Archives for May 2011

What they’re saying about the 30 day blogging challenge from nikkipilkington.com

Have you joined the #30dayblog Blogging challenge yet?

 

Find out more here: Nikki Pilkington 30 Day Blogging Challenge or see the 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook.

Here’s what’s being said:

Hi Nikki, I just wanted to say I’m loving #30dayblog, it’s actually forcing me to bother to write something. I’m running behind and have only got to day three so far and I might miss out the guest post one as I did one recently but it’s certainly been challenging. But I’m now getting equal hits to the blog as our homepage, which has never happened before!

It took Nikki’s ’30 Day Blogging Challenge’ to start me writing blog posts. I appreciate the importance of the momentum in writing day after day. Nikki shows how to shape the content so it is relevant online. Last year I did a blog challenge and found it really hard to keep up. We got daily emails with great suggestions but in the end it was always my own choice as to what I blogged about. I just about managed it!

Nikki’s 30 day blog challenge is different, as it’s very structured. Nikki tells us exactly what she wants us to think about and write. When I read the instructions I wonder first how I am going to do it … and then surprise myself that it is easier than thought. I feel I’m learning a lot more about blog writing this time, so thank you, Nikki!

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your awesome 30 day blogging challenge. I often struggle to find new topics for blogs but since signing up for your daily tips I have managed to write 4 in one day! Thank you for the inspiration, I will continue to use your tips even after the 30 day challenge has ended.

The 30 Day Blogging Challenge is still only £3, so sign up now!

Nikki’s 30 Day Blog Challenge forced me to write posts – sometimes one that were outside my comfort zone. Me? Write for another blog? No way! Well I did and loved it!

Whilst I will confess I didn’t manage all of the challenge (sorry Nikki), part of the reason was due to the extra enquiries and projects it has generated. So if you’re thinking about blogging, give the challenge a try – you won’t regret doing it. You might regret NOT doing it though 🙂

The main question is ‘Does it work’ and it’s an emphatic YES. Traffic to my blog was non-existent, but within a few days of blogging regularly the traffic increased massively – from 400 hits in a year to 600 hits in a month!

If you are serious about becoming a better blogger and have around 30 minutes a day to devote to blogging and reading other blogs then this a challenge that you will not regret taking part in, and most importantly it’s a lot of fun

If you’re impatient like me, get all 30 days plus extras in a handy ebook for just a fiver – 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook.

See some of our 30 Day Bloggers on Twitter:

One good reason NOT to feed your tweets into Facebook

There are many good reasons, but here’s one that should make you think.

When you feed your tweets directly into your Facebook stream, the chances are the majority of people aren’t seeing them. due to the way that Facebook ‘stacks’ feeds from the same outside app.

For example, see here:

Ida is lucky – I got to see her tweet 🙂

But 87 more people have theirs hidden. That’s 87 posts from Twitter that I will only see if I click the link.

Needless to say, I’m unlikely to click the link 🙂

Looking at my Facebook stream now I can see 4 other examples of ‘stacking’ – each with between 15 and 90 posts ‘hidden’ from me. One of them could be yours…

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The one single way your Content Management System could be ruining your chances in Google

Angry Penguin

Image via Wikipedia

Content Management Systems are great. They allow you to update your site yourself, add and delete pages, upload pictures, link to files and more. And all without (hopefully!) messing up the look and feel of your site.

I’m a BIG fan of Content Management Systems (hereafter shortened to CMS).

HOWEVER, there is one BIG way in which your CMS could be ruining your chances in Google and other search engines, and that is if it doesn’t let you change the title and META tags on each and every page.

When I talk about title, I mean the title that appears at the top of the browser, not the title / subject of a page. When I talk about META tags I’, talking about the META description tag that tells Google what description to show for your page.

Now, I know that a lot of CMS DO let you do this – and that’s great. But in the past 6 months alone I’ve come across 4 clients with CMSs that WON’T allow this.

Let’s put it bluntly – it’s NOT enough to be able to change a ‘master’ set of tags that govern the whole site – you need to be able to change the <title> and <META> tags on each and every page individually so they can say something different.

Why?

Because it’s not possible to optimise a site for every phrase you want with just one set of META data – it simply isn’t. Each page of your site should be focused towards specific phrases, and the META data (including browser title tag) should reflect this.

You can’t stuff a million keywords into your site’s ‘sitewide’ browser title and hope for the best. Similarly the description Google shows for your home page shouldn’t necessarily be the one that should show for other pages on your site, where it needs to be more focused to encourage clickthrough.

It amazes me that in this day and age I’m still coming across this problem, but what amazes me more is that the designers who use these systems are telling their clients ‘it doesn’t matter’. It does. Unless of course you don’t care about search engine listings, in which case, don’t worry about it 😉

Not sure whether your CMS is SEO friendly? Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com for a free review – it will take up to a week, but Leigh and I will check them out and let you know. No obligation, no sales pitch, no follow up emails. All I ask is that in return you share this post on Twitter / Facebook / by email / on your blog.

