About jdillinger

A prolific critical thinker and dynamic marketer that enjoys using social media and ecommerce applications for the purpose of bringing business and prosperity to local organizations in Atlanta. Please contact me if you would like to discuss how we can implement proven online PR strategies that are built upon tested marketing systems and results. Follow me on Google+

In 2012 – The Future is Social Search – ENGAGE

Social Search is Here – Think about Engagement

 

The Google Bomb came and got dropped on everyone, including myself this year.    The Farmer update had people that relied solely on Article Marketing crying like newborn children as they lost their precious first page rankings and they saw all their hard work flushed down the toilet.    For some, their sites got slapped off the face of the earth.

Adaptation and improvisation are the fundamental keys to staying in business when times change.   Either you change with the times or your business dies.

Has the Google Slap Happened to You?

Play by the Rules, Don’t get Slapped, or punched in the Face

After the update, it had me think of Article Marketing in different dynamics.    The Search Engine Rankings were polluted with fake Pharma sites and “Get Rich Quick Scams”.    I don’t blame Google’s web spam team one bit for doing what they had to do with ridding the search results of this rubbish.

I originally learned  to do SEO from Paul & Angela’s backlinks.    These were called Web 2.0 profiles and I used to engineer thousands of them and ran them through a complex indexing process.   These were in a certain “grey” area, however  I considered them White Hat “One Way Links” and fair.   However, over time as bot technology has improved so has the webmaster’s ability to combat and spot spam.    Nowadays, if you write a Web 2.0 Profile and even take the time to flesh out all the profile information and add a picture of your smiling mug, chances are slim to none that the link will get indexed, and even if it does, chances are very well that the link will be erased if you do not participate in the forum.   Your efforts will be short lived, and the method does not work nearly as well as it used to.   I wrote so many of them initially because pouring garbled, unintelligible spun garbage into the search engines did not sit well with me ethically.

So let me be frank, if you are scraping content from other people and remixing it into garbled, illegible and unreadable garbage just for the purpose of getting a link your days are numbered.   If you are using a “backlink energizer” product that scrapes other people’s content and reinserts your links into unreadable blog rolls and Google’s WebSpam team finds this content farm linking to you then you risk being audited, deindexed, slapped, and your cheating will be punished with you being sent to oblivion and you will have no traffic, no sales, and no business.

You get humbled after certain algorithmic updates and learn the hard way that there is only one way to play with Google, by their rules.  If you think you are smarter than the top 1% of Ivy League mathematicians that design their algorithm then your hubris (arrogance against the gods in Greek mythology, HUBRIS) will be punished in no uncertain terms.    If you break the rules then the algorithm doesn’t necessarily kill you, it just ignores your bad links.    So, what are bad links?

  • Auto Approve Scrapebox Spam - Useless for anything but quick indexing, but do you want to be sharing links on a page with porn and viagra sites?  Answer is  NO.   Scrapebox is good for only one thing, checking to see if your links are being indexed.   Hosing your website with a bunch of Spam Links from this blackhat program using an auto approve list will get you burned and sent to the second or third page.  (Confirmed from my testing).
  • Xrummer Forum Spam - Once again a great way to burn your website to the ground especially in the hands of an idiot.   When you are capable of hosing down 60k anchor text links in one day then you should seriously consider where these links are pointing at because it will definately get you brought down in the search results and penalized.
  • Badly Spun and Unintelligible Articles  -  If it is not something people want to read, then why on God’s green earth would they click on the link to go to your website to read more.   Think about writing useful content that engages your reader and wants to bait them to the website for more.
  • Reciprocal Linking Schemes on Irellevant Sites - I’ve actually talked on the phone with a person that practices SEO in Portland and wrote a 5 star book on Amazon that thinks this still works.  Normally I would have respect for a fellow colleague but he condemned me to clean up the mess he made with his giant reciprocal link farm when my local client signed with me.   So now I am calling him out for the fraud that he is.    He’s on the fourth or fifth page for “SEO Portland”.    Do not involve yourself with fishy domain linking schemes that are reciprical in nature.   You only want “One-Way Backlinks”.  Ignore requests for link exchanges and participate in Guest Blogging instead.
  • Auto Blogging Link Farms – These horrendous creations are an abomination to the practice of SEO and ethical people that value  the content that goes on to the internet.   These so called plugins will scrape and remix content from article directories and insert your links in them.    Avoid at all costs.

