Working on a website project, I was asked to pull the tweet feeds from 5 different twitter accounts into one feed that needed to then be placed prominently on several sites. At first, I was baffled, I didn't really know what needed to be done and how I had to implement that. Luckily, I came across a website that was featuring exactly what my manager wanted. With a little luck and perusing the source, I was able to guesstimate how everything was implemented. It was really simple. Turns out, Twitter has all the tools that you need. This is all that you need to do:
- 1st, go to the twitter account you have access to and create a "list" (Go to your Profile and you will fine it right under "that's you"). Give it a name, description as set up the privacy options as "public".
- Then, go to your list and add the other twitter accounts as accounts that you want to follow.
- Then, go to: http://twitter.com/goodies and click on widgets. Click "widgets for my website" and select the List Widget
- Follow the instructions, test the widget, copy and paste anywhere on your website. It will probably look similar to this example: http://www.falconstor.com/community/
I hope it's useful - drop me a line, let me know what you think:).
As I was thinking about my newly minted term, "the 4 website W's", I decided of course to google it to see if I am reinventing the wheel because let's face it - there's never something that's truly "new". Even the "Matrix" wasn't, even Apple's super-duper products aren't. And I came across this article here: http://smallbizbee.com/index/2009/05/05/ws-branding/, that talks about branding and its 4 Ws.
I do believe that there's a lot in common, generally speaking, but still, I claim that my concept definitely has some originality. First, because I really arrived at this conclusion after spending quite some time researching web optimization and second, because, unlike the author of the article, I talk about websites. :)).
So anyway, here is my take on the 4 W's:
What is it that all of your online visitors have in common? The fact that when they land on your website, the first thing they care to learn within seconds of landing is:
- What are you selling;
- Why is it better than what your competition is offering;
- Who is using it;
- What are they saying about you and your product.
Give it a try, go to a potential online vendor and try to simulate an "out-of-the-body" experience where you watch as the other "you" browses through that vendor's website:)).
Of course, since the web inevitably contributes to a big dose of anonymity - especially when it comes to new online vendors or super small businesses - users need some factual information that they can verify in the process of evaluating the potential vendor. So I am guessing that as you are trying to discover what your potential vendor is offering, you are also looking for facts, whose validity you can easily check - credibility elements (ah, they are paying for "verisign" and they are a member of BBB, so they must be serious; a-ha, one of their customers is a university dean and I can indeed find his name and credentials online, etc.).
But when it comes to the big guys - large, well established companies/organizations, it really boils down to these 4 W elements. That's how most of the people make their purchasing decisions.
So, do you want to make sure you address the 4 web W's on your website? I would definitely recommend that.
- Answering question W1: tell your visitor how you product meets his/her requirements - focus on key features and benefits;
- Answering W2: your product must have at least one feature that's better than the competition, right:)? Make sure you do spell it out clearly and succinctly and offer a test-drive or a recorded/guided demo option.
- Answering W3 and 4: make sure you have a nice set of customer/partner logos perched somewhere on your homepage or other well-visited pages. Do make sure you feature customer success stories, comments, testimonials or video. Provide access to a forum where customers share their experience, rate your product, etc.
Do you agree/disagree? Drop me a line, tell me what you think about my suggestions:)).
Here is what most of the gurus say about the need to update content (They mostly talk about Google, and so will I because we all know that Google is the absolute king when it comes to keyword searches and page rankings - sorry Yahoo!, Ask and MSN/Bing - I do respect your rules and your presence in the market, it's just that it seems that once you master Google, everything else is kind of... easy.):
- Google likes fresh pages. It's recommended that you add new content often in the form of news, promotions, press releases, information about new products, etc. Adding new content or updating your website content is indeed a ranking factor. And here is the place to mention that unique content is what counts. Unique as in not "borrowed", "copy-pasted from another source" or " a series of keywords stacked together without making any sense".
- The frequency of your website content updates is related to how often you want the search bots to crawl your website. It seems that the more frequently they visit your website, the better it is for you and your rankings, so try to add new content (text, picture, or even a whole page) as often as reasonable. Don't overdo it though, because "too frequent" sometimes spells "bad rankings". Aim for the golden middle. Moderation is everything in this game.
- Adding fresh links to your website definitely counts as new content, but try not to get carried away, because Google hates link farms and often interprets the act of adding multiple links at the same time as some sort of scamming.
- If you want to add fresh images, don't forget to update their titles/"alt" tags. Text included in images will not be read by the search engines. For example, if you create a beautiful collage crowned by a clever advertising statement that contains some of your keywords, which is then saved neatly as an image - a .jpg or .png format - and published on your website, don' t count on the engines to take notice and "index" your keywords. They cannot "read" images like people do.
- If you are planning to have a flash file on your website, especially if it contains an important set of keywords, note that search engines do not read flash content either.
- Adding new videos is really a good way to keep visitors longer, and definitely counts as new content. If you don't have the bandwidth to play them smoothly from your website server, then definitely publish them on YouTube.com and then embed them on your site. YouTube will give you more exposure, as well as the ability to choose appropriate search tags for your video.
- A word of caution regarding keeping duplicate content: If you have live duplicate content on your website, bear in mind that search engines don't really like websites that maintain published copies of the same content. That might affect negatively your ranking too.
I am extremely pleased to share with you today that only a month after we completely overhauled, changed the content and re-launched our website, Complete Website Care has confidently climbed up the rankings of the almighty 3 - Yahoo!, Google and MSN/Bing - jumping quite a few pages up in the race to get to the highest slots and currently enjoying top rankings for the keyword searches mentioned below.
