Saturday, March 30, 2013
Summer has gone in Australia, and the last of the summer produce will slowly disappear from the shops. To linger over the taste of summer, I bought some rhubarb from the supermarket, with no clear idea of what I was going to make with it. I also serendipitously found some cheap strawberries at a fruit shop near work.
After thumbing through a couple of my recipe books, I decided to make a pie from p52 of Gesine Bullock-Prado's excellent Pie It Forward. I chose to make her Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Lattice Pie, but ended up with a few differences, both deliberate and accidental.
First, I noticed that the crumble recipe had as much butter in it as the pie dough itself - this sounded way too naughty for me, so I decided to leave out the crumble.
I made enough dough for a double pie crust, as intended, but made a mistake in deciding to test my new lattice pie crust docker on the pie crust without practising first. I ended up with a holey top pie crust (in all the wrong places) which I had to bin because it had fruit juices all over it and could not be re-rolled. Enter plan B - the Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. I used Gesine's pie crust recipe and strawberry-rhubarb filling, but with no crumble and no top crust.
The result was excellent - the filling set up perfectly, and the crust was delicous. This galette got a good wrap at work, with one person guiltily admitting to eating two pieces, and another pronouncing it to be my best yet. I'd say that was a success!
Friday, March 29, 2013
Last Friday, 22 March, our work hosted A Taste of Harmony morning tea, an event which celebrates diversity in Australian workplaces by encouraging colleagues to share food and stories from different cultural backgrounds.
As most of my colleagues are Australian, I decided to delve back into my ancestry and make a German treat. I chose Quick Plum Cake from p58 of Dr Oetker's German Baking Today. This cake comprises a light cakey bottom topped with plum halves, with a crumble on top. It went down a treat, and all of it was gone bar one slice by the time that I made it to the morning tea. I tasted a sliver off that slice and saved the rest for one of my friends.
It is a rather handsome cake and is easy to make. I used tinned plums instead of fresh plums, and I don't think that this was detrimental to the finished product.
To make this cake, you will need:
800g plums (fresh or tinned)
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
grated zest of 1 lemon
125g butter or margarine
150g plain flour
1 pinch ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a 26cm springform pan.
For the cake, sift together the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer, add all the other ingredients, then mix together on a low setting to just combine the ingredients before mixing thoroughly on high for 2 minutes or until the batter is smooth. Spread the batter over the base of the prepared springform pan.
Halve and stone the plums, and arrange on top of the cake batter, cut side up, so that the plums overlap.
For the crumble, sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then stir through the cinnamon, sugar and zest. Rub in the butter until the mixture hasd a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle the crumble over the top of the plums.
Place the cake into the preheated oven and bake for aorund 50 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove the cake from the oven, unclip the ring from the springform pan, and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
Serve with icecream, cream or yoghurt, or eat generous slices just as they are.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
It is Good Friday, and it is also French Friday with Dorie. I am home with my family for a visit, which is nice and relaxing after a crazy few weeks.
This week's FFwD recipe is Steamed Lemon Spinach - I made this at the start of the month to go with the Chicken Diable, and it is really easy and really good. I feel deprived if I don't get greens with my meal these days - as a child I couldn't abide them!
I also caught up on the Orange Scented Green Lentil Soup:
I didn't mind this soup, although I did find the orange flavour rather strong (from orange peel that is boiled up and pureed with the other ingredients. I didn't strain the soup - I like the "chunky" consistency.
To see what the other Doristas thought of this week's recipe, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.
Enjoy your hot cross buns and fish and some quality time with your nearest and dearest this Easter. Ciao!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
LinkedIn is becoming on the most important social media tools out there if you want to stay connected to potential employers. More employers are reviewing LinkedIn profiles for all job applicants. In addition, if job seekers can use LinkedIn to find potential employment. But, if you are wondering why more potential employers are not clicking on your LinkedIn profile, you may need to employ certain strategies to increase your exposure.
