Featured Blog Making Movies by Giacomo Sardelli

This months featured WordPress Blog is Making Movies, the blog of Giacomo Sardelli, the person behind the viral video Further Up Yonder, which has been on local and global news. For those who have not yet seen the video, it explores the idea of different nations and cultures all living together on the International Space Station (ISS), exploring the edge of our world.

Making Movies uses the Twenty Eleven Child theme, a child theme based on the 2011 theme for WordPress, and caters for both English and Italian readers so may not be to everyone’s taste both style wise and for content. However, it does show the incredible versatility of WordPress.

Among the plugins in use are Jetpack, SEO Facebook Comments and Twenty Eleven Theme Extensions. You can find out more about the details via the following links:

This site is well worth a visit if you are interested in movie making or editing and the viral video is a must see, as it is a classic stop frame compilation using images from the Science and Analysis Laboratory from NASA. We recommend a visit to Making Movies, so follow the link below and watch the video, then check out Giacomo Sardelli’s blog.

Get A Marketing Boost Using Linkedin

Can you visualize using Linkedin in your marketing, but not yet seen how to fit it into your campaign? Have you heard about the potential benefits Linkedin, but not yet joined the chorus? Do you feel that Linkedin is under rated, but are not sure how to build on the platform?

Linkedin has a bit of a reputation of being the social media underdog. But for business marketing, there’s a huge opportunity. As with all social media marketing, there are a few things you need to know

  • LinkedIn is great for networking; if you want to be discovered, put yourself where people are looking.
  • Make sure your profile describes your interests and activities. You want people like you to find you, so make sure they know what you do. A good profile will help you appear in keyword searches too.
  • Be consistent and use your LinkedIn profile to link to your business website or blog, so that people know what you do professionally.
  • Social media can help to build your image, so ensure that your websites, blogs, comments, profiles and tags contribute to your online business brand.
  • Maintaining an online brand as part of your marketing strategy requires sustained effort so be in it for the long haul.

If you are serious about your online marketing strategy, and want to use Linkedin to build a following around your brand, here is a check list of twelve things you need to do:

  1. Update your Linkedin Profile to include your brand message.
  2. Connect with others to build up your network.
  3. Join as many groups in your niche as you can.
  4. Post quality content to your groups.
  5. Participate in discussions to give back to the group.
  6. Answer questions in LinkedIn Answers area.
  7. Integrate your LinkedIn account with Twitter.
  8. Link to LinkedIn from Facebook and other social media.
  9. Let people know that you have viewed their profile
  10. Add the Linkedin share plugin on your websites and blogs
  11. Set a regular time slot to review and contribute LinkedIn content and stick to it.
  12. Consider using LinkedIn Ads

If you are dedicated to marketing using Linkedin, why not start a Linkedin Group for each of your products and start building a following around your brand. Like all social media, the secret is to post to it frequently so that it is always fresh and current.

If you can, make a habit of sharing an interesting piece of content every day, to build up your presence. This can take less than 15 minutes per day and you should consider that time as an investment in your personal online brand. Time on LinkedIn well spent!

Why not get a marketing boost by integrating Linkedin into your business strategy?

Have You Updated WordPress?

Unbelievable as it may seem, there are plenty of WordPress users who do not upgrade their installations to the latest version when they are released. This post should encourage every WordPress site administrator to Update WordPress as soon as possible.

There may be a number of reasons why you might want to upgrade WordPress, including:

  • A security fix has been released
  • Some useful new functionality has become available
  • You have seen a message at the top of your Dashboard telling you that a new release is available

The latest version of WordPress (3.4.1 at time of writing) comes with an impressive array of improvements including embedded Tweets, custom header from Media Library, and performance boosts under the hood, and of course all the latest security patches to ensure that your Blog is as secure as it can be.

Twitter Embeds
This is a great new feature which allows you to share Tweets with style. You can now embed individual tweets in posts, so that you can make a feature of a reference to another author or micro-blogger, or just highlight one of your own. Great for your personal marketing!

It includes action links that allow readers to reply to, retweet, and favorite the tweet, all without leaving your site. To use the feature, all you have to do is paste a tweet URL on its own line. When you save the post, it will look something like this:

This works with URLs from some other sites, too. For more, see the Codex article on Embeds.

Choose from Media Library
This useful feature of Custom Headers allows you to choose header images from your media library to customize your theme, rather than having to upload the same custom header image every time you check out a new theme.

Live Theme Previews
It is now possible to try out new themes and update the header and background before the theme is activated. This removes the panic to update those details as soon as you activate a new theme. Please note that this feature is only available for installed themes.

You can also use the live preview mode to customize your current theme by using the Customize link on the Themes screen.

