3 Simple Tips For Writing Blog Post Titles

My blog post or article titles suck. Do you have any ideas to share with me?  ~ Recent Webifier

What a good problem to be having. It means you are writing more. And passing through those voices of perfection that, in the past, have kept all your good ideas locked up in your head. It means you’ve opened Word on your computer and put some words down. Or, if you’re old-fashioned-like, you opened your notebook and scribbled some goodness out.

It doesn’t really matter the way you did it, only that you did.

And now, one more time, perfectionism is showing itself, this time asking you if you know enough about titling your blog posts. The right way.

And here’s what I’m saying, “It’s right enough for right now.” Please, try it on. See how it fits for you. And then, read what’s working for me, and then chuck the rest and remember to just keep writing.

The Importance Of Killer Post Titles

2 Seconds & Counting

When I was in corporate, I had the privilege of working with some hired-in copywriters. It was so fun to give the consultant the “creative brief” (an outline of what the project was about) and see what came back.

I was always surprised at the headlines. And I learned early on, it’s really the secret to getting your readers past the two-second threshold (we’ve only got about that long to pique a reader’s interest and convey to them that what we got is what they’re looking for!)

Also, killer headlines will help you with search engine ranking, if you can build into your titles the keywords that fit for your industry.

So headlines obviously become a very important thing for growing & expanding your web presence.

My Approach

When I’m writing a post/article, I may already have an idea about what the title is going to be. But that’s only sometimes. I go ahead and title my draft the title I think I’m going to be using.

Mostly, it serves as an anchor point. I can go back to the title, while I’m writing the article, and it helps me stay focused. Because when I write, I usually do not know each and every word that will be written before hand. There is a lot of trust in the process. At least for me.

I like to open Word, write the title, maybe a few bullet points of things I want to highlight (if I know the post might be a long one or a “how-to”) and then let my fingers do the talking, literally.

Sometimes, after editing the post, the title actually sticks. Though this isn’t usually the case.

What I find is that after the article is written, I can scan it and pull directly from my own writing a title that suits the article much better than the one I originally chose.

And then I go through the process of applying some basic rules that I’ve learned from other expertish people. People I met in corporate. And people I’ve met out here, on the web.

3 Basic “Getting-Started” Places

This is not meant to be a comprehensive this-is-how-you-do-it kinda guide. This is meant to be a beginning point for getting better at writing killer post titles or headlines.

  1. Numbers. As in, “3 Must-Haves For Your Blog” How many times have you seen that one? A gazillion, right? So again, this might be great for when you know ahead of time exactly what you’ll be writing about. And that’s exactly how I wrote my last installment; with a topic in mind and I narrowed down to super simple. Three things. Kinda like what I’m doing here with this post.
  2. Problems. Because that’s one of the top reasons anyone is online looking at anything to begin with. They want help with a problem they have. When we say the problem in the headline, we are actually speaking directly to our perfect person’s need. When a person feels seen or heard (a common thread in humanity) we’re on our way to making the deeper connections that happen after the 2-second part. The part about where you and they intersect. Also, speaking to solutions as much as problems can be very effective too so try switching it up.
  3. Short. Short, sweet, to the point. Remember, two seconds. Most people are scanning online. Sorting through boatloads of information. Likely in information overwhelm. Two seconds. That’s it. Short & sweet. And if you are getting your social networking on, you’ll want to make it re-tweetable by keeping the tweet length down; aiming at using around 100-120 characters of the available 140.

Recommended Resource

In case you are wondering about the all-inclusive comprehensive guide for writing killer post titles or headlines, I recommend CopyBlogger’s Magnetic Headlines blog post series. It’s got plenty for your perfectionist to chew on.

And personally, I’m not so sure there is a right or wrong as much as there is a getting better at it. I find this approach helps me have more fun with myself and my writing as I go.

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Free From The Stuck Of Comparing

I have this habit. I used to not even see it. Now I see it, but at the same time, still see myself doing it and wonder if I will ever stop. Or what thought I might have that finally releases me from this habit’s grip.

I remember Tom Stone saying something like 80% of our sensory perception is affected by sight. I really notice this when I sit quietly and close my eyes. How I sense and what I’m aware of is inner directed instead of being stimulated by what my eyes are constantly taking in and processing.

