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How to Prevent Getting Ripped Off by SEO / Marketing “Experts”

Why some sites don't rank well on Google

Why some sites don’t rank well on Google

No matter what any so-called “expert” tells you, having someone outside of your company manage your “Internet Marketing” (man I hate those words put together) or manage your website’s SEO without you being directly involved, is throwing away your money. With every “Great SEO Strategy” there is Google is working hard to filter it out with it’s next update. Why? b/c they aren’t interested in giving organic results to perfectly optimized sites. They want to remain the world’s top search engine (and earn $60+ billion/yr) by delivering top results to sites with the best content. (from experts in their specific fields… not SEO Nerds nor Internet Marketers)

LET ME BE CLEAR:

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an optimized site, nor should you not hire experts to you help you build a great site, learn the ropes about social networking, how to optimize content or even pull the trigger for you… you absolutely should. But once you’ve learned the basics, YOU need to produce your content… because YOU are the expert at what YOU do. Show off your expertise by helping people solve problems and publish content about what you know. . It doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone to help manage and organize this for you, but the valuable information you’ve accumulated over the years in experience needs to be digitally published online. THAT is what gets great results on Google.

The excuses I’ve heard from smart business people about not being able to write:

  • I’m not good with technology & computers
  • I’m not a good writer
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • I don’t have time

My answer to those excuses:

  • You don’t need to be good with technology and computers. You just need to keep an open mind about learning.
  • You don’t need to be a good writer. You DO need to be good at what it is you do
  • Write about what it is you do and have decent experience
  • You don’t have time NOT to get involved

The game has changed, and the name of the game is great content. Your customers are looking for it and Google will never filter out great content… they promote it with great search results. (for reasons mentioned above) You certainly could go with just the expensive, shotgun approach with Adwords way and get thrown into the bottom 5 percentile of clickers, but why wouldn’t you spend more time showing customers your expertise and get rewarded with new customers? (HINT) Ask yourself: How often do I click on those ads compared to the organic search results? Well, the same goes for most everyone else.

Here’s the honest truth: If you want to connect with more customers online and make more sales, BLOGGING and Social Networking are the best returns on your money, time and effort.

Is blogging, seo, and social networking hard work?

No… It’s very hard work. Don’t kid yourself.

But, if you’re organized, plan your work and work your plan, you can be effective by setting aside 1-2 hours per week. (I don’t know many smart business people that wouldn’t give a couple hours a week to truly increase sales as well as *efficiency.*)

Is blogging, seo, and social networking worth the investment of time and resources?

Absolutely, yes. If you write optimized articles that actually help people solve problems or inform them and share them via social networking (especially something that taps into some serious traffic) you will find that your Google and social rankings go up and sales increase dramatically. It’s really that simple.

Signs that your web pro may be taking you for a ride:

  • You aren’t seeing results you were promised
  • Your social accounts aren’t being updated
  • You aren’t given direct access to online reporting or your “expert” wants to deliver static and or printed results. You should instead be given access to a free Google Analytics account (connected to YOUR Google/Gmail account) which will provide more reports than you can ever read.
  • Your calls or emails aren’t being returned or you’re getting B.S. answers to your questions

If you must hire some help with your social and seo, here are some things you can do to protect yourself before hiring them:

  • Perform some local Google searches for what you are looking for, in YOUR city and see if they rank on the first 3 pages of Google.: e.g.: “seo roseville ca” If they don’t rank themselves, they might not really be experts
  • Don’t hire someone who uses Google Adwords to rank on Google… they are paying to play and you are trying to find someone to help rank your business organically. (the exact opposite of advertising)
  • Check their testimonials and reviews. (Use Google reviews and ignore Yelp. They don’t offer reliable reviews) Call current and existing customers. Ask them everything about their experience
  • Ask to see examples of their work and search results, but don’t view these on their computers… view it on your computer with a clear cache and private browser. (You might be looking at personalized, cached or logged in results if you view it anywhere else)
  • Don’t sign long-term contracts. If you like what you see and hear give it a test drive for a month or two. At that point you can decide whether or not the investment with a third party is worth it
  • Read proposals/contracts *very* carefully. Some unethical types love to throw in sneaky addendums which can render you helpless if things get sticky. (like you aren’t seeing results and want to dump them)

Finally, unless you completely trust your web pro, here are things you should NEVER DO:

  • Don’t give your domain name registrar login info (You risk having your name stolen) Typically the only thing that needs to be done within a registrar is “update nameservers” which is simply pasting in a couple of lines of information your web pro can give you
  • Don’t let your web pro register your domain name for you. (same reason as above)
  • If possible, don’t let them host your account. Instead, purchase your own web hosting account in your name and then give them access. There are so many choices out there. (We like Acenet) Here are some tips on how to choose a webhost.

