Archive | August 2015

Social Media Definitions: The Ultimate Glossary of Terms You Should Know

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Written by Carly Stec

For many people, posting a tweet, hashtagging an Instagram caption, and sending out an invite for a Facebook event on Facebook has become common practice.

(In fact, if you’re highly experienced, you probably do all three at once.)

But with new social media networks and innovative software cropping up almost daily, even seasoned social media users are bound to run into a term or acronym that leaves them thinking, “WTF?”

For those head-scratching moments, we’ve created the ultimate glossary of social media marketing terms.

Download more resources to help you plan and execute an effective social media strategy here.

Whether you’re still hung up on the difference between a mention and a reply on Twitter or you just want to brush up on your social knowledge, check out the following roundup of social media terms to keep yourself in the know.

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z

117 Social Media Terms Defined

A

1) AddThis – AddThis is a web-tracking technology company that offers a wide range of social media and content tools — from responsive sharing buttons to custom follow buttons to recommended content plugins — designed to help you increase engagement on your website and earn more followers on social media.

2) AMA – AMA is an acronym for “ask me anything,” which originated in a popular subreddit where users will use the term to prompt questions from other users. Since its inception, the term has gone on to be used in other online social settings, such as this discussion on Inbound.org.

3) Algorithm – An algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. This is important in the social sphere as the algorithms sites like Facebook and Google use are critical for developing content promotion strategies.

4) Application Programming Interface (API) – An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.

5) Avatar – An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online, most often within forums and social networks.

B

6) Bitly – Bitly is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks such as Twitter.

7) Bio – A bio on social media refers to a short bit of explainer text that explains who the user is. To see some examples, check out this roundup of some of the most amusing bios on Twitter.

8) Blog – Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of content on a specific topic, descriptions of events, or other resources such as graphics or video. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

9) Blogger – Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog typically on a subdomain. Example: yourblogname.blogspot.com

10) Blog Talk Radio – Blog Talk Radio is a free web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

11) BoardReader – BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums, a popular form of social networking.

12) Bookmarking – Bookmarking online follows the same idea of placing a bookmark in a physical publication — you’re simply marking something you found important, enjoyed, or want to continue reading later. The only difference online is that it’s happening through websites using one of the various bookmarking services available, such as Pocket, or right within your browser.

C

13) Canva – Canva is an easy-to-use design tool for non-designers and designers alike. The tool offers several templates that adhere to the required dimensions for sharable social images on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

14) Chat – Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application, commonly referred to as instant messaging (IM) applications.

15) Circles – Circles are clusters of a user’s friends, colleagues, family, or connections on Google+. You get to choose who goes in what Circle, and when you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post’s sharing options.

16) Clickbait – Clickbait is a term to describe marketing or advertising material that employs a sensationalized headline to attract clicks. They rely heavily on the “curiosity gap” by creating just enough interest to provoke engagement.

17) Clickthrough Rate – Clickthrough rate is a common social media metric used to represent the number of times a visitor clickthrough divided by the total number of impressions a piece of content receives.

18) Collective Intelligence – Collective intelligence is a shared intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.

19) Comment – A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network.

20) Compete – Compete is a web-based application that offers users and businesses web analytics. It also enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different websites over time.

21) Community Manager – The community manager is responsible for building and managing the online communications for a business in an effort to grow an online community.

22) Connections – The LinkedIn equivalent of a Facebook ‘friend’ is a ‘connection.’ Because LinkedIn is a social networking site, the people you are connecting with are not necessarily people you are friends with, but rather professional contacts that you’ve met, heard speak, done business with, or know through another connection. Connections are categorized by: 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree.

23) Conversion Rate – Conversion rate refers to a common metric tracked in social media that is the percentage of people who completed an intended action (i.e. filling out a form, following a social account, etc.).

24) Craigslist – Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The service has been credited for causing the reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States.

25) Creative Commons – Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

26) Crowdsourcing – Crowdsourcing, similar to outsourcing, refers to the act of soliciting ideas or content from a group of people, typically in an online setting.

D

27) Delicious – Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save website addresses publicly and privately online so they can be accessed from any device connected to the internet and shared with friends.

28) Digg – Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership, as well as other visitors.

29) Direct Message – Direct messages — also referred to as “DMs” — are private conversations that occur on Twitter. Both parties must be following one another to send a message.

30) Disqus – Disqus is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you add community management and social web integration to any site on any platform.

E

31) Ebook – An ebook is an electronic version of a book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form. For marketers, ebooks commonly serve as lead generating content — people must fill out a form to receive their ebook copy.

32) Employee Advocacy – Employee advocacy refers to the act of employees using their own social presence to increase the reach of the company and its content.

33) Endorsement – An endorsement on LinkedIn refers to an instance in which another LinkedIn user recognizes you for one of the skills you have listed on your profile.

34) Engagement Rate – Engagement rate is a popular social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction — likes, shares, comments — a piece of content receives.

35) Eventbrite – Eventbrite is a provider of online event management and ticketing services. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a fee per ticket.

F

36) Facebook – Facebook is a social media platform founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. The site connects people with friends, family, acquaintances, and businesses from all over the world and enables them to post, share, and engage with a variety of content such as photos and status updates. The platform currently boasts around 1.49 billion active users.

37) Fans – Fans is the term used to describe people who like your Facebook Page.

38) Favorite – Represented by the small star icon on Twitter, favoriting a tweet signals to the creator that you liked their content or post.

39) Flash Mob – A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.

40) Flickr – Flickr is a social network for online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets, and other methods.

41) Forums – Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dial-up bulletin board system.

42) Follower – In a social media setting, a follower refers to a person who subscribes to your account in order to receive your updates.

43) Follow Friday (#ff) – Follow Friday is a trend via the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users. There is debate whether this trend is past its prime.

44) Friends – Friends is the term used on Facebook to represent the connections you make and the people you follow. These are individuals you consider to be friendly enough with you to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.

