The Blog of Katie Dawn-Byrd

Making Good Websites Great.

6 Ways to Get Over Writers Block

Do not be discouraged when there is a point when it seems you can’t write because no idea seems to flow.  This is a natural occurrence of a writer. Even the greatest writers in history experience writer’s block.  I do experience this at times and I understand how frustrating it can be.  But the more you force your mind into writing; you just can’t get over that block.  It’s time to stop. Drop everything.  Turn off your computer.

I find these strategies very powerful.  I have a personal experience on how effective these are.

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Do something creative other than writing of course.  You can engage into painting for a day or write poems.  Get your camera and go to a park.  Take pictures of the scenery.  Capture people’s faces.  You will find this refreshing and inspiring.  If you are into crafts, do something nice.  Go shopping for decorative items for your house would also help.  The most important thing is to get that creative imagination to spark and you can only do that by exercising your creativity in different forms.

Do some exercises.  You need to move your body.  Go to a dance studio if you must or just turn on a YouTube dance channel and dance with it.  I do that all the time.  Walking or running will also be helpful.  I like it when I run.  It empties my mind and it allows me to refocus.  When your mind becomes open again, ideas will flow.

Write early.  I love it when I write early in the morning.  I can write really fast.  This is because my mind has rested.  I write best between 4:00 to 6:00 am.  I also love the peace and quiet during these hours.

Eradicate distractions from your sight.  It’s good to do some cleaning.  Arrange the clutter and throw what needs to be thrown away.  Distractions can impede our thought processes.  Go to a place in your house to just be alone.  Silence is very powerful.

headphones-480203_1280Listen to music.  Soothing music relaxes the mind.  Put on music all the way to your sleep.  You will wake up with a rejuvenated mind.  Music takes away the worries and allows you to focus.

Do some freewriting.  Write anything what comes to mind.  It trains your brain to think fast.  Just let the words flow.  Do not be conscious with spelling, grammar and punctuations.  Let the words keep coming. Do this for 15 minutes every day until the best idea comes out.

Write before going to sleep.  Maybe write for 15 minutes or more and bring the story to sleep.  You will be amazed in the morning that you have imagined how the story would end.  When you are in that state, get on to your computer and let your fingers get that typing rhythm.

Writer’s block is not something lethal. It happens once in a while.  Manage yourself whenever you feel you are stuck and not a word or idea comes out.

Learn also from Stefanie Newell, author of How to Market Your New Book and The Buzz.

How The Cloud Can Make Your Life Easier

If you’ve used dropbox,, or openoffice, you’ll know that the cloud makes your life easier in many ways. If you don’t know what I’m talking about – then listen up!

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Since its inception, Cloud computing has changed the world. It is a world of limitless opportunities and possibilities. It has become vital nowadays to use the world of cloud based solutions like Online Billing or Cloud Based Billing for managing your billing, collections, subscriptions and payments.

Even today traditional paper invoices or bills are still very common. This process other than being outdated also takes up a lot of time causing delay in revenue earnings and also ends up dissatisfying customers. Furthermore, it becomes very difficult to keep track of every bill and it becomes difficult for businesses to concentrate on achieving their actual goals. Generally it takes about 10 days for the entire process from billing till the time the payment is received. This however can be easily simplified through cloud based billing where you can save a lot of time and resources and generate an even flow of revenue on time.

These applications provide much faster implementation and take much less time to generate results. For any business, especially ones that run on subscriptions, bills or donations, a regular flow of income is essential for operating smoothly. It saves a lot of manpower and time as online billing services takes care of everything instantly. It makes life much easier even for customers or subscribers who do not have to worry about the lengthy process and saves them time and increases satisfaction. Everyone nowadays has a Digital Wallet through which they can make payments online with ease through payment gateways.

There are generally thousands of members in a club which provides loads of services and activities which are handled by various departments. Nowadays a lot of Fees Collection for Clubs is done through cloud computing which saves a lot of time for both the business and its members. The services continuously updates and computes dues or bills from various departments like the restaurant, Bar , sports etc. and sends them to the respective members as the system tracks every member and their accounts. The members can easily pay their dues at their own convenience.

Even the smallest and most obscure apps are taking advantage of the cloud. Cloud is the default option for most apps and it’s now much less common to find an app that requires you to download or install anything onto your computer to use, for example even the most obscure apps I use, like the canadian accounting software accountek, use the cloud – this makes consumers lives easier and more streamlined.

Billing for Schools is another area where these services have a lot of advantages. Every year schooling costs increase and it becomes hectic for the school staff to calculate and strike a balance so that it is not a burden on the students’ parents. It ensures that school receives payments on time by automatically sending notices to parents through email. Students and parents can save a lot of time by making their payments online without any hassle.

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3 Business Models for Your Product or Service Business

Today I want to discuss customer acquisition strategies for a subscription style product. We’ve spoken about why making your offers risk free is so important in today’s sales environment – in order to reduce any anxiety and objections your prospects might have about buying your product and to reduce the downside they face.