The first strategy you should do is to update your LinkedIn profile consistently. Updating your profile does one of two things: it strengthens your resume by highlighting more skills and it makes your profile appear in searches. The more you update your LinkedIn profile, the more your profile is not only seen as active, but also updates make your profile appear in recent searches. Say you add SEO as a skill. When employer searches for workers who are experienced in SEO, your profile will appear near the top because of this update. Try to update consistently until you reach the max amount of updates per section.
The second strategy you could employ is to carefully select your skills. Having unique keywords in skills or expertise narrows how people will search for you. For example, if you live in Illinois and are an accountant, you could have a skill keyword like “Illinois accountancy”. Not many people will have “Illinois accountancy”, making you one of few people in a pool of workers an employer could be looking for. This also follows with the job titles you have in your work experience. Obviously, you cannot lie, but instead of saying “accountant at company X”, you could say “Illinois accountant at company x”.
A third strategy that can connect you more people and potential employers is to get endorsements. Former employers, co-workers, and friends can endorse skills you listed on LinkedIn. When a person endorses a skill you hold, this adds to your exposure. For example, other LinkedIn users who are connected to your former employers, co-workers, or friends will see they endorsed you on a skill. This can make these viewers click on your profile to find out more about you.
A fourth strategy is to increase your potential connections, thereby exposing yourself to more people. You could import all your professional contacts into your LinkedIn profile, allowing many people you worked with the chance to connect with you. Join professional groups on LinkedIn and interact on the groups. This allows you to meet, interact, and connect with new people.
Another useful strategy is to edit the URL for your LinkedIn profile. This is a helpful technique if you are a professional expert in a field. Your URL could have your name, but it can also have “licensed Illinois accountant”. This allows search engines to pick up your LinkedIn profile if an employer wants to find a licensed accountant in Illinois.
Once you feel your LinkedIn profile is crafted correctly, you still need to network it properly for better exposure. One strategy is to badge your LinkedIn profile with other accounts you have. If you have a personal blog or other social accounts, like Facebook, you should add your LinkedIn link to those accounts so visitors of your blog, personal website, or social media accounts can connect to your LinkedIn profile.
Finally, if you want to utilize all the resources LinkedIn has to offer, you can consider paying for a full account. A full LinkedIn account allows you to contact recruiters or executives of companies who might not have contact information available if you have the free LinkedIn account. The full service LinkedIn account does cost money per month, but it could be one the best ways to connect yourself to other people and increase your exposure.
Nisha represents a site called Monetise.co.uk. she enjoys writing about business and indulges in the internet marketing world.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
It is a tough world for webmasters. First, you must rank on the first page of search engine results. Next, you have to climb as far up as possible on the page. And even then you are not assured of the traffic you are looking for! This happens because people may decide not to click on your link. Fortunately, the behavior is explainable, and correctable. Read on to find out how to get better CTR from your search rankings.
Two major factors come to mind that can get your link clicked: an exact query match, and an interesting description. A combination of the two is, of course, always a winner.
Think of meta descriptions as article headlines or teasers. If someone is searching for 'seven day course to lose weight', and if you have targeted the exact same keyphrase, you are likely to draw attention if you have secured a leading place in the SERP. However, others may have done it too, and the meta descriptions now make or break your CTR.
Consider the following: 'Lose no less than 7 pounds of fat in 7 days by eating these three common foods found in every kitchen. Plus a bonus secret food that turns your breakfast into the ultimate fat melting event of your day, every day!' This is not a lie, and adding yogurt to your breakfast can actually speed up fat burning. However, even though 'We will tell you how to eat properly and what foods will help you get rid of fat. You will also find out about a specific food that can make your breakfast healthier', says much the same thing, it sounds insipid and somewhat preachy. Agreed, these are not the best or worst meta descriptions in the world, but you probably get the idea.
Use rel="author" and Schema Markups for Rich Snippets
If you are not using the rel="author" tag to put your portrait on SERP, you are losing out big time. Not just your face, you could use any image that can promote your brand. In addition, it is possible to add laser focused terminology to the description that is shown below your site title, and display any ratings you may have received in the form of stars.
