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Top 10 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) Checklist

May 6, 2011

SEOThere is a big difference between web design and search engine optimization. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. In today’s business world around 60% of success depends upon the company’s appearance.  Getting your website designed and hosted is step 1 – the apples.

So now that your site is up, have you been wondering why you haven’t received more calls or emails from your site?  Here is where Search Engine Optimization comes in.  Search engine optimization or SEO is basically a technique to put a website on top of various search engines. When somebody searches for a specific search term in Google, Yahoo or MSN, websites showing on top of the SERPS  are the ones most likely to be visited by the users. This is what SEO aims to give to a specific website owner or a business owner.  Marketing and SEO for your website is step 2 – the oranges. 

When you hire someone to design and create a website,  ask them if they also do SEO.  Some companies do, but you must note that this is a separate and comprehensive service and fee all of its own. If they don’t you can choose to tackle some of it yourself! 

Whether you choose to hire your website designer OR a separate SEO company OR decide to optimize search engines for yourself,  here is the Top Ten SEO Checklist!

1)      Proper Title Tags: Well-constructed title tags contain the main keyword for the page, followed by a brief description of the page content. Make it less than 65 characters and avoid using stop words such as: a, if, the, then, and, an, to, etc. Your title tag should also be limited to the use of alphanumeric characters, hyphens, and commas.

2)      Proper Description Tags: Good description tags contain information about the page’s content and persuade search engine users to visit your web site. They should be between 25 and 35 words in length.

3)      Proper Keywords Tags: Your keywords meta tag should contain between 5-10 keywords or keyword phrases that are also found in page content.

4)      Proper Heading Tags: Each page of your site should use at least the H1 heading tag for the search engines that examine it when crawling your site.

5)      Page Content: Pages should have between 300 and 700 words of descriptive content that contains the keywords specified in the keywords meta tag for the page. A page’s meta tag keywords should also be those that occur most frequently on the page.

6)      Proper Navigation: Each page of your site should contain links to every other page so search engine spiders can find every page. This is a critical step for the proper indexing and page rank distribution of your site.

7)      Proper Sitemap: It’s important to use two site maps for your website–an XML version and a static version. The XML version can be created with Search Engine Visibility’s site map tool. The static version should sit on a static HTML page and contain links to every other page.

8)      Controlled Crawling: It’s important that search engine spiders find your robots.txt file that guides spiders to pages and directories you want crawled and denies entry to protected areas of your site.

9)      Duplicate Content/Tags: Because search engines treat web sites as a grouping of pages and not a single entity, each page on your site should be unique so that the tags and content differ between each page. Doing so increases the number of pages that will rank.

10)   Word Density: Pages should contain 300 to 700 words of unique and descriptive content.

HOW TO CREATE A BUSINESS PAGE ON FACEBOOK

March 10, 2011

HOW TO CREATE A BUSINESS PAGE ON FACEBOOK


If there is one conclusion I can garner from my Computer Icon clients is that FACEBOOK IS CONFUSING!!!

First of all you have to understand the purpose.  It is a social network service where users may create a personal profile, exchange messages, get notifications from friends, find out about events, and join common interest groups among other things.

But the question now is …. How can I market my business and services on facebook?

There are 3 types of PROFILES on facebook

  1. Personal Profiles – which are for people
  2. Pages – which are for businesses
  3. Groups – a space for important groups of people in your life

Steps to create a business facebook page

1. REGISTER A PAGE

Choose either  LOCAL ( which will allow you to post open hours, parking availability and public transit) OR BRAND (which will allow you to list products, website, company overview) The major difference is  the info page layout.

NAME  FOR PAGE – company name

IMPORTANT: this information CANNOT be changed once your page is created

2. FILL IN BASIC INFORMATION

Profile Picture – use your logo (must be in 96dpi)

Company Bio – brief summary of company. Give viewers detailed but succinct information about your company AND make your company stand out.

IMPORTANT: Click on CREATE PAGE. You will be asked to Log in or create a new facebook account.

3. INCREASE PAGE PUBLICITY

Link page to twitter account

Add to My Page’s Favorites (this appears on other pages you administer)

Share your page on YOUR PERSONAL PROFILE page

4. MANAGE TABS

WALL – this is where to post aspects of your company or service that updates constantly such as new products, services, jobs, etc. 

IMPORTANT: FANS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR WALL

INFO – more details about your company based on whether you are LOCAL or BRAND in step 1

PHOTOS – Professional photos, samples of your work

DISCUSSIONS – for interactions with fans, a place to gather customer feedback, run Q&A

VIDEOS – good for product demos

IMPORTANT: EACH TAB HAS A UNIQUE PUBLICLY SEARCHABLE URL LINK. IT’S GOOD TO HAVE MORE TABS AS LONG AS THEY CONTAIN DIFFERENT CONTENT.

5. EDIT YOUR PAGE

On left side is list of everything you can edit.  On right side is resources. Here you can also find Insights and Help.

So now you can add a LIKE icon on your website and ask friends to become fans.  Good luck and I hope this brings you lots of new clients!

Website vs. Blog? What is right for you?

