3 Mistakes You Should Avoid on the Web

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one…

I Made a Mistake

image credit: striatic

…that makes the occasional mistake on the Web.

The Web is a great place to connect and improve your hunting business and Website. There are so many great people you can meet that will add value to your life.

And it’s likely that you have something remarkable to offer as well.

However, there are a few common mistakes people make on the Web; especially business owners.

These mistakes are frowned upon, but all too common in social media, forums, blogs, etc.

So, if you’re looking to make a positive impact on the Web, here are…

3 Mistakes You Should Avoid

1.  Pushing Yourself/Business in Hunting Forums, Blogs, and Social Media

I really enjoy participating in hunting forums. I really love reading and commenting on hunting blogs and blogs in general. I seem to have a thirst for knowledge.

One of the mistakes I often see from newcomers to the Web is the blatant “pushing” of themselves, their business, and the product/service.

An example of this mistake is going to a forum, starting a new thread; something like “New Hunting Website”, and then giving a description of the Website.

These people are generally well intentioned, but the problem is users on hunting forums and blogs are not pulling your business into the forum. You’re pushing the business onto them.

Actively add value to the conversations going on in the forums and threads. Give your insight and help the users and hunters.

If you have a valuable and remarkable business, the users will eventually pull your business into the discussion in hunting forums.

Sure it’s tough and it takes hard work, but it really pays off (for you and others) when you start to gain traction.

2.  Not Allowing Users to Share Everything on Your Hunting Website

There is a lot of work and effort that go into programming a Website.

I have to admit that I know very little about code and programming.

While it’s difficult and time consuming to program a Website, it’s important to remember to make sure your Website is “shareable”.

You have a valuable and remarkable hunting product/service; make sure your fans and followers can share it with their friends and family.

Make sure your logo can be copied. Make sure you have contact information to share so your followers can contact you. Make sure you have a way for users to share your articles, products, services, etc. on all of the social media sites like Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.

Make it so easy to share the content (and attribute it back to you and your business) that your Grandma and 4 year old son/daughter/niece/nephew can share it.

It sounds easy, but it’s actually difficult.

It may take some hard work and extra time, but it will be worth it once people start sharing your remarkable content.

3.  Not Participating Off of Your Own Website

There are tons of hunters participating in forums, blogs, photo galleries, video galleries, etc.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own world.

While it’s important to spend time working to make sure your hunting Website is easy to use and valuable to users, it’s just as important to venture out on the Web and make connections.

How will people know you exist if you stay on your Website 99% of the time you’re on the Web?

Participate (see #1) in hunting forums, read and comment on hunting blogs, view and create videos on video sharing sites like YouTube, and view and share photos on hunting photo galleries.

Start an account on Twitter and use Twitter Search to find other hunters. Use Twitips.com for information on how to use Twitter in a valuable way.

Don’t get caught up with your own hunting Website all the time.

Get out and make a connection.

I’d love to get to know you: @DayneShuda 🙂

Conclusion

There are a lot of great things you can do on the Web for your hunting business and Website.

Avoid these common mistakes and you’ll be on your way to successful participation and connection.

Do you have any other mistakes or pet peeves that people make on the Web?

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4 Ways You Can Use a Blog to Improve Your Hunting Website

“The harder I work, the luckier I get,” Gary Player.

Four Leaf Clover

image credit: kaibara87

With some hard work and a little luck…

You can create a blog and have followers in less time than you may think.

A good business blog is a must for your hunting business.

A blog will allow your customers and potential customers to get information from you consistently. By writing regular posts, you’ll be able to grow your reputation as the knowledgeable, go-to person in your industry.

You’ll stand out above your competition.

When potential customers find your blog through their Google search, they’ll be able to see all of your knowledge organized neatly and efficiently.

The benefits of a business blog are infinite.

But…if you’re still not convinced that your hunting Website needs a blog, here are…

4 Ways You Can Use a Blog to Improve Your Hunting Website

1. Help Others

You’re an expert in your field; the field of hunting. People are using the Web to find the information and knowledge they desperately want/need.

A blog is your tool to connect with the people searching for your knowledge.

You’ll be helping others when you write posts that empower and add value to their lives.

Draft posts that will inspire others.

The world of hunting is expansive and there are a great number of hunters looking for knowledge.

Focus on your niche and show why you’re the best and most knowledgeable.

By sharing your knowledge, you help others improve their own lives.

2. Improve your own knowledge

A blog is a great way to improve your own skills.

You’ll improve your writing skills.

