Get Better Search Rankings Through Hyperlinking

21 03 2010

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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!





More Bang For Your Buck: Nonprofit Web Design Principles

22 01 2010

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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.





4 Easy Steps Towards Bigger Donations

2 11 2009

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Get More Cheese!

4 Easy Steps Towards Bigger Donations!

Do happier donors equal bigger bucks for your non-profit? Well, according to an article written in the Public Relations Review by Julie O’Neil, they do. Most non-profit studies seem to reiterate the importance of cultivating the relationship between the donor and the organization, especially in times of economic distress.

According to the findings of that study, there seems to be a two-year threshold for when donors’ perceptions of trust and satisfaction become relatively high and they begin to increase their donations; however, getting to this stage can be a daunting task for any organization.

Many organizations spend their time mass soliciting the public looking for new donors when they should be focusing on strengthening their ties with familiar donors. In a paper published in the Journal of Communication Management, Richard Waters said that “if an organization want to ensure its longevity, then it should be prepared to dedicate time to developing  relationships with its donors.”

So how do we best cultivate these relationships? Here are four easy steps:

1. Create interpersonal dynamics to generate trust with the donor. A recent Brookings Institution report indicated that donors were most concerned that non-profit organizations did not spend donations wisely. Organizations need to develop trust through transparency. Studies indicate that when a donor perceives the accurate use of donations in a timely manner, they are more likely to donate. This gives the donor the assurance that the donation was needed and used responsibly.

2. Groom your donor relationships with a sense of commitment. Lets face it; you’re not going to ask someone to the prom if you think they might switch schools before the big dance, and donors feel the same way. Donors are more likely to give to causes that display a worthiness of a donation. An organization that demonstrates longevity and devotion to a cause is prone to receive more gifts.

3. Generate a sense of satisfaction for the donor. It’s important to associate positive feelings within the giver. My mother will be the first one to admit that the look in her Black Lab’s eyes brings her as much joy as the treat in her hand evokes in her dog. If the donor is going to continue their support, the benefits must outweigh the costs of charity. The satisfaction of the donor leads to longevity and recommendations among others.

4. Establish a sense of control mutuality between the organization and the donor. Nobody wants to feel controlled. There must be a perceived balance of power and mutual esteem. The organization should strive to reciprocate the kindness of the giver in some form or effort.

These are just the tip of the iceberg examples for cultivating better donor relationships. Even profitable businesses can stand to gain from these relationship maxims.Your NGO or non-profit needs to plan and tailor a personal procedure based on these principles. Greg Fox of DonorPower says that “The future lies with those who serve the donors,” and that “Raising money the old way is getting harder and harder to do.”





7 Easy Twitter Commands Every Rookie Should Know

19 10 2009

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TWIT-101 95?:

Seven Easy Twitter Commands Every Rookie Should Know

In the age of quickly evolving media and trend hopping journalists, it’s rather difficult to stay abreast of the social media curve. While I was researching a simple class assignment, I quickly noticed a lack of readily available Twitter codes. After a couple of simple Google searches I had yet to discover a simple list of basic Twitter commands. To remedy this, I gathered a basic, novice level list of esoteric Twitter lexicon.


Okay, so let’s start on the assumption that if you’re looking for commands, then you probably have an account and can at least post a 140-character comment. We can further deduce that if you’re an entry-level tweeter, then most of your content is nothing more than mediocre everyday nothingness. Now, let’s get you a little more advanced.


Replies – When you see a post you would like to reply to, select the swirling arrow “reply” icon under the trash icon, or select The Jetsons looking “Sprocket” on the user’s profile page. Twitter will automatically generate a “text field” in your comment section with the “@” sign, followed by the user’s screen name so you can reply. (i.e. @user) Once you’ve typed your message, it will insert a link to that user in your post and post it in their feed.

Direct Message – (DM) You can message other Twitter users directly without public posts by selecting “Message” on the user’s profile page in the “Actions” section on the right side of the profile.

Hat Tips – (HT) The Hat Tip is the Twitter code to acknowledge a user’s post, specifically one of particular achievement or in recognition of informative value. It’s the literal likening to the proverbial tip o’ the hat.

Hashtags(#) You can use the hashtags on Twitter by affixing a tag, or “key word,” to your comment. To do so, place the pound sign character (#) next to the word you wish to tag, without a space between them. This tag links your comment to a specific group of similar tags and even the “Trending Topics” section of Twitter if the topic generates enough popularity. Hashtags, when affixed and shared to a group of users, are useful in lumping in group tweets for a specific purpose.

ReTweet – (RT) When a Twitter user wishes to repost, or retweet, they may do so by citing the original tweeter. Do this by simply affixing an “RT,” then “@” and then the username of the original message, followed by the original post. Of course, the 140-word character limit still applies. Most veteran Twitters stay well under the 140-character limit to allow space for RT attribution so you can cite them.

Overheard – (OH) Overheard is an anonymous re-tweet – Use “OH” to re-post a tweet when the user wishes to hide or protect the tweet’s originator.

Heard Through – (HT) Use this command to re-tweet something heard in life from a twitter user. To do so, affix “HT,” the “@,” and the username. Then feel like a nerd for retweeting a real life conversation.

Okay, someone needs to say it; that last Tweet-Trick ranks as the ’40-year-old-virgin’ comment, on a scale of one-to-nerd. Also, is it just me, or does that Twitter bird remind anyone else of a hastily drawn Snow White style Disney animation knockoff? Speaking of mistaken, was anyone else’s mind blown when they realized that the Disney ‘D’ wasn’t a ‘G’?

Be sure to HT@longo05 when you bite one of those last quotes. ; )

For more information on Twitter: There is a 13-step beginners’ guide from TwiTip, a social media approach from The Spinks Blog, and even the simplest YouTube explanation of twitter by CommonCraft.





Revolution!

19 10 2009

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Revolution: (noun) rev·o·lu·tion [ rèvvə lsh’n ](rev·o·lu·tions)

  1. overthrow of government
  2. major change
  3. complete circular turn

This is my first, of hopefully many, post announcing the SK2.0 direction. I’ve changed up the SK site to be a little less journalism and a lot more public relations oriented. The scope of this blog is more focused to discuss public relations and strategic communications, specifically for non-profits and veterans issues.

The revolution has begun. So, there may not be the undermining of an established order, per say, but there is going to be a major change and a coming of full circle for the SK site. So let’s let this revolution unfold, or come full circle if I may, and let the first shots ring out and echo in the silence of the net.





UOTasers

2 07 2009

taser

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Shocked Over UO’s TASER Push

The Univ. of Oregon’s Campus Security Propose Taser Use

Over the last year the University of Oregon began to explore the option of implementing the use of less-than-lethal ‘electrocution devices,’ more commonly referred to as TASERs, within the campus security division, The Department of Public Safety (DPS). This development seemingly occurred after the Eugene Police Department (EPD), the local community law enforcement, chose to augment peace officers with TASER devices.

The change for the Police Department seems to be reasonably intuitive. In a move to continue adequate protection to their officers and the aggregate community, the police simultaneously sought to reduce the lethal response in apprehending suspects. This is just plain responsibility and good PR.

However, the Department of Public Safety is contrarily increasing risk and capability of harm without the presenting the necessity of escalation. This brinksmanship is not in accordance to any shift in policy and is completely unsubstantiated by the most recent crime statistics.

The most recent crime statistics available from the University of Oregon indicate that crimes in all areas have decreased substantially over the past three years.  The vast majority of campus crimes are alcohol and drug related; most of which were seemingly misdemeanor crimes in nature.

Statistics show that within the 2005 to 2007 three-year period there have been 1279 liquor law violations on or near campus and 613 drug related violations. Within the same three-year period there were only two weapon violations. Proportionately, contrast those figures to the 20,000 students on the University campus yearly and the number of weapon violations seems insignificant. There seems to be a disproportionate urge for TASER use according to the deficiency of major crimes or violent offenses.

Even without a substantiated cause for the devices, the Department of Public Safety is introducing a safety concern for the individuals whom they may be shocking. Some suspects that may have or had significant health problems may be more susceptible to major health complications and possibly death when shocked, albeit a statistically insignificant portion. However, according to Amnesty International, TASERs have been attributed to 300 fatalities around the world up to June of 2008.

Estimates indicate that 345,000 TASERs have been sold in the US alone and that approximately 50 people have died from complications inflicted by TASER use in the US, according to CBS News.

Although the numbers seem relatively low on an aggregate scale, the university cannot afford a single death on campus, especially not at the hands of the campus safety, and most notably not when there wasn’t any major, or minor, necessitation for such use. The university and its employed departments should not allow themselves to contribute to the death of students, in any capacity. It is simply unacceptable. That, my friend, is bad PR.

Regardless of the lack of justification, the instruments may be placed in the hands of the wrong individuals anyways. According to the data produced for the NYPD by the Rand Corporation, the youngest “rookie” designation of police officers were found to be most associated with unnecessary utility of force. The findings indicated a high correlation between inexperienced officers and weapons use. Inexperienced uniformed officers, with more training than DPS officers, composed the demographic most prone towards unnecessary weapons use.

On the financial side of things, the implementation of TASERs on the University of Oregon campus will cost about $20,000 to arm the police force and an additional $20,000 to train them. Not to mention that these DPS positions are generally used as a stepping stone to law enforcement positions and retain a relatively high turnover rate for the transitioning employees. Additional officers would further exacerbate the cost associated with annual training, which is necessary regardless.

The university and its public safety officers could use these funds more efficiently to produce an even safer campus, if they really felt that it was justifiable in the first place.

I propose that the university should use the $40,000 dollars that would go towards purchasing the TASERs and training the officers to generate a position, or at least supplement a position, for a Eugene Police Department officer to be on campus at all times.

If safety is the primary concern for the campus officials, why not employ an actual 24-hour position, or ‘patrol beat’ if you will, for a well-trained officer that is already equipped, morally experienced and well trained?

The benefits wouldn’t just end at safety. This EPD officer could also perform as a communications liaison for the University of Oregon and the Eugene Police Department, in the event that a larger and more significant incident of a non-violent nature could occur. In the event that a larger circumstance would overwhelm the public safety officers, an EPD officer could best facilitate communications with parent and sibling first responders to coordinate a large and well-trained response.

This could be used to reduce the human costs of large structure fires, mass casualties, or even the unfortunate possibility of ‘Virginia Tech’ type school shooting. I feel confident that most students involved in a school shooting situation would best benefit from a well coordinated response, rather than marginally trained officers with stun devices that merely fire 35ft.

I am a large proponent for less-than-lethal alternatives for peace officers seeking to reduce fatalities, but in the case of Oregon’s Department of Public Safety, I would remit the conversation entirely. DPS is not seeking to decrease the capacity for conflict, but instead they are inversely seeking the means based on unjustifiable statistics. The implementation of TASER responses would be overly disproportional to the type of criminal activity, or lack thereof.

(Please Note: the that the term TASER is used in vernacular as common nomenclature. I also go out of my way to not refer to TASER devices as weapons based on the assumption that they are utilized not to inflict harm, but rather to desist detrimental behaviors in order to preserve peace and life, reasonably.)