February 8, 2011

I am frequently asked the question – should I create a website or a blog or both?   Hopefully this will clear up a few of your questions.

A website is a group of pages containing text, images, videos or any other media, which is accessed from the same domain name. It is also like a digitized (better than) business card.  If you sell a product or service these days … you need to have representation on the internet to show that you are a viable resource.

A blog, on the other hand is a frequently updated journal, not necessarily on a single subject, in general not needing any computer or programing expertise.

So website vs. blog – what’s good and what’s not?

Ease of navigation – A website would normally contain an index or menu, repeated on every page, listing all the available pages. A blog, however, is usually navigated from one page to another or from links within posts to other related posts. Generally a blog will have a sidebar in which recent posts are listed as well as an archive where you can see the posts for any given month. A blog will also have categories, which differentiate between the types or topics of posts.

ANSWER?  A website, if it has been well-built, is easier to navigate.

Ease of updating. Appending a page to a website would commonly necessitate some knowledge of HTML (hypertext markup language), the need for some sort of webcoding software or of course, and experienced website designer.  Blogs ordinarily have a content management system which pretty much does everything for you, apart from actually typing the posts. The software will organize everything for you and will automatically update your archive, etc.

ANSWER?  A blog is easier to update if you have no knowledge of HTML or how to build a website.

User-friendliness. Making a blog attention-getting and easy to use is fairly simple because there are a lot of templates readily available, plus plugins and widgets. In general they have an easy to use comment facility. However, because of that facility, blogs can be full of ridiculous or unsuitable content, rather than useful and informative items. A website can generally only be revised by its owner, so the browsing experience isn’t interrupted by rubbish.

ANSWER?  A website offers a better browsing experience for someone seriously searching for data but a blog would be for those just after a bit of fun or wanting to communicate with friends.

To sum up, blogs are fun and easy to add to, but may not offer the facilities you need to upload the content you want. However, a website may suit you if you want to put up some serious one-time information which will not require updating on a regular basis.

For the best of all worlds, use both. You can put up your main content on a website and link it to your blog, where you can easily publish updates and keep in touch with your readers.

Getting “Phished”

October 18, 2010

I was just asked the question, what you do if you think someone sent you a “phishing” email.  I know this is a long post — but definitely sit down to read this when you have the time.

A phishing scam is one in which victims are tricked into providing personal information such as account numbers, passwords and credit card details to what they believe to be a legitimate company or organization. In order to carry out this trick, the scammers often create a “look-a-like” webpage that is designed to resemble the target company’s official website. Typically, emails are used as “bait” in order to get the potential victim to visit the bogus website. The emails use various devious ruses to trick readers into clicking on the included links, thereby opening the bogus website. Information submitted on these bogus websites is harvested by the scammers and may then be used to steal funds from the user’s accounts and/or steal the victim’s identity.

Phishing scam emails are created to give the illusion that they have been sent by a legitimate institution. Emails may arrive in HTML format and include logos, styling, contact and copyright information virtually identical to those used by the targeted institution. To further create the illusion of legitimacy, some of the secondary links in these bogus emails may lead to the institution’s genuine website. However, one or more of the hyperlinks featured in the body of the email will point to the fraudulent website.

Links in phishing scam messages are often disguised to make it appear that they lead to the genuine institution site. The sender address of the email may also be disguised in such a way that it appears to have originated from the targeted company. Because they are sent in bulk to many recipients, scam emails use generic greetings such as “Dear account holder” or “Dear [targeted institution] customer”. If an institution needed to contact a customer about some aspect of his or her account, the contact email would address the customer by name.

OK – NOW HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO ASAP!

The entire purpose of a typical phishing scam is to get the recipient to provide personal information. If you receive any unsolicited email that asks you to click a link and provide sensitive personal information, then you should view the message with the utmost suspicion. It is highly unlikely that a legitimate institution would request sensitive information in such a way. Do not click links or open attachments in such messages. Do not reply to the senders. If you have any doubts at all about the veracity of the email, contact the institution directly to check.

Do NOT respond to the original email. Contact the company by manually typing in the address to get their information. Contact customer support of the company who supposedly sent you the email via email or phone, and ask them to verify whatever claims are being made in the email.

Do NOT click on any links stated on the email.

Always report “phishing” e-mails to the following groups by forwarding the email to:

AntiPhishing.com : reportphishing@antiphishing.com
Federal Trade Commission: spam@uce.gov
Or file a complaint at the Internet Fraud Complaint Center of the FBI website.

When forwarding spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact.

Document the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to regarding the incident. Follow-up your phone calls with letters. Keep copies of all correspondence.

If you have given out your credit or debit or ATM card information: Report the theft of this information to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. Cancel your account and open a new one.

Review your billing statements carefully after the loss. If the loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself, you have no liability for unauthorized use.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you need a cleanup!

Lynn

 

 

The Social Network (Not the movie!) HOW IT CAN WORK FOR YOU

October 18, 2010
facebook-logo

Most of us have been using Social Networking websites on daily basis, some to share our interest with friends and groups, others to connect with new people and killing some time online. Do you realize how helpful it can be to your business?

