I'm just sayin'…

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As a father of 6, parental analogies are always close at hand for me. It’s why I sometimes say that clients are like children in that when you see them take the things you teach them and they make it their own and excel, you can’t help but burst with pride. Recently, the AGCO blog was included in the agriculture feed at Alltop, the internet’s best source for news aggregation, becoming the only Farm Equipment manufacturer to do so…

AGCO’s success should rightly be credited to Jamy Johnson, a budding online community manager and social media practitioner who took the time to embrace the ‘e1evation workflow’ and make it her own. Last month, their blog had over 10,000 visits and it’s rapidly becoming a key factor in lifting the corporate website to new heights in search and traffic rankings as well…

Kudos to Jamy’s manager Sue Otten who had the courage to embrace social media in the ag space before ag social media was cool! If Jamy and Sue can rise to the top using “good, fast, and cheap” social media tools for agriculture, imagine what you can do in your industry!

Offers That Convert Website Visitors into Qualified Leads

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Getting qualified visitors to your website is only half the battle. The other half of the equation is converting those visitors into qualified leads. To earn a positive return on your website investment and to support your sales team, you need to have a strategy that gets those visitors to take an action on your website—to “raise their hand” and let you know where they stand in the sales cycle.

Generally speaking, there are five types of visitors who will visit your website…

…you’ll have follow the ‘via’ link to learn who they are!

What REALLY Matters in a Website Redesign

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Do you run for the hills when it’s time to bust out the wireframes and discuss redesigning your website? It’s okay, not everyone was born to be a designer.

Creating a new website can potentially be a long and arduous process – but it doesn’t have to be! So many businesses get stuck on ‘form OVER function’ when trying to design or redesign a website. What’s “under the hood” is just as important – if not more – when you main goal is turning your site visitors into customers.

With that said, it’s still important to have a site that makes a good first impression. For example, when we helped create Website Redesign LITE, stripping down the design process to the fundamentals was a key part of the plan. There are three fundamental aspects people should consider before engaging in a new web design process.

The homework looks something like this…

You’ll have to follow the ‘via’ link to see what the homework looks like! Comment or ‘connect with me’ so we can talk about how this applies to your business…

Getting started with SEO

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One of the main benefits of adding a blog to your website is the lift it gives your site — blogging rocks at generating traffic! Why? Because frequent posting feeds search engines which measure value of a site in part by how frequently it’s updated. Each post you create can also be loaded with metadata for the search engines which will help people to find you. This morning I stumbled across this document from Google that will give you some additional ideas as to how to get your site up to speed search engine-wise…

“Webmasters often ask us at conferences or in the Webmaster Help Group, “What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google?” There are lots of possible answers to this question, and a wealth of search engine optimization information on the web, so much that it can be intimidating for newer webmasters or those unfamiliar with the topic. We thought it’d be useful to create a compact guide that lists some best practices that teams within Google and external webmasters alike can follow that could improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing.

Our Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers around a dozen common areas that webmasters might consider optimizing. We felt that these areas (like improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more) would apply to webmasters of all experience levels and sites of all sizes and types. Throughout the guide, we also worked in many illustrations, pitfalls to avoid, and links to other resources that help expand our explanation of the topics. We plan on updating the guide at regular intervals with new optimization suggestions and to keep the technical advice current.

So, the next time we get the question, “I’m new to SEO, how do I improve my site?”, we can say, “Well, here’s a list of best practices that we use inside Google that you might want to check out.”” Source: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Google’s SEO Starter Guide

Want to know how you’re doing seo-wise right now? Head over to HubSpot’s website grader and test your site. If it needs improvement [and most sites do — including this one! ;-)] download Google’s pdf and start chipping away at improving your SEO today…

The way we get our news is changing

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Interesting data from a great source that should have you thinking…

“In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. Americans access it in multiple formats on multiple platforms on myriad devices. The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers. Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.

The internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

The process Americans use to get news is based on foraging and opportunism. They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines. At the same time, gathering the news is not entirely an open-ended exploration for consumers, even online where there are limitless possibilities for exploring news. While online, most people say they use between two and five online news sources and 65% say they do not have a single favorite website for news. Some 21% say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information. ” Source: Overview | Pew Internet & American Life Project

Me? I use over 600 online sources aggregated in one great tool; Google Reader! Occasionally, I listen to WTAQ, but that’s not for the news — it’s to catch my good friend Jerry Bader! I rarely if ever watch television or read a dead tree newspaper for the news — I get it ALL online. I’ve covered my methodology in great detail here and here. Comment, call or contact me if you’d like to take your news aggregation needs to an unprecedented level…

Email Overload: Download a Free Copy of David Allen's Email Rules

Getting Things Done

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Having problems managing email?

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and inspiration for a lot of posts ’round these parts, gives away a free four-page PDF at his website that covers his basic principals for keeping email organized. Getting specific without going too in-depth, he explains the ‘two minute rule,’ why action-able emails should be kept separate from others, and why creating your own system—such as Gina’s [Trapani’s] modified ‘Trusted Trio‘. Great reading for GTD neophytes, and a good brush-up for the rest of us.”

Click here to get your copy! If you’re a Gmail user [and I hope you are] there’s more information here on how to use Gina’s system with Gmail or Google Apps mail.

Me personally? I use Gmail and Google Apps mail in conjunction with Remember The Milk [RTM]– the powerful task manager with the equally funny name. RTM gives me special tools to use within Gmail that allows me to convert an email to a task. In all fairness, Google now includes this feature in their task management system, however, it was not available when I built my approach to task management…

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A Tale of Three Websites