Archive for the ‘Blog’ category

Why You Need a Blog NOW (and 8 essential tips to keep it growing)

September 23rd, 2013

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You’ve heard it before, you’ve thought it over, or maybe it’s on your to-do list: you need a blog.

Especially if you have a business, blogging is one of the best (and affordable!) ways to brand yourself, build an online reputation, network, and attract an audience. By constantly creating new and compelling content, you can increase the number of visitors to your company site and drive your website traffic up. Even more, once your blog picks up speed, it’s a great way to connect and have an open dialog with customers and business contacts.

But despite all of these advantages to having a blog, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to have success. We’ve written a list of essential tips to start a blog and keep it flourishing.

1) Start Small

While it can be tempting to imagine yourself at the helm of the next Mashable or Buzzfeed, constantly spitting out nuggets of quotable wisdom,  it’s often difficult to find time to even write a single post. Start with small, manageable goals that you can realistically meet. For example, aim for one blog entry a week and stick to that consistently. The key is to routinely add new content so that writing becomes a habit, and readers trust that they can come back to find updated content.

2) Make posts “skimmable”

Readers often scan a blog article first before they commit to reading the entire post. Long paragraphs and small type can be intimidating and frustrating to read. Consider using lists, spacing, bullet points, and clear sub-titles to invite your reader.

3) Write for your readers

Just like that loudmouth at the party who continually spouts off abut themselves or provides unwanted lectures, people will tune out if you provide irrelevant or useless content. While it’s important to be passionate about what you’re writing about, don’t blog just to have your voice heard. Think about what your customers need and want to read about. Consider looking through popular blogs to find what’s missing from the blogosphere, or mine your comments and customer feedback for ideas. Above all, DON’T write for search engines – it is much more valuable for your readers to share your content and come back for more.

4) Include images

Visuals can help demonstrate a point, add flavour to your post, and make your article easier to digest. You can check out our blog post for some great places to find free and premium stock images.

5) Be engaged in the conversation

One of the unique aspects of blogging as opposed to other marketing tactics is the ability to personally connect with your audience. Blogging is a communication medium – take advantage of it!

6) Share

If you have Facebook, Twitter, Digg it, or other social media accounts, don’t be afraid to include a link to your newly written blog! Similarly, include social media sharing buttons on your blog so that your visitors can help you spread your content. Consider adding floating buttons alongside your article, or check out ClickToTweet where you can easily let readers retweet a line or two!

7) Start or seek out blog carnivals

Yes, these exist! A blog carnival is a collection of blogs that have been compiled on a certain subject. This is a great way to promote your blog and get informed about similar bloggers.

8) Guest post

Once you’ve built up a reasonable collection of articles, you can establish yourself as an “expert” by posting for other blogs. This can expose you to a new audience and build your credibility.

Conclusion

For business owners, blogging is one of the most effective ways market yourself, draw an audience, and maintain relevancy. While starting and maintaining a blog can seem daunting, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. The key is to remember to keep realistic goals and aim to provide useful content for your readers. We’ll be compiling a list of blog topic suggestions for whenever you get stuck for an idea, so stay tuned!

WordPress 3.6.1: Maintenance and Security Release

September 11th, 2013

WordPress has recently released its latest update: WordPress 3.6.1 version. This is a security release for all previous versions. According to WordPress.org, the security fixes include:

  • Block unsafe PHP unserialization that could occur in limited situations and setups, which can lead to remote code execution.
  • Prevent a user with an Author role, using a specially crafted request, from being able to create a post “written by” another user.
  • Fix insufficient input validation that could result in redirecting or leading a user to another website.

To update, log in to your WordPress dashboard and the update button is listed on top of the browser. To learn more about the update, please read this blog post from WordPress.org

Content Theft – What Can You Do?

May 3rd, 2013

In simple terms, content theft refers to the stealing or unauthorized usage of web content (both graphics and text) by another website. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? Certainly not in the case of content theft. Most content thieves steal content simply to fill space on their websites and attract traffic (think Google AdSense).

Content theft also damages your standings in search engines. Search engine consider duplicate content on multiple web sites spamming, which can result in a drop in placement on search listings or elimination from the search engine altogether.

To catch the thief

There are many tools available on the Internet that you can use to catch a content thief:

1. Google Alerts – Google Alerts are email reports of the latest relevant Google search results (including news, web, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. You can setup an alert for your blog name or a unique phrase from your website.

