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9 Websites Brandon Built That Got To The Front Page of Google

@Brandon_wuThe other day going a bunch of websites that Brandon had built a while ago we started noticing something odd. Whenever we would Google the obvious search terms that a website should be ranking for they turned out to not only rank but usually rank within the top 3.

And yes I checked the actually universal search terms not just the Google results on my laptop. Any time you Google something it’s customized based on your past search, location, and activity on Google+. For a true search you must turn off personalization.

Here are some examples:

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17 Lessons (Quotes) on Strategy, Leadership, and Advertising

These quotes were found in eight different, wonderful books.

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Killing Giants is a fascinating read especially if you like business strategy. I made more highlights in Killing Giants than any other book on my Kindle thus far.

The Big Leap is about taking on the habits of successful people and not self-destructing when finally achieving success. This book isn’t for everyone but a short read nonetheless.

Winning is a ridiculously smart book, Jack Welch is one badass CEO. You’ll get a lot out of this book, I use quotes from Winning in presentations all the time.

The Ad Contrarian is a breath of fresh air in our social media crazed world. Bob Hoffman is on a Podcast I listen regularly, he’s knows his %&$#. I like his point of view because you don’t always agree with it, but he makes you think about marketing in a different way. Read his stuff, he’ll make you smarter.

101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising is similar to the Ad Contrarian in writing style and that’s about it. You’ll learn even more in this book. Bob is one of the influential voices on marketing of our present time.

The Impact Equation is by two of the smartest minds on online marketing and personal development. They give you a new formula to look at your social media strategy. I got a lot out of this book but I’d read Julien and Brogan’s first book Trust Agents first though.

Confession of a Madman is a hilarious journey through the life of George Parker, one of our fore fathers of advertising. He’s also on the Beancast (podcast) and swears his face off. He’s one of the ol’ boys. He doesn’t care about what anyone else says so you know he’s always being genuine. His book is entertaining with stories about his experience in the industry. Not a real heavy academic theory read at all.

A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink is a book you should read. It’s about how society is getting smarter and a different type of brain is helping us in the future. Full of stories and real life lessons you can apply. I highly recommend this book.

On Strategy…

1. It doesn’t matter how nice the packaging is if the product sucks.

 

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6 Ways To Make Your Website More Trustworthy

Have you ever heard about a company and look up their website to find what looks like a Chimpanzee’s art project in MS Paint? Five years ago you could get by without a website and still do business just fine. Today very few companies can get by without having something resembling their brand online.

Today just having a website doesn’t suffice. If Google can’t find your website you’re not going to acquire search traffic. If you’re not putting anything worth while on your website no one’s going to care (no your newsletter doesn’t count as something people care about).

People buy from people and companies they know, like and trust. Here are six things you can do to make your website stand out and be more trustworthy.

1. Have your contact info (e-mail and phone number) very easy to find on every page. Make it easy for people to ask a question. If it’s difficult to find your contact info it feels like you don’t want me to contact you. Unless of course you in fact don’t want people to contact you ignore this one and move on to two.

Display phone number on your home page

2. Give your “About Us” page some love. Of the websites analytics I’ve seen, the About UsStrategy Lab Regina About Us Page page is by far the most popular page other than the home page. Your potential customers want to see who you are before they do business with you. The more the can find out about you before you meet the better. Lots of pictures and video if at all possible.

3. Have blog posts that get comments, Retweets, Likes, Shares, etc. The more social shares and comments a website has, the more you know people actually give a damn about what they’re writing about.

4. Have links to your company/personal Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages, Pinterest Pinboards, LinkedIn Pages. But only on the very important caveat of “if thou shall keep a link to a social network on thy website, be certain to stay active on thy social network”.

Social Media Icons

5. Display badges of associations, affiliated websites, and awards you have won. If you’re a home builder a link to the Home Builder’s Association google-analytics-qualified-individual-usermakes a lot of sense. Being on the AdAge Power 150 or completing a course in Google adds a lot of credibility to your company. As long as it doesn’t seem sleazy or to cheesy, include your Best Employer award, Your Customer Service Award, Your JD Power & Associates, heck if you win a Juno, put er up! If you’re winning awards you must be doing something right, right? If you’re associated with websites that add to your credibility ensure images and links to those sites are visible.

6. Include testimonials either on the home page or one click away. People often hide their testimonials or keep them on a page deep in their website. If you’re as good as you say you are, other people will say really nice things about you. Put what they say on your homepage. There’s no more powerful marketing than a recommendation from someone with authority.

 

The Cold Hard Truth About Men, Women & Money

My latest read is the ever-controversial Kevin O’Leary’s The Cold Hard Truth About Men, Women, and Money. It’s taken me a solid six months to get over my disdain for the man and the way he treats presenters on Dragon’s Den but this book has increased his standing in my eyes.

While other books on investing and personal financial management take a friendly approach to convincing you to pay yourself first, commit to saving, and live within your means, O’Leary basically takes the hardcover book and hits you over the head with it. His polarized views and no guff delivery leave you never wanting to buy another Starbucks coffee or smoke another cigarette.