You’ll improve your research skills.

By writing a blog, you’ll gain an objective view of your own business.

As you write about your industry, your success stories, your suggestions, tips, etc., you’ll be able to reflect on what has been the source of your success.

This reflection will also allow you to reflect on your failures and what you can learn from these failures.

A blog is like a journal that you share with your customers.

Your blog will be a source of all of your knowledge.

It will be a great resource for you customers and potential customers, but more importantly it will be a resource for you to reflect and learn from as well.

3. Share Your Case Studies

Your hunting business probably has some happy customers. Therefore, you have success stories.

There is no better place to share these stories than on your new blog.

Include your past customers when you write your case study. Ask them to write about their experience.

Be honest when writing case studies.

Use photos, videos, etc. to show your blog readers how you created a successful business relationship.

There is nothing better than a tangible example when you’re trying to make new business connections.

4. Make Connections

As you write great content on your blog, you’ll begin to receive comments.

This is when the fun really begins.

When someone comments or emails you about a post on your blog, they are giving you their attention. They are showing you that your content is valuable to them.

This is a positive connection for both of you. They are seeking to gain further insight from you.

This is your chance to prove your worth and further enhance the relationship.

Hopefully it will lead to a successful customer/business connection.

Implementation

OK, now that you’re ready to start your blog or if you’re ready to improve your blog…check out this video “How Guy Kawasaki became Technorati’s #24 ranked blogger (and how he aims to be 10, then maybe retire)” on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog with Guy Kawasaki.

It’s a truly great video.

(At about 11:20, he offers great insight on the independent decision making of linking).

Get a plan together for your future hunting Website blog.

I look forward to adding you to my RSS!

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10 Hunting Website Truths You Can’t Ignore

Just as Autumn will always be beautiful…

Road Trees Colored Leaves Autumn

image credit: Perrimoon

…these 10 truths about your website will most likely stand the ground of honesty in the online world.

Every website is different. Yours is going to be better than the rest (I believe in you!). Still, there are a few common traits that all sites seem to have.

These are a few of those common truths I’ve noticed recently.

1.  Video is king

On the Web today, people love watching video. Our eyes go crazy reading articles and blog posts. We need the occasional video to break up the day. Some of us our visual learners. Make a few fun and valuable videos for your hunting website. Get a little creative. You never know when you might come up with a great idea for your business (ex – Will it Blend?).

2.  Hunters love to look at photos of trophy bucks

Photos are great. Having a photo gallery for visitors to browse is a great way to provide value and get people to stay on your site for awhile.

3.  Blogs are great

Blogs are a great way to keep your visitors coming back to your site. Blogs are a great way to improve your website’s natural traffic. Blogs are a great way to interact with your customers. Blogs are a great way to add to your personal brand. Blogs are “enter any of many more reasons blogs are great”!

4.  Simple is best

I’m a big fan of “Simple” in the “Simplicity vs. Complexity” question.

5.  Make sure visitors can search your site

New visitors especially will want to look through your site. Make sure it’s easy for them to find what they’re looking for. Most programmers can implement a good search engine. Otherwise, Google’s is the best.

6.  Titles and Headlines get traffic

A great title that catches the eye of passersby is the best linkbait you can write.

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

7.  People love lists

It’s natural for people to be drawn to lists; especially on the Web. Lists are easily digestible. There is so much to see on the Web so our attention is our resource. Lists are a great way to get valuable information in a short and concise layout. Whatever you are an expert in, you can write great lists. What is your area of expertise? Are you an outfitter? What are the 5 best tips for hunters looking to use an outfitter for the first time?

A Guilty Pleasure of the Blogosphere and Social Media: Lists

8.  You can be anything, but not everything

Take all of the “ands” out of your Website vision. As Andy Sernovitz says, “A great brand can only be one thing“. Focus on solving your customers’ questions and problems relating to one specific area – the more specific the better!

Being unique on the Web is especially important. There is a ton of noise on the Web. Focus on being the expert in a certain area and work hard to make sure you’re the best. I know you can!

9.  Consistently update

My daily routine includes checking my RSS and blog roll every morning. I’ve become a big fan of blogs that have new articles each morning. Daily or during the business week is a proven consistency. Newspapers are a great example. Get consistent with your website and blog. Make sure your readers have a reason to keep coming back to your website.

What is the Ideal Post Frequency for a Blog?

