Monday, September 29, 2008

What the heck is Biz Bling?

A couple weeks ago I introduced a new category of posts called Blog Bling. These are my reviews about tips and tools available to enhance your blog, and often a brief tutorial on how to add them to your blog.

This week I want to tell you about another new feature I call Biz Bling. Because this blog focuses on marketing your creative business and/or small business, my job is to let you know about new tools and techniques available today to really get your business in the forefront. These new tools make a greater impact on your customers and your bottom line.

They don't teach these things in business school and I know you don't have time to scout out and experiment with all the new stuff online. Let me handle the finding out, learning about, and trying out and I'll give you the lowdown so you can decide if it's something you want to pursue. My blog posts are written in plain English and I always try to break down technical jargon or explain tech-y stuff in real terms. Ditto for all technical tutorials I post here. If it's not easy to read, who's going to waste their time trying to figure out what I'm saying?

Again, these blog posts are my opinions only and I am not paid or compensated to blog about any other company. Nobody asks me to blog about them, either. I tell you this because I want you to trust what I have to say and not wonder if you're reading some sort of advertisement. When I want to advertise to you, I'll say so.

That said, please check back often to see what's new. Subscribe, bookmark, or follow me (see sidebar widget) so you don't miss any tasty tidbits.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Bling: Slide

Here's a bit of bling for your blog: Slide
I first discovered this at laurie beggin glass musings where she installed an interactive guest book.

Have you seen Slide sliding around the internet?
It's a lot of fun to use to make your blog more interactive. Very easy to set up.

I've got a Slide slideshow at the bottom of my family's blog, The Adventures of Pam & Frank, where it chronicles a road trip to Seattle that we took this past summer. A Slide guest book is installed at the top of my Plate Diaries. I installed it recently and very quickly three visitors signed it. I know these people in real life (a very good friend I've known since 6th grade, my sister, and my favorite former neighbor who has stayed in touch for the past 8 years.) What I absolutely love is that while none of these wonderful ladies leave comments on any of my 4 public blogs, they signed my guest book. I had no idea they even read my blogs!

Here's my guest book.


Setting up and installing your Slide is so darned easy I'm not even going to give you a tutorial. You don't need one.

Now put your thinking cap on and imagine how you can use Slide to promote your site or product. If you comment here with your idea you get a gold star (figuratively) and everyone will learn what a brilliant thinker you are.

Go forth and slide! Leave a comment here with a link to where you put your Slide and we'll go check it out!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the heck is Web 2.0 ? ?

My mom has been taking computer classes and is pretty comfortable with surfing and emailing and such. She reads my blogs periodically, and comments on them occasionally.

Recently, she mentioned that her computer teacher (and big-shot web designer in town I might ad) could not answer any of her questions about blogging.

*tsk* My poor mother is falling behind the times. (Ok she's 70. Sorry mom. You're awesome and you know I love you.) I took it upon myself to bring her up to speed.

After sending the email I thought there may be a few of you who would like a little info about some of this as well, as the internet has recently gone through a radical change that only geek blogs are buzzing about, and only in terms that are over the heads of most of us regular folk. (Sorry geeks, I love all of you too.)

If you're reading this, you deserve to stay in the loop on things here. This is written in layman's terms and if I'm a little off on something, please leave a nice comment to clarify.
Here's what happened to the internet:
  • The internet has changed and is now called Web 2.0
  • When there's a minor change in a computer program, the version number jumps by a 1/10th of a point. Such as Windows 3.0 to Windows 3.1 This was back when people started getting computers at home and the internet was just a series of message boards, circa 1989. Usually these changes are only noticed by programmers and people who constantly use the programs.
  • Every time there's a major change in programming, the version number jumps a whole number, such as Internet Explorer 6.0 to Internet Explorer 7.0. The average consumer can pick up on these changes which include a whole new look to the program, major improvements to how it works, etc.
Lately, people have been talking about Web 2.0
This is a major change to the internet and it is not really a programming change, meaning some guys in a computer lab didn't re-write how the internet works. Instead, the people who use the internet and write programs that you can use on the internet gradually made improvements until the entire internet changed to a completely different kind of entity.
This change is called Web 2.0 - it's a social network.

