Archive | October 2017

Engineering the wall thickness of a plastic part

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

by Jill Worth

When engineering the wall thickness of a plastic part, a careful balance of weight, geometry, and budgetary considerations must be maintained. For example, while thick plastic walls offer more strength, they also have a greater tendency to warp during the cooling stage of the manufacturing process.

Of all the various design aspects, wall thickness has the most significant impact on the cost, production speed, and final quality of a part.

Proper Wall Thickness

pg-img-25.jpgWhile thick walls offer additional strength, there are some advantages to engineering thinner walls. In fact, the longer a production run, the more benefits that can be gained by keeping a part thin and light, so maintaining optimal wall thickness is particularly important for high-volume injection molding projects. Keeping walls as thin as possible allows for:

  • Resistance to warping during the cooling process
  • Reduced costs due to less material usage and faster manufacturing
  • Reduced overall weight for ease of handling, management, and shipping
  • Quicker cooling cycles for shorter, more efficient production run time

Wall thicknesses are not subject to any restrictions, but generally, the goal is to create the thinnest wall possible while taking into account the part’s structural requirements and overall size and geometry. The flow behavior and material qualities of the resin should also be considered.

Creating Uniform Wall Thickness

Consistent wall thickness is critical during the cooling process in injection molding; if some sections of a part are thinner than others, the part may be vulnerable to warping, cracking, twisting, and overall failure. Uniform wall thickness minimizes both shrinkage and residual stress in the final part.

5488.jpgIf completely uniform walls simply aren’t an option, gradual thickness variations are essential to maintaining design stability. Wall thickness variations in high-mold-shrinkage plastics should never exceed 10%, even with gradual transitions to accommodate for potential stress concentrations.

Uniform wall thickness also allows for the most efficient, uniform flow of resin through a tool for ideal processing. Variations in wall thickness cause molten polymers to take preferential flows, leading to air trapping, unbalanced filling, and weld lines.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

The Future of Marketing

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

By Mark Schaefer

Each year, it seems my content adopts a certain theme based on emerging disruptions in the marketplace. I think a theme is coming into view for the next year and beyond: Love, Chaos, and The Hyper-Empowered Customer.

I’ve worked in marketing for more than 30 years and we are on the cusp of the most exciting changes I’ve witnessed. In fact, I foresee a transformation of the very foundations of marketing and many of our most persistent beliefs and beloved best practices will be strangled out of existence.

Let’s start unpacking this today.

Brand-building is out of control

We read every day how many of most valuable brands from marketing titans like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever are in a freefall. Part of the reason for this decline is that traditional methods we’ve used to build brands — primarily repetitive advertising — are not working like they used to.

In fact, I’ve argued that we are inexorably moving toward an ad-free world, a marketplace that is strikingly less dependent on commercials because people are streaming their audio and video content through ad-free subscription services.

There are three major forces moving consumer behavior today, all driven by content on social media: reviews, user-generated content, and influencers. I would also throw Facebook/Google ads in there for good measure, too.

The interesting thing to me is, of these three social media forces … what is really left in the marketer’s control? What IS marketing today when our brand messaging is created by the hive mind instead of our ad agency? What is your job when a brand is no longer driven by ad impressions, but an accumulation of human impressions on social media?

What does marketing mean any more when nobody trusts your company and the world is blocking your ads?

We need to transcend our silos and even our instincts to embrace the chaos. We need to build organizations that stop fighting the hyper-powered consumer and find ways to encourage her.

Marketing in context

Understanding the hyper-empowered consumer … nurturing her, rewarding her, meeting her impatient demands … will become possible due to advances in technology. Marketing might seem scary right now, but I believe we are entering a golden era.

The buyer’s journey is a complicated, tangled mess, and it may appear that fickle, tweet-happy customers are impossible to please. But if you peer through the fog, you’ll realize it’s actually never been easier to make customers happy.

The key I think, is to stop thinking like marketers and start thinking like friends.

We have lost our way as an industry. We are addicted to blog-world-best-practices instead of treating people like … people. We need to re-think our pop-up, paywall, lead-nurturing mentality and get back to basics like treating a person in the online world like we would treat them in the real world.

We need to use technology to remove barriers between us and our customers, not build them. When technology enables you to understand how individuals interact with your brand, where they are on their buying journey, and what they’re experiencing from your digital channels in the moment, you can offer share-worthy, uplifting and even personalized experiences that can dazzle, inspire and amaze.

Infinite segmentation

I once had an opportunity to work with ex-Coke CMO Sergio Zyman. My colleague asked him: “How many marketing strategies does a company need?” His answer was: “How many customers do you have?”

While that answer might seem flippant, it’s true. And although his comment was made to me 15 years ago, the possibility of activating his idea is now becoming reality.

