I just came across this video on TED and felt compelled to share it. TED is a fantastic resource for inspiring talks from everyone from Bill Gates to Al Gore.
In the presentation Simon Sinek goes on to explain what it is that makes a truly inspiring leader different from everyone else. The main ‘premise’ he states is that most people in their every day lives start with the ‘what’ they do and use that to come about the ‘why’ they do it. Great leaders do this in reverse, the ‘what’ they do is simply a by product of what they believe.
For me this video really struck a chord as this is something that I think about everyday. The WHY.
I was going about my daily morning wake routine, which generally starts with a few barely audible groans as I wake up and use gravity to roll out of bed and stumble over to put the kettle on while I rub the sleep out of my eyes and attempt to recollect the evenings dreams. (I should mention that unfortunately, not enough of those dreams involve scantily clad Swedish vixens having pillow fights). After I’ve made my coffee I usually fire up the computer to read my RSS feeds in Google Reader, then see what inane ramblings my friends on the other side of the world have made on the “Zuckerberg Platform of World Domination”…err, I mean Facebook.
This morning one of my mates had a status update about her “managing to assemble some IKEA furniture after several hours” and it got me thinking.
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During the week I was finishing up “Phase 2″ of one of our projects and realised that I hadn’t done some tweaks to speed up the clients site. So I thought it would be make a fun blog post to document the process I take and to note the speed improvements. Just remember that speed is a factor in Google’s rankings as I discussed in that blog post.
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Gone are the days were we would look up a business in the yellow pages or a local directory.
Our first point of call is the internet for all out research.
On a recent holiday I took to Cairns I asked a work colleague for advice on what to do and see while there. This was the reply I got. It struck me overwhelmingly just how much of our decisions are now made through the internet, and just how disadvantaged businesses who do not have an online presence have become.
Here is the email that was sent to me:
I’m currently in the process of designing some concepts for the sennza Facebook Fan Page and I thought that it would be a good idea to have a nice grid based template to start with for future Facebook Face Page projects.
I’ve got a free Photoshop PSD download for anyone who needs it. The details of the grid layout are as follows:
- 10 Columns
- 760 pixel wide content area (which is standard for Facebook)
- Each column has a 16 pixel margin left and right
- The column width is 44 pixels
Anyways, hopefully this might come in handy for a few people so here is the link to the download: Free Facebook Fan Page Photoshop Template
Edit: I’ve updated the previous file to include the new “Like” button as opposed to the Become A Fan button.
Even companies like Google take the time every year to have a bit of fun with an April Fools joke. This year Google introduced the storage anything feature in Google Docs! They even went to the effort of setting up a Google Docs form for people to sign up. I can’t wait to see what they do next year!
The final post in my 10 days of search engine optimisation (SEO) tips is rather new in the search engine world. In fact, it was only announced on the Google Analytics blog on the 9th of April 2010. The speed of your page is officially a factor in Googles rankings. So what does this mean for your site? This means it’s now time for your web designer or SEO expert to take a look at a few factors.
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Here are some quick things to take a look at on your website to help your page load faster:
- Reducing the file size of your images
- Using CSS Sprites (This is a process where all frequently used images and icons are put into one image file. e.g. Here’s a Facebook sprite. )
- Placing CSS files in the <head> tags of your document
- Removing and redundant code
- Externalise inline CSS and Javscript
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) (This basically means that your site is deployed across different servers around the world and your sites hosting will be delivered from the server closest to the users geographical location)
There are quite a few other factors that you can take into consideration as well. If you are using Mozilla FireFox you can install Firebug and Yahoo’s YSlow add on to assess your pages performance. If I was in radio I’d have to say something like “There has never been a better time to optimise your website for speed”.
PageRank is often talked about in the search engine optimisation (SEO) community as it is essentially Google’s measure of importance of any given page on the internet. Many SEO experts will talk amongst their peers about how high their PageRank and compete with each other to see who can get a higher PageRank for their site. Frankly, I find this behaviour a little absurd. As far as I am concerned the thing that matters the most of a site is whether or not the site is performing in Google for the selected keywords. That being said, PageRank does come into play but achieving the highest number possible doesn’t always mean that the page will rank higher than competitors pages.
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So how goes Google determine the PageRank of a site? Google determines your PageRank by counting the number of back links (or inbound links) to your site and also factoring in the PageRank’s of the referral sites. I bet that still doesn’t make enough sense for a non-geek so let me use an analogy. Think of PageRank as word of mouth for your business. We all love it when people talk about our business in positive terms but it’s even better when you receive positive praise from a well known industry figure or even a celebrity. So if a celebrity (high PageRank) talks about our business (low PageRank) then our site gets a reputation boost (higher PageRank) over time.
How can I boost the PageRank of my site?
There are a few ways to boost the PageRank of your site. Some of these include:
- Writing press releases and articles for publications on external sites with links back to your site
- Asking affiliates and associates to place a link to your site on their site
- Publishing video content on sites with a link back to your site
- Publishing blog posts that have engaging content so people will link back to your site or “tweet” about your posts
- Participate in forums with a link back to your site (provided the site allows this)
- Comment on other peoples blog posts
How do I check the PageRank of my site?
You can check your PageRank on this site. Alternatively you can install the Google Toolbar and be sure to enable the PageRank option in the settings or if you are using Mozilla FireFox as your browser then you can install the SearchStatus addon.
Firstly, I’ll let you know what alt attributes are in case you haven’t heard of them before. Alt attributes show alternative text that is displayed if an image is missing or a tool tip if the user hovers their mouse over an image. Alt attributes are also important for visually impaired readers. You will see many images on websites that will have have alt attributes that just reflect the images file name.
<img alt="DSC007.jpg" src="/images/DSC007.jpg" width="800" height="600" />
This bad for search engine optimisation. Your alt attributes should contain a small amount of data that gives a brief description of what can be seen in the image. It’s best to use images that are relevant to your SEO campaign so that you can use your keywords in the alt attributes so that Google has more keyword repetition and density. If the example I used above was a picture of a person wireframing while he was redesigning a website and you were targetting the terms “website redesign” then a good alt attribute would be something like this:
<img alt="A man in the process of a website redesign." src="/images/DSC007.jpg" width="800" height="600" />
Don’t stuff your keywords into your alt attributes!
Black hat search engine optimisation “experts” used to perform the practice of keyword stuffing both in content and in the alt attributes of images. They would often only put the keywords in all the alt attributes. This would sometimes get effective results for a short period of time but in the long run Google would often black list the site in it’s results. Make sure that this doesn’t occur during your SEO campaign! This practice is very unethical and is frowned upon in the SEO community.
Sitemaps can take two forms. The first form is the one that is known by most every day users and that’s a sitemap that shows a list of all pages on a website in a list of links to those pages. These are great for assisting usability and are excellent for accessibility. The second form is much lesser known form of sitemap. It’s a XML (Extenisble Markup Language) version of a sitemap that is used by Google and also Bing. These site maps are located in the root directory of your website and are basically list of links that search engines love to read. We use a WordPress plugin to generate our sitemap. (You can view our sitemap.xml). You can check if your site has a sitemap by typing in www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml into a browser. If you don’t have one then you should definitely get a web designer or SEO expert to create one for your website then submit your sitemaps into Google and Bing.
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The robots are taking over
Another important file that you should have in the root directory of your website to assist search engines to crawl your site is a robots.txt file. (You can view our robots.txt). This file lets search engines know which directories search engine robots are allowed to crawl to read the contents of those directories. If your website has directories that contain private files then you should have rules in place to disallow those directories. Your SEO expert should fix both your robots.txt and sitemap.xml files as part of the initial setup of an SEO campaign.