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Your Digital Ally
Results-Oriented Digital Training For Individuals and SMEs
Results-Oriented Digital Training For Individuals and SMEs


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Your Privacy Policy: Make it Free and Easy

If you’re building a website you must have a Privacy Policy. This post explains why you need one and the free and easy way to make one!

Creating a Privacy Policy is one of those things that is so easy to ignore.

It’s hidden away, most people don’t really care about it, and whose going to check up on you anyway when you’re just starting off. And more importantly, you don’t have any idea of how to create one, other than paying a lawyer (no thanks!) or copy-pasting someone else’s (hmmm… doesn’t seem like a good idea).

So the default action is – “let’s leave that till later”. I know that’s true, because that’s what I’ve done in the past (shock!) but I did it properly for this site.

And since you are now reading this article, the excuse of not knowing how to do it is about to disappear. Looks like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and NOT put it off.

But first…

Why is a Privacy Policy nearly always essential?

The first reason is simply that you’re required to have one by law if you collect data.

For example, you need one if you collect, store or share personal data such as email and name information. Your Privacy Policy must explain what you do with that information.

There may be a few countries or states where this isn’t a legal requirement, but you may as well as assume that it is a requirement, wherever you reside.

But what if you’re not collecting personal data?

Then ask yourself this:

Do you currently, or might you in future, make use of services offered by third parties such – as Google Adsense? If so their terms and conditions will almost certainly require you to have a Privacy Policy. In the case of Google Adsense – it’s a must!

What are the EXACT conditions when a Privacy Policy IS essential?

I have no idea!

Maybe there are a few special cases where you can ignore it, but I haven’t bothered to figure out the exact conditions under which you must have a Privacy Policy because that would take more work than actually implementing one.

And in any case, there are many marketing benefits to having one – such as increasing the trust of your visitors and giving them additional peace of mind.

So my advice would be to regard a Privacy Policy as a must have for any website.

How to create a Privacy Policy – freely and easily!

To create the Privacy Policy for I used this website:

You can see the result here.

You’ll need to create a free account on the Free Privacy Policy website, and then go through a series of questions under the following headings:

Getting Started
Information Collection
When Information is Collected
Information Usage
Information Protection
Third-Party Disclosure
Third-party Links
Fair Information Practices
Contact Information
Additional Clause

And when you hit the Create button you get an HTML file of your tailored Privacy Policy. If ever you want to make an adjustment, you go back to your account on that website, change the answers to any questions and create a new HTML file.

Depending on the level of your technical expertise, you can either upload that file to your website and link to it, or you can copy the HTML into an appropriate page on your site.

But either way, you don’t need any knowledge of HTML to either create or amend your Privacy Policy.

I wouldn’t say it’s a trivial exercise because there are quite a loft questions to answer and in many cases you do need to think about the questions, but half an hour should be ample time.

What about Terms of Service?

That’s the question I asked after creating my Privacy Policy.

And the answer was – go to the same website and create a tailored Terms of Service document in a very similar way.

In this case, there was a $7 charge – which I felt was reasonable. I effectively paid $3.50 for each document.

Given the time and uncertainty that would be involved in taking any other route, this seemed like a great deal.


I hope that’s been helpful.

Let me know what you think in the comments – especially if you use their services.

And don’t forget to sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a post, AND you’ll get a valuable gift from me.

The post Your Privacy Policy: Make it Free and Easy appeared first on Your Digital Ally.
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7 Benefits Of Blogging Whilst Building Your Business

There are many benefits of blogging - even if you don't yet have a business up and running. This approach is often recommended by online marketing mentors - including Dean Holland who makes it the foundation of his Quick Start Challenge program (QSC). (I mentioned the QSC in this post.)

I also very strongly recommend this approach because there are actually more benefits of blogging right from the start than Dean mentions.

His approach is that you should create your blog and document your journey, including your past struggles, your failures and your successes. No matter what type of business you plan to set up, provided it include online marketing, I think this makes sense.

