Fear factors

February 2, 2013 at 7:48 am | Posted in social media | 19 Comments
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Fear of the unknown … AND the known!

A few years ago I commissioned a $2500 scorched-earth rebuild of my entire website.

While it all turned out right in the end, I thought it might amuse you to know how I felt at the time.

I expected a faint pang of apprehension at this point; now that it’s here, I’m downright scared.

I’ve written dozens of sites for clients, but this is different. It’s my site, my brand, my business and my money, um … line of credit, actually.

In short, it’s my arse online. I’m literally trembling as I type. Will I triumph, or come a cropper?

Let’s play the fortunately/unfortunately game to see:

Fortunately  I have a good man in my corner. He’s been my IT Guy for a couple of years and his service is second to none. He’s fast and smart and reasonably priced. He’s got offsite backup thingys coming out of his serial port, so that’s got to be good.

Unfortunately  my years of experience with web projects have taught me that they’re longer and stringier than the longest, stringiest bits of string. What starts as a five-page walk in the park can turn into a 15-volume Grimm’s fairy tale. Overnight.

Fortunately  I did things by the book. I wrote an explicit, four-page plan of what I wanted in terms of content, structure and functionality. I also wrote a creative brief, complete with sample images, to give the designer a clear sense of my vision. I even gave the URL of the site I wish to emulate – a site, ironically, whose content I edited with supreme confidence!

Unfortunately  until you see everything on screen, you don’t know how (if?) it’s going to work. And even if it’s all done right and I love it, my clients may not. They range from sole traders to corporate juggernauts; what pleases some may repel others. It all comes down to my professional judgment which, though unerring to date, feels strangely frail today.

Fortunately  I have a small circle of gifted, trusted, objective advisors. To these generous people I will send the site mock-ups that precede the main event.

Unfortunately  until we go live, I won’t know for sure whether all this time, money and effort will pay off.

Fortunately  the Empire is soon to be mentioned in a major magazine and featured on MYOB. It’s possible that hordes of new visitors will give me the feedback I crave.

Unfortunately  the site may not be ready in time for this exposure, and these rich, new prospects may hit (and flee) my tired, old site which is so in need of a makeover.

Fortunately  if the whole thing collapses in a screaming heap, I’ll at least get some amusing blog posts out of it.

All this goes to show that when you’re reinvesting your own hard-earned cash, even decades of expertise offer scant comfort.

Do you trust yourself?

Whence comes your confidence?

Your advice, warnings and hilarious anecdotes are invited at this point.

Wish me luck!


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On a roll

January 1, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in social media | 6 Comments
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The nice lady who blogrolled me. I’m on the right, third from the bottom. The listing is alphabetical.

I keep a series of ‘Google Alerts’ (which I’ll describe fully in another post).

One of these alerts lets me know if the phrase The Feisty Empire appears anywhere on the internet.

Last night, in the dying hours of 2009, this alert emailed me.

It said The Feisty Empire been ‘blogrolled’ on the MarketCopywriter Blog.

I clicked the link and there it was: my company name – right next to Seth Godin’s blog!

This was an amazing coincidence, as I’d only recently learned of my inclusion in Seth’s book Purple Cow.

MarketCopywriter Blog’s author, Lorraine Thompson, is a New York Hudson Valley freelance copywriter who writes print and digital copy for corporate, small business and non-profit clients.

I’d ‘known’ her for a few months via Twitter as a smart, kind, switched-on lady who wrote excellent copy and was generous in retweeting my content.

I never suspected she’d put a link to my site on her blog. Especially as we’re technically competitors!

Perhaps Lorraine, like me, believes in making the work ‘pie’ bigger, rather than fighting for pieces.

Apart from the social validation, I knew from reading ProBlogger and Copyblogger that being blogrolled would trigger a fresh stream of visitors to my website.

It’d also improve my online search ranking.

So, with half of Melbourne pouring into town for the fireworks, I dived into WordPress to learn how to blogroll.

I got a bit confused by the blogroll jargon before realising that Links, Add New was where I needed to be. Once I knew what I was doing, it was easy.

I sent Lorraine a direct message (DM) via Twitter, thanking her and letting her know I’d returned the favour.

Then, still possessed by the positive vibe, I set about blogrolling the blogs and websites of my other online ‘friends’ (see below).

I enjoyed blogrolling those I admire and respect. See them at bottom right.

It gave me real pleasure to inform each person – especially when one replied with the same surprise and delight I’d felt.

I’d heard about the Law of Mutual Reciprocity – where you have the urge to help someone who’s helped you. But I’ve seldom felt it so strongly.

Anyway, that’s how I ended 2009. Not a bad note to finish on at all! 🙂

It’ll be fascinating to see what benefits flow to everyone involved in this blogrolling process.


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