To understand how to use rel="author", read all about it on Google, or, if you are running a Wordpress blog, use the free Yoast plug in by Joost de Valk. Visit Schema.org to find out about the markups that should have revolutionized the way search listings appear if only more people were paying attention. And since they are not, you can seize the opportunity to stand out. The markups will decipher your content to the search engines who see no practically no difference between a phone number and the figures that describe your annual turnover. With the markups in place, you can target the exact keyphrases and have them appear on your site description.
Aim for Sitelinks
Sitelinks are the 'sub-links' that appear below your main site listing. Each has its own description, and certainly, a result with Sitelinks stands out. Getting Sitelinks is easier said than done because Google (secretly) decides who gets the privilege. However, we can make intelligent guesses about how to maximize our chances.
Perform a complete site audit and do the needful with relation to submission of your website to Google. Follow the best practices especially regarding site structure as dictated by Google Webmaster Tools guidelines. Update your site map as and when you update your site. Make certain that all information your site contains is categorized scrupulously to ensure maximum ease of navigation. Make sure also that categories do not overlap unnecessarily, but do create deep links.
If you look at the typical Sitelinks, you will find that for the company Red Box, the sub-links will show things like 'small red box', 'big red box' 'rectangular red box', 'circular red box', red boxes for children' and so on. Clearly, the more organized you are with your information and page titles, the better chance you have at getting Sitelinks.
All of the three steps above show you how to get better CTR from your search rankings. You may be tempted to dismiss the last measure since it appears to be too much of a long shot, but hardly anything impressive was ever built in a day. If you persist, and remain attentive to the analytics that Google provides for free, you should soon notice a significant improvement in CTR. The best news is that you only have to do the hard work once, and then perform minor tweaks later as and when required.
Jason Smith is an online manager for Inbound Marketing Company. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.
Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!
The challenge required us to bake a sweet cake, biscuit or confectionery of our choice with a “hidden” vegetable ingredient. I chose Karen Martini's zucchini, coconut and macadamia muffins from The Age Good Food (p9) on 5 March 2013. You can find the recipe online here. I skipped the xanthan gum and the frosting:
These muffins were soft, not overly sweet but still pleasant, and the macadamias gave a nice crunch. You can see the zucchini in mine, but if you wanted to shred the zucchini really finely, I am sure that it would "disappear".
Thanks to this month's host, Ruth. To see what the other Daring Bakers made, visit the slideshow at the Daring Kitchen website.
This week, for Wednesday with Donna Hay, Kayte chose Asparagus Tarts from Modern Classics Book I.
These tarts are as simple as can be - take a rectangle of puff pastry, top with trimmed asparagus and grated parmesan cheese, bake for 25 minutes or so and et voila - tarts!
These were easy and tasty - and perfect for Easter. Check out what Kayte and Margaret thought of these tarts at their websites.
If you have been using Google+ and always updating and interacting through it, you probably have heard something about Author Rank. Considering that Google is in a constant motion to deal a deathly blow to spammy content, Author Rank is expected to be the next big thing in terms of ranking.
Background on Author Rank
As early as 2005, a patent was filed by Google on what was called Agent Rank. In the patent, Google described how a number of parameters were to be used in ascertaining the position of an agent in a specific niche. They included the popularity of an agent and his authority on a specific subject. Until recently, search results and popularity has been determined by algorithm, which considers different factors including links to other high quality web pages. Obviously, Google has been on a constant search for high quality web pages that meets the needs of searchers.
Google did not have substantial qualitative data that justified social interactions as a factor in direct ranking. However, in 2011, a solution presented itself after Google plus was launched. They now had a platform that could be used to activate Agent Rank, which is today known as Author Rank.
Metrics impacting Author Rank
The simple fact about Author Rank is identifying individuals, the knowledge they have about certain subjects and how others react to the content they have published. Since Google has access to a lot of data, there are a number of metrics Google has deemed to impact Author Rank. These include engagements on Google plus, connections with other authors, comments, number of Google plus circles, authority on various social platforms, external engagement, shares and plus-likes. Others include various authority signals such as mentions through news resources, citations and articles among others, inbound links and the page rank of specific articles.
While these metrics are not anything most have not heard about, the huge difference is the tying of all these metrics of Author Rank to a specific author providing the content, not just the website hosting the content.