G

45) GaggleAMP – GaggleAMP is a social media marketing platform that provides businesses with the ability to leverage its employee’s online presence to increase brand awareness and expand its reach.

46) Geotag – A geotag is the directional coordinates that can be attached to a piece of content online. For example, Instagram users often use geotagging to highlight the location in which their photo was taken.

47) GIF – GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. In social media, GIFs serve as small-scale animations and film clips. (Check out this round up of reaction GIFs used to illustrate our excitement when Facebook announced that they were supporting their functionality.)

48) Google Chrome – Google Chrome is a free web browser produced by Google that fully integrates with its online search system as well as its other applications.

49) Google Documents – Google Documents is a group of web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, spreadsheet analysis, etc. All documents are stored and edited online and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.

50) Google+ – Google+ is Google’s social network. It serves as a platform for users to connect with friends, family, and professionals while enabling them to share photos, send messages, and engage with content. Google uses the “+1” to serve as the equivalent to a Like on Facebook or Instagram.

H

51) Handle – Handle is the term used to describe someone’s @username on Twitter. For example, HubSpot’s Twitter handle is @HubSpot.

52) Header image – A header image refers to the large photo displayed at the top of your profile on Twitter. The header image is also commonly referred to as the banner image on LinkedIn or the cover image on Facebook.

53) Hangout – A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time. You can name these chats, watch YouTube videos during them, open a Google Doc with colleagues, and much more.

54) Hashtag – A hashtag is a tag used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” (i.e. #InboundMarketing). Social networks use hashtags to categorize information and make it easily searchable for users.

55) HTML – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programming language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web. It provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years, and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.

I

56) Impressions – An impression refers to a way in which marketers and advertisers keep track of every time ad is “fetched” and counted.

57) Inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that uses permission-based marketing techniques to get found by potential customers, convert them into leads, customers, and advocates, and analyze the process along the way. Inbound marketing leverages tactics and tools such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation, surveys, personalization, and CRM.

58) Instagram – Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and has gained more than 300 million users. 

59) Instant Messaging – Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time, direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.

K

60) Klout – Klout is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100 — the higher the score, the more influence it estimates you have in the social world.

L

61) Like – A Like is an action that can be made by a Facebook or Instagram user. Instead of writing a comment or sharing a post, a user can click the Like button as a quick way to show approval.

62) Link Building – Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization in which website owners develop strategies to earn links to their site from other websites with the hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.

63) LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site with over 380 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking.

64) LinkedIn Publishing – LinkedIn’s publishing platform functions as a place where members can publish long-form posts that related to their professional interests and expertise. While this capability used to be limited to LinnkedIn Influencers only, the platform was opened up to everyone in 2014.

65) LinkedIn SlideShare – LinkedIn SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

66) Listed – The act of being “listed” on Twitter refers to when a user curates a custom list of Twitter users to more easily keep tabs on their tweets.

67) Live streaming – Live streaming is the act of delivering content over the internet in real-time. This term was popularized in social media by apps such as Meerkat and Periscope.

68) Lurker – A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.

M

69) Mashup – A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new pieces of content by combining multiple online content sources.

70) Meerkat – Meerkat is an app that allows users to stream live video from their mobile devices.

71) Meme – A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept that’s widely shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the “I Can Has Cheezburger?” cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes.

72) Mention – A mention is a Twitter term used to describe an instance in which a user includes someone else’s @username in their tweet to attribute a piece of content or start a discussion.

N

73) Native Advertising – Native content refers to a type of online advertising in which the ad copy and format adheres to the format of a regular post on the network it’s being published on. The purpose is to make ads feel less like ads, and more like part of the conversation.

74) News Feed – A news feed is literally a feed full of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of users’ accounts where they can see all the latest updates from their friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline.

75) Newsjacking – Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.

P

76) Pandora – Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

77) Periscope – Periscope is a social video app that allows users to broadcast live video from wherever they are. App users also have the ability to engage with others videos, browse live or recent broadcasts, and follow users to receive notifications.

78) Permalink – A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website that remains indefinitely unchanged.

79) Pinterest – Pinterest is a photo sharing social network that provides users with a platform for uploading, saving, and categorizing “pins” through collections called “boards.” Boards are typically organized by theme, such as: Food & Drink, Women’s Fashion, Gardening, etc. Users have the ability to “pin” and “repin” content that they like to their respective boards.

80) Podcast – A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually audio, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

81) Pocket – Pocket is an app that enables users to manage a reading list of articles they’ve saved from the internet to read later. Pocket has an open API that allows it to integrate with over 500 applications including social networks like Twitter.

82) PPC – PPC is an acronym for pay per click. Pay per click is an online advertising model in which advertisers display ads on various websites or search engines and pay when a visitor clicks through. Bid-based PPC involves an auction in which advertisers compete with other advertisers by setting the max bid — or highest amount they’re willing to pay — for each click. Each time a visitor triggers the ad spot, the auction process pans out to select which ad will be displayed.

Q

83) Quantcast – Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.

R

84) Real-Time Search – Real-time search is the method of indexing content being published online into search engine results with virtually no delay.

85) Real-Time Marketing – Real-time marketing is a strategy that requires marketers to publish timely content as news breaks. For example, Oreo tweeted this quick-witted response to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout as it was unfolding.

86) Recommendation – A recommendation on LinkedIn is a term used to describe a written note from another LinkedIn member that aims to reinforce the user’s professional credibility or expertise.

87) Reddit – Reddit is a social news site that contains specific, topic-oriented communities of users who share and comment on stories.

88) Reply – A reply is a Twitter action that allows a user to respond to a tweet through a separate tweet that begins with the other user’s @username. This differs from a mention, because tweets that start with an @username only appears in the timelines of users who follow both parties.

89) Retargeting – Retargeting is an online marketing and advertising technique that allows marketers to display ads to people who have visited their website or are part of their contacts database. For more on how a retargeting campaign works, check out this beginner’s guide.

90) Retweet – A retweet is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his or her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer’s name.

91) RSS Feed – RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please from a location other than the website (such as Feedly or other RSS readers).

