Archives For Lifestyle

Every Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM I meet with a bunch of buddies (I know, it makes me sound like some old retired fart but I’m not!  Far from it.).   We get together to talk about life, how to be good leaders, how to be good husbands, how to be good sons, how to be good fathers and how to live according to the Bible.  (For those of you who aren’t interested in God or religion stick around because this post is for everyone regardless of what you believe.)  

Long story short, we have some really great discussions and learn things that each of us alone may not have learned had we not met.  Today I want to share a simple tip that I have found to be particularly useful that I have learned from my group.

If you want to change, do one thing daily

Sounds simple enough right?  Well, yes and no.  Getting started is easy.  How many times have we started a new exercise program only to be burned out in a few weeks and give up?  How many blogs have been started and after a few weeks have never been touched again?  The answer is lots and lots.

Why is it so hard?

The problem is we look for instant gratification and when we don’t see it we give up.  It’s natural.  We work hard and we want to reap the rewards for it. So, how do we change our thinking so that we can stay true to our goal without giving up?

How do we succeed?

We change our mindset for doing what we do.  In other words, we don’t focus on the reward but on something greater.

For example, instead of focusing on how you may feel after losing 10 lbs from an exercies program, you should focus on how others would benefit by your being more fit.  Your kids would have a better playmate, a great example of how to ‘take care’ of their body and others who are struggling to lose weight could be inspired by your accomplishments.

Let’s say you are a writer as another example.  Ultimately you want to make money from your book but that shouldn’t be the focus.  Your focus is your reader.  Instead of thinking about the reward (royalty checks) look to the person who could benefit or get enjoyment from your writings.

The ancient philosopher Confucius said:

If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.

While I don’t embrace every philosopher’s opinions this is spot on.  People who see you living and working for a higher purpose will see it and learn from you.  

Conclusion

To find success you need to be consistent.  It’s hard.  You can overcome burnout by changing your mode of thinking.

Make today a great day by doing just 1 thing toward your goal.  And when you do it keep the focus on the people that will benefit because of your hard work.  

Be Active to Succeed

As I mentioned in Planning for a Successful Application/Website, social media has changed the landscape of the Internet.  Static informational pages are still helpful but users have become spoiled with all of the bells and whistles that savvy developers continue to churn out.

While all of the bells and whistles are great, simply adding them to your website will not necessarily result in a better experience for you or your users.  Today I’m going to walk you through a new way to look at Internet applications and websites.  

What is a Passive website?

Websites up until recently were fairly straight forward.  Yes, you had static (plain non-changing content) and dynamic (pages created on the fly with data from a database) but both had one driver; the end-user.  The mode was “Passive”.

Passive websites require spending time in Google Analytics and trying to figure out how to update the website to get more people to 1. Stay on the site and 2. Navigate to where we want them to go. ie. the order form.

Tip: If you have never used Google Analytics before you need to get familiar with it right now.  It’s fantastic and free and just a dozen years ago would have cost you upwards of $10,000 from another company for a fraction of the data and functionality.

The goal of any application or website is to keep the user interacting and moving where you want them to go.  If you are Facebook you want the user to keep hitting “like” and posting their information otherwise your website is a dying one and will soon be forgotten.  If you are Amazon you want your users to consider other items when they are checking out.  This leads us to “active” websites.

What is an Active website?

Once again I’ll mention Google.  They were really first to introduce “Active” websites.  We can learn a lot from Google.

Google makes billions of dollars a year because of a few things.  One, they perfected the search engine.  It is fast and very accurate.  Two, they built a self serve advertising platform.  By placing these text ads beside the search results Google has built a huge business.  (Facebook is still looking to monetize their website.)

By laying the foundation for advertisements based around their search engine, Google took this one step further by allowing users to take a cut of their profits by placing ads on the user’s websites.  As a result, Ad Sense allowed Google to place advertisements on millions of websites with ZERO work or maintenance on their part.  Brilliant but this is not the “Active” website that I am getting at.

Google is a perfect example of an active website because they tailor the web ads to your preferences.  Once the user agrees (and pretty much 99% do) Google tracks your searches.  Knowing what you searched for in the past allows Google to continually place relevant ads on all of those millions of websites I mentioned earlier.  Google doesn’t just look at previous data; they use it in real-time.

Google is a perfect example of an Active website.  An Active website allows the user to drive but essentially it’s the website that is suggesting and pulling the user in the direction it wants.

Another great example of an active website is Facebook.  They have continually improved the site to generate interaction.  You can like, share, comment, invite and message just to name a few.  Notice these are all “action” verbs.

How to make your website Active; not Passive

So where do you go from here?  The first thing you need to ask yourself is “Where am I taking this user?”.  You need to know where you want the user to end up before you can chart the course to get there.

Here are some examples:

If you are an eCommerce site then your final destination is the order form but that should not be the end-all destination by any means.  Think about how you get the user to add similar or other products to their cart before checkout… think Amazon.

If you are a blogger and have no products then you want the user to stay on your website.  So, your final destination is another blog post.

If you are a social network your final destination is no place in particular.  You want users to keep going in circles basically.  As long as they feel like they are accomplishing something you will have a lot of user interaction.

Conclusion

Informational websites are great and needed but the majority of websites need to be “active” in today’s world.  Think about how you can add interactivity to your website so that the user stays stimulated and interested.  Now is the perfect time to add some “smarts” to your website.

What idea do you have for keeping the user interested and interacting?

  1. Update your website

    A fresh new look may be all you need to be inspired again.

     

  2. Commit to posting at least one blog post per month

    At least once a month.  Once a week is better.  Three times a week is best.

     

  3. Help someone in need

    You don’t have to go far to find someone in need.  You may find by helping someone else that you benefit most.

Over the last several years many things have had an impact on my life.  Four things that I have been blessed with are my kids.  They bring me a great deal of joy and I love them dearly.  They give me 4 reasons every day to work hard and give 100% in all that I do.  

Part of my duties as a parent is to pass on any lessons I’ve learned along the way to them.  If you are like me, you have struggled financially in your life.  There have been ups and downs.  Because of this and since money is such an integral part of life I set out on a mission to develop a system that not only I could use but that I could pass on to my children.  

After years of using this system myself I decided it was time to put it in writing.  The result is my new book, How To Get Out Of Debt - A Biblical Approach To Living Debt-Free.  It focuses not only on finances but specifically on managing your money from a Biblical perspective.

About the Book

How To Get Out Of Debt - A Biblical Approach To Living Debt-Free is a faith based approach to getting out of debt and staying out of debt. It is not about having “blind” faith but rather using a simplified system for making sound financial choices based on God’s word. The system is easy to understand and is designed to help you master money management.  You don’t need to be an expert or have a lot of money to get started.

This is just the beginning.

My hope for you in this coming new year is that you take the first step in doing something big.  Take a step to paying down debt, updating your website, renewing an old friendship, starting an exercise program, writing that book you’ve always wanted to write, making a commitment to invest in your spiritual life, etc.

Don’t worry about the finish.  Just take the first step.

For more information on my new book please visit Amazon.com here:

Kindle Edition: How To Get Out Of Debt - A Biblical Approach To Living Debt-Free 

Hard copy will be available in January 2012.

For years I lived my life like most people; penny wise and pound foolish.  I would pinch pennies at every opportunity.  Successfully, I would save just a few dollars after spending countless hours researching my purchases. You can save yourself money (pounds not pennies!) now by not making these same mistakes.

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