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Posts Tagged ‘GrowSmartBiz’


GrowSmartBiz 2010 Conference is on Nov 5 so Save the Date!

August 11th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Coming this fall is the second annual GrowSmartBiz Conference being held on November 5, 2010 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. Last year Network Solutions launched this conference and it was MC’d by Alex Orfinger of the Washington Business Journal. This year the Washington Business Journal is partnering with Network Solutions to make this a bigger and even better event than last year.

We listened to your feedback and this year we also plan to have multiple content tracks to really take this event up a notch. If you are interested in reserving your booth space before August 27, call 703-258-0800.

Register Now!

Our GrowSmartBiz registration site is up and running! Tickets are $79 per person and if you want to bring a group of 10 the cost $69 per person or $690 for the group. You can register at

http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/events/2010/growsmartbiz/

If you are curious as to the quality of content, here are some videos from the 2009 GrowSmartBiz Conference.

This is an event not to be missed. We will be announcing more in the weeks ahead so fill out the form below and we will let you know the details as they are announced.

If you are curious as to the quality of content, here are some videos from the 2009 GrowSmartBiz Conference.

All Good Things Must Come To An End…For Now

December 31st, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

In his post “Going, Going, Gone Social in 2009”, Joe Loong started with  “The end of the year is as good of a time as any to look back at what you’ve done, and this is triply true for bloggers.” I can say with full certainty that he’s absolutely right.

As I look back on my 2009, mainly on blogging for Network Solutions, it is with a bit of a heavy heart that this is my last post with GrowSmartBusiness, and for blogging for Network Solutions as a whole. It’s not for a lack of want on my part, but my focus is in one thousand places at once. Thanks to Shashi and Steve, I get an opportunity to explain what I mean rather than fade off into the background.

During the entirety of this last year, working with Steve, I’ve been working on a passion project that merges all of my loves (story telling, marketing, design, social media, movies, and science fiction (look…if you didn’t know I was a geek by now…)) into a great philanthropic adventure by creating a not-for-profit independent feature length film, “Browncoats: Redemption”. The focus of that film is to create fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness for, for five charities (Equality Now, Kids Need to Read, Dyslexia Foundation, the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, and the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation) to date we have raised over six thousand dollars and brought people from all over the United States together for some amazing volunteer work. I’m proud to say Network Solutions has been behind Steve and I from the start and is one of the sponsors of the project. Their hosting package and domain help has been critical for a website about the film, browncoatsmovie.com.

Also back in June, I accepted a full time position at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as their Emerging Media Manager. This is going to give me a great opportunity to roll up my sleeves and show them the enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge of marketing, design, and social media that I talked about here. It’s a great organization and I am truly excited. I will have a lot to do, but some of the fun is that I help raise awareness of their actions, and cause, on their Twitter account @chesapeakebay and other social media avenues, as well as assisting with the technical side of their website cbf.org.

As you can imagine all of this has taken up a huge amount of my time and, more than once, caused me to miss some critical deadlines with my postings here. Like I said, I’d rather make sure someone that can be a bit more diligent than I try to be greedy and just take this spot. I would rather leave a door open to come back and guest post than wait till I’ve pushed it too far and have burnt a bridge. I also know that the content here on GrowSmartBusiness is solid and will continue to grow under Steve Fisher’s watchful eye.

I hope to connect with you sometime down the road and here your thoughts on my past posts. You might have learned something new, riff off of one of my topics, or even got inspired by one of them to do something new yourself. If you would like to keep following what I’m doing, you can reach me on my website wickedjava.com, on Twitter @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

And one last thing, I am asking you to make me a promise. In 2010, do something, just one thing, you’ve all ways wanted to accomplish and see it through to the end. Regardless of what people say (please make sure it’s legal), win or loose…I can’t begin to tell you how great a feeling that is.

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.

Anthony Edwards Gets #SmallBizCool

December 15th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

This is the final installment of #SmallBizCool from BlogWorldExpo 2009 for me and one that I am most proud of. Supporing worth while charities is something I’ve always been a big fan of. And when you find that a celebrity you like feels the same way…it is something magical. Rather than go into greater detail, let’s let Anthony Edwards himself explain why charity is so important and how he sees the new media landscape changing to better help support them.

Learn more about Anthony’s chosen charity Shoe 4 Africa or you can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyEdwards.

If you haven’t had a chance to, check out Jill Foster’s #SmallBizCool interviews over at WomenGrowBusiess. You can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways if you have been reading, and this time watching, thank you and stay wicked.

Kevin Pollak Gets #SmallBizCool

December 10th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

It’s time for another awesome installment of #SmallBizCool from the floors of BlogWorldExpo 2009. If you haven’t had a chance to, check out Jill Foster’s #SmallBizCool interviews over at WomenGrowBusiess.

