How to Become an Expert in Your Field

how to be an expertBeing an expert is a highly profitable exercise. Unlike being the “first” at something (which can easily be taken away, since the person who is second can easily claim to fix all of your mistakes…) being an expert is permanent. Well, that is to say, it lasts as long as you want it to, and maybe a bit longer.

Being an expert at something means that you’re better than the generalists.

It also means you’re more in-demand than the generalists, and can charge more, too…

Being an expert is one of the most profitable things you can do in your business. But for so many people, it is one of those “impossibilities.”

They say, “I’ll be an expert when I learn more…” or “If I get a degree in _______, I will be an expert” or “once I get accredited by _________, then I’ll be able to call myself an expert.”

What they don’t realize is that while all of those things may help them feel more like an expert, that isn’t how you typically become one.

Say, for a moment that you’re a dog groomer. And as a dog groomer, you’ve had a lot of poodle clients in your career.

Not only do you know more about grooming than an average person, but you likely know more about grooming poodles than the average groomer.

That makes you an expert.

And if you should ever decide to focus on poodle grooming, you’ll likely be able to charge more for your expert services without any need for someone else to call you an expert.

Now, let’s be clear – we’re not advocating “fake it ’til you make it” type strategies (if you’re really faking it 100%), or calling yourself an expert when you really have no specialized knowledge to offer. Those are shady business practices that we would prefer no one get involved in.

What we’re hoping for is that many of you out there will decide that yes, you have knowledge that not everyone has, and yes, you are an expert – and begin charging what that expert advice is worth.

Expert specialists are worth far more than mediocre generalists – and always remember that!

WordPress 3.1 is Released!

wordpress 3.1WordPress 3.1 has just been released! What does this mean for your website?

Well, something. More things than earlier releases have meant to your site.

First, it is now easier than before to link to other content on your site. Instead of going to your website, finding what you’d like to link to, copying the link, coming back to your dashboard, clicking the link function, pasting it in (what a giant headache!) you can now simply select the text you would like to turn into a link, click the link button, and select what you would like to link to. It really is that simple.

Second, the admin bar is a really, really neat feature. Now, if you’re logged into your admin panel, you can use some of the most commonly used functions right from your homepage using the admin bar across the top. We expect to see some really neat functionality with some expansion plugins for WordPress using this feature, like BuddyPress or bbPress.

Third, you can now switch to a neat blue admin scheme… Which, if you’re not a fan of black, white, and gray, could improve the visuals when you’re on the back-end of your WordPress driven site.

There are also a lot of things for developers, like post format support (allowing theme developers to create specific styles for types of posts like Videos, standard posts, short posts, photos, etc.) which we will be able to watch in upcoming versions of some much beloved themes.

All in all, the release of WordPress 3.1 is the biggest change since 3.0 – and we believe it will have a definite positive impact on your business, if you use these features wisely!

What's coming…

So we’re taking a bit of time today to let you know what is coming down the pipeline from us at BCWebMedia.

First, we’re going to be running a 30 day blogging challenge soon. For FREE, we’ll challenge you to blog every day for 30 days. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, your blog, and your business in the process – and maybe even blog more regularly by the end! We’ll also be offering tips on getting your blog into shape (and services to help you do it) before the challenge starts, so watch out if you’re interested in improving your blogging!

Second, we’ll be launching a free ecourse and several free reports via email in the coming weeks. Make sure you subscribe to our email list for updates if you’d like to receive them!

We’ll also be launching a series of inexpensive (and more detailed) ebooks, as well as setting up the framework for our future teleseminars and web conferences.

As an added bonus, when we launch our 30 day blogging challenge, we’ll also be launching our coaching structure. So make sure you watch this blog if you’d like to see what that is all about!

In short, we have a bunch of resources headed your way – from freebies to paid resources, emails to ebooks, challenges to coaching, we’ve got so much information coming out in the next two months it will make your head spin.

So we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – watch this space for more!

Wean Green Review!

I posted the other day about being crunchy on the go, and how hard it can be to keep up with your crunchy ways when on the run. And of course, conveniently as I’m about to write this review, I see a commercial for “the baby bullet”. The gimmick is that you can “make a week’s worth of organic baby food in under 5 minutes, for under $3.” It supposedly even teaches you what to feed, and when to feed it. *rolleyes*

ANYway, awhile ago I received a fantastic product to review – Wean Green eco-friendly baby food containers.