I wonder sometimes if I just shut my eyes, will I then stop comparing? And I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to miss the richness of sight. And at the same time, I’m also tired of not doing stuff because I’m in a state of stuck because I’m watching too closely what others are doing.

I might not even think I am comparing anything. But if I’m watching, comparing will shortly be there. Materializing out of thin air. In the form of my own private thought-bubbles that speak to me, out loud in my head.

“What if this story isn’t important to anyone else but me?”

“Isn’t it selfish to write for myself or to myself?

“The others, who have written books and published them, are in another league… waaaaay outside of my orbit!”

“I am not trained and have taken no higher education courses around writing. I probably suck and everyone can see that in the evidence of my posts. Whatever I write needs to be and mean a whole lot more than the scribbled ‘I love you honeybee’ messages on my daughter’s lunch napkin.”

That’s what it sounds like in my head sometimes. Really, a lot more than I care to admit.

I’ve learned that comparing comes from my fear. A pretty deep one that shows up in disguises. Fear is a master of disguise.

When I’m comparing, I’m usually coming from a place of less-than. Which is tiresome. So so tired of hatin’ on myself. My ideas. My creativity. My choices.

When I’m comparing, I let someone else’s light eclipse my own.

This week, I’ve been contemplating comparing. How and when it shows up. How much I beat myself up in it. How much I want to do something else besides compare. Understand why I focus on comparing… and discover the gift in it.

What am I not doing while I’m comparing?

A lot. It’s an energetic stall. It’s a cover up. A distraction. A procrastination.

And what would better than this?

Better than a cover up would be a revealing.

Better than a distraction would be great love in the form of focus.

Better than procrastination would be a decision.

The decision to just do it.

Comparing. Might it be A Gift For Learning To See Ourselves?

Just five minutes (thank you Pace & Kyeli for this wonderful anchor).

Do it, whatever I’m not doing that wants so badly to be started or fed or created or worshipped or loved.

And so I’m closing my eyes. And going within to ask what wants to be done? What wants to be written? What wants to be spoken? What wants to be prayed for? What wants my inner attention?

And I believe it’s me in there. A connection to my creative source that wants my attention and wants my voice, my fingers on the keyboard, and my heart wide open.

For now, comparing is keeping me from seeing me and connecting to the very thing I think I want more than anything. The thing that I ache for…

And that voice sounds like this:

Sometimes, you just have to stop looking at what other people are doing. And start doing your own thing. Now, strike sometimes.

That was the message I received from the me that is free from the stuckness of comparing.

Have you noticed comparing? I would love to know how you care for yourself if you have. And if comparing stuckifies you, how do you help yourself with that?

  • What does comparing look like for you?
  • What does comparing tip you off to?
  • What would you be doing if you weren’t busy comparing?
  • What works for you to help you reframe comparing?
  • What are the hidden gifts you’ve discovered hiding out in your comparing?

Die Zones & Publish Buttons

Alanis dropped a lil bomb on me yesterday while I was walking in my neighborhood. And I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I strolled in the California sunshine, reminded about a recent conversation on discovering the initial curiosity for wanting to pause and take a closer look at the larger concept of fear.

“Fear is so subtle and slippery” she said. “I wanted to get around it, over it, through it, but I didn’t really know what it was. I could intuitively feel a barrier to my total health, but the barrier itself remained illusive to me.”

The one thing that helps with the illusiveness of fear, is making it more tangible. And measureable. Really choosing to look at it, instead of hiding or running or freezing in it.

Marching Toward Fear or Getting Crazy In Order To Save Our Selves

We’re never going to survive unless get we are a little crazy. ~ Seal, Crazy

Do you know when you’re going for it?

Like really sticking it all out there?

Scaring the shit out of yourself?

Going to the Die Zone?

That is a kind of fear, isn’t it? When I’m getting ready to do something big in my life, I can always count on fear as my playmate.

There are the little subtle fears like hoping dinner turns out ok or that you’ll find a good online deal for socks.

And then there are bigger fears like hoping they will like you or will even notice you.

And then the biggest fears. The ones that keep us up at night. Like wondering how the rent will get paid or hoping this round of chemotherapy helps stop the tumor’s growth.