92) RSS Reader – An RSS reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient information consumption.

S

93) Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization is the process of improving the volume or quality of unpaid traffic to a website from search engines.

94) Selfie – A selfie is a self-portrait that is typically taken using the reverse camera screen on a smartphone or by using a selfie stick (a pole that attaches to your camera). Selfies are commonly shared on social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #selfie.

95) Skype – Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to place phone calls through their Skype account.

96) Snapchat – Snapchat is a social app that allows users to send and receive time-sensitive photos and videos known as “snaps,” which are hidden from the recipients once the time limit expires (images and videos still remain on the Snapchat server). Users can add text and drawings to their snaps and control the list of recipients in which they send them to.

97) Snapchat Story – A Snapchat story is a string of Snapchats that lasts for 24 hours. Users can create stories to be shared with all Snapchatters or just a customized group of recipients.

98) Social Inbox – Social Inbox is an app in the HubSpot software that plugs into your contacts database and allows users to optimize their social monitoring, publishing, and analysis.

99) Social Media Monitoring – Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.

100) Social Proof – Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people seek direction from those around them to determine how they are supposed to act or think in a given situation. In social media, social proof can be identified by the number of interactions a piece of content receives or the number of followers you have. The thought is that if others are sharing something or following someone, it must be good.

101) Social Selling – Social selling is a sales concept in which representatives leverage the power of social communication to engage with prospects by answering their questions, providing helpful content, clarifying information, etc.

102) StumbleUpon – StumbleUpon is a free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.

T

103) Tag – Tagging is a social media functionality commonly used on Facebook and Instagram that allows users to create a link back to the profile of the person shown in the picture or targeted by the update.

104) Trending Topic – Trending topics refer to the most talked about topics and hashtags on a social media network. These commonly appear on networks like Twitter and Facebook and serve as clickable links in which users can either click through to join the conversation or simply browse the related content.

105) Troll – A troll or internet troll refers to a person who is known for creating controversy in an online setting. They typically hang out in forums, comment sections, and chat rooms with the intent of disrupting the conversation on a piece of content by providing commentary that aims to evoke a reaction.

106) Tumblr – Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, video, audio, links, and quotes to their blog. Users can also follow other blogs and repost other users’ content to their own blog.

107) Twitter – Twitter is a real-time social network that allows users to share 140-character updates with their following. Users can favorite and retweet the posts of other users, as well as engage in conversations using @ mentions, replies, and hashtags for categorizing their content.

108) Tweepi – Tweepi is a social media management tool that provides users with a platform for simplifying the way they manage their social following. It’s typically used for mass following or unfollowing a group of people based on certain criteria.

109) Tweetdeck – Tweetdeck is a Twitter tool that provides users with a way to manage their Twitter presence through custom columns. The platform integrates with the Twitter API to allow users to both send and receive tweets.

110) Twitterverse – Also referred to as the Twittersphere, Twitterverse is a nickname for the community of users who are active on Twitter.

U

111) User-Generated Content – User-generated content is content — blogs, videos, photos, quotes, etc. — that is created by consumers. Marketers typically tap into their audience in an online setting to collect this type of content to support a campaign or initiative.

V

112) Vine – Founded in 2012, Vine is a social video sharing service in which users create and engagement with short-form, six-second video clips. Videos published through the service are easily shared across other social platforms such a Twitter and Facebook.

113) Viral – Viral is a term used to describe an instance in which a piece of content — YouTube video, blog article, photo, etc. — achieves noteworthy awareness. Viral distribution relies heavily on word of mouth and the frequent sharing of one particular piece of content all over the internet.

114) Vlogging – Vlogging or a vlog is a piece of content that employs video to tell a story or report on information. Vlogs are common on video sharing networks like YouTube.

W

115) Webinar – A webinar is an online seminar or presentation that is hosted by an individual or a company. Most often, the host requires attendees to fill out a form before granting them access to stream the audio and slides. In marketing, webinars are held to educate audiences about a particular topic while opening up the floor for a discussion to occur on social media using the webinar’s unique hashtag.

Y

116) Yammer – Yammer is an private social network for companies which is often described as “Facebook for business.” It is intended to be used by organizations for internal communication purposes.

Z

117) Zapier – Zapier is a software that leverages “zaps” to connect apps and provides users with a way to automate tasks. Zaps are automations that contain both Triggers and Actions. For example, you can connect your Twitter with your Evernote to save your favorited tweets to a folder, or connect Facebook and Twitter to tweet posts from a Facebook Page.

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Quote of the Day

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

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5 Reasons Why A Social Media Content Calendar Is Important For Your Business

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BY OLSY SOROKINA

Now that you know that your social media marketing plan requires a stellar content strategy to support it, you may find yourself overwhelmed. Creating and publishing great content can be a lot of work, so you need to get organized and figure out a schedule that works for your business. When you’ve got a content calendar you can commit to, social media marketing becomes a lot less daunting.

Creating a plan, a template, or a calendar simply means that you make all the necessary information available to all the relevant stakeholders in one place. It takes in all your channels and resources and organizes them in a way that makes it easy to access information you need when you need it.

What is a social media content calendar?

A social media content calendar should organize the way you curate and create content, and help develop your editorial strategy. A social media calendar cuts extra time out of your content marketing strategy and helps you allocate your resources wisely, to help ensure your brand consistently publishes high-quality, well-written, high-performing content pieces.   

Your social media content calendar should be easy to read without a legend, and contain all the necessary information for your content marketing strategy. The easiest way to organize a content calendar is by using a separate sheet for each month, with activities further broken down by month or day, depending on the volume of content you plan to publish. If you have more than one copywriter, your calendar should reflect which of your writers is responsible for writing, publishing and promoting each piece of content. If you have several social media channels for content promotion, it helps to include icons representing each network next to the title of the post—this way, you can streamline your content marketing and social media strategies.

Social media content calendar example A
An example of what a social media content calendar can look like

Download Example

So why does your business need a social media content calendar? I will go over several consequences a content manager risks if they decide against keeping a social media content calendar for their team, and how keeping a calendar can help avoid these issues.