To be fair, we did start out feeding baby with cereal and purees a little bit – but that got old pretty quickly. Now we practice baby-led weaning. Instead of pureeing everything, we give her appropriate shaped foods that she can eat on her own. For example, this morning she had toast fingers and honeydew melon for breakfast (whole wheat toast of course, with butter!)

We’re lucky – our family has no history of food allergies, so we watched for any mild reactions but haven’t had to be too careful with foods like wheat and dairy. In fact, our little girl loves yogurt!

And we *love* the wean green cubes. Love them.

When we were pureeing everything, they made it easy to not only store the food in the refrigerator, but also to take it with you on the go, and feed baby directly out of.

And now that we’re not pureeing everything, they make the perfect sized containers to bring steamed carrots, apple slices, green beans, or other baby-led weaning friendly foods on the go!

Being made of glass they are obviously BPA free, and the lids secure nicely to be completely leak-proof (seriously, I tested!)

They are oven, microwave, fridge, freezer, and dishwasher safe (keep the lids out of the microwave & oven obviously). They have measuring lines to help you keep track of how much you’re making, storing, and feeding your little one.

Whether we’re mashing banana like the good old days, or packing animal crackers for Grandma’s house, the Wean Green Cubes are the idea baby food containers.

And the best part? No need to buy that gross processed babyfood to get these containers, either!

Of course, they’re also a Canadian-mommy owned company, which just makes them that much more awesome. If you’d like to pick up some of your own wean-green cubes, just click here!

Just because you're not the first…

A short post for you today, inspired by some of the people we work with.

Clients (or potential clients, or partners, or people on the street) often bring it to our attention that they are not the first in their line of work to utilize social media.

And to that we respond, you are absolutely correct.

But then a funny thing happens – they tell us that they feel there is no point in doing social media because they aren’t the first company or person to do it. Everyone else will already be engaged with their competitor, so why bother?

This is where we get thoroughly confused.

Why can you not adopt a social media strategy – just because your competitor did?

Does Roto-Rooter not advertise in the Yellow Pages because “Joe’s Plumbing” did first?

Do Proctor and Gamble refuse to advertise on TV because SC Johnson did it first?

Do Coca-Cola and Pepsi never advertise in the same medium?

The number one principle of advertising and marketing is this :

Go where your customers are, and tell them what you can do for them.

That’s it. That is all marketing is.

And instead of avoiding social media because your competition is doing it, we believe you should engage in social media because your competition is doing it.

After all, if they’re engaging their market using social media, and they’re competing with you – chances are, your market is in the same place.

Go there, and tell them how you can help.

Blogger vs. WordPress

In the news you can use category, we have the Blogger vs. WordPress debate. For many new bloggers (and businesses just getting started in blogging), this is actually a big issue. One may be easier to set up, another might not look as professional, the other may look so daunting that no one in the company even wants to consider it – but they know they should.

It is one of the trickiest parts of getting started with a blog (choosing a platform) and the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Of course, there are some other options… A blog add-on for Joomla or other open source CMS, TypePad, or any one of other “alternative” blogging platforms.

But for the sake of simplicity (and that these 3 choices are the most advanced and should be, in our opinion, the only options), we’re going to discuss 3 platforms today :

Blogger.com vs. WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

To really compare the three, we need to break each one down. We need to describe each one, explain the pros and cons of each option, and then give our final verdict. We’ll try to keep this short (because, being passionate bloggers, we know this could get long) BUT since we have already been where you are, and we have already compared the options, we feel it necessary for you to have this information.

So, without further adieu…

Blogger.com

Blogger.com (also known as blogspot.com) is owned by Google, and as such, many believe it will get them faster search engine rankings. While this is completely untrue (far too many people have created useless spam blogs on Blogger for Google to give them any special treatment anymore), the myth does persist.

Blogger is also free and, like many other things in life, you get what you pay for. You can “dress up” your blogger blog by paying for a domain name (like www.my-blogger-blog.com) but if you’re going to invest $10/year, why not take that bit of extra money and get yourself a proper “self-hosted” blog?