If all were there when we first took the pill, Then maybe (4x)… Miracles will happen as we speak. ~ Seal, Crazy

I help people see the subtleness of fear, where it starts and what it looks like. And how it works to stay in control of every thought process and decision we make.

The people I work with on the topic of fear are smartttttt. Smart Smarty Smartypants.

They have already done some amount of personal digging into themselves. They get that the results they want come from within. They are not afraid to ask for help or support. They see partnering with a coach as strategic and necessary in order to help them get what they want. They are able to recognize that alone by themselves, they can’t go where they wanted to go.

Essentially my job becomes communicating in a way that helps people begin to know what they don’t know. Playing in a giant pool of illusivity, where your fear dodges in and out of visibility like dancing shadows on a breezy afternoon. Revealing itself at high cost which usually equals discomfort. I mean, really, who wants to scare the shit out of themselves? Who really wants to tango with fear? Scares me just writing this and is hugely challenging to talk about with potential clients.

In a sky full of people, only some want to fly, Isn’t that crazy? ~ Seal, Crazy

Not if they’re all afraid, it’s not that crazy. And most of us are just looking for a break. Some relief. From the hussle and bussle of daily life, the obligations and expectations. Spouses, Children, Bosses, the IRS. Our selves.

And in our attempt to try and find a bit of security, we begin to wall ourselves off from even seeing the sky, let alone learning how to fly.

That’s the insidiousness of fear. And how the construction of a comfort zone begins.

Even though, in the end, we realize we’ve become keepers of the comfort zone. Always working to make it more comfortable, fighting to keep the perimeter secure. Although we know there will be something after this.

I believe that deep down, we all want to fly. And it’s just a matter of time before we realize how unfulfilling it is living in the constructs of a false safety that blocks us from engaging with all of life’s possibilites. But more importantly, keeps you from engaging with those dreams you have. About how you want it to be. For yourself. And for the people you love. Which means that at some point we get to go to the edge and jump off into our die zone, and be a little crazy when we do. At least by conventional standards.

Contained within my fear and beautifully disguised by my mind is reason, justification and explanation. A great irony of self-sabotage. “Stay away,” it says, “at all costs. Don’t press publish! You will piss someone off!” But I’ll tell you a secret I’ve learned.

There is great mojo in the die zone.

And if I can somehow turn into and toward fear, towards understanding it and embracing it, I begin to see myself more clearly which allows me to be myself. And that extra mojo I find that enthusiastically propels me forward becomes dessert.

And I am motivated not because I’m broken in the comfort zone, but because I want to feel the burn of the die zone. And so I press publish.

Web Presence Essentials 2010

A Web Presence. A container for something good, something that is yours. It might be the great food that you cook, or beautiful art that you create or a book that you’re writing. A Web Presence is a smart thing to consider in today’s business economy. In fact, some might say it’s essential.

I’ve taken my Tech Savvy 101 series that talks about the ingredients for creating a web page, web site or web presence; and brought them together to create Web Presence Essentials. A guide to help you through a sometimes intimidating and usually confusing, technology decision-making process. Especially if actually taking the steps to create a web presence is still kinda new for you.

No matter where you are on the map (small business owner just starting out or big business generating hundreds of clicks per day), without these pieces of the technology puzzle, there can be no web *anything.*

Blog Or Website, Which Is Best?

After talking with women and soothing their fears about whether or not they are smart enough to actually do the technology thing (which you are) and realizing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be really isn’t as huge as you think it is, and that you don’t have to know all the answers (that’s what I’m here for) is deciding if a blog is right for them. … (more)

Domain Name – What One Is, How To Choose One & Who I Recommend Getting Yours From

You can’t have a web page, web site or online business without a web address. When you open your web browser, you need an address to type in there so you can actually go somewhere. That’s just the very first part, one essential piece, of creating a web presence. … (more)

Web Hosting – What It Is, Why You Need It & Who I Recommend Getting Yours From

Web Hosting is rented space where your web content lives. When you’re looking at a web page, the images and text you see are created with code (HTML and other types of computery code). Your browser translates that code into something you can understand. But that file, that code, has to live somewhere so your browser can find it. Purchasing web hosting is essentially renting space on a powerful computer that is accessible via the Internet, 24/7. … (more)

Content – So What’s The Big Deal Anyway?

