Client Spotlight: Pressure Ball

Like a lot of people, Barry Mulder, was frustrated by a problem. Unlike a lot of people he decided to do something about it and invented PressureBall.

Firstly some more about Barry

After working for 25 years in film development for a food packaging manufacturer Barry has gone out on his own to develop some Ideas that he has had for a while .The first is the tennis ball tube (which sells around the world) and he is now finalizing a new concept in very lightweight ride on golf cart/mobility scooter. It’s taken 2 years but the end result will be pretty good. It flips up onto a car towbar like a bike rack. Continue reading Client Spotlight: Pressure Ball

Client Spotlight: Brian Cormack Carr

Brian Cormack Carr is a busy man, he runs three websites! I asked him about all his sites.

What are your site’s about?

Vital VocationMy website www.vitalvocation.com was originally a membership site through which I delivered a modular coaching program.  That was quite high maintenance for me (any time it went wrong, I had to work fast to get it back up and running for the members) so I began to think about looking for a different approach to fit in with my wider work commitments.  Some participants commented that the material would work well as a book and since I love writing, I decided to repurpose the modules into book format. Continue reading Client Spotlight: Brian Cormack Carr

Client Spotlight: Quantum Business Training

Michele Tocci is a presenter, trainer, coach, author and NLP practitioner. Michele’s vision is to impact and transform individuals to be exceptional and live the life of their dreams. Her mission is to create transformational change in others. She runs Quantum Business Training, and I asked her a few questions about her site.

What it is Quantum Business Training all about?

The blog is designed for business owners and provides articles so that business owners can improve their business. The articles are thought provoking and address areas for improvement. Areas covered include:

quantum-business-training

> Business development
> Business planning
> Business customer service
> Business marketing
> Business sales
> Business growth
> Business training

What does your website provide?

Initially the blog is providing a complimentary e-book on how business owners can improve their productivity. Eventually it will have a number of e-books related to improving business results. Then e-courses and programs that will educate the business owner that is great at their specialty but is aware that they can improve their business skills.

What readers/customers are you targeting?

My target reader and customer are business owners that are excellent at their trade such as plumber, hairdresser, beauty therapist, electrician, draftsman, etc. Business owners who have trained and developed a skill then set up their own business but haven’t undertaken any education to develop business skills and know that this is an area that they need to increase their knowledge in.

Why did you set your business up?

I owned a business that was excellent yet I lacked business skills to maximize my income so I invested heavily in my own personal development of business skills and it has turned my business around. I then realized there are many business owners who are the same as me. My first business is about time management, business systems and productivity and I find that when I am talking and working with business owners one of the greatest problems is business owners don’t spend and invest time in working on their business as they are so busy working in their business.

Another key message that I wish to spread to business owners is about adding massive value to their clients, the more you take care of others the more it comes back to you. Move your focus from money to value to the client and the income will take care of itself.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am still working through the income blogging guide program with my site. I have received so much value from your site and it has made such a massive difference to my understand.

Take a look at all Michele offers at Quantum Business Training.

eBook Review: How To Write A Brilliant Blog

I love promoting useful and relevant products and services that clients have created. Carole Seawert has done just that in her new eBook “How To Write A Brilliant Blog“.

While I focus on the technical side of blogging, the important side is always the content and the eBook concentrates on how to turn your blog posts from average to excellent. It’s more of an eCourse than and eBook as it is 20 chapters in five sections, but is self-paced with no webinars or deadlines to be pressured by.
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Section one is about Getting started where Carole takes you through the basics of why to blog, how to chose your target audience and actually what you will be blogging about! Section two offers great tips and checklists for your writing and helps provide structure for you. The next sections deal with the writing process, avoiding distractions and how to keep going in the lean times, finished off with building your audience and a list of useful resources.

The eBook is a working resource which you can print off and has actionable sections and exercises for you to fill in and refer back to that will help you with all aspects of producing worthwhile content for your blog or website.

How to Write a Brilliant Blog is nearly 60 pages of beautifully designed and immediately practical information.

Genuinely one of the best resources on writing for your blog that I’ve seen, you can find further details here.

What Do Your Customers REALLY Think?

