Contest/Conferences


What a great idea! The Ning Directory is holding a quotable quotes contest. Five entries will enter you in a drawing to get a promotional, customized side menu bar. Here are my five quotes:

First is  a motivational slogan that I’ve previously posted on BBS – “What would you attempt to do if you knew that you could not fail?”

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Everyday I get up I ask myself, “is this what I want to do for the next ten year?’ If the answer is no too many times in a row, then I know its time for a new career!

On the same note

One of Roz Savage’s inspirational quotes: ”

“Be mindful of the link between present action and desired future outcome. Ask yourself: if  I repeat today’s actions 365 times, will I be where I want to be in a year?”

Here’s one of the classic Devil Dog/Sports slogans:

Its not the size of the dog in the fight. Its the size of the fight in the dog!

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Finally

One quote that sticks out in my mine is from the movie “The Last Castle”.

General Irwin (Robert Redford) is talking to Yates, another inmate with the potential to betray him and says,

“This man (the sadistic commander of the prison) is going to you because he sees the worst in you. He’s going to play for the worst. I want to see the best.”

He then entrusts Yates with information that could be used to betray him.

At first I thought that it was silly quoting a line from a movie. But then, I read an interview with Indra K. Nooyi, Pepsi’s CEO. She follows the same philosophy.

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My original plan to market Freebestdeals.com involved promoting the site to college students and Myspace ads. But, the nature of most of the free items I’ve encountered has me rethink my core audience. Instead of the teens and young adults in college and online, I think that my core audience now may be people in their mid twenties and thirties, and couples families. I am scouting out the money saving websites now to see if it may be a better fit.

I’ve been following FrugalDad for a while now.  He started a new blogging website called SideHustleBlogging.  I’m also reviewing some of his reader’s weblinks.

One useful example that I came across is from PickUpPennies blog.  Here, she is holding a contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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Contest Summary:

To get you started, I’m doing a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Most of you should know the drill by now. You can receive an entry:

  1. If you are a subscriber. (Anyone who’s let me know they subscribed in the last is already entered.)
  2. If you mention this on your blog.
  3. If you refer anyone to this blog. (They need to let me know in a message.)
  4. If you post this on any social bookmarking site.
  5. Leave a comment on any post — but please something more than “Great post” or “I agree.”
  6. And, now, if you tweet it. (Let me know if you do.)

Contest ends 1/17 at 11:59 p.m. PST. I will draw a winner using Random.org.

Here is a good example of how to hold a contest. One good tip – use Random.org to select the winner.

Although I have always planned on holding contest to promote Freebestdeals.com and attract new members and member participation, I’m kinda in a bind at this early stage. Since I only have a handful of members, there’s really not enough people to hold a contest.

If I hold a contest to recruit new members, I may have people opening up multiple accounts, or have people recruit their friends who sign up but never come back.

I could have an entry submitted per deal submitted, but that will just encourage someone to troll all the other free sites out there and submit entries.

Perhaps, I can hold the contest for anyone who follows freebestdeals on twitter? That way, I get an audience for my twitter announcements.

I came across a Keyword Strategy article at JoshCanHelp.com.  Josh has written up a clear, easy to understand guide on how to determine and select your keywords.

I’m following along to see if I can update my Freebestdeals.com keywords. One key element that Josh highlights is using Google’s tools to identify a keyword that’s not too broad and with less competition.  In other words, identify a niche.

  1. Goto www.google.com/keywords
  2. Type in 6 – 8 search words that you think people will use to try to find your site
  3. Make sure that use synonyms is checked. Generate key words.
  4. Review the results. Check for words with:
    1. Less than half advertisers
    2. Under 10K/month
    3. Example 1 – free stuff keywords

i. Totally free samples, half, 3600

ii. Samples and Freebies, 55%, 1,300

iii. cosmetic free samples, < half, 6600

iv. free sample products, half, 8100

v. get free samples, 60%, 8100

vi. totally free baby stuff, half, 2600

vii. free stuff mail, <half, 6600

    1. Example 2 – low volume (competition) search. Start off with these?

i. free stuff giveaways, < half, 260

ii. free stuff offer, <half, 320

iii. free trial samples, 15%, 720

iv. free samples for babies, 20%, 480

    1. Example 3 – website content

i. Deals infinity, 15%, 1600

ii. Clearance deals, 20%, 2400

iii. Red hot deals, 50%, 1600

Here is a list of the top ten things that I learned by entering Shoemoney’s 2008 SEO ThinkTank contest. I’ll be sure to try to apply this to any other blogging contest that comes up.

9. Keep Things Simple. As far as blog design goes, simpler is better. Don’t go for the fancy layouts and graphics. It just makes your blog look dated or unprofessional.

