5 Tips for the One-Person Business

Posted by on March 14th, 2012

“[Good] bosses consider coaching to be top priority and trust that investing in people will cause the numbers to improve.” I have seen several variations on this advice in recent business-management articles (the quote is from an slideshow on the habits of ineffective managers). The sum takeaway is “People, not numbers, make your business; focus on relationships for long term success.” Which I agree with whole-heartedly.

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From the Horse’s Mouth: Employee Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Posted by on March 9th, 2012

In a company of any size, it is your employees who make or break your business–they are the ones who speak to your clients and potential clients, the ones whose motivation and rewards will determine the efficiency of your business. Clients are important, of course, but it can be easy to forget that word of mouth marketing comes not ONLY from clients, but ALSO from employees, and in many cases a good or bad word from “the inside” can count a whole lot more than the word of one customer. What are your employees saying about you?

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New England Winter Beauty

Posted by on March 8th, 2012

This is the view out my window last week. ENORMOUS icicles.

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Be Careful with WordPress Plugins!

Posted by on March 5th, 2012

WordPress is a wonderful, open source, flexible, user-friendly, mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly way to build a website. It’s what this site is running on, and it’s one of the most popular platforms on the web. However, this very user-friendliness comes with a price. The downfall of many things which are user-modifiable is that they are also readily user-breakable. Many people like to fault Apple for being a very closed system–and they are right, to a point. However, it is this closed system that lets Apple provide a highly functional and dependable computer with excellent customer service should you have problems. When building a website, it’s actually a pretty different animal–the least-user-modifiable systems are really pretty poor even for the totally new-to-the-web user (see GoDaddy’s awful Website Tonight product). However, they do provide one significant advantage: it’s hard for the uninformed user to break them. WordPress is a great entry-level platform for sites. In its default state, it allows users to quickly build an attractive, usable site with as much content as they want. If the user never touches anything but the default adjustments, their site will probably work perfectly for the foreseeable future. But the fact is, people like to fiddle, and my generation of internet users has high expectations for websites. WordPress provides access to thousands of plugins which extend the interface, add functionality, let you alter additional settings, and so forth. Many are excellent. There are about 3-4 that I install on every site I work on, because they provide…

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Q&A: My blog gets all my traffic, but it’s not connected to my site!

Posted by on February 26th, 2012

I’ve decided to start answering occasional website management questions on the blog! I’ve always kind of wanted to be an advice columnist, so why not? Here, a business founder wonders how best to manage her website and a related off-site blog: So, I have my official web site, which provides all the info people need about my organization. But then, because I absolutely love blogging, I also have my blog that details the process of starting my organization. So, here’s the thing. They’re two different websites. Now, my initial thinking on this was to make the blog a separate site because it covers a broad range of topics, and I wanted to make the organization’s blog (onsite, currently inactive) much more focused on organization-specific content. The offsite blog is already generating far more traffic than the organization site.  Since the whole point of that blog is to build support for the organization and funnel curious visitors back, I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t be better just attaching the offsite blog to the organization’s site and calling it the official organization blog. But then I might feel less free to blog about whatever I want! What should I do? –Blog Is Successful, Oh No! BISON (oh yes, I’m going to use silly acronyms!) has a fairly common problem. She started a blog (fun! often updated! useful to others!) and a organization website (boring, static, limited appeal) and now her blog is popular, but her org site isn’t. They’re related,…

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This is not a magic trick. This is what I do.

Posted by on February 1st, 2012

When you hire me to do SEO, online marketing, UX optimization, advertising, social media, or anything else: Consultations are always free. Marketing services will always come with education. I bring you new marketing ideas not because I want to make more money from you, but because I think that my ideas will help you do more business, and you will want to keep hiring me and referring your friends. While there is a lot of SEO and marketing information freely available on the internet, it seems to me that a lot of SEO companies are in the business of not explaining themselves to their clients. Perhaps they believe that if they educate their clients, the clients will stop hiring them. Perhaps they like keeping SEO a ‘magic trick’. Perhaps they don’t really understand how Google works, but my opinion is that you can’t tell your client “Google search traffic is highly important to your business” and then expect them NOT to turn around and Google search “how to do your own SEO”. Fact is, whether you CAN do your own SEO is beside the point. I CAN do my own sewing when I want a jacket altered, but I don’t. Why? Because hiring someone to do it is ultimately cheaper than the time I would spend learning to do it right and then doing it, and also likely to result in a better final product. SEO and online marketing are the same way. When someone hires me to work on…

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SOPA: Nibbling Away at Your Rights

