Get Better Search Rankings Through Hyperlinking

21 03 2010

Photo: Stock.Xchng

Get Noticed Now.

Use Hyperlinks For Better Search Ranks

It’s such a familiar object and so prevalent in everyday life that it’s almost easy to overlook the significance of the hyperlink . If you are unaware what a hyperlink is, please read on or select this hyperlink. </sarcasm>

A hyperlink, or “link,” is a virtual reference to a document or source online that a reader can follow automatically and directly to information. According to Rodolfo Baggio and Magda Corigliano’s On the Importance of Hyperlinks: A Network Science Approach, “hyperlinks are the essence of the World Wide Web.”

Hyperlinks provide a rapid means to interconnect relevant data in non-sequential order.  Baggio explains that this process mimics “the associative nonlinear process” that people use to logically search for inter-related information. Meaning, the information is linked in a way that is useful to the users and makes the Internet easier to surf.

Hyperlinking grew extensively with the commercialization of the Internet. With the masses came common topics and social interests that served as the mechanisms underlying the proliferation of links. This collective interest favored the build up of ‘communities of interest,’ like our beloved social media structures.  Links now represent the social ties between the individuals who own Web sites. Often, they’re sites more interesting than this one. ; )

However, hyperlinks are more than just a quick reference to data. Search engines, like google, use hyperlinks and thier respective uses to rank the positioning of your Web site on its search result pages. Baggio explains “the nature of the links between sites is one of the major determinants of a Web site’s positioning,” and that it’s “crucial to online success.”

Hyperlinks are pivotal to building better positioning for SEOs. Likewise, Ben Cotton of Social Web Thing offers advice on how to best economize your social media presence and how to best diversify your online portfolio to “boost your personal SEO.” This is a great compilation of Web advice I wish I would have seen a couple years ago. It features a lot of common sense best practices that otherwise would had taken a while to understand.

About.com suggest that you don’t add “Click Here” type links, but rather to add relevant links to increase your page rank amongst Web searches. The relevance factor increases your composite ranking based on how many links you have, who you are linked to, the number of links used and the relevance. About issues these best practices for users:

  • Use links to highlight relevant words or phrases.
  • Use links to move readers between your own Web pages.
  • Don’t over link. A sea of blue links means nothing will stand out.

And most importantly, don’t “click here,” “read more,” or look at “this.”

Now that we have mastered hyperlinks, let’s work on the Call to Action Button!

Advertisements




More Bang For Your Buck: Nonprofit Web Design Principles

22 01 2010

stock.xchng

More Bang For Your Buck

Nonprofit Web Design Principles

As a nonprofit organization, you’ve done so much with so little for so long that I’m betting you can do just about anything with nothing forever. Here are a few simple Web design principles to stretch your buck and flex your NPO muscle.

Keep it simple: First thing’s first, pretend like you know nothing about your site and consider how readily apparent your intent is. Is your purpose clear enough that a first time visitor, with little knowledge about your organization, can find your site and move to act?

Be sure to let them know what’s in it for them upfront. Spell it out for your audience so they don’t miss an opportunity to the dreaded “curse of knowledge.”

“Pare down your homepage content and give them a concise, yet clear and accurate taste of what you’re about.” – Network for Good.

Enable users: Next, enable your users! As a nonprofit, you need all the help you can get to cut down the costs of overhead. Make sure your site is readily accessible for interested parties. Ensure easy to find links, tabs or widgets for your respective needs.

Make your Site contribution-friendly: If you need volunteers or donations, ensure you have a tab that streamlines the donation process. The Salvation Army puts the bucket in your face; they won’t make you look for it – hopefully. Also, don’t limit your visitors to monetary gifts. An anecdotal story for your media kit might be worth more than a fistful of change.

For instance, the March of Dimes’ Shareyourstory.org allows users to donate experience instead of monetary contributions. This allows a sense of community and volunteering without exhausting member’s wallets and it reduces the cost of content.

Make your Site media-friendly: While you are at it, throw a media link up on your NPO’s Site. If you have a talented writer, throw in a media kit. If you have a fancy Web guy, throw in some digital media to lure in the press or an NPO-friendly blogger.

Use free resources: Actually, since we’re on the subject, don’t over work your Web guy. Why not use the free applications that already exist? Want to host a photo-petition but don’t have the storage space? Why not enlist Flickr? That’s what Oxfam did according to Britt Bravo’s blog, Have Fun, Do Good.

There seem to be plenty of low budget methods out there if you’re creative enough, just don’t forget the first thing you learned in college economics. Actually, it’s something that anyone with a bank account already knows – resources are scarce, and the cost of every expenditure is the price of the next best option foregone. Even if you have the resources to spare, it’s better to make every penny ride as long as it can in this market. Simple Web design can increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit.





Scared of Presentations?

24 11 2009

Photo: Stock.Xchng

Scared of Presentations?

5 Easy Steps Towards Better Presentation Skills

Everyone has heard the urban legend that states “more people are afraid of public speaking than death.”

Thanks to blogger and Toast Master Richard Garber, I was able to locate the well cited date in The 14 Worst Human Fears list in the 1977 Book of Lists. In the study, 41 percent of people feared speaking before a group, while only 19 percent feared death comparitively. This data was skewed into the “more people are afraid of public speaking than death” urban legend we hear today.

Tirelessly, I looked for some data along these lines, but I was unable to find any such figures; however, I dug up an article in the Archives of General Psychology that claimed that one in three respondents reported “excessive anxiety” when they spoke to “large audiences. This study, conducted by three doctors with impressive acronyms, also reported that the onset of this fear appeared in half of the study by 13 years of age and that 90 percent of participants in the study were shaking at the podium by the age of 20.

I thought I’d do my part to relieve this anxiety by making presentations a little easier with these personal tips. These tips are loosely  based on George Mason University’s The Short Guide To Effective Presentations.

So here is the skinny.

1. Know your mission: Determine your purpose by establishing what you want your audience to know and how you would like them to act on this knowledge.

2. Establish your target: (target audience that is) Analyze your audience and tailor your message according to their age, education level, knowledge about your topic and attitude toward the topic.

3. Gather intelligence: Gather enough information to write an effective presentation, then adjust the information as to avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information. Remember, it’s better to recall all of some, than none of all.

4. Operational pictures: Add interest with relevant images. Never add a photo that doesn’t add to the message or embody the emphasis of the topic. Only use charts, graphs or illustrations if they are simple enough to understand and increase the audience’s understanding.

5. Train: Practice, practice, practice and then? Practice! Ideally, research your topic until you feel like an expert. When you feel comfortable with the content, run through the presentation. Preferably, practice out loud with your visuals. If at all possible, record your practice and make notes about eye contact, movements, uses of gestures, tone, enthusiasm, pace and voice projection.

Quicksprout blogger, Neil Pate, points out that this recorded practice run can be a great tool to catch errors because You usually don’t notice when you say ‘uhm,’ ‘ah,’ or any other useless word frequently, but the audience does. It gets quite irritating.” Pate also recommends that you “Show some movement – People are more engaged with an animated speaker.”

A quick word on the visuals – I’ve never fancied myself as a great writer, but I’m a solid writer. More importantly, I’m good with visuals and drawing interest. I’m not saying that visuals will carry your presentation, but visuals can garner attention and carry interest through your content. For expert advice on your visual layout and slides, most specifically for PowerPoint and Keynote, I recommend that you check out Presentation Zen.

The visual rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Pate warns, Whatever your visuals may be, keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides; they are there to listen to you present.”

If you need more insight, this You Tube video provides comical parody into the problems associated with, in this instance, PowerPoint presentations and zealous naivety.





A SoupKnife Life: The Opening Gambit

27 04 2009

A SoupKnife Life: The Opening Gambit
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    The Opening Gambit…

First thing’s first. Why Soup Knife? In a world where a rose by any other name couldn’t possibly sound as sweet, I chose to ironically name my web presence after an abstract play on word.

I could tell you that it was homage to John A. Nagl’s counterinsurgency novel, titled “Learning To Eat Soup With A Knife.” I would explain to you that Nagl uses an aphorism defined by T. E. Lawrence, which explains “Making war upon insurgents is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.”

I would tell you that it resonated with me on a very personal level. I could tell you that in an age of merging technologies, globalization and a blurring of conventional boundaries has created a world where were are constantly emerged in the floundering tribulations of men. I could tell you that I thought the concepts of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies were the quintessential symbolism of all we do. I could explain that life is all about creating insurgencies in some cases, and about quelling them in others.

I could tell you that it was a matter of principle. You would probably buy into that. I would offer an argument based on my own personal approach of Kantian idealism slathered in Machiavelli satire. Not the disillusion of utilitarian ethics that people commonly interpret to be of cut-throat cynicism, but rather a call to arms for the people in most dire need of republic idealism.

I might confide in you that I stand fast to the Roman ideal of Virtu. I would explain to you the imperative ideology of achieving moral excellence, and finding the fairest moral balance in all aspects of you life. I would explain that I am continually most impressed with the Roman virtues of being the wise patriarch, experienced warrior, and judicious politician, ruled only by self control and obligation to all.

I could further explain my affinity for military history, and my personal fascination with extrapolating life experience from it. I would imply that I hoped to learn from the biggest failings of men, war, and mean it.

I could tell you that I am devout to duty-based ethics and that I derived my title from a form of duty to country that it is a maxim of principle, which I hold dear to myself. Then I could explain that practicing this maxim is tight rope sprint between duty to a larger ideal for a greater good of the aggregate composition of this United States, and the chauvinistic false idealism of nationalism. I suspect you would quickly realize that I spitefully contest unrequited nationalism and blind support.

I could explain to you all these reasons and, perhaps more importantly, this reasoning. Would you care though? You might hate me in disagreement, or listen steadily in divergence. Perhaps we could evaluate the world we live in and aspire to define the human condition, and better understand others and ourselves.

I think we would all be sufficed with the explanation that I simply enjoy humor, and the absurdity of life, and the constant irony that humiliates our hubristic endeavors. We could relish with the false notion that life is unbearably out of our control and that we simply have to take the unfortunate perplexities of life and the majority in stride. We could all recite generic truism and turn up our nuclear family values, or we could try to understand just how complex and multifaceted each situation is.

Perhaps it is because I am afforded the luxury of being in school and subsequently the free time to really analyze the world with a third person perspective and seemingly not having any stake in it. Yet, I have always scrutinized life with a curiosity unquenched by surface appearance. Maybe it is through this disillusion of neutrality that we can systematically further an understanding, in the same way a microscope takes no bias in the analysis of a cell.

Basically, all I really want is to achieve a better understanding and to facilitate a multilogue where I can, along with others, create a forum where I can engage the abstract and real world alike. I seek to establish a haven for the trivial, monumental, absurd and logical. This will be my arena and you may be my coach, if you are wise enough; my teammates, if you are patient enough; or my opponent if you are strong enough.

SoupKnifeBlog