The world of online business can be a lonely place and sometimes it can feel as if the busy Internet entrepreneur is posting up words, only for them to become lost in the ether of the World Wide Web, jostling for attention amid adverts for cheap services and downloads. Even the most hardened business owner can occasionally feel isolated when it comes to gauging how they are getting on in relation to providing a great customer service. The fact is, all online business owners can benefit from opening up feedback mechanisms to establish contact with customers and people who share their business interests.

The trick to getting reassurance that you are on the right track with your business, products, and services is to ask your customers how they feel about them. It may sound obvious, but many people forget to ask their service users for feedback, even while every other element of their online business is carefully attended to. Feedback for an Internet business owner is the equivalent of getting assignments marked at college, or getting a “thank you” card in the post after cooking up a great meal for friends. It’s a way of gaining reassurance that things are going well, and that all your hard work is paying off.

Directly soliciting feedback provides a number of advantages for your business, my own Testimonials page id proof of that. In addition to offering you reassurance that you are doing a great job online, it provides the following benefits:

Helps shape future direction.

Knowing what your customers are looking for, supports you in making enlightened decisions about your future strategic direction. Working “blind” to develop your site is much more difficult than using feedback from your customers to inform you where your business should be heading.

Boosts your motivation.

When you receive customer feedback, you no longer have the uncertainty that posting into the ether without acknowledgement can bring. By asking for regular input from your readers, you are able to ascertain that the articles you post, and the services you provide, are doing a good job in connecting to your online audience and forging positive relationships with clients.

Opens up communication channels for networking.

Customers who regularly visit your site and provide feedback are often the right individuals with whom you can forge business relationships. Those visitors who share a passion for your industry are usually great contacts for ongoing collaborations. Asking for their input into the direction your business should go can work wonders when it comes to building up a great network.

A free evaluation service.

Obtaining feedback directly from your customers, generates a strong evaluation of your blog and business. Instead of paying an agency lots of cash to develop metrics for your success, feedback can achieve the same result for free. If you’re not sure how well a certain blog post or site revamp has been received, all you need to do is create a poll and ask people for their opinion on the new changes.

Lets you inside the mind of your visitors.

Feedback can come in all forms, from survey results and online polls, right through to comments and emailed responses to your questions. When it comes to asking for feedback, there are few vehicles out there as feedback-friendly as the blog. The platform itself is designed to be interactive, built as the archetypal two-way medium for offering up your own opinions, and finding out what people think. Because of this, there are some great tools out there to do just that.

Google Docs

My personal favorite feedback mechanism, Google Docs is streamlined and easy to use. Google Docs enables you to create a new form, selecting from a range of different designs. From there, you can add the types of questions that you want answered by your readers. A range of options are available, including radio buttons, multiple choice selections, and text box fields. All the results from your feedback document are added directly into a Google Docs spreadsheet, making it simple for you to examine and analyze your collected data.

Although Google Docs is a simple and useful application, it doesn’t allow the user to add their own logo to the form, and there’s no way to be notified when you get a new response to your questions. Apart from these two negatives, it’s still one of the best tools out there for, quickly and easily, gathering customer opinions.

Survey Monkey – A popular alternative for feedback purposes, this is a well-designed application that offers one hundred free responses to your feedback requests (which is often more than enough for the average small business).

Survey Gizmo – If you’re looking for a free WordPress plugin, then this is ideal. Survey Gizmo lets you run various polls and surveys from within your WordPress blog.

WP Polls – If you’re a little technologically challenged, this free plugin is a straightforward option, allowing you to easily add a quick poll to a blog page or sidebar in only a few clicks.

Gravity Forms – Gravity Forms is a paid-for plugin but I use it on this site and it has a dizzying array of features and is suitable for intensive data gathering. A single site license is just $39.

PollDaddy – PollDaddy is an extremely popular option for creating quizzes, surveys, and polls. You can choose to subscribe to the service for unlimited responses, or opt for the free WordPress plugin that accepts one hundred responses per month.

Client Spotlight: The Writer’s Clinic

Jean Gogolin runs the The Writer’s Clinic, a WordPress powered site that runs on the Headway theme framework.