I originally  learned to build backlinks through Paul & Angela’s back link packets.   These were devalued as lower class links, so now I only use them for link diversification.   I write links from EVERYWHERE, no-follow blog comments, follow blog comments, blog rolls, social bookmarks,  press releases, article directories, and Web 2.0 Profiles.       I took a concentrated course on White Hat SEO and learned how to build 1-5 IP diversified links surrounded by strong, grammatically correct content and relevant copy on blog rolls and Press Release sites.  These are good links.   You will never get punished for building these type of links.      If you do not have time to write this content then get someone to write it for you.   Make sure your content is topical, and relevant to your site on the first tier, and most importantly grammatically correct.  Feel free to blast these blog rolls with all the spam you want, however I interlink them with a second tier of guess what?  Readable, legible and useful content.   This method pulled me from the second page, I was rewarded with a PR 3 and now I simply know better.   In order to win you must begin to think of everything you do online in one dynamic only – ENGAGEMENT

The content I use is  engaging.  I could put the content in my Twitter Streams and on my Linkedin Profile and not be ashamed of the articles linking back to my website.

If your email program only gets 100 opens when you have a list of 40,000 people then this should tell you something.  YOU’RE NOT ENGAGING.  You are blasting marketing at people that don’t care.     Make something up, give away a gift card, football tickets, t-shirts with your logo on it, do anything but BLAST YOUR MARKETING UPON DEAF EARS THAT DO NOT CARE.  You have to give people a reason to care.  Otherwise they won’t opt in.   Or if they do opt in, they will not care.   People are easy to understand in the marketing world.  Human beings are innately selfish.   Appeal to their sense of “Me”.   Think about it, my cell phone is called the myTouch.   As in “MINE”.   Think about the most ingenious marketing strategy ever launched with the iPod.  The keyword being “I” as in MINE.  It’s something personal, it’s mine to own, and it is precious to “ME”.   Once you figure out how people think then the marketing becomes easy.

The iPod is one of the Most Commercially Successful Product Launches to Date

This device appealed to people’s sense of “ME”

   If you do not want to reward, retain, and engage your customer then your business will die.  Period.  What’s in it for the customer?  Why should they follow you on Facebook?   Because you put up pretty pictures.  You think the customer gives a flying fuc$! about your pictures?   The only reason they opt into a company’s marketing is because they are asking that one question?  What’s in it for ME.   What kind of reward do I get for following YOU.  If you are not asking these questions now then you are setting your business up for failure.    If you are not answering your fans questions, showing human empathy, if your campaign is being run by a robot that blasts marketing messages into Twitter and Facebook like these are one way marketing channels like TV then your campaign will  FAIL. Your fans will stop following you, and nobody will care about what you are marketing or will care about what you have to say.   I know because I have measured the analytics and they all point to one thing.  The days of one way marketing channels are over.   Give it up, hire someone to talk to your audience.   Stop blasting your marketing on autopilot with bot programs to people that don’t care.

 So here is my tip if you Want to Survive 2012

Now here is the most  important part, so make sure you get it.   It’s time to think about engagement.   From your email program, to your SEO program, to your social media program, the purpose behind your content should be to ENGAGE your audience.    Now, more than ever.   If you obsess over link building schemes you will fail.    If you do not have on audience that you actively talk to, you will fail.  If your fan base is not sending you feedback then you are failing.

If you do not pay attention to a customer’s criticisms online and fix the problems in your organization that they are pointing out, then you will FAIL.  Don’t FAIL in 2012.  ENGAGE! and you will SURVIVE.

 

Building a Business from Nothing

Building a Business from Nothing – The Journey

I’ve wanted to take more time to write to my blog as of lately.   I’m not here to talk about SEO or List Building or even Social Media.    I’ve accomplished my goals of being a formidable internet marketing machine in a short amount of time.    I’m here to talk about the beginning.    When I had nothing and when I went to sleep at night worried that I was going to be poor for the rest of my life.

Workstation in 2009 - Built in 2002

My Workstation in 2009 – Built in 2002 – It could barely run Twitter

Rebuilding Self Confidence – Restoring Self Image

I’m not here to beat my chest about how I leveled firms claiming to employ 70 people working from a cold, dark, room in crime ridden Home Park at the age of 29 on a computer that I had built in 2002.    That’s not the point.     Over a phone conversation I had with an old classmate I was accused of being vain and self serving.   To the contrary, I’ve offered my services to small businesses that were struggling that didn’t have the marketing budgets of big name competitors because my company and collaborators had a vested interest rebuilding my community around me.   Whether are not my ambitions are perceived as altruistic or self serving is of little concern to me.   I am too busy to care what other’s think of me.  Of course I care about my professional image.  My motives being questioned is for bored rumor mongers and non-action takers.

I had to rebuild myself from a fat, unhappy man into a newly formed, remade, productivity machine.