In all my years of creating e-commerce web sites for big corporatey places, the number one overlooked issue and where time was consistently underestimated was in developing content. Most of the time, people were huffing and puffing at trying to understand the technical pieces and since I was almost always a liaison between the technical teams, the marketing or business teams and the an advocate for the end user of the product/web site, I constantly got to ask “What’s this web page gonna say or do?”… (more)

Content – Where To Start When You Have Zip

Always start with yourself and by defining your Core Values. Knowing your core values helps you understand what you need from any situation. And even when you don’t know what you need in the moment, looking to a core value will always inspire you to live from your personal integrity. You’d be surprised how much knowing your core values helps you answer and write content for questions like “What I Do?, How It Works, etc.” … (more)

Creating Your First Few Posts

Maybe you already have some content. You’ve pulled your stuff together (you remember what that was like the first time?) In fact, you might have pages of good stuff, but you’d like to go a little further with it. Something (not quite sure what) is getting lost in translation somewhere. And the sneaky suspicion, at least one of them, is it might be your content. You ask yourself, “What exactly am I saying here? Who am I saying it for?” … (more)

Giving Yourself Permission To Write

I’ve noticed this thing, it’s in me and a lot of the wonderfully creative ambitious women I talk to everyday, this idea that we need permission. Permission to be ourselves. Permission to follow our hearts & dreams. Permission to receive and allow in the giving from others. And when it comes to our technology and getting our blogs on, spattering pages of words with the juice of our hearts or giving ourselves permission to write…. (more)

Can I Have A Perfect Look & Feel?

So many times I see considerations for look and feel issues take women off track, detouring them into the land of perfectionism. The look and feel is actually a compliment to, and a part of something else in your web presence. The something else is the part of you (your biz) that wants to be created and expressed. … (more)

WordPress is god. Period.

Wherein, I offer the best technology advice I have and tell you WordPress is god. Period. This could be the end because it is just that short and sweet. But let me just elaborate briefly on why it would be silly to consider using anything other than WordPress for creating and managing your web presence…. (more)

What If You’re a Total Beginner? (The Best Place To Start)

Blogger (and if you have hopes of someday working with me, I recommend WordPress.com) is one of the best places to start because it will loan you a domain name and host your web stuff for you, (for free)! All you need to do is write your content (no unfortunately, Blogger doesn’t do it all). Blogger is like a blogging training ground. Learn all the nuances of getting your blogging on like creating content, moving things around on your pages, maybe even selling your products or services. All the tools & skills you learn you take with you if you decide it’s time to stretch your tech savvy skills again… in the very near future. Because you and your business do keep growing. … (more)

Need some help with all this?

No problem. I can do the heavy lifting and then show you how to manage and continue expanding your own web presence as it happens. I offer one package (keeping it simple). It’s got all the essential ingredients, you + me; and together we collaborate and create.  WordPress Expanded is full blown you, custom & unique.

Making Peace With Uncomfortable

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while. For a long while actually. But holding back for various reasons, a multitude of them. I seem to have an endless supply of reasons “not to” as well as a very bad habit of holding back which I’m working on.

I’ve been really wanting to talk about some very personal stuff. To tell “my part” of a certain story. And since I’m a coach and all that, the first thing I like to do is check my intention. Why do I want to tell the story? Is it really for me or do I secretly have some other agenda… like to make someone pay or eat shit (which is totally not my style) or for some other low-lying fear-based reason.

And then I get an email from a client. About her web stuff. She’s extremely uncomfortable. She really wants to do it (use the web to promote the cool thing she does), but is terrified at the same time. I say, “Hmmm” to myself. But only after totally being blown away by her courage and her willingness and her vulnerability to admit it not only herself, but also to me. She’s uncomfortable.

And I start to remember all the other times in my life I’ve been uncomfortable. And if it was a willing price to pay to get to the other side. And what is really worth being uncomfortable. Are my dreams worth it? Is doing what I love worth it? Is loving who I love worth it? Is being who I am worth it?

All worth it, I realize.

Growing yourself or a business, learning how to be a better you… all uncomfortable. Mostly because there’s a lot of groping and tears and frustration. Flailing in the darkness of not knowing and not knowing how to know. Just. Not. Knowing.