Flexible Header Image Sizes
If your theme supports the feature, you can now decide for yourself how tall or wide your custom header image should be. From now on, themes will provide a recommended image size for custom headers rather than a fixed requirement.

Please note that not all current themes will support this feature, so contact your theme designer and ask them for the latest version of your theme.

Performance Boosts
Among the Performance Boosts available in the latest release of WordPress are the following:

  • Faster WP_Query – Post queries have been optimized to improve performance, especially for sites with large databases.
  • Faster Translations – The number of strings loaded in the WordPress front end has been greatly reduced, resulting in faster front page load times for localized installations. Also provides better support for East Asian languages, right-to-left languages, theme translations, and more.
  • Themes API – Key procedures in WordPress (WP_Theme, wp_get_themes(), wp_get_theme()) are faster, uses less memory, and makes use of persistent caching.

For more information about WordPress see WordPress Codex – Updating WordPress

How To Be An SEO Guru

Do you see yourself as a budding SEO Guru and want to spot the next big thing? Have you heard lots of conflicting SEO advice but are not sure which to follow? Have you ever wondered where SEO companies go for inspiration and great advice? Web Marketing and SEO are inextricably linked so that is why this post is titled How To Be An SEO Guru

If you want to be your own SEO guru, or take your first steps on the road to expert status, there are a few simple pieces of advice we wish that we had been given when starting out:

  • Read everything you can about SEO
  • Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Study the best SEO examples you can find

Read Everything About SEO
It has been said that if you read ten books on a subject by different authors, you will own that subject. This is also true about SEO, except that you must keep reading in order to stay current. SEO books date very quickly, and techniques that were leading edge two years ago may not work now. Each SEO expert has their own slant on the subject, and can offer something to the jigsaw, but remember, no-one knows it all!

Read every article you can about SEO, watch every video by the SEO experts, and if you can, get to talk to them. Make sure you include Webmaster Guidelines on your monthly reading list, too.

Webmaster Guidelines
It should not need saying, but follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you want to get your website to the top of the rankings for your chosen keywords then it is important to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. It is true that there are techniques that might give your site an unauthorized boost, so called “black hat” techniques, but they will not help you if it gets you blocked from the search engine results. The only reliable way to ensure that you stick to the rules is to read the guidelines from the people who wrote that particular book, Google.

When you have read this article follow the link below to Google Webmaster Guidelines and bookmark it, or bookmark this page.

Study the SEO Best
If you want to be the best at anything then you have to study the techniques of the people who are currently rated as the best. Train where the best SEO Gurus train. Attend the conferences and seminars where the SEO experts hang out and listen to them talk. If you can, sign up for at least one SEO training from a renown expert per year, and if possible more. When you are trained by an SEO expert you will get the chance to ask the important questions directly, and of course you get to hang out with them too.

What To Do Next
In the run up to the new year, and the New Year resolutions, how about making a pledge to help you on the way to being your own SEO guru?
Decide that you are going to market your website and boost its position for your chosen keywords
Commit yourself to sign up for tuition from an SEO expert in January
Act now, and look out for SEO tips in the New Year!

PS, where do we go when we are seeking inspiration? Try BrandSEO.com

Have a happy and prosperous new year!

SEO Resources:

Pigeon Loft Metaphors and IE6

Sometimes when we want to challenge an injustice or right a wrong, we face up to the perpetrator, and tell it like it is. This can work if you can identify a single individual or group to address, and it certainly can make us feel better. But what happens if the injustice is systematic or institutional? What about when the problem is government bureaucracy or faceless corporations?

Some decisions by bureaucrats can leave us dazed and confused, like the persistent use of IE6 when there are better and safer browsers out there, downloadable for free. There is no point writing a letter to our MP, because it will never reach the decision makers. We can blog about it but our readership will probably be people who agree with our point of view. We can stage a rooftop protest and make the tabloid newspapers but even if the decision makers read our opinion then it is just the opinion of a crank.

In fact there is only one way that the decision makers will change their minds and come to their senses; when they come to our point of view of their own accord! So does that mean we just have to wait patiently? No that means we use the subtle power of metaphor.

What is a Metaphor?

A psychologist walks into a tool store and asks the assistant for a hamerfor. “Whats a hamerfor?” asks the assistant. “Driving in Nails!” replies the psychologist. “I will also take a Metaphor” adds the psychologist and so the assistant, playing along, responds “Whats a Metaphor?”. “Driving in Ideas” smiles the psychologist.

Pigeon Loft Metaphors and IE6
For a subtle metaphor involving pigeon lofts, faceless corporations and bureaucracy, click here to read It Could Never Happen Could It?

