Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WWDH - Lemon Chicken Pasta

For Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, I have chosen Lemon Chicken Pasta from Donna's Off the Shelf.  The recipe is also online here.

The title of this recipe says it all - it comprises pasta with shredded chicken, lemon zest and lemon juice, with garlic, capers , chilli and basil thrown in, and parmesan on top.  I used spinach linguine as I had half a packet left over from some other project, and I didn't want to make as much pasta as the recipe suggested.

This was simple to make and good - I do think it could use more sauce though.

To see what Kayte, Margaret and Chaya thought of this recipe, check out their websites.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Benefits of Responsive Web Design for Digital Marketing

In web design, we call a website "responsive" if it adapts itself to the viewers’ screen as it changes. The changes can be on a computer or laptop screen, like when you maximize your browser window or when you reduce it to a smaller size to see something else; but it might be more known among portable devices like smartphones and tablets, which are very varied in sizes. Having a website working with a responsive design is very useful for the user experience, and it gives you a few benefits with regard to your visitors.

There are two main benefits in using responsive design in a site.

First benefit: Only one website to maintain

Before responsive design was out, companies used to create two separate versions of their sites. Besides maintaining and updating a desktop version of the site, they had to create a separate mobile-friendly version as well. The use of m. subdomains became as common as the use of scripts to detect where a visitor was coming from to launch correct version. It meant double work, double updates and double bug-fixing too when things went bad.

Responsive design eliminates this need, making one version of the website suitable for one and for all.

Second benefit: Increased perception of quality from visitors

Let's be honest here: if your site is not 100% flawless when people surf it, they will never think there is a problem with their Internet browsers. What they will always think is that you have a bad site. Responsive design lets you manage how a site will look in smartphones, tablets, windowed screens and maximized screens; and it will let you determine how the display will adapt if the visitor intentionally changes anything. This adaptability will always speak well about you, and make people think you have an amazing website. It is a great second reason to use responsive design for your website.

Third benefit: A slight increase in performance

As responsive design can be worked in one single file, you reduce the number of HTTP requests your visitor's browser needs to send to the server. This improves your website's loading time, one of the few factors Google has admitted counts for rankings and SEO.

How to start with responsive design

Starting with responsive design is not very difficult, fortunately. There is only one "technology" to master, and it is the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Besides this, you need to read a little about a new meta tag, meta viewport, and media queries, which are specific CSS definitions that work differently according to the screen size users have. If you can read enough about this topic, then you may be able to create one 100% responsive CSS file with instructions for everybody, from desktop to smartphones users, and even for those who want to print your articles if you want.

About the author

Jorge Aguayo is a writer, a web designer and team member of Search Engine Optimization at InTechCenter. For more information about responsive web design, you can leave a comment, or contact Jorge Aguayo through this link http://intechcenter.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Caramel apple upside-down cake

On the cover of this month's Delicious magazine, there was a photo of the most luscious looking autumnal cake I had seen for some time.  Wanting to know more, I bought the magazine and learned that the luscious cake was a Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake by Valli Little, with a layer of golden caramel on top of the apple slices on top of the cake, and with dulce de leche in the cake batter.  Yum!

Unlike my usual habit of putting away magazines without making anything, I promptly bought everything that I needed to make the Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake.    The only hitch was that I could not find dulce de leche in my supermarket, so I used David Lebovitz's baked condensed milk method to make some non-scary dulce de leche of my own.

Here is the resulting cake:

Valli advises to serve the cake warm, and I agree with her assessment - I found the cake a little dry and heavy when it was cold.  However, I took it to work and the verdict was that the punters liked it warm or cold.  Just goes to show what a personal thing taste can be.

If you would like to make this warming, pudding-like cake, you will need:

220g sugar
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1cm thick
175g salted butter
100g brown sugar
200g dulce de leche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
175g self raising four
100g almond meal

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Grease and line a 24cm springform pan., and wrap the outside of the pan in foil to stop it from leaking during cooking.

Put the sugar in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water, and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase to medium heat and allow the mixture to cook, without stirring, until it turns golden amber in colour.  Pour the caramel over the base of the prepared pan and set aside to cool.