The Writer's Clinic

The website and blog are called “The Writer’s Clinic” and it’s designed for advanced writers – particularly those who write about science. I’m in the process of changing the subtitle, as soon as I figure out what a better one would be, and several of the site’s pages. I want to emphasize advanced writing skills in general, not just science writing.

I’ve been a professional writer for – wow – about 40 years, as a newspaper and magazine writer, corporate communications staffer, executive-level speech writer and freelancer. I spent most of my corporate career with high tech companies, including DEC, Lotus, Northrop, IBM and EMC Corp.

I’ve had bylined articles in The Boston Globe and USA Today and ghostwritten op/ed pieces for The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.

But now I specialize in science and discovery. Why? Because science is too important for science writing to be the province of scientists alone.

I write about science like a combination of journalist and short story writer using all the techniques that bring the best fiction to life.

I also work with clients who want a coach or collaborator for their own writing. I listen hard, ask lots of questions, help them think through their objectives, and then work with them to write the piece.

I love what I do — and I’d be happy to do it for you.

So if you need someone to help you with your writings, take a look at The Writer’s Clinic.

Client Spotlight: Addiction Focus

Addictions Focus is a website for Addictions UK who provide a home-based addiction treatment programme that offers a valid alternative for addicts whose circumstances don’t allow for residential treatment, or who are concerned about anonymity. They’re a social enterprise organisation, which is similar to a non-profit.

Addictions UK have developed a treatment programme which offers immediate help to anyone with an addiction or dependency problem. The unique one-to-one programme is tailored to the individual, offers complete anonymity and an immediate start. Addictions UK seeks to offer treatment which is effective, affordable and confidential.

Addiction problems related to the Internet is a huge and growing problem. Simon Stephens, Director of Casework for Addictions UK says:

We’re often asked what makes Addictions UK different to other treatment programmes.

Most of all the biggest difference is the flexibility that we can offer you. We don’t ask you to stay in a residential treatment centre for months on end.

Instead, we encourage you to be part of everyday society, but we do ask that you can spend at least half an hour with us over the telephone, or perhaps through a computer, to work on a therapeutic programme of recovery.

While for many people residential treatment can be very beneficial, we often find that when clients come away from their rehab, that they are faced with the problems with no support to get them get through their daily lives.

We like to work with you on a daily basis, with helplines, and with daily talk sessions, that allow you to cope with the day’s problems, as they come up.

OK, everybody asks how much does this cost. One of the unique advantages of Addictions UK, is the low costs involved….

You can read more on their website and why not check them out and “Like” them on Facebook?

Client Spotlight: I Am Not Making This Up

Erla Zwingle writes about her life in Venice, Italy on her blog “I am Not Making This Up“. It’s been running since April 2009 and there are hundreds of articles on everything you could want to know about Venice, good and bad!

My blog is about what I call “real Venice” — not the postcard, touristic, guidebook viewpoint of the famous city (though I’ve also written a guidebook) but the everyday life of what is an amazing, surprising, frustrating small town.
I Am Not Making This Up

I focus on two primary aspects: What it’s like for me to live here, things I do, people I know, etc, and what’s like for the few remaining Venetians who live here. It’s a struggle for everybody but there are many compensations.

In other words, the blog is my response to the question people often ask me: “What’s it like to live in Venice?” Often followed by “I really envy you,” “It must be amazing,” “I wish I could live here,” and so on. To which I apply a blast of reality, for better or worse.

I have two main types of readers: People who have been to Venice, sometimes many times, and who want to know the city better, and those who haven’t been to Venice but would like to imagine they have. In any case, my reader is someone who has some context — either through lots of travel, or interest in history, or interest in curious places and things — for the viewpoint I give on the city.

I have been fascinated, since the first time I came here as a tourist in 1985, by the world “behind the curtain,” so to speak. Everyone who comes here inevitably remarks that the city seems like a stage set, but I prefer the life backstage.

I wasn’t able to satisfy this curiosity as a tourist, but things changed when I came here as a journalist in 1994 on assignment for National Geographic to write about exactly the city that I wanted to know (“Venice: More than a Dream,” National Geographic, February 1995). Unexpectedly, I fell in love and married a Venetian and have been here ever since.