It’s time that we admitted the truth about knowing. It’s highly overrated.

And if you want any of it: your dreams, an online business, to love who you love, to be who you are, you’ve got to get more comfortable with uncomfortable. There is just no way around it.

So I’ve decided I will probably tell my part of the story. Just not in this post. It’s still percolating or rather, I’m still percolating in uncomfortable. At least for a little while longer. And since I know there is no other way around it, there is only through it… I figure the best thing I can do is take really good care of myself while I’m here, hanging out with uncomfortable.

I’m learning how to make peace with uncomfortable. To offer it the best of what I’ve got.

I’m willing to hang out in uncomfortable as long as it takes. I’m realizing that being willing to be uncomfortable and hang out there and make peace with it is risky business.

Just like writing and telling my part of the story. Just like getting up everyday and coming to my Inbox. Just like putting together your thing and getting it online and out there. The journey to out there is uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable on the way, it’s uncomfortable just before I get there, and uncomfortable when I finally reach my destination. All of it, uncomfortable.

So why not make peace with it now? And learn how to take care of myself better now. What sweeter revenge could their possibly be (if I was a revenge-seeking kinda gal) than to learn how to notice uncomfortable and greet it with an open door. Come on in. Sit down. Stay awhile. Let’s get to know each other.

Uncomfortable. It isn’t really all that horrible now is it?

Content: The First Few Words

Tech Savvy 101 is a series of posts designed to help demystify some terminology so you can get your brain around what it really takes to start getting your tech savvy on.

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of defining core values early on in the web creation process because it provides an anchor, to help you remember, when things get freaky-deeky. Knowing your own values gives you a rope to hold onto to guide you back to a simpler time… when you were clear about what makes you blissfully happy and why the heck you are doing this in the first place.

This being creating that blog or web site for your business.

And even after you do begin to get into the content of you, by discovering your core values, and you’ve got this nifty anchoring device to help steer you through uncharted technology (and regular life) territories, there is still this issue of your first post (or page if you’re using WordPress)… actually lots of them. Staring back at you. And they’re blank. Stark raving mad white-ass blankety blank!

Or…

Maybe you already have some content. You’ve pulled your stuff together (you remember what that was like the first time?) In fact, you might have pages of good stuff, but you’d like to go a little further with it. Something (not quite sure what) is getting lost in translation somewhere. And the sneaky suspicion, at least one of them, is it might be your content. You ask yourself, “What exactly am I saying here? Who am I saying it for?”

Quick Detour

Search Engine Optimization, sometimes referred to by just its initials, SEO, is basically the steps a web owner gets to take to “prime” his/her web presence to appear in a search engine result. That is, your perfect person types in a search term to Google and YOUR website URL hits them smack in the face (although no one gets hurt).

Right after, and I mean, immediately after creating your first web page/post, you will be thinking about this very topic. It’s the next logical step. How do I get people to see my website or notice me? Right?

However, if you pay some moola to one of these specialized companies who help with SEO implementation and you haven’t gotten your content savvy up to speed, all the traffic you drive to your web presence may not necessarily result in buyers. Or anything really. Just a lot of cattle, moving through. Kickin’ up dust.

Your buyers are looking for your thang, in your voice. Except they don’t know what your thang looks like, exactly. This is why when we start with the writing part, we don’t even really get into the “This Is What I Do” part until after the prospect has some amount of confidence that you can help them with their “situation.”

Your buyers want to be seen and understood. And the only real way to do that (using a blog or website) is via content. Writing about it. Essentially, talking about the stuff that keeps them up at night.

Except as business owners, we’re all ready to tell them about the features and benefits of what we got. We are already in the solution. And our perfect peeps doesn’t even know whether or not what we have is perfect for them. We haven’t given them a chance to make that choice. We are all hot and bothered about how great our great stuff is. And it’s great! I know it is. I got great stuff. You got great stuff! It’s just that my perfect peeps are not showing up ready to buy anything. They want relief. They have a challenge or situation and they are frustrated. So I’ve learned I cannot shove my chicken soup down their throat. No matter how good it is!

But in the beginning, starting out by writing down the “This Is What I Do” stuff is easier. Because we love it and we’ve been eating, drinking, sleeping it; because it’s our business. And our web presence does need this information. It’s critical. But not as critical as going to where your perfect peeps are first… going with them into their challenge and meeting them there.

