Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category

TinyURL.com Good for your Blog Posts

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

TinyURL.com is good for your blog posts – actually, anywhere where you have limited space – Twitter comes to mind, and e-mails.  

From now on, when you have a long web address, go to TinyURL.com, paste the long URL into the box, let TinyURL.com create a short one, or enter your own, then copy the URL, and paste it into your blog post, e-mail, or Tweet. The address that is created for you, never expires.

TinyURL.com even has a browser plugin so that creating shorter URLs is right on your desktop.

For example, here’s a long URL [100 characters] to a story in the Wall Street Journal about which I wrote my last post. I spliced it into multiple lines.

http://online.wsj.com/article/
SB121803326363016929.html? mod=SmallBusinessTechnology_
feature_articles

With TinyURL.com, I was able to create this much shorter [39 characters] link:

http://tinyurl.com/wsj-creating-website

I’m filing this under Best Practices because I think it is a habit we should work on developing. For as long as we have services like TinyURL.com, shorter URLS are better! Plus you can give the URLs meaningful words like “creating-website” – and those are words that my audience understands.

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Updating your own Website: Good Idea or Bad?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Recently, the requests for content management systems have escalated. Website owners are wanting to save money by updating their own websites. I understand the need to save a few dollars, but, in my opinion, unless you are a web professional, updating your own website is a bad idea. Why? Because you want to get found on the Internet. 

If you are a client of Adventures Online, your website was developed with all the (current) search engine-friendly components built in. Or maybe you are not a client, but have paid SEO professionals to work on your website.

Now you want to update your website on your own – which sounds innocent enough, but, search engine optimization (SEO) is as intricate as calculating your taxes. One change over here causes a change in an amount over there, and your overall liability picture changes.

Are you capable of doing your own taxes? Yes, if you want to come up to speed every year on the new rules and laws. But don’t you always wonder if there is some little-known rule or law that a professional would have used to reduce your tax debt?  (I used to wonder.) Is coming up to speed each year a good use of your time? And, if you have the time, shouldn’t you be working on your marketing?

Getting back to SEO… In order for you to preserve, support, and enhance the search engine-friendly components that were built into your website, you need to come up to speed with the latest SEO techniques and apply those to your updating. Is coming up to speed each year a good use of your time?

 It is in your best interest to hire a professional who has deep knowledge of SEO in order to maintain your relationship (rank and categorization) with the search engines.

When is it okay to update your own website?
When no SEO has ever been applied to your website, and you don’t care about getting found on the Internet.

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How to Optimize a Website for the Search Engines

Friday, April 4th, 2008

It’s Fun Friday! Spring is on its way in Boston, and today we are having April showers.

A business colleague sent me a link to this video. Being from YouTube, I knew that I would enjoy it, so, I sat back and relaxed. Then I listened to the words. This rapper knows how to optimize a website for the search engines! So I had to listen again, then again. I was laughing my tail off, and, at the same time, applauding this young man’s talent – getting it right and putting it into a rap song. What a fun way to be reminded of what you need to do to get found on the Internet! Folks, this is filed under Best Practices 🙂

Watch…Listen…Enjoy…Do it again…

[Took the video out and replaced it with a link. ]
The Poetic Prophet (aka The SEO Rapper) tells us how. This is a must see!

… and Have a Great Weekend!

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Q4 Website Review and Budget Planning

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Now that Labor Day has passed us by, many of us will be reviewing our books, taking note of our successes thus far, maybe adjusting our plans to meet our 2007 Fiscal Year goals, and preparing our website budget for 2008.

Here’s a list of items to take a look at and include in your website budget.

  • General maintenance items like:
    • Updating the copyright date on all pages
    • New/retired employees on your staff page
    • Updates to your Seminars, Workshops, and Events pages
    • Update contact information if you moved during the year
    • Testing and updating the links that you provide in your Resource/Links page
    • Updating the Sample Newsletter. The sample newsletter should be dated within the last quarter.
    • Updating Job Opportunities
    • Removing the “NEW” label next to content that has been posted for two months or longer
    • Updating your bio and company history. Oftentimes, these contain phrases like “15 years experience” and “established 10 years ago”.
  • Upgrading applications that you may use. For example, Ad Management, eCommerce (shopping cart/catalogue), and Blog software packages. It is a good idea to stay current with these packages -and- it is less expensive to keep current with the newer versions than it is to take a leap from an older version. (See my previous post, Web News and Blogs Upgraded. Had I stayed current, it would have taken a lot less time.)
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How to get Prospects to Take Action at Your Website

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

I frequently talk to my clients about “energy” when I am asking them to define their target audience… and, frequently, I’m not 100% sure that they understand to what I am referring. So, I was delighted to find this blog post this morning that talks about the “energy” of a website…

The post, entitled “Flywheels, Kinetic Energy, and Friction”, is by Nick Usborne. Mr. Usborne uses a simple and familiar visual (the flywheel (see the Wikipedia definition)) to explain why less is more when you are serious about getting prospects to take action at your website.

In short, the flywheel is propelled by energy and stopped by friction, and, (under normal circumstances) experiences diminished energy before coming to a complete stop.

Equating that to your website:

  • The text and design (graphics and photos) produces the energy.
  • The process you define for completing the “call to action” produces the friction, and,
  • The degree of difficulty of that process produces the diminished energy.

Mr. Usborne suggests that one can significantly increase the likelihood that prospects will complete the call to action by keeping the energy high and the friction low.

He cites two tests as evidence of success for the less is more strategy. Both tests were done at subscription service websites. At one website, the subscription process was reduced from 9 pages to 3, and at the other, the information requested was minimalized. The results? The services saw an increase of 293% and 500%, respectively. That is, 293% and 500% more prospects completed the call to action (subscribe) than prior to the changes.

To Do:

  1. Maximize the energy and build anticipation and excitement for the prospect by using text, graphics, and bonus incentives for completing your call to action.
  2. Minimize the friction by keeping the process you define for completing the call to action as easy as possible. The fewer hurdles you present, the less diminished committment to completing the call to action a prospect experiences.

Read the full blog post at the “A List Apart” blog.

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