I started writing the blog because I got fed up with the endlessly repetitive stereotypes and outright misinformation that is written about the city. It’s unbelievable how many wrong ideas people who don’t live here manage to accumulate about Venice and how few ways they have to correct those ideas (assuming they care).
I Am Not Making This Up
My blog is my way to address that imbalance between truth and myth. It’s pretty much a personal crusade, though I suppose if somebody wants to imagine a mythical Venice that exists only in fantasy, there’s nothing wrong with that. What I am combatting are the published statements which range from moderately incorrect to completely fabricated.

I named my blog “iamnotmakingthisup” to reinforce the fact that whatever I write is verifiably true, because many, many things that happen here seem impossible, though true, and many things which are written about the city are also impossible and untrue.

I am an American, a professional journalist and have written for publication for more than 30 years; among my best articles are the 20 or so stories I’ve written for National Geographic magazine (where I also spent four years as a full-time editor).

Because my work has taken me to so many different places I’m sometimes characterized as a travel writer, but that isn’t quite right. My few attempts to write for travel magazines have been disasters (I suppose because I’m not inclined to tell people how to travel, where to stay, or what to eat).

What I do is write about subjects that require me to be in some foreign place that happens to be the location of some other event or problem, but not as a place to go to on vacation. Though if you feel like going to Lagos, Nigeria on vacation, go right ahead.

Being a complete imbecile where computers are concerned, undertaking the blog was a big step forward into unknown territory, and you (and Andrew) have been my life-savers. Your intelligence, knowledge, kindness, and patience have kept me going in assorted difficult moments and I have come to depend on you both for quick answers and good sense.

I can’t say we’ve worked together on anything in particular, I’ve just thrown you urgent questions which you have answered with fantastic skill.

Thanks Erla! If you want to be featured in a client spotlight, please simply contact me.

Client Spotlight: For God’s Glory

John Ferranti is another long time client of mine, he runs For God’s Glory Ministries which is “is a dynamic and fruitful ministry, with a prophetic edge.”

For God's Glory Ministries

I am called by Jesus Christ to bring reformation to the church world wide. The word reform means “to improve by the REMOVAL of faults.” The Lord is revealing truths to me in this hour that have been suppressed by religion, tradition, doctrines of men, and men’s opinions. I am removing the faulty mind sets, by teaching the Word of God, through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

This ministry is looking to impact every believer no matter how long they have been walking with the Lord. The web site offers FREE resources to mature every believer, so they can be more effective for building God’s kingdom.

The web site was established to not only help those that we meet personally, but also those that are looking for more from around the world. Because this ministry is building an army for the Lord Jesus Christ.

His site is a partial conversion from a static website to WordPress, so now it is mostly editable by themselves and they don’t have to rely on (and pay!) a tech person to update their website for them.

You can see the services I offer here and I do many website to WordPress Content Management site conversions.

Client Spotlight: Find Things To Do In Quirky San Francisco

Randy Schroeder is a long time client of mine who runs a few websites, including Quirky San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco

My purpose is to help people find things to do in San Francisco that are not the same old thing. There’s so much to do here, other than Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz.

It’s so odd to go to those tourist areas and see hoards of people buying cheap souvenirs they’re just forget about 5 minutes after they get home. They miss the best things this area has to offer and I like helping to point them out.

Randy has a couple of great eBooks too. A free one called “Best 10 FREE Things to do in San Francisco” is available by signing up for his newsletter on the right hand side of his site.

His other eBook is for sale, called Bike The Golden Gate, it’s a unique step-by-step bicycle adventure that guides you from downtown San Francisco, along the bay, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down into Sausalito and a relaxing ferry ride back to San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco has lots of posts about things to do in SF, whether for free or paid and places for great photo opportunities. His resources list even includes a music playlist to enjoy on your trip!

He also has nice things to say about me:

Joel has been the one person I can count on to keep my site working correctly. He’s amazing – responsible, easy to work with, responsive, fast, smart and affordable. What more could I ask for?

Thanks Randy! If you live or are planning a trip to San Francisco, be sure to check out Quirky San Francisco.