Friday, 21 February 2014

Your LinkedIn Profile – How Not to Connect on LinkedIn - 6 Tips

I received a LinkedIn invitFacebook 2012ation today which I might have been interested in but when I looked at the LinkedIn profile of the person who wanted to connect there were so many things missing I decided not to.  So if you’re on LinkedIn…..just, but really don’t want to have your invitations accepted or join up with past colleagues and possible future employers, this is how to do it.

Don’t bother with a Summary – after all who’s going to read it?  Don’t bother to tell people your background, a bit about yourself and what you do.

Don’t fill in details about your current and past experience in the Background section.  Just put a single line, as briefly as possible, for all current and past activities/positions.  Again, of course no one is going to bother to read it so why do it?

Be as brief as possible about your education.  Really…’s not of interest.

Don’t list your interests, no one wants to know if you like sports/reading/gym/food/films etc.  Would you put it on your resume?  Maybe.  Here?  Forgetaboutit.

Don’t bother to get your personal LinkedIn URL.  You’re there, aren’t you?  So why would you worry about that.  Many others don’t.  Ok it looks good if you don’t have that stupid string of number after your name but who really gives a damn.

Ignore possible Groups to join.  You don’t have much time, you really don’t know why you’re on LinkedIn in the first place and you’re not that interested in hooking up with like minded people so let’s give that another ‘ignore’ tick and move on.

You’re there aren’t you?  You’ve put up your picture and filled in a bit and surely that’s enough for people to be able to read between the lines about you. Why would you want to do anything else.  Who has the time?  So you’ll sit there, month after month, trying to connect and wondering why most people ignore you.  Wouldn’t you?  Ignore you if you saw your profile?  What’s interesting about it after all.  Enough said……..

Here’s how to do it, just in case you’re interested….

5 Ways to Improve your LinkedIn Profile
How to make LinkedIn Work for You
How to Get your Custom LinkedIn URL

And you’ll find more on LinkedIn at WebHints Here

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Why Pictures Sell Products Not Words

Alice by Temperley Red Summer Dress Stills From my days in fashion online, and running photo-shoots, I learnt several things, not the least of which (understatement) was that a picture will sell a product first and foremost.  The words come second.  Most people only bother to read the words if the picture has ‘got’ them.  Think ofAlice by Temperley Red Summer Dress Styled Model Shot the picture as the page headline in terms of effect and it makes more sense.  In the same way a poorly shot picture can put people off instantly.

There’s so much competition now to sell products, particularly fashion, off the screen, and it doesn’t matter what the product is, if you’re not attracted by the picture you won’t bother to go  any further.  Alice by Temperley Red Summer Dres Back View

Some brands and even large department stores seem to think they can get away with just stills shots or just model shots but if you want to shift volume you simply can’t any more.  Nor will you sell if the styling is off.  Styling has to match both the product and the demographic of the brand’s median purchaser but even so heavy or frumpy accessories such as footwear (for example) will put off potential buyers whatever the demographic is supposed to be.

We’re in a feeding frenzy for more and more fashion online.  And photography and styling are expensive, they were when I was doing it, they’re even more so now even with the racked-up number of shots per day (same backAlice by Temperley Red Summer Dress Detailground, same styling, same model/s  just a different dress/coat/jacket).

There’s a formula for great product photography and you don’t need to look further than online  stores such as Net-a-Porter or Harrods (or Karen Millen or Reiss) to see what it is.  You may be selling products for an older or younger (or less cash rich) customer, but that doesn’t mean your pictures need to reflect that to the extent that you put everyone else off – after all surely the wider the audience attracted to your products the better?

For those who aren’t looking at what the competition are doing, I suggest that you do, then you can stop wondering why that coat/dress/jacket/pair of jeans didn’t sell.  All will become clear in a flash.

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Importance of Great Title Tags

If you don’t have properly set up title tags, no matter how much money you throw at marketing, you’re missing one of the most important ways of getting your website ranked by search engines and found by prospective customers.  These SEO tips are here to make it easier.

Writing great title tags is not rocket science and it is key to your website’s success. It's also worth spending some time on.

There are six main rules in setting up your title tags:

Length – They should be no longer than 70 characters for the complete title tag to show in your browser.

Keyword Research – Time intensive?  Definitely.  Important?  Essential.  Take the time to research the most relevant keywords and phrases applicable to your goods and service, preferably incorporating relevant ‘long-tail’ keywords where there is less competition. There are keyword tools that you can pay to use but Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner is effective and free although you do need to sign up for an Adwords Account if you don't already have one.

Relevance to the Page
- Each title tag must be unique and totally relevant to the page that it's on.

Keyword or Phrase Placement
- Put your main keywords or phrases at the front of your title tags.

Brand Placement – My advice about this is that you should place your brand name at the front of your title tag on your home page, and thereafter at the end – of every single one.

Readability - Make your title tags readable to Google and site visitors alike.  Gone are the days of a string of keywords.  Create a sentence with a call to action such as 'Buy', 'Browse', 'Find'.  Put your main keyword or phrase at the front, and your brand name with 'at' in front of it, or a pipe bar | at the end.  I prefer a proper sentence as opposed to using the pipe bar because it's more reader friendly but it's up to you.

By the way to find the pipe bar on your keyboard you need to hold left shift key down and press the forward slash key next to it.

Once you have established the main keywords and phrases that are being searched for for your products and services these should filter down into your on-site SEO, your page titles and copy, making your on-site search as relevant as it could be.

I come across a lot of websites for both large and small companies where title tags have either been overlooked entirely or have not been set up properly.  This is often in part due to lack of knowledge, shortage of time and/or entrusting your SEO to the wrong person.

SEO is not the dark art it’s often painted to be, it has multiple facets and each will be key to your success.  It’s well worth getting to know the basics, and then either carrying out the work in house or entrusting it to a specialist.

This post has been updated Feb 14

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why you Need Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Tool - Tried and Tested

Malwarebytes is an anti-malware tool which will sit side by side with your anti-virus software to provide defence and protection from the millions of threats out there and works extremely well.

Quote 'When a Trojan or other malware gets a foothold in your PC's innards, clearing it out can be tough. The nastiest ones fight back, interfering with your attempts to install antivirus software.'  Er......this sounds something like trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted.  The answer is to not wait for the attack but to make sure you're set up well in advance.What is Malware?

Malware, or malicious software, has many forms.  Most will get stopped by your anti-virus software, but some infections can slip past and disable your system or slow it right down. There are those who say you shouldn't run two anti-virus/malware software tools at the same time, but I find that Malwarebytes works very well with the Norton anti-virus software I use and have so far had no problems.

Malwarebytes comes in a free version which works perfectly well, however the investment of roughly £21 for the lifetime license for the Pro version which scans automatically and protects your system without your having to think about it seems well worth the cost.

There are those who think that if they browse carefully they will avoid attack by malware, those who forget about it until their computer/laptop slows down to a crawl and those who just don't bother.  And installing Anti Virus software, although an essential start, particularly if like most of us you spend hours browsing, just isn't enough.

Your anti-virus software, as with anti-malware software, is only as good as its updates, as new viruses are being invented all of the time, so make absolutely sure that yours is up to date always.
Here's a review by PC World on what's available anti-virus wise.