Users won’t just sign up to a 6-month subscription to your service without trying it first, and with that in mind, there are three models that service or product based businesses usually use as part of their strategy. Here they are…


1. Free Trial

The free trial model lets users try out your product for a set period for free, so they can verify the value of the product before committing to purchasing. The free trial is almost the default option for software products at this point, but may not be appropriate for other services like premium forums or courses where users because in that case unscrupulous users can download or pirate the information without paying.

Most free trials also require users to enter their payment details up front so that payments can begin once the trial period is over. Although in some cases this will put users off the trial, it will also undoubtedly lead to higher signups as users let their risk free trials roll over into the paid version. Some sellers will even prey on the forgetfulness of their user base and hope that their customers forget to cancel their free trial, but this isn’t a tactic I can recommend because it leads to unhappy and uncommitted customers who don’t love your product, and a headache for you as you have to process many cancellations and refunds.


Also, guys, think outside the box with the free trial model. I know freelancers who will offer parts of their service for free in order to win clients too. Examples of this would be marketing specialists bringing you a set number of leads for free, or a graphic designer offering a free proposal or design idea to get a flavor of his or her work. The strategies I’m discussing here aren’t just for software businesses.

2. Freemium Model

The freemium model is one whereby the basic version of your product is free (the so-called ‘lite’ version), but paid versions offer more features. This is usually a tiered system where users pay more to unlock tiers with more functionality – think of Linkedin for example, where users who wish to send more messages or view more profiles can pay more to do so, but the basic version of Linkedin is still free for everyone.


Another way to structure the tiers is by volume, with users unlocking more credits or units per month, but the basic version allowing a small number of credits every month. Email software providers like Mailchimp (the most popular global email software) prices itself like this, with the free plan offering 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers, with paid plans offering higher volumes.

Depending on your product, you may also be able to monetise the free version of your product with advertising, meaning that you’re making money across the board.

3. Demo

This third category isn’t as common but is still going to be useful for certain products. There are certain sales where the free trial or freemium model just aren’t appropriate, so some sort of demonstration is going to be the best way for you to let your prospects get a feel for your product without purchasing. The classic example of this would be any software product that requires a lot of effort to install or set up, in which case a free trial may not be practical, but you could also include more general demonstrations in this section, like ‘explainer’ videos, which show how your product works, or ‘digest’ style emails where users get a to glimpse a small section of the premium content.

In this case, the line between these trial models and traditional sales methods becomes blurred, but the important takeaway is to think about how you can let users see the premium version of your product providing value without necessarily using it themselves. The added benefit is that sometimes you’ll be able to sell them on the premium version during the live demonstration itself.

Tying it all together

I’ve discussed three ways you can incentivise your prospects by offering ways to try out your product risk-free. If you own any subscription style service offering, I hope your mind is whirling away with ideas about how you can implement these ideas into your business model, but these strategies work for other products too.

You may even be able to combine two or more of these ideas together. LinkedIn offers tiered plans as well as free trials on premium plans, and, a niche vendor statement reconciliation tool for accounting teams, offer a free trial, a live demo via webex as well as a free basic version of their product, meaning they really have their bases covered when it comes to customer acquisition. The key here is to address the objections the prospect might have and make the offer as risk-free and as simple for them as possible.

Have fun guys and let me know how you get on in the comments!


How to Develop an Online Marketing Strategy

Success in internet marketing can only be achieved when there is a well planned online marketing strategy that is aimed to supporting the organizational goals.

Before any strategy can be crafted, there is a need for you to understand what your company is.  If you can afford to hire a specialist to help you, what they can do is extremely helpful.  They could recommend improvement to areas they see important and then suggest course of actions so that web presence is maximized.


Depending on your need, maybe you’d like to develop a marketing strategy that aims to support your present marketing or you intend to come up with an entirely fresh marketing strategy, these can be done.  You have to realize that when you plan and manage marketing programs, these can most of the time involve loads of tasks that may overload your current staff, hence the idea of hiring specialists.


Nothing beats a well planned marketing strategy.  When you hire experts to help you, the first thing to do is sit down and brainstorm what direction you wish your company to go and of course your goals.  Experts aren’t called experts for nothing so they do understand the hurdles B2B companies experience and how they get their products and services to their targeted audience.  They can assist and guarantee success of the marketing strategy.

Defining your market

You must have a clear idea who do you want to draw to your website and what they will be doing once they are in there.  Identifying your market is very essential and if you do not know your market, you’ll be selling in limbo.  Do not expect you will reach your potential sales and earnings.


Your online marketing strategy needs to be well integrated so that you will be successful in achieving your goals.  Website development and your other marketing media are essential for your success.  This is because these are the ways you can get your brand across various identified markets.  Your ability to do these will determine how well you are in creating brand awareness and establishing your desired credibility.