So what's the change? Unlike other whole-number changes, you are not aware that you're seeing the new version, but when I explain it you'll say "Aha!"

During the days of Web 1.0, the internet was like an online encyclopedia, online class, and online shopping mall. Consumers went there to get information. Businesses had websites that provided information. That was it.

Web 2.0 is an interactive online community where the consumers take info and give info. Businesses provide info and invite the consumers to talk about it, share it, re-use and re-purpose it, and talk back to the business that originally provided it. Web 2.0 is more of a full-on online conversation.

To fully understand Web 2.0, come back next Wednesday and I'll share some well-known websites that embrace it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What the heck is Blog Bling?

There are so many interesting and useful blog enhancing widgets available for free I thought you might be interested in learning about what's available, how they work, how to install one, and what you could use it for.

I call all of these little gizmos Blog Bling. Nobody pays me a dime to blog about them and I'm not asked to do any reviews. This is all based on what I find (and I mention where I found it), what it looks like, what my opinion is about the widget, how it works, how to install it, etc.

As I blog about them I'll add a link to my sidebar
so you can find the link easily or refer someone over here to grab the link.

If you have one of the widgets I blog about on your blog, please leave a comment here with your URL. I have disabled the nofollow on my comments, so every comment counts. Plus, if you are reading about a widget and want more info before trying it out, I strongly encourage you to check out the URLs in the comments to see the widget in action.

Commenting and following is just good blog karma, anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blog Bling: Quick Ribbon

Here's a bit of blog bling for you to try out: Quick Ribbon.
I discovered this at Psilology, and had to give it a go. The results - very easy, looks good.

I'm using this tool on my Pass It On Plate blog and Plate Diaries
to promote giveaways and sales. The ribbon is a link, so when people click it they go to the blog post that talks about that promotion. You could use it to advertise your special events or just point people toward your store/shopping cart. It's up to you.

The Quick Ribbon website makes it extremely easy to design your ribbon. The trick is installing it into your blog. Installation is easy, but it means you have to go into the actual HTML of your blog. Don't worry, I'll walk you through it here.

Install your own Quick Ribbon in 5 steps.
1. Go to the HTML of your blog. As always, copy and paste ALL your code into a notepad document on your computer before touching anything. Save the document.
2. Near the top of your code, find the word <head>. You could hit ctrl+F and your computer will find it for you.
3. Insert your Quick Ribbon code just under <head>.
4. If you have a favicon under <head>, you can put this above or under your favicon. It shouldn't matter.
5. Save, then go look at it.

One note: I discovered that the code makes the entire corner a hot spot, meaning if you click anywhere in the corner, even if the ribbon isn't covering it, it will take you to the link you programmed into the ribbon. If you are using Blogger, this will affect how you get to your dashboard. Just click New Post and navigate to your dashboard from there. It's a little annoyance in my opinion, but I can live with it for the occasional use of the ribbon.

Ok - go try it!
When you have it installed, be sure to comment here with your URL and we'll all go and check it out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well that was easy

Check out the URL for this blog in your address bar. What does it say?

It used to be but now it's a simple and perfect
Worth every penny of the $10 spent this afternoon to buy my own domain.

Would you like a quick 3-step tutorial on how to get your own domain for your blogger blog?
Required skills:
  • You must be able to type the name of the domain you want
  • You must have a credit card
  • You must be willing to use the credit card

Um, that's pretty much it. Comment here if you want the tutorial and I'll post it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Favicon Tutorial -
Making a little tiny
picture thingy

A couple weeks ago, I posted here on this blog, and here on my other blog, a little tutorial on how to find hex codes when you're tweaking the color of your blog template.

In the screen shots used for the tutorial, you can see the Firefox various tabs I had open at the time. I was careful to make sure that the visible items were suitable for world-wide viewing, and didn't think much beyond "Is that private information or not?"