When Author Rank will officially roll out is not actually known but when it does, for many it will be too late. Obviously, it is not going to affect site traffic in the manner that Panda did but the impact will be definitely big. The rollout will certainly not be a penalty by Google's algorithm but websites preparing for it and building this rank for their website contributors will benefit a lot. The rollout will be a penalty in a way for brands and sites that are not preparing for it. The truth is it will take some time before Google is convinced Author Rank can be relied on. It could take years or a few days but since no one really knows, the idea is to begin working on Author Rank with immediate effect.
How to start building Author Rank
You should begin by setting up Google Authorship apart from having a rich snippet for search results. Once this has been set up, Google will know exactly how to calculate or assign you the first ever Author Rank by tying the online identity you have and content you have created.
Do not forget after setting up Google Authorship to track all the killer/quality content you have created across the web and make sure the rich-snippet markup has been corrected. There are tools that test rich snippets that can help in this. Otherwise, you will risk your killer content not being factored in your assigned Author Rank.
Start or continue writing great content
For those working on building a formidable Author Rank, it is not something hard. Any career SEO has a vested interest in having killer content out there, or they desire to do so. This can be done by creating content that shows your expertise, improves your reputation while demonstrating value on a specific field. Do not forget to help others in search engine optimizing by sharing knowledge. Always remember to create the kind of content compelling others to share it; the content audience want to know about and resources important to them.
Focus on a particular topic
With Author Rank, it will be possible to earn more than one rank in different topics as compared to Page Rank. Simply determine what you are passionate about, write all the content you can within that specific area. You might want to write on different topics but the Author Rank will definitely not be strong if you write on many topics as compared to just one.
Constant use of Google+
Those who do not like Google plus will definitely have a big problem; Google is bound to make the most of your circles to come up with an Author Rank. Make sure people are compelled to begin following you. You can make the most of Google plus by updating it a couple of times a day by checking on +1, global and personal feed to find stories that interest you.
Do not forget to befriend or follow as many great authors as much as possible on the Author Rank order and have them encircling you. Apart from following them, put as much content as possible that you have written before them.
Jason Smith is an online manager for SEO company. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.
Monday, March 25, 2013
This year, for the first time in 5 years, I made marshmallow bunnies for Easter gifts. I always find making these a little nerve racking because there are so many variables that can go wrong, but everything seemed to work out in the wash - the bunnies set, they didn't have crazy gelatine tops on them, nor did they have crunchy bottoms. I was very pleased with them.
The recipe for these bunnies is here. I made four medium bunnies and 12 little ones from the mixture. I added vanilla flavouring, but left the bunnies white.
The bunnies don't look like much until you paint on the detail with liquid food colouring, so do not skip that step. Also, make sure that you roll each bunny in dessicated coconut once painted to stop it from sticking to everything.
These bunnies are a fun Easter treat to make for the young or young at heart. They also use minimal ingredients, so are cheap to make.
What traditional treats do you make at Easter?
Sunday, March 24, 2013
As an online marketing and public relations tool nothing can beat Facebook. Started out as a social networking platform, the site today boasts of millions of users. Any message on Facebook goes viral in a few minutes. Here are some easy tips on how to use Facebook as an online marketing tool for your products and services:
# 1: Highlight your profile: Being proactive automatically optimizes your profile for search engines. Your presence on the Internet can be made more prominent with the help of your Facebook profile by:
- Posting messages on your wall every day with something interesting and thought-provoking.
- Checking statuses, comments, likes and sharing of friends and add your comments.
- Adding photo albums and videos as often as you can, including those of workshops, seminars, conferences that you have attended and/or organized.
- Keeping tagging your friends and fans in photos.
- Adding interesting photos of your vacations to add a sense of fun to your profile.
# 2: Use Fan Pages: Facebook provides Fan Pages specifically designed to highlight products, brands, business organizations, services and to promote celebrities. With this page you to invite public to become a fan follower and ask them to share images, videos, comments, discussions and status updates with their friend. The constant activity helps to optimize your profile for search engines.
