Monday, May 25, 2009

Commenting on blogs as a strategy to draw traffic to your own blog

This article aims to give you some tips on how you can use your interaction with Internet users to draw traffic to your web site, and ultimately grow your online community.

Many blogging experts agree that commenting on blogs is an effective way to draw traffic to own blog. In addition to allowing you to demonstrate your expertise giving relevant and useful information, commenting also allows you to provide a back link to your own web site, so that people who like what you said and are curious about you can learn more about it.

So how does this work?

a) Grab the attention of the readers

Use your comments to offer some insight into the issue that is being discussed, so readers become interested in who you are and what you have to say.

Your comments don’t have to be long or complicated; just say what you want to say. Over time, people will begin to recognise your name, and trust your views and opinions.

Some may even follow the link that you provide when you comment to wander over to your web site to find out what else you have to say.

b) Get the attention of the blogger

Blog readers are not the only people who take notice when you comment on posts. The blogger may also find your comment interesting.

This is how you meet and build relationships online. And if your comment warrants it, the blogger may even develop a post around your comment, redirecting their discussion. What it means for you is that this blogger’s readers will be even more aware of you and the link to your web site, and could result in more traffic.

Developing a relationship with this blogger also means that you may be invited as a guest blogger on their site, where you are given an opportunity to say more, impress the readers and win a following for yourself.

c) Create some back-links

When you comment and include your web site /blog URL to your name, you are in effect creating a back-link to your web site, which will slowly help you to increase you Google ranking. This will, in turn, drive more traffic to your web site through Google.

Emailing the blogger directly

I love receiving emails directly from my friends and readers, especially when they write to tell me how much they liked a post I wrote or how the information I provided has helped them. And sometimes, the email is private.

But there are times when I see friends and acquaintances waste a potential back-link by emailing me a comment directly to me, instead of posting it on the web site where it will do them some good.

I get an email of all the comments that are made on my blog, so there is no chance that I will miss your comment if you leave it on the blog. In fact, I will receive the email as soon as the comment is published.

So join in the discussions on your favourite blogs; offer your views and comments. But don’t forget that the ultimately, your objective for being online is to network and meet new potential clients and businesses associates. Make it easy for them to find you.

Damaria Senne is a writer based in Johannesburg. You can visit her personal blog or join her as she builds online communities here and here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tavasa Chat Room another Tavasa First in SA

Tavasa Chat Room (this is another Tavasa First in South Africa).

I (Ali) will be in the Tavasa Chat Room daily from Monday onwards 10am to 11am and from 3pm to 4pm, you are welcome to come and ask any industry related questions you need to know, I will try and answer and if not I will come back to you with an answer. All questions and discussions are welcome in there. Find the Chat Room link right at the bottom of the blog, scroll right to the bottom and click on the link.
Its up to you to use the Chat Room, you dont have to wait for me and Gaynor to use it, you can contact a few friends from Tavasa and ask them to join you there for a chat. The Chat Room is set up for you to use as the Tavasa Forum Group.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Website Content Copying

Defend your site with a plagiarism warning banner see above!

Website copying/Plagiarism is something we are going to see happen more and more within the VA/Transcriptionists industry. There is lots more VAs/Transcriptionists around the world now and finding/coming up with original content will not be easy, a lot of content has already been written and coming up with something original will get very difficult.

What I suggest is, when researching the VA/Transcription industry that you check out the different websites/blogs. Then go and write up something completely original from your own mind, as you go keep checking your content through Copyscape, then you will be assured of what your are writing is original.

If you would like to use information from another website, approach that person who has written the piece you would like to copy and ask their permission. When you copy someone else’s work, always place their bio at the bottom of the piece, after all it is someone else’s content and if it is good enough to be copied then they should take the credit and not you, if anyone wants to contact them further about the content.

I do have a clause on the first page of my website stated that permissions have been given for any content that I have displayed within my site. It is polite to always ask before just taking an article or content from someone else.