10. You need to spend time off your site to grow your site

One of the most important things you can do to grow your website is to spend time off your site. Your future visitors are out on the Web. Find out where they are spending their time and start spending some time there. Get to know them. Figure out what they like about the popular sites. Become active in the online community and people will find their way back to your site.

Do you have any other “truths” for hunting sites?

I’m sure there have to be more than 10!

What are your experiences with yours?

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10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

This post will be the first in a series of Inspiring Music Videos for Hunting Businesses.

I read somewhere that Country Music is Sunday through Thursday and Rock Music is Friday and Saturday Night.

Pig Roast

I’d have to agree with this for the most part.

And since owning and operating a business usually happens between Sunday and Thursday, I thought you could use a little encouragement and cheer!

Here are…

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos For Hunting Businesses

1.  Tracy Lawrence “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”

You’ll find out fast that you have some good friends supporting you and your business venture

2.  Rascal Flatts “Life is a Highway”

Well…it is

3.  Collin Raye “Couldn’t Last a Moment”

If only we all thought about our businesses this way

4.  Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Fishin’ in the Dark”

This one is just fun

5.  Josh Gracin “Nothin’ to Lose”

The title of this video says it all

6.  Joe Diffie “Pick Up Man”

There’s somethin’ women like…about a business man

7.  Tracy Lawrence “Time Marches On”

Things change for the better

8.  Jimmy Buffett & Martina McBride “Trip Around the Sun”

We’re all just hanging on

9.  Clay Walker “I Can’t Sleep”

If you’ve owned your own business you’ll understand 🙂

10. Emerson Drive “You Still Own Me”

Sometimes I feel like this about my businesses, but I still love them. 🙂

Bonus: 11. Mary Chapin Carpenter “I Take My Chances”

Take your chance

There are ten [eleven] of my favorite and most inspiring Country Music videos.

This was fun!

P.S. – @Record-Companies-That-Disable-Embedding…Why? Do you not want people to share your music? Possibly exposing your products to new customers?

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Paid vs. Natural Traffic – Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 2 part series. In the first post, I covered how Paid vs. Natural Traffic is like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer.

Now you’re asking yourself,

“What’s best path for me…right now?”

Walking Path

image credit: Hey Paul

Whether you’re new to the online game or if you’re a seasoned pro, things are constantly changing on the Web.

Just as hunters need to understand if they’re better off using bait or learning every detail about whitetail deer (funnel hunters), you’ll (as a Website owner) need to determine the right balance of paid traffic and natural traffic.

Traffic, especially quality traffic will always be on your mind as a Website editor.

You’ll forever be thinking about traffic on your site; that’s what you signed up for when you launched your site…and that’s exciting.

Here is the biggest factor and the biggest questions to consider when determining the best course (paid or natural) for your business.

Time

Time (a great song by the way) is your most important resource. You can organize your time down to the second and there still wouldn’t be enough moments in the day to get everything accomplished.

As an entrepreneur, you’re programmed to be working all the time, but quite frankly, you can’t be.

So you have to determine what your time is best spent doing for your specific business.

In other words…

…what is your specialty?

Do you specialize in the manufacturing area of your business?

I know a ton of successful hunters who specialize at their day job. They’d rather spend their free time working in the shop, practicing their shooting, and doing other activities besides serious deer scouting.

These guys are the most successful at hunting when they bait.

They simply don’t have the time to spend learning how to funnel hunt effectively.

If your specialty is the manufacturing of a product (or crafting of content); you should look for ways to effectively pay for traffic to your site.

This is quite common for newcomers to the Web. (It was for me).

Right now, especially if you’re new to the Web, you should focus on what you’re great at: crafting great products.

You can hire people who are great at getting traffic to put eyes in front of your product(s).

Google, Yahoo, and Facebook are experts at paid advertising. There are plenty of online ad agencies that specialize in putting your product in front of the right eyeballs.

Stick to what you know for now, but continue learning about natural traffic.

Do you specialize in the selling process for your business?

When you started your business, you might not have specialized in the manufacturing of the products.

Rather, you are the master salesperson in the office.

This is a unique skill.

Your specialty is connecting with people. You’re great at helping people find valuable products.

You’re closer to being a natural traffic specialist, but still not able to spend enough time to make natural traffic an all out effort.

As a specialist in connecting, you already possess a lot of the skills needed in order to be a specialist in natural traffic on the Web.

Patience, attention to detail, customer knowledge, and conversational skills are extremely important for being successful with natural traffic just like they are for being a successful salesperson.

For you, some avenues of natural traffic will be a natural progression. Finding and connecting with customers and influencers is an online extension of what you do every day as a salesperson.