We’re moving from mass marketing to mass customization, from focusing on dashboard averages to individuals.1 We will build brands in market segments of one. The idea of “personas” has a limited lifespan now. We won’t have to guess at an average personality, we’ll know every personality.

For marketers who have traditionally created and marketed brands to the dominant major, this means re-thinking marketing. In fact, it means blowing up almost everything we’ve done so far.

All you need is love.

I think marketing can become wildly effective once again when you have the ability to take into account the context of individual customer emotions, patterns, and experiences instead of following some lock-step content marketing program you read about in a blog post.

We need to strip away the fossilized layers of crap we have accumulated over the truth that is pulsating underneath. It is this: People want to be acknowledged … and loved … more than anything. The vast technological opportunities at our doorstep are the way we can scale love.

We can use these emerging opportunities for personalization and context to create boundless delight, or we can use it to creep people out. With history as our guide, most companies will creep us out. But the companies who choose love … well, that’s one helluva point of differentiation, isn’t it? Marketing beyond loyalty!

It’s exciting, isn’t it? We are on the cusp of the greatest (and most fun) time in marketing history. Instead of fighting the hyper-empowered consumer we will celebrate them! Every one of them.

And if we do a good job, they might even celebrate us.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

6 ways founders can avoid making big mistakes while growing their company

Image:  sorbetto/Getty images
It’s one of business’ most brutal truths. Not to mention one of its most paradoxical. And it happens — in the words of legendary founder Ben Horowitz — “all the time.”

“A founder develops a breakthrough idea and starts a company to build it. The product succeeds, and the company grows. Then … employees start complaining that the CEO is paying too much attention to what the employees can do better without her and not enough attention to the rest of the company.”

Soon words like scale descend and, with every good intention in the world, the founder transforms themselves from a passionate and “product-oriented CEO” into a “crappy, general-purpose CEO.”

The result? The product bloats, manufacturing expands, innovation dries up, and before you know it: “Looks like we need a new CEO.” To help you avoid that fate, here are six of the most common mistakes founders make scaling products … and how to avoid them.

1. Not sticking to the customer’s ‘job’

“When customers become aware of a job that they need to get done in their lives,” write Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor in The Innovator’s Solution, “they look around for a product or service that they can ‘hire’ to get the job done. This is now how customers experience life.”

Since its inception, Christensen and Raynor’s job-to-be-done model has fundamentally reshaped how companies create products. Unfortunately, staying focused on your customer’s job is often the first thing to go as a product scales.

Ironically, customers themselves can be part of the problem. “We have lots of feature requests coming in from customers all the time,” Kenny Rueter, co-founder of Kajabi, explained to me.

His solution? “We read every single one of them,” says Rueter, “but what we try to do is determine the desired outcome the customer is really after.” Staying focused on how to take your customers to their desired state as quickly and painlessly as possible is key to sustaining an innovative product, rather than one that dilutes itself by trying to do it all.

2. Not scaling in stages

What’s true of a customer’s job is equally true of building products themselves. The phrase “overnight success” sounds idyllic, but it’s far from accurate. Crossing the divide from “we make one thing well” to “we make everything” has shipwrecked countless founders.

Instead, establish your base product and core manufacturing skill set. Then, expand production only as proprietary demands require.

Entrepreneur in residence at Harvard, Michael Skok, put it like this: “Your product or service may be quite valuable to customers, but one thing you can’t often provide from the get-go is a true end-to-end solution. If you sell a piece of software, for example, it’s unlikely you can also offer the hardware, implementation, and services as well. You’re just not big enough yet to do it all.”

Remember, not being “big enough” is fine. Patience and steady expansion are far more valuable than overextending your resources.

3. Not following the data

At the opposite extreme of following every customer requests stands failing to listen. Especially to the data. Caught up in their original vision, founders often trot out Henry Ford’s famous adage: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

After all, the dogged pursuit of an original vision is often what makes successful founders in the first place. The same, however, isn’t true of CEOs.

Not understanding user data and the lead indicators of your industry can spell disaster. What products or services do well in the economy’s current climate? At what maturity level is your market? What are your acquisition and retention numbers telling you? These are all vital questions.

Success in any venture hinges on paying attention to your customer’s shifting trends and your market’s competitive landscape. Being acutely aware of these changes and remaining flexible allows founders to scale with confidence.

4. Not making the product effortless

Most products — especially innovative products — develop more rapidly than customer adoption. What makes for disruption in a startup product can quickly outpace a user’s skill and requirements when it comes time to sustain.

Most scaling companies tend to load up their products not only with more and more features but more and more power. The truth is: all that advancement counts for nothing if the products aren’t effortless.

As Tom More, founder and CEO at video creation app Promo by Slidely, told me, “If I had to pick one common sentiment that I think we should steer clear from, it’s aiming for ‘comprehensive’ and ‘powerful’ products, as opposed to products that are just fast and simple to use.”

