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5 Essential Reasons Why Having a Mobile Friendly Website Matters

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in advertising, development, internet, mobile friendly, website | 0 comments

5 Essential Reasons Why Having a Mobile Friendly Website Matters

Some of the biggest reasons why companies don’t have a mobile friendly website is because they don’t see the value, lack the resources to make necessary changes, or both. Unfortunately for them, with about half of all web site visits now coming from mobile devices, being mobile friendly today is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Here are five reasons why being mobile friendly in 2015 is important.

1: Google Said So.

Google already penalizes non-friendly sites, but now they are increasing the stakes. On February 26th Google made an announcement that they will be making crucial changes to how they rank sites with mobile friendliness having a significant impact on rankings.

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

If you want your site to rank well in Google searches, you have time to prepare if you aren’t already mobile ready.

2: Better Visitor Experience

With the growing number of people using phones and tablets to web surf, it’s crucial that your site be usable on multiple devices, not just desktops. Things like graphics that are too big, menu options and links that are too small, text that is hard to read, all these work against you keeping your visitors on your site. If it’s hard to use, they won’t linger and often won’t come back. Using site designs that adapt to your visitors device will encourage them to spend more time on your web site, and more time can mean more clients and more profits for you.

3: Increased Revenue

If you sell products or services through your website, not having a mobile friendly site is costing you money. You are literally telling your customers “Go shop somewhere else”. Customers who struggle to complete orders on websites that aren’t designed to work on their device often leave and go elsewhere.

4: If you depend on walk in traffic, being mobile friendly = more foot traffic.

Ever been out and pulled out your phone to look for a gas station, store, business or some place to eat? According to a study from Google, 50% of consumers who looked for a store on their smartphone visited it within 24 hours.

5: People spend more time on mobile devices than traditional ones.

Next time you’re out grabbing a coffee or eating lunch, look up from checking your email on your phone and look around you. You’ll see a large number of others doing the same thing. We’re living in an ever increasingly connected world, and if you want to be part of it, you need to be accessible to not just the person surfing from home, but also from the coffee shop, or bus.

Are you ready? Do you have a mobile friendly website?

For a limited time I’m offering a detailed report on what needs to be improved on your site that you can give you your webmaster. I’ll check your site not only for mobile readiness, but also it’s load time, link health, spelling, code quality and meta tags. This detailed report is only $99.

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I would also be glad to assist you, and should you decide to hire me to improve your site’s grade, I’ll credit your $99 towards the cost of the project.

But don’t delay, I’m only accepting a limited number of clients for this offer.

Does your website make the grade?

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in development, internet, website | 0 comments

Does your website make the grade?

You’ve worked hard on your website but is it working for you?

Today it’s not just a matter of having a website, it’s having a properly built website.

Mobile Friendly? Fast Loading? Broken Links? Optimized? SEO? Lots more buzz words that make your head spin.

Let me take the spin away.  I will examine your website and provide you with a detailed report of it’s current condition, and offer recommendations on how to improve it.

I will check:

Mobile Friendliness. How your site looks to mobile visitors is fast becoming a major condition for search engines to rank your site high. I’ll check to see if your site not only meets mobile readiness, but if it looks readable on several different devices.

Page Load Time. One key factor for search engine ranking is how fast and how efficiently your site loads. A slow page can rank poorly, and slow sites turn off visitors. I’ll rate your site using several checks and provide you with suggestions on where you can tune your site for optimum performance.

Your Links.  Nothing can kill a users time on your site like hitting broken links. I’ll check your links and provide you with a list of any I find broken.

Spelling.  Typos are inevitable. But you want to look your best and having misspellings on your page can detract from your visitors impression of you. You’ll receive a list of possible misspellings as well as suggested fixes.

Your Code.  A well coded site ranks better than a poorly coded one. I’ll check your site against current standards and list areas you can improve.