Lay overlapping slices of apple in concentric circles over the caramel in the base of the pan.

Put the butter and brown sugar into an electric mixer and beat until thick and pale, then beat in the dulce de leche and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the flour and almond meal.  Pour the batter over the apples in the cake tin, and spread out evenly.

Place the cake into the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate to cool until just warm.

Serve with cream or icecream - enjoy!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Crowd Pleaser Chocolate Cake for Lee's Birthday

Today is Lee's birthday.  As I cannot be there for the day, I celebrated the occasion with her a few days early by making a chocolate cake for her birthday.  This sour cream chocolate cake is the Australian Women's Weekly Crowd Pleaser Chocolate, and the recipe is online here.

Be warned - this makes one massive cake, so when it talks about a crowd, it means it.  My tip is to work with the frosting quickly, as it sets up firmly in no time and requires quite a bit of coaxing thereafter to work with.

Here is a shot of the un-frosted cake: 

and a peek inside at the crumb:

Instead of decorating Lee's cake with fresh flowers as suggested by the recipe, I made fondant decorations using silicone moulds, pink lustre dust and pearl glaze:

The tiny little pieces were a challenge to unmould without squashing them:

I think these decorations are so cute and I will definitely make them again.
The verdict on the cake - everyone else seemed to enjoy it, but I found the cake rather dryer than I would like.  That said, with the sour cream frosting, it was chocolatey and decadent.
Happy birthday Lee! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Daring Bakers - Savarin

It's Daring Bakers time again.

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

I decided to veer away from the traditional Savarin flavours to make a Cherry Savarin by soaking my Savarin in a cherry brandy syrup (1/2 cup cherry brandy + 2 cups water + 1/4 cup icing sugar, boiled up together) and topping it with a  cherry compote made from frozen cherries.  I made crème patisserie for the filling as I love custard.

The Savarin took an awfully long time to make because of the rising time involved - I think my Savarin had around 6 hours or so of rising time.  I also found that I did not have quite enough syrup, so while three quarters of the Savarin was nice and soft and spongy, the bottom remained rather bread-like.  I also think this could have been better if I had soaked the bottom of the Savarin in a bowl of syrup as well as pouring on the syrup in the cake tin while the Savarin was hot.

Nevertheless, the Savarin was rather delicious: 

I mean, custard and cherries - how bad can it be?  The Savarin also got snapped up at work, although nobody really knew what it was.  This was the proof of the pudding in my books.

Thanks to Natalia for hosting this month - if you are keen to make a Savarin, she will have the recipe we used on her blog. To see a rainbow array of Savarins, visit the slide show on the Daring Kitchen website on 27 April, US time.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Businesses should consider responsive web design for better digital marketing

We have become switching consumers and I'm not talking here about our switching behaviour for best deals and costs but about our internet browsing behaviour. Think about your average day and how many times you may switch between the devises you use to browse the net.  In the morning waiting for the train you may browse on your mobile, at work you use a desktop, you get home and you may turn to a tablet. We are constantly switching between the devises we use and it is now more important than ever that websites work seamlessly across all these mediums for optimal user experience.

Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales and by 2014 it is predicted that mobile internet usage will quickly overtake desktop internet usage. If your website doesn't look or operate well on a mobile it really is time to review it. If you invest in Digital Marking such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and PPC, mobile friendly website is essential.

Whether you choose to create individual websites for each devise or to opt for a responsive website has caused considerable industry debate. We are increasingly asked by our customers for advice about their new or existing websites. Should they re-develop the site to be responsive?  Should they keep their existing desktop version and create a new version specifically for mobile?

Making a website work effectively for mobile devises, whilst it might look like a simple job of shrinking everything down to make it smaller is actually not that easy and not quite as straightforward. For a site to be responsive it is about creating a site architecture that delivers a customised user experience across those devises. It involves flexible layouts with elements that adapt to differing sizes and features to fit screens, devises and browsers. For example on a desktop a website may display a large graphic element featuring a companies services, but on a mobile devise this simply would not work so those services may have to be presented differently or utilising a different scroll function.