8. Consider submitting a top ten list! Reviewers (and Diggers) like lists.

7. Don’t be afraid to GROVEL. Groveling is a strategy! Its not beneath you! We had one contestant offer his personal concierge service. Another offered personal massages

6. Be Human. Let your unique traits and weaknesses, hopes and fears show. Its what makes us human and more interesting. If you strip all of this out of your post, it becomes dull and boring. One contestant caught the judges attention by admitting his infatuation for the lovely Pam Lundgren.

5. Interact with other contestants – help each other out or give each other moral support. Its a good bet that other contestants at your level, are feeling the exact same doubts as you are. Plus, chances are that they will interact with other contestants or with some of the judges and you start building up your rep. and social network.

4. Clearly state what you have to offer. The majority of contestants tended to trumpet their own skills and accomplishments. The few that clearly stated what they had to offer the group (even through groveling) stood out from the other entries

3. Congratulate the winner – add graciousness to your rep. Also thank them, as they’ve probably got a ton of useful content on their blog, plus, now you’ve got a great reason to talk to them at the next SEO conference.

2. Brand Yourself – two words on this – Furry Hat. All the reviewers remember Furry Hat Guy! They will remember him when he shows up again on-line or at the next conference.

1. Enter even if you don’t think you can win. It provides valuable hands on experiencing in blogging, generating great content, branding, networking, etc. It gives your site great exposure. You introduce yourself to some top level SEO/Internet Marketers. Plus, you get to practice using Google Analytics and other traffic tools as you watch the traffic on your site. As an added bonus, It also provides a ton of content for your followup blog!

Yes, I know, I only have 9 things listed. I just can’t think of the tenth item. Anyone have any suggestions for a 10th item?

When I traveled to Del Mar for the SEO Think Tank, I found it to be such a quaint and picturebook seaside surfing community, that I was determined to come back to visit and explore it some more.

Most of the time, I drive right past this community on my way South to San Diego. Finally, one day I found myself just up the highway from Del Mar and was finally able to re-visit.

The first stop was at the beach where 2008 SEO Think Tank was held. Right away, I saw something unforgettable!

Meet John King. He sort of dropped in while I was strolling along the beach.

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Most people come to Del Mar beach to surf or swim in the waves.  Not John. He takes advantage of the wind hitting the bluffs to ridge soar in his paraglider.

Ridge soaring can be tricky.  Too little wind and you lose lift — a fact that John demonstrated when he was forced to land on the sandy beach, instead of at his launch point on the bluff.  Too much wind and you get blown over the ridge.  But John knows what he’s doing.  He explains that there’s a point on the ridge that provides enough lift for him to turn around and head back.  Luckily, there’s a house with a flag right at that point, to help him mark the spot.

It was pretty amusing watching John bunny hop along the bluff until he came to the drop off . . . and up and away he soared!

While waiting for John to fly back, there was of course, plenty of traditional classic California scenery to see.

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I had originally mis-read Problogger’s contest rules, too and thought he meant 140 words.  I actually wrote a 140 word summary before I caught myself.  I kept wondering why everyone else’s entry seemed so short compared to mine.  And then it finally dawned on me!

I guess Twitter has set the 140 character standard.  Still, I didn’t have to work too hard at it because Ning’s network description only allows 140 characters, too.  Right now, I have the following entered in it:

“Enter Free into Google and you get millions of sites . . . 99% which isn’t free! Join FreeBestDeals.com! Everything Here is Absolutely Free!”

Well, I wanted mine to stand out a little to try to attract Darren’s attention.  It seemed to be an attainable goal, as there were only about 400 blog entries at the time.  Still, I didn’t know what could possibly interest Darren.  So I figured that I would go with something different and zany.

“Are you one of the FEW people on EARTH lucky enough to have a BIRTHDAY? Visit us for FREE Birthday food and gifts! Everything Here is Free!”

Still, with over 1400 entries, I guess it really had to be far out to stand out. Maybe something along the lines of:

“The Housing market crashed! The Stock Market crashed! The economy crashed! Your job has crashed! Save your wallet! Visit . . .”

Then again, I’m not really sure what would have attracted attention.  Darren’s pick was varied.  My favorite was.

“Mom-101. I don’t know what I’m doing either – Mom 101

It reminds me of Ernest Hemingway’s example of how to tell a story in less than ten words.

On Saturday, ProBlogger held an impromptu blog contest. The contest allowed you to pitch your blog in 140 characters in Darren’s comments. Luckily, I had decided to run through and hit my daily blog list, otherwise, I would have missed it.

When I first saw it, there were already 300+ blogs being pitched. By the time I submitted my entry, the number had jumped to 400+. I watched the number keep jumping up: 800; 900, 1000, 1200. Finally, a grand total of 1423 blogs being pitched at the end of the contest! I was wondering at the momentum in the number of entries that kept coming in.

Later, in his post contest review, Darren explained how he had utilized Twitter to spread the word and that on-line community took up the call and retweeted it, creating a viral event. Wow! Here is a great example of how powerful a tool Twitter can be.

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