Meta Tags and Keywords.  Every site needs well balanced Meta Tags and Keywords for good search engine optimization. I’ll review yours and provide you with suggestions that can improve your visitor count.

For a limited time I’m offering this report for only $99. You’ll have a detailed report on what needs to be improved on your site that you can give you your webmaster.

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I would also be glad to assist you, and should you decide to hire me to improve your site’s grade, I’ll credit your $99 towards the cost of the project.

But don’t delay, I’m only accepting a limited number of clients for this offer.

Sample Website Report Card

Mobile Readiness and SEO Report Offer

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in development, internet, website | 0 comments

Mobile Readiness and SEO Report Offer

Google is making a big change to how they decide how your site ranks. With 45+% of people using mobile phones and tablets to surf the web, being mobile friendly is crucial!

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

Is your website ready?  Are you sure?

Special Limited Time Offer:

For $99 I will review your website for the following issues:

  • Mobile Readiness
  • SEO Status, including a ranking report on where you currently stand.
  • Site Load Speed

You will receive a detailed report showing you where you stand, and an Action Plan on how to fix any problems I find.

You can take this report to your own web master, or if you would like me to do the work, I’ll credit your $99 fee towards the project cost.

If you’d like to take advantage of this very special, very limited, Special Offer, please fill out the short form below.

Since I’m making this offer for the first time right now and I don’t know how intense the response will be, I can’t guarantee that I can get to everyone before Google takes action.

I’ll take as many people as I can and then start a waiting list. You can expect to get contacted by me to schedule your session within the next 3 business days.

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Don’t let Google leave you behind.  Get your website check up and be prepared for the change.

Search Engine Optimization – Part 2

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in browser, development, marketing, seo | 0 comments

Search Engine Optimization – Part 2

Last week I covered some of the key areas you can focus your attention on for improving your pages SEO potential. This week I’ll walk you through some tips on doing this with your WordPress site.

How to do Search Engine Optimization in WordPress

WordPress is very easy to do Search Engine Optimization with. By default, just using proper page titles and descriptive URLs will get you off to a great start. That said you can always give yourself a little extra boost by adding in one of the many highly rated search engine optimization plugins that are available. Of all the plugins that are out my personal favorite is the Yoast plugin It installs easily, works well with other plugins and gives you an extra couple of sections to help as well. When adding a page or a post you can not only add your title tag and your description but it also gives you a quick test and score to to let you know how you did.

General Tab

On the General Tab you will see a snippet which shows you a mock up of how your site might look on a Google results page. Here you can fine tune your main focus key word, page title, and description areas. (image 1)  As you modify this section it will give you some real time feedback.

Tips for the General Tab:

Try to use your key words in all sections.

Aim for at least 2 uses in the description area. 5+ in Content.

Page Analysis tab

On the Page Analysis tab you will find detailed information that will help you tune your Search Engine Optimization. (image 2) This section requires you to save/publish/update in order for it to recheck the page contents. Here you will find out if you missed adding any alt tags to images, how hard your copy is to read, how ‘dense’ your use of keywords has been and more.

Tips for the Page Analysis tab

It’s not necessary to get everything green here.  Worry less about that, and more about the big ones such as keyword density, readability, word counts and alt tags.

Read all of the tips carefully.

The Advanced tab gives you even more control over your page’s Search Engine Optimization. For information on how to use it, you’ll need a bit more information. A good starting place is Yoast’s website.

Finally, image 3 shows where you can find the SEO score Yoast gives you when it checks your page.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

The Yoast SEO score shows you how well your page is optimized.

Other Factors effecting Search Engine Optimization

Everything beyond this point is outside of your direct control. Other factors which affect your rankings include who links to you call the back link link 2 and other factors such as your Google PageRank which appears to be being phased out as I write this. Trust factor, which is an evaluation of how trustworthy your site is, and Citation Index which is an evaluation of how your page is cited elsewhere also matter. How many pages you actually have also matters. Meaning if you got five thousand pages you are probably going to have a better chance of being ranked well then if you have 5 and the quality of your competition.