I hope that helps dispel some of the many myths that seem to run rampant in my industry. I also hope you aren’t currently dealing with or already dealt with unscrupulous web jerks who may be holding your web properties hostage or have attacked your site with nasty Blackhat Tactics. If so, please feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do to help. (my treat) =)

Cheers,
//D

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Why You Might Want Your Next Computer to be a Google Chromebook

Google Chromebook

Google Chromebook

In my business, I’m constantly asked “What kind of computer should I buy?” I usually start blathering about tech specs, needs etc., which normally bores people who just want a simple answer. So I’ve stopped doing that. Most folks just want a computer that WORKS! So, here it is: Are you thinking of getting a new laptop for yourself? Maybe a gift? You might want to check out the Chromebook.

Note: Some some of the below links are affiliate-based. All are products and services with which I have personal experience. I am recommending them because I feel they are both useful and helpful… not because of any possible commission.
Truly,
//D

Here’s why you should check out the Chromebook:

Read more about why you might want a Google Chromebook to be your next computer

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Protect Your Kids with SOS App for Smartphones

Protect Your Kids with an SOS App for Smartphones

Once again, as a protective dad, I felt compelled to post an article that showcased a couple of decent “SOS” apps that can help protect our children. These are fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a quick 30,000 foot view:

You simply install one of these apps on your kid’s phone, configure it once and all they have to do is click a single button if they are ever in trouble and need help. Clicking the SOS button will immediately send an SOS message with an exact GPS location (map) to pre-configured contacts.

That’s it.

I’ve tested the app for Droid and it works great. I must say, having this installed gives a protective parent greater peace of mind.

SOS App for Smartphones

SOS app for the iPhone

(SOS-Pro, by i2e Consulting LLC | $0.99 )

SOS app for Android

(One Touch SOS, by IDEOPHONE | FREE)

SOS app for Blackberry

(Personal Guardian, by SnapSecure | $89/yr – 15 day free trial)

As always, if you think this article might help others, please SHARE (below).

Cheers,
“Daddy” D

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Dangers of Using Multiple Domain Names

Dangers of Using Multiple Domain Names

Do you use more than one domain name for a single website?

Are you certain that this “pointing” is done correctly? I ask because this scenario comes up almost daily in my business and I see folks getting virtually punished for not knowing about nor implementing this redirectcorrectly.

There is a belief that having more than one domain name “pointing” (like domains with keywords within) to a website will give your site better rankings on Google.

Is it true? No.

The end. =)

How important are domain names for getting found?

Click to find out how important domain names are in getting found on Google

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Do Not Use the Username ‘ADMIN’ in WordPress

Do not use username admin in WordPress

Do not use username “admin” in WordPress

Do you use WordPress CMS? Do you log in with username “admin”? I thought I’d mention how important it is to NEVER use that username ADMIN while logging into WordPress. This username often comes standard within auto-installs of this CMS. Leaving this name as is exposes a giant vulnerability for nasty hackers to gain access to the backend of your site.

How to fix?

Click here to find out how to fix this vulnerability in WordPress

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How to Choose a Web Hosting Company

How to Choose Web Hosting Company for Small Business

Tips for saving time, money and frustration when it comes to choosing a decent web hosting company

I’m often asked to recommend a good web hosting company, so I thought I’d write a post describing exactly what you should look for when choosing a good web host.

First, I think it’s important to understand exactly how a website & hosting works (just 30,000 foot view)

Although it’s technically very complicated, there are really three main components that make a website work:

  • domain name
  • website files and data
  • web host

Think of it like what it takes to make your cell phone work.

You need the following:

  • a phone number (i.e. domain name)
  • a phone (i.e. website files/db)
  • phone service (i.e. web host)

Make sense?

When I mention there are many crummy web hosts out there, believe me there are… and I’ve used just about all of them. From lousy hardware and servers, cr@ppy software, poor customer support to lack of proper backups, bad web hosts are indeed available to take your money and it’s up to YOU to stay away from them. It is a very important decision you need to make when it comes to hosting your website, so choose a great one when you do.


Quick note:Don’t ever try to host your own small business website.

No matter how many IT guys tell you that they can do it “in house” do a better job, it’s cheaper, safer or that you’ll have more control… don’t believe them. They are wrong! These days there is no room for error. There are so many components involved in web hosting (some that many IT folk aren’t even aware of) It is far better, safer, cost effective for you to leave it to the pros.