There’s a sort of arms race mentality in scaling where leaders think they need to roll out additional options and functionalities to compete. However, once a product crosses the good-enough threshold — i.e., it helps customer’s complete their job — the primary goal should be to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.

5. Not guiding employee evangelism

Mistakes in product marketing abound. But perhaps the most damaging comes from mismanaging a company’s most sacred resource: their employees. The problem isn’t so much social media stupidity, but rather failing to guide and equip employees as brand evangelists.

“Founders often fall into the trap of thinking that simply getting employees to share content will make sure they’re engaged with the company,” says Roope Heinilä, Co-Founder and CEO of employee advocacy platform Smarp. “One founder even asked if his company could have their employees connect their social profiles to Smarp for auto-posting of company content. I told them that by doing so, not only would they be alienating their own team but also degrading the company image.”

Instead of focusing on external sharing, it’s better to invest in knowledge sharing between employees, leadership, and product development. This increases employees’ sense of involvement and helps them become expert advocates.

6. Not encouraging failure

Encouraging failure can sound like a strange approach to scaling. After all, isn’t failure the very thing you’re trying to avoid? Yes … and no. The critical ingredients of launching a successful product — feedback and iteration — are equally necessary during and after growth.

When scaling, perfectionism is death. In fact, product missteps aren’t just inevitable, they’re essential. It’s a fine line and walking it comes from an unlikely source. “Early on,” wrote Pixar CEO Ed Catmull in Creativity, Inc., “all of our movies suck. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them so — to go, as I say, ‘from suck to not-suck.’”

As a leader, the important thing isn’t to prevent errors, but to embrace and learn from them. This goes for all the mistakes mentioned above.

In the words of another Pixar innovator, director Andrew Stanton: “My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can. Which basically means, we’re gonna screw up, let’s just admit that. Let’s not be afraid of that.”

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

9 Mistakes That Even Experienced Bloggers Make

Kevin Ocasio

Even Experienced Bloggers Make

Blogging is a tough but rewarding occupation when done correctly. The most experienced bloggers can attest to that. It’s a long process that also involves making mistakes and learning from them.

Some people immediately know that they want to start a blog and make money. Others take a bit more time to figure out what they want to do. Bit of trial and error here and there before they come to a solid decision.

Even experienced writers can sometimes commit mistakes that one would normally expect from newbies.

Which of these mistakes have you made or are currently making?

1. Not making plans to monetize your blog before you start

On practically every forum or Q&A on topics related to blogging, there would always be at least 1 or 2 threads where people have heated discussions on whether or not monetization is the goal of blogging.

Any self-respecting successful blogger would agree that that concept of not earning from serious blogging is both naive and wasteful.

There are 5 types of bloggers:

  • The Hobbyist
  • The Part-time blogger
  • The Full-time blogger
  • The corporate blogger
  • The blogging entrepreneur

4 out of 5 among these aim to use their blog to earn money or gain revenue.

If you find blogging as a profession enticing, you’d better do your homework on monetization before you even start a blog. No matter how good a writer you are, there will always be tough competition.

There will always be better writers than you. Plus there will always be people who started way ahead of you. You cannot rely solely on your writing skills to have your blog generate enough income for you.

Not planning monetization efficiently could very well leave you up that proverbial creek without a paddle. Especially if you made the premature choice of leaving your 9 to 5 job for your blog.

2. Not choosing a specific niche

Blogging is an ocean. Or an uncharted jungle. Or a galaxy. Insert other metaphors here.

Bottomline: it’s too vast to measure.

You won’t be able to cover all of it all at once, so not setting specific limits could get you lost.

When choosing a niche for your blog, it is of utmost importance to narrow down your niche of choice enough for you to be able to make your way through it without drowning.

Choose a particular niche and focus your content on it. Having your hands on too many topics and subjects all at once will not only confuse your readers. It might even affect your own mindset and and stall your momentum.

3. Neglecting to build an email list

The Blogging Buddha interviewed 37 seasoned bloggers about their biggest blogging mistakes. Topping the list in general? Not building an email list.

Of course, there are other ways of attracting an organic audience. You can, for example, promote your content on social media or utilize ways to optimize your content for shareability.

Still, nothing beats the effect that list-building has on growing your blog’s audience. Collect emails as early as you can. Use your network of friends, colleagues, fellow bloggers and the blogging community to build a strong email database.

However, be careful and make sure that your list consists of people whose interests relate to your niche and content. If not, you might be accused of spamming and lose visitors to your site instead of gaining them.

4. Writing too much for yourself and too little for your audience

Remember this and remember it well: your blog’s goal should be to provide value for your readers.

Repeat it when you wake up and before you go to sleep so that you don’t forget.

It’s understandable that you might want to write on things that you are passionate about. After all, it’s YOUR blog. But you also have to keep in mind that you have a responsibility to your audience.