Last year Google ran a study on smartphone users and the results showed just how important it is to ensure your website is responsive. 

75% of people questioned said they prefer a mobile friendly website 61% said that if they were unable to find what they were looking for would turn to an alternate website and 67% said that they are more likely to buy from a website that works well on a mobile devise.

Delivering a quality and seamless user experience across multiple devises should now be a key consideration for businesses and if just starting to develop a new website of your own this is one of the things that absolutely should be thought about. It's no good just looking at the website on your computer screen using your preferred browser, cross check how the site looks and performs on all devises, screen sizes and browsers. What may work well on a desktop in FireFox may not work on a tablet using Chrome.

There are various advantages for having a responsive website over multiple versions of your site for improved digital marketing results. For SEO one dynamic site is preferred by search engines and is now seen as best practice. Any back links generated to your site will lead to a single recognisable source enhancing your one sites authority, user experience and recognition. Responsive websites mean that navigations, scrolls and flow all work seamlessly whatever devise your customers are using to view your site.  Maintaining one site also eliminates the need to update graphics and content across multiple websites. For example when special offers go live, graphics and prices can be updated once rather than three for four times.

If your digital marketing also focuses on social media develop a responsive website improves your customer engagement and means they are more likely to share your content, improving your social media interactions. When sharing your website link on their various social networks, their own followers can go directly to your website regardless of the device that they are using. This is very important, especially since social networks are often accessed on mobile devices.

For any customers currently in the process of starting a business or about to embark on a website project thinking cross devise and browser efficiency should defiantly be part of your design brief.  Consider carefully where your customers will access your products and services and make sure your site creates a good user experience however they may be viewing.

This article was written by Sarah Stott. Sarah has worked within the domain name and registration industry for the last 5 years and currently works at Siteopia.com (http://www.siteopia.com).

FFwD - Swiss Chard Pancakes

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Swiss Chard Pancakes.  In my case, they were actually spinach pancakes, as I could not buy Swiss chard.

These pancakes are from a fairly standard pancake batter with chives and spinach blitzed through it, and cooked in the usual way.  I made a third of the recipe to yield 7 pancakes.

I served my pancakes with aubergine, mango and chilli jam on some and with cottage cheese on the others. 

These pancakes were OK, but probably not something I'd make again.

To see what the other Doristas thought, visit the LYL section of the website.

How To Optimize For Facebook Graph Search

The newest Facebook tool promises to help users find just about anything on Facebook in a distinctive way. Graph search has the potential of being informative and is valuable to both individual users and businesses. There are ways you can optimize your Facebook page so that other users can discover you or your business more if you choose of course.

1. Include things you would like others to discover in your profile

If you are entrepreneur and would like to be discovered by people of a certain geographical area, make sure to update your profile to read your current hometown and mention that you are an entrepreneur in the work and education section, preferably. The graph search will let users query entrepreneurs in your location to find new people to connect with.

2. Make sure your page is complete and up to date

Users who have complete profiles are more likely to be discovered than those who haven't, according to facebook. Ensure therefore that you fill all the relevant information, keep your profile up to date, and regularly maintained.

3. Share valuable content

Modern search algorithms deliver only fresh and engaging content. To ensure you page is put out there for others to view it, ensure your content will be helpful and up to date. People like viewing content that will help them and that is correct. 

4. It's all about location

Whether your profile is for a business or for individual use, updating your address and location will help users find you if their search is location specific. For a local business, ensuring that you set up the page a local page will help users discover you if they are searching for services in your specific location. In the local page, ensure you add your address, hours of business and phone number to help people find you more easily

5. Increase your fan base

The facebook graph search has a great functionality that helps users find others who share the same interests. As such, it's possible to find places or things that your target fans like. You need fans for your page, and not just any fans, but relevant ones, who are fans within your region and with the same interests. Buying fans is not such a good idea as they will just like your page to get paid and may not be interested in your product.

