27 Jul

My Fly Traps Don’t Work

I don’t like flies. I don’t like them at all. Last year after a barbeque I was eating a leftover hamburger the next day and I noticed these white small almost rice things in my burger. I researched it and was disgusted to find out they were fly eggs… AGGHHHHH!

Well ever since, I have been on high alert for flies in the house. This summer with a toddler running in and out and doors being left open, we got some flies in the house and in my downstairs office. So I went out and bought some fly traps. You know those ugly rolls of sticky tape that hang from your ceiling? My wife didn’t like them but I didn’t care. I was going to get rid of those flies. So I thought. But day after day after day the flies lived and the traps were empty.

Then I thought about my fly-hamburger… flies like meat and if it is rotten, even better. So I got some left over turkey burger and stuck it to the fly trap. Apparently flies like turkey burgers and I have eliminated the fly population from my house.

Your website is a lot like a Fly Trap if you don’t have what your audience want to read or learn about then you will be like a fly trap with no meat. If you study your audience, learn what they want and then provide content that your readers want you will be a fly trap with meat.

Here are 5 ways to see if your website is working for you or not and if you are a Fly Trap with no meat or a Fly Trap with meat.

For your success,

Jay Carter
Admin of Starr Host

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5 Ways to Know If Your Website is Working For You or Not

Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you run a big business, or you have 2000 Likes on your Facebook Page, or you can bring in hundreds of people to a conference call that you website is working the most for you.

It’s probably not. We see great leaders, businesses, authors, and professionals all the time with websites that aren’t doing them justice. Below are 5 ways to know if your website is working for you.

#1 Alexa Ranking and Google Analytics
Both of these tools are useful in determining how much traffic you are getting to your site. Go to www.alexa.com and plug in your website name in the top search feature for example www.thetotalwellnessdoc.com and you will get a short report that tells you your traffic rank globally and in the US as well as how many sites are linking into yours and so on.

The higher the score, the lower your traffic ranking. For example if you have NO ranking or 2 or 3 million that’s not so good, but the goal is to get your website ranked under a million and then even lower. This is something that our Starr Host WordPress Websites can help you do.

Google Analytics is another way to see how your site is doing. You can learn more about that on one of our blog posts.

#2 Social Media Integration Facebook Likes and Twitter Retweets
First of all, you need social media integration on your websites. If you don’t have it you are missing a HUGE population of people who not only need what you have but could help you spread the word about your website and business.

The basic integration you need is Facebook and Twitter. If you have those now, look and see how many people are LIKING your blogs or pages or retweeting them.

For example when Starr Host client, Corry Heinrich launched her site, her first blog post got over 100 Facebook Likes in less than 24 hours and close to 200 in a few short days. This occurred due to the viral type sharing amongst a community of health oriented people. One person liked it and then another person on Facebook liked their post and so on. This will not always happen.

A healthy website will have both Facebook likes and retweets on their blogs and pages.

#3 Engagement
Your Facebook likes and Twitter retweets are part of your engagement but so is how many people are commenting on your topics. This means who is commenting on your articles. You will see more as your online presence grows and you will have more traffic and more people commenting on your blog articles. You will also see what topics or articles get an overwhelming response or note. Corry’s article had over 19 people give heartfelt comments at the end of the article.

#4 The Growth of your List
We recently talked about the list and size of it in our article.

Usually if you list is not growing, your business is not growing.

#5 Sales
Bottom line is it all comes down to RESULTS. What are your sales? Usually an online business owner who learns the skills to improve the above 4 things and applies them daily in their business will be able to see RESULTS within 90 days.

If you just realized your website stinks or that you don’t have a clue what these things even are, head over to our Resource Training Center where you will find resources from our online Business Development and Marketing Trainer.

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22 Jul

One Step By Step Method For Online Businesses That Works

 

Well you haven’t heard from me in a while because I have been running. Not in the literal sense but one of our biggest clients Kraftees.com needed a LOT done in a short period of time so for about 3 weeks I have been running all night into the early hours of the morning working. It is a particular type of work PROGRAMMING that if done in the daytime or should I say kids and family awake time you will get distracted and it will take you 30 minutes to recoup.