But, we digress, many (and we mean many) companies and people start using blogger because “at least its something”, and so it is best if we discuss the pros and cons.

Pros :

  • It’s fast. You can literally have a Blogger blog up and running in under 10 minutes, and have your first post online just as quickly. If time is of the essence, blogger can help.
  • It’s easy. If you can use Facebook, you can use Blogger. No need to hire development experts or get the company nerd to install anything, just sign up, pick a design, and start writing.
  • It’s cheap. Actually, it’s free (unless, as we said above, you buy your own domain name.) This is a big draw for a lot of people.

Cons :

  • It’s fast. Meaning, there are so few options to customize a Blogger blog that it takes no time at all to make yours look pretty much like everyone elses.
  • It’s easy. Almost too easy. See the above about the “cracker-box” style design.
  • It’s cheap – and you kind of get what you pay for. Unfortunately, a “myblog.blogspot.com” domain name doesn’t look as professional as “mywebsite.com”. Their free, basic designs also aren’t as nice as free designs for some of the other options.
  • Unlike one of our other options, this blog has to be linked to from your website. This means visitors (that you worked so hard to actually *get* to your website) are now leaving. On purpose. Because you asked them to. And chances are, they aren’t coming back.
  • The optional blogger navigation bar (across the top of every Blogger blog, unless you disable it) virtually *begs* people to leave your blog. Even worse, if people aren’t that tech-savvy and the site they navigate to next is offensive, they could blame YOU and it could tarnish YOUR reputation.
  • It is hard to move from a blogger blog to your own custom, self-hosted blog at a later date – so if you ever change your mind, chances are you’ll lose traction with your readers (as well as losing blog subscribers, your website address, your design, and possibly your content unless you pay someone to convert and import it for you.)

All in all, we believe that for personal bloggers who don’t want much to do with the technical side and don’t want to invest money in their blog, AND they don’t care too much about the flexibility of the design – in other words, if it is just for you to get your thoughts out into the world – then blogger is a great platform.

It is, however, not a platform we recommend for businesses, professionals, or organizations.

WordPress.com

A slightly better option than blogger, although still imperfect. WordPress.com is like blogger, in that it will let you have a “myblog.wordpress.com” domain name and not have to worry about hosting. Again, you can still buy a “mywebsite.com” domain name for under $10/year and point it towards your wordpress.com blog, but if you’re going to invest… You see where this is going.

Superior to blogger in many ways. WordPress is what you call “open source” – that means that programmers and web developers can create plugins, themes, and add-ons, and make them available for WordPress users. They make many of them available for *free*.

On to the pros and cons…

Pros :

  • It’s fast, like blogger. 10 minutes and you’re setup.
  • It’s easier than blogger (at least, we think so.) If you can use MS Word, you can create some pretty neat looking blog posts.
  • It’s cheap. Well, free, just like Blogger. Again, unless you want to buy a domain name.
  • It’s easy to migrate to your own site one day, if you choose, because WordPress.com and WordPress.org use the same platform.
  • It has literally hundreds of themes and plugins available to customize your blog, so yours doesn’t have to look like everyone elses.
  • The search engine optimization benefits to WordPress are huge compared to any minor favouritism on Blogger or other platforms (we don’t want to seem like we’re picking on Blogger here!)
  • The walk-through and step by step instructions provided by WordPress are second to none (in other words, if you’re scared… WordPress is the way to go. They’ll show you how to get set up in 10 simple (yes, actually simple!) steps!)

Cons:

  • The same problem as Blogger.com – you get what you pay for. It being free, it isn’t as customizable as other options.
  • Easy to switch, yes, but it is easier not to have to switch at all.
  • You never own your URL, so if you cancel your account, someone could point it to *anything* and damage your credibility.
  • Not as customizable as WordPress.org
  • The search engine benefits are lesser than a WordPress.org blog.
  • You won’t look as professional with a “myblog.wordpress.com” domain name, unless you go buy a domain name and forward it to your blog.
  • And again, when visitors go to your blog – they have to leave your website.