There are as many different online forums and networking sites in the online marketing arena as there are fish in the ocean. For the purpose of clarity, consider Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr as prime examples. In fact, these five steps to creating a consistent brand in social media marketing will apply the same way to every online promotional opportunity from electronic article publication to blogging.

As you often hear saying, social media is about engagement.

Are you already connecting with your customers online?  Do you offer them a link to your social profiles in external networks?  Are you letting them know about this initiatives on your store?  If your answer is “NO” why don’t just start doing this..

1. Decide on a Niche Market
2. Get Connected to the communities and People with related interest and with those who can search for your business
3. Promote New Feeds every day.
4. Draft emails and respond ASAP  — be engaged
5. Start blogging

As people are showing more interest in social networks and blogs so it will prove a great idea to start with social media marketing.

Need a new computer?

September 2, 2010

It used to be simple! If you wanted a computer, you chose from one of the many desktop varieties available. With all the improvements in computing technology, it feels like you need to be an expert to figure out what type of computer you need. Do you need a laptop? Or maybe an all-in-one computer, that can be used as your TV as well? And what exactly are the differences between them?

Here’s a quick rundown:

Netbook

This is a relatively new category of computers. Netbooks are small, light, reasonably priced, and have extra battery life. These typically have less processing power than full-sized laptops but are very suitable for word processing, surfing the web, and connecting wirelessly to the Internet. Their small size makes them ultra-portable and convenient for travel.


Laptop

Also known as a notebook, a laptop is a portable computer that you can take with you and use in different environments—on an airplane, in the library, in a temporary office, and at a meeting. It includes a screen, a keyboard, and a trackpad or trackball, which serves as a mouse. It has a battery, which allows you to use it on the go, plus a power adapter, which lets you use power from an outlet. New laptops can provide the speed and power of desktop computers, although usually at a higher price.


Desktop

A desktop computer is designed to stay in one place. These machines each consist of several components—a central processing unit (CPU), a monitor, a separate keyboard, and connecting cables Because they’re modular, each component can be replaced or upgraded separately. Desktop computers are usually cheaper than laptops and are the most common type of computer used by businesses, schools, households, and other organizations. 


All-in-one computer

All-in-one computers combine the PC and monitor into one component. Many, like the one in the video, come with a wireless mouse, keyboard, and remote control. The one in the video also features motion control, and can be used as an HDTV, a high definition TV. 


What is an RSS Feed and do I need it?

August 25, 2010

RSS Feeds are a way for websites and blogs to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates (ie. The Computer Icon’s Blog Tips), delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.I am going to answer the second question first.  If you would like to receive Well, first of allHow do I use feeds?

You may be wondering what software you’ll have to install to use feeds. Never fear, the answer is likely ‘none’. If you use a modern web-browser — Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 7 — you have support for feeds right there.

To use a feed, you subscribe to it. When you subscribe to a feed, you tell your browser to keep an eye on the feed and let you know when it’s updated. So how do you subscribe to a feed?

Do you recognise these icons?

A cropped screen shot of a Firefox browser window; the feed discovery icon is highlighted.
Firefox: an orange icon appears in the address bar when a page offers a feed.
A cropped screen shot of a Safari browser window; the feed discovery icon is highlighted.
Safari: a blue icon with the letters ‘RSS’ appears in the address bar when a page offers a feed.
A cropped screen shot of an Internet Explorer browser window; the feed discovery icon is highlighted.
Internet Explorer: the feed icon is coloured orange when a page offers a feed.

In Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 7 respectively, these icons let you know whether a feed is available for the page you’re viewing. For the BBC News front page, the icons show up to let you know there is a feed for the latest headlines.

Using feeds in Firefox

Firefox’s live bookmarks allow you to subscribe to a feed. If you see the feed icon appear, clicking on it will give you the option of subscribing to the feed as a live bookmark.

A live bookmark is like a folder of bookmarks; once you add it to your bookmarks menu you will see a new folder named after the feed, and in it a list of bookmarks — each corresponding to an article in the feed.

This list will update whenever a new article is added. So for BBC News, when the latest headlines change, so will your folder of bookmarks.

Using feeds in Safari

Safari’s feed-handling is similar to that of Firefox. When a page offers a feed you’ll see the blue ‘RSS’ logo to the right of the address bar. Click it, and Safari will show you the contents of the feed in your browser window.

An example of Apple’s Safari browser displaying a feed.
Reading a syndication feed in Safari.

To subscribe to the feed, click the ‘Add Bookmark…’ links at the bottom of the grey sidebar. It will appear in your bookmarks menu like any other, with one exception: if there are new articles in the feed, Safari will let you know by displaying the number of new articles in the bookmark’s name.

Using feeds in Internet Explorer 7

Again, Internet Explorer handles feeds in a similar way to Firefox and Safari. When a page offers a feed, the icon (shown in the screen shot above) lights up. Click the icon and you’ll see a page with the contents of the page.

To subscribe to the feed, click the ‘Subscribe to this feed’ link. The feed is then added to your favorites, under the ‘Feeds’ heading.

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