I had a good chuckle when Brad from left this comment on the post:
LOL. It's pretty cool seeing your favicon in a tab on a screenshot..
Thanks for visiting!

Yeah Brad, that actually is pretty cool. I guess the secret's out about what I read when I post. (I haven't heard from Chris Brogan, yet. Score one for Brad for picking this up first - of course Brad, you have two tabs to Chris' one.)

To my dear readers, if you are wondering what the heck Brad is talking about, the favicon is the little picture thingy that you see on the left side of each tab in the picture below. There's also a favicon in the address bar on the browser in the picture. (Brad's favicon is a bold, dark letter "B")

If you look up at the address bar at the top of your screen right now, you probably see a favicon, too. It could be the orange Blogger "B" or my pink zinnia that I use as my avatar everywhere I go.

Would you like to make one for yourself? It's pretty easy. You can do this.

There are a lot of good tutorials out there, so instead of repeating what other folks have said, I'll just point you toward two that are well-written and not too tech-y.
Short and sweet. Easy if you already have a website or hosting to which you can upload your favicon image.
Here, Sarah mentions using Flickr to host your favicon image.

When you get yours installed, leave a comment here and share your link so we can see your favicon masterpiece.

PS: Hey Brad, when you leave a comment here, would you mind sharing how you found this post? Technorati, Google Alerts, etc? I'd like to use it as an example for a future post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are people talking about you?

One thing bloggers do is talk about other bloggers. In almost every case this is a good thing and it can send a nice flow of traffic to the talked-about blogger's site.

So today's question is this:
If you're a blogger, how do you know when someone is talking about you?

Two easy ways to check this are with Technorati or Google Alerts.

Technorati can be used to see what other blogs have mentioned yours. Just type your blog name in the search box. A list of posts mentioning your blog will appear. Click on your blog name under one of your own posts, then scroll down to see blog reactions to your blog. You'll need to visit Technorati each time you want to see what's being said about you.

Personally, I prefer Google Alerts. Instead of searching their database, you tell it what to search for and the results are regularly emailed to you. Not only can you search for your blog name, but you can search for specific keywords. Tell Google how often you want to be emailed, then sit back and don't worry about missing anything.

One thing I love about Google Alerts is their keyword search feature. I have set up Google Alerts to let me know when all my trademarked words and my name are used in any blog. Yes, my own blogs appear in the emailed results, but I quickly learn about every mention of these terms and my name on other blogs as well. It's a simple, no-brainer way to keep track of who's talking about me.

I used Google Alerts during my last Pass It On Plates giveaway. One of the ways people could enter the giveaway was to blog about the contest and/or blog about which Pass It On Plate they wanted. Google Alerts told me who was blogging about it even before I visited my own blog to check the comments.

Do you use any online tools to track who is blogging about you?
Please comment here and share your tips.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Video advertising

This morning, I saw an interesting email in my inbox offering a free video ad based on my own images uploaded to my uShops store. This is a brilliant idea. Merchants who take advantage of this free offer would be wise to post that video to their blog, website, social networking sites (such as MySpace, Facebook, Ning, etc.)

On a side note, check out the bottom of the email where you can share this email with various other social networking sites with just a few clicks. That's some very clever viral marketing.

Will I be making a video of Pass It On Plates? You bet.

Meanwhile, I'm intrigued by the links to, digg, etc at the bottom of the post. I will examine that further and talk more about it in an upcoming post.

Read on...


Our mission is to help you sell online.

We, at uShops are excited to announce that we have partnered with companies to provide video ads to all shops. We think this will provide our users a great marketing opportunity to showcase their products in a interactive manner within their own community, websites , blogs or video sharing sites. More views will lead to exposure which will convert into sales.

For a pilot project, we are inviting your shop(and products) to be morphed into a online interactive video. If you choose, we will create and host a 30-45 second video of your shop (its products) and provide with you a link to post to any online site. We will post selected videos on the uShops blog as well.