5 Challenges Solved by Keeping A Social Media Content Calendar

1. Posting content that performs poorly

You have a team of talented writers, a great social media promotion strategy, and a lot of interesting topics to cover. Despite all of these resources, your content marketing efforts are not meeting your own expectations, and the executive team at your organization is starting to question whether an investment into a content marketing strategy is worth it.

Many publishers new to the field of content marketing make the mistake of funnelling all the resources in the direction they think is best, without listening to the needs and interests of their audience. If you don’t have a target audience in mind, then you risk inconsistent performance for your content, and a questionable ROI for the entire strategy.

How a social media content calendar can fix this:
The best way to see what kind of content to plan for the future is to perform routine checks on what kind of content is well-liked by your audience, and make regular adjustments based on these insights. Set up regular check-up times to record the important metrics on your content. Platforms such as Google Analytics help you track the vital numbers for your content’s performance. Some important numbers to take note of are unique pageviews, number of clicks, and referral source. This data will help you figure out which ones of your posts get the most readers, which ones are good for generating leads, and what social channel is referring the majority of your readers. Use this information to adjust your publishing schedule, as well as the type of content you post and the social media platform you use to promote this content.

2. Missing important dates

You’ve probably experienced this: you go about your day, only to realize halfway through the afternoon that you forgot a good friend’s birthday, only because you saw the reminder on Facebook. It feels bad to have forgotten it on your own, but it would feel a lot worse to miss the birthday altogether. Organizing all your content in one place is a safeguard, like Facebook reminders—it exists to ensure you don’t miss crafting content relevant for holidays important to your industry, product releases, or campaign launch dates.

How a social media content calendar can fix this:
Populate your content calendar with all the dates important to your business. Set up reminders at a reasonable interval to put the date on your radar in advance, in order to adjust your writing and research time to the deadline. Add holidays that may affect your business, whether they mean low or high reader traffic—depending on the nature of your business, holidays can mean either ramping up efforts, or doing some housekeeping, such as repurposing old content.

 An example editorial calendar
An example editorial calendar

3. Overwhelming your content writers

If you run a small business, you want to make sure your resources are allocated in the most beneficial way for your brand. Hiring people dedicated to your social media channels may have been a smart cost-saving move, but their schedule doesn’t seem to have a consistent amount of work—it’s impossible to predict whether the day will be a slow or a hectic one. As a result, the quality of work they product is also inconsistent.

How a social media content calendar can fix this:
Use the content calendar as an assignment calendar for your copywriters. As soon as you know the topics you want to cover in your next few posts, start assigning them to writers based on their schedule, strengths and level of expertise. This will give them time to do in-depth research and think of an engaging way to frame the issue at hand, as well as ensure you have the most capable writer working on that piece of content. If you have more than one copywriter working on your content, plan your content calendar in a way that keeps everyone busy: if one writer isn’t working on a piece with an imminent deadline, focus their efforts on social media promotion or brainstorming ideas for the future.

On days when you anticipate no published content or a lower volume of content, keep a writer on the lookout for any previously published posts that can be updated, or any extra social media efforts (as determined by your weekly analysis from #1).

4. Spamming one social media network and neglecting another

Once you figured out your publishing schedule, you settled into a comfortable routine: plan, write, publish, and promote. But even after all the research into the topics and audience insights, your content is still not reaching the desired audience. Your promotion schedule for your social media content has made it too easy for your audience to dismiss your content on one channel, and it doesn’t have the visibility it needs to attract readers on another channel.

How a social media content calendar can fix this:
For each piece of content planned in your calendar, assign the social media channels you want to use to promote it. Add social media network icons underneath the content title and author name. If you see that one icon comes up too much, and another has not shown up in a while, it may be a sign that you need to rethink your social media promotion strategy.

Ensure that your social referral source metric during your weekly analytics check dictates the social channels you use. You want to promote content on the network frequented by your target audience, but you also don’t want to give up a network that refers the most readers.

5. Not doing your research

You have a brilliant post planned, but when you or your copywriter sits down to create it, you realize that it requires a lot more knowledge on the subject than what you have at your disposal. The deadline is looming, the bosses are angry, and you struggle to produce what you know is a mediocre piece of content. All of this can be prevented by doing background research before setting the due date, but you can’t do that unless you have all your content planned out ahead.

How a social media content calendar can fix this:
If you have the publish date set and the writer assigned in advance, this allows the copywriter to evaluate their expertise on the subject matter. If there is more research to be done, or another writer is better suited to support on the task, a content calendar allows your brand to do this without disrupting the deadlines.

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Quote of the Day

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

– John Muir

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In search of meaningful

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Posted by Seth Godin

From the individual who needs to get her idea in front of the right people, to the New York Times, which faces a ticking clock to figure out the digital landscape, all of us are in the media business. There’s a gold rush for attention going on, and, given how much the media likes to cover the media, we hear about winners and losers, those doing it right and wrong, and most of all, the template for what we ought to be doing if we want to succeed.

I fear that right now, many are laboring under Buzzfeed Envy.

Since 1989, when I first started doing online media, people have been transfixed by scale, by numbers, by rankings. “How many eyeballs, how big is the audience, what’s the passalong, how many likes, friends, followers, how many hits?”

You cannot win this game and I want to persuade you (and Dean Baquet at the Times) to stop trying.

1. Are you generic? Over the last few years, the Times has lost Lisa Belkin, Nate Silver, David Pogue and other big name writers, not to mention the opportunity to do more with Michael Lewis and the Freakonomics guys. Here’s the thing: when you read what these singular voices create, you know where it came from, and you have an opinion about it.

Buzzfeed doesn’t focus on who is speaking, they focus on writing something clickable and shareable and urgent in the moment. Those that want to own a valuable ‘brand’ like the fact that it belongs to them, unlike the demanding star writer, who might leave at any time. The value all goes to the system, not to the individual contributor.