However, natural traffic specialists need to understand how to optimize a Website, how to write a blog, an e-newsletter, learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, and learn how to answer questions on your Website and in forums.

Natural traffic experts also need to understand the keywords their customers are using to find information.

There’s a ton more; let’s just say it’s a tough trail to pursue.

While some areas of natural traffic may suit you perfectly, you’ll still need to find specialists to fill in the holes.

Do you specialize (or do you want to specialize) in the online marketing and connecting for your business?

Here is your ticket to the beginning of the beginning.

Natural search is a long and slow process that builds success and consistency as time goes by.

If you’re brave (or crazy) enough to take on this never-ending endeavor then here are a few places you can begin to explore.

Search is Part of Social

If I Started Today (In fact, just add Chris Brogan’s feed to your RSS – He writes great stuff)

What I Learned at Search Engine Bootcamp

Headsmacking Tip #6 – Test with Paid Search Before You Target with SEO

The Disconnect in PPC vs. SEO Spending

Also check out the “Blogs I Ready Daily” on the right nav. And feel free to suggest more of your favorites.

I most certainly don’t have the answers to getting large amounts of natural traffic.

It’s a constant learning process.

But if you truly enjoy learning and love the idea of continuous improvement and change, then becoming a natural search specialist is your soul mate.

Conclusion

Your answers to these questions are unique.

Your answers to these questions will change over time.

The important thing to remember is to always be honest with yourself as you’re thinking about Paid vs. Natural traffic.

Give yourself credit for what you do best. Then do it the best you can and be the best at doing it.

Hire someone else to be the best at another aspect of your business.

You can be the best at anything, but you can’t be the best at everything.

So now that this 2 part series is over, what are your experiences with paid and natural traffic?

Do you have success stories with either?

Do you realize what your specialty is?

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Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Next I’ll cover how to determine the best course for your business.

To pay or not to pay…

Pondering Traffic on a Website

image credit: striatic

…for Web traffic?

This is a difficult question for any hunting business owner. Paid traffic can yield fast results. It involves relatively little work. Although in order to really benefit from paid traffic one does have to do a little strenuous labor.

The greatest benefit of natural traffic, of course, is the fact that it’s free…in the monetary sense (cents – for the witty person).

Both methods are worthy of looking into. But you only have so much time and effort to give. Determining which one to spend more of your time on is important.

And since your business is unique, your business has unique traffic needs.

So, how do you determine which route is best for you?

Both paid traffic and natural traffic have a place for hunting business owners.

Think of Paid vs. Natural Traffic like you would Baiting vs. Funnel deer hunting

Paid – Baiting

There are many forms of paid search on the Web. Yahoo, Google, MSN, Facebook, and others have some of the best and most targeted forms of paid advertising (one way to pay for traffic).

You could also advertise on sites and Web pages you pick yourself.  This will cost you a few bucks.

In addition, there are agencies that put together entire online advertising campaigns. They’ll put your ads on various targeted Websites, video sharing sites, photo sharing sites, etc.

Hunting with bait, is similar.

You put your bait (advertisement) out in the woods (Web) in particular spots that target deer, such as trail crossing (hunting forums with heavy traffic) to try and get yourself (your business) in front of the deer at the correct time to make a harvest (sale).

The good

Baiting/Paid-Traffic is a tactic that, when used correctly, can yield excellent results. Get yourself on some prime property and you’re bound to have a few successful harvests. And results can be almost instant.

All it costs is the price of the bait (ad).

The not-so-good

While there are positives to baiting/paying-for-traffic, there are a few cons; such as cost. Worthwhile ads are expensive. And paying someone else to do research on your industry is not cheap. The cost of using someone else’s efficient ad service is high; as it should be.

Natural – Funnel Hunting

Natural traffic is a never ending struggle. It’s hard work to consistently add valuable content to your site.

You have to give customers a reason to visit your site. You have to work to make sure they know about your site. This comes from various forms of offline and online word-of-mouth. It comes through your customers’ search results on Google.

Successful natural traffic is a continuous work in progress.

You’ll work to target specific keywords and put those keywords on your site.

You’ll likely see very little traffic initially despite your hard work.

Funnel hunting for deer is similar.

You study the terrain (the Web). You seek and observe common travel patterns (forums and blogs). Eventually you’ll take to the stand and put in your woods-time (commenting and posting on blogs and forums). After some time, you’ll begin to see your hard work pay off. You’ll see more mature bucks (quality customers). And you’ll eventually begin to harvest bucks of increasing quality (big business deals).