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Why am I suddenly getting so much spam on my WordPress blog even though Akismet is installed?


I awoke this morning to many irate emails from clients and over 400 spam comments to be moderated on my own blog – what on earth had happened?

Off I went to check, and Akismet seemed to be installed properly, and there were no alerts. Hmm, further investigation needed. A quick post on Twitter and others were having the same problem!

Off to look at Akismet configuration I went – and I found this:

Along with a link to the Akismet site to get an API key.

Clicking on the link took me to http://akismet.com/wordpress/ – where it now appears that for a business site they want you to pay $5 a month to use Akismet. Now I’m not bothered about this – I run a business site, Akismet works well and I’m happy to pay.

The plans vary depending on how many sites you have (click on image for larger version):

As I’ve said, I’m happy to pay, and $5 a month is nothing compared to the time it took me to get rid of the spam this morning, but I would have liked some warning, if this is indeed the reason behind the sudden switching off of Akismet. (There is a free/donation option for personal sites)

Anyway, if you suddenly have loads of spam comments, this could be the reason why – were you deluged this morning?

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How many admins can I have on my Facebook business page?


This is something I’d never even thought about to be honest – most of the Facebook business pages we manage have 3 or 4 admins, including me and @leighquantrill, so I hadn’t even wondered how many admins a page can have!

But I recently acquired a client (who I can’t tell you about or even promote unfortunately) who wanted a Facebook page with 100+ admins on it and he asked me the question.

So, how many admins CAN you have on your Facebook business page?

The answer, according to Facebook themselves, is as many as you like!

This was quite interesting to me, as I’m looking for foodie people to become admins on our Recipe Queen page, which I’m going to be building up in the next few months, so it seems the sky is the limit!

I’m not sure that many people will need to have 100+ admins on their Facebook fan page, but at least we have an answer 🙂

 

How does affiliate marketing work?


I get asked this a lot, and I often find myself trying to explain it in an easy manner and failing. I don’t do a lot of affiliate marketing, and certainly wouldn’t class myself as an expert, so I usually send people to the fantastic Sugar Rae website, as that’s how she makes her living and she has loads of affiliate marketing articles, tips and help.

Today Rae has surpassed herself with this great infographic explaining the affiliate marketing process clearly and concisely – thanks for letting me share this Rae!

Click here to view a larger version.
How Affiliate Marketing Works

[Image provided courtesy of the Sugarrae affiliate marketing blog.]

 

Business to Business IT Consultants Harley Grove turn to NP.com for help

We’ve worked with Harley Grove before, so we were delighted to welcome them back on board to help out with their SEO services.

Rob at Harley Grove is a great friend of ours on Twitter @harleygrove, and we feel as if we’ve known him for years, even though we’ve never met!

As well as helping Rob to build his WordPress site many moons ago, we’ve helped out with blog and article writing in the past – so it’s great that he came back to us when he needed SEO.

Harley Grove is an IT consultancy helping small and medium size businesses out in areas such as accounting, productivity, document managment and more, working with SAGE software as well as others.

So, if you’re looking for;

Then drop him a line on Twitter (@harleygrove), via the website, or by email to rob@harleygrove.co.uk

Avoiding Social Media Fallouts with Well-Crafted Guidelines

Angry Mean Face

Image by chexed via Flickr

How many times have you logged on to Facebook or Twitter and found some friend complaining about his work, client or employer?

Now imagine if you find out that this gripe was about your company and the friend who let out the offending status message or tweet was your employee?

Even if the gripe was not directed at you or your company, it could damage a client of yours.  And because it is fairly easy for people to share that particular post, take a screenshot and upload it to third party sites, and even for search engines to have a copy of the offending content, that gripe could easily become a reputation nightmare for your company.

Social media guidelines help you and your employees know the boundaries of what they could say about the company and your clients online.  It can also help your employees know how to behave.

Some reminders on how to formulate your social media guidelines:

1. Know your goals. Social media, it seems, is a part of every progressive company.  It helps disseminate information to people within and outside your organization, it helps with customer service, it helps to have people’s questions answered quickly.  Before you create guidelines for your social media usage, you should have these goals in mind.

2. Empower everyone to contribute. When formulating your policies, form a team that involves a cross section of employees, from the rank and file to the top executives, to those who man your official social media accounts.  Everyone in your company should be represented.  This would ensure that everyone is updated and involved in formulating policy.  Plus, it would make training others easier.

3. Allow for changes. While making sure that your social media guidelines fully outline the responsibilities and expectations you have for everyone involved, the policy itself should have room for growth and change.  This is because social media is a very dynamic area and the only way to keep on top of it is to be ready to embrace changes.

4. Put respect at the center of every action. This goes whether the employee posting is using the company’s social media sites or their own personal social media accounts.

5. Some typical provisions that others have included in their own guidelines:

• Check twice before pressing that submit button.  Check for profanity, discriminatory remarks, insults and anything you would not want your own mother to read.  When in doubt about a message, don’t post it.

• Politely disagree with somebody and politely respond when necessary.