They come to your blog because of the value that they can get from your content. Writing about topics that deviate from your niche can alienate your readers into leaving and not coming back.

I’m not saying don’t have fun while writing. What I’m saying is you should keep your content relevant to your niche and relatable to your readers.

5. Forgetting to format and proofread my content before publishing

When you’ve been a blogger or a writer for a while, it’s easy to feel complacent and self-satisfied about your writing skills. After all, experience is the best teacher.

However, one thing to bear in mind is that even the best of writers still make errors and mistakes. That’s why they have editors to go over their work before publishing.

Now, if you can afford that particular luxury as well, go for it. If not, don’t fret. Even long-time bloggers still trust services and apps like Grammarly and Ginger to smooth out kinks in their content that they may not have noticed by themselves.

Before you hit the Publish button, also make sure that your formatting is clear to read and easy on the eyes. That keeps it appealing for your readers.

Always double check your work before posting. When you have access to both skills and technology, there is no acceptable excuse for bad English. When you’re writing for a majorly English speaking/reading audience that is!

6. Not being consistent when publishing posts

This is not only common with beginner bloggers. It happens to even the experienced ones.

The longer the time you have spent in the blogging profession, the more responsibilities and tasks can pop up here and there. This could lead you to neglect keeping track of how many times you post your content and how often you do so.

This could be very detrimental to your ratings. Your readers come back to your blog at a specific time because they are expecting to access excellent content. If they don’t find it when they come looking, chances are they’ll leave and look elsewhere.

Plus, consistent posting of your content is one of the simple SEO strategies that could help raise your search engine ratings. Missing out on it makes you miss out on a lot.

Turn things around. Use social media management tools like HootSuite and Buffer to schedule your posts. That way, you won’t have to worry about the frequency of your posts anymore.

At the same time, you also free your hands for other tasks that are just as important.

7. Failing to ask for technical advice

Say you are an amazing writer. Very engaging, and well-followed. Experience has already taught you what skills to improve on and what innovation mistakes you should avoid to help your blog stay on top.

Regardless, things still have a way of just going wrong sometimes. For example, you could get malware on your site and Google’s filters prevent your audience from getting to you. Or worse, your blog could crash.

What to do? Get help. No matter how much of a premium our generation puts on independence, you don’t have to do it all alone. Especially if getting technical assistance and advice can make things a thousand times easier for you.

Make sure that the blogging platform and the web host you choose both have excellent technical support. Preferably with 24/7 availability and various ways to contact them. That way, whatever the situation, you know you have a support team you can rely on to help you fix things anytime.

You can also hire a skilled virtual assistant to take care of the more technical aspects of your website and blog. Your VA could also help you with other things, such as scouting for trending plugins and web apps that can help grow your business.  That way you can focus on producing excellent content and not have to worry too much about anything else.

8. Not setting definite branding guidelines for yourself

As a blogger, you are your own brand. How your blog looks should reflect your own values and show who you are as a person and a writer. It should be distinct enough for readers to be able to associate the design with you.

As early as you can, visualize a concept that stands for your own brand. Experiment with themes, fonts, images, and styles to see what looks great and feels right for you.

Remember, people are fond of judging by appearances. A first glance at your blog should allow visitors and readers to associate your impeccable design aesthetics to excellent written content.

Live the brand that you are.

9. Not building relationships

This one, I placed at the very end for emphasis. I cannot stress enough how important building social relationships is to you and your blog.

Your blog could potentially eat up all of your time and attention. It happens fairly often to new and experienced bloggers alike.

As a professional blogger, a relatively healthy mind is your capital for your job. You have a responsibility to yourself to keep your mind in tiptop shape. No matter how good a writer you are, you can’t always do everything alone (cue lady singing “No Man Is An Island” in the background).

Seriously, you have to be in constant contact with other people. Join a blogging community. Contribute digital product reviews or participate in comments on other blogs as well as forums.

Platforms like Quora and Reddit are also excellent avenues to express your thoughts and share ideas with others. Connect with other bloggers and influencers in and around your niche.

Aside from the obvious benefits it provides for your well-being, widening your social network also opens you up to new insights that you can use to better your content. A blogging community can also be a valuable source of information, like great tips for local SEO, for instance.

Build strong social relationships, both on and off of the internet. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. There’s just no end to how beneficial and rewarding it can be.


We can’t all immediately be experts on everything. It takes time and loads of effort to achieve the kind of knowledge, skills, and experience that make you an authority on a certain field.

Good news is that expertise is definitely achievable. You just have to be willing to work hard for it.

Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from people who are already where you want to be. Although not everything has the same effect on everyone, these experienced bloggers know what it takes to get to where you want to go.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

5 Brands Doing Cool Things on Social and What You Can Learn From Them

How to Turn Low-Value Content Into Neatly Organized Opportunities – Next Level

Welcome to the newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last post, Brian Childs offered up a beginner-level workflow to help discover your competitor’s backlinks. Today, we’re welcoming back Next Level veteran Jo Cameron to show you how to find low-quality pages on your site and decide their new fate. Read on and level up!

With an almost endless succession of Google updates fluctuating the search results, it’s pretty clear that substandard content just won’t cut it.

I know, I know — we can’t all keep up with the latest algorithm updates. We’ve got businesses to run, clients to impress, and a strong social media presence to maintain. After all, you haven’t seen a huge drop in your traffic. It’s probably OK, right?

So what’s with the nagging sensation down in the pit of your stomach? It’s not just that giant chili taco you had earlier. Maybe it’s that feeling that your content might be treading on thin ice. Maybe you watched Rand’s recent Whiteboard Friday (How to Determine if a Page is “Low Quality” in Google’s Eyes) and just don’t know where to start.

In this edition of Next Level, I’ll show you how to start identifying your low-quality pages in a few simple steps with Moz Pro’s Site Crawl. Once identified, you can decide whether to merge, shine up, or remove the content.

A quick recap of algorithm updates

The latest big fluctuations in the search results were said to be caused by King Fred: enemy of low-quality pages and champion of the people’s right to find and enjoy content of value.

Fred took the fight to affiliate sites, and low-value commercial sites were also affected.

The good news is that even if this isn’t directed at you, and you haven’t taken a hit yourself, you can still learn from this update to improve your site. After all, why not stay on the right side of the biggest index of online content in the known universe? You’ll come away with a good idea of what content is working for your site, and you may just take a ride to the top of the SERPs. Knowledge is power, after all.

Be a Pro

It’s best if we just accept that Google updates are ongoing; they happen all.the.time. But with a site audit tool in your toolkit like Moz Pro’s Site Crawl, they don’t have to keep you up at night. Our shiny new Rogerbot crawler is the new kid on the block, and it’s hungry to crawl your pages.

If you haven’t given it a try, sign up for a free trial for 30 days:

Start a free trial

If you’ve already had a free trial that has expired, write to me and I’ll give you another, just because I can.

Set up your Moz Pro campaign — it takes 5 minutes tops — and Rogerbot will be unleashed upon your site like a caffeinated spider.

Rogerbot hops from page to page following links to analyze your website. As Rogerbot hops along, a beautiful database of pages is constructed that flag issues you can use to find those laggers. What a hero!

First stop: Thin content

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Thin Content

Thin content could be damaging your site. If it’s deemed to be malicious, then it could result in a penalty. Things like zero-value pages with ads or spammy doorway pages — little traps people set to funnel people to other pages — are bad news.

First off, let’s find those pages. Moz Pro Site Crawl will flag “thin content” if it has less than 50 words (excluding navigation and ads).

Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with Google’s Quality Guidelines. Think long and hard about whether you may be doing this, intentionally or accidentally.

You’re probably not straight-up spamming people, but you could do better and you know it. Our mantra is (repeat after me): “Does this add value for my visitors?” Well, does it?

Ok, you can stop chanting now.

For most of us, thin content is less of a penalty threat and more of an opportunity. By finding pages with thin content, you have the opportunity to figure out if they’re doing enough to serve your visitors. Pile on some Google Analytics data and start making decisions about improvements that can be made.

Using as an example, I’ve found 3 pages with thin content. Ta-da emoji!

I’m not too concerned about the login page or the password reset page. I am, however, interested to see how the local search page is performing. Maybe we can find an opportunity to help people who land on this page.

Go ahead and export your thin content pages from Moz Pro to CSV.

We can then grab some data from Google Analytics to give us an idea of how well this page is performing. You may want to look at comparing monthly data and see if there are any trends, or compare similar pages to see if improvements can be made.

I am by no means a Google Analytics expert, but I know how to get what I want. Most of the time that is, except when I have to Google it, which is probably every second week.

Firstly: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Paste in your URL

  • Pageviews – The number of times that page has been viewed, even if it’s a repeat view.
  • Avg. Time on Page – How long people are on your page
  • Bounce Rate – Single page views with no interaction

For my example page, Bounce Rate is very interesting. This page lives to be interacted with. Its only joy in life is allowing people to search for a local business in the UK, US, or Canada. It is not an informational page at all. It doesn’t provide a contact phone number or an answer to a query that may explain away a high bounce rate.

I’m going to add Pageviews and Bounce Rate a spreadsheet so I can track this over time.

I’ll also added some keywords that I want that page to rank for to my Moz Pro Rankings. That way I can make sure I’m targeting searcher intent and driving organic traffic that is likely to convert.

I’ll also know if I’m being out ranked by my competitors. How dare they, right?