One other factor is how many people link to you and their own rankings.  Gone are the days where you sign up for every link list there is and link back to your site.  Do this today and you’re more likely to get blacklisted.  So be picky about where you link back to your site from.

Another thing outside of your control is how people look for you. A story I often tell people is when years ago I worked for a manufacturing company. They called me in and said “how come we’re not ranking under our key word”? The key word was very short, “strainers”. Well there are a dozen different types of strainers on the market. You have a strainers in your sink, you put a strainers in your pool, you use a strainer when you dump your pasta but they didn’t make any of these kind of strainers. There were millions of results when they typed in “strainers” and they were nowhere to be found. Why? Because they didn’t make just a strainer , but a specific kind of strainer. One that being a buyer in the business to business market that I focused would look for.  I asked how would a buyer and a company who was going to buy your product look for it? The response came back “self-cleaning automatic water strainer”. I said type it in and they were 8 out of the first 10 including the number one position. A buyer looking for that particular type of product would see that they were all over the first page and look at them favourably. “Self-cleaning automatic water strainer” is what’s referred to as a long tail keyword or I just call it being specific.The more specific you are, the more accurate your results will be.

If you were looking for a photographer and you go to Google and type in photographer you get millions upon millions of responses. But a photographer in Moscow doesn’t do someone in Colorado much good. So someone in Colorado would typing something more specific like “Denver Colorado wedding photographer”. Google and the other search engines would basically look at that and give them a majority of results that apply to what they are particularly looking for, a wedding photographer in Denver Colorado. If Google, Bing, Yahoo or the other search engines have properly processed all of their data they will not return a car photographer in Johannesburg when I’m looking for a wedding photographer in Denver Colorado.

So in conclusion, if you follow the tips I gave you, right good copy, properly structure your website, and avoid the tricks that will hurt you you stand a very good chance of writing or having a website that will  index  well.

Search Engine Optimization – Part 1

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in browser, business, development, marketing, seo, website | 0 comments

Search Engine Optimization – Part 1

Search Engine Optimization or SEO on a WordPress based web site is not that difficult when you know what you are doing. There are a lot of things you can change with your site that will give you a better chance of being picked up properly by the search engines.

Right now the big dog on the field is Google. Google has approximately 68 percent of the US search market. Following Google is Bing with about 19% and third place Yahoo has about 10 percent of the search engine market. Everyone else falls in the remaining 2% of searches. So when you’re optimizing your website it pays to optimize for Google Google first, Bing and Yahoo second. Approximately 13 billion searches a month are run through Google. You’re going to get the most bang for your buck if you focus on Google first. It’s been my experience that optimizing for Google will usually get you good results with the others.

Google and Readability

Properly doing Search Engine Optimization for Google can be a challenge. They regularly change the way they look at things. So what worked six months ago or two years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work today and in fact can work against you. When you are trying to optimize your site for Google a lot of people will suggest things that fall under what’s referred to as “black hat “techniques. These techniques are the underhanded little tricks that may get you a good result short term but when you are caught will hurt you significantly and get caught you will. So I recommend staying away from these things which include black text on a black background, or using the same word over and over and over again to try to basically flood the search engine and get an artificial high score. Instead what seems to be the consistent focus for the last several years is that what Google is looking for is meaningful content that engages the reader. Meaningful content being educational, informative and/or entertaining. It does not mean bad copy. So when you write your web content one of the key things to keep in mind for your content is readability. When Google analyzes your website they take your readability into consideration. The harder it is to read, the lower lower the rank might be. There are apparently some exceptions for certain fields. So a scientific journal is expected to be at a high hard reading level so being at a hard difficulty level will not count against it but if you are running a simple entertainment blog or a local store website, if you need a PhD to understand it Google won’t like that and you won’t score as high as the ones who make it readable. So I suggest aiming for somewhere between a 5th and 7th grade reading level. You can usually check this using a word processor program or one of the numerous online or plug in checkers.

