not be getting the traffic you want.

How to Do Less And Achieve More with Your Blog in 2011 - Take a break, you might actually be more productive.

10 Free Tools that Can Help Your Site Rank Above the Rest - This article goes very well with next week’s post on keyword search tools, plus it has some new tools I never heard of.

Thursday
Feb032011

Thursday Link Roundup

Crafting Your Online Presence - Organizing your content so readers can find what they’re looking for.

A Creative Approach to Promoting Your Shop - Great tips to get a little buzz with no money.

Hobbyist, Amateur or Professional Artist – Which Are You? - The title says it all! An interesting article to give you some perspective.

What Is DIY Culture? - This is an interesting meditation on the DIY culture. Take it a step further and relate it to being an entrepreneur.

Turning Your Passion Into Your Full-Time Job - Some very sound advice on making this very scary leap. You can do it!

Tuesday
Feb012011

Blogging Platforms - What To Use

In our Social Media for Artists Workshop I extol the virtues of writing a blog as a successful marketing tool. And while we discuss what to write and how often, the biggest question is always, “Who should I use to set one up?”

Here’s a rundown of my favorite platforms:

Tumblr

Tumblr is a straightforward blog. They offer clean layouts with a number of template choices, some free and some that are paid or the ability to use your own html. Most of the social media sharing aspects are built right in and only take a few clicks to get set up, plus there’s a number of third party applications that have been developed just for Tumblr. You can add pages if you want to build your blog out into a full website and the ability to map to your own domain is easily available.

If you know html you can do a lot with this platform in the free mode. If you don’t just be picky with the theme that you pick, some are more easily customized than others. If you’re the type that just wants something that looks good and you don’t have to fuss with, Tumblr is a great option.

Typepad

Typepad is also a very straightforward blogging platform. It’s much more limited in the free version than Tumbler, but with just a small price jump you get a lot more bells and whistles especially in the social plug-in arena. Typepad is built more for creating an entire website around the blog, so adding pages and plug-ins is a snap. Typepad also seems to offer more abilty to track traffic and customize your SEO than Tumblr, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I don’t recommend the free version of Typepad for a business blog, it’s a little too simple and unsophisticated. However if you’re willing to pay a small fee, you’ll get great options to customize and great support.

Squarespace

Squarespace is what we use for the Lightbox SF and 200 Yards websites and is a website builder not just a blogging platform. Needless to say I love it. You do have to pay a fee, $13-35, but the ability to build exactly what you want with ease is close to priceless. There’s no need to understand html code, however if you do there’s nothing you can’t do. There are templates for many basic types of pages, journals, photo galleries, file upload, directories, and more. You select a theme and can customize everything from colors and fonts to CSS. The developer forum also provides solutions to many “fixes” you want to make that Squarespace doesn’t support. I’m also a fan of their customer support, all email, but very quick and helpful.

If you’re just looking for a blog to either link to your existing website or just to get started with, I suggest Tumblr. If you’re looking to build a website, but want it as easy as possible and are willing to have some customization limitations then Typepad is the way to go. However if you’re serious about a full business website that can grow with your business, is totally customizable, and still downright easy Squarespace is your answer.

Both Squarespace and Typepad offer free trials, so test them out, or just sign up for Tumblr and put your writing hat on. Sometimes a blank page is all you need to get going.

Thursday
Jan272011

Thursday Link Roundup

Tools of the Trade - Some great resources not matter what stage or type of creative business you have. Of course also appropriate given that we’re focusing on tools and resources this month.

Pop Your Cork: Get Enthusiastic with 5 Heroes of Creative Living - What makes you unique can make your business unique.

Is Your Online Shop Actually Ready For Marketing? - First impressions last, get your website as ready as you can before you begin the effort to drive more traffic there.

The Cowardly Lion’s Guide to Conquering Your Entrepreneurial Fears - Some great advice for us all, not matter what our ideas are.

8 Keys To Blogging Success - Key questions to ask yourself before you jump into blogging or to help you refocus a confused blog.

Tuesday
Jan252011

Social Media Dashboards, Your Sanity Saver

As you are all well aware, I’m a strong believer in social media. However I’ll be the first to admit it can often be time consuming to post to various social networks especially if you’re trying to keep up with both personal and professional contacts. I sometimes find myself logging in and out of 3 different twitter accounts in a day. But there is an easier way.

There’s this little thing called a social media dashboard. You may have heard of Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, they’re the dashboards I speak of and they can save a lot of time.

Overall Benefits:

  • Social network streams from multiple accounts all in one place.
  • The built in ability to shorten links. A definite plus for those prolific on Twitter.
  • The ability to have your current feed, mentions, direct messages, and searches (among other things) open at the same time.
  • My personal favorite, a way to schedule posts. That way you can be away from the computer and still be a part of the conversation.

These dashboards are all about management of multiple accounts in one place. You can customize your dashboard to include the areas you want to keep tabs on the most, regular searches, mentions, your tweets retweeted, and so on. Most of the dashboards let you manage more than just Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace and Foursquare are often accepted platforms.

For general exploring, looking to find new people to follow, or joining in on new conversations I recommend going directly to Twitter or Facebook instead of using the dashboards. Many of the bells and whistle features are unavailable.

There are a few services out there, but so far only 3 have really stood out to me, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Socialblaze. All are free or at least have a free version so you can try them all to decide for yourself, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of what I like and don’t like about each.

Hootsuite was my hands down favorite until they decided to add a pro paid account. While still a reasonable expense, $6/month, in addition to adding great new features it limited some existing features on the free account. The biggest change being that you can only follow 5 social media profiles with the free version. For most this isn’t a big deal, but if you’ve got personal and business Facebook and Twitter accounts you can get to five pretty quickly. On the good side the have a clean interface that’s pretty intuitive. You can track clicks on your links, post across multiple networks, add photos and video, and follow conversations all in one place.

Tweetdeck is the other major player in the field. While not as clean an interface as Hootsuite you do have more access, especially to Twitter. Facebook doesn’t integrate as well though; you can post to business pages, but can’t keep track of the wall posts. And in the “I can’t decide if it’s a pro or con” column, you download the software as opposed to logging in to a website.

And lastly the new kid on the block, Socialblaze, which is still in public beta. Socialblaze is more about analytics, the tracking capabilities rival google analytics, than keeping up on conversations, although you might say they are more or less the same thing. But because of the heavy analytics it takes a while to set up. You import all your accounts and then it takes up to a day to analyze all the data. However you can get to posting right away if you’re anxious. In addition to the standard features of the other dashboards you can create tasks and set up a whole calendar within the interface.

Because I’m such a geek with the numbers I can see Socialblaze being the standout for me. However for just straight usability I still think Hootsuite is the winner and if you’re willing to pay the $6/month, you’ve got all you need and more.

Thursday
Jan202011

Thursday Link Roundup

Introducing Thursday Link Roundup! In an effort to be ever the more useful to all of you, I've decided to share some of my favorite business related articles of the past week. Some will be straight forward business tips, but I promise others will inspirations and motivations to put everything into perspective. So here you go. Happy Reading!

The Quiet Desperation Of Need - Need versus want and shifting your perspective to create the life you need.

Do You Really Need a Mailing List For Your Blog or Website? - What do you think my answer is? Clare Lancaster took the time to give you some convincing reasons.

7 Blogging Tips From Top Bloggers - Because you know how important I think blogging is, #2 and #4 especially.

7 Reasons Why Your Posts Aren’t Getting Retweeted - This gave me a few new to-do’s to add to my list.

A Little Bit Better: Improving Your Business A Bit At A Time - Great tips to help you save some time and don’t overwhelm.