The best way to get more fans is adding a like box on your page or on your website and encouraging users to like your page. Another alternative would be Facebook advertising, if you have many fans advertise your page on your fans or friends profiles. Create sponsored stories that will make friends of your fans to like your page also. If you don't have a lot of fans yet, use the general advertising option to target users who are demographic and interest specific to discover and view your page.

6. Encourage users to tag and like your photos

Actions on your profile are proof that users really like your brand. The more fans post and share photos using check-in or tag the better. If your business doesn't lend itself to check ins or photos, get creative ways to encourage this. Also, encourage employers to post photos that are relevant and share with others. If users are searching for photos of their friends, they might see a photo of their friend tagged on your page. Users can also filter to search for photos by the pages they like. All of this helps keep your profile busy and if you are a business owner, people are likely to be interested to know what you offer that their friends like. The more interactions there are on your page, the more you will appear on graphic search and reach more users. 

7. Make it easy

Users don't proactively search for brands to like on facebook. Make sure you provide clear visible links to your page on your website, emails, blog, or wherever else you have content. Make sure that users can easily like your page without putting too much effort or time.

Once you have attracted the right users on your page, make sure to keep them engaged and offer up to date and relevant content to keep them interested.

Author Bio:
Jason Smith is an online manager for Hitches - trailers for sale. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ANZAC biscuits for ANZAC Day

I adore the Anne of Green Gables books by LM Montgomery, and I also love the first miniseries based on the books starring Canadian actress Megan Follows.  I didn't enjoy the second miniseries as much because of its departures from the books, although if I take it in its own right rather than comparing it to the books, it is rather good too.  Until recently, I hadn't seen the third Anne miniseries, because I knew that it was not based on the books at all.  However, I bought all three Anne miniseries as a boxed set and decided to start by watching miniseries three.

Miniseries three, entitled Anne: The Continuing Story, is set during World War I.  Anne and Gilbert are all grown up and get married before Gilbert goes away to war to serve as a medic.  When Anne's letters to Gilbert are returned unopened, Anne goes to war-torn Europe with the Red Cross to look for him.  Although Anne: The Continuing Story is a separate piece of fiction in itself quite apart from the LM Montgomery books, I enjoyed it, although definitely not as much as the first Anne of Green Gables miniseries.  The maturity of the relationship between Anne and Gilbert was a treat to watch, and the miniseries very effectively reminded the viewer of the horrors of World War I.  As Megan Follows said in an interview about the miniseries, this was not a time of innocence.

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia, a public holiday to remember those who fought for our freedom.  The original ANZACs landed at Anzac Cove in Turkey during World War I.  Many of the ANZACs were very young, with some young men lying about their age so that they could enlist.  I cannot imagine how those young men dealt with the horrors of war, losing their innocence so drastically and immediately.  Just last year, the long lost images of a number of Australian soldiers in France were uncovered, and it is amazing to see those photos so many years later. 

To celebrate ANZAC Day, I made ANZAC biscuits, which are a staple in many Aussie households.  There are lots of different recipes for ANZAC biscuits, but all are along the lines of an oatmeal cookie made with golden syrup.  This year, I made the ANZAC biscuit recipe from Day to Day Cookery by Downes, the school home economics cookery text that I loathed at the time.  My school was very old fashioned, making all girls do home economics and all boys do manual arts in Year 8, and even more of an affront, making all girls (but not boys!) do Parent Craft in Year 9.  I still find this extraordinary, even now - don't boys need to learn to cook and sew and Parent Craft too?  And I would love to be more handy around the house.

The recipe for ANZAC biscuits is as follows:

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut
3/4 cup sugar
140g butter
3 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.  Add the rolled oats, coconut and sugar. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the syrup and water.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and allow the mixture to foam, then pour it onto the dry ingredients and mix well.  Place tablespoons of mixture onto a tray, spaced well to allow for spreading, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

WWDH - Smoky roasted gazpacho

This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay is Smoky Roasted Gazpacho from Modern Classics Book I, chosen by Chaya.

This gazpacho contains roasted tomato, garlic and onion combined with paprika and water to make a cold spicy soup.  It was easy enough to make, and interesting to learn, but not something that I fancy enough to make again.