So don’t go paying for SEO unless you are certain you’re getting your content savvy ON. Otherwise, even if your perfect peeps come your way off a search referral, if you’re still talking about how great your stuff is and not what you can help them with (their problemo)… they’ll miss all your goodness.

Which would be really sad.

Resuming Post Topic

Back to the first few words on those blankety-blank pages & posts.

If you don’t have a clue about what those first few words should be, I can help you with that. If after you get those first few words down and even finish your first post and begin to wonder, what other pages or posts do I need to include? I can help you with that also.

If you have been thinking that you’d really like to get a web presence for that thing you do or book you’re writing, one that’s real and genuine, drawn out of your heart (disguised as values) and built by your own two hands, yes, I can help you do that too.

But only if… only if you decide to do something today. Pick a place and start. And I can help you.

The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time. ~Osho

Otherwise, here’s something on giving yourself permission.

Core Values & Creating Content For The Web

Why begin with core values and not the technology stuff?

Well it’s like this. As you’ve probably heard, content really is king, of all of it. And so very shortly after you start to receive the technology know-how pieces of creating a web presence, you’ll be up against a different kind of question. A few of them in fact. And most of them will stem from:

What do I say (write) here (on this webpage)?

Simple enough question. Not so much with the answer.  This is… an inside job.

All the BEST help I’ve ever received from my own teachers, coaches, mentors was about content. It may not have always been web content. It was usually the content of me. And how I define that. And being clear about what I do and how I help people. And shifting my perspectives around so I could see more of a situation, more possibilities. Like what it looks and feels like from my client’s point of view.

I start with values because it helped me with purpose. All of these types of questions sort of connect back to understanding your purpose. And if you’re thinking about creating your first web presence or doing better with the one you have, you get to answer the purpose question for those too.

The Million Dollar Self-Development Question

But purpose is like… c’mon … a very big word. And like, it’s got to be the million dollar self-development question ever, right?!

What is my purpose?  Is usually right in front of us. Something too small and insignificant to allow yourself to recognize as adding real value to someone else’s life… (especially not our right people) because it’s not big enough. It’s not Save-The-MuthaF’n-World, make-Mother-Theresa-weep and Gandhi-roll-over big enough.

And I didn’t really realize it until I did some work on myself. I discovered the content of me. I discovered what I value, what truly makes my heart sing and my skin sizzle & juices me up.

Attracting Perfect Customers

Somewhere between no-and-some idea what my mission is & tons of personal development work, this book called Attracting Perfect Customers found me reading a chapter called Be On Purpose To Your Mission. Shit! What is my mission?

As I read the chapter and deliberately choose to let go of what didn’t make sense… Anxiety about not knowing more than I did/do… Or thinking I should be doing better or as well as someone else. Instead I gave myself permission to go with what did make sense… and invest in my right now so I can get to where I’m going.

And I found my core values. The things I know I need for sure, or it just ain’t worth it.

And once I had my core values, I had a clarity. To help me with the next business (or personal) question (because we know it’s all mixed together anyway).

And once I had my core values, I knew what passion felt like. Because I was there… in it. I had to find it to get in it. This was big.

And with clarity & passion, I had purpose. It wasn’t this big thing. And didn’t need to be. Because for now, it is the reason I get up every morning (which is an empowering change all by itself).

So this is why I start with values. Defining my values brought me back to me so I could understand what I need from any situation. And even when I don’t know what I need at the moment, I can look to one of my values for inspiration.

A guide for me when I can’t necessarily see the next step. Or just need to find my center again.

Knowing my core values always lets me know if I’m living my definition of personal integrity. And if my business is close to that definition, it’s where the authenticity and aliveness lives.

Core Values. Know Yours?

Knowing your core values helps you build a strong content foundation and combines with your new web skills on your online journey.

I help women create and be in charge of their own web presence (which could be a website OR a blog, whatever you want).

Together, we crank up the fun and wonder (two of my own core values) to uncover a place on the web for you and your goodness. A place that is your business. Your very own web presence.

This post is a taste of some of the stuff I cover when we work together. And, it’s also in my new ebook. Along with a lot of other new material about leadership and building your online business.