Can’t I just use Facebook for my blog?

Recently a friend asked:

I want to set up a website to notify people about an upcoming race. Someone suggested a blog because I could add the content myself. Can I just use the “Notes” function in Facebook?

Here’s what I think:

If your blog is a one time, use-it-and-lose-it thing.. then tying it to FaceBook or Gmail, or even your local internet provider, isn’t a necessarily bad idea. It’s not a great one.. but not horrible either.

However, you can’t control when that other provider will decide to stop the service, like Google did with its video conferencing education product (WAVE) it released a while ago.

Often you can’t control the code or tags that will help people find you.

I’ve seen at least one site where when it does show up in Google results, the information listed with the link is an ad for the provider’s site and not the actual site!

So make your own blog on your own host. Tie the posts to your Facebook page for sure!
But be the boss of your information, not the other way around.

And now I’ll shut up about it!

Are you a [email protected]?

People with their own businesses ought to have an email address that encourages correspondents to think of them in a professional manner, NOT an address that advertises someone else!

Who the heck is [email protected] or @gmail or @anywhere-but-my-domain.com?

Disclaimer: I wrote the main of this article about using a custom email address back  in 2006 at my blog at MaptheFuture.com But I keep referring people to it, so it must still be relevant. And it also makes more sense to find this info on a site about websites and marketing than on one for coaching people with too many ideas. So please forgive me the plagiarism of my own work.

It has generally bugged me when otherwise seemingly professional business people use an email address at someone else’s domain. If you actually work for AOL or MSN or even GOOGLE, then, even if you think the address is cheesy, you’re sorta stuck with it.

But people with their own businesses ought to have an address that encourages correspondents to think of them in that professional manner. The email address you first got when you were 12 (something like [email protected]*) is probably no longer appropriate if you own, say, a private investigating business. I know Lynn Levy has another address, but the published one uses her domain name. Way to go Lynn.

I had generally considered people who use free addresses to be somehow not quite “up on the low down,” if you know what I mean. [email protected]* just doesn’t quite ring true. I mean how famous can you be?

And if you’re just trying to be famous, seems to me you’d want something to set you apart from the 63bagillion people who use AOL or gmail or, in my opinion even worse, the address that comes from your internet provider.

Lena West, a guest blogger over at Lip-Sticking: Smart Marketing to Women OnLine ;made a great point when she said:

If you think AOL/Yahoo/MSN or any of these other companies need your help in advertising their companies, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

HA! You’re advertising AOL/Yahoo/MSN/GMAIL! You think they need YOUR money? Well, thank you very much. I know they are gonna take it and quite willingly! Do you choose to give it? Or would you rather keep it yourself?

I hadn’t actually thought about using an AOL address as advertising for someone else. I just figured people who did it were just lazy. Or worse, in my opinion, not very smart—especially for a business owner!

Lena pointed us over to Seth Godin’s post on the topic. He calls people who use free email addresses, “Lazy people in a hurry.” But guess what?! (I am so disappointed) Seth Godin, Marketing Guru Extraordinaire, has a typepad address—sethgodin.typepad.com—a free blogging platform. Oh the hypocrisy of it all!

Nevertheless, even your parents told you, “Do as I say and not as I do.” You lived to learn from them and try something new.

Get your own domain name and an email address to go with it. (I can help you with all of that.) If you can’t figure out how to change your existing mail manager to read that new address—or if you’re worried your mother won’t be able to find you, you can set the new address to forward all mail to the address you have now.

But, for goodness sakes! Advertise your own business, not those giants! Let them figure out another way to take advantage of the little guys!

—————
* These email address are PFA (Plucked from air)—Made up. I apologize to who ever might actually HAVE these addresses. Also, I send my sincere condolences.

Finding your ideal client

Who are the people who will visit your website and value your content?
Say you sell shoes on the web. Who is your client? Anybody? Probably not.

Who are the people who will visit your website and value your content?

Say you sell shoes on the web. Who is your client?  Anybody?

Probably not.  Not if you want to be really successful.  If you tried to sell all kinds of shoes to all kinds of people, you’d have a heck of a time managing your stock and your site.  So you have to find a niche, a specific group of people you are committed to serving.

So you think about the people who buy shoes on the web. They do so for lots of different reasons. Maybe they hate shopping in stores. Maybe they don’t have the time. Maybe they have hard to fit feet.  Got really narrow feet? You go to TheNarrowShoe.com They sell shoes for narrow feet.  You tell your friends with narrow feet to go there because they have exactly what you’re looking for.

Your ideal client

That’s the person you really want to do business with, the person you want to read your site, and the person you want to buy your products and services. I’m guessing you’ll actually LIKE this person if you met them on the street.

Then describe your idea client—in detail.  Heck, find a picture of someone who looks like your ideal client. Write a short bio. Give the client a name.  Then write your content like you are speaking to that person.

It will keep your message clear and your voice consistent.

For example: In my coaching business, Map the Future,  I like working with engineers and geeks. People who get the straight line but also have the creativity to move it around a little. [Please note: I’m not coaching any more. But the example still has value.]

Here is my ideal coaching client:

Pete, works for a tech company. Loves what he does. And takes pleasure in saying the most with the fewest words. He wants to be taken seriously as a part of the team. And he wants to have fun doing it. Sometimes he’s seen as a clown. But he knows his stuff. He also knows he’s making some decisions that aren’t getting him what he wants.  He’d like to be able to identify them quickly so he can either fix them or keep from making them again. He has some money. He is obviously fluent in technology and wants to find outside help that other people he knows maybe don’t know about. He doesn’t want to work with a tool. I am not a tool!

For great information about how to create your own profile, check out the article, How to Create Reader Profiles/Personas to Inspire and Inform Your Blogging over at ProBlogger.net