To see what Chaya, Margaret and Kayte thought of this soup, visit their websites. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Five Effective Strategies to Attract More Site Visitors

We put up a website because we want to draw people’s attention to what we have to show the world. Either we want to market and promote a product or a service, or we simply want to raise awareness for a certain cause. Whatever it is, we all desire to have a lot more people visiting our site, being inactive and patiently wait for them to visit our site will not work. We need to have to be active and impose techniques that will drive people to our sites. Here are some effective and ethical strategies you may want to try.
  1. Social Media Sharing. This is actually pretty common and self-explanatory. But aside from sharing your own website content to your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many similar others, it is also wise to install a social media sharing button on your web pages. This way, all your site visitors who likes your content can easily share it to their friends and connections, thus, resulting to more visits from other people. The more social media sharing buttons you install to your website’s content pages, the ways there are to share your content, and the more people will get to see your content.
  2. Increased Number of Pillar Contents. Pillar contents are “in-depth, well-written content that will always be of interest to readers.” With these contents, you can rest assured that your site will go viral toward the targeted readers via person-to-person sharing. Coupled with social media sharing, this will surely direct a large number of traffic to your site.
  3. Noteworthy Press Releases Distribution. Submitting a press release for a noteworthy accomplishment or event is another good way to direct people to your website since your contact information (which includes your website) is given at the end of the press release. However, remember that you should not abuse this service, otherwise your distributed press releases will turn out to be nothing more than a spam content.
  4. Interactive Social Networking. This simply means that give helpful answers to questions you see on online forums or threads. You can visit a lot of site and pages that host these features. After giving your answer, give a link (preferably a shortened one) to the person who asked. The link should either be of your website or any content from your website that gives further explanation to the issue. Doing this will not only give your site good traffic but also credibility and reference to your site and your expertise.
  5. Content Sharing. Sharing informative contents about your field and industry or anything related to sites like Scribd and Slideshare will also direct people to your website to check what else you have to offer. This method not only gives you followers, but also increased brand awareness and credibility.
You can never discount the power of your website. So make the most of it! Our tips here have been tested and proven effective not only in spreading your website’s popularity, but also in establishing your business’ online presence and in maximizing your chances of boosting your sales and profit margin.

About the author – Manilyn Moreno works for Better Cater as the Online Marketing and Content Manager. Better Cater is a catering software company that aims to provide assistance to caterers in managing event financials and recipe costing. 

Corned beef and cabbage

Every week, I attend a clinical Pilates to keep mind and body together.  When I mention "mind", I have been lucky enough to fall in with a terrific bunch of girls in my class, and each week we chat about all manner of things during the class.  A regular topic is "what are you having for dinner?" A couple of weeks back, Alison said she was having corned beef.  Now I love corned beef but I had never cooked it myself before, so I was inspired by Alison to give it a go.

I had to look up a recipe for cooking corned beef, and after some unsuccessful searches thorugh my recipe books, I chanced upon this Donna Hay recipe on the Internet.  I left out the onions and carots, but otherwise cooked the corned beef as instructed.  The end result was magnificent - just like mother used to make, even though mother did not put all the extras in  she just adds a splash of vinegar, apparently.  My corned beef is topped with some chutney out of the jar - perfect!

 I had also never cooked cabbage before, and was wary of all the bad cabbage stories that I had heard.   Initially, I intended to boil the cabbage, but another trusty Internet search yielded a forum thread with a method for sauteeing shredded cabbage on the stovetop in oil, all purpose seasoning, salt (added last to avoid drying out the cabbage) and soy sauce.  This cabbage tasted pretty good, and stayed crispy rather than turning soggy.

Chuffed, I served my corned beef and cabbage with a jacket potato, cooked simply in the microwave and sprinkled with salt and all purpose seasoning, with a dash of low fat cream.  This was a dinner of champions! 

Even better, I have leftover corned beef for corned beef sandwiches for my lunch - solving the difficult question of what to have for lunch this week.  Corned beef, pickles and tomato on crusty bread is a winning lunchtime dish.