# 3: Publicize an event: Facebook is a great public platform to announce an event like a seminar, conference or workshop that you are organizing. Just set your profile to “public” and the whole world will know what you are planning. Announce the topic of the event and invite suggestions/comments from your network.
# 4: Form a group: Use our Facebook profile to form a group. Mention the purpose of the group and if it is business-profit oriented, you will be surprised at the volume of response. This will help to create brand value and build the credibility of the company. Once the group is established, you can then communicate directly by sending messages into their Inbox.
# 5: Use targeted landing pages: Let’s say you are dealing in apparel for teenagers and adults. The two age groups will prefer different styles and brands. When a teenager is looking for jeans and tank top, the landing page must be more specific to the searcher’s needs. Having to scroll through irrelevant options is tedious. People looking for XXL garments should not have to wade through funky leather jackets before finding what they really want.
# 6: Use Facebook Marketplace: This is an app that facilitates people and businesses list out products and services for sale. The Marketplace app shows the most recent listings as part of your status update and not as a separate list that viewers may overlook. Your friends will see the items as a newsfeed. Now they can share the information with their own network of friends creating an exponential effect.
# 7: Reward fans: When you have fans who are regularly clicking like and share options against your status updates, images and videos, they are spreading your brand name across the global marketplace. Announce reward points with a cut off, at which stage you can offer freebies and discounts. This is a marketing strategy that actually works.
# 8: Announce a contest: Using Facebook to announce a contest with a prize for the winner will generate a lot of interest. Make the content interesting and challenging enough so that more people share the news. It will also encourage people to share the news with their friends, friends-of-friends, and so on…
Once these measures are implemented, you will find that Facebook is the most powerful online marketing tool. It is known to drive inbound traffic to a website and increase the conversion rate.
Tanya Hansen, a freelance writer for Homesecurityreviewsite.com – offers full home security to help protect your family, assets from burglary and other crimes. Home Security Companies
Saturday, March 23, 2013
On Friday night, I went with my friends C and V to Moonee Valley racecourse to watch Black Caviar, an Australian racehorse, run in the William Reid Stakes. This race was special because if Black Caviar won, it would be her 24th straight win.
There was around 20,000 people at the racecourse to watch Black Caviar, and it caused some tension (me included) as people jostled for space to catch a glimpse of the racecourse for Black Caviar's race. Here is Black Caviar in full flight, as seen on the big screen from the top of the public grandstand:
Many people were dressed in Black Caviar's salmon with black spots, and the anticipation would have unnerved a human being. However, luckily for Black Caviar, she did not understand a word of the hype that was being built up around her, and she romped comfortably to her 24th straight win, in her last race on Victorian soil. Good luck to you Black Caviar - you are a magnificent mare.
Wednesday last week was my last Pilates class with my instructor of almost 3 years, Emilia. She is off to have her first baby. To wish Emilia farewell, I baked her these sunflower cupcakes:
The base cakes were the Old-Fashioned Cupcakes from the Back in the Day Bakery Cook Book. You can also find the recipe online here. The recipe is unusual because the flour is added at the start and beaten with the butter. These cupcakes were quick and easy to make, but these won't be replacing my favourite recipe, as I found them to be just a tad drier than my usual recipe.
Instead of using buttercream, I iced the cupcakes with white chocolate ganache, then placed fondant (coloured yellow using gel colour) sunflowers on top (stuck on with apricot jam syrup) and black cachous, similar to the one I made at CW Cakes.
I gave the best half a dozen out of the nine cupcakes that I made to Emilia, and shared the rest with a couple of work buddies.
Everyone enjoyed eating these cupcakes, and my Pilates class was impressed - although these cupcakes were super easy to make.
Best wishes to Emilia and her husband on the pending birth of their bub.
Browser Size from Google Labs is quite an eye-opening tool. It tells you quite visually what percentage of your traffic is seeing a chopped-off version of your web page.
The first impression your website makes is how much of it can be seen in the visible area of a browser. Before the user decides to click, or even scroll anything, he will be looking at your website through a narrow lens. It’s in your best interest to optimize your content to look fantastic even when the window is small. Often overlooked, the way your webpage fits into your visitors’ viewport needs to be optimized to showcase all your best content.
