Hello again; This week, I decided to share several pieces of good news for me and the website. In the last two weeks I had a guest post published on Harleena Singh’s site Aha Now I successfully transferred my site from blogger to word press, and I won third prize in the Online Business Superhero Summit Contest.
Its no secret that I love Adrienne Smith. She has taught me a lot about blogging especially the power of blog commenting and the value of building relationships. So when she has a new post I follow her suggestions. Back on July 10th she shared a post called How To Learn From A Superhero She explained that it was a two week long series of presentations from superheroes of the online marketing world. She included a link that would take us to their site and give us access to the line up of speakers, a way to watch previous broadcasts, and where to enter a contest to win some cool products or an opportunity to learn from one of the superheroes.
Why I entered
Well, upon visiting the link, I found out that you had to enter the contest in order to gain access to the webinars. So, I entered the contest not thinking anything about winning. I knew that some of my friends might also enjoy watching these broadcasts, so I shared the link on my social media networks. After that i went to listen to some of the replay shows and didn’t think any more about it. I did have some trouble getting started watching the replays, but Adrienne sent me a direct link to them, and I was off and running listening to these giants of the online marketing field. I had a full weekend where I learned some new concepts and began thinking in some new ways concerning how I market myself and my website.
On Tuesday of the second week I got a shock. I received an email from Marisa Murgatroyd, the organizer of the summit. She was notifying me that I was now in the top ten on their leader board. Since the top three at the end of the week would share a total of $15,000 worth of prizes, this meant I was in the running. It was a shock because I knew that literally hundreds if not thousands had entered. And I figured most of them would have larger or more active social media communities to help them win. I still didn’t think I would have a chance of winning. But I thought to myself being in the top ten was something to be proud of. So I wrote Adrienne to tell her. I also retweeted the link and shared it on a few more networks just in case.
I had kind of put the contest out of my mind until I got Adrienne’s reply. She said Max, you aren’t just in the top ten, you are in the top five. I asked her where to find the leader board. She said it is at the bottom of the emails they send out each day with the link to previous shows and the information about the upcoming ones. I told her that’s what I get for not reading all the way to the bottom of the emails. Now, I’m thinking I might actually win. So, I started working at it. I sent emails to friends and asked for their help. I went to my face book page and started sending direct messages to friends asking them to help out. I mentioned the contest on The Brian the hammer Jackson radio show that I am a regular on. I usually visit with them on fridays, but I called in a little early so I could get their help too. At this point I’m starting to think I might win, and I get the reminder that the winner has to be watching the Friday webinar and be logged in to their chat system to claim their prize.
Will I win
I asked the host as well as Adrienne about this chat program. It wasn’t showing up on my computer. It turned out that the button to start it wasn’t labelled where my screen reader could find it. The host sent me a link to it. It is called chat wing. ON Thursday I tried using it for the whole length of the presentation. I was so occupied that I heard very little of the program. I sent an email to Marisa explaining that I had tried to use chat wig with no success. I asked them if I could send them an email when the show started. I also sent Adrienne an email telling her that I had given up on being able to use this system. She said she would b watching because she was currently in third place and expected to be one of the winners. On thursday night I went to bed thinking it would be great to win, but if not being able to claim the prize via their method meant not winning; I wasn’t going to let it bring me down. I had decided that regardless of the outcome with claiming the prize I would post the final leader board on my site. Finishing in the top three or top five among such a large field of competitors would still be something to be proud of.
Will I be able to claim the prizes
Well, on Friday I sent them an email at the start of the show saying I was online and listening. I had not received an email back from Murisa. And she was the presenter for the final webinar. So, she couldn’t access her email during the show. I continued trying to use chat wing with no better success. I hear them call my name, and I send an email. I’m thinking its not going to do any good, but I sent it anyway. They are about to give my prize to the lady in forth place when they finally notice my friend Adrienne typing away repeatedly sending the message that max is here, but he is blind and can’t use your chat program. Murisa says that she is hearing that Max is blind and can’t use the message system to claim his prize. Sh said if this turns out to b true, then he will get his prize, but if it isn’t the case; then it will go to the lady in forth place. I forget her name, but I don’t think she was happy with this accommodation. It was quite a while afterwards before I got an email confirming that I had won. I was very happy, and I have this email saved.
To be fare to Murisa very few people know that there are blind people running online businesses or that there are many of us blogging. I am quite often referred to as the blind blogger by friends and social media contacts because I’m the only one they know. I just hope she has learned from this experience and will be more responsive to the need for accessibility in the future. As her primary product includes the design and maintenance of websites for her clients, I hope this has taught her a lesson she will apply on all those new sites.
Finding out what I won
Later on I got an email from Adrienne asking if I knew what I won. I told her since I never really expected to win I never even looked to see what the prizes were. She said she was asking because the prize information was shown on the website using a graphic image and she knows that there is no easy way for me to access something like that. So, she told me what my prizes were. Here is the list.
1. Michael Drew’s Sinister Toolbox of Market Domination
His assistant has contacted me to schedule a phone call as he does with everyone who takes his course. His assistant has also been very open to providing me course materials in a format I can work with. We don’t know yet whether that will be online links, pdf documents, or cd roms. I am just happy to hear they are willing to find alternative solutions.
2. 1 hour 1-on-1 consultation with Ryan Levesque
Obviously a conversation takes no adjustment. I, like a lot of blind people are familiar with using skype to connect with people. I’ve been told to expect to learn something that can really help my business even though I will only have one hour with him.
3. Jason Fladlien’s “Content Forever
I haven’t heard from anyone connected with Jason yet, but according to his website; the course is a large pdf file. Using a mac these aren’t my favorite. But I can access the document and hopefully learn something about creating content on a more consistent basis.