I hope that if, like me, you are a corned beef and cabbage novice, you find this post useful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Incredibly Wonderful Chocolate Cake by Jill Dupleix

Do you ever hear the name of a dish and that alone determines that you must make it?  I do from time to time, and when I heard about a Jill Dupleix cake recipe called "Incredibly Wonderful Chocolate Cake", I knew that I had to make it.  How could I not make something that is incredibly wonderful?

This contains 250g of dark chocolate, contributing to the incredible wonderfulness of this cake - I used dark chocolate Easter eggs.  It is like a huge American brownie - it is crispy on the outside and soft and fudgy on the inside, is smooth on the tongue and melts in the mouth.  Look at the texture:

It really is an incredibly wonderful cake.

Let me leave you with my favourite feedback on this cake, from a work colleague:

"Your cake tasted like Jesus himself hand made it.  It was amazing."
If that doesn't convince you to make it, I don't know what else will.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

FFWD - Cod and Spinach Roulades

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe did not sound good to me.  Cod and spinach roulades?  They sounded even worse when I realised we were making fish mousse sausages filled with spinach, onion and preserved lemon:

Scary little suckers, aren't they:

These actually didn't taste too bad in the end, but honestly, why would I waste good fish by processing it up with egg white and cream to make fish sausages, when unadulterated fish tastes so much better.

To see what the other Doristas thought of this dish, please visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How SEO Can Help Your Business Website

In 2013, your company most definitely utilizes the internet to gain exposure and imprint your brand on the public. Most of this visibility starts and finishes with powerhouse search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. When someone wants a product or needs information, they usually fire up the internet and simply go to one of these search engines. Due to the seeming monopolization of the web by these search engines, business leaders try and mold their online strategy around the algorithms that these engines use to prioritize search results.

Modern business leaders usually understand that search engine optimization (SEO) benefits them, but don’t know specifics. This article is meant to explain the basics of why a business benefits from SEO, and why it matters.

1.   Direct access to consumer.

When someone sits down at their computer and types in a certain search query, their goal is to find a specific piece of information or product. SEO helps the search engines understand what you have to offer so that they can pair what you have with the user’s search. This is a huge reason to make sure your website is advanced SEO-wise. Just as businesses want to lure potential clients and partners to their store front or conference room, you want people to visit your website. SEO helps keep the door wide open so that you have direct access to the consumer.

Basic: You want to welcome the customer that wants to find you. SEO helps clear the water in between you and interested people across the web.

2.   Usability.

Quality SEO makes your website more user-friendly. The design of your website should cater to the search engines while simultaneously providing a unique experience to the end user. When the metadataof your site provides an accurate representation of your surface content, everyone has a better experience. Search engines do not consider images or other graphics when helping decipher a page, and it’s important that your site makes sense on all levels. What you want to rank for needs to be included in your metadata, along with your visible content and links.

If your metadata is all about basketball but you have images and articles about soccer, the process is being compromised and your web presence will be diminished. Quality SEO includes making your website user friendly for both the search engines and the end user on the internet. In the end, these major search engines have the goal of making the internet more user friendly. Your part in the system is making your page an accurate representation of what you offer.

Basic: Your website needs to be user-friendly from both a search engine and user perspective. You want all parties to find your site for the right reasons. That’s the point of SEO. Having content that matches your keywords is a good place to start.

3.   Keyword visibility.

SEO can help your page show up for the search queries you want it to show up for. If you want to have a web presence that helps your business, you need to know exactly what keywords you want to rank for. For instance, a cruise ship company out of Florida might want to rank for “Caribbean cruise” or “cheap Caribbean cruise”. If you were running this website, you would want to have these keywords within your content and also as the anchor text of any backlinks involving your company on the web.
 It’s very difficult to rank high for keywords and it’s nearly impossible to rank for a popular one like “Caribbean cruise” without an understanding of exactly what you want to rank for. Take a look at your product or service, and focus your attention on what you would search for if you were trying to find your own site. Build your SEO strategy around those keywords and you should be rewarded with traffic and business.