Posted by on January 17th, 2012

Do you know what SOPA is? You should. It’s a piece of legislation moving through Congress right now that, if it passes, may change the internet drastically. Here’s CNN’s overview if you’re not familiar. In short, SOPA would force sites to go dark for US visitors if they were accused of infringing copyrights. Google has said that YouTube would “have to go dark immediately”. But possibly more alarmingly, the language of the bill is muddled enough that it really allows for sites to get shut down (not actually shut down, but dark for US visitors) on the whim of anyone with enough clout to get heard. Sounds like China, right? Let’s not go there. We still have a chance to stop this. Call your congresspeople, sign petitions, tell your friends–this bill is bad for the internet, bad for your rights, and already way too close to reality. My opinion? People in congress are so far out of touch with the real world, and even further out of touch with the virtual world that has become so intrinsic to our reality, that they probably haven’t a clue what they’re actually doing here. Several major sites, including Wikipedia, are going black on January 18th in protest of SOPA.

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Search Plus Google+

Posted by on January 13th, 2012

Google’s latest revision to search has created a small uproar in the online marketing and SEO communities–not to mention annoyed Twitter to no end (Facebook’s probably irked as well, but Twitter needs the publicity–complaining loudly is a bid to stay relevant that Facebook doesn’t need). Here it is in a nutshell. Google has always personalized your search results, tailoring them to location, previous searches, and a whole host of other things. It’s the reason why your “ranking”–where your link appears in the search results–is not as cut and dried as many people believe. I don’t see the same results you see, and your Aunt Maggie sees a different set of her own. The latest update to Google Search, however, is adding a whole new element of personalization, bringing in socially syndicated content from your friends, contacts, family and professional circles. Great, right? Okay, but the kicker to this is, it’s only bringing in Google+ information, not social data from Facebook, Twitter, etc. That’s why Twitter’s so annoyed. So what does this mean for your business or brand? It means, that while Google + is still a fairly new social network with relatively low adoption, and despite the fact that the ability to have brand/business pages is still pretty new, you need to be on it and sharing your content via Google+, or you’re missing out on a newly-important way to get your name in the top of the personalized, individual results that Google is dishing out. Marketing agencies are jumping…

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MacBook Pro RAM Upgrade (Late 2011 model)

Posted by on December 30th, 2011

Today I upgraded my late 2011 MacBook Pro from 4gb RAM to 8gb using a Crucial 2x4gb kit (model #CT2CP51264BC1339). Now, Apple provides a tutorial for this here. However, when I got started, I quickly discovered that they’ve left a decent amount out, probably in the interests of getting more people to pay them for overpriced RAM and service. I love Apple, really I do, but sometimes they’re kind of…irritating. So I’m dubbing this: How to replace RAM in a late 2011 MacBook Pro: The Better Instructions Purchase your RAM. I selected Crucial as a dependable and respected brand. There were several kits that would have worked for this particular MacBook, but I went with model #CT2CP51264BC1339 (it’s worth noting that some modules have multiple model numbers for the same module. Crucial’s website was a bit confusing, but their IM assistant was helpful in selecting the appropriate RAM for my late 2011 MacBook Pro). Here’s my RAM in package: Shut down your computer and disconnect all the various wires you may have attached to it (power, drives, peripherals). Apple says to wait a few minutes if you’ve been using it to let the insides cool, but that’s not going to be necessary in the real world. You’ll see why in a minute. Once it’s all shut down, flip the computer upside down like a sad turtle. There are 10 screws on that bottom panel, three of which are long. The long ones are the three top right screws (along the long side)…

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Should I fill my footer with keywords?

Posted by on December 19th, 2011

I recently had to research this question for a client–I knew the answer on a gut level, but needed the data to back it up. Turns out, it’s kind of hard to find. There’s a lot of information out there about what you should do with footer links. And there’s a lot of information out there about the practice of “keyword stuffing” (and if you’re still doing this in your site, please join us in this decade!). But there’s actually relatively little information about specifically stuffing your footer with keywords. Everyone wants to rank well for key terms that may be a little hard to work into your home page content. And back in the day, keyword stuffing (whether in the body, hidden by colors or slide-out panels, or in the footer) did actually work. That was a simpler time…an easier-to-spam-the-search-engines time. But that time has passed. We can’t keep thinking of Google (or even Yahoo) as just a term-frequency-matching system. Try Googling (oh, the irony) how Google’s algorithm actually works to deliver search results. They’re not actually going to explain it to you. But what you will realize quite quickly is that IT’S REALLY COMPLICATED. Ranking highly for your key phrases hasn’t been a matter of simple frequency on the page in a verrrrrry long time. Keyword stuffing simply ain’t what it used to be. The other thing you’ll quickly realize is that the Google algorithm is REALLY SMART. The Google “bot” is parsing more than just your text content,…

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