How to change your Email Address on LinkedIn

A fellow linkedIn colleague recently asked me How do I change my Email Address on LinkedIn. As this is not the first time we have been asked this, then there are likely more people out there who would like to know to make this simple change. The good news is that linkedIn recognize that people need to change their email address from time to time, or even have multiple email addresses, and have made it quick and easy. In fact LinkedIn recommend you add at least one personal address and one work address.

How to change your Email Address on LinkedIn
To add a new email address, when logged in to your LinkedIn account, take the following simple steps:

  • Under your name at the top right of the page click on Settings
  • In the right text column click on Email Addresses
  • Next to Primary Email, click on Change
  • Add your new email address in the email address field, and click Add email address

After adding the new address, go to the email account and click the link in the confirmation email. Add as many addresses as you’d like, and just follow the instruction for each account. Once an email address is validated, you can choose it to be you primary address by selecting it from the list and clicking on Make Primary.

If you are not yet a linkedIn member and are wondering what this is all about, Click here to Join LinkedIn Today

Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization

One of the most common spam contacts we see in the inbox these days are dubious offers to get our various websites and blogs to number one on Google for our chosen keywords. It sounds like that would be something that might be worth paying money for, so why do the SEO offers leave us cold?

What is Search Engine Optimization?
As most web users will already know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in Internet search engines so that it appears higher in the search results. So surely an offer to promote your website or blog and optimize it so that it appears top in a Google search must be worth investing in? Well actually No! At least not from the spammers anyway.

Instead, let us look at a couple of often under used features of HTML, Meta Tags, which you can use to help the search spiders index your blog correctly, and optimize your site for your chosen keywords, without resorting to dodgy underhanded tactics or wasting money and time on get rich quick schemes promoted by spam email.

Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization
If you are using your website or blog as a business vehicle then there are probably some key words which you hope that people will enter into the search engines when looking for your product or service. Similarly, when people find your site on Google, then make sure that the description of the site that appears is exactly what you want people to see.

Include Meta Tags
Include meta tags for the name of your site and a description of the page as part of the page code. If you are not editing the site code yourself, tell your web developer to include Meta Tag Description and Keywords on at least the homepage. Alternatively, if you are using a WordPress theme like Atahualpa, you can enter the Homepage Meta Description, and Homepage Meta Keywords in the Configure SEO in the Atahualpa Theme Options under Appearance.

Meta Tag Description
Including a description for your site provides some control over the way it appears in the Google search results. This should be 1 to 3 sentences, with about 20-30 words in total. For example, to ensure that Google list the keywords we are looking to link to this blog we have the following Meta Tag Description which appears in the page head, but is not displayed to the users:

content="TechCoSupport help Small and Medium Businesses (SME) grow through Web Marketing, Social Networking, SEO and AdWords Management in Bristol, UK "

The Google bots scan this when they index the site, and this results in the following entry in the Google search listing:
TechCoSupport Web Marketing image

This is the description that we want people to see when they look at our site in the listings, and it means that people who want to find out about Web Marketing, Social Networking, SEO and AdWords Management in Bristol can find us!

Meta Tag Keywords
Keyword optimization is simple to achieve, but can lead to improvements in your site ranking, particularly if you are writing about the keyword on your page. Including Keywords meta tags in you page gives the search bots a heads up in linking the page content to things that people are likely to search for. This should 10 to 30 words or phrases, separated by comma, and should relate to the content of your web page.

Say you are are looking for people to find your site when they enter the keyword Web Marketing. The search spiders should find Web Marketing in the invisible meta tags which show up in the page code, in your page content and possibly in the site URL too. This consistency and congruency between the Keywords Meta Tag and content is good for you page ranking.

However, be careful not to to just include keywords for the sake of having them, as they should relate to the page headings and description, and title. Avoid using tricks just intended to improve search engine rankings, as the techies behind search engines are on to all the tricks. A useful heuristic is to ask yourself if you are adding the tweak to benefit your users, or to fool the search spiders? The answer should always be that it makes it better for readers of your blog.

So to sum up Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization:

  • Make sure you or your developer includes Meta Tags for both the site Description and Keywords in the Homepage at least.
  • Homepage Meta Description Limit to no more than 3 sentences, about 20 to 30 words total.
  • Homepage Meta Keywords Type 10 to 30 words or phrases, separated by comma.

To find out more on this subject from a reliable source, and so give you the confidence to delete the spam emails without another thought, click here to see Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines

Finally, here is a challenge to the spammers’ business model; if you are so good at SEO and Keyword Optimization, why do you need to resort to spam to attract new customers? If you really could do the job claimed, you would be beating off potential customers with a stick!

How To Improve Search Engine Rankings

The most common question we get asked when people find out about our SEO Marketing Services is usually “How Do I Improve My Search Engine Rankings?” Like we can tell you three things to do to your website to get it to the top of Google search rankings!