That kind of pace can’t be long term. Even after a few days your body and mind will start to shut down. Even with good food, great supplements and Young Living essential oils you still only end up in semi-Zombie state instead of total Zombie state. You know you are awake and present but really not there. People talk to you and you forget conversations. Your relationships, health and life suffer. But sometimes in life you need to do what it takes to GET IT DONE.

I wish I could say we are completely done but no, we have a 2 week extension because the key employee we need to work with from Kraftees had a planned vacation. But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes you may think is all this work worth it? Will my efforts ever pay off? When will I start making money? Well that really depends. It depends if you are working a system that works. One system that works is http://www.arealchange.com/blog/. Named one of Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencers, Sandi Krakowski has developed a system that works and works well.

One of her clients that we highlighted a year ago is in this blog post: https://starrhost.com/example-wordpress-blog/. An example of a WordPress blog The Organic Momma Catherine has worked her system diligently this past year. She has driven her Facebook following from just a few thousand last year to over 20,000 this year. WOW! And in just 4 months has become a top retail sales person in my wife’s Young Living organization.

So if you haven’t already, go check out this blog post we recently updated: https://starrhost.com/example-wordpress-blog/

Jay Carter
Admin of Starr Host

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29 Jun

Summer Website Clean Up and Check Up

 

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Summer is here. Most families are taking time off to travel or enjoy the great outdoors. Summer also means re-runs on TV and less time in front of the TV. However when it seems like the rest of the world is taking a break, it may be a good time to do a summer website clean up and check up to ensure your online tools are ready for the next wave of profits.

Here is a ‘clean up and check up’ to do list for your online business:

1. Go through all internal and external links on your blog posts, pages and widgets. Make sure all the links are working. If they aren’t, either update or delete them.
2. Check the navigation bar. You may need to delete some of the tabs or move them around.
3. Check that all the widgets are working and are relevant to your business.
4. Delete inactive plug ins.
5. Add new recommended plug ins for your website.
6. Delete old pages. You may want to consider adding new sales pages to your website.
7. Freshen up your profile photos on your website, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
8. Check your autoresponder emails. Make sure all the links are working. You may need to update your autoresponder emails because your business has changed or you have new updates.
9. Update all plug ins.
10. Make sure your website is backed up.
11. Do your own or get professional help to check your website security.
12. Review and make sure your opt-in offers are working.
13. Check that all BUY NOW buttons are working.
14. Clean all spam in your website.
15. Delete all trash and spam permanently from your website.
16. Clean out drafts for blog posts and pages you are not using.
17. Check and update your profiles, links and about pages on your website and social media platforms.

For recommendations or help with your website’s needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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26 Jun

How To Increase Your Business Using Online Tools

 

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Most of us attend conventions and seminars to meet associates, gain knowledge, add more skills and to increase focus on building and bringing our business to the next level. Have you found yourself struggling from convention to convention seeing results in others but not yours or have you come to a plateau in the last few months?

You are not alone if you feel that way. In fact, each day millions of people seek opportunity after opportunity only to be disappointed because they are working on a system that isn’t working or they do not know how to venture into the next level.

Home parties, telephone scripts and a duplicable face-to-face presentation system are all important business tools for success. What if you could increase your business this year by using online tools?

Here are three tools you can use seamlessly to increase your business:

One: Creating content through a WordPress blog
Whether you call it a blog, website or resource center for clients and associates, having a WordPress website will help establish you as an expert in your field.

Creating fresh content every week will help you reach out to your potential clients and associates. For example, if your clients or associates are searching for “which essential oil can treat mosquito bites” you can point them to a blog post you have written on that topic. It not only saves you time but it will help your clients and associates seek out other information about your business through your website.

Your WordPress website becomes a hub for training, learning and information. Imagine the amount of time and money you can save? This system is duplicable and your team can do the same.

You will also show up on Google search engine if you know a little about writing SEO friendly and keyword rich relevant and high quality content.

Two: Newsletters (email marketing)
The old fashion way of sending emails to your associates, names collected through trade shows and clients are no longer effective. The majority may go into junk mail. Having a professional email system like AWeber (add affiliate link) to deliver your content, newsletters and updates are not only productive, it helps you track which campaign is working and what works and what doesn’t.

AWeber will save you time and money as well. For example, if you send out newsletters once a week. You can create a list in AWeber, create the newsletter, schedule and send it out anytime you want without having to type every email address and name to the email or newsletter.

