Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blogger vs. Word Press: Which is better?

Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular blogger programs. They are both free, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick analysis to help you figure out which one to use:

1. Blogger is EASY to set-up, learn and use. This is a great starter blog program for someone who isn't comfortable with technology or who is short on time and patience.

2. Word Press is not as easy as blogger to set-up but it is fairly simple. It requires a little more time and effort to get going. For a truly robust site, you'll want to use the self-hosted version of Word Press, rather than the version hosted by

3. Blogger offers a handful of templates from which to choose and colors, fonts, etc. are fairly easy to edit. Graphics are also easy to upload.

4. The version of Word Press has five pages of templates from which to choose. Most of these designs are simple and streamlined, but editing them and adding widgets to the blog takes a little more time.

5. Blogger blogs often look like other Blogger blogs. You can customize them, of course, but they are still remarkably similar. Word Press, however, has more options, particularly if you move to the versions.

My vote is for a Word Press blog. I like its versatility, the ability to have multiple pages (not just blog posts one page) and it seems more search engine-friendly. Whatever you choose, make sure it meets your needs and know that if you start with Blogger for its ease of use, you can import it into Word Press later. Good luck!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Five Low Cost Ways to Market Your Small Business

As the recession continues into the summer, businesses struggle to stay afloat, particularly newer, smaller businesses. It is times like these that the SBA advises business owners to maintain or step up their marketing...not to cut back. Here are some low cost ways for businesses to reach out to their customers without breaking the bank:

1. Issue a press release. Have news about your business - maybe a business anniversary, a key hire, new product or service? If so, shout it out to relevant media as well as online. Even if your story doesn't get picked up, the online exposure will boost your search engine ranking.

2. Start a blog. If you haven't jumped on the online bandwagon, you are behind schedule. It isn't too late to get started though. Create a free blog using Blogger or WordPress to tell people about your business, offer advice, advertise product and service specials, etc.

3. Embrace social media. If you are not already on Facebook, start a personal account and a business or organization page now. You can tie it directly to your blog, so when you post new info. to the blog, it automatically updates your Facebook page. Are you tweeting? If not, you need to be. Twitter is growing faster than anyone predicted. Get a free account today, find followers, post tweets, etc.

4. Host an event. If you have a brick-and-mortar location (retail store, office, etc.), get customers in the door with a special sale, promotion, anniversary, open house or fundraiser for a popular charity. Anything that brings people in the door is worth the effort, so make sure you publicize the event to current and potential customers to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.

5. Email marketing. This is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to stay in front of current customers. Starting with a contact list of your present customers, create an email database and start a regular email newsletter or promotional campaign using a service like Constant Contact or Your Mailing List Provider (my favorite). I recommend emails once a month to stay in touch with your customers without being intrusive.

By adding one or more of these items to an existing marketing plan, small businesses can increase their marketing presence during these challenging economic times without a lot of cash. To your success!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn

Monday, June 1, 2009

Twitter Tools to Improve Productivity

Now that I have multiple accounts on Twitter (for different audiences), it has become difficult to maintain them. Here are some tools I discovered to make using Twitter a bit easier.

TweetLater: Helps you manage your different Twitter accounts, including automatically following those who follow you - a big time saver A searchable directory for top Twitter users by category

TweetDeck: A customizable dashboard/browser to maximize your Twitter experience

Twitterberry: A mobile application for using Twitter on your Blackberry

[Note: I'm just scratching the surface here. If you've found a Twitter tool that you just love, post a comment. I'd love to hear about it!]

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz, iloveKentWA, SPJWash
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn