Courage and Taking New Paths

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Sometimes in order to move your life forward, you have to put yourself forward. You have to make decisions or choices that stretch you. It may be going for a new type of job, or promotion or creating a new business. Or it could be training in a new field, for which you have little experience in previously. It may even be moving to a new city to escape a place where you were stagnating. Or it could be writing that book or creating something to put out there for others to gain from.

It’s something, we have to go through

It is likely that in our lives, at some point, we would have had to done this already. For example, the young man or woman, embarking on a new career early on, would have required courage to do so. It may have been scary and challenging, with some difficulties early on. It also would have required meeting a whole load of new people from different backgrounds and getting on with them. However, if you passed through these challenges, you would develop confidence and sufficiency at this new work. As well as self-belief. It is at this point, you are actively learning and growing as a person. As we all need to do.

Once a person becomes comfortable after passing this stage, one of the pitfalls would be to stop growing and be content with where you are. In the past, some people would be able to stop and stick with this level of development for the rest of their lives. There is nothing wrong with that. But in this age, where jobs and work are less secure, it does not hurt to stay hungry.

Staying at the same place can also get boring. For example, my father has been a gardener for the last 40 years. A few years ago, he started to tell me how he was getting bored of his work and wanted to do something different. So he started to invent a new design of seeding tray. Perhaps, if he’d had the same thoughts 20 or even 10 years previously, he would have come up with a lot more different ideas and opened up a new type of life and work for himself. Still, better later than never.

The easiest option for everyone is to stick to what you know. But some people would like to do something different before they get too old to do anything new. And if you embark on something new, you may just find a re-emergence of those feelings of fear and anxiety. The same kind of feelings you may have had as a young person starting off in a new job. That is what it is like to be young again. Do you remember it? Youth is about exploration. Don’t get old too early. As I wrote here – youth is as much a mental state as a physical one.

A friend told me this:

My only advice to guarantee prosperity and contentment is to go where the risk lies. Unless you are extremely uncomfortable, nothing will change.

The path of courage

It is the path of courage. And it involves taking a leap of faith sometimes. To do something new, may require you to move away from the path you know well and to do something different. You may have done well for yourself the last 20 years. Perhaps in a job, where you know everything in-and-out. You know all your co-workers. They know you. Why would you want to start doing something new and scary again? The answer is – to grow of course. And maybe even to find something you are really good at.

Leap of faith

I think the best analogy comes from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There is this scene where Jones enters an underground cavern. He comes to a ledge overlooking an abyss. He needs to get to the other side, but there is no way across. Not even his trusty whip could be used.  As he looks down, all he sees is darkness and a likely drop to his death.

But this abyss is one of several tests to reach the holy grail. For this particular test, it is required that the challenger must take a ‘leap of faith’. There is no other way to cross. He must take one step into the abyss and into certain death.

Jones closes his eyes and takes the step. He expects to fall to his death, but something happens. His foot finds a step. It was there all the time, hidden in plain sight by the darkness and by optical illusion. It first required an act of faith on his part to find it.

Another scene that fits, comes from the classic movie – The Matrix. Neo must leap from the building and jump to the other side. This test is different. In order to make the leap, Neo must believe in his own abilities. There can be no doubt in him, otherwise he will fall, which he does the first time.

These are analogies from popular movies. But I think the same applies to real life. Obviously I’m not talking about leaping from buildings, but I am talking about getting started on something new – something, that you really want to do, but have never gotten round to, because life got in your way. Here’s a hint – life will always get in your way. The challenge is to make time in your day to work on something else.

And I think that once you get started, you may find that the path was already there – just waiting for you, but hidden. When the flow in your life starts moving, you may find new doors open up for you that you never imagined were there.

And whilst the sensible and most comfortable thing to do in life, is to continue on our everyday path, doing what we already know; If you are one of those types of people agitated by feelings of – ‘I really want to do this before I die’, then now is the time to get into it. Those feelings, are your heart communicating to you. The heart operates within the realm of possibilities. It does not operate from the same calculated and logical decision-making processes that the brain operates by. Instead, the heart, knows what is good for your soul. So listen to it when it whispers to you.

Sticking to dead-end lives

Many years ago, I was stuck trying to survive, doing minimal wage jobs in hospitality and hotels, just to pay the bills and rent. I was putting my acupuncture business on hold because I thought it was more important to pay just to live.  I figured that paying bills was the priority in life and that I could build my business in my spare time. However, there was no spare time. There was never any spare time. Or energy. Or motivation. I wasn’t even at the level of the mouse in the mouse-wheel. It felt more like I was a rat in a sewer tunnel, running round and round in a circle, in muck.

Low income jobs are traps to suck your time and energy and keep you on the mouse-wheel. They never pay enough for you to do anything else, and you always get treated like a disposable object.

One night, I’d had an especially bad day at work, and something snapped in me. ‘That is enough!‘ I said to myself I will not do this kind of work anymore. Instead I will focus on my acupuncture business, even if it doesn’t work. Even if I go bust, I don’t care. As long as I do it.

And that is what I did. I quit those jobs and threw myself into my own business. I  found a place to work from. I made flyers and handed them out in person. I made a website and listed it on several different online directories. I met and trained with fellow acupuncturists and other therapists. I volunteered for an acupuncture organisation. I threw myself out there.

And things got harder financially. Even, when I was working my low-income jobs, I had often struggled with bills. Now I’d stopped doing that, there was even less money. It put a strain on my relationship and we needed to take a break for a while. I had to leave my apartment and move into a shared house.

No regrets

Looking back, do I regret it? No definitely not. It was hard at the time, but it eventually brought me to where I want to be in life.

This time of struggle provided an opportunity to redefine my objectives in life and what I really want. While I was no longer having all my time and energy sucked by a dead end job, I had the chance to consider my life purpose and self-exploration of other potential talents. This time gave me the mental and physical space to start writing. I have always been writing, but it really took off in this period, and has never reduced.

There are some things I wrote back then – such as my ‘How to Start a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget‘ which is still being read today. Some people even buy it as a kindle book, even though it is available as a free PDF.

Sometimes such choices are necessary for growth.


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Release the stagnant, invite fresh flow

By releasing this one thing that wasn’t working in my life, I invited fresh energy and a new experience into my life. Gradually, my practice started picking up. I was renting space at a local clinic on an adhoc basis and I was getting more and more inquiries. The business manager mentioned on a few occasions, how I was always calling them to book rooms several times a week. This was a good sign.

Also a new opportunity to work in a paid position as an acupuncturist in a hospice came up some time later. This came about, because I had more time to volunteer doing acupuncture for a healthcare charity. This was something I could never do, while I was spending all my time in a low income job.

After a while I was able to get a new place for myself – small but mine. As I became more satisfied with my acupuncture work and who I am, my relationship resumed and became much stronger than before. Now I have children. A break is not a bad thing in a relationship, particularly if things get a bit stagnant.

When I look back at this time, I am truly grateful to the universe for allowing me those opportunities and experiences, even though, sometimes, they were difficult things to go through. Yet, none of this would not have been possible, without a leap of faith on my part in the first place. By releasing things that are not working for you, it enables new energy and flow to come into your life. You must close one door to open another.

Disclaimer

By the way, I do not advocate quitting your job to start a business! There are much easier and smoother ways to transition into something new. If you have obligations, bills, mortgage to pay, or dependents, then you have to be responsible, possibly even delaying your actions. The important thing though, is to get started, even in a very small way. For example, starting a new part-time course, or setting up something in your spare time. it may be applying for a new job, or aiming higher in your current work. I also strongly advise against taking on debt to finance it. However, if you don’t have anything to lose, then you can be more gung-ho about it.

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Move Towards Freedom


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Building a Business: One Important Word of Advice

Persistence TwoWhen starting a new project, type of work, or building a complementary therapy business, it helps to have someone to talk to, especially if that person is going through the same thing.

I have a close friend and colleague called Miro who I see maybe once or twice a year and have discussions with, usually with beer and sometimes vodka, as he is from Eastern Europe.

Years ago, when I had returned from Japan, I found myself in the UK in the aftermath of the financial crash. I had chosen this crazy time to return to set up my acupuncture practice after being away for 3 years. Basically I had to start from scratch again, looking for a new place to practice, building connections, finding new clients and dealing with reverse culture shock. Imagine going from one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world to London, one of the grubbiest cities in the world. I had limited funds and found myself in a city that had undergone some significant changes in the years I had been away.

For example, things were way more expensive. Rents, transport and general living costs, but especially rents. The rent inflation was something crazy.

My family advised me against coming back at this time, but I felt I had been away long enough, and was ready to get going again with my practice. However, it was a bad time to start up a business, or even to move back.

I often spoke to my friend Miro at this time. Such conversations help when it comes to discussing things like how much you charge, or where you advertise – e.g. do you do Google advertising, Or buy Facebook ads? Or should you offer things like cosmetic acupuncture, or discount coupons etc?

But most useful is the motivational aspects of discussing with like-minded people. The most useful piece of advice he gave to me was one word.

When I told him of the challenges I had. The lack of money and resources, and the high costs of living and working, he would tell me the most important thing in setting up a practice is “persistence”.

Persistence

Persistence – the drive to keep going and to continue in your endeavour regardless of whether you seem to be succeeding or not.

Persistence – the drive to keep going despite all the difficulties or even when it seems like you are not making any progress at all.

Persistence – the determination to keep taking steps, even small steps, as you work toward a goal or object. Even though the final goal seems far, far, over the horizon. Perhaps unreachable.

It is often quoted, that the journey to the top of a mountain is begun with a single step. And followed by thousands of equally small steps. But each step is fuelled by persistence.

Mountain walking

I walked up some mountains in Japan. It is one of the most enjoyable things you can do there, that is also good for your health. But it can be hard at first if you are not conditioned for it.

Your legs are tired, you breathe more deeply and you sweat like a pig. At least I did. But with each step, you keep the goal in mind – to reach that glorious top (and buy a souvenir or some dango (sweet Japanese dumpling) from the shops at the peak). All the time ignoring those elderly Japanese men and women as they pass you with ease like they they are strolling through the park on a pleasant summer’s day.

It is persistence that gets me to the top.

Motivational Guru

At the time, this advice seemed like general motivational speak, but Miro was right. Persistence does pay off. The thing is – you only recognise it years later. Those steps, and that perseverance can brings fruits and results. But you have to take those small invisible steps first, to get those juicy fruits years later.

When I look back, I am glad I took those steps and persevered. This is not to say things will always be up and up. Life, just as with business is full of ups and downs and some plateaus. When you climb the top of the mountain, you still need energy for the descent.  And really ultimately, it is the experience of doing it that counts when you look back on your life.

So, this message has a motivational theme to it. Starting a new endeavour or business requires motivation and drive, just as much as money, planning and luck. But it also requires persistence.

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Marketing or skills: which should you focus on for a complementary therapy business


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Chapter Nine and Conclusion: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Nine

Monetisation

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Time for that new dress

Making money from a blog

I’ve left this one to the end. Put aside any thoughts that you can make a lot of money from your blog. This is a popular selling point from blogging marketers to get you to buy their products.

The chances are you are not going to make any significant money from your blog, unless you have a huge amount of monthly traffic, at least in the tens of thousands. Nonetheless, you can still make a little money on the side.

If you are interested, here are some of the options for making money:

AdSense

If you sign up to the Adsense program,  Google will places ads in your text. If a person clicks on an add, you can get paid a few pennies If you have hundreds of thousands of clicks a month, this may add up to something.

However if you only have a little traffic, these few pennies may not be worth it because all those ads can make your website look a bit spammy. Also some ads really are not mobile friendly.

Pop-ups

You may have had the moment, when you’re looking at someone’s website and suddenly a pop-up ad comes on the screen. Then for some reason, you can’t find that ‘X’ to remove it because it is hidden behind the edge of the screen, so you cannot proceed. You then have no choice but to leave that website and never return again.

You don’t want that to happen to your website.

Use Pop-ups strategically and un-obtrusively

Pop-ups can be a useful tool for getting people to sign up to your mailing list. You can also place them on specific pages, e.g. places where you are reviewing a product and then set them so they only pop-up when you scroll down a certain distance – e.g. 70% of a page.

Definitely don’t use them when someone comes to your website for the very first time. It’s kind of like attending a party, and the guy who opens the doors to let you in, suddenly starts trying to sell you a timeshare in Malaga.

“But, I just got here…” you say.

Too many pop-ups and ads can obstruct your message.  If you are getting lots of traffic, it may be worth it for the extra income, but if you install it and can only make a few pennies from it, then you have to ask if it is really worth it. Could you earn more money by advertising your own products in the space instead?

Affiliate marketing

This method is where top bloggers mostly make money. By promoting or advertising a specific product, they will get a percentage of the sale (typically 10-20%). In some cases, the blogger will tell you it is an affiliate link. Other times not.

If you practice a certain type of therapy that requires the use of a specific product and you have a good amount of traffic, you can always contact the advertising section of the company that sells the product and offer to place an affiliate link or promote their product in your website for a percentage.

Some companies have this process already set up and can issue you with a unique affiliate code so they can track your referrals.

Basically a code can be a simple URL (website address), which contains a number that refers to you. You then place that URL on your website and if anyone clicks on it and then proceeds to buy the product within a certain time-period (weeks or months), you will get a payment for it. If you have hundreds of thousands of clicks a month, that can add up.

There are various affiliate programs that you can sign up for. It all depends who you are happy to promote. For example, if you have used WordPress.org to build your website, than you could consider promoting a hosting company like Bluehost, which pays out around $60-70 dollars if you give them a direct referral.

If you have used WordPress.com, than you could become an affiliate seller for Automattic, the company behind it. They pay out approximately 20% of a sale if someone signs up for their Premium or Business Plan within a certain time period of clicking on your affiliate link.

If you are looking at increasing the potential for your website to generate some money, then affiliate marketing is an area worth looking into.

Selling your own products

This is by far the best way to make profit from your website and effectively turn it into a second business. There are certain restrictions on what you can sell, such as various EU regulations on selling your own home-made creams and lotions. Also as Amazon has a large part of the selling community, it does stifle small businesses from selling your own products.

On the other hand, if you have designed your own intellectual property – eBooks, or DVD’s (e.g. tai chi lessons), then you can use your blog and website as a platform to advertise and sell it.

You can also use your blog to promote online courses, which may be focused on treating specific problems. Remember that a blog is designed to bring visitors deeper into your website and target them with a call to action.

So if your call to action is also to sell your own tai chi DVD, then you will want to promote this objective by linking to your product page or advertising it in your side-menu or widgets.

eBooks

Creating your own eBook is a worthy and highly satisfying endeavour. However, it does require a lot of work and the reward is probably not the best value in terms of monetary gain for time spent. However, the sense of accomplishment is well worth it.

The process of creating your own eBook is quite lengthy. You not only have to plan, structure and write your book. Then you must turn it into an eBook and then promote it.

I do have experience of this as you are reading an example of it and I am considering releasing an in-depth guide sometime in the future. so check out my website or sign up to my mailing list for updates on:

www.johndixonacupuncture.co.uk.

Traffic first, then monetise

When you are starting your blog, it is very tempting to try to monetise it immediately and put AdSense on it. Hold off on this.

The returns are not worth it, and it can make your site look spammy. Instead focus on building fresh, original and useful content. Focus on building relationships with your visitors and on building up traffic.

The exception to this is with selling your own products. Selling your own stuff is original and also helps to promote your business and your own personal brand.

And if in the future, you get a large amount of traffic, then do consider installing the ads and the affiliate marketing to see how they perform.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • There are various methods to monetise your blog. For example, AdSense, Affiliate marketing and selling your own products or eBooks.
  • Be reasonable in your expectations. You shouldn’t expect huge amounts of money unless you have hundreds of thousands of visitors a month. At best, most people will earn a little pocket-money.
  • Be considerate in how you use pop-ups ads. They can be intrusive and annoying if used incorrectly.
  • Too many ads, especially early on before you have built up content or traffic, can make your website look spammy.
  • Consider building traffic up first, before monetising.
  • If you do monetise, then don’t hold back or go half-heartedly. Commit yourself fully to it.

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Conclusion

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Not a member of the New Year’s Resolution Club

In this eBook, we have looked at several different ways to write and promote a blog for a Complementary Therapy Business. I have not gone too deeply into any of these points, but I hope it is informative enough for you to get some useful pointers and get started.

Ultimately, the blog is a personal expression of you and your brand. It should also be something you enjoy doing and sharing with people. If it becomes like work, then you can lose the enthusiasm of doing it and give up too soon.

Likewise, just like embarking on an exercise practice or new habit change, it does require a certain amount of motivation to do it regularly. Creating a plan early on will really help you make it a success.

If you go into the process of creating a blog with expectations that it will become quickly popular, you will be disappointed. It can take months, even years for a blog to gain a following.

Whilst there are some shortcuts, by using ads, if you want it to succeed, you have to continue to work away at it without expectation of reward. You need some faith.

Eventually, you will attract some traffic and connect with people around the world. This in itself should be reward enough, because for as long as your message can reach one single person and give them value, then you have helped changed someone’s life.

And if you can do it to one person, than you can do it to another, and another, and another. So forget about the traffic and the money and just keep going for your own satisfaction.

Ultimately, the blog, is a form of expression and it can help you to learn about yourself, your attitudes and your business. Creativity always helps us realise new things. When I was writing this eBook, it helped clarify lots of things for me, such as the weaknesses of my previous websites as well as my expectations for my new website and blog.

There is always going to be more to learn on any topic, but I hope that this guide is a good starting point for learning How to Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business.  I hope it helps you on your journey.

Final Note

 I hope you have enjoyed this book.

This book is a companion to my other eBook: ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget’. This is available as a free PDF if you sign up to my website or can be purchased as a Kindle version through Amazon US, UK and other countries (free to Kindle-unlimited subscribers).

If you have found any of my writing to be useful, then by all means, sign up to my mailing list and I will keep you informed of any new publications and resources I post.

Just to add, this eBook is a work in progress and compliments my own personal experience of blogging. As I learn more things, I may decide to update this eBook in the future. If I make any changes, I will announce it through my blog.

Feel free to say hello

Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me through my website. I would really appreciate an Amazon review for this book, if you have a moment.

All the Best

John Dixon


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Chapter Eight: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Eight

Promoting your blog articles

 

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Sorry guys, I’m leaving twitter for Instagram

Pressing ‘Publish’ is not the last step

You’ve written a great post and pressed publish. Now you can sit down and think of the next post you’re going to write. Well just hold on a second.

If you use any other kind of social media, this is a good time to promote your blog article. If you have a twitter account, then advertise your new post. Or use Pininterest or Instagram by designing a picture, with a quote or the title of the post in it and promote it there. Or of course there is Facebook.

Social Media

Pininterest and Instagram are search engines in their own right and will help push traffic to your website. So if you have skills with graphic design or photography, then this skill can be utilised to promote your blog. Twitter is a simple platform that may be able to bring potential traffic to your website. You may need to post 1 to 5 times a day to get anything out of it.

There are similarities between Instagram, Pininterest and Twitter in that you can pretty much repost the same content on these platforms. However, only choose one of these platforms. If you are very systematic, you could create a lot of material and then drip-release it every day.

You can also repost the same material after a few weeks or months as your original posts will have dropped down lower in the feed and not be so visible.

Facebook is a tool that has been used very successfully to promote website traffic. I personally disconnected from Facebook 10 years ago, so can’t give any information.

Choose one social media platform and go full-out on it. Don’t spread yourself among all three platforms.

Other possibilities

Quora is another growing website. It is basically a question and answer site – where you can choose to answer a question or pose a question to the community of Quorans (millions of people worldwide).

There is a vast number and variety of questions there, including many health-related ones. You can certainly open up an account there, fill out a profile with a link to your blog and set about answering questions. If you do choose this path, I’d advise not to get too carried away with it. Quora belongs to someone else. It is not your website. Though you may be able to bring some traffic to your own website, it may be limited. Some people spend hours writing on this website. But time is limited and I think it is far better spending the time working on your own website and building up content, which you own, then writing it for someone else’s website.

Email Lists

If you have an email list, you may want to create a newsletter and send it out periodically to draw people back to your website. Again mailchimp can help with this.

It can also be worth making a list of your new client’s emails and asking permission to send them information from time to time. In this way, you remain on their radar, even if they have finished with your treatments. There are a number of email listing providers that you can utilise on your website. Mailchimp, and Aweber are two common ones.

Word of Mouth

By all means, let family and friends know you are writing a blog, if you are comfortable with them reading it. In my case, I have no problem with complete strangers around the world reading my content, but I go all shy when I think about telling a friend that I have a blog. I suppose this is kind of strange.

Nonetheless, getting friends, family or colleagues to visit your blog or promote it on other social media platforms like Facebook, could really help you to get traffic early on.

Original content

This is important, because Google prefers original content. You can’t just copy information from elsewhere. Plagiarism is a big no no. You can quote someone else’s content, but you have to credit the source and provide a link to their website or wherever you got the quote from.

As mentioned before, the internet is saturated with content. Perhaps it doesn’t really need any more. Everywhere you go, you will find articles to lose fat, reduce wrinkles or make money.

A typical type of article is the ‘10 steps to achieve… X’. It’s been overdone because it is effective. People like to read simple articles and this format is pretty simple. If you do write this type of article, make it original by adding your own personal anecdotes, your experiences and your slant on it.

On a side note, you may perhaps have a really unique and powerful way to treat a specific problem. Well, don’t give it away too easily. It is your unique selling point and sets you above your competition. On the other hand you may want to promote it and let people know you have a special way of treating. You could even sell it as a course or consultation.

Guest Posting

This is a practiced method that new bloggers can utilise in order to build their traffic more quickly. You find a blogger who is already established and who writes in a similar field or has a similar vibe to you and your work. Then find out if they accept guest submissions and contact them to find out if you can do a guest post.

This can be done easily enough by reading through their blog. If they do accept guest posting, then read any criteria for posting they have and simply contact them by email outlining your post, or just submit an article.

If they agree to post it, what will happen if that their audience will read your post on their site, which should also contain a link to your website and maybe a short bio about you. If what you write resonates with their readers, they may well visit your blog and if they like the rest of your posts, they may even return or hopefully bookmark your site.

This should all be done for free. In some cases, a website may pay you a small amount. One website, actually pays using electronic currency. However, monetary gain is not the objective. You are doing this to potentially gain more traffic. Neither should you ever pay for posting or accepting a submission.

In this situation, you may have to adapt your writing to the audience of the blog you are posting on. So if it was a fitness blog, you may consider writing a post that relates to how to eat more healthier to optimise your performance or how your therapy can help recover from injuries quicker. For example, if you are a yoga or Tai Chi teacher who helped recover from a sports injury and avoided surgery by practicing your therapy.

Be aware that this kind of posting can be fickle. I have heard from one blogger that when he wrote a guest post that he thought was specifically targeted to the audience, only ten people ended up visiting his site from it.

The other alternative to posting on someone else’s blog, is to invite guest submissions to your own blog. In this case, it may be something you would consider once you have a relatively good amount of traffic – at least a few thousand a month and ideally tens of thousands.

The advantage of this is that it enables you to grow your blog with more articles and also increases your network of back-links and potential audience.

You can advertise on your posts that you are accepting guest submissions and write down your criteria. For example – the word range, the topics to write about and the topics not to write about. You may also want to specific the structure.

If you do receive some submissions, you may have to edit and proofread them. You will have to include a link to their website and a short bio, if you do publish the article

Interviews

In a similar way to guest posting, interviews are another way to furnish your blog with some interesting material, especially if it is an interview with someone who is well-known. This can then be turned into a podcast and the interview can be transcribed into a text for a blog article. This method is a lot of work, but can add some interesting variety to your website and blog.

Traffic

You’ve built a blog and published some posts. Perhaps, you’ve written some really insightful and helpful material. Then you check the stats of your visitor activity and only one visitor comes up. Well, that’s great, you think. At least, I’m reaching out to one person. Until you realise that the analytics is actually counting your visit as that one person.

This is common for any new website. There are millions of websites out there on the net so this is the reason why it helps to narrow your concept and focus on a niche area. If you want your traffic to increase, you will need to be a little pro-active and  focus on the above points in order to build an audience.

It may take 2 years or more to build up traffic

It can be disheartening to have no one visit your blog. And to be realistic, it can take years before you start to see lots of traffic. Also it is necessary to post consistently. So, the desire for traffic should not be your main motivation. You must write because you want to share or you want to express. Even if only one person reads your content.

From my research, two years of regular posting seems to be a common timeline for blogs  and new websites to pick up a regular following with unique visitors and page views in the double or treble figures.

As I said at the beginning. A blog is a marathon, not a sprint. If it helps, many bloggers had to go through this. It also requires a bit of faith, but just keep working away at it without too much expectation.

Jim Morrison’s Ghost

It is like in the movie Wayne’s World 2, when Wayne is trying to set up a rock concert, but he hasn’t sold any tickets and not one single band has signed up. In a moment of despair, Jim Morrison’s ghost turns up in his dream and tells Wayne:

“If you book them, they will come”

So when it comes to your website and blog, you must have faith and tell yourself:

‘If you keep working at it, they will come’.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • Consider using other social media platforms to promote your website and bring traffic to your blog – e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, PinInterest.
  • Only pick one of the above platforms and go-all-out-on-it.
  • Add a sign-up form and mailing list
  • Keep your posts original and useful for the readers. Do not plagiarise.
  • Do guest posting on other more successful blogs to promote your own. Or if your website is becoming popular, invite guest submissions from other writers.
  • Interview other people in your field and write up the interviews as posts. Or make a podcast.
  • Be patient, and work consistently. Organic (natural) traffic takes time to build up.

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Chapter Seven: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Seven

KeyWords

Girl-with-dictionary-Libellule789-via-Pixabay-com.jpg

‘Callipygian’… What a great keyword for my new blog title: ‘How to squat to get a callipygian butt’.

Keywords: Magic Words that Search Engines looks for

If you have a website, you will likely have heard of ‘keywords’ at some point. Keywords are at the heart of SEO (search engine optimisation).

What it means is that if someone enters a certain keyword into a search engine like yahoo or google – for example, “acupuncture”, then the search engine will bring out a long list of the most relevant websites that are related to that keyword.

For example the main sites that come up on page one of Google, will likely be Wikipedia, the NHS, and the British Acupuncture Council. These are large websites that have a lot of weight on Google.

Alternatively, on page one, there may also be websites that have paid-for-sponsored ad placements for a specific keyword. And there will be sites that have made a good use of keyword optimisation in their websites and are placed higher above the competition. This latter example, is what you will be hoping to achieve.

As the word “acupuncture” is a general word used by thousands of other websites, it is unlikely you will ever rank highly for it. In this case, you will want to add some more words that may be searched for, which relate to the location you practice in, your therapy or to particular problems you treat. This would be a keyword phrase.

Location based Keywords

For example, if you practice acupuncture in South London in Brixton, then you will definitely want to add the keyword phrases: “Acupuncture in Brixton” or “Brixton Acupuncture” along with other keyword phrases like “Acupuncture in South London, “Acupuncture in Lambeth”, “Lambeth Acupuncture”.

People living in Brixton or Lambeth looking for acupuncture close to where they live, will tend to use these words in search engines to narrow down their search for a practitioner. These will be your keyword phrases and you will want to use them several times in your homepage.

Condition based Keywords

You can also include problems you treat as keyword phrases. For example, “Acupuncture for back pain” or “back pain acupuncture”. You may want to include these keywords along with keywords related to your location.

Frequency of keywords

1-2% of your words in a text should be made up of keywords or keyword phrases. Use up to five keyword phrases and try to use them naturally in the text. If they are used in a spammy unnatural way, google can recognise that you are trying to manipulate keywords and may penalise your website.

How many Keywords for a blog article?

For your blog, decide on 1-3 different keyword or keyword phrases for each article.

Try to use at least one of the keyword phrases in your title, the first paragraph and as one of your subheadings. If you write a 1,000 word article, you want to aim to use that keyword approximately 10 times. You may have to avoid using the same keyword for every single blog post you write as otherwise your articles will be competing with each other.

Use a variety of different keywords or combinations of keyword phrases for different blog articles. You don’t have to do keywords for every single blog post you publish, but some of your main cornerstone articles should include them as they will be the biggest enticers-in of traffic.

If you specialise with treating a certain condition, then keywords or variations related to that problem should be the basis of the page or blog article you write about it. For example, the keyword phrases – “acupuncture for IVF” or “infertility acupuncture” would be useful keyword examples.

If you are unsure what keyword or keyword phrase to you, there are certain services you can use or WordPress plug-ins to help you choose and apply keywords. Either that, or just brainstorm. Think about what word you would type into a search engine if you were looking for a  specific type of therapist to help with a specific type of problem.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Brainstorm types of keywords to use, that relate to your blog posts
  • Include keywords or keyword-phrases in your blog articles.
  • Keywords should make up 1% – 2% of the number of words in your article.
  • Include your keyword in the blog title and in at least one sub-heading.
  • Make your keyword use sound natural. Also don’t over-use them.

Click here for next post: Chapter Eight (coming soon)

 


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Chapter Six: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Six

Structure

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A blog post requires a certain type of structure

Planning and Structuring your Blog:

Pick a good title

Deciding on a good blog title is kind of like adding the icing on the cake after writing an article. You may start off with a working title but by the time you have completed the article, you may decide to change it to something that fits better.

Put some thought into the title. Make it catchy and include at least one keyword in it. If a title is catchy, it is more likely to attract people if they come across it. For example, a title like ‘7 exercises to get a Kim Kardashian Butt’ sounds more catchy than ‘7 exercises to tone your leg muscles.

Try not to change your title once you have published it, unless you really have to. If you do so, you may have to set up a redirect to avoid any broken link 404 error messages from visitors linking to the old url address of your post.

Paragraphs

Don’t underestimate what a blog article is. Writing blog articles requires a special type of format, the same way that a university thesis or an academic essay requires a special type of structure, referencing and language. Blogs are no different. Many people  don’t realise this and don’t write in the best way that is suited to a blog.

For example, not using enough paragraphs seems a simple rule and harkens back to high school days when a teacher would tell you to break up your prose more. This rule doubly applies when it comes to blog articles.

You’ve got to bear in mind, that people may read your articles on their smartphones. With less space on the screen, a paragraph (even of 300 words) can seem a very long thing indeed. It can be a little tiring to be met with a long line of text and no breaks – kind of like a long waterfall of words flowing in front of your eyes. Therefore it helps to break up text with paragraphs.

Headings and subheadings

For the same reason as paragraphs, you need to break up your prose with subheadings. It makes a blog article more readable. I have read many articles by people, where there is one long flow of text.

In some cases, it may be well written, but the reading experience can be a little tiresome, especially on a smartphone.

By adding subheadings it’s like inserting friendly signposts every so often, just to give the reader a mini break and breather from reading the text. It also helps the reader to keep going, especially when it is a particularly long article.

The main point

Get to the main point of your article quickly – ideally in the first paragraph. If you are writing about an article for how to sleep better, then tell the reader early on that that is what the article is going to talk about. Don’t leave the reader with any doubt as to what they are reading. Once you get to the main point, then you can start to elaborate and discuss it more.

I should add, that I do not always follow this rule with my blog.

Anecdotes

Again, the point of the blog, is for a reader to build a connection with you. You do this by showing your personality, your knowledge and sharing life experiences. It may help to give an anecdote.

Perhaps you helped treat your mother-in-law’s snoring problem (sorry, I grew up with 1970s TV comedy – lots of mother-in-law jokes back then). You may also want to include your opinions, observations, lessons or anything thing else you have learned personally about this particular problem.

Bear in mind, confidentially is doubly important when writing about your patient experiences. You may have to change names or even specific details so that even if the person you were writing about was to read the article, they would not be able to tell, that it was about them.

Alternatively, if you have a good relationship with the patient, you could ask their permission to write about it, but again, leave out any identifying information. You have to be sensitive and not reveal anything potentially embarrassing about anyone. And that includes your mother-in-law, who snores like a pig. Only joking.

A narrow topic or niche

As mentioned before, it is better to focus on a narrow topic, rather than talk generally about lots of different areas. Also it can be beneficial to write different variations of articles based on the same topic.

For example, you may be writing about the Alexander Technique as being beneficial for posture. Well, the Alexander Technique has plenty of other benefits, but rather than write about all of them in one article, you could write a separate article about its usefulness for speech and elocution.

Another alternative, would be to discuss some new research, which talks about the benefits of Alexander Technique for back pain. Or perhaps you could discuss an article in a newspaper about a famous actor that has used the Alexander Technique to help them project their voice better whilst performing.

By writing many different articles on the same theme, you start to gain a level of authority and expertise in that particular area. And yet again, the niche should be relevant and something of genuine interest to the reader.

Grammar and Typos

The more you write, the more mistakes you are likely to make. Finding typos is a tiring and almost torturous process. Well that’s my experience of it.

For a reader, even small spelling mistakes can be a little irksome to read, and if you allow any comments on your website, there will usually be someone who points them out.

Make sure to read through everything you write to check if it makes sense and capture any typos. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to miss misspelled words. It is worth reading the post in different formats – e.g. on your laptop, your smartphone, as a PDF, or on paper in order to see them with different eyes. Another useful strategy is to take a break of a day or two from the draft and then re-read it with fresh eyes to capture the spelling mistakes. Also periodically re-visit your writing in the future. There is a good chance, you will find some more typos that escaped the first time.

You can pay people who do proofreading. They usually charge by the word. Or you can ask a family member and friend. Another tactic is to read the text backwards. Yes, it is pretty tortuous stuff. I apologise in advance, if you find any typos in this text. Feel free to email me to let me know if you feel inclined, and I will correct them.

Physician Heal Thyself first

I am very guilt of leaving lots of spelling mistakes in my posts. The reason is that I have written lots of content in a short period of time. In the first four months of 2018, I managed to write approximately 100,000 words in blog posts, articles and eBooks. Typos are inevitable.

I am aware that there are likely a few spelling mistakes on my blog posts that I still need to capture.

My free eBook ‘How to Set Up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget’ still had typos in it 4 years after I had written it, which doesn’t really give a good impression to readers. It helps if you have someone who can proofread through your work and highlight any spelling mistakes.

Other considerations

Keep sentences short. Don’t start a sentence with the same word too many times in a paragraph.

Keep language easy to understand. Not everyone is going to be reading or speaking English as a first language, so if you use too many complicated words, slang, or jargon, they may not understand your meaning. In London, many of your potential clients may be from other countries.

The same principle applies to any specialist language that is unique to your therapy. For example, in Traditional Oriental medicine, there is a whole subset of language.

For example, it talks of Qi/Ki energy, yin and yang, channels, pathogenic factors and organs. Most people don’t really understand it or will try to fit it in with their own understanding. Confusion can entail.

Avoid jargon if possible or if you do use it, then explain it in a simplified or ‘dummies’ way, so people can understand what you are talking about.

It’s the same way that medical doctors will use Latin to describe medical problems because they know that most people will not know what they are talking about. The problem with this is that it creates a barrier between practitioner and patient. It also adds an aura of self-importance to doctors who understand the code.

It is kind of like how the priests in the middle-ages, would be the only people to understand the Bible and so they could control the local people by setting themselves up as the only authority that could interpret God’s teachings.

Essentially it is another way of manifesting power and control over someone else. Or in other words – acting from the ego.

Pictures

For some reason, it is recommended to include some pictures for your blog articles. Apparently, Google likes pictures on blog articles, but it is not a fixed rule. Some of the most popular blogs I have come across have absolutely no pictures.

Nonetheless, these days it is recommended to include at least one picture in your article. There is a possibility that if you use too many pictures in one page, it can slow down the loading of the page on some computers and smartphones, so it may be advisable to limit the number of pictures on a page.

On a picture, it is worth adding an ‘alt’ description on it and include any keywords you may be focusing on for that article. If you use WordPress.com, you can enter this relatively easily. Pictures should be relevant to what your blog article is about, but it should also be eye-catching.

You also need to consider the copyright of an image. I strongly recommend you do not just take any image off the internet from a google image search. You do not have the rights to them and furthermore, these images will be used multiple times by other websites. They lack originality.

The best is if you use your own. Some people are very good photographers. Or perhaps you have a friend, who is happy to donate images for your use. Otherwise, it is possible to take really great shots with an iPhone these days.

Stock Photo Websites

If you are after a specific image, check out stock photos. These are various companies that sell images on the internet. Some like 123rf are relatively inexpensive.  Some sites are free such as Pixabay.com and Pexels.com. For this eBook, I used free stock photos from these websites.

Whenever you think of downloading or buying an image from a stock photo site, you need to check the usage rights of the picture.

Most stock photo companies will let you purchase and use images for websites and blogs, but if you want to use an image to place on a product to sell (e.g. A mug or t-shirt) you will need to purchase an extended license, which can be up to a hundred pounds for one image. In this case, it is better to get your own image taken. Don’t forget to accredit the source of the image, especially if you use one from a free stock photo website.

If you include an image on your blog, make sure the image itself has a hyper-link in it, to take the reader to the body of the article, when they hover over it and click on the image.

Decide if you need pictures or not

If you are planning to make an eBook like this one, I would advise against using any pictures as it can make the process a little more complicated with getting the layout on the page running smoothly, especially when you convert to a Kindle format. It is much easier to make a book with text only and probably looks more professional.

On the other hand, using a few images does afford the opportunity to break up the text and insert a little humour.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Use paragraphs to make text more readable on smartphones. Keep sentences short.
  • Use subheadings to break up long bits of text.
  • Get to the main point of the blog article quickly. Don’t leave the reader unsure what the post is about.
  • Include an anecdote or story from personal experience to create a connection with your reader.
  • Narrow down the topic of your post to a specific niche relevant to your reader.
  • Go through and capture grammar and spelling mistakes thoroughly.
  • Avoid too much jargon.
  • Include photos, but make sure you have copyright to any images you use and credit the source. Take your own photos or buy stock photos. Do not take from the internet.

Click here for next post: Chapter Seven (Coming Soon)

 


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Chapter Five: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Five

Strategies to Keep Readers

Linking to other articles

aerial-view-architecture-bridges, Aleksejs Bergmanis, via www pexels com

 Make your website an interconnected whole

We’re on the Highway to Hale

Think of your website as a road network. You want each page and article to connect to another page. It is kind of like having lots of interconnecting roads to other pages and articles on your website and blog.

Why? Because when a person comes to your website, attracted by one blog article, you don’t want them to read it and then quickly disappear. You want… nay, need them to hang around a little longer and get to know you.

First impressions are not always accurate. People may come to your website looking for a therapist, browse through your home page and then quickly disappear to the next website and then they may decide to contact that person instead.

When a person comes to your website, you want them to hold on a little longer. You do this by creating links to other pages.

For example, you may write a blog article on 7 ways to heal migraine attacks. In it, you give lots of great examples of what to do, eat, and provide other general advice. The reader takes the information, thinks to himself that was really useful and then buggers off. In this case,  it means you haven’t maximised the full potential of your site.

Wait, Don’t Go

If instead at the end of that blog article or throughout it, you adding in-links to other pages, you may be able to keep them longer. Perhaps one of your 7 suggestions to relieve migraine attacks is done with the use of an essential oil. At that point, you may want to add a link to another page of your website where you talk about essential oils.

You may even specifically name an oil that could really help. In fact create a mini-sense of urgency around it and definitely create a link to a different page or even a sales page where you sell the product yourself.

Or perhaps you may want to discuss the role of stress in triggering migraines and so you want to have a page link to another article, where you have written about ways to relieve stress.

Perhaps at the end of the article, you may want to add a few sentences on how you treated this problem personally and if the reader wants to contact you, or ask a question, then you can direct them to visit your contact page and link to it.

All these links are the equivalent of creating lots of different roads and side roads to other parts of your website. By doing this, you may be able to prevent readers from departing from your site too early and at best may be able to convert a potential sale or a client booking from them.

You can certainly link externally to other websites, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to lose people going to other websites and getting lost there.

For example, you could link to an Amazon page where you recommend a specific product. If you enrol in the Amazon affiliate programme, you will receive a special code and if someone clicks on that link through your website and then buys the product, you can get a few pennies.

It’s not a lot, but it can get you easily started with learning about monetisation. I will discuss this a bit more later on.

Call to action

apple-cute-food-woman Public Domain pictures Pixabay

Stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • Secondly, how do you gauge if you’ve achieved the purpose of your website?

You really need to think about this.

Whether you have consciously thought about it or not, your website does have a purpose. It very easy to lose sight of your purpose or perhaps not even be aware of it.

Do you want to advertise your services? Do you want people to find you and contact you to book a session with you? Do you want to sell products?

Write down your objectives and refer to them often as you build your website. You need to remind yourself, because it is so easy to forget your initial purpose as you get sucked into all the other intricacies of website building and daily life.

Also how do you gauge if you are achieving your purpose? If you are explicitly advertising your services as a complementary therapy practitioner, then your gauge is whether people are actually booking you after finding you through your website.

You should routinely ask your clients how they found you. If this is not happening, then your website is not fulfilling its purpose and you should rethink changing it.

If the purpose of your website is to attract bookings – what this means, is that of all the traffic that comes to your website, you want at least a percentage of them to ring, text or email you for a booking or at least for further information.

The blog’s purpose

Ask yourself the same question in relation to your blog: What is the purpose of your blog? Is it to attract patient bookings? Is it to aim to sell your own products or attract general traffic so you can monetise with ads. Is it to build a community?

By constantly reminding yourself, it will encourage you to focus on creating content that is relevant to your target audience and will attract them.

For example, if your blog’s purpose is to promote your expertise in the field of gynaecology and to attract clients with problems like endometriosis or polycystic ovary disease, your blog should have articles on these topics.

In this instance, you may write a post like ‘5 ways to help endometriosis with aromatherapy’. In that article you may also include links to other related articles, such as on stress or on natural ways to relieve pain.

You may even include a ‘how to guide’ for making your own sniffy sticks so a person can make their own aromatherapy health-care kit. Even better is to make a YouTube video of this and post it on your website to accompany this article.

By doing this, you will be building up a mini-rapport with the reader, even without physically meeting or speaking to them. At the end of that article, you can then put a little bio about yourself – how you treat and create tailored solutions to the problem.

Then you can put a link to your contact form and encourage them to contact you if they want more information or to book with you.

And you don’t just need to think locally. Some people take clients worldwide by doing Skype consultations. Of course this depends on what kind of service you offer. Counselling or nutritional advice can be done this way. With massage and acupuncture, it is not so straightforward.

Perhaps you want to sell a product. Well it’s the same thing, You write a blog about how a particular product is really helpful for a specific condition. Then at the end of that article, you make a link or a free PDF.  For  example if you are a reflexologist specialising in fertility, you may want to write a series of articles in this area – including self-care tips, diet and other book recommendations. You might have your own downloadable diet sheets or self-acupressure help-guides.

Remind yourself of this question: What is the Purpose of your Website?

So whatever you do or write, this has to be in the back of your mind.

Now it may be that you can’t achieve your purpose immediately, when someone comes to your website. You may need to build their trust a little more.

Ideally you want at least 5-10% of the people coming to your website (i.e. your traffic) to result in a contact, booking or sale.  Realistically, expect about 1-2% of your traffic to result in a contact. If you are getting zero contacts, then re-evaluate your website. Most website platforms will give you an indication of how many clicks a month you are getting.

Or if you are able to install google analytics, you may get more detailed information about your traffic.

Alternatively, find an honest, yet sensitive friend who can look at your website and give their impressions of it. Does it attract them? Does it make them want to hang around? Does it make them want to contact you for a booking? It may be that you have to rethink your content or even your website provider if you feel your return is not good enough and you are not achieving your purpose.

Traffic objectives

You want your real visitors to hang around a little longer, perhaps even to bookmark your site. You will probably get lots of visitors from sales companies. These don’t count so much. You want real visitors.

Writing interesting blog content is one way to keep people coming back. So write blog articles and provide an incentive for readers to follow you or sign up to your mailing list. There are several ways to do this. A common method is by providing a free eBook or PDF help-sheet.

Mailing lists can be set up by using the free Mailchimp plug-in (if it is compatible with your website) or other providers like Aweber. Having a mailing list, means that you can potentially keep in contact with perspective clients and further build a relationship with them. However, I won’t go into this in this guide.

adult-business-computer-Public Domain Pictures Pixabay
Ah, go on then, here you go…

It’s not personal, its business

I know this sounds horribly manipulative. After all you are going into complementary therapies, because you want a break from all that marketing and selling and consume, consume, consume mentality.

But think of it this way: A complementary therapy business is another form of business like any other business. There is a lot of competition out there, so it helps to have some kind of strategy, particularly if you are starting out and trying to find your own niche in a world, where frankly it is harder to make a living.

For example, there are hundreds of acupuncturists in London. Many are better than me and more established. I have to also make a place for myself to practice among them in any way I can. One of the ways I can do this is by considering areas where they do not focus on. For example such as blogging and using a website.

Sure people can pay for a decent website to be made, but they cannot pay for a decent blog unless they want to hire some dodgy company in India to write them a load of articles.

So if you have a talent with writing or telling stories, then utilise it and work on a blog.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • Think of your blog and website like a connecting road network.
  • Add links to other articles, pages and resources to keep viewers on your site.
  • Think of the purpose of your website and apply it.
  • Give away free content, like a free guide to encourage people to sign up to a mailing list so you can stay in contact and build an audience.
  • Every page must serve a purpose – whether that is to promote your service, sell a product, build a mailing list or simply to keep your readers on your site.

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Chapter Four: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Four

Personality and Disclosures

bear-paw.jpg
Can a bear get a little privacy?

 Don’t pull a Paris Hilton

Everyone knows Paris Hilton, the famous socialite and heir to the Hilton Hotel empire. She is an attractive, tall blonde lady, who pretty much has everything going for her.

However her fame and notoriety came from the release of sex tapes onto the internet by an ex-boyfriend. On the plus side, it has made her a kind of celebrity, which she seems to relish. On the other hand, it has given her a certain type of reputation.

As a complementary therapist, you would do well to avoid having any of your own sex tapes released onto the internet. It will likely harm your reputation and you might find yourself only able to attract a certain type of customer.

If you do want to create a connection with your readers. There are other less-extreme ways to do this as well as things to avoid.

Personality

One way to attract readers is by injecting your personality into your blog. If you write like Data in Star Trek or Mr Spock, a blog will encourage you to lighten up and show some life. Readers are attracted to bloggers who show some depth, warmth and personality in their writing. Positivity is also important.

There is a lot of pain and suffering in the outside world and people have all sorts of problems. People are searching online for two things. Either they are looking for relief and an answer to their suffering. Or they are looking for like-minded sufferers and websites so they can share their suffering together with other people. There is some satisfaction in talking about how bad things are with other like-minded people (even strangers on the internet).

As a complementary  therapist, you will want to focus on the first point. You want to project warmth, empathy and a peaceful place for the weary to come. In terms of providing value, your blog and website should offer possible solutions to people’s problems along with  other forms of value, support and encouragement.

Fundamentally, positivity and personality is a too oft’ unused trait in many complementary therapy blogs. A lot of blogs I have read, focus on treatment history or some practical advice, but it can be a little sterile at times. It is not enough to make people come back for more.

Show your personality, your humour, your opinions, even share silly little experiences or trips on holiday if necessary as filler articles. It will help the reader connect with you.

Disclosures

Whilst you don’t have to go as far as Paris Hilton in the earlier example, sharing a little bit of yourself can help to build a connection. The question is how much do you share. This is something for you to decide on.

Some people will disclose facts or personal stories about their own life. For example one very popular blogger shared on his blog the reasons for his divorce with his wife as well as other personal details. Some bloggers openly share personal history. On the other hand, some bloggers don’t.

As a complementary therapist, you have to put your business first. You have to think about boundary issues as well as whether disclosures may harm your business or even cause intrusion into your personal life. For those examples above, making disclosures about family problems probably helped them, but for a healthcare worker, it may be inadvisable as it breaks your professional boundaries.

To give a personal example, I may share stories of personal experiences with a specific illness if I feel it relates to my treatment approach or practice. That kind of disclosure may help a patient relate more closer to me and seek me out for support.

For example, on one occasion I saw a patient who suffered from the same disease that I did. On our second session, I mentioned that I also had suffered the same problem and she was really interested in hearing about my experiences and the natural approach I took. I believe it probably helped her to hear someone else’s perspective and experience with the disease

I have treated a lot of people with cancer as I worked for a few years in a hospice. If I was to discuss my personal experience of treating people with a particular illness like cancer, I would have to be very careful not to share any identifying facts about that person. Or I may alter some details for anonymity.

Diseases like cancer are becoming so common these days and standard medical treatments is not enough to support sufferers. So hearing about a complementary therapy perspective can be useful to patients and their families affected by this illness.

On the other hand, if I was going through a divorce, I would almost certainly not talk about that as it has no relevance and I think it breaches my own professional boundaries. It could cause unforeseen problems later on. The same applies to releasing sex tapes.

The Reality TV World

We live in a different age these days where sharing stories and opening up is part of the online world. You do not need to share personal things about yourself and you certainly must be very careful about sharing stories about clients.

For example, It may be very tempting to say that you treated a certain celebrity. It can give a practitioner instant credibility and fame. However that kind of disclosure will damage your business in the long term. Clients will feel that they cannot trust you to keep a secret and avoid you. If a celebrity client talks about you publicly, for example on twitter, that’s a different matter. But then again, you still have to be careful.

I know of one therapist who worked with a celebrity client. That client invited her to appear on a TV show with her. After that appearance, she was approached by TV companies to appear for small interviews or segments.

Some people would have jumped at this chance, but she refused as she did not want to take her career in this direction. She also did not want to draw on her association with her celebrity client to make her famous. Just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to take it. You must do what feels comfortable for you.

As regards making disclosures about your own life, this has to be something for you to decide. If you don’t feel comfortable about it, then don’t ever feel obliged to do so. We all have some things we are not comfortable sharing. I do feel that people seem to disclose too much in the online world. A suppose it is a kind of catharsis, and perhaps in that person’s life, there isn’t someone they can open up to.

In my case, I have always been reluctant to share the reason I first went into acupuncture; I suffered from an inflammatory bowel condition in my early twenties which was not resolved with conventional Western medicine. For many years I have always kept this private. However, I felt that this lack of disclosing came from a position of the fear of being judged.

For example, years ago I went for a job interview, where the interviewee team was a group of three people. In the middle, was the company President, a lean, old, grizzly-grey looking man, in his late 60’s. who had a facial expression like he’d spent his whole life sucking on grapefruit and that it had made him morbidly constipated. On either side of him, were two young employees who still had a youthful idealistic look in their face, which I could sense was overshadowed by their boss’s grapefruit-face sucking energy.

At one point, I was asked why I studied my particular degree in Acupuncture and I honestly told the three interviewers that I’d had health problems, which pushed me into this path. As soon as I said this the grapefruit-sucking President’s face grimaced even more than it had been already, and I could see clearly that he didn’t like the idea of accepting someone who had been sick into his organisation.

I suppose getting sick is a sign of weakness for some people. I didn’t get the job then, and I decided not to be too open about it in future. However, now I feel I have to change this, as I feel I am not being honest to myself and so for this reason, I decided to open up about it more in some of my writings, especially my blog.

On the other hand, there are things I won’t disclose. I won’t talk about my family in any deep detail and I won’t post pictures of my family. Other people will though, especially through Facebook. Again it is your choice and what you are happy with.

The advantage of disclosure is that it does seem to resonate more with readers. If you talk openly about yourself, it sometimes invites other people to open up to you.

It may also help your business in some ways. For example, if your unique selling point is in treating conditions like endometriosis and you used to suffer from it for years, than that would be a helpful thing to disclose as a patient will feel you understand the condition better.

In some cases, it may also be ok to disclose a past situation where a family member had cancer, particularly if you are talking about strategies to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Where you might want to draw the line, is writing about a messy divorce you’re going through or that time you came home to find your husband sleeping with the au pair. No need to wash your dirty linen in public. And again, no sex tapes.

Self-censorship

There are some areas where you should tread carefully. The challenge with a blog is that it is a platform where your business side meets halfway with your personal side.

For some, there may be a temptation to express their political or personal beliefs, which may potentially upset your readers. It may even upset your current clients. This is where you must remind yourself of the original purpose of your blog.

For example, you may feel very strongly about the Trump presidency either being pro or anti Trump. You may have strong opinions on the refugee crisis in Europe or against certain religious and ethnic groups. You may be for or against abortion. You may be anti-Christian or anti-gay. And you may be a member of the Nazi party.

These may be your strong personal opinions and you can be sure if you express them, you will upset some people and attract others.

If you prioritise your freedom to express these opinions over your desire to carry out your work to help people, then your business will suffer and rightly so. You do of course have a right to your opinions and who you see.

One other factor to consider is that Google is in the process of eradicating websites off the internet that it feels contain offensive material – especially what it perceives to be of a racist nature. Who knows to what extent this will go in the future? And this trend is likely to continue.

My point is that you should primary stay focused on the business of running a complementary therapy business and your personal message. And keep politics out of it. Keep your opinions to your dinner table. Or just blog or comment about it anonymously on other sites and keep it separate from your business and identity.

Witches versus the Warlocks

There will be one area of conflict that may be an issue for you – the idea of natural and alternative medicine versus the conventional pharmaceutical-based model of health.

In some therapies, there is no meeting place or you may feel very strongly against it. You may be vehemently against chemotherapy or generally all pharmaceuticals.

I have met and heard about a couple of senior acupuncture teachers in Japan who were completely against all Western drugs, even advising patients to avoid them including drugs such as chemotherapy and vaccinations.

In the UK, it is becoming harder to hold this stance. In some cases, it may be inadvisable, particularly if you work (or want to work) in a NHS setting or for a healthcare charity. In these environments,  you may be working alongside other conventional medical professionals and will have to learn to communicate in an un-antagonistic way. It is your decision whether you include these views in your blog. There are some bloggers who do, whereas others like myself, choose a middle ground.

Bullet Points

 To recap:

  • Insert your personality into your writing so readers can better engage with you.
  • Disclosing stories about yourself can make your audience relate to you better.
  • On the other hand, don’t over-expose. This is not the Jeremy Kyle show.
  • If you disclose, consider your boundaries. How much are you prepared to share?
  • Keep politics out of it and avoid contentious issues.
  • And no sex tapes.

 

Click here for next post – Chapter Five

 


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Chapter Three: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Three

Deciding on Blog Topics: What to write about

 

16053314 - tired and stressed young asian woman
Ideas not coming… Coffee need more

Use your skills and knowledge to create intellectual value

For a complementary therapy practitioner, this is where we have the chance to produce something very unique, which is relevant and informative to our potential readers. We will have knowledge of our therapy, but more than that – the path which took us onto this therapy, will probably hold some useful nuggets for possible topics.

For example, a lot of people embark on learning a complementary therapy because it helped them deal with a specific health complaint. Well, straightaway, you have a topic – not just for one blog article but a whole series as well as a detailed guide you could write.

There is no better experience than personal familiarity with a disease. You will know just what a person is going through with a disease. You will know the feelings and the searches for a solution to the problem. You may even have fallen in some potholes on the way to finding a way to deal with your problem.

Whether that problem is acne, fertility, headaches, or stress, it is guaranteed that there will be other people with those same problems, who are also looking for a solution. And you may just be able to point them in the right direction.

Ideas for topics

This is where you can let your creative forces be unleashed. Some people struggle to think of ideas, especially every week. This is because creativity is in many ways, like a muscle. If you are stuck in an office typing spreadsheets for 8 hours a day, your creativity muscle will look like a squashed worm on the pavement on a wet day.

You must use your creativity muscle to keep it strong and supple. If you don’t, it loses it strength and function. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage it.

Firstly, journaling. Get in the habit of writing a little bit each day. If you have a PC, use Microsoft One-Note. This is a journaling software that is easy to use. Reflect and write whatever you feel like. This is your own space, which no one else will be reading, so go for it and write whatever comes. it may even reveal some interesting insights to you. All of this will exercise your creativity muscle.

The second idea comes from the blogger James Altucher. He recommends that you carry a small waiter’s pad with you at all time and get in the habit of writing down ten ideas every day. These ideas could be crazy. They could be ideas for inventions or ice cream flavours. It doesn’t matter. Just get in the habit of thinking and writing them down. You will find one or two gems in there.

Perhaps if ten a day is too much, then ten a week is doable especially if you use One-Note. At some point, look back and check what you have written. You will be able to see if there are any ideas for blog articles among these ideas.

I have tried this exercise, and my computer is full of blog article ideas that haven’t been written up yet. I know that if I want to write an article, but cannot think of an idea, then I need only look at this electronic notepad to get something.

Popular themes that people search for online:

People want to learn how to make money or how to get the job they want. We want to look good and find someone to love or to love us. People want to be more powerful than they are.

Some want to criticise the governing party and fix the world. Others want information or inside knowledge that sets us apart from the rest. Lastly, almost everyone will want to have better health. We will search out all sorts of different things on the internet.

These are some basic human desires. It is these desires that will drive people to search the internet. On a general level, people are driven by:

  • Sex
  • Money
  • Power
  • Health

Let’s elaborate on these sections…

Sex

Sex sells. This is a typical marketing term and it still holds true. By ‘sex’, I don’t mean the physical act – (not unless you are running an X-rated site). By sex, I’m talking about the idea of attractiveness and looking good – whether that is based on physical, material or social status.

People want to look good and to appear more attractive. The whole world of social media like Facebook and Instagram is about looking good and being admired to the world. This is driven by the sex instinct. Perhaps on a deeper level, it is also about seeking love and validation, but that is a different matter. This instinct also drives people to want to make more money and be more successful at work.

This is a great selling point. Adverts will use attractive people to sell products. Sex works as a theme also for complementary therapy practitioners. How so? You are selling health, you are selling wellbeing. Look at the Millennial generation and to a lesser extent, Generation X. These are generations fully immersed in social media and the idea of putting your life and your appearance on display.

Appearance is closely tied with health and wellbeing. You only need to see just how popular Yoga Instagramers and YouTubers are, to get an understanding of how valued outer appearance is. And one of the biggest aspects of this is sex. Sex sells.

People want to feel better, but more so, they want to look better. A complementary therapist can work in this area and blog on the topic accordingly.

For example, if you focus on facial acupuncture, some clients may come to you to remove wrinkles. You may also have your own skin care products or do facials. You can also focus on acne as one of your main treatments, which is tied in with appearance and beauty.

People are coming to you because they want to look better, which in turn makes them feel better because we all want to be more attractive. It is curious, but people are more prepared to spend money on looking good then on feeling good.

For example, some people will think nothing of spending £40 on a skin cream product, but may hesitate when it comes to paying the same for a massage or acupuncture session, even though they have knots the size of satsuma’s in their back.  Appearance seems to occupy a greater priority than internal health.

So focusing on beauty, appearance, skin care, attractiveness or even style and fashion can be a unique selling point for your business and your blog. It can help to attract a certain type of audience to you, especially if you can sell the idea that external beauty is closely tied to internal health and mind, which it is anyway.

I mentioned two other areas: Money and Power as driving forces for people to search the internet for answers. These two areas are not so relevant to a complementary therapy business and blog. Health is obviously far more relevant. Nonetheless, before I discuss Health, I’ll just briefly touch on Money and Power.

Money

Making money has always been an attractive topic for people. Money opens lots of opportunities for us. Websites, blogs and books about making money have always been very popular. Money means freedom to experience more in life and to be able to avoid certain stresses that comes with not having enough money.

As a complementary therapist, money is probably not going to be a topic you are going to blog about unless you decide to talk about the business aspect of it. On the other hand, there is no reason why you can’t blog about it anyway. I do.

Power

The big car, the career and the exotic holidays are all status signs of power. They allow us to portray an image of success and power to the world.

People chase power and success. It’s a huge motivating force. The problem is that a lot of people study and work hard and then land these high powered jobs, but sometimes, they have had to sacrifice their health and mental wellbeing in order to achieve it. There are plenty of stressed and tired city workers in London or any major city.

With this kind of work, a common consequence is stress, anxiety, depression, back pain and stiff shoulders. In a worst case scenario, some of these people are running themselves down too much and are at risk of a serious illness unless they change course. All of these people are potential clients if you can learn how to target and reach them and make it easy for them to find you.

Health

For a complementary therapy practitioner, your main arena is going to be heath. Obviously this is the main theme that you will focus on writing in your blog because we have the power to help relieve or alleviate someone’s health problem. The challenge is to get that message heard, so people know to come to you.

All of the above points  – sex, money and power are important in their own right, but let’s look it at this way. Having no money, power or sex is annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. You can survive.

But when you lack health and wellbeing in any area of your life, that lack will overshadow everything else. You may be the richest person on the planet, but if you are in great pain, you would happily sacrifice half of all that for the alleviation of your suffering.

The irony is that. Most people don’t think about health until they lose it. People mostly focus on sex, money and power. They may spend their whole life chasing the above, even at the cost of their health. Yet health is arguably the most important of all.

And it is your job to remind people that health is important. You living depends on it.

So blogging about topics of health – especially common issues that affect many people will help you draw potential clients. Some common health problems these days are depression, stress, and infertility problems.

And if you do some writing on a particular topic, don’t just write one article. Write a whole series. Make it a theme. People do not get tired of reading the same topic in a blog especially if it relates to them. In fact, they will see your blog as a place to go for that specific problem and will look for your unique insight.

Your target audience

Teenager in the shower obsessed with the smart phone
 – And I really thought the Passion of the Christ would have more naughtier bits in it –

What is the target demographic that resonates with you, and they with you?

You need to give some general thought to who you are writing for. Even better is to write a profile down. This may be decided based on a few different demographic factors:

  • Target location
  • Age bracket
  • Sex – male or female
  • Professional and socio-economic background
  • Your audience’s interests

I will elaborate a little on these factors:

Target demographic

In my previous eBook on ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget, I discussed about target demographics and how to identify the make-up of specific areas. See that book for more information on this topic.

Target location

This depends on what the purpose of your site it. If you simply want to attract more clients from your local area, then you may consider writing some blog articles about health care events or other activities in your local area. A lot of articles will contain keywords for your locality.

For example, the blogger WalesOnCraic has built up a huge audience by creating a blog based on South Wales.

If you have an eBook on helping a specific health complaint like arthritis, than you don’t just need to think locally. You may want to target all English speaking countries.

On the other hand, if your business is focused on treating people directly, who suffer from arthritis, then it would be beneficial to focus on your local demographic.

Lateral thinking

In this example, be aware that people who suffer with arthritis tend to be more in the 60-80 age group. People over the age of 70 are less likely to use the internet or be able to find your blog. It may be better to focus on other methods of promotions such as classified ads.

Either you forgo the blog, or perhaps if several of your patients have elderly parents, you could let them be aware that you also treat conditions like arthritis. For example, you could blog primarily about gynaecological problems and then include a few articles about arthritis.

Male or female

Some therapies, will tend to attract woman more than men and vice versa. For example, men may be more driven to see an osteopath or chiropractor than to visit a therapist who practices Bach Flower Remedies.

You may feel more comfortable treating women, or perhaps you practice a therapy that tends to be more popular with female clients than male. In these cases, you may be better off focusing your blog on issues that affect women rather than men. For example, gynaecological problems, or things like shopping… only joking.

Or perhaps you have personally dealt with male issues in the past, such as prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction or baldness (hopefully, not all at the same time) and you want to share your knowledge with other men to help them as well as make a business out of it. In which case, your blog will be focused on men.

Age brackets

These are some standard age brackets used in advertising for targeting certain age groups:

  • 12-17
  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65+

These age brackets are subject to change. They range through the different generational groups, such as the Silent generation, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and within these generational groups, they can be further broken down.

On this chart above, everyone over 65+ is lumped together and I assume from a marketing perspective, they are not seem as a target group, perhaps supposedly because of perceived lower disposable income. Yet, that would be a mistake, because this group can make up a significant percentage of a complementary therapist’s client list.

In Japan, I observed one acupuncturist, who had several clients in their 60’s and 70s’. They made-up a significant proportion of his clients during the early afternoon and morning hours, which are sometimes ‘dead hours’ for complementary therapists.

From a business perspective It is well worth considering the age brackets of your potential and preferred clients. For example:

  • What is the general age range of people in your local area?
  • What is the general age range of people you would prefer to target?
  • What is the age range you feel most comfortable with?
  • What is the age range that is more likely to contact you or can be helped by your specific treatment
  • What do you understand about the different needs and habits of these specific age ranges? For example, the health needs of a baby boomer approaching retirement will be different to a member of Generation X in middle age.

As a complementary therapy practitioner, you may be open to treating patients from all age ranges from baby to the elderly. Many acupuncturists operate this way.

For example, I visited the clinic of an established acupuncturist in Yokohama in Japan. I observed a mother bring a baby in for a baby acupuncture session. Then after that, an elderly lady came in for her weekly session.

In his case he was able to appeal quite broadly across a wide range. On the other hand, he worked in a small residential area and was unlikely to attract city workers or younger people from the Millennial generation.

You may feel that your therapy can benefit all age ranges. This may be true, but from a marketing point of view, it may be better to focus on a specific group rather than all groups.

Consider what is the age range of the clients that tends to come to you. Or if you are not practicing yet, or you are building up your practice – what is the age range of the kind of client that you would feel more comfortable seeing or you feel you can target?

In my case, I am open to treating all age ranges. However, I tend to attract the age range of 28-45 and predominantly female. With this kind of information, you can then start to narrow down your target group.

If I then started researching the kinds of issues that affect women in this age group, and then wrote a lot of articles about it in my blog, then I may be able to increase my target audience and attract more clients.

In my own case, I have chosen not to focus exclusively on this target group It would be better from a business perspective to do so, but I am more interested in developing a broader experience of treatment and exposure to different conditions at this point in my life.

Professional and socio-economic background

This can differ depending on your location. For example, if you were a sports massage therapist and you live close to a major city, you may target relatively well-paid city workers or professionals. These people usually have some kind of muscular pain problem from work stress and need relaxation. Your blog may be focused on articles about mindfulness and stress release.

Perhaps if you have escaped the ‘rat race’ and are looking at making a new holistic and healthy lifestyle, then that story could be really inspirational to an audience, who secretly wish they could quit their jobs and follow their dreams.

If you live in a small rural town, than you may be focused on the retired or elderly.  In which case you probably don’t really need a blog. A blog can be a major time-sap, and if you don’t think there is any benefit to be gained from it, than you probably don’t need one.

If you only wanted to pick up local clients then you would be better to advertise in local newspapers, health clinics or fitness centres. If however you wanted to sell products or courses for a condition that did affect the elderly, than by all means a blog would be useful.

The current generation of web savvy and net-surfing people may be looking for solutions to help their parents or grandparents. And at any rate, they will get old too and at some point be looking for answers online.

Your audience’s interests

This can be therapy specific. People may be finding you online to help them treat a certain problem. But how do they know that you have the solution? Say for example, you are a Bowen Technique therapist. You know full well the benefits of your therapy. But many people will not, especially compared to a therapist like a Chiropractor, who people will immediately associate with fixing back problems.

Looking at the Chiropractor example, if you have a website, people will search you out generally for back problems. However, it may be that you don’t just want to fix people’s subluxations.

In fact, a larger part of your treatment is incorporating major lifestyle changes like regular exercise and diet. However, people are more likely to come to you first for help with their back pain.

For a chiropractor writing a blog and trying to build up an audience, he may well have to consider writing a percentage of articles on healing back pain. And not just one article is enough – write lots of different articles on the same topic but perhaps with a different slant. In this way, your audience will find you.

But then at the same time, you can include those blog articles on lifestyle changes and diet. I have read one chiropractor’s blog where he goes even deeper, talking critically about pharmaceuticals and the standard medical approach to cancer as well as vaccinations. In this way, you satisfy your audience’s interest, but you also widen and draw your audience in deeper, as well as educating and improving their lives at the same time.

Think about what drew you to your therapy

So again, with the example of the Bowen Technique practitioner. Ask yourself what drew you into Bowen technique? What drew your colleagues into it? Is there a common factor?

That factor may be something like an article in a major magazine talking about the benefits of Bowen for a specific condition. Or it could be that you were all drawn to it based on the work of the person who founded the therapy. And if you were drawn to it in a particular way, then other people may be too. So you just need to figure out how to use that interest to bring clients to your blog.

Sometimes, articles in mainstream media magazines can be very helpful. Acupuncture is a good example of this. Acupuncture is actually useful for a lot of different conditions, but some journalists wrote about using it for fertility issues and then an association was created of acupuncture with helping fertility problems. Because of this, many people will search you out for infertility or IVF support.

Other examples of associations and interests are: hypnotherapy for stopping smoking, homeopathy for childhood illnesses or as an alternative to vaccination, Mindfulness for stress. Possibly cupping for sports injuries (e.g. Michael Phelps had pictures of his cupping marks on his back during the Olympics).

These are some associations that may draw traffic and potential clients to your website. You may be able to think of many more associations. If you can, write  some posts about these particular topics and make sure to include lots of relevant keywords in your text.

To conclude, these are some simple ways in how thinking about your target group could help you write relevant blog articles that will reach a particular audience.

Of course, there is a balance. You may prefer to write about things of interest to you rather than what can attract viewers. That may be writing about the more technical aspects of your therapy or about a seminar you attended. By all means do this, as it is a great way to show your knowledge and experience. But also, think about your demographic and put things out there that will be of value to them.

You also have to balance between narrowing down to a certain target group but also being broad enough to have something to offer to a wider range of people. These are just general concepts, because in reality people are far more varied and complex even though they may belong to the same demographic.

Bullet Points

 To recap:

  • Always keep brainstorming ideas for blog articles and write them on a notepad or your laptop. For example, try the 10 ideas a day/week exercise.
  • Consider what are motivating and driving forces for people?
  • Consider who is your intended target audience – look at age bracket, sex, location and socio-economic background
  • Consider what drew you to try out your particular therapy in the first place. The chances are other people will be following the same path and you can intercept them.
  • Narrow down to a niche that is in demand, and write articles on it to attract readership.

Next Chapter (Coming Soon)

 


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Chapter Two: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Two

Types of Blog Articles and Posting Schedule

 Primary Blog Articles or MVC’s

There are several different types of blog articles, which have different purposes. For the sake of this eBook, I will only focus on two that I think are most relevant.

Of these two types of blog articles – one is a primary article. Otherwise known as ‘Massive Value Content’ (MVC) posts. This will be a killer content article – the kind of article where you give away very useful information for free. For example, you may write a very comprehensive post on how to reduce back pain, with explanations of what causes it, exercises, diagrams, or your own experience of treating it.

These articles can be your main pieces of work and if they directly relate to your business, should be considered as cornerstone content. This means you will want to pack them with key words as well as a call to action. (I’ll discuss these two later). This kind of article should be long – approximately 2000 to 3000 words long. You could even go up to 6000 words. It’s a lot of work but you don’t need to produce too many of these articles.

Filler Blog Articles

The other type of blog article are known as ‘filler’ articles. These can make up the main bulk of your blog and may contain useful information on specific problems, or your experiences. The optimal length for these types of articles should be around 750 – 1100 words long. In comparison to primary blog articles, these kind of articles can be written in an hour or two.

If you get carried away on an idea and it starts to creep into the 2000 to 3000 word range, you have a few options. You can either keep it long. There’s nothing wrong with long articles. Google likes it. Or you could break it down into two different articles. Or you could make it a MVC article.

And if you really get carried away with an article, moving into the 6,000-10,000 word range, and it is on a topic that you feel may be useful for people to learn about, well you can always consider turning it into a short eBook or a free PDF to encourage people to sign up to your mailing lists. However, these last two points, I won’t discuss in this eBook.

Publishing schedule

Retro reporter working late and smoking
The deadline is tomorrow…! Where’s the Scotch?

Steady & Consistent: Going to the Gym

If you really want to take your blog seriously, you need to publish regularly. Think of it like exercise. Going once a week is fine for a minimal level of maintenance. On the other hand going too often to the gym – like 7 days a week is far harder and can lead to burn out or a complete loss of motivation.

The best frequency is to go 2 to 3 time a week and a minimum of at least once a week. You will start to see optimal results by going to the gym at least 2 or 3 times a week, every week.

Steady & Consistent: Blogging

So it is the same with blogging. You want to produce an article at least once or twice a week. Set a certain day of the week when you release it. Some bloggers choose Sunday. It may be that you write the article on Wednesday, but for the sake of consistency, aim to release it on the same day each week.

You don’t want to leave it too long between posting articles. Google prefers fresh content. It also likes websites with lots of original content. Though it may take time to build up a site if you are publishing once a week, it doesn’t matter. Like I said before, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Build up some posts in reserve

If you do feel motivated to write lots of articles, especially at the beginning, then do so, and then sit on them. Edit them and get them ready, but don’t publish them yet. You can save some of them for the future, for when you are busy and have no time, or perhaps, when you don’t have the motivation to work on your blog. This way, you can continue to publish consistently even when you don’t feel motivated to write.

In the beginning, I would recommend that you start off with the minimal amount of work in a blog. Publish a series of  short articles – 750 -1100 words long. Publish on any area you like and release them. It is more about getting into the swing of it and getting your toes wet. As you get used to the process, you can start to consider working on the bigger articles.

A lot of people don’t realise that writing is actually really hard work. It requires a lot of focus to design, structure edit and proofread an article or any piece of work, even a blog article.

It also takes some bravery to actually put it out there live on the internet, for people to read, scrutinise, criticise, compliment or simply ignore. And then to do it again the following week, takes a special type of mind.

Consistency

Writing consistently on a  specific topic is beneficial especially if it is on a topic of interest to people. It means that a reader knows what to expect from you and will return if they want to learn more from you on that subject. This fits in with the idea of finding your own niche.

If you tend to write on lots of different things, you may be able to grab a wider audience in the long term, but in the short term, it will take longer to build up an audience, which means your traffic will be low for longer.

Bullet Points

So to recap:

  • There are two types of blog post – primary posts (Massive Value Content) and filler posts.
  • You need a few primary posts (MVC’s). The majority of your posts can be filler.
  • Aim to write blog posts between 750 – 1100 words long
  • A few of your primary posts (MVC’s) can range from 750 to 3000 words or longer.
  • Write consistently – a minimum of 1-2 articles a week, every week.
  • Specialise – Try to keep to a narrow topic or niche.

 

Next Chapter (Coming Soon)

 


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Chapter One: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter One

Picking your Blogging Platform

Making a blog

These days it is possible to create a website, which has a blog function combined together as part of it. It depends on which platform you use for your website.

For example, my second  website was built using Webhealer.net. This is a website company that specifically designs websites for complementary therapy practitioners. The only downside, was that it came with a limited number of pages and also a limited amount of space on each page. When I tried to turn one of the pages into a blog and uploaded several articles, I soon ran out of space.

When I contacted customer support, I was told that I would have to use an external blog provider if I wanted to add a blog and then provide a link on one of my pages externally to it. So although it was a good website company for my business, it was not suitable for me if I wanted to add a blog that I was serious about.

At the time, I chose to follow this advice and use an external blogging platform but my blog never really got off the ground. I used Blogger – a free blogging platform. However, this was never a satisfactory solution for me, as I wanted to have a single centre of operations – one big website that could combine my business, sell products, provide free PDFs and other downloads and also have a blog.

For my current blog and website, I use WordPress.com. At the time of writing this guide, I am still working on my current website and blog and building it up. FYI, this is an affiliate link, so if you click above and buy the Premium Plan, I can buy myself a Cappuccino. I’ll talk about affiliate links later in this eBook.

The Big Guns

I was told by a computer engineer that these days, if you’re serious about websites, it’s all about WordPress. And when it comes to search engines, it’s all about where you place on Google. It’s true that these companies do dominate a large share of the online market, but they are not the only providers and search engines around. In fact some people are moving away from Google seeing it as too powerful. Nonetheless, the chances are, most websites you come across these days will be made using a WordPress template and most online searches are carried out using Google.

WordPress and WordPress

For your information, there are two WordPress companies: Wordress.com and WordPress.org.

There is a whole debate on the internet about which one to use, with many people recommending the .org version because of the greater freedom it provides. However, it does carry greater responsibility particularly regarding security. This is an important issue, especially if you are not so tech minded, as you don’t want to lose your work due to a hacker or malware.

Suffice to say, both are very popular and have their advantages and disadvantages. I currently use WordPress.com for several reasons, which I have written about in this article on my website.

If all you want is a free blog, it is worth using WordPress.com (free plan). If you go with WordPress.org, you will have to pay a small fee for hosting it.

Whichever provider you choose, depends on where you want to take your blog in their future. With some blogging platforms, you do have the option to switch from one website host to another at any time. For example, if you wanted to switch your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you would be able to make the switch relatively straightforwardly, as the two platforms are very similar in structure. There are also plenty of free guides available on the internet teaching you how to make the switch.

If you do use WordPress.com, you may want to consider upgrading at some point to the Premium plan to buy your own domain name. Otherwise your domain name will have ‘WordPress’ in it, for example – ‘www.JoeBlogsMassage.wordpress.com.

It is better to get your own domain name, so your domain will be ‘www.JoeBlogsMassage.com instead. When you own your own domain name, you can take it with you if you ever change website companies in the future.

You can either buy your domain name through WordPress or you can buy it from a separate company like GoDaddy and then you will have to go through a small procedure to ‘map’ it to your website.

The advantage of using WordPress (.com & .org) is that you have the option to create a website and a blog together. You can choose a home page and other pages as well as a blog and it all fits in consistently with each other. This works better for me, then utilizing a separate website with an external blog as I had to do before. But you may already have a good website set up and you just want to add a blog. In which case, using an external blogging platform and linking it to one of your pages can work just fine.

If you are fine with connecting an external blogging platform to your website, then http://www.Blogger.com is an excellent resource. I used this previously when I had to connect my blog to my Webhealer account, and it is relatively easier to learn than WordPress. A lot of popular bloggers today use this platform and it is straightforward to set up. Alternatively, use WordPress.com

There is a learning curve to go through when using any new blogging platform. You will have to take the time to figure out how it works and if you are not too used to computers, it can be a little frustrating at times. Fortunately, there are a lot of free guides on the internet especially through Google and YouTube.

Also, some of these platforms, for example WordPress.com (on the Premium Plan) have 24 hour online helpdesks to support you when you get stuck. Or alternatively, if you know anyone who is computer savvy, this may be a time to enlist them. Especially any Millennials that you may have around you.

Mobile optimised

woman-smartphone-shower.jpg
After 2 weeks of non-stop social media surfing, Cynthia turned into a fish.

Smartphone Addicts

More and more people are using their smartphones to surf the net, far more than laptops and tablets. One simple glance at people on a train or in any kind of waiting area will tell you that people are more or less glued to their smartphones these days. I am too.

Smartphones have become a replacement tool for any occasion when you have time to kill. Like when you are in any public place and want something to occupy you, or so you can look busy. And of course, they are handy for whenever you want to do a quick search for important information like ‘how many kittens can you fit into a red telephone box?’.

We are only moments away from a smartphone, whereas a tablet or laptop takes a little more effort to pull out and use.

Mobile-friendly

With this in mind, your blog and also your website must be mobile optimised. This is absolutely necessary. If your blog is not, then you have to convert it as soon as possible. Mobile optimised means that you can read the text, clearly and easily on those tiny screens.

Most website platforms are aware of this and will design their themes accordingly, but still a few don’t. And if you try to read text on those screens, you are constantly having to swipe left and right to read it all the way through. This is enough to put people off from reading your content. There are also rumours that Google’s algorithms are moving towards favouring websites that are mobile optimised in the future.

In a way, a blog and a smartphone are a perfect marriage. I can think of many occasions when I have read through pages of someone’s blog that I found interesting, in the same way someone might read through a novel. Being able to do it on a smartphone is really useful because it means I can read it anywhere I want, such as when waiting for the washing machine to finish its spin cycle, or whilst cooking a meal. Or like the picture above – whilst in the shower.

If you are busy or have many demands on your time, the convenience of pulling out a smartphone and reading interesting content is invaluable. In some ways, blogs are like the equivalent of novels, magazines, gossip columns and other types of publications – all in one easily accessible format.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Decide on a Blogging platform.
  • Popular options are WordPress and Blogger.
  • There are two types of WordPress – WordPress.com & WordPress.org.
  • com and Blogger have free blogging options.
  • You can always move your blog to another platform in the future.
  • Your blog must be smartphone/mobile optimised so it is easier to read on a phone.

Chapter Two – Click Here

 


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Picture Accreditation

Pictures taken from: www.123rf.com, www.Pexels.com and http://www.Pixabay.com

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How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business (COMPLETE FREE eBOOK)

how to write a blog for a complementary therapy business

I have decided to publish the complete full ebook on this website –  ‘How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business‘ for FREE on this website.

If you would prefer to read this book on your Kindle device, it is available as a formatted eBook through Amazon: USUK, AUS, CA and on several other Amazon marketplaces. However, there will be a small charge as I am using Amazon’s services.

Scroll below for the eBook. Also a full chapter list is here.


‘How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business’

Introduction

If you’ve built a website for your complementary therapy business, you may well have considered whether you should add a blog to it. After all, blogging has become wildly popular and is a good way for a perspective client to get to know you better.

You may already have a website to promote your business, but it will likely be competing with many other websites. Having a blog with a regular flow of new articles, increases the size and visibility of your website on Google. It may also be able to draw traffic from people who find out about you from one of your blog posts.

More importantly, a blog enables you to build an online platform – a number of people online that you can connect with and possibly promote your services or products to. There are a lot of benefits to having a good blog.

Why have a blog?

You have to consider some of the psychology of a prospective client. Someone may come across your site looking for a therapy, but they may be hesitant to contact you. As Tony Robbins says, it is only when the pain of discomfort becomes greater than the problem, that a person will act. A person may come across your site, but still hesitate to contact you especially if they are new to therapy work. After all, what should someone expect from a treatment?  What do they know about you?

Obviously you will cover all this information in your ‘Home’, ‘About’ and ‘FAQ’ pages on your website as well as in some of the pictures you show. But still, it may need just a little bit more to tip the balance. It can help to show your beliefs,  your thoughts, experiences and your stories.

This is where a blog can help. It is a chance for you to share more information, experiences, perhaps some personal interests or healthcare tips. The blog gives your readers a chance to get to know you a little better and perhaps find some common ground in thought or belief.

Once they can see that you are a normal person, who has some experience in your field, they are more likely to put aside their reservations and contact you. In some cases, it may even create a sense of urgency in them, that you are the person to contact.

Other benefits to a blog

It’s fine to have a good website, but you need traffic. This is lots and lots of people clicking on your website, looking through your pages and eventually contacting you. There are various ways to build traffic, such as using the right amount of keywords in your homepage and writing relevant content. Another method is to gradually build up a blog with interesting articles and slowly build up regular traffic with followers or subscribers.

A blog is essentially like casting another net to increase your chance of catching more fish. Or like having another arm like a Hindu god, to your site in order to grab some more apples. If you create the right type of blog, it may even have the potential to attract traffic in its own right, which would be ideal because then your website would rank higher in Google. In this instance, you could draw more clients in from that traffic. You could also consider monetising your website to bring in some extra income.

Another arm to your website:

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Having a blog is much like having an extra arm for your website to grab more potential customers. Kind of like the Hindu god Shiva in this picture.

Some considerations

There some things to be aware of: Whilst there are some people that have made a full-time living from their blog, especially in the early days of the internet, these days, it is much harder to do so. The blogosphere is saturated. There are millions of blogs. Perhaps more than the stars in the sky.

For the same reason, it is also much harder to get traffic coming to your site and can take a long time of posting, seemingly without any reward, before you start to get people coming. But come they will– you must believe. And there are ways to speed up the process. I hope this guide will help you in doing so.

For example, one way to build and write a blog is to focus on a niche or a small subject area. Then you may be able to pick up viewers who come to your site for that express reason, who will then return, because they know you will have more information on that particular topic.

One example, could be someone who creates their own herbal products from their own plants. They may write about the plants, their qualities and how they make these products and what it is good for. Such a site is popular with people these days looking for an natural alternative to their health problems, than the usual pharmaceuticals which carry with it lots of side effects and quite often doesn’t fix the problem.

Other examples are people who only specialise in treating acne or arthritis. Their audience will most likely be acne sufferers or arthritis sufferers and as these can be difficult long-term conditions to treat, their visitors may well bookmark the site and return every week for information or support.

What kind of things can go into a blog

Basically anything and everything. However, as I mentioned before, it may be a good idea to stick to one niche area, which you can specialise in. Then you can start to build a reputation or small degree of authority in that area.

If you specialise in treating a specific problem like diabetes with acupuncture, (perhaps you suffered from it yourself), then focusing your blog on that would be an example of keeping to a niche. In this example, if you then used keywords like “acupuncture for diabetes” in your homepage, then you may be able to attract viewers who suffered from this disease and who were curious if acupuncture could help with it. This is just one basic example. I will discuss keywords later in this guide.

Keep it interesting for yourself

You don’t need to stick to one niche area. A blog should be interesting for you. Personally, I like to write on a broad range of topics in my blog. I can’t help myself. I write about spirituality, health, money, and general ponderings on life. As well as acupuncture.

You see, a blog is more than a few articles on a particular topic. It is an ongoing project. In fact, it is a reflection of your life and your beliefs.

You must write consistently. So for you to do this, it must be interesting for you. You may want to mix it up particularly and have a variety of different topics in your blog. Some successful bloggers do this. Others don’t. The blog also needs to fit you and how you like to work. If a blog is something you have to force yourself to do, then the chances are, you will give it up after a few postings.

Consistency

A person may get excited about writing a blog at first. They write one or two really big articles and then stop. They’ve used up that creativity in a quick burst and produced something great, but then what?

It takes a lot of energy to write. I know. I have written two books. One on Amazon (UK& US). The other, I plan to release by 2019. I have written thousands of words in my blogand on various articles. I have created a couple of short eBooks like this one. I am relatively new to blogging, but I have put a lot of study into creating one, which I decided to formulate into a guide to share with you.

By reading this book, you won’t have to trawl through lots of different websites or read lots of different eBooks about blogging. You won’t have to do what I did and go through a process of reverse engineering a few successful blogs from popular bloggers to understand the process they went through.

A blog requires a lot more work than most people think. It also requires planning, formatting, structuring, editing, proofreading and then just when that has sucked all your energy – you need to promote it to bring in the traffic.

And in return, if you’re lucky, you may get paid the cost of a Cappuccino in return from AdSense revenue or eBook sales. Is it really worth it?

Well, yes. There is something wonderful about bringing out what is within you and putting it into a format that other people can discover. It is a wonderful feeling to write something, in which a single person reads and then shows a little appreciation by giving you a positive comment, an ‘up-vote’, a ‘like’ or even a positive review on Amazon. It makes that Cappuccino taste all the more better.

Avoid the New Year’s Resolution Club

But you need to find a way to write consistently. Suffice to say, you have to avoid becoming a member of the ‘New Year’s Resolution Club’.

This is where on New Year’s day, after the festive period of shovelling roasted turkey, stuffing, pudding and all manner of foodstuffs and wine into your gut, suddenly in a moment of guilt and recrimination, you run like a madman into the back garden and with arms outstretched, you proclaim loudly to the heavens above: –

“Tomorrow I’m going to join the gym!”

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So you join the gym and go crazy on the treadmills then the weights, then the treadmill again.

You’re running like a thirsty man in the desert who sees the mirage of an LA swim-pool party off in the distance. Groups of beautiful swimsuit models holding Pina coladas, wave at you enthusiastically to come over.

‘This is great’ you think to yourself. I’m going to do this every day. Maybe in a few months, I can even look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But we know where this is going to end…

The next day, your body aches like it is going to fall to pieces. Despite that you still manage a couple more days in the gym. But it sure is hard work.

Perhaps you’re going too hard on yourself, you think. You’ve worked hard. You deserve a break, a treat.

And then one week later, you’re on your sofa gobbling ice cream and watching Netflix. Your partner asks you if you’re going to the gym and you reply ‘maybe tomorrow’.

But like it says in the Asterisk comics…

‘Tomorrow never comes!’

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A marathon, not a sprint

Sure, I’m exaggerating, but writing a blog is really more of a marathon than a sprint. At the beginning of those 26 miles, you can only go slow and steady and have faith that there is an end to this madness that you have signed up for.

You just have to take one step at a time and let go of the ego. But you also have to figure out strategies so that you keep going and don’t give up too soon. It has to be enjoyable for you, but also worthwhile.

One of the steps you take in running a marathon is in putting the preparation in beforehand. You have trained, you have changed your diet and you have studied running strategies. By the time you run that marathon, you are already mentally and physically prepared for it. Well I sure hope you are, otherwise, it’s going to be a short marathon.

That’s what this guide is. It will give you information that can be part of your ultimate blogging strategy. It will help put some things in perspective and hopefully give you clarity.

You may already have a personal blog. A lot of people do. A personal blog is a little different to a business blog. A personal blog can be a great opportunity for you to express yourself. A business blog has the same purpose, but there is a fixed objective. The business blog is designed to spread your message, increase your traffic and promote your business.

Writing for an audience

Finally, just to reiterate, a blog is a way for people to get to know you. But also think back to what draws you to read someone’s blog?

Whilst it is interesting to write about an aspect of healthcare, it is worth keeping that question in the back of your mind. When you write something, ask – is what I am writing going to be interesting for someone to read? Will someone come back to your site to keep up with what you are talking about?

For this reason, it is worth making several of your articles on a topic of interest. Something that will attract people to visit. You don’t have to consider this for all your articles, but do put some thought into your potential audience and the kind of information they are looking for.

Providing value

Ultimately you want to provide some kind of value to the reader. If you simply want a platform for you to express yourself and some life experiences, then that is fine, and in fact, these kinds of sites do attract a fair number of followers. It all depends on your motivation.

If you want a blog to be a part of your overall business, then you may want to put a different kind of work and structure into it. If it’s more of a hobby, then you don’t need to worry too much and a free blogging platform would be recommended for starting with.

A blog can take many different forms. It can be a way to express some musings. It could be a kind of journal or detailed diary. It may express your opinions or experiences on specific topics. A lot of work goes into one. And I believe the blog will become just as relevant as any other historical document for our descendants to peruse through years into the future.

Some blogs contain information that are on a par with mainstream newspapers and magazines, sometimes more so.

For a complementary therapy practitioner, a blog can also be a useful tool to build awareness of you and help promote your business further.

What I will cover in this eBook

In the rest of the short eBook, I will go into more detail on How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business. I will discuss the following areas:

  • Choosing a blogging platform
  • What is the best blog article length?
  • Coming up with ideas and how to choose a topic
  • Linking to other parts of your website
  • Call to action
  • Pictures and stock photos
  • Structure – paragraphs, sentences, editing and subheadings
  • Consistency of writing
  • Keywords
  • Reposting & promotion
  • Creating original content
  • Monetisation

Click here for next post: Chapter One (coming soon)

 


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Kindle Version on Amazon

If you are interested in reading the full Kindle version, it is available through Amazon. Here are some links: USUKAUS, CA or check on other Amazon marketplaces.

Picture accreditations

EBook on Tablet picture: courtesy of http://www.PhotoFunia.com

Picture of Shiva: Lord-shiva-arms sarangib. Via pixabay.com

Picture of man with arms outstretched to heavens: Victor Freitas, https://www.instagram.com/victorpfreitas?ref=pexels. Via Pexels.com

Picture of man on sofa with popcorn and football: Copyright: ximagination/123RF Stock Photo


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WordPress.com: 7 Reasons to Upgrade to the Business Plan

wordpress.com business plan
Making the most of your WordPress.com experience with the Business Plan

This article will discuss my experience of using the new WordPress.com Business plan. I have been using it for over a year now and have found the experience positive. I will discuss why I can recommend this option for other WordPress.com users to upgrade. I also discuss instances when is may not be necessary to upgrade.

The WordPress experience

Most WordPress.com bloggers are happy with the free WordPress plan. At a basic level, it gives them a platform to connect and share their lives with people around the world.

There are many motivations for why a person start a WordPress blog. Blogging is a means of reflection, a chance to express and share, to connect or even to offload frustrations. Some people use WordPress not as a blog, but as part of their online business (like me). The good thing, is that you can use both aspects of WordPress – as a business and as a blog in a complimentary way.

However, the majority of WordPress.com users do it to run a blog, utilising the free WordPress plan. 

And most people are happy with that.

I want moar

But say you want to do more than that. You want to build your WordPress site into something bigger. 

For example, adding features like an ebook, mailing list, your own videos, your own ads or running your website like a business? Then it is worth considering upgrading to the WordPress.com Business Plan.

This plan will open up more options and new learning experiences.

Here are some benefits to using the WordPress.com Business Plan:

1. Choice to use your own domain name

Having your own domain name is about stating ownership of your own space.

If you use the free WordPress.com plan, you will be assigned a free domain name. For example – ‘Michealjackson888.wordpress.com’. However, with the Business plan, you can add your own domain name – ‘Micheal Jackson888.com’. (Micheal Jackson.com is already taken). 

Why is this relevant?

For most bloggers, this isn’t important. But for some people, especially if you plan to be on the internet for years to come, you may want to think of it. Especially if there is the possibility you want to leave WordPress. If you have your own domain, it is your own identity. You take it with you. Any links that other websites or bloggers have made to your website will be redirected to your website even if you move (though you would have to set up a re-direction). 