We think WordPress.com is far better than Blogger.com as an option, and if your blogging budget is a big fat $0, then this may be the best option for you. But if you’re willing to invest under $100/year, you could use something like…

WordPress.org

This is a self-hosted solution. That means you get a web hosting account (from someone like Namecheap.com) and a domain name (again from someone like Namecheap.com), install WordPress software yourself (see? Self – hosted!), customize it to your heart’s content, and watch it roll.

This site, along with many of our other web properties (like DoYouDroid.com) and client sites (like SmootherTransitions.ca) are run on self-hosted versions of WordPress. It is what we would recommend in almost every single case. And it can be so much more than a blog…

With a WordPress.org installation, you can run not only a blog, but add-on a regular business website, contact form, online store, map to your location, portfolio/client list, and anything else you think you would want online.

Make it interact with Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media automatically… Add a dash of graphic design style, a touch of security features, and a pinch of flexibility – and you have self-hosted WordPress.

Without delaying it anymore, let us take a look at the pros and cons of WordPress.org…

Pros:

  • You can build an entire website with it, not just a blog. The blog will be integrated seamlessly, and visitors never have to leave your site.
  • With all plugins and extensions available, you can add anything from a mailing list to a paid members area to an online store to your blog with just a few clicks.
  • Another benefit of the plugins available is the interactivity with other web services – in less than 10 minutes, connect your blog with Facebook, Twitter, Google, FourSquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, and a lot more (including mailing list servers like MailChimp and payment processors like PayPal!)
  • You can customize it beyond your wildest dreams. Start with one of the tens of thousands of free or paid themes available, change a few lines of code with the help of some nerds like us, and VOILA – instant custom website. Some themes are so flexible, making the site look completely custom is as simple as changing a few options – no coding required!
  • You can do whatever you want with your own website – from selling advertising to installing programs to track website visitors (including where they came from, how long they were on your site, and what they looked at.)
  • The only limit to wordpress.org is your own skill (or your budget, if you outsource your blog development!)

Cons:

  • It isn’t free. This is a minor drawback, since your biggest cost is going to be around $60-$80/year for hosting and $10/year for a domain name. If you’re not willing to spend under $100/year on your blogging strategy, you might want to look at whether you really want to blog or not.
  • And if you want advanced customization and don’t have the in-house resources, you’ll need to hire someone like us to help! Although of course, this help is also not free.
  • It is a bit more difficult to implement. Sure, if you have a hosting account with Fantastico (which most hosting accounts have) it takes less than 5 minutes and just a few clicks. If you don’t, or you don’t know how to use it you can install WordPress in just a few clicks, following a tutorial online (like this one we wrote for a client site!)
  • It can be a bit daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing, which can scare some people away from even trying.

Our professional opinion is, if you’re going to use a blog for business purposes, it is worth doing right. Whether you use our tools to teach yourself WordPress, hire us or another organization to coach you, or hire us or another organization to create it for you, WordPress.org – the self-hosted version – is really the best option for your business.

Join the conversation!
Let us know what you think of our comparison in the comments below!

What is High-Tech Marketing, anyway?

We talk a lot about high-tech marketing on this website, on this blog, and in our interactions with people. Few people ever actually come out and ask, because over the course of a conversation it becomes apparent – but really, what is high-tech marketing anyway?

High tech marketing is…

To understand what high-tech marketing is, you need to understand what low-tech marketing is. Time tested, been-around-for-decades forms of advertising. Television spots, radio ads, print ads, direct mail, billboards… Some of these things have been around in one form or another since before the industrial revolution. They are low-tech.

Yes, at one point they were all considered high-tech. Paper was once considered a marvelous innovation. But now, they’re old hat.

So high tech marketing is, therefore, things that are newer and more technologically innovative than low tech marketing. Social media, mobile apps, PPC ads, (some) SEO, content driven marketing… Those are new, flashy, high-tech marketing techniques.

Our goal is to make social media make sense to the rest of us.

Rather than ramble on some high-faluten drivel about “synergy” and “world-class enterprise solutions”, we want to teach you how to update your social media accounts in under 10 minutes each day while still having an impact.

We want to show you how investing just 30 minutes, 3-4 times each week in blogging can have a bigger impact than that dusty old brochure in the back of your closet that took you 2 weeks and thousands of dollars to design and print.

We want you to *enjoy* generating dozens, hundreds, even thousands of leads for your business using high-tech forms of marketing – including online and mobile technology – at a lower cost than the old, low-tech forms (and easier, less time consuming, and more enjoyable, too!)

We want every entrepreneur, independent professional, coach, consultant, small business owner, or business leader to have the tools in their own personal arsenal to effectively and powerfully utilize social media to make a positive impact on their life and their business.

How do we do that?

By de-mystifying the internet.

Remember – high-tech doesn’t mean hard. You likely use a smartphone every day, surf the internet on an hourly basis, and receive email and text messages all of the time. You don’t know how they work, and you don’t need to – all you need to know is how to use them for maximum effectiveness.

The same applies to high tech marketing. You don’t need to know how it works, you just need to know how to use it for maximum effectiveness.

And your first step is reading this blog!

Your second step will be to subscribe to our free ecourse, which we will be creating and uploading for you over the next few days!

Don’t be afraid, watch this space, and get out there and join the conversation!

Canadian Leaders in High-Tech #UBB

Back in the day (well, you could pick any day pre-2008ish, really) Canadians were leaders in technology. We developed technology that would change the world, time and time again.

The original telephone? Canadian.

Decades later, the Blackberry – the first *real* smartphone – was developed by a Canadian company called Research In Motion.

On the list of Canadian technological inventions that changed the world are things like Penicillin, Bone Marrow Compatibility Testing, Anti-Gravity suits for pilots at high-altitudes, the electric stove, the REAL first light bulb (with a patent later sold to Thomas Edison. Really – look it up. It was originally patented by Henry Woodward in Canada), the pacemaker, television cameras, walkie talkies, and even the zipper.

For centuries, Canadians have been technological leaders.
Now, thanks to things like usage-based-billing, our country is taking a major step back.

The ridiculous expense of media devices and services in our country compared to that abroad, mixed with the over-regulation of the telecommunications and broadcast industries, will eventually lead to under-utilization (and eventually lack of innvoation) in our technology sector.

Where we once stood, triumphantly sharing our technolgical innovations with the world, we will now stand – data-disabled smartphone in hand – wondering what happened.

We, as Canadian business leaders, need to stand up and speak for what is right for our country.

All industry sectors will be hurt if technology is abandoned, as will international trade.

Everyone from small businesses who send large files via email to major corporations who use 100GB of bandwidth per day in one department will now be forced to pay even thousands of dollars for their internet connection.

The billions of dollars invested in high-tech marketing over the last decades will go to waste as Canadian consumers abandon the internet.

And why?

Because the head of the CRTC is attempting to find an economical way to “discipline use of the internet.”

And no, those quotes weren’t added for emphasis – he really said that.

Why is a man who believes consumers should be disciplined for utilizing technology in charge of our technology regulation? This is likely the same director who lead these landmark decisions, destroying consumer choice and competitive markets:

– Requiring NetFlix to meet Canadian Content regulations (which brick-and-mortar video stores do not have to abide by) thereby killing the service in Canada. No titles worth watching are even available.

– Permitting dozens of VOIP providers to move into Canada, but not Skype – (to this day, Skype In numbers (a service that allows you to receive calls from a landline on Skype) are available in DOZENS of countries – but not ours…)

– Over-regulating services like PayPal, Hulu, Skype, and others, not allowing them to provide services in Canada.

We do not need to find a way to discipline use of the internet. Disciplining Canadians for continuing the Canadian tradition of being at the forefront of technology is not only narrow-minded and unethical, it is downright unpatriotic.

We need to stand up and speak not only for the citizens of this great country, but the businesses as well.

And let’s stay on top of our technology – because at this point, it is a matter of national pride.

Henry Woodward

New FREE Product!

We’ve just put up a brand new FREE video!

To check out “Using Social Media and Cloud Computing
to Create New Lead Generation Streams” on video, click here!

We’ll be creating a free ecourse for our RSS subscribers in the next few days, as well as uploading a new free report “10 Biggest Social Media Mistakes” exclusively for subscribers!

Sign up now to receive them when they are released!