Note that viewport size isn’t simply just a function of mobile vs. web. People have different screen sizes for their computers, from 11 inch or smaller laptops to 32 inch or more monitors. Also, many many users do not keep their browsers maximized; they resize the browser into all different shapes and sizes. Yet, for all of these different types of visitors, we want to make a great impression by keeping our most compelling content “above the fold.”
This snapshot illustrates how Browser Size can help a website:
I typed in a URL at the top (from my site), realtweeter.com/tweeters , and it loaded my page against a colorful graph-looking overlay. The numbers at the top edge and left edge represent pixel rulers, so you can judge different browser viewport sizes. The lines and percentages are Google’s reporting of what percentage of web traffic have a viewport at least as large as the line denotes. So for example, Bruno Mars can be seen by 99% of all visitors, because 99% of all visitors are using a browser viewport at least that size.
The tool has done its job, now it’s up to our own judgment as to what to make of the results. I’ve adopted 80% as my minimum critera. That is, if 80% of traffic can see what I want them to see, then the page is acceptable. This is not the case with this page. I do want users to see the page number links (prev, next, 1, 2, 3, etc.) to show that I provide thousands of tweeters, not just twelve. This navigation bar is below the 80% viewport range, so I have some work to do. Also, Browser Size is telling me that I should relocate my left sidebar to the right side of the page. It is pushing content on the right had side off of the viewport needlessly. Only 90% of people can see Kim Kardashian’s face; I would like even more visitors to be able to see my best content.
You can access Browser Size from your Google Analytics account. Under My Stuff, open Content and select In-Page Analytics. A button on the right hand side (labeled Browser Size) will bring up an integrated interface to the Browser Size functionality. It is also available simply at browsersize.googlelabs.com as of this writing, but Google warns it will be sunsetted in the future in deference to the version integrated into Google Anayltics.
Considering how your site looks through a variety of viewport sizes can be illuminating. You may be trying to raise user engagement, CTRs and the like through more straightforward methods. Considering viewport size lets you tap into the less unquantifiable aspects of UX to improve your site.
Philip Stylianos is the VP of Product at Real Tweeter, a social media aggregation site that displays Twitter data in an interesting way, including top tweets updated hourly and the real screen names of celebrities on Twitter.
Friday, March 22, 2013
If you have a site, you are always keen to know how it is faring in the search engine rankings. Everybody wants their site to be in the top one or two pages of Google or any of the other search engines and are doing everything they can to improve the SEO of their site.
While there are many ways to find out the performance of your site and how many hits it is receiving, webmasters find it a problem when there is a search update from Google.
This is how people identify the changes in the traffic.
Now tools like Google Analytics do help you check out your site stats quite accurately as long as things are constant and there is no great change in the manner search engines evaluate or rank sites.
But with Google SEO Updates becoming so common and dynamic, webmasters are unable to comprehend the net impact of these updates on the ranking of their sites.
They are also puzzled with the ever changing position of their sites on the search engines and are unsure about what is causing it – is their site getting lesser traffic organically or is it due to the impact of one of the latest Google update like Google Panda or Penguin?
Conversely, if there is no major change in site stats, webmasters cannot afford to be complacent and think that there have been no changes in the manner Google or other search engines now rank sites.
So what is the solution?
Mozcast.com is one solution that can really help webmasters tackle this problem. This site has been conceived and developed to help webmasters know about the various Google search updates and how it impacts the SERPS.
This site has been the brainchild of top SEO experts who are fully aware of the working of Google and therefore know the issues faced by webmasters. They have put in their expertise and years of experience in coming out with this site and are confident it would provide the required information to webmasters on a timely basis.
Essentially, they have relied on randomized collection of data as factors to determine the impact of Google SEO updates.
The collection of this data revolves around taking random keywords, local searches for those keywords, regional searches and hits at other data servers for those keywords to identify any possible impact on that site over time.
Taking the top 10 results of the keywords from the data collected, they have attempted to give the data a particular identity and have represented it like the temperature degree in terms of intensity and impact. A fixed multiplier factor of -28 has been used to compute and represent the final figure.