(Buzzfeed is well on its way to becoming a dominant media company. But the Times isn’t Buzzfeed, and neither are you.)

The problem with generic is that it’s easy go as well as easy come. The Onion just launched their own sharable silliness and to those that spread it, it doesn’t matter at all if the person writing it works for one brand in the genre or the other one. Staying ahead and gaining scale gets more difficult, not less for those in this segment.

Kasey Casem is remembered precisely because he refused to become generic. When he left his show and started a new one, so many people followed him that he was able to buy back the original show and run both of them at the same time. We were connected to him, not the idea of a radio show.

2. Is it for the reader or the search engine? Here’s an excerpt from how editors are deciding things at the Times now: “There was praise for headlines that had contained the right words … to maximize online search results.”

The most important thing any individual or corporate media entity needs to learn is this: One subscriber is worth 1,000 surfers. Newspapers learned this a century ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer created one of the richest families in America on the basis of a focus on subscriptions. And Time magazine has turned into a nearly valueless relic because they forgot to focus on subscribers and pandered to the newsstand and to the listicle instead.

[A subscriber, by my definition, doesn’t have to pay with money. Sometimes, it’s sufficient to pay with attention.]

3. Would I miss it if it were gone? And here’s the key question, the one that gets to the heart of meaningful. When we deliver meaningful content, it means we show up, invited, with words and images that matter. It means that we are trusted enough to be permitted to speak the first few words, and talented enough to keep the attention we’ve worked so hard to earn. Most of all, meaningful can’t possibly work for everyone with a smart phone, for everyone in every potential audience, because there are so many ways to be seen as meaningful, so many different tribes of people thirsting for different kinds of connection.

Here’s the key flaw in the bigger-is-better reasoning: It’s entirely possible to become an important voice merely because everyone is listening. (Walter Cronkite, or the front page of Yahoo in 1999). When everyone is listening, anyone who wants to be part of everyone also has to listen. That’s certainly why the most viral viral videos get so many views–the second half of their views are people who don’t watch viral videos, but need to get clued in.

There are still some advertisers who want the biggest mass they can find, who will pay extra to reach more people who care less, but those advertisers are going to find someone bigger than you to advertise with.

It’s no longer possible to become important to everyone, not in a reliable, scalable way, not in a way that connects us to people who will read ads or take action, not to people who aren’t already clicking away to the next thing by the time they get to the second or third sentence.

But it is possible to become important to a very-small everyone, to a connected tribe that cares about this voice or that story or this particular point of view. It’s still possible to become meaningful, meaningful if you don’t get short-term greedy about any particular moment of mass, betting on the long run instead. And we need institutions that can reach many of these tribes, that can bind together focused audiences and useful content creators.

Newspapers used to work because they were local, delivered and urgent, with few competitors.

Today, all four components have changed dramatically. Craigslist and others have stolen a lot of the revenue that came from local, anyone with email can be delivered, and the news cycle has bypassed the daily rhythm of the newspaper. And few competitors has become infinity competitors.

The future of newspapers (and for anyone making content) is to act more like a magazine, likeFast Company and Wired and The New Yorker of fifteen years ago. The center, the urgent center, of a smaller everyone.

My advice to the Times starts with this: Every reporter (and probably every editor) ought to have a blog (or be part of a focused group blog), and post every single day. That’s perhaps 600 blogs, every single day, each charged with finding a group of people who care enough about that voice and that topic to hear about it daily. If a reporter can’t write cogently and passionately enough about his topic to gain a following, he probably needs to work somewhere else. And if the paper can organize to hire and train and reward people who can do work like this, if they can figure out how to get out of the 48-page paper mindset, if it can create stars and pockets of true connection, it’s inconceivable to me that they won’t be able to turn a profit.

Of course, one straightforward act isn’t going to change the future of the Times, but it represents a symptom, a visible sign that the focus is changing from making an above-average (or even excellent) newspaper for the masses into creating circles of expertise, organizing tribes, building subscriptions based on attention and publishing outside of the finite world of paper… (And I firmly believe that this applies even more to individuals and smaller organizations than it does to legacy newspapers).

The future of media can’t possibly only lie in random mass viral entertainments, generated with the aid of computers and aimed at the lowest-clicking denominator. For most organizations, that can’t lead to useful ads, it doesn’t lead to subscriptions, and most of all, it doesn’t lead to impact. Entertaining the people who click on 50 things a day will get you numbers, but it won’t make a difference.

If it’s not worth subscribing to a particular voice or feature or idea, if it’s not worth looking forward to and not worth trusting, I’m not sure it’s worth writing, not if your goal is to become meaningful.

The three questions to ask, then, at every editorial meeting:

Who is this for?

Will we be able to reach them?

Is it meaningful?

And here’s the rhetorical question I’d ask the publisher of every media company, from the sole practitioner to the Times: If you had the loyal attention of the powerful, connected, concerned and intelligent people in any given (valuable) tribe or sector, and you regularly showed up with anticipated, personal and relevant content for those people, could you make it into a business?

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The Secret Powers of Chrome’s Address Bar

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The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Chrome’s address bar doesn’t do much at a glance. Type in a URL and you’re taken to a web site. But it can do a lot more if you know how to use it.

We’ve covered plenty of great Chrome tricks over the years, but the address bar has always been a bit neglected. You can actually do a ton with it though, so let’s dig into some of the better tricks.

Perform Quick Unit Conversion and Math

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Don’t feel like opening up a calculator just to do some basic math? Just type in the equation and Chrome’s omnibox gives you the answer, no need to press Enter. You can do the same with basic unit conversion, including temperatures. All you need to do is add an equal signs after a query. So, type in something like 50 c = f for temperatures, or 50 feet = inches

Turn A Browser Window Into a Notepad

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar12

This trick works in pretty much any modern browser, but it’s still worth noting here. If you want to get a blank notepad to type in a quick note, just type this into the address bar (or add a bookmark):

data:text/html, <html contenteditable>

You’ll get a blank page where you can type in text easily.

