Keys to Success: Niche Case 5

Published on Jan 31, 2008   //  Business Topics

Keys to Success

Web designers work in a tough industry in which you’re competing not only with other professionals in the industry, but also with the neighbour kid down the street who creates a site for fun. There is an obvious difference between the quality of a site done by a professional and one created by someone dabbling in design.  I have met with a lot of web designers and each time I’ve asked them what their niche is, I’ve been met with a blank stare of incomprehension.

Last year I challenged a local web designer to create a niche by combining her passion for horticulture with her expertise in web design.  Over the weeks she created a second site and is now the only horticulture web designer in the world. Her unique understanding of the industry makes it easier to network and grow her business in that niche. She is quickly becoming an expert in horticultural web design and atained some large reputable companies as customers.

If you are a web designer, I challenge you to find a niche industry in which to grow your business.

If you were a designer how would you niche your business?

Marketing 101: Get Free Publicity

Published on Jan 31, 2008   //  Marketing Tips

On Tuesday, we started a new series of posts called Business 101, and the idea behind the series is to help with every aspect related to starting and running a successful business. We put out a call for post ideas and Nick posted up a suggestion that is probably more appropriate for Marketing 101 than it is for Business 101, though the two topics are clearly related.

In his comment, Nick writes:

I would like to see information on how to advertise your business without breaking the bank. Sure you could buy advertising, but that gets expensive. What are some good ways of getting business/clients to your business with spending nothing or very little?

Good question. One strategy that Gary Jones of BlueFur has done is to start writing guest blog posts on John Chow dot Com. The key to writing a successful guest blog post is not to use it to “sell” your business, per se, but to offer something of value to the targeted blog audience. People may develop a greater respect for you as an expert in your field, and they’ll also recognize you as an actual person and not just a business. This humanization can go a long way in the faceless world of the Internet.

For example, Gary wrote about how everything he learned in kindergarten applies to blogging. It’s a bit of quirky topic, but an entertaining one that John Chow dot Com readers surely enjoyed. As part of the guest post, Gary got to include a brief write-up on BlueFur, as well as a valuable backlink. This advertising strategy will cost you absolutely no money, but it will cost you a little bit of your time. That’s the price you pay for free publicity!

WordPress Wednesdays: Do You Have a Fat Footer?

Published on Jan 30, 2008   //  WordPress

Ever since Nate Whitehill and Unique Blog Designs stormed onto the scene, many blogs have started to adopt WordPress elements from some of Nate’s best work. One feature in particular that I’ve noticed is the “fat footer”, like that used on John Chow dot Com. The philosophy behind this implementation is that the footer has largely been underutilized in the blogosphere and people should think more about maximizing the real estate on their blogs.

The larger footer provides room for items that would otherwise be stuffed into the sidebar, taking up valuable space that could be used for other purposes. On most blogs, the footer contains little more than a copyright notice and perhaps a few basic navigational links or contact information. This thicker footer makes better use of this space. On this blog, for example, you’ll see that the footer contains a list of recent posts, the MyBlogLog recent visitors widget, and a series of quick links to important parts of the site.

Other users may delegate things like their blogroll, tag cloud, or — in the case of John Chow — a list of “recommended moneymakers”, all of which are affiliate links that help to monetize a footer that may not otherwise make any money. You’ve surely noticed that Adsense banners in the footer typically don’t perform very well at all, regardless of the size of your traffic.

Realistically, the “fat” footer is used for items that webmasters feel they need, but they’re not willing to implement in their sidebars. This “extra” space can be used for many social networking widgets like MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog, EntreCard, BlogRush, and other traffic exchange programs. That said, the click-through rate on anything featured in the footer is probably pretty low, so are they worth having there at all? I’d love to hear your opinion on this through the comment form below.

Community Poll

Published on Jan 30, 2008   //  Polls

Weekly Community Poll

Last week we asked which how many emails do you receive daily and 53% of you said you receive 1 to 5 emails. 

This weeks question is…

{democracy:14}

Business 101: Starting a Successful Business

Published on Jan 29, 2008   //  Business Topics

Welcome to a new series that we’ll be starting here at the BlueFur blog. Business 101 will be similar in scope to Marketing 101 (Thursdays), except it will focus on the key elements to starting a successful business. We hope to go through many of the important steps that someone should take when starting a business for the first time, whether it be a brick-and-mortar store or some dot com venture.

Before we get started, I figured that it might be useful to ask the BlueFur community if there are any topics in particular that they would like to see covered in Business 101. We could go through everything from finding a good business card designer to officially registering your business for tax purposes. It might also be useful to talk about human resources practices, accounting programs, and so forth. Anything that has to do with running a business is fair game!

So, let us hear it. Chime in with your suggestions using the comment form below and we’ll do our best to include your suggested topics in a future edition of Business 101.

The Power Within

Published on Jan 29, 2008   //  Events
Off

Power WithinJoin Martha Stewart, Andre Agassi and Quincy Jones for a full day of inspiration, motivation and entertainment that will ignite your Spirit! For the first time ever under one roof see seven of the most prolific communicators of our time. Live and In Person! You will learn from real-world experts who are the best-of-the-best, in an incredibly entertaining environment that empowers you to take action immediately to transform your life forever.

When is the event happening?
Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Where is it happening?
General Motors Place – Vancouver

Registration
To register you need to purchase tickets.

Event Fee
General Registration is $229

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