Beyond SEO: 10 Essential Questions

SEO is seen as the panacea to all of our business woes and everyone is an SEO expert. Well it is undoubtedly important but in the real world SEO is only part of recipe for online success.

Below are 10 questions to ask yourself if you are trying to communicate or sell services via a the internet.

  1. Is the internet text or image based?

    If you think the internet is driven by images you had better listen to Stephen Fry (from about the 1hr point will do). It’s absolutely essential to understand that words are the key to internet searches.

  2. Does your page source code have;

    1. < title >A Keyword Rich Descriptive Page Title< /title >
    2. < meta name=”description” content=”The snippet that Google probably displays and makes people want to click through on your site-link rather than other people’s”>
    3. < h1>A keyword rich and descriptive main heading< /h1 >
    4. < p >A keyword rich first bit of body content that is both high up the page code and matches the words found is the above.< /p >

    It’s amazing how many websites don’t have these basic SEO needs. They should be different for each page.

  3. Did you know that Google doesn’t look at meta tag keywords (hidden in code) any more?

    In the past keywords were placed in the page code. These keywords were picked up by search engines but this lead quickly to keyword spamming or stuffing so Google don’t use them

  4. What’s your bounce rate?

    You’ve got people to your site, wouldn’t it be nice if they stayed a while rather than bounce straight back out?

  5. Are you sure about what are you selling?

    It is amazing the number of people who ask for a website to be designed but can’t answer this question.

  6. Do you have a niche?

    There is an advert for VW at the moment, ‘it’s like a Golf’. There is no point in presenting yourself as what is already there, no point. Find an angle that is unique to you. Life is so much easier if you are selling a niche product or service rather than pitching against the masses.

  7. Why are you interesting?

    Are we human? Yes we are and we will have interesting and valid tales to tell about our businesses. This is what will ultimately engage and interest people.

  8. Is there an emotional appeal?

    Try to find something that will appeal to people’s emotions. There is an old advertising adage; sell the sizzle not the sausage. Imagine a cooked sausage on the end of a fork, now imagine a raw sausage. Both mental images will inspire some sort of feelings but not necessarily the same.

  9. Are you spreading the story?

    There is a great box of tools out there to help you spread the word. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or WordPress your online communication will prosper better if it is shared as a dialogue.

  10. Why would anyone return to your site?

    So you’ve spent all this money on your site, your SEO has worked, and people have arrived at your site. Wouldn’t it be good to give them a reason to return? Change, regularly: news, updates, new products, new services. Keep on Movin On

Twitter Mouseover Security Flaw Affecting Thousands of Users [WARNING]

who broke twitter?A new Twitter security flaw has been widely exploited on thousands of Twitter accounts, redirecting users to third-party websites without their consent.
The bug is particularly nasty because it works on mouseover only, meaning pop-ups and third-party websites can open even if you just move your mouse over the offending link.

The flaw uses Javascript function called onMouseOver which creates an event when the mouse is passed over a chunk of text. We’ve seen the flaw being abused to launch simple pop-up windows, redirect users elsewhere, and we’ve also seen it used in combination with blocks of color, covering the true “intention” of the tweet.

For now, the best course of action is using only third-party apps such as TweetDeck to access Twitter, as the bug only seems to affect Twitter’s web interface.

You can see an example of a tweet that launches a pop-up if you move the mouse over it below.


UPDATE; Twitter Releases Statement On “Patched” Flaw

Return to security news headlines
Article date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 14:50 GMT

Twitter now says that the XSS attack has now been “identified and patched”.
“We’ve identified and are patching a XSS attack; as always, please message @safety if you have info regarding such an exploit.”

“We expect the patch to be fully rolled out shortly and will update again when it is.”
Already, Favstar has seen more than 24,000 retweets of one particular implementation of the bug. A quick look at the trending topics this morning shows quite how quickly the exploit has spread, with “Exploit”, “Security Flaw”, “Mouseover”, “Onmouseover” and “XSS” taking up five of the top 10 topics.
Both Mashable and TechCrunch report having seen the exploit used to open pop-up windows, redirect users to porn sites and simply do “funny, rick-rolling type stuff”, but the nature of the exploit appears to be changing quickly as the morning goes on.

Goerg Wicherski, a Kaspersky Lab Expert writing on the exploit warns that users should turn off Javascript for Twitter. “It is possible to load secondary Javascript from and external URL with no user interaction, which makes this definitely wormable and dangerous,” he writes. Twitter user Judofyr noted earlier this morning that there appeared to be an “ugly XSS hole in Twitter right now” and now says that, as far as he knows, he “started the first worm” but can’t say for sure. For now, the best bet with the website (although the new doesn’t appear affected) is to avoid it until further notice. However, if you can’t hold on any longer third party clients say they are standing up against the attack and are the safe route to take along the bumpy ‘flaw’.

Interesting Footnote from David Naylor

How to Ensure That Your Blog Grows, (Give a Little)

Blogs are great, I love them. WordPress is a fabulous tool for a business, no question about it in my mind. I have previously written about how to set your blog up to improve its performance. So what more do I need to give?

You Need Energy

We all need energy

We all need energy

Energy, in a word, energy. The difference between a blog and a static site is that the blog will generally develop and grow, but this won’t happen without some form of input. (my Mac grammar checker told me off for using that term the other day, told me it was jargon).

So what for does this energy take, what do we do to aid the ongoing development?

  1. Blog. The first thing to is to actually write some posts, ideally fairly regularly. It’s not rocket science, why would someone visit your site if there is nothing new to read?
  2. Keep a Focus. Yes this is a bit ‘do as I say, not as I do’. I have previously commented the eclectic nature of this blog, but… Keep a focus, yes of course embellish, express your human qualities, but make it clear what the boundaries are.

Hold on there, you haven’t done yet, back to the keyboard.
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Getting Your WordPress Blog Seen by Google

This is a development of the reply that I made the other day about getting a good Google response to your blog.

Search Engine Marketing is a must if you are to going to get people to view any website. Nowadays everyone seems to be an SEO specialist, at least they do in Exeter and Devon, I imagine it is the same throughout he UK.

I am more aware of the abilities of WordPress than other blogging platforms so this is what I will use as my reference point. I have to say that I am totally enamoured with WordPress, I think it is great, but first a bit of general knowledge.

WordPress comes in two distinct flavours

  1. .com Most people start with a free WordPress blog which you can start straight away and I would recommend you to go and sign up. If you blog a for a while and chose to migrate to self-hosted this can be easily done.
  2. .org If you have access to hosting then self-hosted blogs open up a world of possibilities. You will need hosting with a database which is necessary to store all of the posts, images, comments and information about the site. My hosting supplier now throws one in with even the starter hosting package. You don’t really need to understand about databases (MySQL) but it can be quite interesting looking around, seeing how all of the data and information is organised.

WordPress can be thought of as a modular entity.

  1. Core
    The site itself, everything that is needed to make it work. This includes a user friendly interface that will allow you to update the site without knowing about web deign.
  2. Themes
    There are a huge number of available themes that make the basic WP blog look different (1 column, 2 column, colours styling etc.)
  3. Plugins
    These add to the functionality of the blog, they make it do more things, (display images in galleries, add contact forms, etc. )

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Arts Award Logo by Design Credo Exeter

Arts Award Logo

It’s important to ‘put your best foot forward’ whether you are a small local organisation in Devon or Arts Council England.

It’s great to see an organisation such as the Arts Award embracing Twitter. Although Twitter typically appeals to an older demographic than the target audience of the Young People’s Arts Award it is still an excellent avenue to extend marketing range.

However Exeter’s Design Credo noticed that the Arts Award logo wasn’t looking too good on their Twitter page, the logo looked dull and flat, worse still when it had been uploaded part of it had been clipped. This was a concern because DesignCredo had designed it and had a professional investment in ensuring the logo appeared as it had been designed to look.

It didn’t take too much time to re-draw it and submit a Twitter friendly version and now things are looking as they should. If you are trying to upload images that have been designed it is a good idea to check with your graphic designer for advice. It isn’t rocket science but it is easy to get wrong.

You will probably find that the designer will be more than willing to help, after all, we have an investment in seeing our work presented as it was intended.

Hey Bright Spark Twitter can add value to your business

twitter-logoI recently shared the experience of the Brit Awards with a number of people on Twitter including Cheryl Kerl. Now, I would like to make it clear, I am not knocking the Brits, Zeberdizzie and Florence (all a bit Magic Roundabout?) were great etc… But, I am happy to share the funny side and am a little intrigued to be doing it with others who I have never met.

Some time ago whilst working in a Pupil Referral Unit I, along with the deputy head teacher, Googled ‘LOL’. Shameful but true, we were trying to decipher a bullying letter that was thrown in the bin. On the evening of the Brits I can genuinely say that I did LOL on a number of occasions. For me this is one level that Twitter works, just a bit of fun, Mr Brydon, just a bit of fun.

Hei an Ah wasn’t meimin eitha. It’s them new TVs that yiz have. They sort uv make the pickchaz jorky leike man pet an that. Cheryl Kerl

Ah’m ganna sack mei horstyleist t’neet! Coz wei didden Ah get a well mentil horsteel leike Ladee Gawgaw and Lily Allen’s got? Cheryl Kerl

The day after the dialogue continued on Facebook. A friend commented that she didn’t get the British love of the ‘simeon one’. I at once knew that she was referring to ‘he who nods to camera with furled eyebrows’. My what a Facebook onslaught this opened up from offended fans.

Twitter adding value to your business

However if you choose Twitter can add value to your business. Recently attention has been drawn to the potential security risks of Twitter with the Please Rob Me site. I suspect caution rather than fear is the best response here but the simple point is that these micro blogs are searchable, and they can and do get searched.

Last week I attended a local networking group. I was invited to attend because one of the group’s active members had read my tweets and as a result looked at this blog. She messaged me directly through Twitter and commented how she thought that the down to earth approach was what the group were looking for. This has to be seen as a result even though initially the contact presented opportunities rather than confirmed business.

Techserv HS_4000 Plasma Cutter

Techserv HS_4000 Plasma Cutter

This weekend I uploaded a website for Techserv, a CNC Plasma company in Yorkshire. The site was uploaded on Saturday, I have included a twitter feed and within a day Techserv’s Twitter feed was being followed by CNCInformation. Again this has to be seen as an opportunity. Techserv trade globally, they have a machine suitable for the education market and CNCInformation are discussing amongst other topics, CNC in education.

I still get a bit knocked out by this technology. It genuinely excites me that within a matter of hours, someone has offered some sort of response to a new website and that the response came to the customer.

I realise though that for many this is all a bit difficult to buy into. However if one looks at it as a new ingredient that is part of the mix, adding too rather than replacing then it becomes easier to understand. In an ideal world we would open our metaphorical doors and wait for the customers to come to us. I believe that Social Networking can help guide people to your open doors.