The good

When natural funnel hunting, you force yourself to learn the intricacies of patterns and movement of the game (potential customers) in their natural habitat (the Web). You learn how they move (the Websites they frequent). You learn their favorite foods (search terms – keywords).

All it takes is extreme commitment and time.

The not-so-good

Your time is your most valuable resource. Successfully getting natural traffic to your site takes a lot of time.

You’ll often work for long periods with no results. When results do come, they’ll be slow and steady.

Conclusion

I’m not partial toward paying for traffic or working to gain natural traffic. Both have a place. I’ve used both. I’ve had success with both.

Traffic, like a trophy buck, is rewarding when you make a successful harvest. It’s a great feeling to get a ton of traffic to your site.

Baiting can yield quick and sometimes amazing results. You might plop down some bait and get a huge buck to come in right away.

Funnel hunting yields few results early on, but as you gain a keen knowledge, you steadily see an increase in the quality of your results. You learn how your industry works and begin to understand how to capitalize on natural patterns.

So you have two choices: bait and hope or funnel hunt and fail continuously until you learn the natural patterns.

You’ll have to determine how you want to get traffic to your site.

In the next post, I’ll cover how you can determine if Paid or Natural is best for you.

So what are your thoughts on paid vs. natural traffic?

Have you had success with certain forms of paid traffic?

Have you had success with natural traffic? If so, how did you gain this traffic?

Update: Part 2 is now available…”Paid vs. Natural Traffic – Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 2

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Yikes! Where do I begin?!?

Jumping Off Cliff

image credit: Powderrun

You might be feeling like this right now. You’re bringing your hunting business to the Web. You’re wondering if you should pay somebody to launch a Website for your business. Do you need a blog?

Sometimes you have to just go for it and jump in

Basically, you’re wondering, “Where do I begin?”

At first glance, the Web can seem like an intimidating place.

Don’t worry. You’re not the only one feeling this way.

And you know what’s even better?

The Web is a great place to make meaningful connections not only with your future customers, but also with influencers in the online hunting world.

If you are willing to put forth a little effort to extend your hand and make some friends, you’re already in the right mindset to add value to yourself and to your business by entering the Online World.

Congratulations!

You’re on your way.

Here are a few ideas on how to get started on the Web.

Get ready, you’re about to set yourself up for a fulfilling life on the Web.

The List

  1. Go to Twitter and set up an account. You’ll meet some great people.  Here are “10 People All Hunters Should Follow on Twitter“. Visit TwiTip.com and check out this post “10 Easy Tips for Twitter Beginners” and you’re on your way. Here’s some great advice on “How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter“.
  2. After you get yourself started on Twitter, “Use Twitter to Improve Your Hunting Business“.
  3. Visit The Outdoor Bloggers Summit – you’ll find tons of great blogs and great people here
  4. Visit hunting.alltop.com – “All The Top” hunting blogs – Keep up to date on great hunting news and information
  5. Visit the top hunting forums: HuntingNet, Bowhunting.com, BigGameHunt.net, HuntingForums.com, Google Search: “Hunting Forum” for more
  6. Direct message and use @replies to your new Twitter buddies
  7. Comment on blog posts
  8. Make Alltop.com one of your first stops every time you’re online to keep up on the latest news – The news and information will help you with the #10
  9. Add your insight to forum threads
  10. Pick your favorite blogs and forums and make it a habit to contribute to them regularly
  11. Start your own blog – Yes I’m serious – This is a great way to make your worth known!
  12. I personally like WordPress. It’s free to use. It looks great. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Otherwise, here is some excellent advice on “Choosing a Blog Platform
  13. Read “40 Ways to Deliver Killer Blog Content
  14. Make sure to combine your passion for hunting with your other passion – your business – when writing your posts
  15. Remember to enjoy ::smile:: your blog (It’s fun!)
  16. Consider launching a Website for your hunting business. A Website is a big, but worthwhile step.
  17. Make sure your blog and new Website complement each other  – Look & Feel – Cultural Aura (Did I just use the word “aura”? Yikes!)
  18. Make sure customers and visitors can participate on your Website: Reviews, Comments, Participate with them in their conversations
  19. Evaluate your Web experience thus far: Form new goals, What’s working/What’s not working?, Are they new technologies that allow you to make connections?
  20. Go back to Stage 1:  keep participating and connecting!

There they are.

Questions? Comments? More to add? Your experiences on the Web?

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