Just send a email to and enter "I want my Video ad" in the subject to have your video sent to you by early next week (1st Sep 2008). By sending the email you give us permission to create video using your product images. We will need at least 5 products in your shop to be eligible for the video creation service.

BTW - This pilot service is free to use and you can post this video to as many site as you like.

Feedback , comments and other suggestions on this topic are welcome.

Thank you for using uShops
uShops Support team

This message was sent from notifications to It was sent from: redbytes software, 1801 Wing on building, 26 des Veoux road, Central., Hong Kong, NO NA, Hong Kong. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below. Email Marketing Software

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Friday, September 5, 2008

One more little HTML lesson tutorial

You know how to make bold and italic text, right?
Those are just a quick little <b>before and a</b> after for bold, and a little <i>before and a</i> after for italic.

How about a strike out? My clever daughter just showed this one to me.
Just type in this text: <strike>strike</strike>

Want to see it in use?
Sure you do. Besides, it'll make you feel really good about your well behaved kids.

While typing this, my exuberant 12 year old nearly 13 year old (and old enough to know better) was sitting on the back of the couch, reading over my shoulder as I typed. Something brushed my right ear and there was a huge WHUMP! and a shriek as she fell over backwards, landing on the cushion of the couch.

Turns out my darling daring daughter nearly kicked me in the head as she lost her balance. I tried to scold her and she kept whooping and yelling, "That was fun!!"

She agreed to wait until I'm done before she tries again. She needs a ride to a friend's house later this evening.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Check it out - line breaks in the blog title!

Want in on the secret? It's four little characters of html code that indicates a line break. It's so easy.

Here's the code: <br>
The BR means "Break"

When I typed in the title to this blog post, it looked like this:

Easy, peasy.
Now off you go, to let all hell <br> loose with your use of HTML.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Keeping everyone on the same page easy HTML tutorial

Have you noticed this? When you are visiting someone's blog or website and you click on a link, sometimes the link opens in a new window (or tab) and sometimes you leave the blog completely and jump over to the new link.

Staying or jumping has to do with how the html is written on the blog post or website.

Sometimes this is a good thing, jumping from blog to blog, and other times it's annoying because what you were initially reading was very interesting and now you have to hit the back button to figure out where you were before the link sent you shooting off to someone else's blog.

As for me, I like to keep my readers here, partly for their convenience, and (from a business standpoint,) partly so my brand is not forgotten too quickly. Would you like to do the same?

Without any foreign language instruction, here's how.
Denise, I'm going to use your blog URL as the example. I hope that's ok. Thanks!

1. Start a new blog post in a new window or tab on your browser so you can keep your eye on this tutorial.

2. Type in the name of the site you want to experiment with, then attach a link to it. Here's the example:
Denise Clenney's Changing Designs

3. Now flip over to your Edit Html tab on your blog post. Take a look at the code for what you just did. It should look like this: <a href="">Denise Clenney's Changing Designs>

4. If you are extremely unfamiliar with html, I'll explain the different parts here, and please pardon my lack of technical language. I may be geeky but I am not a geek.

a href= This tells the browser that this is a link.

"" Tells the browser where to go.

< > These brackets tell the browser that this is where the code is, and not to make it look like text.

Denise Clenney's Changing Designs This is the text link you see on the page. Sometimes it's underlined, sometimes it's a different color.

Since the first bracket started with an "a" this "/a" tells the browser that's the end and closes the code.

5. If you publish the blog post and click on the link, you will jump directly to Denise's blog. So let's go back to edit the blog post and modify the link you just put in.

6. Go to the Edit Html tab again and enter some extra code to tell the browser to open a new window or browser tab when this link is clicked. Here's the code again:
<a href="">Denise Clenney's Changing Designs>

7. In the spot between the end quote
" and the end bracket > you'll need to enter the following code: target="_blank"
(There is a space before the word target.)

8. The link now looks like this:
<a href="" target="_blank">Denise Clenney's Changing Designs>

Now for those of you who are anal retentive about this kind of stuff, there's more.
(You can't see me, but I'm sitting at the computer sheepishly raising my hand.)

