Real Assistants in an Online World

Adding Your Blog to Your Facebook Page

A client recently asked me how to add their blog’s RSS Feed to their Facebook Page. There are 2 main ways of doing this via applications – Notes or Networked Blogs. Instructions for both methods are below, complete with screen shots.

There are several advantages to using Networked Blog’s application over Notes including the ability to add multiple blogs, more reliable on automatic postings and pulling in pictures on your blog as the thumbnail. It may look more detailed here, but it’s not that hard – just follow the steps!


Adding a blog via the Networked Blog application:

  • Click on this link to go to the application page.
  • You may need to follow someone else’s blog before you can register your own (browse the topics & find one to follow).
  • Click the button at the top “Register a Blog”.

    • Enter info about your blog (or the blog you want your friends/fans to see). The “Blog Name” is what your friends/fans will see prior to each post. It should be descriptive but not too long.
    • Click Next and then click yes to verify that you are the owner of the blog. The quickest way to verify this is to copy the code they will give you (click on “Use widget to verify ownership”) and place it in a sidebar widget of your blog. You can use any html widget to do this and can remove it from your blog once ownership is verified. Once the code is on your site, click the “Verify Widget” button on the Networked Blogs page.
  • Once this process is complete and your blog is added, you will need to set up automatic importing of your posts.
    • In the upper right corner of the application, you’ll see a link for “Syndication”. Click this and then choose your blog in the drop down box.
    • Check the box “Personal Facebook Profile” if you want blog posts to be seen on your personal wall & news feed.
    • If you are the administrator of any pages, you will see these listed. Click “Configure” for any page(s) you want the feed to appear on. You may need to click the “Install” button to add the application to that page. Then check the box “Auto-Publish blog posts to Page Wall” and you’ll be good to go!

Adding a blog via the Notes Application

  • There are 3 ways to get to the application:
    • Look for it on your tabs in your profile
    • Look for it on the left sidebar in the applications area. You may need to click “See More” to see it listed.
    • In the search box, type “Notes” and it should come up – click on that link.
  • Once open, on the left sidebar, look for the text link that says “Edit Import Settings”
  • Enter your blog’s feed address in the box, check the agreement box and hit the “Start Importing” button. This may import *all* of your past blog posts, so just be aware. If you have a bunch then it could clog up the news feed on your Facebook wall.

Getting Started on Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it. It looks deceptively simple on the surface, but quickly becomes very complex when you start digging into it. I gave a class last week on Twitter to local business owners and I’ve never seen so many deer-in-the-headlights looks! You’re not alone if you don’t “get” it yet.

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Sign up with a user name that will build your brand, use part of your real name, or tell others something about you. Make sure the name isn’t too long as it counts towards the 140 character limit when others want to connect with you.
  2. Next, start following as many people as you can. (Follow me here.) Business colleagues are a good place to start – follow them and then browse through their followers/following lists to see who you know or want to connect with. You can also find top Twitterers on sites like and that you don’t need to know them to connect – in fact, it’s useful not to know them yet! Also look under Twinfluence for people in your town and connect with them. You’ll soon find that those you follow will start following you back and as you’re numbers get up there, you’ll build more and more momentum.
  3. Start posting regularly (1-2 times/day is good) about what you’re doing in your life and in your business. Use keywords. Pique curiosity. Link to articles & webpages you find interesting or would benefit your target market. Reply to those you’re following and start meaningful conversations. Retweet posts from others that you find valuable or interesting (or your target market would). This is where paying attention to what others are doing is beneficial. Do what they do!
  4. Use Twitter search engines to find those who are talking about your keywords, locality, areas of interest, etc. These includes sites such as Twitter Search, TweetScan, Monitter, and TwitScoop. I also use Twilert to have my favorite searches sent to me via email every day.

On Twitter, it pays to be active, follow tons of people, and post useful information with a smattering of personal insight thrown in.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s a Wiki on Twitter – this section is about Etiquette:

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help in Twitterland. We’ve all been there and stand ready to help show you the way! See you in the Twitterverse!

Your 7-Point Annual Website Tune-up

by Donna Gunter, The Boomer Biz Queen (TM)

Every time you take your car in for an oil change, most shops give you a 15- or 30-point checkup when they change your oil to alert you to any other potential problems you might experience in the future. In the same way that your mechanic conducts a regular inspection of your automobile, you need to conduct an annual checkup of your website.