Search for Keywords with Drag and Drop

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you’re not a fan of cutting and pasting or you hate right-clicking anything, you can search for a word by just highlighting it and dragging it to the address bar.

Search Specific Sites

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Google veterans are pretty familiar with the old “site:” search operator, but you can also easily get that from the address bar by simply typing in a web site address then tapping the Tab button.

Search Gmail or Google Drive

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Jumping over to a specific web app like Gmail or Google Drive to search for something takes a bunch of clicks. It’s a lot easier to just search those services from the address bar. To do so, you’ll need to do a little bit of set up.

  1. Right-click the address bar and select “Edit Search Engines”
  2. Add a new search engine called Google Drive
  3. Make the keyword something you’ll remember, like “Gdrive”
  4. Enter this in for the URL: http://drive.google.com/?hl=en&tab=bo#search/%s You can do the same for Gmail, just make the URL https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#apps/%s

When you want to search your Google Drive or Gmail accounts, just type in gmail.com or docs.google.com and tap the Tab key to intiate your search. You can do a similar trick to add an event to your Google Calendar.

Open a Link at a Specific Tab Spot

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you’re obsessive about where a tab is located, you can grab any URL from the address bar or a link, then drag and drop it to a specific location in your Tabs.

Use Your Address Bar Basic File Explorer

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

While there isn’t exactly a great reason why you’d want to use Chrome as a file browser, you can. Type in C:/ on Windows or file://localhost on a Mac and Linux to load up the file browser. You can also drag any file to the address bar to open it in Chrome.

Open a New Email Window

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Want to quickly send out an email but don’t want to deal with actually looking at your email? Type mailto: into your address bar and it’ll open up a new compose window in whatever your default email client is.

Look at all the Security Information for a Site

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you ever find yourself on a shady site and want to get a little more information about what it’s doing, click the lock or page icon to the left of the URL in the address bar. Here, you can research cookies, block javascript, block popups, and more.

Quote of the Day

“Simply making decisions, one after another, can be a form of art.”

– John Gruber

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What small businesses do better than corporate America

Small firms are better communicators and know their customers better.

Small businesses – those with 500 employees or less – remain an essential piston of America’s economic growth. After the number of startups dropped to record lows in 2009,they bounced back 12% in 2011.  Small businesses accounted for 42% of US private sector payroll in 2012 and 63% of new jobs, according to the Small Business Administration. And as business professors, we three have recently watched entrepreneurship programs sprout like dandelions in American business schools, partly in response to students who no longer aspire to an organization-man (or woman) career.

Despite this surge in interest, running a small business remains a bumpy road. About 10% to 12% of small businesses close each year and there’s only a 50/50 chance a new small business will survive to see its fifth birthday. As the success of behemoths like Google GOOG 4.93% , Wal-Mart WMT 0.63% and Amazon AMZN 0.63% shows scale confers many advantages in business. Which should prompt every small businessperson to ask: How can I compete with the big boys in my industry?

We debated this question endlessly as we traced America’s blue highways researching our book, Roadside MBA: Backroad Wisdom for Executives, Entrepreneurs, and Small Business Owners. Over the past four years, we’ve driven 4,200 miles, visited 27 states, endured bitter cold (Oklahoma) and drenching heat (Arizona and Iowa), and interviewed around 100 small business owners. We visited with a mixer manufacturer in California’s High Desert, a flying orthodontist in Arkansas, a doggy day care in Georgia, and even a composting plant in Montana. And in all cases, we probed on the crucial questions of competitive strategy: Who are your competitors, and why do your customers choose you over them?

We learned that small businesses thrive by taking on activities that big businesses aren’t good at. As we’ve seen again and again on the road, size is a double-edged sword. Big firms have squads of salesmen, massive marketing budgets and loads of leverage at the bargaining table. Size makes many important business activities easier, and big companies dominate the market segments where these size-advantaged activities are especially valuable. However, size makes other valuable activities harder, and smart entrepreneurs can drive a wedge into these big-business cracks to create profitable markets for small business.

Here are five lessons from the road on how small business can battle the big boys – and win:

Talk across functions: In Pueblo, Colorado, we met with Allen Gross and Phil Coiner of GPS Source, an engineering company that specializes in developing and manufacturing systems that bring a GPS signal indoors. The firm thrives by nurturing a close connection between its sales force and its engineering staff. Bigger companies have trouble matching this capability, simply because size necessitates that the various parts of the organization be split into manageable chunks. This leads to informational silos, where both sales and engineering are too focused on their own goals — and hence miss opportunities for collaboration. At GPS Source, there is only one water cooler, and employees in different functions can’t avoid talking to each other. GPS Source recently won a big military contract against much larger firms, in part because they were already developing the system before the request for proposal was announced.

Innovate and redesign: In Marietta, Georgia, we met with Itamar Kleinberger and Shakeel Merchant of Prodew, a firm that designs and sells misting systems for the produce section of your local supermarket. The two are engineers with years of experience in the industry – working for established companies that are now Prodew’s competitors – and built their business around a radical redesign of the misting system. Installing a standard system involved drilling holes in rubber tubing; this work was labor intensive and technicians often had difficultly insuring an even distribution of water pressure. The Prodew system features molded, Lego-like pieces that snap together quickly and generate even pressure (“We call it ‘plug and spray’”, Shakeel grinned). This innovation cut install time and overall costs, and allowed Prodew to gain a commanding market share. Innovation can work better in smaller businesses, for two reasons: First, an entrepreneur/innovator captures more of the resulting value (and hence has stronger incentives) than an employee/innovator. Second, small-firm innovators rarely have to overcome resistance from internal rivals who favor the status quo.

Use local information: In Bloomington, Illinois, we met Erik Prenzler, owner of Prenzler Outdoor Advertising. The company owns more than 60 billboards in and around Bloomington, Illinois, renting them to local and national advertisers, and Prenzler said he competes in two ways: “I have better locations, and I offer better service.” Why can’t his national competitors match him on these dimensions? One of Prenzler’s main competitors — a national chain — manages all of its Bloomington billboards out of an office in Decatur, 46 miles away. Using his local network connections, Prenzler quickly spots opportunities to buy prime billboard locations in town, and is also fast to fix problems (like burned-out light bulbs) on the boards he sells.

