For a long time I was a devoted fan of the social bookmarking service Delicious. It was my backup brain, and I used it to feed content to this blog when I didn’t have time to write. But after Yahoo bought it a couple of years ago, they just let it wither on the vine. It was sad.
So I was happy to see this news today:
YouTube Founders Buy Delicious; First Step To Taking On Google?
…Of course, I’ve moved on. Diigo is now my new backup brain. I’ll keep an eye on how Delicious evolves, but it would take a hell of an upgrade to tempt me to switch back.
- These days, brochures aren’t enough to make your business findable. (Image via Wikipedia)
If you’re a semi-retired professional who wants to build a consulting business, and you’re not an internet whiz, what kind of web site will really help clients find you? And how can you easily build and maintain a useful professional network?
My dad, Jack Gahran, is a semi-retired management consultant who knows many other semi-retired professionals. Today he asked me to look over the brand-new web site of a colleague of his, to offer some advice as to how it might be improved in ways that will build this person’s business.
The site is a pretty standard brochure site — a few static pages of basic information. It had a nice but simple design, and the content seemed to use keywords appropriately — both of which help search engines like Google index the site well. However, Google generally isn’t very interested in small brochure sites that are infrequently updated and don’t attract many inbound links.
I offered my dad’s colleague four basic tips for improving his site in ways that will make it much more visible in search engines, and thus more likely to attract inbound links from other sites (another thing Google rewards).
I get asked for this kind of advice a lot, so I figured I’d make a blog post out of it, so everyone can benefit.
Here’s what I told him…
|Berbercarpet, via Flickr (CC license)
|Journalism sudents need the right tools — and skills — for the kinds of careers and opportunities they’re really going to be making for themselves.
Picking up on my post yesterday, Univ. of Florida journalism professor Mindy McAdams challenged me (and her other readers) to translate my quick list of what j-schools should be teaching into a something more testable and measurable that could be translated into a curriculum.
Here’s my first shot at that:
- Content management systems (including blogging tools): First, I’d have the students run a group blog on a topic of their choosing for a year to get comfortable with the content and commenting apects of blogging. (A group blog is likely to get more activity and discussion than individual blogs.) This blog should be based on an expandable, customizable tool like WordPress. Then the students should be taught the basics of information architecture, and from that figure out how to expand or customize their blogs to deliver or integrate new kinds of content or services. This could be as simple as finding and installing WordPress plugins to add features, or integrating content from other places (such as Flickr or del.icio.us). The goal would be to get them to not just understand, but demonstrate that on their own they can envision, research, evaluate, and act upon options to do more with their content online. There’s a lot you can do without getting too geeky. They need to gain the confidence that many options are within their personal grasp — they don’t always need to get permission or beg someone else to do things for them.
There’s a lot more on my list, of course…
Right now, several of my clients are working on site redesigns and also are looking for ways to increase site traffic. One of the most basic strategies for attracting more traffic to your site is making your site more appealing to search engines. That’s why I’m suggesting that these clients might consider adding a “blog” to their home page, because search engines love blogs.
…OK, I realize now I need to learn to say that differently when talking to clients. All of these clients are from major, respectable media organizations — consequently, they have a generally negative immediate reaction to the word “blog.” Even though these people are savvy about online media, they still tend to immediately associate “blog” with a negative and largely inaccurate stereotype: poorly designed rant-fests that attract trolls and flamers like cockroaches.
No, that’s NOT what I’m advising for their home pages.
Rather, I’m saying it can be useful to manage the newsiest parts of your site with a blog-like back-end — a content management system interface that makes it easy to post discrete items, categorize and assign a permalink to each, and present them online in reverse-chronological order. Then you generate a feed (RSS) from that content, so you can syndicate the most recent items to a space on your home page layout.
Here’s how you can benefit from that strategy…