If you feel the need to go back into any older posts, (and try to restrain yourself PAM HAWK,)
you can do a quick fix on all those pesky links that could potentially take your readers away forever.

1. Open any blog post you can't resist the urge to fix and go to the
Edit Html tab.

2. If you are using a PC, hold down the Ctrl key and tap the F key to open a Find dialog box. (If you have a Mac, sorry - I don't know how you initiate a search.)

3. In the search box, enter
a href="
Yes, you can copy and paste from this blog post.

4. Now highlight and copy this code
Remember, there is a space in front of the word target.

5. Search the entire bit of blog post html, and every time you find a link, paste in the code. Just position your cursor between the "> and hold down Ctrl and V to paste.

6. Click search click search click search your way through the blog post until it's flawless. Or until you realize you really need to stop and do something more productive, *ahem* Pam.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dual Blog Posts

Sometimes, I will post the same info here as well as on the Pass It On Plates blog.

Even though this blog officially began 9/1/08, you will see posts from before Sept 1st that were copied from the other blog. These posts are marketing-related and needed to be re-posted here for relevancy. You'll see a lot of dual posts through about the middle of September 2008.

From September 8-13, I will be attending an intense, week-long Guerrilla Marketing seminar in Los Angeles. After the marketing seminar, the topics on the two blogs will start to diverge and it will become a lot more clear where you can find the kind of info you need.
I can't wait!

Monday, September 1, 2008

My True Love

Ever since I was a little kid I have been in love with marketing. As a kid I paid attention to the techniques companies used to draw attention to themselves and their products. TV shows were boring but I was glued to the ads. Logos fascinated me and I always took note when I saw an unconventional (bit effective) use for a logo.

Every aspect of marketing has held my interest, regardless of which career path I was heading down. As a young adult, I loved how the busiest and most profitable taxi company in Minneapolis required their drivers to wear tuxedos, deoderant, and aftershave - their fares were the same as the grubby cab drivers, so guess which company I called every time I needed a cab? I also marveled at the way that leasing firms managing the skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis used the aerial view of the building as part of their logo. During that time I worked as the Head Concierge (kon-see-AIRzh) at one of the largest hotels in downtown Minneapolis where I unknowingly learned myriad marketing concepts and techniques.

Being a Concierge has been one of my all-time favorite jobs because it was so exciting. Ok, the perks and spiffs (freebies from businesses in exchange for my staff sending business their way) were great. What I didn't realize was that I was learning some incredible fusion marketing techniques and that the busiest, fastest-growing companies were managed by what are now known as Guerrilla Marketers. I took notice of what they did and created training programs for my own staff to follow their lead.

Now many years later, the addiction to marketing has become stronger than ever.
Last year I started my own gift-ware company, and while I have started to implement my favorite marketing techniques, it's not enough to satisfy my urge to do even more. I realized this when I took a long hard look at my blog, The Pass It On Plates blog and realized it is more about marketing and small business than about Pass It On Plates. Instead of seeing a red flag waving for all the non Pass It On Plates content on the blog, it waved a little golden flag, sending a powerful message: "It's Time."

Time to start another blog to support my new addiction.

Here you will find Concierge Marketing-style services and info on how to market your business, beginner tips and tutorials for blogging and navigating the internet, an introduction to computer and internet tools you can use, basic business tips, and other related information for anyone who is starting a new business or working to expand an existing one.

What, exactly, is a Concierge? According to "A concierge is someone who represents the buyer and makes sure that his wants are met in the best possible way."

So in terms of my marketing services, to rephrase, I represent you and make sure your business wants are met in the best possible way. For more information about Concierge Marketing, check out this Concierge Marketing blog post by Jay Lipe of Master Biz Builders.

I still need to come up with a name for this blog, so for right now I will just use my name. It may change, it may not change. We'll see. Check back often to see what's new and please comment to let me know what I can do for you.