2. Plugs-ins are now available on the WordPress.com Business Plan

WordPress.org (the self hosted version) is all about plug-ins.  

Plug-ins are like little upgrades that enable you to customise your site or alter it appearance. Until recently, this option wasn’t available to WordPress.com on the regular plans.

Now it is – on the WordPress.com Business Plan. This has changed things significantly.

Plug-ins are quite easy to install and activate, or even remove if you don’t like them. However, the free WordPress plan doesn’t allow plug-ins.

It is arguable just how many plug-ins are really necessary, but some are really useful.

Yoast – is an essential plug-in that helps you with keywords and improve your search engine optimisation. More importantly it will help improve your style of writing. That I will discuss in a minute. You can also add plug-ins allowing you to add a store or online shop. This is useful if you wanted to sell products or even if you wanted to ask people to donate. Here’s my donation page –   Buy me a coffee .

3. You will become a better writer

From using the Yoast plug-in, I learnt how to write in a way that is more optimal for the internet and websites.

I have learnt that writing a blog article or page post requires a different format and structure than writing an article, book, or poem. If you don’t write in an optimal way, it can affect your readability.

For example, if your text is too long and unbroken. Or not enough paragraphs and headings in a long piece of prose, it is harder to read.  Especially so, if reading on a smart phone. People’s attentions spans are getting shorter (thanks a bunch social media).

With too much text, they may tune off and click away like goldfish. It was only when I started using Yoast, that I changed my writing style based on their recommendations to improve the readability of my text.

I’m still a bit lazy with my grammar as you may have noticed. Oh well…

Here are some simple tips:

  • Break up your text into paragraphs.
  • Have headings with text in between no more than 200-300 words max.
  • Don’t have long sentences or start too many sentences with the same word in a paragraph.
  • Use the active tense in preference to the passive tense.
Yoast

Yoast will help you do that. When I first started my blog, I didn’t do any of this. My early posts were just a long stream of text. I have gone back and re-edited some of them since.  

I realised that it is harder for the reader to read long streams of text. They get bored and start switching off. Yoast gives you a little score of red or green to assess how well your text reads and whether you have enough keywords. If you get a red, it will give you advice on how to improve it.

And, by doing this, you will become a better writer for the net, making you a more versatile writer in the long-term.

4. You can sell your own products.

If you stick to the free plan, you may notice that WordPress will put ads on your site. But what if you want to sell your own products or books?

Say you want to sell jewellery, home-made candles or exercise ebooks? Why not claim that space for yourself? Advertise your own products. I wonder how many people think of doing this. We take it for granted that WordPress will plonk an ad right in the middle of your text.

Most people will scroll past them ignoring it, but you can’t deny that some of that information gets imprinted into your mind. “Buy, Consume, Obey”. Also I don’t want to have some insurance ads or stuff that don’t resonate with my overall message on my space.

The way I see it, – is to plonk my own adverts on my own website instead.

It’s my space after all. One way is by utilising the side bar widgets. But as more and more people are using smartphones to browse, these sidebar widgets don’t immediately show up, except at the end. So now I am considering manually adding my own ads into the text.

You can do this with the business plan. There are options to add Widgets and to add links and product pages. I have a few amazon links on my website to health related books and I advertise my own ebooks. 

Here is an example of one of my pages where I advertise products and include a sign up mailing form for mailchimp:

How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget (Free eBook)

how to set up a complementary therapy business on a budget

This is one of my more popular pages. I get regular sign ups to my mailing list here. In return, people get a free copy of my book via PDF through MailChimp.

5. You get more storage space

Space is valuable. It is now advised that blog articles should include images. So it helps to have many pictures.

Pictures use up a lot of space on your hard drive. Even storage devices have a limit. If your site is picture heavy, like some travel blogs, it can make it slow and sluggy. Fortunately, the WordPress.com Business Plan gives you unlimited space. It also can serve as a place to store photos and documents. The upload time is a little slow but as there is unlimited space, you can put a lot of things there, including images, videos and documents to be used at will in your website.

6. You get 24 hour customer and technical support

This is a winner. If you have a problem or can’t figure something out, you can immediately talk to a Happiness Advisor. It is basically an online chat window and you will receive an immediate response. No calling a customer support number and being put on hold to the sound of sappy music. Also they will stick with you until you get a resolution to your problem. 

24 hour support is important when running a website. There are lots of different people working in support, so in the event that one person doesn’t answer your question, someone else may get it right.

7. You get security and value for money

What you get is good value compared to other website providers.

WordPress.com (Automattic) host your site. You don’t have to pay an external web hosting company like Blue Host to do it for you.

They are fully responsible for security. I have known a few people whose websites have been hacked, even when they paid someone to manage it for them. On the Wordpess.com Business Plan, you have less risk of this happening. They are pretty confident they will protect you. More importantly, this is covered in the cost.

True costs of self hosted regarding security

If you self hosted, in order to fully protect your site, you could end up paying between $125 to $425  a year on security and back up like Sucuri and VaultPress (Source – Copyblogger.com – What is the true cost of building and managing a WordPress website?)

If you are tech savvy, I assume you can manage this a lot cheaper. But as you can see, the price is not that different to the WordPress.com Business Plan. 

You could take a chance and go with cheaper or free security options. But if I had a site I had put a lot of work into, I wouldn’t want to do that.

Just last year, I got an email from a website, whose mailing list I had signed up to years ago.  This person’s website had been hacked and she was announcing the creation of a new website. In her case she wasn’t able to recover a lot of her articles. Years of work had disappeared. She was positive and took it as a sign to start again. But still.

From time to time, I consider whether I should move to self-hosted. However, the benefits of staying at WordPress.com outweight the benefit of switching (namely, the cost of paying for security versus having WordPress.com handle it for me) is not much different.

Also, because I have invested a lot of time into creating content for my site, I don’t want to skimp on security. So if I did go the self-hosted option, I would end up spending almost as much on security as I do now on my WordPress.com Business Plan.

Staying up to date

If you self host, you do need to make sure your plug-ins are updated, otherwise, there is a risk of exposure to hackers. So you have to actively keep it updated.

With the WordPress.com Business Plan, you don’t need to worry about updating anything. You could in theory take a few months away from it, and it should still be running fine when you look again at it.

In the event that you want or need to withdraw from life and business for a few months, then you can feel comfortable it will be looked after.

One down side to this is that you have to keep up with your payments. Otherwise your site could potentially be shut down and content lost if you don’t. But that’s the same with self-hosted as you have to keep up with your hosting fees (albeit, they are a lot cheaper).


My personal experience of using the WordPress.com Business Plan

Next, I will discuss some of the things I have learnt from using plug-ins as well as some other experiments I’ve taken in building an acupuncture website as a business platform.

A learning experience

When you begin your journey into cyberspace, you soon realise that there is so much more to learn and so many opportunities to reach out to others around the world. It makes me wish I had started years earlier. Like 10 years earlier. Instead of using all my spare time playing 9 ball pool. It was fun though.

One of the initial advantages of using the WordPress.com Business Plan is that it made me realise that I had to start learning again in order to grow my website.  I’d previously had a website before, but it was small and simple in comparison. 

I learnt about SEO and Keywords

By using the plug-in Yoast, I was able to learn all about keyword optimisation and how to use them on some of my articles to get them to rank higher in search engines. As a result some of my articles do get traffic. I will explain one of my keyword experiments below.

What is SEO?

Some people don’t really know (or care) what search engine optimisation (SEO) is. Basically, these days, the majority of net users use Google as their primary search engines. This is for good reasons. Google is simply designed and  user-friendly. Ironically as I learn more, I am starting to move away from using Google as my default search engine.

Some bloggers are writing on unusual or different topics – arts, crafts, certain movies, books reviews, foods, special places. And some of your information could be useful to people searching on the net. But they may not find your site if you don’t use an adequate amount of keywords on your related subject.

Keywords are simply words or phrases that a person may enter into a search directory like Google and Yahoo. For example, someone writes “haunted houses in London” That is a keyword phrase. Now perhaps you happen to be writing a blog about ghosts or spirits. And maybe you just happen to know of a house and you’ve written an article about it. Maybe your house is haunted.

On a side note, there is a murder house close to where I live in North London. In the 80’s, a serial killer defiled, chopped up and buried his victims there. Ever since then, it’s been difficult to sell the house. Sorry, this side note has absolutely no relevance to this article. Just thought it interesting.

Unless I want to create a website about that house and jam it full of keywords. I suspect it would be relatively popular. Comment below, if you want me to tell you which house I’m referring to.

My keyword experiment

If people find your website, then it will start to rank higher in Google.

I did a keyword experiment based on the popular blogger Steve Pavlina. I enjoyed his works. For those who don’t know, he is a successful blogger in America who was getting millions of visitors a month. He also has a very unusual lifestyle.

When people become popular they also get critics and people accusing them of being a scam or running a cult. This is what had happened to Steve. 

So I thought, I’d take advantage of this and write a satirical article about him.

Here it is: 12 Years a Slave: I was a Prisoner of the Steve Pavlina Cult

This article was packed full of keywords such as – “Steve Pavlina cult” and “Steve Pavlina scam”. 

I thought it best to check with Steve first if I could run this article. I sent it to him and would have respected his decision if he had told me he hated it and shelved it. Fortunately, he not only said yes, but he told me the article made him laugh.

So I ran it. And a couple of things happened. I get visitors come to my site after finding this article. My website actually comes up fairly high in google for the keyword “Steve Pavlina cult”. Now on page 1. That is pretty good and shows my keyword experiment worked.

But then there is this strange situation, when I check my stats and I notice I am getting people visiting my site from all around the world to read this satirical article about how evil Steve Pavlina is. This is kind of crazy, because my website is about acupuncture – not about how Steve Pavlina is running a cult in the Las Vegas desert.

So much for sticking to a niche…

What has a website by an acupuncturist got to do with Steve Pavlina?

I imagine a lot of people are curious because they like his writings and are curious to see what on earth could be in such a strangely titled article.

Other people may be looking for dirt about Steve, but actually my article is positive towards him. So they leave. And that is fine, as it demonstrates that my experiment is a mini-success.

Also this traffic does help my overall google rankings. Also, as the article is very long, the bounce rate isn’t too quick.

Thinking about your keywords is a useful thing to learn about. And that is something that can be done through the WordPress Business Plan.

This is an unusual example of utilizing keyword, but they can be used to help your site get more traffic.  

Other ways you can use  keywords to build a website

For example, if you live in a really small town in Sweden that is relatively unknown, you could write an information site that is practical and useful for tourists. You can highlight all the good places, local foods, the areas to avoid, how to use the transport.

In this connected world, someone somewhere, is going to be visiting that place sometime. And they will be sitting down at their computer typing in the name of that place to find out what to do there.

In this instance, it would be great if your website came up in page 1 of google.

To get it there you need only write a really long article or several articles about what you can do there. Making sure to add lots of keywords – the name of the town or any other famous landmarks there. That is the usefulness of keywords.

This way, that particular article is more likely to rank higher in a search engine site and more people are likely to find your site.

These are just some examples.

The WordPress.com Business Plan made me adopt a long-term approach to building traffic

I purposely decided not to rely on the WordPress Reader function in order to build traffic. 

Perhaps that admission may get some odd looks. After all the Reader function is meant to help us build our site and get traffic. 

The issue is that I want to focus on organic traffic through search engines. I felt the Reader function may make it harder for me to assess what traffic comes through search engines and what is coming through the Reader. Also I am not clear how many followers or likers actually do read any of my content.

For this reason, I decided to deactivate my like and follow button (as much as I am able). 

I also truncated my posts in the WordPress Reader. As a result I have very few WordPress followers, (possibly the least amount for a WordPress.com site, considering the amount of content I have written). 

I want to see how my site performs based on my content and overall strategy. I am taking a long-term approach. This way I can assess what I think is working well and drop what isn’t. 

So far, the traffic building has been slow, but is consistent with what other popular websites have written about, in their process of building audiences. The process seems to take around 2 to 3 years if done in an organic way.

Perhaps my choice may not be right and could be costing me some opportunities to build traffic quicker. But it is the choice I’ve taken. Time will tell me whether it works out. It is still early days yet. 


Do you take WordPress.com to be your lawfully wedded wife?

So far, I am enjoying my choice to go with the WordPress.com Business plan, so much so, that I extended it to two years instead of one. I have made a firm commitment for this time.

One of the reasons, I speak so positively about it is that I have tried out other website providers and found that the WordPress.com Business Plan really hits all the buttons for me.

I was tempted by Solo Build It (SBI), but to be honest, I was a little put off by its design, which looks a little out of date.

On the other hand, their training lessons and guidance on creating a business website are second to none. So these advantages do balance the negatives.

I suspect that if I had stuck it out with SBI, I probably would have developed my website as a business faster.

However, I like WordPress.com. I have a lot of control over how it looks. I could have chosen some attractive templates to make it look more aesthetically pleasing, but I really wanted a more simple style – black and white and mostly text-based. Functionally, WordPress.com is very simple to use with a lot of versatility.

Gutenberg editor – jury’s still out, but so far ok

For a while, I did start to wonder after the new Gutenberg editor was introduced, Fortunately, after their initial setup period, the bugs have mostly been eradicated and I am finding Gutenberg as easy to use as the original editor. I do hope that WordPress continues to allow the classic template for writing content.

Is the WordPress.com Business Plan the right fit for you?

The WordPress.com Business Plan is not for everyone. Some people don’t have the time or need any of the extra features that the plan provides.

The answer to: ‘Do you need to upgrade?’ – is probably ‘No‘ if:

  • You are happy to run a simple blog.
  • You on a limited budget or don’t want to spend money.
  • You don’t want to have to update or do anything technical.
  • You want to have the freedom to leave your website alone and then return at any time, and when you return it is exactly the same as when you left. Even years later
  • If it is a hobby or a side interest.

If any of these factors apply to you, then you do not need to upgrade to the WordPress.com Business Plan. It would be a waste of money. 

In this case, the free plan is good.

Other downsides – switching from WordPress hosted (.com) to self-hosted (.org)

Some WordPress users are not aware that there are actually two WordPress’s.

There is the WordPress self hosted option (WordPress.org) and the hosted option (WordPress.com). There are plenty of articles on the internet to explain the differences. I wrote an article here describing why I prefer the WordPress.com Business Plan – Switching from WordPress.org to WordPress.com.

It is worth checking out this article because the majority of articles on the internet, which compare WordPress.com and WordPress.org  tend to favour WordPress.org. 

However, a lot of these articles are now out of date. This is because the WordPress.com Business Plan can now do a lot of the things that WordPress.org used to only be able to do. Such as use plug-ins and have a wide range of themes, so some of these arguments are no longer valid. Some of these old articles need to be updated to discuss how WordPress.com is evolving.

Practicalities of making a switch – Possibly not easy

If you did envision at some point that you may want to switch to a self-hosted WordPress.org account from your WordPress.com site, you may want to consider this carefully before upgrading.

If you have the free WordPress.com account, then there is no problem as the transition is supposed to be relatively easy.

However, if you do upgrade to a Business Plan (or even the Premium Plan), this transition may be more difficult.

The blogger – LiterallyShe.com explained how she tried to switch from the WordPress.com Premium plan to WordPress.org but found the process full of difficulties. Her article is here – Getting Down to Business, Why I chose not to Self Host.

I should imagine that not many people are going to want to switch once they make a commitment, but it doesn’t mean that a person won’t think of it.

If you are a controversial figure, self-hosted is probably best

I could imagine is someone wrote some content that is considered controversial or ‘offensive’, which is quite common in this day and age, and enough people complained about it, WordPress could potentially shut it down under the reasons that it violated their terms of service.

This is one of the reasons why people bring up the whole renting versus buying comparison between self-hosted WordPress versus hosted WordPress. If you own your own site, you won’t get shut down (easily).

In that case, going self-hosted might be the best step.

If I ever felt that I wanted to discuss controversial subjects, I would have to consider starting a new website on a self-hosted site.

The advantages of a theme-based website

One thing I have learnt in my short time on writing my website is that theme based websites have a greater chance of becoming more successful than blog based websites.

What this means is that your website has a specific theme. It could be a very narrow theme like a website about nightlife in a small city or town. Or perhaps a website based on samurai swords – where you give lots of background information on swords – manufacturing process, history. And then also sell or link to reputable sellers as an example.  

Which is right for you?

Creating a theme based site means you are producing content for a certain group of people. If there is a demand for your content, you can slowly build an audience.

In comparison a general blog on your daily life is less likely to build up organic traffic (i.e. traffic that comes through search engines) than a theme based website on a specific subject of interest.

Whilst a lot of traffic can come from the WordPress ‘Reader’, making some websites appear popular.  Of more importance (to me), is how much traffic you generate organically from SEO, google searches, or other sources like website links and social media.

Theme versus Blog based

If your website is blog based and this is working for you, then the WordPress.com Business Plan may not be necessary. It would probably be overkill. A regular WordPress plan or free plan is fine.

However, if you are looking to create something more dynamic and even to create a business through your website, than I would consider adopting a theme based site and also upgrading to the WordPress.com Business Plan.

You want your site to become an authority in its particular niche. A place where people come over and over again. It would really help to have more flexibility over design and to use plug-ins in order to achieve this. All of this is available on the WordPress.com Business Plan.

Theme based sites versus blog based sites

For more information on theme based sites, I recommend you read these articles. They discuss one of WordPress’s competition in the website building world – Solo Build It (SBI, previously Site Build It). I found them very insightful.

The first article is by Foliovision.com – SBI (Site Build It) versus WordPress: How to structure a Website.

The second is Ken Evoy’s article. Ken Evoy is the founder of Solo Build It – Should you Blog: For most Small Business people… Blogging is the worst choice to build a Business.

I found these articles insightful and made me rethink the content I was producing.

There is a natural tendency to write blog content because it is enjoyable and more earthly. Perhaps in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, it was easier to write like this and build an audience. But nowadays with the billions  of blogs and other social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc, it is harder to build an audience.

As a result, a more strategic approach my be necessary – hence a theme based website instead of a blog based site.

Here is an example of another acupuncturists website – Acupuncture-Points.org by Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott, that adopts a theme based approach through SBI.

According to him, his site was getting over 50,000 visitors a month and 200,000 page views in 2017, which is pretty incredible for an individual acupuncturist’s website and shows just what is possible. If you look at his content, you will understand why. There is a wealth of articles. This website convinced me that a theme based approach is better.

Other website platform options

There are other options nowadays and it is worth exploring these too. For example Squarespace and Wix. I don’t know much about these, but the other option I have already mentioned  is Solo Build It.

I wrote an article on SBI here – Should I choose Solo Build It (SBI) to build a website for my Complementary Therapy Business Website?  

Ultimately, the customer has some good choices when making a decision on choosing a website provider. And it is really worth taking the time to research before you make a decision. Ask yourself – what is the right choice for you and which platform will help you reach your goals?

It is kind of like a marriage or buying a house. Once you make your choice, you could potentially be stuck with your new wife/husband/house for the next few years. 

To quote the Knight Templer in the movie – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

 

“You must choose, but choose wisely”

Yes. Very wisely indeed.

WordPress.com Business Plan

If you are interested in learning more about the WordPress.com Business Plan, click here.


Next Post

A Good Sweat: Physical Activity and a Long Life

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Simple Guide to blogging

If you have found any of this information useful, you may also be interested in one of my other ebooks – How to write a blog for a Complementary Therapy Business (First Chapter free).

This ebook is focused on writing a complementary therapy blog. However, the general principles I discuss, can be applied to other types of websites and blogs.

Related Posts

*****


This content includes referral or affiliated links to products or services. Visit my disclosure page for more information.

Alyssa Dazet Interview with Peter Deadman

A Manual of Acupuncture Peter Deadman
Peter Deadman

If any acupuncturists were at acupuncture school during the pre or early days of the internet, you may have trained with the acupuncture points textbook – A Manual of Acupuncture.

This landmark book was written by the well-known acupuncturist and author Peter Deadman. Along with Mazin Al-Khafaji and Kevin Baker. 

I will explain the meaning of the featured image – the bricks later on in the article. But first, the interview.


Alyssa Dazet’s YouTube interview

The American acupuncturist, entrepreneur and founder of the company – 6 figure Acupuncturist carried out this interview with him. It is available through Alyssa Dazet’s YouTube Channel and on Peter Deadman’s website.

Peter Deadman is one of those names that is well-known in the Acupuncture world, as one of the earlier and principal figures of its beginnings in the West. Here is an opportunity to listen to one of the key figures of acupuncture in the West. It is a long interview – over an hour, with a lot of topics covered.

I have included the version shown on Peter Deadman’s YouTube Channel as opposed to Alyssa’s Channel as it has been edited to remove the 7/8 minutes of footage at the beginning, whilst preparing for the interview to commence.

Please like or subscribe to support Alyssa’s work on her channel.


Brief summary of the interview

Alyssa and Peter Deadman discussed a lot of topics ranging from how he got into acupuncture, the way that the acupuncture world has changed, his early life as well as other ideas about health

Peter had just turned 70 years old at the time of the video. He lives in Brighton, UK. In his career in Chinese medicine, he ran his own clinic, taught students, authored a well known textbook, founded a Journal and also practices and teaches qigong. He is retired from clinical practice.

Early Life

Peter Deadman was a smart young boy. He was admitted to Oxford University to study a degree that potentially could have seen him work in the government. However, he was also influenced by the beat and counter-culture generation of the time and he rebelled. He preferred to spend his time taking recreational drugs and listening to music like Bob Dylan, rather than study.

He was expelled from university as one of “the worst students” who had ever attended there.  Freed from this path, he set out with a hippy lifestyle, travelling around the world and taking drugs. He adopted the mindset – “you have to do something important to your life”. 

Unfortunately, in Morocco he became seriously sick with hepatitis. It was then that he came across a book on Zen Macrobiotics from the author George Ohsawa.

Macrobiotics

Ohsawa was the founder of the Macrobiotics movement, which promotes the idea that ‘diet can change your life’.

The Macrobiotic diet is a a type of healthy eating plan based on traditional Japanese foodstuffs like miso soup, pickles and brown rice. It also incorporates traditional Oriental medicine principles such as yin yang and qi.

Ohsawa’s works and the Macrobiotic’s movement became very popular in the West in the 1960s and 70s. It is still popular today. Especially with some celebrities.

A Macrobiotics restaurant business

Peter became interested in Macrobiotics and this set him off on a new path. He opened a Macrobiotic retaurant back in Oxford and a healthy food distribution business. Both of which became successful. It was also through Macrobiotics, that he learnt about traditional Chinese health philosophy. 

However, despite the success of these businesses, he wanted something different. So Peter decided to train as an acupuncturist.

Early days of acupuncture

Peter took to a career in Acupuncture in its early days in the UK. Few people practiced then. There were scant learning opportunities in the 1970s and few books. Basically people didn’t know a lot about Chinese medicine back then. 

This all changed when China opened itself up to the West during the Nixon administration.

Academics and students were invited to China to train. Giovani Macciocia, Fred Kaptchuk and Julian Scott were some of the earlier visitors and what they learnt there, they brought back.

They were able to provide a deeper level of training in the West thereon-in. Peter Deadman trained with Maciocia. And as one of the earliest practitioners in this art, Peter Deadman’s practice was popular. He was seeing 80 to 90 patients a week in a multi-bed clinic. He also started a journal – the Journal of Chinese Medicine, which brings out articles to this day.

Changing times

Things have changed now. Peter Deadman remarked that even ten years later from the time he trained, that the number of acupuncturists had increased and that it had become a crowded marketplace. 


But what about 30 years later? It is apparent that there are a lot more acupuncturists available everywhere – TCM shops, Medical Acupuncturists (nurses/doctors/physios), even chiropractors can provide it, first and second generation acupuncturists well as the newer graduates today. 

On the other hand the awareness of acupuncture has also grown, so that more people are open to it and willing to pay.

Still the notion of 80 or 90 clients a week in the UK, is unheard of these days. Though, I have heard this is common still in Japan.

Hence the need to adopt different business models like a strong online presence, your own products, keeping costs low, and other strategies. (My note).


The Writing of A Manual of Acupunture

At over 650 pages long with hundreds of detailed illustrations and references to ancient texts and source material, The Manual of Acupuncture is one of the most comprehensive textbooks on Oriental Medicine ever written. 

Peter Deadman Acupuncture

In the interview, Peter Deadman said that it took them 8 years to write the book. They were initially approached by a publishing company and along with Mazin, decided they wanted to write a book with ‘strong foundations’.

They spent hundreds of hours researching and translating Chinese texts (Mazin was able to read classical Chinese) to write the book. The whole journey was like ‘putting one foot in front of the other’.

Other health advice by Peter Deadman

Peter Deadman has a special interest in health, with an emphasis on the ‘middle way’ or a life of moderation in tune with the tao of our bodies. This goes against the message of today’s society which talks about pushing ourselves to our limits in order to get stronger or attain a higher level. This approach is not truly in tune with the natural harmony of our body.

He also remarked that aging can be due to stagnation. 

Anti Aging

Usually, aging is seen as a result of a decline in jing or essence. But as Peter observed, there are signs of stasis in ageing. Things like dark patches or marks on the skin are signs of stasis. Stasis is further indicated in our bodies as things get stiff.

He also believed that we can counteract ageing by keeping ourselves younger mentally. How so? By approaching life on the basis that we live as continuous learners. That we are prepared to let go of preconceptions or mindsets and firmly held beliefs.. This is the makings of wisdom. 

Empty Cup

It is similar to the Lao Tzu story about how a famous dignitary comes to visit a wise old monk to teach him about the Tao. The dignitary tells the monk impatiently that he is very important and does not have time, so he would like the quick version about the Tao. Save me the waffle.

The monk offers the man a tea and then proceeds to fill it up till it overflows, spilling onto his hands. At which the point the dignitary gets angry and asks him ‘what do you think you are doing?!’ To which the monk replies:

‘How can I fill up your cup if it is already full? You must first learn to empty your cup before I can teach you about the Tao.’

“Yes”, the dignitary replied. “that is all well and good, but you could at least, have let the tea cool down first. This tea is scolding hot!”

Keep a young mindset

In life, Peter shared how he adopts this mindset by saying how he plays in a band, even at the age of 70. Spending his evenings practiting and doing gigs.

I have seen similar attitudes in other acupuncturist particularly in Japan. For example, I spoke to Mr Taniuchi,  who I interviewed in my book – The Tradition of Blind Acupuncturists in Japan. He had learnt arm wrestling, (I assume sometime either in his 60s or 70s). 

At one seminar, he challenged all the class attendees to arm wrestling fights during the evening meal (and drink) and then proceeded to beat everyone. This despite being of smaller build than some of the Western members. In case you’re wondering, he was using muscle – not qi energy. Pretty cool for a 70 year old.

I think there is some wisdom for all of us to learn about ageing healthily by remaining as lifelong learners. 


Blind Acupuncture in Japan


Peter Deadman on Qigong

Peter practices and has taught qigong for 30 years. He stated clearly that qigong “saved his life”. He was not born with a strong constitution and his early life of debauchery – drugs and travel, would have taken their toll on his body. So a lifetime of qigong practice has really helped keep him healthy.

Peter shared some more wisdom – the value of daily practice. As a child he was ingrained with the habit of daily practice through learning to play the violin. He carried on this habit by making qigong, breathing exercises or yoga a part of his daily life practice.

Fundamentally, this is the key to health – daily practice. It is not just enough to do a seminar or training. You have to practice daily what you learn. Then its effects will impact your life.

Other observations

It is clear that Peter Deadman could have talked for hours. Alyssa has a warm and friendly interviewing style, which invites open engagement.

Peter Deadman felt that he was lucky in his life. Timing was an important factor that opened up these opportunities to him. The West was just ready for this new influx of knowledge about traditional Chinese medicine and healthy eating and he happened to be ready at the forefront of it all.

Opportunity + Action = Success

However, he still had to be ready to go down this path in the first place. Dropping out of Oxford to pursue a beatnick lifestyle was certainly going against the expected track (I assume), for someone from his background. Not many people could do that. 

Peter Deadman made a few more observations, particularly about the way new acupuncturists are thrown out into practicing on the public after qualifying, without adequate follow up. They are expected to figure it out for themselves. Additionally, they are also given unrealistic expectations that it is possible to heal everything with acupuncture, when this is not truly the case.

These are all points  I agree with. I have discussed one possible solution to this problem of lack of experience in this article here.  

Peter Deadman also said that in spite of this current anti-TCM feeling going on and the growth of systems that operate using different principles, Deadman believes there is great value in the differential diagnosis system of TCM. A key part of it is being able to differentiate a person’s symptoms into patterns.

Peter Deadman recently wrote another book on health. Here is an amazon link.

Live Well, Live Long: Teachings from the Chinese Nourishment and Life Tradition and Modern research

To conclude, I will just share some personal experiences with the textbook – A Manual of Acupuncture.

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A Manual of Acupuncture is a Brick (literally)

The Manual of Acupuncture was my college’s main acupuncture points textbook.  Avalable here on Amazon.

Peter Deadman Acupuncture
The Incredible Hulk of Textbooks

It is packed full of detailed descriptions, illustrations and lots and lots of background information about all the points. 

It is a great book, but it is horribly impractical for students because the paperback version is huge. The size of at least three bricks (possible four) as you can see from the picture above.

Can I borrow your Deadman?

Students often referred to this book as ‘Deadman’, even though there were two other authors involved. That name just sticks in the mind better.

Also, perhaps subconsciously, we thought we’d all become dead-men, if we had to spend 3 years carrying that book around in our backpacks on a daily basis. We would all be dead from muscle strain.

Sorry for the pun Peter. I’m sure you haven’t heard that before. I had the same with my surname. Kids asking me what’s it like to live in an electrical store.

To put my back out, or not to? That is the question

Fortunately, the book didn’t weigh quite as much as three bricks (possible two), but students often had to make a decision – should I carry this gigantic book with me today or just try to borrow someone else’s copy for my points classes or clinic?

Quite often, students opted not to carry the book. So the few members that did bring books would get irritated whenever other students came sniffing around, like hyenas around a lost wilderbeast, to ask if they could peak a look at a particular point…

As I approached them, I’d ignore that furrowed, snarling look on their face – indicating to me – ‘Why must I take the risk of permanent muscle strain whilst these freeloaders just waltz up to me and ask me to borrow my Deadman. The nerve of them, these SOB’s!’.

Me: “Hi, could I have a quick look at the location for Kidney 12?”

Them: Grits teeth – “Yes of course”  (asshole)

A few ingenious students actually ripped off all the points and made their own palm-sized miniature points booklets. I still have my original home-made copy from my college days.

Thank F for the Digital Age

They’ve fixed that all now beautifully. These days, you can pay for an app that has all these points on your smartphone or tablet and it is worth getting even for experienced acupuncturists as a source of reference. I’ve got one on mine.

Other publishers also have gotten on the action and produced their own mini booklets if you prefer paper books.

I still have my Deadman from college and dip into from time to time. If you want to have an impressive looking bookshelf, it is a good addition (and edition). 

One day, I’ll have to get Peter Deadman to sign it. If I am willing to carry it in my backpack. 

Next Post

An Integrative Approach: Conventional Medicine, Cancer and Qigong

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Genki Health Japanese Woman receiving Acupuncture


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