Why Facebook’s self-evaluation doesn’t jive with how businesses use Facebook

25 May 2012 | written by Ashley Walton for the Social Networking section(s)

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With the Facebook IPO this week, everyone’s buzzing about the social network. Some who bought Facebook stock have confidence that the business will find a stable way to monetize itself in the future.  Others have less confidence, even to the extent of filing a class action lawsuit, claiming that Facebook provided false information regarding their self-evaluation. As of now, there are definitely problems with how Facebook measures its own value (regardless of whether they did it on purpose or not). Facebook makes money through its ads, and though Facebook ads may be useful for businesses when utilized properly, the way businesses can best utilize Facebook is through a professional and eye-catching Facebook page that encourages likes and fans.

There’s a reason why many Facebook ads don’t see results. When businesses use Facebook ads, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Read On

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Frequently Asked Questions

29 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

How long does it take for a search engine to update my site in their index?

That depends on both the website and the search engine. We get your website ready with the onsite changes we’ve made. Now we just have to wait for the search engines. Google, for example, gets through more pages per day than any of the other search engines, so your changes should start showing up on all search engines in the next few weeks.

Redirects

What is a redirect?

A redirect takes a visitor from one similar URL to the main URL. You see, “www.yourdomain.com,” “yourdomain.com,” and “yourdomain.com/index.php” are three different pages to a search engine without a redirect. That splits your website’s power and searchability three ways (and that’s very bad). We focus all the addresses—and searches—to one site.

It’s called a server-side 301 redirect, and Google has a nifty article about it.

Website Copy

What is content/copy?

That’s the written stuff—the words—on your site.

What is keyword stuffing? Is it good?

Keyword stuffing is repeating your keyword throughout your site to make it more relevant. Too many keywords will damage your online cred, but content that honestly talks about your keyword is very helpful.

Image Alt-Tag Edits

What is an alt-text image tag?

All the parts of a website besides the body text need a tag describing what it entails, so that search engines can recognize it properly. We write alternate text (“alt text”—it’s all coming together now, eh?) so that there are no holes in your site for flash buttons, links, or pictures.

Why don’t I just stuff the alt text with repetitive keywords?
Well, that used to work, but search engines put the kibosh on that once it started getting out of hand. If you want to have a more relevant site, it’s better to have well-written, straightforward alt text that includes your keyword.

Title-Tag Edits

Why don’t I just repeat keywords in my title tags?
That also used to work, but search engines feel like “stuffing” anything—alt tags, title tags, meta tags, copy—is cheating. If you want to have a more relevant site, it’s better to have well-written, human-friendly title tags that include your keyword.

Meta-Tag Edits

Why don’t I just repeat keywords in my meta tags?
That used to work, but search engines feel like “stuffing” anything—alt tags, title tags, meta tags, copy—is cheating. If you want to have a more relevant site, it’s better to have well-written, straightforward meta tags that include your keyword.

Robots.txt

Why should I upload robots.txt to my website’s server?

Search engines use robots to categorize and archive websites. Webmasters also use it to proofread source code. The robots.txt is a file of instructions for robots and spiders when they get to your site.

What does a robots.txt file do?

A robot.txt file tells a search engine what it can and can’t search for on your site. A robots.txt file makes sure that none of your pages or content is blocked from search engines or consumers.

Does the robots.txt guarantee privacy?

No. The file is a really strong suggestion that search engines pay attention to, but it doesn’t take your content off the internet.

Sitemap.xml

What is a sitemap.xml file?

It’s a map that shows all the parts of your websites so search engines have no problem finding and indexing what you have. When search engines have an easier time finding info, searchers have an easier time getting to it.

How does the sitemap.xml file help me and the search engines?

Sitemap.xml files put everything in order. When you add new stuff, search engines can go straight to it instead of crawling your entire site. That saves time and energy, which saves you money. When you have sitemap.xml and robot.txt files together, your site is primed for searchers.

Does having a search engine Sitemap improve my website’s keyword rankings?

It doesn’t improve your rank, but it does help with indexing. That’s the first step of the whole process.

What’s the deal with search engine Sitemaps?

Google first introduced Sitemaps 0.84 in June of 2005 so web developers could publish lists of links from across their sites.

Google, MSN, and Yahoo! announced joint support for the Sitemaps protocol in November of 2006. The schema version was changed to “Sitemap 0.90,” but no other changes were made.
In April 2007, Ask.com and IBM announced support for Sitemaps. Google, Yahoo, and MSN also announced auto-discovery for Sitemaps through robots.txt.

In May 2007, the state governments of Arizona, California, Utah, and Virginia announced they would use Sitemaps on their websites.

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Make Your Mark

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

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Use that John Hancock

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

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Time for a Poll

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

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Create a newsletter using Friend Connect

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

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Put Your NewsLetter Out There

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

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Tools of the Trade

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

Top Blogging Tools

Google Translator translates your website into any (or all) of the 34 different languages offered by Google. All of the new pages link straight to your domain, and they increase your reach and internet cred around the world.