Fat Pants - No More

After 1 Year of Extreme Interval Training I had Lost 3 Pants Sizes 

My Life Nearly Ending – Unfriendly Pedestrian CityWhen it Rains it Pours

Unfortunately being poor had some disadvantages.   I had to train on pavement and the cheap running shoes that were falling apart.   This caused the tendons in my legs and ankles to weaken and one of my ankles cratered while going up a flight of stairs.

Being issued a set of crutches from the emergency room.   I went back to the dilapidated college housing I was living in.    My roommates watched me hop around the house like an insect in a jar.   Being crippled brought about a new set of realizations that I would be trapped in the house and immobilized for a while.

After hobbling my way home from work one day in the rain on crutches at the busy intersection of Northside and 14th street I moved across the intersection unaware that there was a green arrow for left turns and ignoring the pedestrian walk sign when I saw intersection traffic stop.   An unaware Fedex truck driver came flying through the intersection and came to screeching halt so close to me that my life could have ended that split second.

When You Realize Your Life is Finite – You Lose all Sense of Fear from loss of Job Security

Being trapped in this cold, dark, drafty room in home park I decided to study web mastery.   I always wanted to learn but didn’t realized that it wasn’t school holding me back, it was the simple will to learn.   Between YouTube, E-Books, and inexpensive information products in the Warrior Forum I pieced together my business plan.  Web Masters are the gatekeepers of the internet, and social media channels led me to some excellent blogs, expert advice, and friendships from people I had never even met in person.

Rolling the Dice – Most People Never Get their Shot in Life

Workstation in September of 2011

Workstation in September of 2011 - State of the Art

 You can write a business plan on a cocktail napkin.   You can say tomorrow, or the next day.  You can say it’s your father’s fault for not sending you to a fancy art school.   You can blame everyone but yourself for your failures.    Only when staring at the end of my life did it become plain as day that I had to do something.   I was one of those people that MADE EXCUSES and blamed OTHERS.  Only once you break from this mindset does the impossible become possible.  From assembling my dream board in 2009 to the profitable business I run today, this vision was built from my MIND.   From a dark room in Home Park living with college undergrads I studied day and night with a broken foot propped up against a pillow.   I learned HTML not because a teacher made it a part of my curriculum but because I wanted to.   I built websites because I wanted to.   I was so poor in 2009 that the decision to buy 1 year of shared hosting from  Godaddy to start building websites was nearly a budget breaker.

I don’t have to worry about those things anymore.   My life is the one I always wanted to live.  My business is the one that I built with my bare hands four hours everyday after working full time at my day job.     I’m glad I got my shot, most people never even try.   That is sad, they waste away at some dive mumbling about how they were going to be a rock star one day.  I don’t have that problem.    Put aside excuses, remove distractions, and get to work.   In a world of 20% unemployment you do not want to find yourself dependent on one stream of income.   You decide your company, your friends, your collaborators, your business plan, and ultimately, your fate.

Success is a State of Mind – Don’t Wait until the Years of Your Life has Passed You By – Opportunity will Come Find You if You Open the Door

 

 

Web Mastery Tools for Marketers

Web Mastery Tools for Marketers Part 1

– Learn to Walk Before You Leap – 3 Parts in every Series

Many people have inquired about my profession and what it takes to become an internet marketing entrepreneur. Let’s just say the throwing the book at them usually scares them off.   It’s not like the profession is difficult, you just have to study and stay ahead of the curve.   It’s a real honor to be in a position to help other people with effective career advice.  People aren’t sales, numbers, points on the board, or prospects.  Just real people, like you or me,  looking for real answers.

So ask yourself this question, are you going to provide

My big BA list of the software and tools you will need to learn before you even dip your little toe in the pool. In order to run your own business you must be highly organized beyond being able to brush your teeth in the morning and remembering to register your vehicle on special occasions like your birthday.

I believe in each and every one of you.  YOU can run your own business.  Internet Marketing BMF – Got what it takes?  Start from the beginning.

1) Learn HTML <!DOCTYPE>

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.   Understanding basic HTML syntax is the foundation for understanding how the internet works.  If you don’t know HTML, then you don’t know jack.

So I would recommend - http://www.boogiejack.com/

Boogie Jack explains HTML from start to finish in the easiest way possible.  In order to build iFrame pages, tweak other people’s websites, and draw image paths, you will need to know basic HTML like this  <img src=”http://entrepreneurs.outright.com/static/images/profile/49627_n.jpg” alt=”Internet Marketing BMF” />

My favorite HTML editor is Adobe DreamWeaver.   Some people like to use notepad++ or plain text editors.  I’m sorry but this is the year 2011, if I can spend a few dollars and get a program that writes the HTML and is HTML 5 compliant go ahead and spring the extra few bucks for the king of web development tools.   Adobe gets this one right every way possible.