As we’ve found with this local page, not all thin content is bad content. Another example may be if you have a landing page with an awesome video that’s adding value and is performing consistently well. In this case, hold off on making sweeping changes. Track the data you’re interested in; from there, you can look at making small changes and track the impact, or split test some ideas. Either way, you want to make informed, data-driven decisions.

Action to take for tracking thin content pages

Export to CSV so you can track how these pages are performing alongside GA data. Make incremental changes and track the results.

Second stop: Duplicate title tags

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Duplicate Title Tags

Title tags show up in the search results to give human searchers a taste of what your content is about. They also help search engines understand and categorize your content. Without question, you want these to be well considered, relevant to your content, and unique.

Moz Pro Site Crawl flags any pages with matching title tags for your perusal.

Duplicate title tags are unlikely to get your site penalized, unless you’ve masterminded an army of pages that target irrelevant keywords and provide zero value. Once again, for most of us, it’s a good way to find a missed opportunity.

Digging around your duplicate title tags is a lucky dip of wonder. You may find pages with repeated content that you want to merge, or redundant pages that may be confusing your visitors, or maybe just pages for which you haven’t spent the time crafting unique title tags.

Take this opportunity to review your title tags, make them interesting, and always make them relevant. Because I’m a Whiteboard Friday friend, I can’t not link to this title tag hack video. Turn off Netflix for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Pro tip: To view the other duplicate pages, make sure you click on the little triangle icon to open that up like an accordion.

Hey now, what’s this? Filed away under duplicate title tags I’ve found these cheeky pages.

These are the contact forms we have in place to contact our help team. Yes, me included — hi!

I’ve got some inside info for you all. We’re actually in the process of redesigning our Help Hub, and these tool-specific pages definitely need a rethink. For now, I’m going to summon the powerful and mysterious rel=canonical tag.

This tells search engines that all those other pages are copies of the one true page to rule them all. Search engines like this, they understand it, and they bow down to honor the original source, as well they should. Visitors can still access these pages, and they won’t ever know they’ve hit a page with an original source elsewhere. How very magical.

Action to take for duplicate title tags on similar pages

Use the rel=canonical tag to tell search engines that is the original source.

Review visitor behavior and perform user testing on the Help Hub. We’ll use this information to make a plan for redirecting those pages to one main page and adding a tool type drop-down.

More duplicate titles within my subfolder-specific campaign

Because at Moz we’ve got a heck of a lot of pages, I’ve got another Moz Pro campaign set up to track the URL I find this handy if I want to look at issues on just one section of my site at a time.

You just have to enter your subfolder and limit your campaign when you set it up.

Just remember we won’t crawl any pages outside of the subfolder. Make sure you have an all-encompassing, all-access campaign set up for the root domain as well.

Not enough allowance to create a subfolder-specific campaign? You can filter by URL from within your existing campaign.

In my Moz Blog campaign, I stumbled across these little fellows:

This is a classic case of new content usurping the old content. Instead of telling search engines, “Yeah, so I’ve got a few pages and they’re kind of the same, but this one is the one true page,” like we did with the rel=canonical tag before, this time I’ll use the big cousin of the rel=canonical, the queen of content canonicalization, the 301 redirect.

All the power is sent to the page you are redirecting to, as well as all the actual human visitors.

Action to take for duplicate title tags with outdated/updated content

Check the traffic and authority for both pages, then add a 301 redirect from one to the other. Consolidate and rule.

It’s also a good opportunity to refresh the content and check whether it’s… what? I can’t hear you — adding value to my visitors! You got it.

Third stop: Duplicate content

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Duplicate Content

When the code and content on a page looks the same are the code and content on another page of your site, it will be flagged as “Duplicate Content.” Our crawler will flag any pages with 90% or more overlapping content or code as having duplicate content.

Officially, in the wise words of Google, duplicate content doesn’t incur a penalty. However, it can be filtered out of the index, so still not great.

Having said that, the trick is in the fine print. One bot’s duplicate content is another bot’s thin content, and thin content can get you penalized. Let me refer you back to our old friend, the Quality Guidelines.

Are you doing one of these things intentionally or accidentally? Do you want me to make you chant again?

If you’re being hounded by duplicate content issues and don’t know where to start, then we’ve got more information on duplicate content on our Learning Center.

I’ve found some pages that clearly have different content on them, so why are these duplicate?

So friends, what we have here is thin content that’s being flagged as duplicate.

There is basically not enough content on the page for bots to distinguish them from each other. Remember that our crawler looks at all the page code, as well as the copy that humans see.

You may find this frustrating at first: “Like, why are they duplicates?? They’re different, gosh darn it!” But once you pass through all the 7 stages of duplicate content and arrive at acceptance, you’ll see the opportunity you have here. Why not pop those topics on your content schedule? Why not use the “queen” again, and 301 redirect them to a similar resource, combining the power of both resources? Or maybe, just maybe, you could use them in a blog post about duplicate content — just like I have.