Listen to the customer: Mike Bodart, owner of Hoosier Sporting Goods in Columbus, Indiana, admits he can’t compete on price with national chains.  Instead, Bodart relies on superior customer service: “If you have a problem with (our product), we will solve it,” he said. Bodart adjusts his inventory to accentuate this advantage, refusing to stock items a customer can buy at Target and instead focusing on products where his expertise can help customers make better buying decisions. Mike’s customer knowledge helps the timing of his inventory decisions as well:  “When the two high schools — East and North —play each other in football each year, it’s just nuts. One high school is blue and white, the other is brown and orange.”  And unless you’re in tune with the local community, you probably wouldn’t know to stock a lot of brown-and-orange t-shirts in time for rivalry week.

Monitor quality: In Gresham, Oregon, we met with Leah McMahon, owner of the gourmet coffee shop Silk Espresso. Silk competes with “the green giant up the road” (as she referred to Starbucks) with a relentless focus on quality. McMahon’s extensive checklist includes “Are your beans coming from the right place? Are they stored properly? Are they ground properly? Is the temperature of your water correct? Are you double-filtering it?” McMahon’s type-A approach has paid off, as Silk has won multiple awards for quality and maintains a loyal customer base.  This hands-on attention to detail – McMahon trains every barista herself and spends 10 to 12 hours per day at work — is an advantage a chain store cannot easily match.

Big-company problems are largely rooted, we have learned, in problems with providing the right incentives for lower-level employees to create value.  And as long as bureaucracy, corporate politics, and internal rivalries are present in big firms, smaller companies will be able to exploit the resulting inefficiencies and thrive.

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35 Ways To Make Your Site Search Friendly Before You Hire An SEO

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Columnist Stoney deGeyter reviews some of the elements of website design and development that make it easier to perform search engine optimization later on.

How to make your site search engine friendly

Website architecture has been a focus for SEOs for a long time now, but over the past few years, it’s become even more important. That’s because architecture is the foundation of the entire website. It affects both how visitors interact with your site and whether or not search engines are properly able to analyze your optimized content.

But website architecture shouldn’t just be a concern for SEOs. It should be a concern for website developers, as well. Whenever we hear someone is designing a new website, we are quick to recommend that they build a strong, search-engine-friendly website right from the start, even if they don’t immediately hire an SEO. Failure to do so can cause problems that will hamper SEO efforts, ultimately leading to higher development costs to fix the problems.

Who Is This Guide Meant For?

• Website Managers. If you are responsible for the development and/or marketing of your company’s website, and you don’t want to pay for yet another set of eyes on the site, this handy guide will help you out. Put this information into the hands of your developer, and, should they choose to follow it, your site will pretty much be search-engine-friendly and ready to be optimized and promoted once it goes live.

• Website Developers. If you are an internal developer for a company or are part of a development agency, this guide will help you create search-engine-friendly websites for all of your clients, potentially saving them thousands of dollars when you bring in a Web marketer to analyze the site later. Keep in mind, the items here are not search engine optimization, nor should they be presented as such. This is just foundational stuff that allows actual SEO and Web marketing to be more effective.

• Web Marketing Consultants. Whether you are consulting during the development stage or picking up the ball after the site is fully developed and rolled out, focusing on the issues noted here first will allow other optimization and promotion you do to be far more effective. In many cases, these issues should be taken care of before any other marketing starts.

Search-Engine-Friendly Website Development Guide

1. Consider using HTTPS encryption. In the past, HTTPS/SSL security was reserved solely for the e-commerce sections of the website. This was to protect sensitive personal information, such as credit card numbers. However, Google is making a push for “HTTPS everywhere” by factoring this into its ranking algorithm.

For now, it’s only a small factor — but that could change as more sites make the move. The key to going fully secure on your website is making sure it does not impede site speed, which is another (probably more important) issue.

2. Keep your security certificate current. Expired security certificates can wreak havoc for your visitors, giving them all kinds of nasty notices in their browser that are likely to scare them off. Keep an eye on your certificate renewals to stay ahead of this.

3. Allow spidering of site via robots.txt. Every now and then when a new site rolls out, the developer forgets to change the robots.txt file to allow the search engines to crawl the pages. If your Web marketer doesn’t think about checking this file, you could spend months wondering why you’re not getting the traffic you should be. Double-check your robots.txt file to make sure it does not “disallow” search engines from crawling your site.

4. Declare your document type. The page’s “doctype” tells the browsers how to translate each Web page. Without a properly declared doctype, the browser has to guess. For the most part, its guess will be correct, but some things simply may not translate properly. Search engines use this to make sure they are analyzing each part of your site correctly.

5. Use valid HTML. While invalid HTML won’t necessarily affect your rankings, it is yet another thing that can cause your page to be translated incorrectly by the browser or the search engine. Proper translation of each page ensures everyone sees what you think they see.

6. Use valid CSS. See above.

7. Make your CSS and JavaScript files accessible. Don’t hide your CSS and JavaScript files from search engines. This information is important to helping them render the pages correctly, so they know how to analyze each part appropriately. It’s possible that if the search engines are unable to tell how you’re treating different content, key components won’t be given the value they deserve.

8. Avoid using HTML frames. Admittedly, this is old-school Web development that you don’t see much these days, but it’s a worthy precaution to keep in mind in case you are working with an old-school developer. But honestly, if you hired a developer that uses frames, you hired the wrong guy.

9. Add descriptive image alt attributes. Any image that is called for in the code of the page (rather than via CSS) should use an appropriately labeled alt attribute. This is a minor thing, but it’s generally just a good practice to remember as the images are being added.