2)  Hosting & Name Registrar

A friend of mine once said, I just want to do SEO, but I do not want to be a webmaster.  Too bad my friend..   you can’t get the icing from the cake without having some cake.    You have to be able to build websites from the ground up to crush search engines before you can even dream about yanking someone else’s code playing around with it.  To attain high search engine rankings and get traffic you will have to be able to deploy and administer your own blog network.  Within this blog network you can control the interlinking between sites, run split tests on link building without burning a client’s site, and change the canonical structures of your websites for search engine love.

You will need to learn FTP (File Transfer Protocol).  Filezilla is the absolute best and it is my favorite price – FREE!  Get it here http://filezilla-project.org/download.php

The next step is building and deploying websites.   WordPress is still recommended because of the speed and ease of deployment, with a fresh install taking nearly ten minutes flat.  WordPress is in it’s 3rd iteration  and has become more than a blog style website CMS, it is a powerful content management system that can compete with the others like Drupal and Joomla.

Heavy customization of WordPress is another story, everyone has a favorite theme which one you choose is matter of preference.  Some favorites are the Socrates Theme, Genesis Theme, or Thesis Theme.

My personal favorite is the Thesis Theme because of the huge support community, infinite level customization, and SEO friendliness of the theme.  You will not have to use the All-In-One SEO plugin with this theme as all the same functionality is built into the back end of the theme.   Get it here from DIY Themes here.

You will need a hosting solution and a name registrar to start deploying websites.   Godaddy.com, Namecheap.com and Network Solutions work well as a name registrar.  I only register “.coms” because of the perceived value of the extension though I have several “.nets” which I do not use.    I recommend using another hosting solution rather than the ones provided by the big name registrars because of my own personal experience with load speeds. Do thorough research before choosing a hosting provider, the nightmare of transferring hosting can cause sleepless nights while you configure database tables and redraw image paths.

For shared hosting I recommend Hostgator or Media Temple.   For VPN or dedicated hosting I recommend Media Temple because of scalabilty of their servers though some research will lead you to solutions just as good.

Go to Hostgator here to grab a shared hosting account:  http://www.hostgator.com/

From C-Panel you can create a WordPress install using Fantastico in about five minutes flat.   Google a video about it and you can find hundreds of tutorials.

3)  Database Management

I use a database of excel spreadsheets for recording all created accounts, html links, and invoices.   I clearly label them so they can be found quickly in the windows search bar without me having to fumble around the thousands of files located on disk.   When you have thousands of email accounts, hundreds of blog network accounts, and hundreds of account logins things can get pretty confusing.

For account logins I use Roboform and Roboform Online.   One master password can access hundreds of encrypted passwords.  I make use of the password generator to encrypt all my passwords and if I think an account has been hacked quickly change it.   Roboform Online stores all these passwords on a cloud server so you can access your accounts from anywhere, anytime.   They also have an option to program Roboform to a USB key so you can access these accounts on the go.   Get Roboform here http://www.roboform.com/

When managing client emails I recommend two tiers – I use Gmail  because of it’s storage capabilities and search algorithm.   I can find an email by name or title.  I make sure to label the emails clearly so that an email can be found quickly through the search bar.  For example I put “Workorder Complete” whenever a job is being reported back to a client as finished.    My invoices are labeled “Invoice for (Month)”.    I never erase any emails except for spam as a dispute over communications can arise and you may have to prove to your client that something was miscommunicated a certain way or not at all.  Gmail has a new priority inbox that sorts important emails from the rest and I use the new algorithm to sort my favorite subscriptions and client emails from the rest of the hundreds of emails coming into my email box daily.   Gmail also syncs with Android devices seamlessly so I can communicate on-the-go with clients anywhere and at anytime.

If you have been using another email provider then I will be frank with you, nothing even comes close to Gmail.  With a Gmail account you get three more important cloud solutions that are free of charge.  Google Documents, Google Calenders, and Picasa Photo Storage.  I coordinate a Google Calender with all my social media clients so we have a social calender for events and I am always informed on what is going at the business.  I then cycle these events into Twitter and Facebook using a program called Hootsuite.   There is a free and paid version and you can get it here:  http://www.hootsuite.com/

On the second tier I use  Highrise.  You can program Gmail to forward emails automatically into Highrise so you can have a database of your MOST IMPORTANT contacts separated from the riffraff of your inbox.   Highrise is a drop-dead simple CRM where you can notate conversations, program sales leads and reminders to followup.   These reminders can then be sent via text message right to your cell phone at a designated time.  (Awesomeness) – Never forget to follow up with someone again.   A simple thank you email can go a long way towards getting you a referral or a lasting business relationship.

Get Highrise here:  http://highrisehq.com/