Outbrain is a tool that allows people to leave comments. If your blog provider doesn’t already have a way for readers to leave comments, you’ll definitely want to download this tool. Customer comments are a great way to feel out the market and to better target customer concerns and needs.

Google Friend Connect lets people from different networks join your blog, leave comments, and participate in your online community. Now more people can join your blog, and word gets out faster.

PostRank Widget is an online doo-dad (for lack of a better word) from Google that tells you which posts people like and visit the most. Now you know what your visitors come looking for, and you can market to your audience a heckuva lot better.

Ping.fm takes the stress out of all your social networking by letting you update and synchronize your blogs, your tweets, and your Facebook all at one stop.

Check out this website for a few more tips and tricks about ways to save time on your blog: http://www.bestonlinetools.org/14-top-blogging-tools-every-blogger-should-use-to-improve-productivity/.

Happy blogging!

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Benefits of Blogging

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

If you post often and regularly, search engines constantly drop by to see what’s new on your site, and so do customers. Now you have a great reason for everyone to spend more time on your website and rely on you as an authority in your industry.

Let’s give you a list of reasons to blog:

Build your searchability. When search engines love you, people find you. Blogs give you new pages of relevant content week after week. Search engines are all about relevancy and credibility—blogs help you build both.

Can we all say “branding”? Now that more and more people come to your website to check out the latest in your business, your name gets ingrained in the minds of customers everywhere.

All new marketing. Well, you don’t want to overdo it, but let people know a great story about a new product, or tell them about a new launch. Get their feedback on any part of your business. It doesn’t really matter what—just start a conversation.

Build a relationship. You should probably stop giving out hugs to everyone you meet, but speaking to customers through a blog is a fantastic way to build loyalty.

You’re an expert, and they know it. Build your authority on a topic. Let people trust what you have to say about it. Own an auto parts shop? Tell people about the most common repairs people run into. Tell them how to do it. Are you a baker? Lawyer? Dentist? Scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.

Budget? What budget? A blog has very little to no cost. Just get a few people in your business to post a couple of times a week. If you’re a one-man band, post every week. You’ll welcome a break from the ordinary, your customers will love the info, and your budget will thank you. A lot.

There are a few more benefits. Okay, there are lots more.  Start a blog and start discover all the benefits that come with a blog. In fact, we’d love to hear about it. Maybe you should write a blog post on the awesomeness of blogs. We’ll keep an eye out for it.

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Get Blogging

25 Jun 2010 | written by Ashley Walton for the Uncategorized section(s)

Whether you’re a novice keyboardist or an experienced techie, there’s a blog format to fit your needs and your business. Google Blogger and WordPress.org are two different blog providers. We’ll look at them one at a time and give you an idea of which one you’ll want for your business.

Blogger

Blogger is for the technologically green, and we think it’s the best free blogging platform available. They do all the hosting for you and let you blog your heart out— all for free. Here’s how to get started.

1. Sign in

Go to www.blogger.com and hit Get Started. Do you have a Gmail, Google Groups, or Orkut account? Then just sign in. If this is your first time using Google, set up an account on the next page.

2. Set up

You get to pick your blog’s name and URL. Here’s one more tip: make your name fun and your URL simple. You want people to be intrigued by your blog, and you want it to be easy to find. We’ll talk about setting up your own URL in just a sec.

3. Pick a template

It’s just a starter template. Once you hit continue, you can look at a bunch of other templates and customize the whole look for your company.

Wanna set up a different URL? Go into your Dashboard and hit Settings. You’ll see a tab that says Publishing where you can alter your free blogspot URL or pay for a personalized URL.

You’re done! Now put a link to your blog on your homepage, and start blogging. Get the word out about your blog through your Facebook and Twitter.

WordPress.org

The tech-savvy (or the ambitious) definitely want to look into a WordPress.org blog. You can add your WordPress blog to the same host you use for your business website. WordPress gives you much more freedom with the internal structure of the site, making your blog really pop. You can attach a WordPress blog directly to your business website, making your blog easy to access and your website easier to find on a search engine. Go to www.wordpress.org and follow these steps to get started:

1. Get a web host

Chances are you already have a host. It’s the company that keeps your website live, day and night. If you don’t already have a host, they only cost about $2–7 per month. WordPress.org gives you lots of great suggestions.

2. Download and install WordPress

Their 5-minute download makes life so much easier. After you download it, install WordPress on your main website. Make the address as simple as www.mycompany.com/blog. If you don’t know how to make it all happen, get in touch with your web developers. They’ll take care of it for you.

No matter which blog provider you use, blogs add a personal touch and online cred to your business. Get in, get around, and get blogging!

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