Action to take for duplicate pages with different content

Before you make any hasty decisions, check the traffic to these pages. Maybe dig a bit deeper and track conversions and bounce rate, as well. Check out our workflow for thin content earlier in this post and do the same for these pages.

From there you can figure out if you want to rework content to add value or redirect pages to another resource.

This is an awesome video in the ever-impressive Whiteboard Friday series which talks about republishing. Seriously, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t watch it.

Broken URLs and duplicate content

Another dive into Duplicate Content has turned up two Help Hub URLs that point to the same page.

These are no good to man or beast. They are especially no good for our analytics — blurgh, data confusion! No good for our crawl budget — blurgh, extra useless page! User experience? Blurgh, nope, no good for that either.

Action to take for messed-up URLs causing duplicate content

Zap this time-waster with a 301 redirect. For me this is an easy decision: add a 301 to the long, messed up URL with a PA of 1, no discussion. I love our new Learning Center so much that I’m going to link to it again so you can learn more about redirection and build your SEO knowledge.

It’s the most handy place to check if you get stuck with any of the concepts I’ve talked about today.

Wrapping up

While it may feel scary at first to have your content flagged as having issues, the real takeaway here is that these are actually neatly organized opportunities.

With a bit of tenacity and some extra data from Google Analytics, you can start to understand the best way to fix your content and make your site easier to use (and more powerful in the process).

If you get stuck, just remember our chant: “Does this add value for my visitors?” Your content has to be for your human visitors, so think about them and their journey. And most importantly: be good to yourself and use a tool like Moz Pro that compiles potential issues into an easily digestible catalogue.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

4 Must-Follow Tips for Moonlighting as an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur isn’t as glamorous as some make it out to be. For the most part, being an entrepreneur takes hard work and perseverance. A 60-hour workweek is not unusual by any means. According to a study reported by Real Business, entrepreneurs work 63 percent longer than average employees.

If you have a regular job and are moonlighting as an entrepreneur, chances are you’re working even harder. As you grow your dream company while supporting yourself with a steady 9-to-5, you have to be careful. You don’t want to make mistakes or burn out before you even get your company off the ground.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Ask Yourself Before Launching Your Business

Here are four pieces of advice for those braves souls who are moonlighting as an entrepreneur.

1. Don’t break any rules.

You probably signed some documents before you started working at your company. You want to take a good look at these to make sure you’re not violating any contracts with your current employer by running a side business. For instance, your company may have had you sign a non-compete agreement, which would prevent you from working for a direct competitor or stealing customers during or following your employment.

So, you want to check your employment contracts, like workplace nondisclosure agreements, to ensure your startup isn’t violating any rules. If in doubt, consult an attorney. It will be worth it to avoid a legal headache down the line.

2. Automate what you can.

If you’ve read about other entrepreneurs, you’ll quickly realize that they have crazy schedules. For example, Justin Zhu, CEO and cofounder of Iterable, a growth marketing startup, says he works from 11 am to 5 pm, and then from 9 pm to 3 am.That’s 12 hours a day. It could be more if he didn’t manage his time so well. If you’re a regular employee by day and an entrepreneur by night, time management is critical to your success. You can’t be wasting time on things that could be automated.

The overarching point is that, in the digital age, nearly everything can be automated to some degree. Use technology to save time. This way, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters: Doing well at your day job and growing your dream business on the side.

Related: Never Doubt Yourself but Always Have a Plan B

3. Prepare for success.

What will you do if your business takes off like a rocket? Will you be ready to jump ship at your current company? These are questions you should start pondering when you first start moonlighting as an entrepreneur.

One thing you should do early on is incorporate your side business. Not only will this make you legitimate in the eyes of clients, but incorporating makes it easier to raise capital, protects your personal assets and provides tax benefits. Getting yourself set up as an LLC or S corporation will help you get out ahead when the time comes to go all-in on your business.

Also, make sure to protect intellectual property associated with your side business. From applying for patents to filing trademarks, you want your creations secure. This way, when you do push the operation into another gear, you won’t run into any unnecessary hurdles.

4. Take care of yourself.

Again, you’re literally working two jobs at once. If you don’t treat your body right, not only will you not perform well, but you could fail at your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Start by eating healthy. Jennifer Cohen, a fitness expert who helps executives boost productivity through wellness, says “food can directly affect everything in our bodies, from our mood and energy levels to our memory.” This is why she recommends eating foods that gives us physical and mental power, like spinach, beets, walnuts and chia seeds.Don’t forget about getting quality sleep. While it may feel like you don’t have time to get the suggested seven to eight hours, sleeping is crucial to maintaining your body and mind. Other successful entrepreneurs do. Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz and renowned SEO expert, says he makes a point to get eight hours every night. He sleeps from 1 am to 9 am.

