Did you know that 90 percent of people trust peer recommendations and only 14 percent trust advertisements? In February I have been touring Minnesota different towns to talk to people about using the Internet to promote their business –one good way is my encouraging happy customers to post reviews .
If you have a business that might benefit (or benefit from) tourists, it makes sense to encourage people to post reviews on TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com. You can start by setting up a business listing with them: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners-t2. A listing is free. It may make sense to think about their advertising; it definitely makes sense to try it out with the free listing.
For some businesses it makes more sense to set up a listing on Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/ And again you can start with a free business listing.
For others, for example professional services (accountants, lawyers) it can make sense to encourage people to recommend you on LinkedIn. http://www.linkedin.com/ (A recent survey indicated that 90 percent of small businesses who used LinkedIn found it valuable.)
Getting reviews from customers and clients is a two-step process. First – ask them to post reviews. Maybe include a link to post a review on your business card or brochure and/or simply ask them. The second step is pay attention to what folks are saying. Thank people who say kind things and address any reviews that are less than stellar. Folks reading the reviews will see the effort.
Once you have a new website or you have made significant changes to an existing site, you want Google and Big to pick up the changes right away. They will find your site eventually, but there are a couple of things you can do to expedite the process.
- Get an established site to link to you.
- Submit the site to search engines the quick way:
Or set up your site with Google webmaster tools from Google (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools) and Bing (http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster). It takes a little longer but over time the accounts will set you up with more info that will help your search engine ranking in the future.
I’m on the road this month doing lots of training. One new thing I’ve learned about is Snap Chat:
SnapChat: http://www.snapchat.com/ – it is a photo-sharing app that lets you text a picture that disappears within one to 10 seconds. You take a picture with your phone, send it to your friend; they can view it for a few seconds and it disappears.
I guess the idea is that you can send a funny face to your friend or maybe a picture of a cookie right before you eat it, although I’m not sure this is how the app is playing out in the real world. From what I’ve heard, kids are using this to send pictures that may not be entirely appropriate. Unfortunately, while the image does disappear there is a fairly easy way to capture it if you’re fast enough.
It’s probably worth warning/reminding the kids in your life to be smart.
Today’s Byte isn’t about technology – it’s a website of 50 super simple tips to make life easier from the Twisted Sifter: http://twistedsifter.com/2013/01/50-life-hacks-to-simplify-your-world/
You’ll have to visit the original site for the full list. Here are my top five picks:
- Chew gum while cutting onions to reduce tears
- Turn an old CD spindle into a bagel tote
- Pour pancake batter out of a ketchup bottle for fewer drips
- Take pictures of friends holding items you lend them with your phone to remind you of where stuff goes
- Use a hair straightener to iron collars
Lots of fun and easy fixes to improve your life!
It’s been a while since I’ve written about Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en). It’s a tool for folks who have websites. Sign up and it will provide you with detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. So that’s nice – but unfortunately last weekend I learned an even more valuable part of the tool.
Google Webmaster Tools will help monitor the health of your website. For example it will alert you to any crawl errors (broken links et al) and any malware on your site. This was my issue last week. I had a site with suspected malware. I use two other forms of site protection on the site – but neither provided me with the level of detail that Google Webmaster Tools did. Specifically, it told me where the suspicious code was – at least for the forward facing pages of the site. (Because I block access to the web-based admin tools on the site, it wasn’t helpful there.) I still had to dig through to find the code and delete and/or fix it – but the info provided by Google was invaluable.
While I hope you’ll never need this info – I’m glad that you’re now armed with it!
Google has a newish deal that makes it easier to connect content you create with your Google+ Profile. If you have a corporate, or other more static, website this might not be a big deal for you. If you maintain a blog, contribute to an online publication or otherwise publish content on a regular basis, this may be of interest. The greatest advantage, I think, is that then when your content shows up in a Google search, it will include your profile picture and searchers are attracted to posts with images.
You can learn more here: https://plus.google.com/authorship
The outline the steps to get it going, I’ve added the first:
- Set up a Google+ account: https://plus.google.com
- Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.
- Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy”).
- Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
- Verify you have an email address(such as email@example.com) on the same domain as your content. (There is an alternative method if this isn’t the case: http://tinyurl.com/7ngmgjj)
Google has been pushing Google+. I still see that online marketers seem to have the greatest presence on Google+, but I also don’t see it going away.
I’m back. I know I’ve been intermittent at best – sorry I’ve been busy. But I have a few items that I’m hoping to share in the upcoming weeks.
Today – I’m all about security for WordPress sites. I know that might not be of interest to everyone – but I’m hoping it will be very helpful to some folks.
I’ll start by saying if you have a site on WordPress.com, they are responsible for security, which is one benefit of their free hosting. If you have a website hosted somewhere else and you are using WordPress you might want to increase security with site protection. I’ve been noticing more hacking attempts lately – so I thought it was worth checking out. I am now going with Wordfence: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordfence/
It’s free. You download it as you would any other plugin. It works with WordPress multisite. Once it’s set up it scans your site hourly for a range of nastiness. (You can get a more specific list on the Wordfence website.)
Once you install and activate it, you will notice it as part of the WordPress dashboard. Here you can set up options. To start, you can add an email address to receive any scan warnings. You can also increase or decrease security based on your needs. I do suggest adding firewall rules. (You can learn why they don’t add that option by default here: http://www.wordfence.com/forums/topic/no-default-firewall-rules-in-latest-version/)
I’ve added Wordfence to a number of sites. It’s caught minor things – like the need to update plugins and other options. So that’s good. It has also made me look at some changed code, which thankfully turned out to be code I had changed myself.
While nothing is foolproof, I must admit I’m breathing a little easier knowing I have some line of defense in place to protect clients’ sites.