Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping

In the bad old days, some folks were trapped in a poverty-inducing cycle, farming land they could never own. Rich landowners allowed ("allowed" !) tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. The rich landowner, simply because he owned the land, received a share of the crops as well.

The sharecropper could never make enough to buy the land. The system was designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

Eleven times a week I hear questions about "the best blogging platform." And I read recommendations of, not only various free blogging tools, but even folks who consider their Facebook page or other social media presence to be their online marketing.

If you don't own the land, you're sharecropping, building someone else's empire.

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Top 12 Tech Tools for Setting Up Your New Business

Top 12 Tech Tools for Setting Up Your New BusinessThere are many online tech tools available for setting up a new business. As a small business owner myself for the past 10 years, I’ve come to rely on several that I recommend. The top 12 I recommend are:
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8 Tips for Your Facebook Fan Page

8 Tips for Your Facebook Fan Page1. Interaction with fans will increase the likelihood of your posts showing up in that fan’s newsfeed.

2. Encourage people to:

  •  Like your posts
  •  Comment on your posts
  •  Share your posts

3. End your post asking your readers to comment and share with their network.

4. Ask fans to “Tell me how you feel…”

5. Share something about yourself and ask your fans to share something about themselves as well.

6. Encourage fans to ask questions and then be sure to answer them.

7. Ask your fans questions. Questions that ask ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘should’ are more successful at engaging readers than asking ‘why.’

8. Use images to attract your reader’s eye and compel them to read your post.

Don't Ask Technicians to Build on a Non-Technical Foundation

It happens all the time in my web business; someone comes to me with 'everything ready'—they have a domain name, hosting, email, content; it's all ready to go. This will be the easiest website you've ever done, they say.


Invariably, they've registered the domain name with a service which is, well, limited. They've chosen user-friendly hosting, which means that it's not geek friendly. They have Yahoo email. They have all their content in a Word document, neatly formatted, with images precisely positioned.

The first step, in this case, is to start over.

The choice of hosting has to come after the choice of development technology. My platform of choice these days is WordPress, which means I need hosting on Linux or some other flavor of UNIX. Not Windows. I also need true FTP access for direct access to the files. Not an online file manager.

Email should be you@yourdomain.com, not yourdomain@yahoo.com. I can't 'move' that email, or work with it in any way, without costing you lots and lots of money.

Microsoft Word is not a web development tool. The beautiful formatting in your document will not transfer to the web automatically. It may transfer, partially, to WordPress, but the cleanup will take longer than starting over.

The images embedded in a Word document may very well be useless. Word is not an image management or editing tool. The images may be too small or at too low a resolution to be usable for your site. At the very least, extracting them from Word is going to cost, because it's a tedious process I don't enjoy.

This only covers web development, but the principle applies to choosing a cell phone, your next computer or printer, your internet service . . . any technology—and the people who'll be working with it on your behalf:

Step One is always, always to ask for professional advice from someone you trust.

Shower of Choice

I just took a shower. For most of you, this is not fascinating. Unfortunately, the shower itself was not that great.

A shower needs to be a great experience, especially since it's already a poor substitute for a nice long soak in a tub big enough for such a soak. Instead, the makers of this shower's plumbing made it one step worse by designing a faucet which inextricably links the water's temperature with its pressure.

In order to get hot water, you simply turn the faucet farther. Of course, this results in more pressure. Turn it up high enough to have a nice hot shower, and needles tear at your flesh. Turn it down to a gently stimulating spray, and the frigid chill stimulates goosebumps.

How does it make sense to link water pressure with water temperature?

Do you provide any packaged services in your business which make as little sense?

Do you require a client to take Service B when they sign up for Service A? Do you place restrictions which make life easier for you, not your client? Are there ways you can let suspects, prospects and clients have more choice, more control, over the degree and kind of services you provide them?

A cold brisk shower might not be your thing; nor might a gentle hot shower. It's not about you! Don't suffer from BLM (Be Like Me.) Unless the packages you've assembled are required by your very best professional advice, don't insist that the people who provide your livelihood think like you.

Shower the people you serve with choice.