Page Structure

After readability we have to look at the structure of the page itself. Websites being designed with HTML code there’s little things to look at in your editor that while not having to be a web geek yourself will help you get better results. One thing that is looked at is have you used your keywords in your headers. By headers I mean that h1 h2 h3 and so forth things that you’ll see that progressively make your section titles bigger. And h1 tag is considered to be the most important and you should really only have one on your page. This is where you would put your main focus keyword in. So for example if the topic of the page is how to sharpen a knife and the focused on key word is “knife sharpening” you might want to call the section “the rules of knife sharpening” or perhaps “how to sharpen your knife effectively.” This way you were using the keywords that focus on your topic which will rank you better. Another thing that you can do is in your actual content make sure you mention your keywords a couple of times by a couple of times. I mean you don’t want to write a run on sentence sounds like this “you know how to sharpen your knife sharpening your knife can be difficult unless you know how to sharpen your knife” this is a sign of a bad sentence you would want to stick to something simple like “here are some tips on how to sharpen your knife”. This is more readable and looks to be more like the way people would talk. Properly structuring your site is a key part of good search engine optimization.

Images

Another thing to keep in mind are images. Images break up your page. They help it flow better and people like pages with pictures on them. So include a couple, say 1 or 3. More is okay if it fits the page topic, but at least 1 to 3 would be good. Your picture when you insert it has two specific areas that you’ll want to pay attention to. One is the alt tag and the other is the description tag. Use these to put a description of the picture and include your keywords. Going back to the knife sharpening example you would perhaps put a picture of someone with a knife and a whetstone sharpening the knife and the alt tag would basically say “an example of person sharpening knife”. The title tag would be similar. These are used because search engines can’t understand what a picture is. To them its just data, so a picture of a flower to them looks to be pretty much the same as a picture of a car, a picture of a rock or a picture of a lazy house cat. By using these tags you actually feed them information which they use to evaluate your page and when they write it to see how it stores for those. You can also use the caption tag if it fits your page design.  By properly using and tagging your images you’ll improve your sites search engine optimization.

Meta Tags

Next we come to the geeky part, the meta tags. A good use of meta tags is crucial to your site’s search engine optimization. Meta tags are parts of the code that make up your website that help tell the search engines what the page is about. There are dozens of different tags you can use but for the most part we’re only going to be concerned with two tags the title tag for the page and the description tag. You will see reference to the keywords tag but Google does not use them. Other search engines may though. Some people say use them some people say avoid them. I personally avoid them but I don’t think that using them will hurt you.

The title tag is a description of what the page is about. When you look on most of your current web browsers at the top of the window it will tell you what the title of the page is. Unfortunately you will often see people using titles that don’t tell you anything about the site or the page. So if the page is about “knife sharpening” a better title tag might be “jack guide to knife sharpening – home page” this lets you know you’re on the homepage but it also includes specific keywords that Google used to evaluate the page.

The next one is the description tag. This is about 140 characters long they gives you a short summary section that you can fill in to describe the page. This is what will show up in a Google results when it comes up in the search engine. If you don’t use this Google will giess and pull something from somewhere in your page. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. So it’s best to include it. This way you have some level of control over how your page shows up. Use this section to create a focused summary that will draw in a person and give them a reason to click on the page. So for example for the knife sharpening page the description might read something like “have you ever had trouble sharpening a knife? this guide helps you quickly, efficiently and safely through the process of knife sharpening.”

Website Structure

The final part crucial part of good search engine optimization is your actual website structure. I have been on thousands of websites where, when you look at the actual address full address or URL of the page that I am on it looks something like / 20/245/widget.php. This tells me nothing about the page. More importantly it tells Google nothing about the page. So a more readable for the human and for the computer URL might be /knife-sharpening/. This uses your keywords, and is readable to all parties. When using a WordPress based website, you do this by changing the permalinks section. To do this, goto Settings, click on Permalinks and select Post-Name. When you save it, it restructures your site accordingly. Then when you add new pages or add new posts you simply make sure that whatever your title is, that it’s descriptive and WordPress will generate the readable URL for you. So you don’t have to be too much of a geek but you do have to find the settings and that.

