Aweber or Feedburner?

Writing is easy, when you are open to receiving the prompts given endlessly by life. (This post is inspired by my latest new client from Milan, Italy. Yes, Italy… as in Eat, Pray, Love… and her Italiano accent is delish!)

So, if you are new to my blog, I’ll say again, I help women who are just starting out. You may have a static web presence, or both a static web presence and a blog or maybe you want to add a blog to your static web presence.

Or, maybe after playing around in the micro-bizness entrepreneurial internets, you’ve realized that each and every web presence you create requires time/energy/attention to maintain and grow it so, like me, you’ve combined it all into one place.

My web clients come to me because they are just beginning to figure it all out… and want some hand-holding along the way.

That’s where I come in and help you figure out what’s best for you, right now.

Sometimes, just the expense of creating the web presence itself is the investment. If you are working with me, you’ll know it’s never finished and you keep on expanding. Yourself and your biz and the web presence you’ve created to go with it.

In the beginning, you don’t have a lot of cash. However, you do want to make it easier for people who are visiting your new shiny web presence to be in contact with you. It’s a form of leveraging your investment.

One way to do this is by offering a way for your visitors to “opt-in” to receiving email messages from you every time you post. This is the best place to begin. Caveat here is you will continue expanding.

This is why I recommend Feedburner. It’s (another) free service from Google. I talk about using it and setting it up your self in the video tutorial of this post. It’s also just one of the many items on the checklist of web presence essentials I offer in my one-and-only webification package.

But maybe you’ve heard about Aweber? And you want to know which is better.

Essentially, at some point, we can expand beyond what our current foundation, tools or skill set can offer.

I talk about this a lot actually, especially when comparing Blogger with WordPress. Even though I admit that WordPress is god, it’s not the best place for everyone to begin. We need smaller steps and Blogger helps the technology novice practice being a web content publisher; building up your bloggy skills which are then transferred when you decide Blogger just isn’t enough.

Same will be true with Feedburner. You’ll know it’s not enough for you anymore when you want more control over what your emails look like and when they go out to your list of subscribers.

But it’ll cost ya.

So this would be the perfect time to consider Aweber. For a low monthly recurring cost of $19 a month, you can get this added flexibility with your email automation plus much more.

So what happens though, with your Feedburner subscribers once you decide to migrate to Aweber?

Well fortunately, both Aweber and Feedburner play nicely together. The biggest drawback to moving to Aweber is that your Feedburner subscribers will have to “opt-in” again to Aweber because of it’s strict anti-spam policy.

The workaround for this is simply to write a post about it. Since it will hit your Feedburner subscriber’s inbox anyway, you can get them on board with your expansion and invite them to opt-in again.

Not totally elegant, but really, honestly, what growth and expansion ever is?

I would recommend not letting your list grow too big before you migrate it though. You will have some drop off. Don’t fret. We are never in one place for very long anyway.

So my bottom line and why I recommend Feedburner out the gate is it’s free. And pretty easy to use and install.

If you are serious about growing your list and have the financial resources to commit to the recurring monthly fee straight out the gate, Aweber is the premier email automation and list building tool.

  • Need help figuring out how to use your Aweber account? I can help.
  • Need a web presence that shines with the brilliance of you? I can help.
  • Need to free yourself from limiting thoughts about your ability to really do this (the web thang, the entrepreneur thang or any other thang you deem important in your life)? Yes, I can help with that too.

Here’s What Other Smart People On The Web Are Saying

WordPress is god. Period.

The Best Technology Advice I Have To Offer You

WordPress is god. Period. This could be the end of the post because it is just that short & 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.

You don’t have a ton of money.

You aren’t rich yet! The good news is you can grow your business easily using WordPress meaning start out with one blog post and one page with no way for anyone to pay you (it’s a 20% start) and grow into churning some serious cashola through a highly customized, full-of-automation-and-integration web presence and WordPress will handle it all.

If you can use email, you can learn WordPress.

Honestly, there are a few sharper corners to turn, but with the right help, you can be in control of much of your own web presence because WordPress really is pretty easy to use. And again, if you don’t have deep pockets starting off (and who does?) then you are gonna be faced with some amount of DIYing it.