Click here to save time, money and frustration when choosing a decent web hosting company

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How to Search By Image via Google Images

Did you know that you can perform a search *using* an image?

Google Images logoYep. Simply put, you can drag and drop an image onto the homepage of Google Images and it will be uploaded and deliver search results based on viewing the image itself.

Learn it in about a minute™

Enjoy,
//D

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Why Facebook’s Stock isn’t Performing

Facebook LogoLet me answer that question with 3 questions:

How often do you go to Facebook.com to:

  • shop?
  • find products/services?
  • click on ads?

The end.

//D

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How to Convert Facebook Personal Account to Facebook Business Page

Facebook LogoDo you have more than one Facebook account? Have you been falsely logging into different accounts for your business? Well, as I’ve mentioned before, you are risking having Facebook shut down *all* of your accounts. Luckily for you, Facebook has implemented a way for you to convert that account into a business page.

Why should you convert your (false) personal account(s) to Facebook Page(s)?

Personal accounts are meant for actual people, they really don’t meet any business requirements. (and Google can’t see personal profiles) Facebook “Pages” have far more features available for organizations, businesses, brands and public figures.

If you have a personal account for anything other than *you* (a real person), it is a violation of Facebook’s Terms. Quote from Facebook: If you don’t convert your noncompliant account to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the account and all of its content. 

Read on to learn how to stay compliant and convert your (false) Facebook profile to a Facebook Page

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What is Buffer?

What is Buffer?

Buffer: A Smarter Way to Share on the Web ™

Buffer is a FREE APP that offers a way to schedule your Tweets, posts and any other web-based information you wish to share. You simply fill up your Buffer with a click of a mouse and the BufferApp automatically posts them for you throughout the day. (at the best times for your particular audience)

Why should you care about Buffer?

  1. Social networks / micro blogs typically work on a timeline, (latest posts on top) which means that *most* of your audience never sees your posts and shares.
  2. If you’re like me and can only research and post every so often, then scheduled posts work much better.
  3. How much better? By scheduling your posts correctly, you can increase the number of views and clicks by 200%, double your retweets and significantly increase your Klout score.

Learn More About How Buffer App Can Help Your Social Networking…

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How to Embed YouTube Videos in WordPress

How to embed a YouTube video to WordPress Site

How to embed a YouTube video in WordPress


Learn it in about a minute™

Have you ever wondered how you can have a YouTube video inserted into your website? No, it’s not magic, it just takes a few steps and is very easily done. This article will illustrate exactly how to embed a Youtube Video on your WordPress site.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to embed a YouTube Videos into your WordPress website:

Learn the step by step process to embed a Youtube video within WordPress

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How to Use Google Sesame

How to Use Google Sesame

How to Use Google Sesame to log into your Google Account securely via your computer, smartphone and a QR Code.

(when you’re at a location you don’t quite trust… like a hotel or Internet Cafe)

Since this article was written, Google has shut this project down, but with a promise of something better. I thought I’d post anyway, just to illustrate the awesomeness and how Google takes security very serious.

Learn it in about a minute

Ever get the creeps logging into your Google Account when you’re at a location you don’t quite trust? (I think we all have) Well, Google is working on solving this. They are experimenting with what they call “Sesame.” (as in Open Sesame)

30,000 foot view:
You use your computer, your cell phone’s keyboard and a QR code to log in. (#genius)

Step by step:

  • Visit: http://accounts.google.com on your computer
  • A dynamic QR code is delivered to that page
  • You take your phone and QR code reader and scan it
  • Your phone delivers the Google login page
  • You key in your Google login info (through your phone)
  • Your computer screen is refreshed with you safely logged into your Google Account

Nice!

Hope that helps,

//D

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What is Google+?

Google Plus Logo

A New Game-Changing Social Network from Google

WAIT, WHAT— ANOTHER SOCIAL NETWORK?!?

You may be saying to yourself: “I’m barely able to deal with Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter… why should I learn another?

Google+ truly is a game-changing social network that makes sharing on the web far easier with much less noise. How is it a game-changer? Google is the most popular search engine in the world and anything you post “publicly” on G+ is indexed way up there within Google’s Search Results. (So ask yourself: why wouldn’t I want better results on Google by posting on G+?)