10. Redirect old URLs. Inevitably, there will be some URL changes in any site redesign. Before you remove the old site, capture all the current URLs so you can 301 redirect any URLs that may have changed or are no longer valid. By 301 redirecting these URLs, you can capture most of the authority value any of those pages may have earned in the past and pass it to the corresponding new pages.

11. 404 bad URLs. And just in case you missed any 301 redirects of old URLs, be sure that any invalid URL returns a 404 code with a properly designed 404 page.

12. Forget printer-friendly pages. Developers used to create “printer-friendly” pages that had their own URL. This is no longer necessary and is in fact bad practice. Use CSS to make sure any page on your site is printer-friendly, removing things that don’t make sense for the printed page and using formatting that is better suited for paper.

13. Underline clickable links. Underlined text is still the universal indicator that the text is a hyperlink. It’s generally not a good idea to break protocol (or expectations) in this area.

14. Differentiate link text. Aside from underlining your hyperlinks, your link text should be different in at least one other way, as well. Visitors should not first have to mouse over text to figure out that it is a link.

15. Implement canonical breadcrumb URLs. Your breadcrumbs should consistently point only to canonical URLs. Quite often, content can be viewed from multiple URLs based on how the visitor was brought to the page. Don’t let your breadcrumb URLs follow the visitor’s navigation path; instead, make them consistent regardless of how the visitor found the content.

16. Establish a proper page hierarchy. Page URLs should use an established hierarchical format that mimics the navigation of the website. Navigational categories and subcategories should be represented in all URLs.

17. Have a balanced directory structure. When developing the navigation/page hierarchy, strike a good balance between shallow and deep. You don’t want visitors to have to make too many clicks before finding the content they want. However, too many options from the home page generally prevents visitors from making a reasoned selection. Instead, they tend to click the most convenient link rather than searching for the right one.

18. Write unique title tags. Every page of the site should start with its own unique title tag. You don’t have to go all SEO on it if time doesn’t permit, but having a title that represents the content of the page is a must for rolling the site out. Keep each one between 35 and 55 characters.

19. Write unique meta descriptions. See above. A good description should be between 100 and 155 characters.

20. Use properly coded lists. Use proper HTML code (<ol>, <ul>, <li>) for bulleted and numbered lists. This tells the browser and search engine that a piece of content is an actual list item, which can affect how that text is being translated for search value.

21. Reduce code bloat. As development progresses and new features are added to a site, it’s easy for the code to become bloated. Many times, developers are looking for the easiest/quickest way to do something — but that is often the most bloated way, as well. Code bloat slows down page speed, so it’s best to keep that to a minimum.

22. Reduce HTML table usage. Like frames, tables are on their way out of common usage, as there are much more streamlined ways to do the same thing. Unfortunately, it’s often easier to create and manage tables. Avoid using tables whenever possible, and use CSS instead for content that needs to have the table-style layout.

23. Use absolute links in navigation. Developers like to use relative links because it makes it easy to move a site from a development server to the live URL. However, relative links can lead to problems with interpretation and scraping. I recommend using absolute links whenever possible, but at the very least in the site navigation.

24. Implement non-spiderable shopping cart links. Any link into your shopping cart should not be spiderable by search engines. You don’t want search engines adding products to a cart just by following a link. Keep them out of all these areas so they stay focused on your content.

25. Disallow pages to keep search engines out. Use your robots.txt file to keep search engines from spidering pages they shouldn’t have access to. Disallowing these pages will keep the search engines from reading any content on the page; however, links to those pages can still end up in search results if the engines find other signals that give them an indication of the page’s value.

26. NoIndex pages to keep them out of SERPs. If you want to keep pages out of the search engine results pages (SERPs) completely, using the noindex meta tag is the better route to go. This tells the search engines not to index the page at all.

27. NoFollow links to keep them from passing value. If you don’t want any particular link to pass value to another page, use the nofollow attribute in the link code. Keep in mind that the link itself will cause a loss of link value from the page — it just won’t be passed to the page you are linking to.

28. Check for broken links. Before you roll the site out, check for and fix any broken links. When crawling your site, you don’t want Google to find errors like this out of the gate, as that can diminish the site’s overall value score. You should do this again once the site is live, just to be sure something didn’t go wrong in the transfer.

29. Find ways to increase page load speed. There are always things you can do to improve site speed. Look for even the smallest of opportunities to make your pages load even faster.

30. Reduce the number of on-page links. Search engines recommend that any single page have no more than 100 links. But that doesn’t mean you have to approach that number before culling excessive links. Review your site navigation and key pages to ensure you haven’t used excessive linking.

31. Eliminate duplicate content. Do your best to prevent any duplicate content. This is especially important for e-commerce sites with multiple paths to similar information. Each page of content should have a single canonical URL. The rest should be eliminated. If you can’t eliminate all URLs that produce dupe content, use the canonical tag as a stop-gap measure.

32. Implement proper heading tag hierarchy. Each page should have one, and only one, H1 tag. The remaining top-level heading tags (H2-4) should be used for content areas only, reserving H5-6 for navigational headings.

33. Don’t use session IDs. This is another old technology that, perplexingly, is still being used today. There are far better means of tracking visitors through your site, so avoid using this method at all costs.

34. Use search-engine-friendly links. Make sure all your links (except those you deliberately want to keep away from search engines) are using search-engine-friendly link code. Using the wrong link code can inadvertently keep search engines away from very valuable content.

35. Implement structured data. Structured data is additional coding around key elements of content that help the search engines understand the purpose or value of that content. This can affect how your site displays in the search results, as well as what information is presented to searchers altogether.

Final Thoughts

Implementing each of the suggestions above will push your site one step closer to being search-engine-friendly. My suggestion would be to pay attention to all of them because rolling out a new site that isn’t completely search-engine-friendly can have disastrous results. If you wait until after the site rolls out — even if you fix problems quickly — you can still experience some negative long-term ramifications.

I suggest going through this list with your developer to make sure each has been completed before approving the site to go live, even if that bumps the deadline a few weeks. Better to roll a site out slightly late than push out a site that will tank your business and create more problems you have to dig yourself out of later.

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