You might not always do your own web creation & maintenance, but you must know how to do some of it. You must be accountable to your own stuff happening or it just won’t happen. Knowing how to do some of it helps you collaborate more effectively with the team of people who might one day be helping you with it. Not to mention you end up inspiring yourself with brilliant new ideas because you are having so much fun getting your tech-savvy on.

WordPress help is everywhere.

In all forms. In all shapes and sizes. With all kinds of personalities. @JohnnyBTruant, @Rhiannon_z, @Mandalove @sarahbray… (more web design resources can be found gathered neatly on one of my Twitter lists).

Go to Google and search for WordPress Video Tutorial and have a buffet-styled feast of figuring it out yourself. Or, sign up for a class. Or, hire someone to help you with the learning curve and show you how. I teach and train my clients how to do it themselves. Which is as fun as helping them get it created. And with optimystical, it’s all about the fun!

Does The Technical Stuff Really Help Me Grow My Biz?

It’s 2010. Another day in a new economy. The one we are in the midst of redefining and rebuilding as we go.

The Internet has become an everyday tool. It certainly doesn’t appear to be going anywhere (as in going away) and instead is opening up our views and perspectives, making things from across the planet appear instantly in a web browser.

When we need something (directions, find the new book we want to read, even to hire someone for something), we usually head straight away over to Google.

I tell my clients incessantly, “Google is your friend!” and I can generally find just about anything I need or want with Google’s powerful search engine.

It’s kinda like how the Dewey Decimal system impacted the local library, right? Except, now information is at the tip of your fingers, via Google.

Why Blogging Is A Smart Idea For Small Biz Owners

Today’s new economy. The one we are rebuilding together. Seriously leaning into the optimysm here.

Yet if anything is going to change, it’s starts with each of us on an individual level. I mean, isn’t that why you’re in business? To help others with what you’ve got? To contribute on that individual level?

And even if you’ve stayed the traditional methods of growing a business, you would be remiss if you’ve not looked at leveraging the Internet. Except, chances are you are overwhelmed with where to start and which path will promise an end-result for your business.

And even so, while we’re doing nothing web-wise, it does nothing to change the fact that more and more people are going to Google instead of digging around in the hall closet for their Yellow Pages.

Specific Advantages of Being Web Presenced

I love this idea of leverage. Leverage, to me, is so smart. Because it’s about doing more with less. And that’s a huge state of grace for me. Leverage is smarter, healthier, more sustainable in the long run for me.

Leverage works in a ton of ways online. But, for now, I want to talk about the leverage of good content.

The piece I love about being web-presenced is that every page of content I create is like a member of my virtual business staff. Hanging out. At the storefront. Waiting for the next passer-by.

So even if I am away, I don’t really have to be… which is the game-changer itself.

And then my challenge as a biz owner becomes more about connecting, revealing, and telling stories that resonate with those that only my voice speaks to. And once I get that piece; the more I put out, the more I get back.

Speaking of connecting… another advantage is with virtual relationships. It’s where it’s at, if you’re growing a business online. Whether I am connecting with clients or collaborators of any kind (coaches, biz partners, etc.), I’m doing it virtually. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging… connecting (networking) in the new economy!

The biggest advantage to having your small biz online: Leverage; in content, in relationships and much, much more.

Beginnings… And Not Knowing If You Need A Blog Or Web Site

Here you go, a bit of peace of mind… what if I said it’s not an either/or decision? Yes. You can have both or one or none (hopefully none is off the table at this point).

Your options:

  • a traditional website
  • a website with a newsletter or some other opt-in
  • a blog and a tribe (community of people)

Traditional website is fine and good. It works. But it just sits there. We are human beings. We like interactivity. We’re looking to connect in some way. Going (I think) is people hiding in corporate-y entities and biz structures. Coming is the new economy where I contribute by doing my own thang; leveraging new systems, tools, relationships.

Website with newsletter or other opt-in, well now we’re getting somewhere. You’re actually asking visitors to part with something they have and is actually very highly prized in the Information Age… their name & email address. But, if you have something cool they want (ebook, tips, help with their specific challenge, etc.), they’ll happily give it up!

Blog & Tribe, the big kahuna. 🙂 Tribe: A following of people who are somewhere between “I think you’re cool” to “I’m totally freakin’ nuts about you and will do anything you ask me to.”