When it comes down to it, taking care of yourself will help you stay in a better mood. And that will make you a better employee and entrepreneur. After all, researchers from the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12 percent more productive on average.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

What email marketers should know about iOS 11

3 Strategies for Closing Sales Without Picking Up the Phone

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers

3 Strategies for Closing Sales Without Picking Up the Phone

Image credit: triloks | Getty Images
Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a sales cold call, which is virtually everyone with a phone number, can attest to how annoying these unsolicited sales attempts often are. Even if you stay on the line long enough to hear what the caller is selling, your first question probably isn’t, “Can you please tell me more?”

It’s more like, “How did you get my number?” Or maybe, “Can you please remove me from your calling list?”

Yet cold calling has been a widely used sales tactic for decades, and is often considered a rite of passage for veteran salespeople. But it’s high time for that to change. There are simply more efficient and effective ways to sell products in the digital age.

Time not well spent.

Cold calls generate follow-up conversations only 10 percent of the time, according to a Harvard Business Review study. The other 90 percent of the time, they’re most likely alienating potential leads, even the ones who may actually benefit from the product or service being sold.

Moreover, not even 2 percent of sales calls lead to an in-person meeting, according to HubSpot research. That means you have to spend a lot of time on the phone before you get the chance to make an in-person pitch.

All of that time spent researching prospects, refining sales scripts and training your sales team to pitch your product on the phone, drives up your cost of customer acquisition immensely. Not surprisingly, HubSpot also reports that cold calls cost roughly 60 percent more per lead than acquisition methods like email marketing and social selling.

Cold calling is an aggressive approach, and today’s consumers don’t want to be pressured into making a purchase, they want to buy into your product and your company on their own terms. The internet has changed how consumers make buying decisions, and buyers now want to be in charge of the purchasing process.

Related: 4 Outdated Tactics That Sabotage Your Sales

Instead of interrupting customers with annoying sales calls, rely on the following three guidelines to build a better sales strategy:

1. Start With Inbound Marketing.

The guiding principle behind any successful inbound marketing program is to provide value first and sell second. If customers understand the value that your company is offering, they’ll be far more likely to do business with you.

HubSpot helped pioneer this approach, and now companies like Sapper Consulting are taking it to the next level where they combine precise targeting and unique, creative email content with the insights—generated by big data to help companies get B2B leads and secure high-quality meetings with decision makers.

A successful inbound marketing campaign is based on a specifically defined audience or a set of customer personas. Companies like HubSpot and Sapper help people target content directly to your personas and establish a voice that resonates with them. According to a study by marketing company Captora, 61 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from companies that use custom content to reach them. Clearly, knowing your audience is key.

2. Don’t be afraid of public speaking.

The popularity of TED Talks and similar forums is evidence of the fact that people want to hear what experts have to say, either in person or over video. But even if you don’t consider yourself an expert yet, public speaking can help you achieve that status.

By speaking at industry-relevant meetings and events, you can start developing brand recognition and a unique perspective on topics related to your business. Plus, you can repurpose speeches as content to use in your future inbound marketing efforts.

Related: 4 Great Summer Books for Sales Executives

well-delivered speech can be one of the most effective ways to generate sales because you’ll often have prospects in the room when you’re speaking. Grab their attention during your speech, and you’ll likely be handing out business cards afterward.

3. Keep an eye on ROI.

Content marketing is only effective if you actually use your content. In 2013, SiriusDecisions reported that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of B2B content goes completely unused. That’s a problem. It shows that many companies are essentially throwing away time and money and calling it content marketing.

Work to understand the ROI you’re getting out of each piece of content. Quantify your customers’ pain points and create a sales strategy around the solution to those pain points.

Thought leadership and content campaigns will also help you engage with consumers and get a better sense of how your content is contributing to sales. Then, repurpose high-performing content and update content that becomes dated to continue attracting new leads.

Likewise, you should keep content that demonstrates your company’s capabilities and other valuable knowledge gated so that you’re not giving away intellectual property—such as industry analysis, buying guides and RFP templates—for free.

Cold calling is a time-honored practice, and it’s likely not going away anytime soon.

But with these tactics, you’ll have much more success acquiring new customers and gain a big advantage over competitors still glued to their phones.

Brought to you by Aplus Plastic Box Co supplying all your #plastic storage solutionsPlastic Storage ContainersAustralian Made Plastic Boxes, Plastic BinsPlastic Storage Boxes, Jumbo Storage Bins, First Aid Cabinets, Air ToolsTools, Tool Shop, Bone CreepersWheels and Castors, Scaffold wheelsWheel ShopSpare Parts CabinetsParts DrawersAutomotive Kits , Tool CabinetsTool Boxes, Slings and Lifting Equipment and a Large Range of Coat Hangers