Here are 7 critical areas that need to be checked yearly on your site:

1. Copyright notice. In years past it would take me until March or April to update my copyright notices primarily because I had to go in and update every single page of my site. More recently, however, I’ve used an includes file, which is one file that can be inserted in many pages to hold my copyright and contact info. Consequently, when I need to update the copyright info, I open this one file in my HTML editor, update that file, save and upload it. Once it’s revised, the new information miraculously appears on all the pages in which it’s included, updating them all at once.

2. Opt-in forms. The beginning of each year is a great time to ensure that all of the opt-in forms are working on your site. Do you need to add additional fields to the opt-in form to collect mailing addresses, for example, or to ask how visitors found your site? Is the information contained on your confirmation page (the page to which a visitor is sent upon her initial request to opt into your list) still current and relevant? How about the thank you page (the page to which your visitor is sent when she has confirmed her desire to join your list)?

3. Autoresponder followup. Next, review the content of the autoresponders that you’ve set to follow up the opt-in. Are they still current? Do they mention offers or upsells that are still available? Do you need to update any copyright or contact information contained within them? Are they making it through spam filters? Use this tool to ensure that every email gets into your contact’s inbox: SpamCheck from SiteSell.

4. Signature files. Does your email signature file contain a call to action that’s still working for you, or does it need to be updated? Have you changed any portion of your contact information? After you review your signature files in your email client, do the same check of your email signature file in your shopping cart program or autoresponder program.

5. Client attraction device. Take a look at the free giveaway you provide to your visitors in return for them opting into your list. Whether it’s a document or an audio or video file, update the copyright and content information in it and review any biographical/profile information that you list about yourself or your business. Is the content you provide in this giveaway still valid and current? Do you want to keep the current call to action, or does it need to be updated to better fit with your current business model?

6. Missing images and dead link check. When your website fails to properly display images, your business appears unprofessional. Tour your website to ensure that all images are displaying as they should. If you link to or make reference to many resources on your site, run a dead link check annually to weed out or update those that no longer work. You may be able to do this with your HTML editor. If not, try the free weekly link checking service offered by iNetDog.

7. Order forms. Be sure that your order form works all the way through. Most online business owners, when checking order forms, stop at the point where they need to enter credit card information. If your merchant account agreement prohibits you from using your credit card to order from your company, ask if they have a test card number you can use, or have a reciprocal agreement with a colleague to check each other’s forms. Check your followup autoresponders that are set to go out after someone makes a purchase, as well, to ensure that they are still up-to-date.

Websites that are obviously out-of-date or aren’t working properly are a huge deterrent to doing business with you. Check these 7 key areas yearly on your site to convey to your visitors that your site is regularly updated and maintained.

Internet Marketing Strategist and Boomer Biz Coach Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online retirement businesses that they love by demystifying and simplifying the tools and strategies needed to market and grow their businesses online. To claim your FR*EE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at

What would I do with $6000 from HP?

If you haven’t heard yet, HP has a program going on this month that allows 50 different bloggers to each give away $6000 worth of computers and software. Way cool, right? Each blogger has different rules and most of them have asked winners to give away a majority of the prize to others. And several of them have asked entrants to put the entry on their own blog. So, here’s mine for the site http:!

One of the laptops I would keep for myself to replace my current one which has a super-cracked screen that is getting worse every day. That will be a big help financially and also for my business.

The other computers I am super excited to give away! As I pondered who they would go to, it came to me that it would make sense to give them to aspiring Virtual Assistants – especially those who are financially struggling and can’t afford to buy the computer that is so integral to this type of work. To choose these people, I will reach out to the VA organizations I volunteer for and ask for nominations. I will give the computers to aspiring VAs (small business owners) who volunteer for these professional organizations selflessly and give of themselves without expectation of reward or thanks. I have met so many Virtual Assistants who have awesome potential and are doing everything right to grow their business – they just don’t have adequate tools to get them to the ultimate level they are capable of. Making a small difference in several people’s lives would be such a great Christmas present to myself. When you give, you get in so many intangible ways! Many thanks to HP and all the bloggers for being so generous!

HP’s Giveaway!