Blogging is how you build the tribe. Telling your version of the truth. Helping other people. Everyday. One post at a time.

For more on Blog or Web Site, I have another post where I talk about it.

Using Blogging Tools For Your Business

Part of being a business owner is cutting costs, lowering expenses. Using blogging tools is the smartest, most efficient way to build any of the three web-presence-y options. Even if you are not going to be blogging, you can set it up to look like a traditional web site. True story.

Plus a blog is already built and set up in a way to leverage the Internet itself. All blog platforms will have a built-in RSS feed, which is just a fancy way to say that it’s ready to easily pass your content on (get viral). Plus the search engines treat blogs a little differently because they know content is written/updated almost daily… so it’s checks for those frequently. This is called indexing and it’s a really good thing.

Plus you don’t have to learn (much) HTML.  😉

You’ll get real-time feedback (comments) which help you begin building relationships immediately.  Relating to your visitors, helping them.

So, you see, it’s not just about the technical stuff… it’s about helping people. And getting the technical stuff to help you so you can help them.

How can I help you today?

RSS And Our Friend, Feedburner

Are you ready to get your RSS stuff figured out (or understand better what it is and why you want to use it)? I’m writing this post just for you (well actually my client Rebecca Morehead who got her tech savvy on with me and created a niche website for her upcoming Law of Attraction book).

She sent me an email asking about RSS and basically wanting to get her head around it so she can do better with it on her web presence.

What It Is

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

It takes lots of information (such a blog articles or news content) and gets it published easily in a common format that requires a reader. Lots of readers are available. I use Google Reader because it’s free and Google’s products are usually pretty easy to use.

What’s Important About It?

It’s an option for your visitors (or readers, sometimes called prospective clients). It helps more visitors of your website or blog get access to regular updates without requiring them to take the time to come visit your website first. Instead, this visitor logs on to their Feed Reader account (like Google Reader) and all the updates for blogs or websites they’ve chosen to receive are automatically fed to their reader. Time savings!

After a while, you start to see other creative ways to use an RSS feed. For instance, you can populate a widget and feed content to your website based on certain keywords (like sports, astrology, cooking). I have even burned a feed just for posting a mobile picture to my Flickr account.

Burning A Feed With FeedBurner

Did you just say “burn a feed?”

Yes. You can make a feed for just about anything as long as it’s submitted in the right format. Feedburner makes it super easy to do and manage multiple feeds if you need them. Most blogs have an RSS feature built in, so you will get to figure out what your original RSS feed is and then turn it into a Feedburner feed. This way you can also leverage Feedburner’s cool tools for analyzing and managing your feeds and subscribers.

So I got my blog feed burned, now what?

The other cool feature about Feedburner is it has an option that allows you to offer your web visitors a method to subscribe using email (you can see mine in action in the far-right hand column at the top just under the big picture). This is a great option for your less techie visitors but still takes advantage of the same great idea. And that is, instead of relying on your visitors to check for updates and new info on your blog, they can sign up to receive automatic updates in their Inbox using a Feedburner gadget you install on your blog.

So RSS is basically a way to reach your web visitors in a more efficient way… and that is after you post something new on your blog. RSS updates your visitor’s feed reader (where multiple feeds are gathered) or issues an email that is the content of your latest post directly to your visitor’s Inbox.

It’s an essential component for your blog once you’re up and running, especially if you plan on building relationships using your blog. Each time you post on your blog, you are reaching out to your visitors and reminding them of your products or services. It’s a much more proactive way to use the web as opposed to putting up a static website and waiting for your phone to ring.

Special Video Tutorial Bonus

Hey! Guest what? So I’ve talked a lot about the cool technology I use that helps me help you get your tech savvy on. And to show you just how awesome it is, and how possible it is for you to do it too, I’ve created a short 5 minute video explaining how to install that Feedburner email capture form to your Blogger blog (and in case you have WordPress, it’s basically the same process and I did include a few tips in video.)

http://content.screencast.com/users/CStars4U/folders/Jing/media/27881e37-67cc-4180-81af-e42ddb21aa5f/jingswfplayer.swf

Need more video help like this?
Check out the Video Library!

For a fullscreen version of the tutorial, visit http://screencast.com/t/T4klXYjI. And for more info on Feeds, Google does a great job at explaining the nitty gritty.