Three: Social media
One out of seven people on planet earth uses Facebook. Business owners cannot ignore the numbers recorded about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and more. Social media is shaping the way we do business and market our business.

We have all the tools in place for our clients. Are you looking for ways to increase your business using online tools? We are happy to assist you. Please submit a ticket here.

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22 Jun

Secret Weapons To Winning

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It’s tennis season here in Central NY. These next couple of months Mary and I will hit the courts with kids in tow. We really love tennis and we bring our son who loves chasing the tennis balls. In the 6 years that we have been playing tennis I think she has only beat me 3 times. See I have a few secret weapons that help me win.

1. GIVE IT MY ALL: Yes I am one of those tennis players who you will find running across the court jumping, sliding and yes sometimes falling to get a ball. Not that I am really good at it but I give it my all and giving it my all has helped me win over and over again (at least against my wife).

2. Get lessons: One thing that has helped improve my game is getting lessons and learning the proper technique.

3. Practice: After learning good techniques from our coach we were given drills to help improve our game. Before playing a game we would practice short shots getting them in the small box, then we would practice longer shots, and then we would practice… well you get the picture.

These same 3 principals can be applied to your online business.

1. Don’t treat it like a hobby. Treat it like a business and give it your all.

2. Develop your skills in your profession but also in your business including marketing, social media etc. This will probably involve getting a coach or coaches throughout your years in business.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice. This may involve practicing a skill, testing a marketing strategy or advertisement, practicing doing a telephone business presentation, a GoTo Meeting, or any other technique or skill that you will need to improve on.

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So you see my point. If I never wanted to improve my tennis game and continue to beat my wife then I wouldn’t give it my all, get some training or practice. If you don’t want to improve your business then don’t give it your all, get good coaching, or practice your skills. But I think you do or you wouldn’t be reading this. Good job, remember YOU CAN DO THIS!

For your Success,

Jay Carter

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19 Jun

How To Beat Your Competition In Your Industry

 

How to beat your competition in your industry

Every business in any industry is faced with competition. A crowded and competitive industry means there is a demand for the product or service. The question is how do you stand out and beat your competition in your industry?

Colin Powell said, “The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting above average effort.” Drawing from this quote here are three things I think will help you beat your competition in your industry:

One: Under promise over deliver
By this we mean give more than is expected and deliver a ‘WOW’ factor every time you provide a product or service. When you go all out to deliver more than was promised, your customers will return again and again, recommend your product or service to friends and family and send you a powerful testimonial.

Two: Relationship marketing
These days with social media, we get recommendations and recognitions through all social media channels. Building a strong community through blogging, social media and newsletters not only helps you communicate with your target audience regularly, it allows you to listen and market to your clients’ needs.

You can conduct your own market survey through blogging, social media and newsletters. Gone are the days of employing a market research company to find out what your customer wants.

Relationship building demands two-way communication. Social media, blogging and email allow companies to speak to the audience live and receive feedback, questions and comments immediately. It allows an open forum where potential customers can chat with the owner of the company or their representatives.

It is also a great way to put your customers first and stay close with your customers. Are you building relationships with your target audience through all these platforms?

Three: Content marketing
A company that provides free regular relevant content to their target audience will stand out more than those who do not have a website that produces content on a regular basis. Unless they are Coke, McDonalds or Apple, every start up or small business must deliver regular relevant content to engage with their clients.

In due time you will build authority and trust with your audience.

Want to deliver WOW to your clients and target audience? Remember these three strategies. For help in getting started blogging online, please submit your ticket and we will help you set up your WordPress website.

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15 Jun

Balancing Family Time and Business

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My wife and I are business partners and we love what we do, that is to serve our clients, increase profits and help more people. When you like your work and especially if you are working from home, how do you separate business with family, in other words how do you balance family time and business?

I don’t think there is perfect balance between work and family. Every family will go through different seasons in their life. We just had a newborn and balancing family and business is quite different from the time when we just had a toddler.

Voltaire said, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and so here are three things that we do to make every effort for the good balance between family time and business:

One: Date night
Taking time out of our busy schedule to be with each other is important not only for our marriage but for our sanity. It could be a weekend getaway, a quick meal at a restaurant or a walk in the park.