Well okay!

Three Things To Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
If you want to know the secrets of the SEO Marketing Gurus, you can spend a lot of money employing companies advertising SEO Marketing Services and Web Page Keyword Optimization services.

Alternatively, you can read the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and particularly the Quality guidelines. These guidelines are freely available, and if implemented on your site will help Google find, index, and rank your site. They include priceless gems like:

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Make your pages readable and have useful content so that people want to read what you post. If they are attractive to humans, and make them want to come back, then the bots will give you a good rating. Search spiders are people too!
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number. This might not seem so obvious at first, but endless lists of links are difficult to read, and so should be avoided except in directories and of course your site index. Instead, make your blog a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages. Google provide plenty of tools to help you with this, so use the Google keyword tools to find out what people are searching for and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.

So to find out even more ways To Improve Search Engine Rankings, use the Google tools provided, and follow the guidelines:
Google Webmaster Guidelines

Katie Freiling featured WordPress blog

The featured WordPress blog this week is the personal, coaching and marketing site of Katie Freiling, a social media, blogging, and personal development coach in the online home business industry. This one takes the headline position because of its balance between the personal blog style, and the content and panache of a marketing guru. It uses the Fresh News theme by WooThemes from WooThemes

The site is a must see for anybody who is considering setting up a blog for marketing purposes, including nonprofit organizations, associations or coalitions, or even just to promote a worthy cause. It contains tips on Video marketing, getting top rankings in search engines, list building and numerous desirable achievements. The included YouTube videos are textbook examples of the way to build your brand online, in small chunks.

Among her plugins, Katie is using the WP-FacebookConnect, WP-Polls and the ubiquitous Contact Form 7. WP-FacebookConnect adds Facebook functionality to WordPress using the Facebook Connect APIs. It provides single sign-on, avatars, and News Feed publication of comments. WP-Polls adds an AJAX based poll system to your WordPress blog so that you can easily include a poll into a page or post.

You can find the plugins to add to your own WordPress site by following the links below:

Click here to visit Katie Freiling’s blog

3 Top Tips For Marketing Via Your Blog

In response to a number of inquiries about How to boost your Search position on Google, here are the three
Top Tips For Marketing Via Your Blog which we cover on our Low Cost Marketing Using WordPress one day seminar.

  • Chose a Compelling Title
  • Keep It Simple and To The Point
  • Tell Your Readers What They Want To Know

In order to boost your search engine rating on Google, Yahoo! and Bing, and make the most of your marketing effort, make sure that your blog posts take account of the advice they give about SEO. SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”, and describes the techniques of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the natural or un-paid search results.

In the context of marketing your business, using your WordPress Blog to tell people about your goods and services is a great idea, so you want the most people to see it. This is the way to make Blogging help your business for very little cost, and so get the word out to as many people as possible. A good Blogger grabs the attention of their readers, and holds it long enough to establish an emotional connection, so that they will want to return.

Compelling Title
First of all chose a Compelling Title to grab the reader’s interest and attract them to visit your site. This may be repeated in the content, which will help the search engine spiders correctly rank your site. On Google, the PageRank will determine how close to the top of the search results your site or page appears in the list returned to the user. Make sure your title is relevant to your content and brings visitors who want to know more about your subject.

Keep Content Simple
Once your visitor has arrived, you have only a few seconds to give them enough information so that they can chose that they want to read on. Keep your content simple and to the point to hold their attention, and if possible provide a bullet pointed list near the start to aid comprehension. This will allow them to confirm that they are on the right site for their needs without wasting time reading the detail. It is better to have someone decide that they do not want your content and leave quickly, than have them read to the bottom and leave disappointed.

Give Them What They Want
Finally, tell your readers what they want to know, rather than what you want them to know. That means you have to write to satisfy your readers’ need for information, rather than for your need to tell people about your new Widget making process! Tell them what they will find immediately useful, so that they will feel grateful and want to visit you another time. A happy reader is more likely to buy from you than a resentful one who has had to wade through all your marketing copy to find the nuggets.

A word of caution about taking the optimization too far: some SEO experts will claim to get you to the top of Google using secret techniques known only to a few, for which you will pay a premium. As Google will tell you, deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.

So in summary

  • Chose a Compelling Title to grab the reader’s interest
  • Keep your content simple and to the point to hold their attention
  • Tell your readers what they want to know, so they will visit you another time

To maximize the potential of your visitors, without spending a lot of money on marketing, apply the three tips listed above and you will satisfy your readers’ needs, help them to feel good enough to want to come again, while aiding the search engines put you it the correct place in the rankings. That has got to be a good deal,and a win for everybody.

Other Resources: