Sunday, 24 March 2013

Link Within – The Simple Way to Link to Past Posts and Increase Engagement

Link Within
Link Within is a simple widget to add to your blog that indexes your posts and then adds links and images to related posts at the foot of each post, adding more interest and engagement.

It’s incredibly easy to add to your blog, just use their form to input your email address, blog URL, blog platform and the number of posts you want Link Within to find, click on ‘Get Widget’ and Link Within will automatically take you through to your blog platform so that you can install the widget.
Web Hints Linked Within
One thing I would recommend, if you have posts in your blog history that are totally out of date, or that you don’t want to show to anyone again, you’ll need to delete these so they don’t unexpectedly appear.

There is, of course, the other way of doing this via links which you select yourself, but Link Within is much the quickest option.  Once installed you can forget all about it and get on with writing your next post.  I’ve installed Link Within at both and

Thursday, 21 March 2013

5 Steps to Optimising your Product Pages

Lily Gardner Photo Scarf

Website optimisation doesn’t begin and end with your home page.  Each product page you have is a landing page in its own right, and if you want to benefit from organic search, and not rely on paid advertising such as Adwords, then you need to pay attention to your product pages as they can produce great rewards, not just from getting people straight to the product they’re looking for, but getting them to your website, your brand, and all your other products.

Mercado Photo Scarf

Think about what you have called your products before you start optimisation.  If you choose a product title that no one is searching for you’re not taking advantage of the easiest way to get people to your page.  Use the Google Keyword Tool and write product titles that make sense, but also contain keywords that are being searched for, hopefully with less than high competition, although this is getting harder and harder.

For example;  One client is offering a certain type of scarf on their website, one which is being searched for, with medium competition.  However the search term was not being used in the product name.  I therefore included the search term in each product title for that type of product.  They were all different titles as they included the individual names as well, however the keyword stood out and these products are now regularly appearing on page 1 in Google.

Make sure you include the keyword you have researched for that product in your title tag, and at the front.  Make your title tag readable by people looking at your website as well as for search and don’t stuff your title tag with keywords.  One is enough, plus your individual product name which makes your title tag unique. 

Then create a description to go with your title tag in the meta data, including your keyword/s near the front.

You already have your keyword or phrase in your product title.  So write some product copy again which includes your keyword or phrase. Make it relevant and interesting and depending on the length, use your keyword up to three times.  Don’t cut this short if you want people to arrive at your page.

Finally make sure that your image has an alt tag containing your keyword.This may sound like a lot of work, and it is, and more depending on the number of products you have.  Start with your five best sellers in each category or product group and watch them rise in Google.  Bringing new business to your website for free.
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Friday, 15 March 2013

How Facebook Timeline is Changing Again

Not content with changing the News page on Facebook, your Facebook Timeline is about to change again as well to become more streamlined and simplified.  Anyone fall over yet?

Facebook is returning (happily) to a single column timeline as an option, with all other activity moving over into the left hand column - does that sound like a backward step?  Yes, but an improvement all the same - as with  modernising the pages at the same time Facebook is finally going with web usability as a priority and making pages easier to read.

The emphasis will be on the wider column on the right for updates and a narrower column for About, Friends, Likes and Photos.  About will be directly underneath your picture and there will be more scope for adding information on likes, interests and apps.

I personally think this will be an improvement - we've never liked the double column Timeline, which made it difficult to keep posts in chronological order, let alone read two columns at the same time, so thank you Facebook - we'll go with this update - until you roll out the next one of course.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

3 Reasons why you need Customer Reviews on your Website

Stars You may not even realise you’re doing it, but you are likely to stay longer on a website, take its offering more seriously and to buy from it if you can read real customer reviews.  In fact 61% of us read online reviews before making the decision to buy, which makes it imperative that any e-commerce site looking for success offers reviews.

The first reason why you need to offer customer reviews is that it increases trust.  Potential customers don’t want to hear what you, the retailer has to say about your products, they know you think they’re wonderful, or you’re going to say so any way.  We’ve moved a long way from accepting brochure pics of hotel rooms or marketing blurb.  Savvy buyers that we’ve now become we’re not only looking for the best price, but we want to hear what other purchasers have to say, to look at their pictures, and to hear both the good news and the bad.

On that point I have often had debates with clients over their worries about showing reviews, as it’s inevitable that not all will be good.  Offer 100% good reviews and no one’s going to believe you.  A balance of good and bad reviews (and how you answered and resolved problems) will get you far more Brownie points, believe me.  And show that you care about your customers’ experiences.

The second reason is that you will increase sales.  We now look for reviews, and we’re far more likely to buy from a site that offers them to the point that we disregard manufacturers marketing content and look for real time comments and discussions.  According to Reevoo, offering customer reviews can deliver as much as an 18% uplift in sales which includes basic conversion, shopping basket size and customer return.

Customer Reviews help SEO – compare two websites offering the same product.  One has the basic product information which tends not to be updated.  The other offers customer reviews delivering updated content to the page on a regular basis – just what Google is looking for.  The winner in the rankings will be the site that is constantly updated with relevant product comments and information.

As I said above, you may not even realise you’re doing it, but you are now actively looking to see what other say about a product or service before you decide to splash the cash, and you may well be reviewing products yourself, so make sure that you’re offering customer reviews on your website and allow your customers to join the conversation.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Dangers of Downloads – How to Avoid Malware

I recently downloaded a well recognised piece of software which unfortunately had, snuggled in beside it, a search engine I didn’t want and didn’t need, which I then couldn’t get rid of until my computer ‘man who does’ came in and sorted it for me.

How to avoid malware? – in this era of fast downloads and thinking that you can multitask online is not easy.  Many free pieces of software now have these companions (who have paid to be there) and because you know the name of the software you just click on ‘download’ without suspecting anything.  Even recognised download facilities offer you more than you initially want.

The answer is, of course, to be very careful where you download software from and if at all possible only download from the generic source.  As this isn’t always possible one good place is, from where you are extremely unlikely to pick anything up although you will still get other offers.  For anything you download take it one step at a time, and if you are offered any add-ons refuse them or think very carefully and do some research.

Another way to avoid malware is to download (!) Malwarebytes (and by the way you’ll see that you’re taken straight to to get it). 

One of the problems of these unwanted pieces of software is that you won’t find them as programs in your control panel, they’re too insidious for that, and they can propagate across all of your browsers.

There are thousands of 'avoid and deal with malware’ ads all over the web.  Mostly with downloads.  Just make sure you don’t get more than you bargained for….

Also look at:

Three Books Every Website Owner should Read
How to Get your Custom LinkedIn Profile
Free Software – Check for Broken Links

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Saturday, 9 March 2013

How to Update your Google+ Cover Photo

 Google Pic 8
Here we go again – you need to update your Google cover photo - yet another important social media update that could be all too easy to forget, just in case you signed up to Google+ a while back and haven’t done much there since and even though you’ll be there now by default if you have a Google account such as YouTube, Gmail or for any other Google service. 

Google+ unique visitor numbers are on the rise and there’s little doubt about Google’s determination to make Google+ a success – and it will most likely succeed, anyone else would have given up by now.  So even though you may be hot on Facebook you should be prepared for this one as well.

Anyway, back to the latest Google+ update – you almost certainly are on Google+ with a huge (think vast) image space surrounding your small profile picture.  It’s time to get on to photoshop, or get someone to help, to design you a Google cover photo which measures 2120 x 1190 – yes you heard that right, and be careful when you’re setting it up as you need to keep your main content fairly central so that it shows in all browsers.

There are some templates you can upload to help you with this but be very careful you don’t get any extraneous software with them – I preferred to create my Google cover photo from scratch and then adjust the size of the central part via trial and error.  Once you’ve uploaded your photo you can adjust the crop as many times as you want to.  Make sure you leave un-busy space at the foot for your profile pictures and strapline and check that your main image details are central.

You can make your Google cover pic as simple or as complicated as you want, I’m still playing with mine.  Better get started now………….

Extra Reading

Why you should be on Google+ (Forbes)
Google+ has 105 million Unique Monthly Visitors (Mashable)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

If you do One Thing to your Website Today–Check your Alt Tags

Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Body LotionAlt tags carry less weight than they used to with regards to getting your site indexed by Google, Yahoo etc, however they are still important, and if your images fall into one of the following two categories:
No Alt Tags
Keyword Stuffed Alt Tags

Then you need to take action, as either of these will affect your rankings.

With the emphasis on SEO now of relevancy and conciseness, it’s important to make sure that every one of your images has an Alt tag that matches the image it is attached to, and makes reading your website easier for those who are using browsers to help them if they are visually or hearing impaired.  Or for those who do not download all your images – they will still have an accurate definition of what your image is about and then choose to download or otherwise.

In the case of keyword stuffed Alt tags these need to edited down to a single, relevant keyword or phrase as otherwise your tags may be treated as spam and this can adversely affect your ranking in search.

The main message is the same as for all SEO

That what you did last year, pre the Google updates, will not help you now, and may have the opposite effect.

That you need relevancy and readability for all your tags, be they title tags or Alt tags.

That you will be penalised for keyword stuffing. Anywhere.

That the longer you take to update your SEO the further down the rankings you may fall.
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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

LinkedIn Connections – 5 Reasons not to Accept an Invite

LinkedIn is the business networking site with millions of connections and constant activity.  Some have taken the facility and run with it, building their profiles, amending them regularly and making sure that the offer valuable insight into their niche.

With any network that has grown so fast there are inevitably those who don’t use it properly, and worse, those who use it improperly – to try and hijack your contact list, and to endeavour to make you think you they’re something other than what they really are.

Then there are the ‘newbies’ or the ‘I can’t be bothered’s’ or the ‘I don’t know the tricks and tips’ all of whom, with a very little time spent, can learn how to use LinkedIn properly and will surely benefit. 

But here are 5 reasons not to accept a LinkedIn invitation.  Your LinkedIn connections are important to you – don’t give them away.

You’re short of time - and you get an invite via email.  Don’t ever automatically accept one of these without looking into the profile of the person who has invited you properly at LinkedIn.  If you don’t know them personally this may be a spam invitation and there are more and more of those about.

Don’t accept an invitation from someone who hasn’t bothered to fill in their profile and summary.  How are you supposed to know who they are?  And if you don't know, you don't want them as a connection.

Think twice about accepting someone as a connection who hasn't put up a profile picture
- why haven't they?

Look at the number of connections someone has.  If it's very low it may be totally bona fide and they may be new to LinkedIn.  Or it could be, as with Twitter, that they are spammers.  Look for the other signs before deciding to connect with them.

Consider if they have anything to offer you and your connections, or are they just after yours?  If they already are linked to others in your industry and sound interesting to you, accept the invitation.  If not, and you suspect ulterior motives, then don't.  It's perfectly ok to say no.

I had an invitation (which arrived first on my email) by someone recently who sounded perfectly respectable, although not in my industry.  As I never accept anyone without looking them up properly on LinkedIn when I went through I saw there was no picture, almost no connections, and no bio or summary. 

So the moral is never automatically accept.  Use LinkedIn and be careful who you befriend.  It's worth taking those few minutes to stop and think.

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Monday, 4 March 2013

Twitter Hashtags–The What, Why and How

Twitter Hashtags

You’ve seen them everywhere on Twitter, and they’re being used more and more – a simple word or phrase with the # sign in front of it.  A hashtag.

When a topic is very popular with people you follow you’ll see the same #word used on tweets repeatedly.  Take for example the hashtag #fitness.  Go to Twitter, type #fitness into the search box and you’ll see who’s talking about it right now, whether or not they’re in your stream. You can then choose if you want to follow them or not.

Alternatively just click on the hashtag in a post on your feed and you’ll go straight to other relevant posts.

So to simplify, Twitter collects everyone who’s tweeting about a single subject and using the # to identify it, into one stream, making it easy for you to follow conversations on subjects that interest you.

Hashtags frequently identify trending topics, so you can, if you want to, keep up to date with what’s going on, or use them simply to keep up and find like minded people to follow. 

There’s nothing clever about setting up hashtags – use a # that’s already trending and join in, or create one yourself that you think will be of interest to others and that they may search for.

You can see what’s trending right now at and personalise what you see depending on where you are and subject matter.

Just a note – don’t try and hijack an already trending hashtag to talk about something else – make sure that if you use a hashtag that’s already in circulation your conversation or comments are relevant. 

Twitter says the following about hash tags:
‘Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. 
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

    Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)’