Two: Play with my son
Playing with our kids not only does our body good, it helps us bond with our children too. Just a few days ago, my wife felt lethargic since staying mostly indoors with our baby girl. A time spent walking and playing with our son at the baseball park made her feel better physically and emotionally.

She got the outdoor exercise and time alone with our son.

Three: No business talk at the dinner table
Since the smartphone invasion most of us eat and sleep with our phones. Nothing is more annoying than to have those buzzing sounds from the phone and seeing one of the family members picking the device up and chatting or replying to an email.

Guard your family dinner hours by eliminating business talk and smartphones for an hour or two each evening.

A solid one-hour quality time spent together daily is more meaningful than a sporadic half hearted conversation with your spouse or your children.

How do you balance family time and business? Please let us know.

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12 Jun

Perception: Research and Saving Money

I was in the store with my 3 year old son the other day and I looked and saw some little metal toy trucks marked $3.99. I immediately thought in my mind wow that’s kind of costly for a little toy truck. About an aisle away I saw a large brick of Rice Krispies treats marked 2 for $3.00. I immediately thought WOW that’s cheap. Then it hit me… buying the Rice Krispies treats that I thought were a deal would not last a week in my house and would not leave any lasting benefit. The little metal truck my son liked was metal so technically it could last long enough to be handed down to his kids.

Isn’t it funny how we ‘PERCEIVE’ value? The same is true in your online business. When we make the decision to start a business our ‘perceptions’ can help us and hurt us at the same time. Sometimes we will need to research solutions to problems, the best deals, the ROI- Return On Investment and much more.

One simple thing I recently researched was www.istockphoto.com. I thought the cost of the images was high. I understand that it’s important to use images that are licensed, not taken from the internet. There are a few reasons why we want to do that ethically and for search ability. I have even heard of a group of lawyers just searching the web for plagiarized materials. So it’s important to do things right.

But in my investigations I found that iStock has had several changes of ownership with little upgrades and improvements in their website. In fact, their pricing is high. With the average cost of images we use for our blogs generally cost 3 to 4 dollars in iStock. So I went out looking for cheaper solutions.

That’s when I found http://www.123rf.com. I found that they had a decent selection of pictures, cheaper prices, and I found similar pictures available on iStock when searching certain words or themes.

A credit at 123rf.com will cost you about a $1 when you buy 20 credits at a time. When you buy more credits at a time it costs less. Compared to iStock’s $1.75 a credit, this is quite a savings. But even more savings comes in when most of 123rf.com’s pictures that we can use in blogs and web work cost only 1 credit whereas iStock’s are 2 to 3 credits.

If you blog twice a week for 52 weeks a year you will need 104 images. In iStock that would cost you $312 minimum. At 123rf.com’s site it will cost you about $104. So you could save $208 a year by switching. Do I sound like an insurance commercial?

Virtual Assistant Debbie Twomey who used to use iStock Photos for 2 years says it was a little confusing at first to switch but the savings was worth it and 123rf.com has gotten easier to use with time.

So remember let’s stay ethical and not steal images. Do the right thing and purchase them or take your own. Save some money by switching over to 123rf.com.

Perception – remember to take a minute and think about what you are doing, what you are buying in your business. Research as see if it really is a good deal and what will its return on investment be for you.

By the way I didn’t end up buying the toy truck or the brick of Rice Krispies treats.

Do you have any good tips for savings in our online businesses? Let us know in the comment section below.

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08 Jun

What is Flesch Kincaid Score and Why It’s Important for Online Writing

What is Flesch Kincaid Score and Why It’s Important for Online Writing
By: Claudia Looi

What your English teacher taught you about writing can hurt your blog posts. An A plus score from your English teacher may not have the same rating with your readers. Your readers will click away if your brilliant diction is too ‘dazzling’ for a busy person. Imagine if for each paragraph you needed to type words into dictionary.com to find out what it means!

Most readers are just scanning information online. They are looking for quick useful information that they can get quickly and easily.

One of the first things we learn as copywriters is the FK score. What is FK?

According to AWAI, FK or Flesch Kincaid is a statistical program that measures the simplicity of writing. It’s a quick way to find out how easy or difficult it is to understand the writer.

Here are a few factors that FK uses to determine the score:
• The average number of words per sentence
• The average number of letters per word
• And the frequency of passive and complex constructions

Look at two examples of Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level below.