Analyzing the data of a site over a period of 30 days or even a week would throw up that figure. If it is 70, then the interpretation is that there has been no update, whereas if that figure is on the lower or higher side, then it means there has been an impact due to some Google search update.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
This week, our French Fridays with Dorie project was the Ispahan Loaf Cake that was longed for by many. This cake, inspired by a Pierre Herme creation, is a rose flavoured almond flour cake with a secret stash of raspberries hidden in the cake batter. It is a lovely moist cake, and the rose flavour is not at all overwhelming.
I found this cake easy enough to make, although for some reason it stuck to the base of the tin - I just stuck the torn part back on and disguised it with a simple glace icing.
This cake was really good, although it did not elicit any enquiries for the recipe.
To see what the other Dorie bakers thought of this cake, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.
The unparalleled growth in popularity and interest in social sites like Facebook and Twitter saw an initial clamour from organisations of all sizes to adopt social media marketing. A consequence of this was a series of out of touch corporate organisations attempting to force their brand messages on to consumers in an environment they were wholly inexperienced and unprepared for. Learning from those mistakes the majority of brands are now highly social media savvy and able to interact smoothly with consumers.
Being a casual consumer led environment, users are often wary of corporate brands intent on mere self-promotion rather than adhering to the values of the site itself.
It is a fine line for corporations to balance the need to advertise with the need to interact and getting the balance wrong will seriously damage their consumer PRefforts.
Take a look at the following guide to dos and don’ts on social media and you will make sure your brand doesn’t run the risk of losing followers or fans online.
Do Ensure Every Post is Meaningful
The quickest way to lose followers or “likes” is posting bland and meaningless updates. Why should anyone follow or read about an organisation that offers nothing of value? Give customers a reason to engage and interact with you by offering them something worth interacting with. This is part of the reason behind the explosion in popularity of infographics. Share something valuable (or link to someone else’s) and avoid at all costs mundane and generic posts asking people how their weekend went, their thoughts on last night’s Eastenders or complaints about Monday mornings.
Don’t Spam Newsfeeds with Constant Updates
This is a well-known problem and one which infuriates users. It’s great if you are producing worthwhile content and engaging with customers regularly. Just make sure it is not too regularly. Twitter and Facebook vary in regards to what constitutes spamming but be aware that relentless posting will not boost engagement and most likely turn people off from your brand. There is no need to update your Facebook page more than once a day – you will still be able to pick up fans and followers readily.
Do Write Your Own Content
Consumers will follow or like your company because they are interested in what news you have to say or what thoughts you have to share. If all you do is share other people’s content than you are offering little of value in and of yourself. Consumers will simply follow your links or get the same information directly from the source, negating the need to visit or engage with your site. Write your own content, seeing it as an opportunity to showcase your own skills and expertise to a wider audience.
Don’t Just Advertise
If there is one thing consumers dislike most about brands and social media it is shameless advertising. By all means share achievements and success with your audience. Outline why you are the leaders in your industry and what you do better than anyone else. But you must substantiate this with genuine information and data lest it be pegged as meaningless corporate advertising.
Do Be a Human
One advantage social media gives corporations is the opportunity to humanise their organisation. A major gripe with consumers is trying to interact with a faceless corporation out of touch with the common man. Social media is a way of reaching out to the public and showcasing the human side of the company on a personal level. Engage directly with consumers on a person to person basis, having your staff answer consumer queries personally.
Don’t Use Automated Programs
As a consequence of your attempts to appear real and genuine, avoid the use of automated response programs. These tools automatically send a generic message to any new followers thanking them and often attempting to proposition them a client. This does nothing but antagonise new visitors and will damage your attempt to gain new leads.
Ross Moffat is a PR and Marketing enthusiast and freelance writer for PR Consultancy Beattie Communications, who has been writing professionally for over 2 years.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
As a part of this spring-cleaning, Google has decided to burn down it’s not so popular Google Reader. Google is bringing it down on July 1st. It started of as a feed parser, which turned into feed reader. It was launched as a Google Lab project in 2005. Later it was integrated with iGoogle along with added social features. In 2011, Google fired its social features and started all social features under a separate with as Google +1. After this, a lot of people lost interest in feeds and browsers dropped support for reading feeds.