• When posting something about the competitor, make sure that you have your facts checked and that you have obtained prior approval from your superiors to post it.

• When posting for yourself, include a disclaimer to that effect. When posting in behalf of the company, identify yourself and state your position in the company.

• Admit to your mistakes and humbly apologize.

• Avoid posting anything about the company that should not be made known.  Secret files, private business matters, legal matters or anything that has to do with an ongoing litigation, do not have a place on social media sites.

• Do not plagiarize.  If you want to reprint an article, then get permission from the original author before doing so.

 

SEO Inc., a southern California based Search Engine Optimization Company, ensures they follow best practice guidelines whenever they undertake any Social Media Marketing campaign.

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Top 10 Fantastic Ways to Annoy Google – a guest post

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

A guest blog from Andrew Parker of Dreamscape Design

Google SERPs are what all SEO clients will judge you on! Sure, Yahoo and Bing are important, but Google are the leaders. The big cheese, big gun, chief, chieftain, controller, director, dominator, employer, chief exec, executive, online foreman, head honcho, big wig, leader, overseer, the online dons, superintendent, and top dog. Err…to put it simply, in search engine optimisation terms, they are pretty damn untouchable!

Firstly, what is this SEO malarkey? This is the process of getting your website to perform the best it possibly can in Google. Listed below are the 10 best ways to get your site banned or ignored by Google.

  1. Paying for/selling links. This is usually done in bulk, so if you suddenly gain hundreds of links in a short space of time, Google will be onto you like a demented pit-bull on a poodle.
  2. Keyword stuffing basically means sneakily inserting keywords in the meta-tags or the main content on the web pages. This is often used by spammers to incorporate keywords that have no relevance to the actual pages and is used to trick all us lovely and honest people into clicking onto their page. The swines!
  3. Presenting content to search engines which is different to the content being presented to the user (otherwise known as cloaking). This is a filthy, deceptive and cheap trick – on a par with if Silvio Berlusconi started meeting girls online after claiming that he is a 23 year old virgin – that search engines have thankfully become wise to. Doing this is literally a huge big steaming waste of time and should never be done. Err… BTW Berlusconi hasn’t claimed to be a 23 year old virgin. It was just an example.
  4. A collection of freelancers from “content farms” employed to produce specific search engine-friendly content to boost websites in Google, which means more traffic to the website. Google sees this as a big no-no, as the quality of the content suffers as a result. This tactic smells like a farm with high manure production – which Google will easily sniff out.
  5. Avoid sites with spam like the plague! It is like being sneezed on by someone with flu – you will soon come down with the same symptoms.
  6. You certainly shouldn’t do traditional link exchanges anymore. This practice is about as old as they come – and sorry to be ageist, but old people aren’t well known for winning the London Marathon! You won’t finish 1st in Google if you concentrate on this and your website is likely to be (metaphorically) gasping and being helped into the back of an ambulance wearing an oxygen mask. Therefore link building needs to involve clever tactics to gain a one-way links, and ensure you finish your campaign with a gold medal around your neck.
  7. Posting links on comment pages on every website you come across is like being the hopelessly drunk guy in the bar that “hits on” every passing girl. You’ll left with about as much respect as him – but unfortunately, the online stigma is a lot more long lasting than a hangover.
  8. Rewording stuff and claiming them to be your own work is a very dangerous tactic and should be avoided at all costs. Beady Eye may have gotten away with ransacking John Lennon’s back catalogue, but Liam Gallagher didn’t have the mighty Google to deal with. Articles should therefore be researched properly and be original.
  9. Flash and Javascript should be avoided. They have no benefit to SEO and are about as useful as those decorative lumps that sit either side of Alan Sugar. If you do use flash, then make it small and insignificant.
  10. Not a major way to annoy Google (hence it being at No. 10 and it again won’t cause you to be banned) but search engines aren’t too keen on duplicate content, as they only want to rank the same content once – so make every page have unique content.

You will need to avoid these above 10 points if your site is to become the big cheese, big gun, chief, chieftain, controller, director, dominator, employer, chief exec, executive, online foreman, head honcho, big wig, leader, overseer, the online dons, superintendent, and top dog for your niche in the search engines.

Andrew Parker is a Search Engine Optimisation expert at leading web design company Dreamscape Design.

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New client welcome – Masque Arts


It’s always nice to work with web designers, as they know what they want and are willing to do what it takes to achieve it – it’s very rare we ask them to make changes and they say “No”.

And Masque Arts are not just web designers, but web designers with a difference – they work primarily with the performing arts industry, helping theatres, galleries, artistes and more to promote themselves online.

In their own words:

Arts organisations face major challenges in today’s market place: Audience attitudes have changed, competition for their time increased. The web, social media, smart phones: Arts marketing is changing and we are here to help you.

We want to help you to make more of your time and engage with your patrons in more profitable ways – for both you and them.

We’re helping them out with a few services, including Higher Google Listings, so if you need:

or anything related, then please do get in touch with them and let them know I sent you! You can also follow them on Facebook by clicking on the FB badge below.

MasqueArts

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