I am happy that I can, in this case, lead by example in showing you that if you follow effectively the search engine requirements and apply a well structured, well thought-out approach to search engine optimization, you can achieve stellar results in a very short time, without the need to pay huge fees or waste valuable time.
So, I have a couple of snapshots here, where I'd like to show you how our website ranks based on these keywords below:
easy to update content (Google)
easy to update website (Google)
seo friendly complete website (Google)
complete website (Google)
complete seo website (Bing)
complete website (Yahoo)
Thanks for your time to read this, and remember, SEO is not a rocket science. It can actually be a lot of fun once you get over the initial fear invoked by the likes of SERP, SEO, Bounce Rate, Backlinking and all the rest of the "makes me sound smart" lingo that people from the trade like to use to scare the novices.
Here’s a quick checklist that will help you manage your website successfully:
1. Assign one of your staff to be in charge of the website content management;
2. Devote a few minutes of each staff meeting to the website. Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback and suggestions.
3. Review and implement at least bi-weekly website revisions + content updates.
a. Don’t leave the “under construction” and “content coming soon” portions on for too long not to discourage your web visitors from coming back.
b. Delete old pages and directories; keep your contact info updated.
c. Check for broken links or missing content - use this free tool to identify dead links: http://www.dead-links.com.
d. If you use You Tube or other third-party movies/videos on your site, check to make sure they are still available.
e. Check often to make sure that your online contact forms are functioning well.
Here is a quick checklist that might explain why you get very few conversions, despite the high traffic that's coming to your website:
1. Do you make your visitors sit through long flash intros before they can get to your website, instead of offering a simple and clean landing page with a clear call to action?
2. Do you have an auto-playing movie or voice on your homepage with a “stop” button that’s very hard to find?
3. Do you present your visitors with annoyingly long contact forms that ask for a lot of information instead of just asking for their email, phone number, name and company?
4. Do you have multiple content inconsistencies – products and services being named differently on different pages, page titles not corresponding well with their page content, menu structure that is convoluted and confusing?
5. Do you have NO explanation of how your website, store, orders, deliveries and returns are organized?
6. Have you decided that a FAQ section is a waste of time, especially if you don’t have a live assistance option?
7. Are you not offering any type of customer support – online tickets, phone-based support or at least a user forum?
8. Have you provided zero info on how customers can get quickly and easily in touch with you should they need to?
9. Have you provided zero reviews or catalogs or demos that could highlight your product well and give your visitors a good idea of what they are getting?
1. Multiple pages, subdomains, or domain redirects with duplicate content.
2. Lack of a site map to highlight all your web pages.
3. Lack of unique Page Titles
4. Lack of unique Page Meta Descriptions
5. Frames or flash intros, especially on your home page
6. Ultra long URLs of the following sort that have no particular meaning: http://www.casalarga.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showlist&productcategoryid=ac96dd03-c3fa-a96a-abee-1233123f91ba
7. Lack of internal cross-linking (pages linking to other pages on your site)
8. Lack of other, external websites linking to your website
9. Pages that are “under construction”.
10. Keyword stuffing (deliberately cramming your pages with keywords without incorporating them into well-flowing website copy)
Here is an easy to implement step-by-step SEO success recipe that will make your website SEO-friendly and will give a serious boost to its ranking.
10 Sure Ways for SEO Success
1. Give every single page on your website a title. Do not put the same title everywhere. Use a relevant title that pertains to the content of the specific page.
2. Make sure your page title has the key words that you want your customers to find you by when going to Google search and typing what they are looking for.
3. Give every single page on your website a description. Do not put the same description everywhere. Use a relevant and unique description that summarizes what te content on your page is about.
4. Make sure your page description has the key words you want your customers to find you by when doing to Google search and typing what they are looking for.
A customer once told me, “I don’t really need SEO for my website. If anyone wants to find us, they can type our company name and we will be the first name to pop up on Google search results.”
I replied with the following: “SEO is a marketing strategy, like all your other marketing strategies, whose goal is to bring new leads and new business. If your other marketing channels are bringing so much business that you cannot handle it, by all means, don’t waste your time; don’t invest in website search engine optimization. But if you think that there is no such thing as “enough, no more customers”, then optimizing your website for online search is a must.
The Lowdown on SEO and Website Optimization
At the heart of every SEO strategy is a group of components that are very important for the successful ranking of your website.
How Content Management Systems Help you Run Better Websites with Less Resources and in Less Time
CMS is one of those terms that sound so high-tech and complicated that the majority of people out there don’t even want to hear about it, because they think they will never understand what it is anyway.
In reality, CMS is a very easy to use out-of-the-box website solution that saves you an incredible amount of time in managing your website, and lets you update your web pages online without the need to learn HTML or invest into external software like Front Page or Dreamweaver. It really simplifies website editing and maintenance, and usually has a pretty low learning curve.
CMS stands for content management system. It is pretty much a collection of files, organized neatly in folders like the ones you have on your computer. Unlike the ordinary website files that end with .html (example: aboutus.html or services.html), the majority of these files end with .php, .asp, etc., which indicates they were written in a special programming language.
Before I continue, I want stop right here and clarify that you absolutely don’t need to panic when you hear the phrase “programming language”, because in working with a CMS, you will probably never need to see the inside of those files or deal with the programming language itself.