HP has 50 bloggers participating in a contest to win $6000 in computers & software. Each blogger sets their own rules to pick their winner and only a few start their contest each day. Today, I entered the contest at and later tonight I’ll enter at

Join in the fun and I’ll keep you posted!

5 Critical Questions To Ask BEFORE You Hire a Web Designer

5 Critical Questions To Ask BEFORE You Hire a Web Designer

Whether you’re building a website or a blogsite, the investment in a designer can be fairly significant. It’s at this point that many service business owners decide to cut costs and have their 16-year old nephew design their site. This works out well until something breaks (with technology, it’s never a question of IF it will break, only WHEN) and your nephew is out of touch because he just started his first year of college and can’t be bothered. What are you going to do?

To run an online business, your website is your key to success. People arrive on your doorstep (site) like they might in a retail establishment, and decide within 5 seconds if they’re going to stay and look around or if they’re going to leave. It pays to invest some money in your site, as your site is the first stop on the like, know and trust journey that prospects experience with you. You need to be perceived as legitimate, as a “real” business, and as the solution to the problems that ail your prospective clients. If you’re not able to design your own site, an experienced website designer can help finesse this relationship with your visitors.

How can you determine if your designer will create a site that you like and is useful? I’ve heard many horror stories over the years about the experiences that services business owners have had regarding the creation and maintenance of their websites. Here are 5 critical questions that you should have answered before hiring a web designer:

1. Site Ownership. First and foremost, you should ask if you own the final version of your site and the graphic source files. I’ve discovered that many web designers do NOT work on a work-for-hire basis. Instead, they maintain the copyright to the design of your site, so if you don’t want to use that same company for site updates and maintenance, for example, they will not release any source files to another designer. Consequently, you will have to pay to have your site redesigned all over again. At the very least you should obtain a license to use the files in perpetuity and be able to make revisions to them in the future. This same rule applies to any special fonts or special applications developed for the site.

A second key issue in site ownership is ownership of your domain name. If your site design includes purchasing the domain name for your site, be sure that your domain’s purchase is credited to you and registered to you as the administrative and technical contact. Many times the web design company registers your domain name and lists themselves as the contact, or actually purchases the domain and is considered the owner. At that point it becomes almost impossible to get your username and password for the account should you need to make any changes to your domain registration or to even prove ownership. Purchase your domain BEFORE beginning any work on a website.

2. Ongoing maintenance and hosting. Secondly, determine if you will be locked into a maintenance contract or hosting contract with the designer. Are they using any special software or application that will tie you to a particular type of hosting service? This may not be problematic for you initially, but ensure that you’ve got the flexibility to change your mind in case the design company is sold, for example, and dramatically increases their prices. Once the site is up, can you buy a program, like Adobe Contribute, for example, and do simple site updates yourself or must you use their company for any updates?

3. Experience with similar companies. Thirdly, take a look at their portfolio and be sure you like their previous work and that they have experience in web design for companies like yours. Call 1-2 of their clients (from the portfolios) and ask the client how easy the design company was to work with and how satisfied they are with the final product.

4. Marketing experience. Many web designers are simply that — great web designers. They can make your site sit up and bark and run around in circles, if you like. However, the newest, coolest, showiest and flashiest technology is oftentimes NOT what you need to bring you the most traffic, get your site found in search engines, and convert prospects to customers. Don’t fall for the glitz and glam that you see in a designer’s portfolio. The best sites are simpler sites with a clean design and distinct marketing elements, like a clear call to action as seen in an email list signup box. If you can find a designer who excels at both design and marketing, you have found a gem whom you need to hold onto.

5. Return on investment (ROI). Asking a designer about the ROI for their clients is somewhat sneaky. In essence, what you’re doing is determining their longevity (will they still be in business tomorrow), as well as their followup strategy in terms of staying in touch with clients to see how their businesses are doing. A web designer who stays in touch is one who’s concerned about your success and is one that is much more likely to create a website that will produce profitable results for you.

The creation of your online presence can be a very expensive failure that takes much longer than anticipated. Don’t let yourself be the next victim! Before hiring a website designer, make sure s/he answers these questions to your satisfaction, and you’ll be on the path to a profitable relationship with a talented professional who can help your online business grow.

Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FR*EE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at