One of the most memorable moments, for me at least, was Kevin Pollak’s part of the final keynote for the Expo. His insight into how social media has changed the landscape of media is insightful. Here he talks a little about why he thinks social media is cool.

Learn more about Kevin Pollak’s show or you can follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinPollak.

You can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways if you have been reading, and this time watching, thank you and stay wicked.

Eight Things To Keep In Mind For Your Websites Search Engine Optimization

November 19th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

If content is King then your Search Engine Optimization efforts are your King’s Herald. The guy who is out there, once people are listening, giving out the valuable information about your King. But instead of the shiny horn and scroll of lineage, the Search Engine Optimization Herald uses text and links to allow the web crawlers, the cute name for the automated programs that source out websites and index their content in their lists.

Let me be clear, this isn’t the silver bullet that will push your website to the top page ranking. There are a lot of variables that get that there and with multiple search engines there’s more detail than can be fit in this list of eight things.

What we’re going to go over today are just a few things that will help helps search engines, like Google, be able to better index your site.

1. Title each page with your business name and section title. – Search engines use your title as the top link so it only makes sense you would have your companies name here. Don’t get too wordy and try to fill this space with extra words to try to help. You have between 60 to 70 characters (that’s letters, spaces, and symbols) so use that space wisely.

2. Use keywords on your pages that relate to that pages content. – This is where you leverage your key points in your content to, initially, draw attention to your content. You also want to take this time to also include words and two word phrases revolving around your industry and target markets.

3. Give each page a description based on the pages content. Ok, we’ve gone over the title and keywords, but the description is on more part of the sight that most people don’t keep in mind as they are looking at a search engine. By definition, this is the text that the search engines will display below the link to tell you a little about the site you are looking to find. By describing the content on that page, and a little about your company. Just like the title of your site, depending on the search engine you choose, you have roughly between 156 to 250 characters (letters, spaces, and symbols) to relay the information you want. This isn’t the place you want to get cute and fill it in with words that will boost your site. Your keywords are for that.

4. Name every image…photos and buttons. – This helps for more than search engines. This will help the disabled review your site. By namin>g the alt attribute, commonly referred to as the “alt tag”, you are giving a corresponding text title for every non-text element on your site. If this isn’t making sense, find your local web designer and they’ll go on for hours explaining it. Or you can just shoot me a message.

5.Give your site…a map– Site maps are great, because they help you organize your site as you go through the creation process, but they also provide a page of reference links for the search engines to review your site. The site map will also give viewers a place they can go where there a clean, and clear, direction to the content on your site without all the bells and whistles.

6.Breadcrumbs aren’t just for the birds. – Breadcrumb Navigation is often seen just below the header, and navigation (if it is horizontal), and just above the title of the content. It is a great way for visitors to see the path that took them to this page, but this also provides additional links, just like your site map, for the search engine web crawlers to use when indexing your site. Breadcrumb Navigation will often look like this:

Home > Main Content > Sub Content

7.Leverage free analytics tools. – There are paid analytics tools, but just if you are starting out there are tools like Google Analytics available to you simply for the time of setting up a Gmail account. This will help you determine where people are going on your site and what keywords are working for your site.

8.Remember your King. – The content of your site (the text, the links you create, and even images) help your search engine optimization as well. You may be able to get away with just a title, keywords, a description, and a single image, but you’ll get so much further making sure all of the things we talked about above are in line with the content on your website.

These are just a few efforts that you can implement early on, or even in your current website if you haven’t yet, to help make your site more appealing to web crawlers. Remember, this isn’t the silver bullet to the top page rankings, but it will help.

You can also reach me on Twitter by following me @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.

BlogWordExpo 2009: Tee Morris Gets SmallBizCool!

November 3rd, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

It’s time for another #SmallBizCool from the floor of BlogWorldExpo 2009. This time around I get to talk to author, actor, podcaster, and social media legend Tee Morris about social media and security. Tee Morris is well known for his history in podcasting and social media. Tee’s most recent efforts focus on Twitter with his two books “All A Twitter”, previously reviewed here on GSB, and “Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes”.

At BlogWorldExpo 2009, Tee took a few minutes to explain why its cool to keep security in mind when working with social media and to promote his books.

You can learn more about Tee at his website teemorris.com and you can follow Tee on Twitter @teemonster

You can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways if you have been reading, and this time watching, thank you and stay wicked.

BlogWordExpo 2009: CNN’s Don Lemon Gets SmallBizCool!

