Caution: website a work in progressJune 15th, 2015

cautionI saw this sign and I immediately thought of websites. (I know, I say that about everything, hey I am a web guy) But this sign illustrates what I have been preaching since 1996. The idea of build a website, and they will come doesn’t work. (Although it did work for building a baseball field in the middle of Iowa…) Websites are ALWAYS a work in progress and requiring maintenance and updates.

Websites will thrive only when they are not stagnant and are consistently being updated. Companies throw away thousands trying to shortcut their SEO efforts. Google and other search engines don’t fall for tricks, they are looking for content, and quality content. Because of the onslaught of email campaigns from offshore SEO companies promising a pot of gold they can’t possibly deliver, companies jump at quick fixes.

DON’T DO IT!!!!!
I get calls and emails everyday, just like you.  Hang up the phone, and delete the emails.  Most of these companies use black hat techniques which will ultimately hurt your business. Not sure what black hat SEO is? Here is a definition from Webopedia:

In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, black hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines guidelines.

Spend your time and money investing in your website from a content & maintenance standpoint.

Do the following:

  1. Hire a company to maintain your site. This way you can send them content and website changes. You worry about content, let someone else worry about the nuts and bolt of running the site.
  2. Create a schedule of content and social media for regular content updating.
  3. Make your website/social media part of someone’s job, not an afterthought. Have tasks appear on people’s calendar so they are not forgotten.
  4. Schedule a quarterly SEO review.  If you aren’t being found for phrases you’d like, formulate a plan to improve.

Bottom Line: Rarely do you see a comparison between a maintenance sign and a website. But as with any building or property, websites need care and feeding. Let them go and they will eventually have problems or grow irrelevant. With a little hard work, you can grow your website, improve search rankings and hopefully turn your website into a profit center, not a drain on resources. Don’t get me wrong, it takes work and it takes commitment. But you CAN be successful. Just think of that simple yellow sign!!


10 Helpful SitesJune 3rd, 2015

10-helpful-sitesHere are 10 sites I find particularly helpful in managing websites. I hope you find them valuable as well.

  1. Convert Case – If you manage website for a living as I do, you know people send you text in all sorts of weird ways.  You have the all-caps fanatic, or those who never use caps.  This site is a big help and time-saver.
  2. Down for Everyone – Clients sometimes call and tell you their sites are down when you can bring it up clear as day. This site will tell you if if the site is down for everyone or just you.
  3. 301 Redirect Code Generator – Changing URLs is a necessary evil, but if you don’t redirect users, Google will penalize. This site easily create redirects for every type of server.
  4. LastPass Password Generator – The days of having simple passwords are over, you need sophisticated random passwords. This site generates random passwords with different criteria. For instance, you can create a 20 character password with mixed case, characters and numbers.
  5. WhatTheFont – Ever look at a graphic and wonder what font they use?  This site will help you to identify which fonts. The good thing is they give you close options which helps in case one is ultra-expensive.
  6. Lorem Ipsum – If you design website, placeholder text is always needed.  This site generates placeholder text, by paragraphs, number of words or bytes.
  7. Character Counter – If you post to sites like Twitter, you need to know how may characters, this site offers an easy way to do that and counts characters, words, sentences, paragraphs and white-space.
  8. Alphabetizer – Ever need to alphabetize a list, this site is for you.  It also removes dupes and has other features for CSV files including adding line breaks.
  9. Google Translate – if you manage sites in languages not your own, Google Translate is a good site. Not perfect, but it does the trick most of the time. It is a good idea to run the translated text by a native speaker as sometime a word Google may come up may not always be the best choice.
  10. Sucuri Malware Scanner – If you manage a site at some point you will need to scan it for malware.  This site does a good cursory scan, though even they say: “Although we do our best to provide the best results, 100% accuracy is not realistic, and not guaranteed.

I’d love to hear what tools/sites you use every day, please comment below with sites and tools that make your life easier.