But why?

It may seem like a very odd thing to do if you analyse it in one way. After all, who would want to bother following a blog that's little more than the story of someone struggling, and often failing, to get anywhere - and who has nothing specific to offer? It goes against the grain of what everyone advises: mix with and learn from successful people.

But the reasons for going through this process are a lot more subtle than just getting some folk to register on your list - which is the goal Dean has in mind - and you may feel is unlikely to happen much anyway.

These are the seven benefits of blogging that I have identified:

1. Basic Training

If you're very new to online marketing, it gets you familiar with the basics (domain registration, hosting, WordPress etc.).

If I were running a similar program, I would include setting up basic social media accounts and linking them your blog - as I describe in How to Auto-Tweet New Blog Posts.

2. Online Presence

You're starting to build an online presence at the earliest opportunity: no matter what business model you finally decide on, establishing an online presence is absolutely essential. The idea that you can build a successful online business whilst remaining anonymous and not interacting with people (albeit virtually) is a myth. It's a useful myth to propagate of you're selling a money-making system and don't want to exclude introverts from your target market. But it's still a myth. People buy from people - or from the recommendations of people.

3. Publishing habit

The goal is not just to create a blog: it is to publish to it regularly. This strategy gets you into the habit of regularly posting content - an absolutely essential habit for an online marketer.

4. Learning to be imperfect

It's important to have a fixed deadline for setting up your blog. The reason is, you need to learn the art of getting something done rather than getting something perfect. Perfection is the enemy of success - and this is another essential skill/mindset to be learned.

5. Self-reflection and learning

In the early days, at least, what you'll be publishing on your blog will be your actions, your successes and your failures. This will require you to self-reflect on your actions and their outcomes. In its most general form, this is a hugely important skill in personal development (this is the premise behind a subject area called Action Inquiry). This is an invaluable life skill.

6. Documenting your self-reflection

Of course, the point is to actually document that self-reflection. But this isn't a personal Journal (Journaling is another personal development technique): it's a document for public consumption as well. So, I would limit the amount of emotional content and personal circumstances referenced: some is good to make you real, but this is mainly about your business journey, not your personal transformation journey - although some of that is likely to happen and hopefully, that will come through naturally.

7. Developing your Voice

The more your write, the more you'll develop a particular style and approach and focus - and then you'll begin to stand out. Unless you've done a lot of writing before, that won't happen overnight: so the sooner you start, the better.

So those are the seven benefits of blogging that I have identified. But that leaves open the question of what to write about. So...

Ideas of what to write about

I would recommend writing things such as

What set you on this journey

What tools you use, and why

What problems you find and how you overcome them.

What training and learning you go through

How you are trying (with your successes and failures) to manage your business-development time alongside your life commitments; how you are trying to avoid distraction etc.

What your longer term aims are - and how they change and evolve as you gain experience and understand what's involved.

A weekly/monthy/6 monthly review: what you had hoped to achieve, what you actually achieved, and the reasons.

There is a possibility that your posts will be a catalogue of missed deadlines, distractions, periods of inactivity etc. etc. But that isn't important - provided you keep getting back up and carrying on!.

The vast majority o…
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How to Auto-Tweet New Blog Posts

To maximise the impact of a new blog post, you should announce it on your social media sites. Here's a video showing how to do it automatically in the fastest and simplest way using the free service IFTTT.

This just shows how to set up auto-posting to Twitter, but the process for most other social media account is the same. (Google plus requires an extra setp - but I'll cover that in another post.)

Whenever I make a post on this blog, I automatically make a post that links to it on each of the related social networking sites. For example, my earlier post about my Twitter account:

... was automatically sent to these social media acounts:

My Twitter Account

My Facebook Page

My Google Plus account

My personal LinkedIn status feed (I don't have a specific LinkedIn Page for Your Digital Ally yet.)

Setting  up something similar should not take you more than about an hour using  IFTTT if you already have your social media accounts set up. And it will definitely be one of the most effective hours you spend in terms of the return on activity for the time spent

This is the first and simplest form of automation you could (and should!) set up in your business. But it is nevertheless very effective. Provided you find the time to make blog posts every so often, you can avoid the embarrassing and unprofessional state of having social media accounts set up which are forlornly devoid of content, and where there's not even any tumbleweed to distract the visitor!

It's better to NOT to have a social media account than to have one sitting there empty.

I hope that helps.

And if there's no follow-up blog post quite soon to explain how use IFTTT with Google Plus - feel free to get in touch and remind me! With that added, this little piece of automation training will be complete.


The post How to Auto-Tweet New Blog Posts appeared first on Your Digital Ally.
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My Twitter Account: Automated, Engaging and Good Looking!

Am I behind the curve by focusing on Twitter?

It seems to me that Twitter has gone somewhat out of fashion with online marketers recently. The focus has been more on Facebook (as always) along with Pinterest and Instagram and, in some cases, LinkedIn. Oh yes - and YouTube for fast ranking of content.

But the way I see it, once you have your blog set up, the next step should be to create and set up a Twitter account. It's the simplest to set up and run, and it's essential if you want to be regarded as an influencer or an authority and to have a serious online presence.

And, it's easy to link your Twitter account to your blog.

That's why, although I have set up Your Digital Ally on Facebook, YouTube and GooglePlus as well, it's Twitter where I've been putting my setup effort.

If you've not already taken a look at my twitter account, go take a look now (and why not follow me - and let me know in the comments below?)

Not too bad, is it? I think it looks quite nice.

By the way, the image is a 100% copyright-free picture I found on and I've used the same one on all my social media accounts. I also find most of my blog post images on Pixabay. Add it to your favourites!

I've been developing the Twitter account on three fronts:

Twitter Account Growth - SocialQuant

I'm growing my followers on 95% autopilot using an excellent service called SocialQuant. It's 95% rather than 100% autopilot because I go and check (and adjust) the keywords that SocialQuant uses to select which accounts to follow - in the hope of a follow-back.

I chose this service because:

It does the Following for me.

Other services just tell you who to Follow, and you have to do the clicks yourself. This is because of Twitter's API limitations, I believe. But SocialQuant doesn't use the API, so can act fully on your behalf.

It is very selective in who it chooses to follow.

The appearance of a keyword in a tweet is just the trigger to consider the suitability of the account as someone to follow. SQ applies quite rigorous criteria before deciding whether or not follow anyone: and I don't have fiddle around deciding for myself what those criteria should be.

I get reports on the success rate of each keyword

I then use those report to delete poor performing keywords and test out new ones.

Excellent free training

When you sign up for the free 14-day trial, you're given an excellent 14-day course with detailed advice on how best to set up a Twitter account for maximum effectiveness.

In a future post I'll explain in detail how I use SocialQuant, and in particular how I find, monitor and track the keywords it uses via a Google Sheet that I created. I'll also tell you the one thing I wish I'd done differently before turning on the service!

Autoposting Collections of Tweets - SocialOomph & Social Motiv8

I'm using SocialOomph - one of the very earliest Twitter (and more) automation tools - to auto-post pre-defined collections of tweets.

I'm using it because it provides the most flexible and powerful facilities - even though its user interface is quite uninspiring!

These are the collections of tweets that I'm auto-posting. Note that in each case, I cycle through each collection repeatedly.

Motivational Quote Images

I'm using the Social Motivat8 collection of 150 images which I created for myself and now sell as a product.The reason I'm using these is purely to get as much engagement within my account as I can without me having to go in and engage personally! But see below for more about this. It definitely works.

A collection of humorous one-liners with images.

Exactly the same idea. I've not created as many of these, and not turned them into a product (yet). One day I'll test to see which get the most engagement.

Tweets about past blog posts.

This is the "business" activity, of course.

Whenever I write a new blog post, I create three different tweets about it and feed them into SocialOomph. To be able track clicks on each individual tweet, I use a unique link for each one.

As I write more blog posts, the proportion of tweets that relate to blog posts will increase. At the moment my tweeting is heavily motivational-quote oriented!

Again, in future blog posts I'll explain exactly how I set things up in SocialOomph, including

How I add my own watermark to all the 150 Social Motiv8 images in one operation using free software

How I set up the queues of tweets in SocialOomph

The system (Google Sheet) I created to automatically calculate the posting frequencies for each of the queues

The process I go through to construct the three tweets and unique URLs for each blog post and add them into the correct place in the queue of other blog post tweets within SocialOomph. Again, I use a Google Sheet to streamline, semi-automate and simplify this process.

Automatically Posting a Tweet (and more) when each blog post is published

As well as a…
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My Mentoring Resurrected

After several years of not doing any mentoring, I find myself starting TWO mentoring programs in one week.

One of them takes the form of a monthly local Meetup here in Oxford. This is an offshoot of the Oxford Internet Professionals Meetup which I took over some years ago. The normal format for these is an evening meeting in a central pub where we informally chat about anything related to the internet - usually with a marketing bias.

A while back, there were a few of us diehards still chatting after most of the others had left, when the idea of a separate mentoring-focused meeting came up. This eventually came into being last week (Tuesday) with small group of people meeting in a coffee-shop/bar in central Oxford for 2-3 hours. They had very diverse backgrounds, business skills and technical skills, all with very different needs from a mentor. However, they were all united in understanding that a common need they all had was for accountability!

I can see this continuing on a regular basis and quite possibly expanding to several such meetings per month.

(If you happen to live in or around Oxford, do come and join us! See

The second mentoring program kicked off on Thursday of last week. This is a 6-week program, over Skype + Hangouts, which I'm providing as a bonus to people who purchased the Quick Start Challenge program through my affiliate link. The QSC is a defined program of work for people who don't already have an online business to get them to the point of earning $100 per day - supposedly in 30-days.

Unlike the local mentoring, everyone in this group will have exactly the same tasks to perform each week - so my mentoring here is - in theory at least - almost 100% accountability, with detailed oversight of weekly plans and goals.

I have to say that I'm enjoying these mentoring activities, and they are influencing my plans on what topics to cover in my Your Digital Ally training.


Are you involved in a mentoring program? Are you finding it useful/value for money?

Let me know what you think about mentoring in the digital marketing/internet marketing world.


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How To Check If Your New Brand Name Exists

You're starting a new business or brand. You want to ensure the name is not already in use. What do you do?

Back in the days of PI (pre-Internet), you'd check registered company names, trademarks etc.

But in these days of PI (pervasive-Internet), you start by checking for existing domain names. But it shouldn't end there.

This is what I (used to) do:

Go to and check domain names (but I always register domains on

Go to Twitter and check that the relevant Twitter handle exists

Go to Facebook and check whether there's a Facebook Page with that name

... and also check for a Google+ Page

... and also check for a YouTube Channel

...and also check on Pinterest

...and also check on Instagram

I've been through that process perhaps 7-8 times in recent years (for myself or clients) and it's a hassle. Usually, I have five or six ideas for a brand, and have to do all that checking for each potential brand name.

And even then, it's an incomplete check: there are hundreds of other sites where you can create branded accounts, but who's going to bother checking them all?

Well - in future, I would!

Looking back, it was pretty stupid of me to go through that process so many times and not stop to ask myself "Is there a site/service that would make this easier?"

I know perfectly well that, whenever I have a problem or there's something I want to achieve online that isn't weirdly abstruse, there is always a product or a service tailor-made to my needs.

That's where we are at on the interweb these days.

So I kicked myself when I found Knowem

You can search the 25 most popular social sites and key domains all in one go.

And if that's not enough, you can also search 500+ more sites.

It's brilliant - and best of all, it's FREE!

And if you're keen to grab your brand everywhere that counts, they offer a service to create the accounts for you - a great time-saver!

I don't have any plans to start a new brand at the moment, but I'm almost tempted to start one just to use Knowem in earnest!

If you're starting a new brand and find a name and test it using Knowem - let us know in the comments section - but perhaps it would be wise to do that AFTER you create your social accounts!

BTW - are you registered to receive my newsletter and get updates of new posts? If not, use the optin box on the right, or on the not-at-all annoying popup (which you've probably already seen) or as a last resort, click this link for a dedicated optin page! You'll get a colourful and motivational and useful gift!

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Money Site vs Traffic Site: Which are you building?

What do you understand by Money Site vs Traffic Site? I believe this is a very useful concept, and I explain how I'm using, and plan to use, the idea with Your Digital Ally.

For the most part, the only people who make a distinction between money site vs traffic site are the communities discussing some advanced (and usually blackhat) SEO techniques.

However, I think it's very useful for anyone to keep that distinction in mind - and I'll explain why.

First of all, what's the difference?

Money site

Simply put, a money site is the site which includes the "buy" buttons - whatever else may be on the site. Usually it includes some sort of sales copy, and any supporting information and descriptions and perhaps testimonials about the products and services. That's where the financial transaction takes place. The job of the money site is to convert visitors to buyers.

For me, that is this site

At the moment, the only product on sale is the SocialMotiv8 Motivational Quote Images and that is pretty much the only sales page on the site for now. Because that isn't a core product (it's part of my optin funnel), there is no link to the sales page from the site's navigation.

When I start publishing courses, there will, of course, be very prominent links to the relevant sales pages from the site navigation and the home page.

Traffic site

This is a site whose main function is to generate traffic through SEO and/or social media, presell (in some way) the products on sale on the money site - and then filter that traffic to the money site. Usually this mean publishing relevant content to the traffic site on a regular basis.

If that content is keyword-optimised, that helps generate traffic through SEO.

If that content (or links to it) also appears on social networks, then that should drive additional traffic to the site in two ways:

By the backlinks on the social networks giving the traffic site extra authority in Google's estimation, and

By people directly clicking on those links and visiting the site

The final way that the traffic site generates traffic is from mailing list subscribers.

If you have a mailing list (and you should be creating one), you can mail your list whenever there is a new post and get traffic from there as well. Although those won't be NEW visitors, any visitor helps to persuade Google that your site deserves a higher ranking. And, of course, the more visitors you get - old or new - the more likely you are to make a sale (duh!) ...

... not to mention the importance of providing your subscribers with valuable information!

My traffic site

I have decided to make my traffic site as well as my money site, so they are completely integrated as far as the domain is concerned.

My other options would have been, for example: (a completely different domain), or semi-integrated as (on a sub-domain)

I can't give you a list of pro's and con's for each choice - other than the obvious one of the hosting and maintenance issues of having a separate domain or sub-domain.

I chose the simplest option since I could see no reason to do anything else!

Given what I've said above, a traffic site is likely to contain an optin form to capture the email addresses of visitors to help build a list.

Note that, depending on the nature of your business, you may also, or instead, have the optin form on your money site where you offer a free trial of your service, or a free, reduced functionality version of your product.

As regards social media, you should integrate the posting of content on your traffic site with your social media accounts.

I'll explain how I've integrated my traffic site with my social media accounts and my email list in another post. This type of automation can save a LOT of time.

Why it's useful to distinguish between Money Site vs Traffic Site

If you have your own products, it may seem pointless to even think about the difference between the two types of site - but consider this.

You will always have just ONE money site.

But you are NOT restricted to just ONE traffic site.

Some of the advanced blackhat SEO techniques involve having tens or hundreds or even thousands of traffic sites, all focusing on ONE money site- with complex relationships between those traffic sites involving perhaps multiple rings and layers.

But even if you choose to live in a simpler, greyer world - as I do - you could easily have at least one other traffic site. Here's how...

It's relatively easy to create a "news aggregator" site that gets its content (perfectly legitimately) from other relevant sites in your niche. Because this site is publishing fresh content daily, it could/should do very well in Google's eyes, and so rise in the rankings and get relevant SEO traffic. All YOU need to do is direct that traffic (in a suita…
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My Unique Selling Proposition As Part of My Strategy

In this post I'm going to describe some parts of my business strategy. In particular, I'll explain why I don't think a USP (unique selling proposition) is particularly important, even though I DO have one - and I'll tell you exactly what that is and how it supports my positioning.


The starting point is my tag line: Results-Oriented Digital Training For Individuals and SMEs. That summarises my positioning:


What I offer is practical training, not (just) theoretical. In itself that's not unique, but my USP (see below) does, in fact, support that attribute in a unique way: it's not just a cute marketing phrase!

Digital Training:

That summarises the subject matter very broadly. I do have a definition of the scope, but that's not relevant to this post.

For Individuals and SME:

That summarises my target market very broadly. I do have an explicit breakdown of the target market into 5 specific groups, but again, that's not relevant to this post.

In this earlier post, I described how I used Personal and Business Vision statements. There's another, more detailed document that I also created, which is my Business Definition Document - and it's in there that I outlined my Strategy. Here are some key elements of that

General Principles

I included these these three General Principles for operating my business

The business must be easily scaleable - i.e. revenue and profits should not be directly related to the number of staff or time spent working

The business must be systems and process focused: this is closely linked with the need for scaleability, but also reflects my (perhaps overly extreme) obsession with systematization!

The business must be customer focused: these days, that sentiment is a given, but what I mean by it more specifically is that the business direction and evolution will be driven by my customers. So, I am open to the business evolving in directions that I've not planned for - if that is driven by an obvious customer demand and it still allows me to fulfill my stated business and personal visions

Unique Selling Proposition

It's not uncommon for a business strategy to highlight what its USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is for it's offerings: what is the characteristic of the product or service that will make people want to buy YOUR offering as opposed to anyone elses?

Are USPs important in the digital technologies training niche?

Training related to digital technologies is ubiquitous, and much of it is free - so it might seem crazy to try and build a business around that niche. And yet, there are many examples of people in this niche who are highly successful and profitable.

Despite all the freely available content, people will pay (sometimes a lot - $497 or $997 or $1977) if they believe they can get the results faster, more consistently, and there is good follow-up support.

I believe the core elements of online success in this niche - indeed, in almost ANY niche, is to

develop a strong online presence (social media, website, mailing list),

be recognized as an authority, and

build a reputation for creating excellent content

Now, none of that requires a USP, as such: none of that is unique. What differentiates the successful from the unsuccessful is that the successful people do all those three things, and they do them for long enough to succeed.

There is no real need for a USP because people end up marketing and selling to their "tribe" - people who know, like and trust them. At that point they don't need strong product differentiators.

Nevertheless, there ARE benefits to having USPs - and in my case it's going to be very helpful as I establish myself on third party training platforms (primarily Udemy) where the competition is fierce and differentiators ARE useful.

My Unique Selling Proposition

My USP is around the very idea of systems and process that I apply to my own business. My systematizing drive is stronger than most people's - as anyone who has worked with me will know. I'm not saying that to brag because, I'm perfectly aware that it can be overdone and I constantly have to strive for the right balance - and don't always get it right.

But given that that is how I am, I may as well take that aspect of my personality and emphasise the virtuous part of it.

So, when I create training courses, wherever it's appropriate, I will provide operational artefacts that my customers can use when applying and using the digital technologies that are the subject of my training. By that I mean (for example):

Process documentation


Record keeping artefacts

That may not sound unique - except perhaps that very few training providers think to include record-keeping artefacts. But my approach is to combine all three functions into one artefact - usually using a Google Sheet.

An example may help explain the idea.

Suppose I'm creating training about Twitter that cover…
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