October 29th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

It’s time for another awesome installment of #SmallBizCool from the sunny floors of BlogWorldExpo 2009. If you haven’t had a chance to, check out Jill Foster’s #SmallBizCool interviews over at WomenGrowBusiess.

BlogWorldExpo 2009 was filled with so many awesome exibitors, speakers and panels. One of the best moments, for me at least, was CNN’s Don Lemon as part of the opening keynote for Friday on “The Death and Rebirth of Journalism”. His insight into the evolution, not the death, of traditional media gave a lot of us a reason to think. Don was kind enough to take a few minutes, after that keynote, to explain why social media is cool to him.

Learn more about Don on CNN or you can follow Don on Twitter @donlemoncnn.

You can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways if you have been reading, and this time watching, thank you and stay wicked.

BlogWordExpo 2009: Chris Brogan Gets SmallBizCool!

October 27th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

For the first of many #SmallBizCool segments, geniously thought of by Jill Foster over at WomenGrowBusiness, to come from BlogWorldExpo 2009, Chris Brogan took a moment from signing copies of his book Trust Agents to do explain why it is cool to become a Trust Agent.

As his website says, Chris Brogan advises businesses, organizations, and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.

If you haven’t heard of Chris Brogan before, you can visit his website chrisbrogan.com, follow him on Twitter @chrisbrogan, or learn more about Chris’ book Trust Agents

You can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways if you have been reading, and this time watching, thank you and stay wicked.

GrowSmartBiz Conference Interview Series – Thieme Creative Media

October 19th, 2009 :: Steven Fisher

During the GrowSmartBiz conference we had the opportunity to meet some really great and innovative small businesses. One of those businesses is Thieme Creative Media. They are a small business that does web design, print and creative media. Here is an interview with the co-owners:

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You learn more about Thieme Creative Media at their web site.

Book Review: Why does Tee Morris’ book have me “All A Twitter”?

October 6th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

I constantly source out material for post ideas or unique ways marketing/social media are being brought to the masses. My main source for this is books. I will admit for a tech guy, I like my resource material a little on the old school side, but these are the things I like to read when I disconnect from the laptop.

Lately there seems to be a flood of books about using the tools of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. Some books feel like they are trying to talk to everyone, new users to the experienced, and have left me feeling like I have been missed. I often feel like there are questions that I still had at the beginning that were never answered. There are things, as a moderately experienced user, that I wished wouldn’t have been glossed over or should have been included.

“All A Twitter” by Tee Morris, in my opinion, and mind you that’s worth a lot to me, has hit the mark for all possible users of Twitter. The main reason for this, and he explains this himself in the beginning of the book, is that he, like you and I, is a user of the technology he’s writing about. Not to say other authors on this tool aren’t, but “All A Twitter” doesn’t come across as an instruction manual. “All A Twitter” feels like is a conversation with a friend who has scouted out the terrain way ahead of you and has come back to tell you all about it.

One of the impressive aspects about the entire experience of reading this book is that it did not end when I hit the last page. Tees has built into the book actions to take what you’ve learned, such an experience with hashtags, and apply what you’re learning as you read. This, to me, is something that can break down the fears that a new user would experience and get them to roll up their sleeves to start tweeting. I even find myself going back and searching out those steps I took and seeing how others experienced them.

Tee covers everything that you could imagine from a book on Twitter and, as Tee himself writes, “follows a logical progression with Twitter”. From setting up your account, which mobile phones handle Twitter best, to proper etiquette, Tee covers everything you would need to get the most out of the online tool. The book even has ways to expand the information, such as the “A Little Birdie Told Me…” which are tips on the in’s and out’s of the tool or the “Fail Whale Says…” tips which are there to help prevent you from falling into traps that could derail your enjoyment, and success, with Twitter.

Now, I haven’t written a review on marketing/social media books on GrowSmartBusiness before, but after reading Tee Morris’ book “All A Twitter” that has changed. Once month I will source out a book, new or established, and give you my thoughts on it. At the very least, these books could help expand your idea bank of marketing tips or ideas. To me, the best education in the world is one that comes from more than one teacher.

This book was good enough, for me, to follow the advice offered in the forward, written by Chris Brogan, which was to “give it to someone else”. I’m not going to go giving away multiple copies, not just yet anyway, but what I will do is send the first person who comments here a free copy of the book. And this has to be a relevant comment about either the book or this post. You can’t just put up “First” or some variation of “Give me my free book”. I mean I have standards…well, some what, but the comment has to be relevant at the very least.

To make this easier, your comment needs to be twenty words on if you have read “All A Twitter”, or why you would like to, and provide a valid email that I can contact you with to get the address to send it to. I would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below regardless of who is first.

You can also reach me on Twitter by following me @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.