When you start writing your content, take your time, don’t rush, have an idea of the content you want in your site. Don’t rush to get your website out there, rather take the time and do it right. Your website is a reflection of yourself and your company. Your website has to be able to keep the clients attention long enough to prompt them to contact you further. Your aim is to build your client base for your business, so your content must draw the clients in. Your website is your company advertisement on the internet for all to see, so as you prepare your website think of it as an advertisement to clients. Think as a client and place on the site what you as a client would like to see.

I would advise against placing your rates on your site, your idea should be to draw the client to you and discuss rates for each job, you don’t really know what a job is about, until you really see it. But putting your rates out, there you are committed to what rate is displayed, copy typing is not always just copy, transcription can be messy etc.

On your site you need your contact details displayed, make it easy for potential clients to contact you further.

Once you have completed a draft of your website place it up on Tavasa forum and ask for comment and feedback, rather do this first and get feedback from your peers rather than put the site out with errors and your content not being right. Peer feedback is very worthwhile.

When you write original content place a line of text like I have below to protect against copyright. The number I have used is my company business registration number. This lets others know this piece of content is original.

Written by Alison Fourie, © Copyright 2009 AMF Typing Services cc®, Ck2001/083866/23. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rates and 3rd World Countries

I have just seen an email placed on an overseas forum that is going to create a lot of replies and chat on that particular forum.

We have countries in Asia, like China, India, Philippines where new VAs are emerging, they are charging very low prices for their services because of their countries low conversion rates compared to other countries like UK, USA, Australia within the world. It is not their fault they are charging what the going rates are within their country. Where their rates are reasonable to others within their countries, they are not when they start advertising their services worldwide.

The Vas within these countries are not very good using the English language, their skills in punctuation, grammar, spelling are not good. Sometimes they are not as computer literate as the rest of us as their own countries are behind with technology. But nevertheless, VA companies are growing in the Asian countries.

South Africa is looked at as being a 3rd world country, but sometimes I wonder! We are up with the world in technology, sometimes far ahead, with cell phone technology, computers, wireless, ADSL and optic underseas cabling, satelite etc we are up with the best of them. But we are still classed as a 3rd world country and often clients from Australia, UK and USA class us in the same arena as the Asian countries’ with regards to VA and Transcription services.

A quote from Gaynor ‘I think it's a mindset that I would like to change all over the world - stop charging so low and start focussing on quality or get out of the field’. That is her feeling and she is completely right. As she says ‘if we produce quality work we should charge accordingly’.

One thing I do is before quoting to any overseas client. I first check out the rates that are charged for the task in that country the client is from, I then charge our equivalent of that rate. I do a quick currency conversion (Exchange Rates) using the free currency converters and charge the same rate as of the country the work is coming from. We cannot charge a client from the UK, R20.00 per page for typing which say is our country medium price range for this task. It about £1.50p, the client is bound to use your services, it’s cheap, its buttons. Surely we are worth more than that. I am.

Live rates at 2009.05.08 10:35:38 UTC
20.00 ZAR
1.57832 GBP
South Africa Rand

United Kingdom Pounds
1 ZAR = 0.0789159 GBP

1 GBP = 12.6717 ZAR

We look at the UK rate which is around £5.00 per page, we then convert it to Rand value: R64 and that is our price we charge the client. Therefore charging them the rate they would be charged in their own country.

Lay your charge out to the client, in your quote:
£5.00 per page equals R63.

It is fantastic to get overseas clients on your client base but make sure your prices/rates are right and that you do earn and make your money, rather than work at a loss.

All comments on these article would be appreciated be they negative or positive.

Written by Alison Fourie of AMF Typing Services cc

Friday, May 1, 2009

South African Medical Transcriptionists Alert!!

If you are a South African medical transcriptionist wanting to a) contribute to upholding standards and procedures in the industry, and b) have the potential of new medical work from us, then Alison and I invite you to sign up at our forum TAVASA. When you've done so, drop us an introductory mail saying you're an MT.