I will honestly admit that I should have been more confident. I should have said why can’t I win that contest. But the honest truth is I didn’t expect to win place or show. 🙂 I just followed the instructions and hoped for the best. But when I did think I could win, I really went after it. And I have to thank my friends and the members of my social media networks for helping me win. We really showed them. The blind blogger won out over hundreds of others because of the friends I’ve made, the relationships I’ve built, and the time spent building communities. I just wish I could get the same level of response when I’m promoting a piece of equipment. Yes, I know the answer to that. People can relate more readily to this contest than they can to helping find a new home for a carousel, ferris wheel, or roller coaster.
Moving from blogger to word press
Next, I managed to successfully transfer my site from blogger to word press. I hate to admit this but when I started this second blog, I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read my story. I figured the best thing to do was to make it as easy as possible to get started. So I began the blog on the free platform blogger. However, I was pleasantly surprised by all the interest in me and my story. So, after three weeks, I decided I needed to go all in and get a real website. The filing for a domain name and getting hosting was easy, but moving the site without losing my posts, comments, or related traffic would be difficult.
It scared me to the point that I asked my friend and web master Ashley Faulks of Mad Lemmings to do it for me. Ashly said he had just picked up a new client and couldn’t do it for me but would be around to help if I got stuck. I asked my friend and editor Lorraine Reguly of Wording Well if she could do it for me. She said that migrating a site to word press was something she didn’t think she could do. So, I did what most of us do at this point, I googled it. And found lots of instructions n how to migrate a website. I finally found what I consider to be the simplest one at Fabulous Bloggers This tutorial covers how to move your site without losing any search engine clout you have built up.
I’m not going to go through the steps with you. If migrating a site is something in your future, you can check them out at that time. I followed their instructions and got it almost 100 percent The posts and comments all transferred fine but the redirect wasn’t working. So I sent Ashly an email with the code i was supposed to add to the blogger site to redirect the old urls to the new site. Ashley said he wasn’t sure why it didn’t work. He said it could have been that I didn’t delete all the old html code before copying in the new. He said it could be that when i reset the blogger site to classic that it didn’t take. He got the redirect working, and then he told me that for someone who isn’t a professional website designer and also a blind computer user I should be very proud of myself for getting that far. Ashly tells it like it is, so I am proud of myself. A lot of people wouldn’t have even tried to do it. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend starting with blogger or any of the other free platforms unless you are absolutely sure you will never want it to be a business site. Professional sites should always be self hosted on your own website where you own your work and can protect it.
Guest posting on Aha Now
And the most exciting thing that happened to me in the last two weeks was being honored by Harleena Singh with a guest post on her website Aha Now It all started when I read the post Back to blogging after a break, check out what’s new She shared some of the things she did during her time off, and then told us about the new additions to the site. First, she added a new blog community to the site. Think of a place similar to face book but with more of a neighborhood feel to it. I think this community has a chance to be really special because it will include mostly people with similar goals. It won’t be all bloggers and podcasters, but most of the users will be. Th second thing she added is a forum section This area will probably be less personal but a good place to get answers and share problems and solutions. At the end of this post she said that whoever is the most active user each month will get the opportunity to have a guest post on her site.
Testing the new additions
Now, I never expected to be the first one to receive this honor, but sure enough I was. What happened is that as a blind computer user you never know how accessible a new site is going to be until you play around with it some. So, I created a profile, sent out some friend requests, shared a blog post to the community, and introduced myself on the forum. I replied to other posts and accepted some friend requests. I was happy to find out that everything on the new site worked perfectly with my screen reader. But I was surprised to hear from Harleena that I was the most active user for the first month. She asked if I could have the post ready by the 24th. I told her that I probably could if she could give me some ideas for a topic.
Guest post process
She sent me three suggestions with the top one being an inspirational post entitled Life Lessons from a Blind Blogger. She wanted me to share some personal experiences and the lessons I have learned from them. Th hope was that my post would give the readers some tools to help in their own lives. My first efforts weren’t quite on what Harleena wanted. She said the post was too much about the people who have helped me and not enough about me. She gave me more specific instructions.
I threw away the first post and started over. During an exchange of emails that lasted all night we managed to come up with a solid post. I knew it needed editing, but I also knew Harleena was up against a deadline. So, I told her that I would trust her judgement when it came to the editing. She sent it back to me, and I approved the final draft.
She made a few more additions before publishing it. And I want to say that it is one of the best things I have ever written. The technical aspects may not be all mine, but the words and thoughts are. I have to thank harleena for pushing me to share so much of myself with the readers. And I can tell from the comments that people needed to hear what I had to say. I also have come to understand that I need to share even more in the future. I have an ability to motivate and inspire people. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to do just that whether it is my next blog post, a youtube video, an interview, another guest post, a coaching session, or sharing my story in person.
Sharing is Caring
I know this has ben a long post. I wish that instead of asking for your help here that I could offer you some kind of a reward for reading the whole post. I imagine it would be easier on you if I had broken this up into two or three posts. I thought about doing that, but I got so involved in reading and replying to the comments from my guest post that I didn’t have a post last week. Many of you were gracious enough to share that post. I hope you will help with this one as well. I think there are some good lessons in it too. If you got anything good out of it, then please share it with your friends, family and coworkers. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. And I do have comment luv enabled now, so you will get the additional back links for leaving your thoughts.
And a couple of friends have suggested that I mention the donate button here. Any amount would be appreciated. Its not the amount but the fact that you are showing your support another way. We have fixed the donate button and tested the new link.
And I always love hearing from my readers. If you have a question or just want to get to know me, then send me a message through the contact form. Very little is off topic. This is also how you contact me about coaching or speaking to your group. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and take care out there,Max