Your website will serve as your company’s hub; this is true to all online marketing strategies.  All your marketing efforts should direct your target audience to the website.  That is also why you have to make sure that your website appears to be professional, has extremely good content and has to be user friendly.  These are the essentials of an online marketing strategy.

Taking advantage of the power of Social Media, SEO, Content and Email Marketing will enable you to communicate your brand throughout the web.  As a result, you remain connected with your prospects and clients.  Each of these strategies can help you in the different phases in the buying cycle as these can influence buyers in various ways.


The aim of the online marketing strategy is to drive traffic to your website and not just traffic, YOUR TARGETTED traffic.  Hence, when you are on top on result searches, you are easily seen.  Using these strategies allow you to get in touch with your targeted audience by communicating to the uses of your products and services and eventually leading to booking a sale!

Website Update – Welcome to the New Website!


Regular updates on your website are vital to your business credibility and your site’s performance as well. Let us examine top 5 reasons why website updates are important.

  1. Right impression. Your website is your 24/7 shop.  Every now and then referrals may visit your site.  Sure you want to convert that referral into a sale.  Giving a great impression is vital.  Updates will tell site visitors that your business is active and running.  You have to tell them what your business now and not what your business was last 5 months ago. Let’s say you go to a website and you find that the last update was a year ago?  What comes to mind?


  1. Well organized business. It goes to show that you are on top of things.  In a small business, it is most likely you get to do everything and updating your website is the last thing that you want to do with so many things to accomplish.  Again, we go back to the purpose of why you started your website.  Of course you want to increase your market reach and now that you have that power, you have to put it into use.
  2. Get search engines to like you. It may take a while to get to top ranking in a Google search but you see, updates attract search engines.  These search engines sorts out from among the billions of contents and get them to end users.  Getting that useful content is helpful.
  3. Communication. Your website is your convenient channel to reach out and communicate to your customers and vice versa.  A good customer relation will bring you lots of benefits.  You will not only build a better relationship with them but they can help you grow your business more by referring your business to friends because that is how satisfied they have become.
  4. New offering. When you update your website with what is new, your customers will come back regularly because they know there might be new products they might need and buy.

Let me further share to you these:

  • Be sure to show your public your latest activity. Get it noticeable on your webpage.  Send email updates to them.  Remember that old news is just inexcusable.
  • Be conscious of the use of time and dates. This gives the impression of urgency.
  • Be on the lookout on when to update your licensing statement found at the bottom portion of your webpage. This can be done automatically with the help of codes.

The moment you decide to setup a website for your business, you must realize right there and then that you have to take time for updates.  In fact you must have spent a considerable time to craft a good plan on how to run it.

Never underestimate the benefits your business website can do for you.  On the other hand, never underestimate the harm it can do to you when you do not get updates going regularly.

How to Blog About Your Passion

Blogging has for some become a hobby.  For some it remained a hobby for so many years.  For others, it was a hobby and became an income generating hobby.  The cyberspace has offered to us endless possibilities.  It is very hard to imagine without it.

Let us say you want to blog.  The next thing is you should ask yourself what is it that you want to blog about.  You can see blogs tackling topics on parenting, travel, business, crafts, DIY and fashion to name a few.  List general topics you are very interested in; topics you are very knowledgeable about or things that you love doing the most.  In other words, what is your passion all about?

Why does it have to be your passion?  It should have to be a topic you’re passionate about because your readers will know on the tone on how you write your blog if you are sincere about what you are sharing to them.


So, here is how you blog:

  1. It’s time to get a little personal.  When you are able to share more of yourself, your readers will love you because it goes to show you are real not just some fiction character you created in your imagination.  When you do this, you will gain a lot of followers in no time.  Introduce yourself.  Make use of “about” page to do this.  People are generally easily emotionally attached.  You are encouraging them to know you.                 You can choose to start a fashion blog and provide what’s current and what’s hot and still impart your own personal views perhaps by making your own thoughts known.


  1. It’s important to take time designing your blog site. Color scheme and layout are essential in attracting people to read your blog.  If your blog is so cluttered, it can discourage visitors to read on.  Keep in mind that your blog should be easy on the eye.
  2. It’s just right to set regular updates. One of the ways to win back visitors to come back to your blog is to let them know that they can expect something new.  You could be creative like set Tuesdays as “Tuesday’s Adventure” or whatever you can think of along that line.Later on you will also learn that regular updates have something to do with SEO.
  1. It’s all about catchy titles too.  Use the power of words to draw attention to your post.  Get that right words in the right places.  Entice readers.  Get them interested.  Get them to be curious enough to click on that link to your blog.
  2. It’s confidence or nothing. When you write, show that you are confident on what you are writing about.  Believe in yourself and never allow any doubt to interfere your thoughts.  People are perceptive and even the way you present yourself in the way you write can say a lot.
  3. It’s not image but images. People are generally visual so you have to make use of great and appropriate images.
  4. It’s interaction that creates community. Build your readers to be your community.  Interact with them.  Respond to comments on a timely manner.  Encourage conversations.

There you go.  Those tips should help you get started.