You can share your insights, links and photos, chat with up to 9 people at once via G+ Hangouts and divide your contacts into G+ Circles. There are also tons of G+ Games and Instant Search always available within Google+ and the G+ mobile version of G+ has made available G+ Instant Upload and G+ Messenger to make your sharing experience easier

A quick peak at Google+

Learn more about the awesomeness of Google+

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Learn Any Software via Online Training Videos at Lynda.com

lynda.com LogoHave you been wanting to learn some specific software, like WordPress or Photoshop but your schedule won’t allow it? Or want to gain a new skill but can’t afford or have time for school? While you can find answers out on the web, they are often difficult to find, unorganized and incomplete. Well, I can tell you from experience that lynda.com is the place to visit if you really want to learn. This website offers online software training videos that really work… and they are available 24/7! The collective instructors at lynda.com are simply the best at what they do and have assembled a superb and well organized curriculum.

Even organizations like Amazon, Starbucks, Disney, Google, Turner and Yale use this service!

Click to Read More About the Awesomeness of Lynda.com

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What is Google Voice?

An unbelievably cool way to communicate… for FREE!

Google Voice logo

Google Voice provides a single number for all of your phones You can use it on your mobile devices, (and you can port your existing mobile number(s)) your work, your home and VOIP lines. You can even just plug a headset into a computer, dial and make phone calls *without* a phone! Google Voice isn’t tied to a specific device or location… it’s tied to YOU.

I’ve used this exclusively for over a year now and it ROCKS! Very easy to use and loaded with cool features. Oh yeah, I’m also saving about $3500/yr in phone bills! (truly)

Here are some short and sweet videos explaining how it all works:

Or, if you just want to go for it, visit Google Voice now.



Click Here to Learn More About Google Voice

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Creeped Out by the Latest Facebook Changes?

Facebook Changes Creeping You Out?Fret not… for below are Plain English Explanations that may ease your mind. Or perhaps make you even more creeped out, depending on what you think about all of it. =)

The Takeaway: It’s pretty clear… Facebook users are all here mainly because their friends are here. OR they want to market their company to tons-o-customers. Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, thinks the world should be more “open and connected” (FB wants to become the portal for everything on the web, use your information to allow marketers to push a very personal experience and make a sh*t-load of money.) But maybe all of this “sharing” isn’t really for you and it’s just all too creepy!

Read on and you can make informed decisions about moving forward with Facebook.

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Help Someone Out on Facebook (takes 60 Seconds)

Facebook Logo

Know someone who is looking for work or maybe their business is suffering?

I think we all do

Times are obviously tough, but do you realize the you have the power to absolutely help others find work and/or potential customers on Facebook? If you’re efficient you can do all 3 within 60 seconds. (and seriously… who doesn’t have one minute within a day to help a friend?)

Learn How to Help Others Using Facebook

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How to Protect Your Privacy When Taking Pictures with Smartphones



Keep Kids Safe When Taking Pictures With Smartphones - Geo-tag off

Keep your kids safe!

Did you know that your privacy may be at risk when you take and post an image online from your smartphone?

How

Because of the GPS Geo-tag data that is embedded within each image.

Why is it dangerous?

Because bad people can use this data to track down exactly where the picture was taken via Google Maps. Yep, it’s scary.
Read On to Learn How to Protect your Family’s Safety

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How to Redirect Your Website

Do you want to have your website automatically redirect to another site or specific page? (read on)

301 Redirect Website imageRedirects are fairly simple. BUT you need to know what type of file types you are using (php, asp, cfm, etc.) OR if your webhost uses to “cPanel” you can this without knowing code.(watch quick video) One important note to consider when doing this is to not only think about the redirect but how the search engines will treat the redirect. Most folks want to get (and keep) the best search results they can and implementing redirects can affect those search results. Google and the others look very carefully at redirects to make sure that their results point to valid content. How do implement correctly? “301 Redirects” (The 301 tells search engines that the page has *permanently* moved to a new location and keeps your search engine results in tact) There are other redirect types, but for this post, we’ll just deal with 301s.

So What Exactly Do I Need to Do To Correctly Redirect My Site??

Read On to Correctly Create Redirects

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Facebook Business Page Redirects to Facebook’s Homepage?

Facebook Logo

Does your Facebook Business Page automatically redirect to Facebook’s Homepage? Or can you only see your page when you’re logged in?

This question has popped up many times from clients in the past few months so I decided to write about it.

**NOTE, since this article was written, Facebook has implemented a “log in” pop-up window, (to get folks to either join or log in) but this doesn’t mean that the page isn’t public. (users and Google can see your content) You can simply close the window or log in.

If this is happening to your business page, this is obviously bad for your site’s search engine results. In other words if the search engines can’t see it, then your customers (and many potential others) can’t find it either!

How to check to see if your page is view-able without being logged in: Make sure you’re logged out of Facebook.com *then* visit your Facebook Business Page. If you can see the page, you’re good.

If you see a prompt to log into Facebook while trying to view your business page, then you should read on.

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