If you have ever worked on a project from different computers then you know it can be a pain to have to remember to save your files to a USB drive and then remember to bring it with you. Oh, and nevermind the trouble you go through if you lose your USB drive. There is now a service called Dropbox that allows you to easily backup, sync, and share your files from PC-to-PC. I will let the video below explain how it works and then I will give you an example of how I have used Dropbox to make my life easier.
Pretty cool, huh? A very useful feature of Dropbox is that it allows you to share a folder with another user and your folder and files will automatically update in their Dropbox folder. This is extremely useful if you are working on a collaborative project with someone else. It makes file sharing very easy and efficient, so you don’t have to send files back and forth through email. Dropbox even saves previous revisions online. If you need a quick and easy file sharing and backup method then I highly suggest you check out Dropbox.
Every business professional should have their own blog where they blog about the field or profession that they are involved in. This should come naturally to anyone who is enthusiastic about their profession and classifies themselves as an expert on the topic. You can talk about industry trends, news affecting companies in your industry, create how-to guides, or give tips on your profession. The idea behind creating your own blog it to 1) get you thinking about your profession, 2) establishing yourself as an expert in your profession, and 3) linking your blog to your name, so your name because associated with being an expert.
How to associate your name as being an expert in your profession
Linking your name to your blog is going to provide a huge benefit to your career. I recommend that you try to register a domain name that either is your exact name or has your name in it. For example, my name is Andrew Nadeau and I have registered AndrewNadeau.com. If AndrewNadeau.com had been taken I could have tried to brand myself using a nickname like AndyNadeau.com or with my middle initial, AndrewJNadeau.com. The idea behind using your own name is that if someone Google’s your name your blog will most likely rank #1 in the Google search results for your own name if your name is in your domain name.
What if all domain names for my name are taken?
If all domain names relating to your name are taken and you do not have a famous name then I suggest that you get a domain name that has your profession’s main keyword in it. For example, if I am a social networking expert then my blog name might be TheSocialNetworkingBlog.com. What you then want to do is put your name in the title tag of every blog post that you make and also make sure that your name is in several places on your blog. For example, you might do a post titled “Is Twitter the next Facebook?”, so for this post the title tag in your blog will read “Is Twitter the next Facebook? – Andrew Nadeau”. With this type of title tag you will be able to rank for your name and people will associate you as an expert in your profession.
Will having your own blog help you find a job?
Absolutely! Googling a job candidates name is becoming an easy way to see someone’s virtual resume. If a potential employer Googles your name and the first result in Google is your blog where you talk about the industry in which you are applying for a job then it will greatly impress your potential employer and will separate you apart from other candidiates for the same job. Also, if you have not had much work experience or internships then this is also a good thing to put on your resume and talk about in interviews as it shows you are passionate about your industry and that you want to be a leading expert in your field.
Many small businesses and non-profit organizations are missing a golden opportunity to communicate their expertise and personality to potential customers through a blog. For example, a carpentry business might have a simple website with an about page, services page, pricing page, and a contact page. This website will probably look like it was built in 1999 and will usually not communicate the personality or quality of the businesses. As a consumer looking to hire a carpenter I want to make sure that this isn’t some hack who had a nephew taking a HTML class in high school and decided to do his class project on his uncle’s carpentry business. A way for the carpenter to build trust with the visitor and increase his conversion rate is to create a blog on his website.
This blog can be easily created using a blogging platform like WordPress and can easily be installed in a subfolder of the the original website. For example, the URL to the blog might be http://www.example.com/blog. On this blog the carpenter might want to post pictures of project he has previously worked on or maybe explain the benefits of a new technique or material he is now using in his projects. The carpenter can also establish that he is a professional by giving a how-to tutorial on a simple carpentry tricks that every homeowner should know. If the carpenter is ambitious they can also post how-to videos or videos showing projects they have completed. The carpenter will also want to post any news that is happening with the company as well as any awards they have received.
So, what are the benefits of creating a blog? The first benefit is it shows the consumer you care about your business. Especially in trades like plumbing, carpentry, and electrical, consumers usually have trust issues and have had a bad experience in the past. By posting to a blog a couple times a week it shows that you care about your business and the consumer, and the consumer will respond. The blog will also allow you to communicate your personality through the internet. By blogging it shows that the company is on the leading edge of technology, so the consumer would expect same of the business. It also allows you to create a connection with the consumer even before talking on the phone or in person. Finally, a blog will attract more visitors to your website, which will turn into more business. If you post quality content on your blog other websites will start linking to your website. This will increase your rankings in the search engines for more local keywords, which will get you more free leads over time.
Hopefully this post outlines the clear benefits of specialized services getting online and blogging. If you are a small business owner interested in creating a blog on your website then please send me an email for more advice.
If you asked someone what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was 3 to 5 years ago they would have given you an answer similar to this one…
“SEO is making sure your title, meta, alt, and h1 tag all have your main keyword in them and that you have an optimal keyword density on your page.”
Three years ago I would have agreed with this statement 100%. Three years ago I was able to get a top ranking in Google and Yahoo within 24 hours by simply following the simple formula above. But the problem was it was too easy to manipulate these on-page characteristics and game the search engines for top rankings. This naturally lead to a lot of spam websites in the search engine rankings.
In response to this spam problem the search engines had to change their ranking algorithms to focus on off-page factors as opposed to on-page factors. This meant that on-page factors like your meta keywords would be weighted significantly less in the search engines and off-page factors like the number of authoritative websites that link to you (called backlinks) would be weighted significantly more. This meant that the days of simply putting up a page that had good on-page SEO and getting traffic through organic search engine listings were over.
Now the major search engines like Google focus more on factors like:
How many backlinks does your website have?
Are these backlinks from credible and authoritative sources?
What anchor text are these external websites using to link to your website?
How old is your domain name?
How long until your domain name expires?
How much traffic does your website receive?
How long do visitors stay on your website?
What is the bounce rate of the traffic the search engines are sending you?
You might have noticed a trend with the factors that the search engines are now using to rank websites in their results. The trend is in using factors that are difficult to manipulate. It is tough to manipulate the age of your domain name or the number of external websites that are linking to you. Another trend with these factors is that they all relate back to having quality content. Google’s job is to help its users find what they are looking for when searching. If a searcher clicks on a search result and then immediately hits the “back” button then obviously they did not find what they were searching for. This is known as a “bounce” and Google will take note of this and lower that search engine result on the results page. The way for a webmaster to lower their bounce rate is to create quality content.
So how do you get other websites to link to you? Create quality content. How does a webmaster increase the time visitors stay on their page? Create quality content. How do you receive a lot of traffic? Create quality content so the visitor keeps coming back to your website.
The point I am trying to make is that SEO is becoming less about on-page SEO and more about just creating quality content that benefits the user. If you create quality content then the rest of the SEO should take care of itself. Yes, you still need to do all of the on-page SEO, but on-page SEO is becoming the standard now and will not get your website to rank on its own.