These couple of tips should help you optimize your page efficiently and safely in a way that will survive pretty much any updates Google throws at it. They also help you avoid black hat tactics, and gives you a very good chance for long-term success and ranking on the search engines.

Join me next week for Part 2 – Basic SEO in WordPress

A Quick Guide to WordPress Security.

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in development, internet, security | 0 comments

A Quick Guide to WordPress Security.

This short guide focuses on WordPress Security. WordPress is one of the leading content management systems or CMS that are in use today. It powers easily one fifth of the web. Because it is so popular it is a high target for hackers. Out of the box or freshly installed (since WordPress doesn’t come in a box) it is very secure software. WordPress has a very good reputation for stability and rapidly fixing holes when they are discovered. That said you can always do a little more.

In analyzing over 500,000 break in attempts on my clients sites 1 particular attack type is the most common. This is what its called a brute force or dictionary attack, and accounts for over 90% of the attempts we see. It basically does what it sounds like it does. It randomly picks a username and then throws a dictionary at the site. Trying every possible combination of passwords it can come up with. If you use a common password it can rapidly break in, so to prevent this you need to use a little caution.

Complex Passwords are Crucial!

First, use a complex password. Don’t use something simple like a name, a date, your phone number, etc. Mix it up and make it something not in the dictionary, and swirl in a few numbers and other characters. This will slow them down, but better than stopping them at the door, is to make sure they can’t even find it.

Don’t Default!

Most software when you install it comes with preset default settings. Many of the web sites that are compromised have never changed from the defaults making it easy for an attacker to get his foot in the door to try to get the rest of the way in. In the case of WordPress the default administrative account is called “admin”. In analyzing the half million attacks, over 90 percent of them were trying to login to “admin”. In order to make your site more secure against attack the solution is very simple. Don’t use “admin” as your username. When you install word press on your site use a different user name and this will block about 80 to 90 percent of the possible break it types.

Limit Logins

The second way to block attackers is to limit the chances to try to login. This is called a login lock out or a strikes system. You heard of the old adage “3 strikes and you’re out”? Well in the case of logging into website this makes great sense. If you limits the number of attempts and block them for a reasonable amount of time, say 5 minutes or even 5 days, you will discourage or at the very least slow down the enemy and they’ll move on to another site that’s easier.

To make the system even more efficient you combine changing your username to something besides the default with the login strikes system and an automatic lock out if somebody tries a non-existing username. This means if someone logs in or tries to login to your site using “admin” and “admin” does not exist they are immediately blocked. The door is slammed in their face, and they could try 10,000 times to login they will never get in.

Use a FireWall

Further increasing your security you could use a program such as Wordfence or iThemes Security that combine many of these features with additional protections. These plugins will add the ability to give people the three strikes and you’re out system, immediately block invalid logins, as well as give you additional protections against other sorts of attacks then you are at risk at.

Stay Up to Date

Also, keep your core software, themes and plugins up to date. Remove inactive, unused or obsolete themes and plugins. The nice thing about WordPress is that often there are many plug ins that do the same thing, so when one fades away, a new one, often with better features and tighter security will appear. Staying up to date is vital in keeping the bad guys out.

Again, Don’t Default!

To complete this first round of securing your site against the majority of the attacks, we again look at the default installation. Many hosts have what’s called a “one button installer”. These are great utilities to help streamline things and make it easier for you to install programs but they also set things up to the defaults. The fault data base prefix for WordPress is WP. Simply changing this prefix to something besides WP will make it much harder for some other types of attacks that do not require a login to be effective. Much in the same way that you don’t answer to a different name they could try accessing WP all they want and if it is JP it’ll never answer will never get in.

So to summarize:

1: Use a different username. do not use “admin.”

2: use a login strikes system and immediately block invalid login attempts.

3: use a good firewall such as a Wordfence or iThemes.

4: change your pre fix to something besides “WP”.

5: Stay up to date and remove unused and unsupported add ons.

This is by all means not an in depth, all inclusive list. Securing a website does take more, but doing these 5 simple things puts your site security ahead of most other sites. Do these five things you run a very good chance of not being one of the hundreds of sites vandalized each day.

The Importance of Security

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in business, hosting, internet, maintenance, security, server, website | 0 comments

The Importance of Security

It’s vitally important today that you have a secure website. Every day thousands of websites are hacked or otherwise compromised by malicious hackers. If your website is hacked, your online reputation can suffer. You lose the trust of your clients, your visitors and prospects.

To keep your website secure there are three key things to keep in mind.

Number One:
You must have secure web hosting. It is important that you host your website on a web host that takes security seriously. If your host does not keep their servers up to date, or do regular and routine security checks, you run the risk of having your site hurt should the server be compromised.

Number Two:
You must keep your website up to date. One of the leading causes of a website being hacked is old versions or abandoned versions of software. Old WordPress installations, old shopping carts, old web forms, old galleries and so on. You should make sure that and you have no old as I call them Construction the breeze on your site creating holes that hostile attackers can use to break in.

Number Three:
You must practice safe computing. By safe computing I mean do not click on all of the bank notices, “you want a gift card” notices and free “this and that” notices that come in your email. It means you do not give information out when people call you on the phone and ask for it. It means you do not leave sticky notes around your computer with your passwords. You use strong passwords. If your password is “Kat 123” it’s going to be very simple for someone to break it compared to if your password is some kind of gobbledygook.

By hosting your site with secure and reliable host, by keeping it up to date and removing old clutter, and by taking a few precautions, you can significantly improve your web security.

Driving Traffic to your new website

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in business, internet, marketing, promotion, web, website | 0 comments

Driving Traffic to your new website

Congratulations! You built a website, now comes the challenging part: Driving Traffic to it.

You have a new website. It’s New. It’s sparkly. It’s live and it’s open for business. Great! Now what do you do? One of the hardest things about having a website is always getting it noticed. Driving Traffic to a brand new website is every web site owners challenge. You will hear people talking about “search engines” and “directories” and a ton of other geeky jargon, but what can you do to make your site more visible and get more visitors? Several things in fact, that don’t require a PHD in computers to understand or do.

One of the fallacies is that a search engine listing is all you need. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to GoDaddy (one of the leading domain name registrars) over a million new web sites are registered every day! Google, the leading Internet search site, currently indexes billions of web pages. Billions! Obviously, you are going to need more than just a search engine listing.

So, what do you do?
Simple. You do what has always worked. You tell everyone, and let word of mouth be your best salesman.

1: People need to know your site exists in order to go there.

When was the last time you went somewhere you didn’t know about? Almost never, right? The web is the same way. People almost always go where they plan to go. Making people aware that you exist is a main part of getting noticed and visited. It is said that it takes 9 times for someone to see something before it clicks in their heads. In order to be successful at driving traffic to your site you need to be seen.

So, how do you do this?

  • All advertisements that you run must include your website address. This is important!
  • Make sure that all of your current customers or clients know about the site. Remind them regularly about it.
  • Put your website on everything going out of your business. Put it on receipts, invoices, letterhead, business cards, boxes, handouts, fliers, etc. If it leaves your business at any time, make sure there is a website address on it.
  • Place it prominently in your windows. Remember, your window works 24/7/365 for you. Make sure that you have 3 key pieces of information on there: Your name, your phone number and your website.
  • Have a custom bumper sticker made for your vehicle that lists your website. You can also have a local vinyl or sign company do some work for you that advertises your business on your vehicle. Be certain to include the web site! Your vehicle spends a lot of time in parking lots. Let it be a mobile billboard for your business and work for you.
  • If you sell or give away “branded” merchandise (sports bottles or towels for example), have the website included.

2: People need a Reason to go there.

Knowing you have a site is not enough. There are billions of websites. People need to be told to go there, and they need to know why. In order to be successful at driving traffic to your site you need to give people a reason to visit.

  • When talking to a prospect on the phone, don’t just tell them about your product or service. Tell them that “and information can be found on our website xxx.com.” or “Our full class schedule is always available on our website, xxx.com”. If you have a web coupon, be sure to mention it as well. Everyone likes to save a buck, and pointing that out will almost guarantee that they will take a look at the site, and hopefully, also pass the address on to someone else.
  • Solve a problem and put the details on your website. People will not visit your site because it’s cool. They will however visit it if it helps answer a question, need or desire.
  • Add coupons, or informational how-tos to your site. People share quality resources with other interested people.  When talking to your students, parents and instructors, be sure to mention that class schedules, upcoming events, school news, and whatever other areas of interest you have there exist, and encourage them to check regularly. Ask students to link to the school site from their web pages. When doing “Tell a Friend” promotions, be sure to suggest that they also tell them about the website. Update your site regularly, and announce the updates regularly after the updates are done. “Our class schedule on the website has been updated. You can print a copy for your own use right from there.” “New this week, 10 exciting uses for winter squash”. “How to tune up your table saw.” There are countless ideas for resources you can add to make your site a valued resource.
  • Update your site regularly, and let everyone know about it. Keep your customers and clients involved and checking the site out regularly. Encourage feedback on the site and ask for suggestions on improvements. This involves them in the process more, and makes them feel good. Updates are especially effective if done after an event or promotion, and photos and reviews are included. Most people love seeing themselves, and the “Hey everyone, I’m on my karate schools website working with Master Z” can get you great word of mouth promotion for your site.

3: You need to do some promotion of the site as well.

When talking to a vendor, inquire if they do link exchanges. A link exchange is where you put their banner (a small image) and a link to them on their website, in exchange for them doing the same for you. These are good ways to help boost your visibility and rankings on the search engines. In order to be successful at driving traffic to your site you need to spread the word.

  • When you go to events or seminars, ask if you can bring flyers or other handouts to help promote your business. Many will say yes. Even if they say no, be sure to bring several business cards with the address on them with you. This way, you can do some personal networking and exchange cards.
  • When talking to key people in your industry (your mentor, the guest instructor of the seminar, even your competition, etc), find out if they have a website, and would be interested in a link exchange as well. Many people are very happy to do so.
  • Make certain that all your newspaper, magazine, phonebook, radio and TV advertisements mention your website.
  • When you do trade shows, you want your website address visible and prominent. Many people today will write a website down before they write the phone number.
  • If you frequent web forums and mailing lists, most will allow you to include a small block of text, often called a “signature” in your postings. Do so, and make sure that, if allowed, you include your website.
  • Most email programs also allow you to include a signature. Add one to all outgoing messages.

Conclusion

Having a successful website is a lot of work. Gone are the days where you can just put it up, list it on a search engine, and watch traffic role in. Each day, over a million new sites go up. That’s a big ocean in which to shine, but, with the proper promotion, you can start a motion that builds to a popular and successful web presence. You can be successful at driving traffic to your website. All it takes is some old fashioned promotion.

Question: Photos in the school, do I need a model release?

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in business, internet, martialarts, photography, rights | 0 comments

Question: Photos in the school, do I need a model release?

Many of my clients are martial arts school owners, but this question about model releases can apply to almost any situation.

Question:
I’m taking some photos in my school and want to use them on my web site. Do I need any one to sign a model release?