Basic: Keywords are directly related to the traffic that visits your website. When people search for terms in your niche, you want to rank for the particular words they type in. Having people search for your targeted keywords, and also ranking for them, can spark a huge flow of traffic to your website and push your business over the edge.

SEO benefits your business by making your webpage more accurate. Search engine rankings are meant to make web navigation more straight forward and simple. SEO is meant to help you, the webmaster, express your products or services more accurately for the benefit of those who are interested.

Clay Christeson loves peanut butter and the World Wide Web. When he’s not scouring the internet for the latest news he writes for Local Splasha company that provides local SEO services.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SEO Tips for Your Site and What You Can Do about It

A Short Overview on SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it is widely known is a way to increase the number of visitors to a website by making its rank higher in search results and employing the right keywords on the sites content.

In a general and basic sense, SEO involves:

  • Bringing in prospects towards your site
  • Leading clients/customers to a detailed or step by step process of completing a transaction i.e. site navigation tools
  • Designing websites properly and attractively to entice customers/clients
  • Addressing some concerns that could be a contributing factor in customer satisfaction level
Search engine optimization strategies are substantial for websites that target good ranking. Online advertising agencies should have know-how on this to attain efficiency. By having a top ranking site, a company may benefit from the elevated traffic making their sites the top click of customers or clients searching for a service or information.
These are the things you should be asking yourself to guide you in your SEO quest:

  • Do you plan on doing your product or service’s advertising/marketing by yourself?
  • Do you plan to do it in a conventional or traditional manner? Online/offline? How?
When you have decided to do it online, then:

  • Plan. Think about the product/service you want to sell.
  • Figure out who needs the product/service
  • See what the search engines can recommend you when you search for them
  • Make a website. Get a domain and host.
  • Don’t forget to build links.
  • Consider marketing with banners and ads.
  • Make press releases for strategic and authoritative marketing.
  • Employ associations and backlinks.
  • Participate in forums or blogging.
  • Email productions. (No spam as much as possible. So be careful!)
  • Test your methods and assess your progress.
  • Innovate when possible.
Take note though that good online search engine ranking is not the only objective you should have, increasing traffic and conversions should not be forgotten because they bring in the bread and butter of an online business.

Avoid search engine penalties. Online entrepreneurs realize the significance of getting top internet search engine ratings and thus they usually perform many SEO activities on their own sites. Improper implementation of SEO could possibly get your website penalized by search engines like Google.

To prevent a site from being punished, avoid having hidden texts or hidden links on your webpages, do not use excessive automated queries to search engines, and avoid keyword stuffing.

Use appropriate keywords. Having the correct keywords will permit you to drive specific site visitors to your website. Therefore, this task determines whether your SEO effort can improve your business results or not.


SEO tactics are ideal in promoting and making your site “popular” in the eyes of search engines and in the eyes of people searching for a particular keyword.

SEO is vital for online marketing and advertising. If the processes are being done correctly, it can help attract many visitors to your site, it can enhance the ranking and furthermore, it can prove to be successful for your business.

This is a guest post brought to you by Andrew Hiddleston, internet entrepreneur and business coach. Find out more online marketing strategies at his video news blog http://www.leanmeanmarketing.com.

WWDH - Free-form Ratatouille Tart

This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay is Free-form Ratatouille Tart chosen by Margaret.

This comprises a shortcrust pastry filled with roasted veges (garlic, onion, eggplant, capsicum and tomato).

I couldn't be bothered making pastry, so I used frozen pastry, and instead of making the whole tart, I made two minis.  I haven't tried them yet as I already had dinner before I made them.

To see what Margaret, Kayte and Chaya thought of this tart, visit their websites.

Update:  I finally tried these tarts and found the filling to be absolutely scrumptious - I guess I should have known with all of those fabulous roasted veges!

Focus SEO on Conversions Not Keywords or Traffic

It should go without saying that web traffic is good and ranking highly for a coveted keyword is good. That’s like saying it’s smart to use a VPN service when traveling and using public Wi-Fi.

Still, there are other things to keep in mind when performing search engine optimization. For e-commerce sites, it’s good to remember that while traffic is great, conversions are king. Traffic is potential money, while conversions are actual money.