Why is it good to dismantle Google Reader?
Although it is good to have immediate access to all latest information as soon as it is made available to readers, but not all websites support RSS feeds. So, it is not possible to subscribe to all your favorite websites. Another problem is that a lot of feeds are updated frequently, and not all of them are of your interest. Therefore, it takes time to sort feeds that are of your interest from this large pool of data. A lot of feeds on Google Reader do not display images. Although its not an important part, but images help to locate something interesting faster and attracts you to read on.
Best alternatives for Google Reader
There is no consolation for Google Reader admirers, but fortunately there are enough handsome alternatives, which you will enjoy using.
It is a free RSS reader, which combines organizational qualities of Google’s software along with magazine-style design. Feeds are easily added and organized and the Today tab makes it easy to scroll latest feeds of the day. It is available as an extension of Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and other mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Pulse is another friendly reader with free iOS and Android apps. Pulse updates feed in tile format where stores appear as a series of clickable photo tiles. You can click on each link to read further. In full-view mode, you can tap the next or previous arrow to read the next story. There are Facebook and Twitter fast share buttons to share feeds quickly. While registering for the first time, you can choose to follow specific subjects such as technology or sport.
It is social magazine for Android and iOS with gorgeous design making it look like a digital magazine. In addition to RSS feeds, you can add Twitter and Facebook feeds to make it more dynamic and visually appealing. The only drawback of Flipboard is that it is only for mobile.
Though Twitter is not an RSS reader, but social network is another alternative to keep up with the latest news. You can create separate lists based on topics and add accounts that you like to follow. It is the best way to separate feeds of your interest from the rest. You can use Twitter on any platform (desktop, tablets or smartphones).
For Wednesdays with Donna Hay this week, Margaret chose Brown Butter Sage Fettucine. This dish is comprised of fettucine with a browned butter and crispy sage sauce.
I added pan fried chorizo sausage to make this a complete meal, and I am glad I did, as it added some oomph to the flavour.
This is a simple, quick dish if you are on the run and don't have many ingredients in the house.
To see what Margaret, Kayte and Chaya thought of this dish, please visit their websites on Wednesday their time.
You type few words on the search box; that’s where everything begins! In Search Marketing, keyword research plays a very vital role. Correct ranking of the right keyword can make our website. If not, it will break your website. Learning SEO tricks will not work for you if you do not understand your customer. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many visitors visited your site, the right visitor is all your website needs. With the help of keyword research, you get a better understanding of the shift of demand. Based on this, you can respond to the changing market and produce your product or service accordingly.
Judging the Value of Keywords
How worthy is a keyword to your website? Suppose you own an online apparel store. Now, you need to generalize whether you make more sales when visitors search for “red dress” or “black dress”. Keywords that visitor types on the search bar are available to webmaster. Keyword research tools allow you to find details about these keywords. Though these tools do not give straightaway synopsis of how valuable a particular keyword is, but helps you to understand keywords better. You can conduct tests to understand the value of a particular keyword on your website.
Understand Long Tail of Keyword Demand
It’s great to deal with keywords that has over 5,000 searches in a day, or may be 1,000 or 500. But in reality, if you combine these popular searches, it forms up to 30% (approx) of the searches performed online. Rest 70% depends on long tail of search. Long tail consists of the millions of unique searches conducted few times in a day. When you combine it, it forms the majority of demand for information in the world, through search engines. These long tail keywords convert better. A person looking for red dress might be only interested in browsing, but not buying. However, someone searching for Calvin Klein Red Wool Pleated Trench Coat size 10 will probably be interested to buy it.
There are several research sources, which you can use to gain knowledge about keyword referrals and keyword demands. Some of these research resources are:
- Ø Google Adword’s Keyword Tool
- Ø Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction
- Ø Google Insight for Search
- Ø Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand
- Ø Microsoft Advertising Intelligence
SEO is a complicated undertaking and a lot of other things are considered in full optimization, but the basic keyword-related tasks are the main focus of Search Engine Optimization.