Answer:
If you are simply covering a public event, then usually no. Events that are of a journalistic nature usually don’t. If however you intend to use these photos in any way that can be seen as an invasion of privacy, or for commercial gain, or use on a commercial website, then you should have all those show sign a model release form. This can be done by including a simple release clause in your organizational paperwork, or a stand alone release as shown below.  Please keep in mind that this is a simplified answer and for a more in depth answer you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with copyright law in your country.

A simple, sample release:
I ________________ Hereby grant all rights to (PHOTOGRAPHER) to sell or publish any photographs taken of the following subjects today. This permission is permanent, and I claim no future compensation.
Fill in all applicable.
Name:____________________________

Minor: ____________________________

Property: _________________________

Signature: ________________________ Date: ______________

A discussion of this and some other related points is available on MartialTalk.

For a very in-depth look at releases, I can not suggest Dan Heller strongly enough.
-Bob

Staying On Top of your Website for a Successful Web Site.

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in development, internet, marketing, promotion, website | 0 comments

Staying On Top of your Website for a Successful Web Site.

You need a successful web site to thrive today.

Staying on top of your website is crucial to maintaining your on-line presence today. Business websites can be both complex and simple. Managing one, is both easy and hard, depending on what you are doing with it.

There are a number of excellent website management methods. You can use a content management system such as WordPress, Drupal or similar programs that allow you to do it yourself. You can hire a dedicated webmaster to manage and maintain your site. You can do both. But regardless of which method you use, you must keep your website current.

Sure a simple, flier site requires little regular upkeep. You can pop in every couple of months, make sure everything is up to date, and forget about it until next time. But treating your website like it’s merely a big phone book ad, ignores the great potential and benefits it can provide your business. The ability to change it on the fly, to update it at will, offers you a great deal more potential and greater rewards than a “update once a year” solution like the phone book.

How many times do you come across a site that is listing things from years ago as happening in the future? Does that give you confidence that they are on the ball in other areas of their business? Schedule time each month, or week, to look at your own site. If you list contact information, is it current? Hours of Operation? Are they accurate? Do you list specials or events or other time-sensitive information? Be sure to update that as well. You shouldn’t have your 4th of July sales special still listed on your site at Thanksgiving. Especially if it’s from 2 years ago.

It is crucial that your site be current, and accurately represent your business as it is today.  You can do this yourself, but your time is better served growing your business, not doing routine web upkeep. To do this, you need a reliable web master to help keep you running at peak performance. All the plans, organization or ideas are useless if they never get to your website. Web masters aren’t created equally. There are good and there are bad ones. A good webmaster will help you operate a successful web site. A bad one will sink you.

If you can never get in touch with them, if updates are always days or weeks late, never done, or regularly done wrong, you need to find a new web master.

A good web master will keep you posted on your sites update status, inform you of when updates are performed, notify you of any delays, as well as offer suggestions to improve the site and it’s performance.

To ensure you are getting the best, you have to check your site. If you send in your updates on Monday, and the following Monday you have heard nothing and nothing has been done to the site, you may want to pick up the phone and call them. Reviewing the timeliness and quality of your web master is vital. Provide them feedback so that they can help you better. Be clear in indicating when you need work done, if anything is a rush job, if certain things should be emphasized or changed. Clarity of communications is vital in having a successful working relationship with your web expert.

When I talk to my clients about keeping their websites updated, I often suggest they keep a running “to do” list on their computer, and add things to it as they think of them. This is sent to me monthly for me to schedule and perform. Other times, I recommend they simply email me their changes, and I’ll queue them up for once a week or once a month to maximize my efficiency and minimize their costs.  Most of my clients also have access to their sites so that they can make mission critical changes as needed.

You need to take time to look at your competitions web sites. After all, you check out their locations, their offerings, their phone book ads and other advertising. Be sure to look at what they are doing on the Internet as well. Take careful note of when they were last updated, what features they have, and how easy or hard it is to navigate through their site.

Regularly checking other sites an your own, working with your web master, and being clear on what you expect and when you expect it done is vital to success online today.

– Bob