Consider Search Intent

When deciding what keywords to target in your SEO project, it is important to keep in mind the intent of people searching a particular keyword. For example “running shoes,” is a term that could be used by anyone looking up anything about running shoes. However, “buy running shoes,” or “good deals on running shoes,” are likely to be used by people who are ready to make a purchase.

Thus, those keywords should convert into sales at a higher rate. This should be the ultimate goal, and it needs to be discussed before any SEO project begins so that everyone is on the same page.

Far too often, the focus is solely on ranking on the first page or achieving the top ranking spot on Google. When business owners go into projects with these sorts of expectations they are not only hard to live up to for the SEO specialist but also detrimental to the bottom line of the business.

Of course, once the optimal keywords are being targeted, then the goal should be to achieve the highest ranking. However, ranking fifth on a keyword that converts at a higher rate than another keyword a site is in the top slot for could prove more profitable.

Monitor the Results

In order to find out what will be best for the bottom line, results have to be monitored and tracked by keyword. This should enable the SEO team to figure out what keywords are converting, what rate they are converting at and how much a conversion is worth. From here, some simple math will tell everyone which keywords are most profitable.


One final thought is to remember that SEO is an ongoing process. The conversion rates or value of keywords can change over time, as can the amount of competition. As such, it is important to always keep an eye on these factors and be prepared to make changes in strategy when necessary.

Melissa Tyler is a tech writer at VPN Ten – a place where you can read reviews about the best VPN providers. She is fond of sharing advice about online security, safety connections and VPN technology.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Enhancing the B2B and Social Media Relationship

The business-to-business (B2B) community and social media have a love/hate relationship. Successful businesses love social media, while struggling businesses hate social media. Why is there a disconnect in 2013? The reasons are clear. Businesses that aren’t benefitting from social media lack the time, expertise and money to invest in a solid social media marketing plan. There are challenges to creating one, but an effective plan benefits your business.

Solving business challenges and opportunities

There are several challenges associated with improving the relationship between social media and B2B. Generating awareness surrounding your campaign and driving traffic back to your business is the first step to improving a lasting relationship. Prior to lead generation, you must attract potential customers/clients. Attracting additional customers/clients at a higher rate involves finding out which social media channels you should focus your attention on. Social media marketing is more than just Facebook and Twitter.

A secondary challenge lies in how your business utilizes social media to target customers. Social media isn't the new kid on the block anymore. Social media is a staple of business. The solution to the challenge falls in the hands of how a company manages lead generation. Recognize the industry influences  follow up with potential leads and channel energy toward your target audience.

Reaching your Target Audience

target audience is your core customer and potential customer base. Reaching your target audience involves creating a transparent message. A business should discuss the intentions of the company while remaining true to company beliefs. Do not pretend to be something you are not, the social media world will know.

Commitment to social media

Social media relates to keeping the customer engaged while keeping conversations active. The industry is ever evolving, so remain relevant with the times. Commit to social media for the success of your business, not because the reset of the industry partakes in social media. Remaining abreast of the challenges and changes in the industry requires having the right team promote your position in the marketplace.

Experts on Your Side

The DIY philosophy of social media is outdated. Businesses succeed and fail based upon whom they have on their team. There are varying levels of expertise in the industry, including SEO professionals, online marketers and social media experts. You may find that you need one company for all of them, or different companies for each.

Creating an effective social media campaign requires a working knowledge of the landscape, task management and the ability to analyze the competition. A social media expert keeps your business abreast of the daily changes and challenges facing your business as well as the industry.

Getting a Head Start

Getting a head start in the social media games takes planning before jumping head first into a campaign. You need to read industry blogs and follow advice from industry experts. Engage and keep the conversation going on corporate and industry-related blogs. Afterward, focus your attention on your own social media space. 

Social media means more than just posts and tweets. Engaging in social media requires experts with the forethought to transform your strategy into a successful strategy. Convey your message with authority and above all else, capture your audience.

About the author: Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Midwest, and she enjoys following the business tech world. After furthering her education, she has spent some time researching her interests and blogging of her discoveries often.