The paragraph below has a Flesch Kincaid score of 12.0:

1

The whole family was sick when we visited them lately in the jungle of Borneo. They have been living in the jungle with the Penan tribe for over ten years and Michael has been writing to Jon about the strange insects that have been invading their rooms for nights on end. Dr. Iman just called and delivered the bad news about Heidi has Japanese encephalitis, a severe viral infection of the brain. She had refused to get the immunization when the whole family had theirs a few months ago and will definitely need a miracle from a miracle doctor to help her survived through this calamity. The wet humid rural area of Southeast Asia has been known to have all types of mosquito ranging from those that cause Malaria, Dengue and now the Japanese encephalitis.

By breaking the paragraph into three paragraphs and making some of the sentences shorter, we managed to lower the score to 7.9:

2

The whole family was sick when we visited them lately in the jungle of Borneo. They have been living in the jungle with the Penan tribe for over ten years. Michael has been writing to Jon about the strange insects that have been invading their rooms at night.

Dr. Iman just called and delivered the bad news. Heidi has Japanese encephalitis, a severe viral infection of the brain. She had refused to get the immunization when the whole family had theirs a few months ago. A miracle needs to happen from a miracle doctor to help her survived through this calamity.

The wet humid rural area of Southeast Asia has been known to have all types of mosquito, ranging from those that cause Malaria, Dengue and now the Japanese encephalitis.

Average Americans read at Flesch Kincaid score of 8. Huffington Post reported that most high school students today read at FK5.

Would you be surprised with the following Flesch-Kincaid score?

Gone with the Wind – FK 7
To Kill a Mockingbird – FK 5.9
Lord of the Flies – FK 4.5
For Whom the Bell Tolls – FK 3.1
The Road (2007 Pulitzer Prize winner) – FK3.4
(Source: AWAI’s Flesch-Kincaid:The Secret Weapon of the World’s Greatest Copywriters)

Michael Masterson said that simple writing is more believable than complex writing. And more believable writing is more successful writing.

I strive to write below FK7.0 and average about FK6.5 for most of my writing.

Have you set up your FK score? Here are tips to set up Flesch-Kincaid Score in MS Word on a MacBook?

Click on Word
Click on Preferences
Click on Spelling and Grammar
Check Show readability statistics
Click OK

When you finish spelling and grammar check, readability statistics will show the FK Score.

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05 Jun

4 Facts About Bartering From IRS

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4 Facts about Bartering from IRS
By: Joanne DelBalso

In today’s economy, small business owners sometimes look to the oldest form of commerce – the exchange of goods and services, or bartering. The IRS wants to remind small business owners that the fair market value of property or services received through barter is taxable income.

Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Usually there is no exchange of cash. However, the fair market value of the goods and services exchanged must be reported as income by both parties.

Here are four facts about bartering that the IRS wants small business owners to be aware of:

1. Barter Exchange: A barter exchange functions primarily as the organizer of a marketplace where members buy and sell products and services among themselves. Whether this activity operates out of a physical office or is internet based, a barter exchange is generally required to issue Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, annually to their clients or members and to the IRS.

2. Barter Income: Barter dollars or trade dollars are identical to real dollars for tax reporting. If you conduct any direct barter – barter for another’s products or services – you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return.

3. Taxes: Income from bartering is taxable in the year it is performed. Bartering may result in liabilities for income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, or excise tax. Your barter activities may result in ordinary business income, capital gains or capital losses, or you may have a nondeductible personal loss.

4. Reporting: The rules for reporting barter transactions may vary depending on which form of bartering takes place. Generally, you report this type of business income on Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, or other business returns such as Form 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120 for Corporations, or Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations.

For more information see the Bartering Tax Center in the Business section at http://www.irs.gov.

 

 

 

Joanne L. DelBalso is a native of the Central New York area. Born in North Syracuse New York, Joanne currently resides in North Syracuse, New York with her husband of 25 years Michael and their two sons, Jesse and Andrew (AJ). She is a 1984 graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse High School and a 1988 graduate of LeMoyne College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After 19 years in public accounting working with various small businesses, Joanne decided to start No Fuss Accounting Services in 2007 to focus her efforts on helping small business owners establish a low cost, accurate, NO FUSS complete accounting function.

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