Here are three things I took away from the book:

1. Be brutally honest with yourself

What’s preventing so many of us from getting a hold on our financial situations and taking the necessary steps to improving it is the inability and lack of desire to take a real look at debt, spending habits and current financial health. Start by being brutally honest with yourself and scrutinizing every detail of your credit card spending and excess spending on things like cigs, lunches, coffees, and magazines. (I use mint.com for this and it’s awesome)

2. Pay your student loans off in your 20s and pay down your mortgage in your 30s

Life is a constant battle to have the upper hand against the bank. This is much easier said than done. As Kevin says, from the moment you’re born, the bank and the world are trying to take money from you. By committing to paying off your student loans and your mortgage (if you choose to have one) as quickly as possible, you can finally be the one making money off of the bank – instead of their hand being a permanent fixture in your pocket.

3. Beans now, steak later

Too many young people start making a relatively decent salary and start living like rock stars. The reality is that going out for lunch 4 days a week, swinging by Starbucks a couple times a day, and going out for drinks a few times a week are sure ways to end up having to work until you’re 85 to afford retirement. Kevin uses the example of a man who bought rental property, spent 12 hours a day renovating, serving his renters, and collecting rent. He ate nothing but rice and beans for years. When he finally made his money back and was able to purchase another valuable property after 20+ years, he rewarded himself with a steak. “Beans now, steak later” is good motivation for living within your means and coming out way on top later on.

Linden’s Book Rating: 8/10. Check it out.

Here he is on Kobo in Conversation:

“I’m Too Busy”

When you say I’m too busy you’re making an excuse. You’re prioritizing in your mind, you’re telling yourself you couldn’t possibly do one more thing. It’d be too much, you couldn’t handle doing any more.

You’re telling yourself a story to justify how busy you are. It’s a defense mechanism of the lizard brain to protect our primal self from the uncertain outcome of whatever it is you’re too busy to do.

99% of the time this is not a good thing. Making excuses to do less is not going to help you get ahead in life. But we all do it. Have you ever said no to going out when a friend asked because you were too busy? Have you said no to a special volunteer project at work because you were too busy? Do you not get involved, help, volunteer, draw, sing, play guitar, write or dance anymore because you’re too busy?

Sorry to burst your bubble but everyone is busy, you’re not special. I’m not saying I’m immune, I’m saying this is something we all need to desperately work on, our success depends upon it.

The only difference between really successful people (who weren’t just lucky) and regular people is that successful people have figured out a way to do more. They work harder than the rest. They regularly commit to things beyond their capabilities. They stretch their personal boundaries enough to be out of their comfort zone a lot, that’s where the major learning lies.

On the contrary what if you weren’t too busy? What if you started trying to say yes more(it worked out well for Jim Carrey) What if you started doing things more efficiently to give yourself more time*? What if you committed to something beyond what you think you’re capable of? What if you made a goal to not say “I’m too busy” anymore?

The easiest way to help yourself is by helping other people.

The next time someone asks you to do, join, or be a part of something and you want to say “I’m too busy” ask yourself if you really are too busy.

* – In an 8 hour day performing 8 tasks within that day, at a rate of 10% faster than usual(8 hours=480 minutes 480×10%=48 minutes). You’d have an extra 48 minutes in your day to do whatever you want with.

 

If I Were a Contractor, Homebuilder or Tradesworker

If I was someone working in the construction industry, this is how I would be marketing:

1. I would be filming all of my projects (with the homeowner’s permission of course) and showing people the process and work that goes into building things right. I would share these videos on youtube and on my website.

2. I would be interviewing other local trades, the experts, that know the in’s and out’s of their trade. You don’t have to give away the secrets, but general tips and things to watch out for. Again, share these with people! They will thank you in some way (maybe even by hiring you).

3. I would share cool and interesting trends in the industry. New products, building materials, reviews, architecture, land developments, etc. People like to see that you’re passionate about your industry.

4. Encourage questions. Let people email, tweet, facebook you with questions. The knowledge you provide will show that you know your stuff! It will set you apart from the Joe Schmo renovators that give contractors a bad rap.

Are you a contractor, homebuilder or tradeworker doing these? What other tips do you have? Please share below!

katewillselfiebest

The Trouble With Social Media

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We all enjoy seeing people like our Instagram pictures, like our Facebook pictures and posts, and favourite our tweets. The problem with these tokens of affirmation is that often, whether we’ve acknowledged it or not, we base our self esteem on these “vanity metrics”.  Once we’ve achieved that “100 like picture” or hit 10 favourites on a tweet, we don’t walk away with confidence and look for different ways of getting better that are actually productive. We look for new ways to do the same thing because, as far as we’re concerned, we’re only as good as our last post. We don’t get better; we simply work to improve the way others see us for the sake of our ego.

This phenomenon of improper focus can be extremely damaging for businesses. Those who pour their energy into stacking up Facebook likes  and Twitter followers are often missing the point. Time spent acquiring these things which, more often than not, have little to no bearing on overall health of an organization, takes away from measuring appropriately.

Did taking five different pictures of the same thing before spending 15 minutes editing and choosing the right filter in hopes of 50+ likes take away from quality time spent building relationships with the people around you? And did celebrating your company page’s 500th Facebook like take time that could have been better spent following up with a recent customer or measuring actual conversions?

Social media can enhance your life and business relationships if used properly and with a purpose. Don’t get caught spinning your wheels.

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