2. Copyscape – Copyscape is a search engine to locate duplicated materials on the Internet. All you need to do is provide your URL and Copyscape will check whether text content found on the provided URL appears anywhere else on the Internet.

If you find a thief:

Once you have found a content thief, your next step is to preserve the evidence you have found. Often infringing sites are either altered or taken down once you attempt to contact the site owner, host or search engines, having a copy of the site for your records and to verify the infringing content will come in handy in case a dispute arises later.

As there are tools to help you catch the thief, there are tools to help you preserve evidence:

1. WebCite – WebCite is a service that archives web pages on demand and stores them in simple URL that you can easily access later without worrying whether the original web page is revised or removed.

2. Furl – Furl is a free social bookmarking website that allows members to store searchable copies of webpages and share them with others.

3. The Internet Archive – The Internet Archive preserve websites by taking regular “snapshots”.

Cease and Desist Letter:

Once you have caught the thief and preserved the evidence, your next step is to try and resolve the situation – contact the thief with a Cease and Desist Order.

A Cease and Desist Order is simply a “stop, or else face legal action” order. While a cease and desist letter can be sent by anyone, they are best written by lawyers.

Resources:

You can use Whois to find the site owner contact information.

Contact Host, Advertisers and Search Engine

A domain’s Whois data will also include the website’s nameserver, which you can use to look up the site’s web host.

You can send a copy of the Cease and Desist Letter to the site’s web host and advertisers. But to make a stronger case, you may also want to advise them of your attempts to resolve the situation with the site owner, including copies of the ignored Cease and Desist Letter. You may also wish to send a formal DMCA letter. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires hosts to remove infringing content once they have been properly notified.

DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement – Sample Template

Contacting search engines:

Before you contact Google to report the infringing website, you have to make sure that it is indexed by Google. You can search a website if it is already indexed by visiting Google.com and type site:yourdomain.com. For example, if you want to see if Doteasy.com has been indexed, go to Google and type site:doteasy.com. If you see results, the website has been indexed.

Additional guidelines from Google:

I’m looking for a Job!…How can I stand out from my competition?

April 9th, 2013

It’s quite depressing to read the news these days when all we hear about are the high unemployment rates of college graduates. The financial recession inevitably causes these new grads to work minimum wage jobs, hence causing underemployment. At the same time, we are also experiencing rising graduation rates. As we get closer to the graduation season, it is without a doubt that college grads are competing fiercely with their peers in their quest for that perfect job. An ordinary resume with high academic achievement, and a variety of extracurricular activity is no longer the ticket that will get you an interview. The key to getting a job opportunity is learning out how to stand out from the crowd. Doteasy would like to share a few tips for those who are currently job hunting on how to impress your potential employer.

doteasy_resumeTip #1: LinkedIn

This first tip is quite obvious, but we believe it still deserves a mention. LinkedIn is the free online social networking website for professionals. Many LinkedIn users like to set up their accounts similar to their CV, but we would like to remind you that LinkedIn was built on the philosophy of social networking. In other words, it is a tool for you to build networks with your potential clients and employers, so you should make full use of it! Instead of copying and pasting the contents of your resume, tell your readers whom you have previously worked with, and what you’ve done to help previous clients to achieve certain goals. Leaving your contact information is also helpful. This should be sufficient. Remember, less is more!

Tip #2: Contact Information

Speaking of contact information, your telephone number and Email address are the most commonly used forms of communication for job searchers. Again, we would like to reiterate that your goal in job searching is to stand out from your fellow job seekers. So, spend some time to see if you can find a meaningful word which can make your phone number stand out (e.g. HSBC Tel: 1-866-688-HSBC (4722). While this may not be an easy task for some people, you can also take an alternative approach using your Email address. Before we go into more detail about Email addresses, we would like to emphasize an important point: professionalism is the key! This being said, avoid using an Email address containing your favourite cartoon character, or the name of the lead role in your favourite soap opera. On the contrary, you can achieve much more by using an email with your own personalized domain. An email with a personalized domain serves the following two purposes:

  • It differentiates your online identity among your competitors, who most likely have ordinary Email addresses such as @hotmail.com and @gmail.com accounts.
  • It leaves a strong impression with your potential employer as to how much you value your professional identity online.

By convincing your potential employer that you value your professionalism, it makes sense that it would lead your future employer to believe that you will demonstrate the best effort you can to achieve the same level of professionalism in the workplace. To learn more about the great features of having a domain email account, check out this blog post.

Depending on your desired business industry, having a social media account is valuable because it can showcase some of your best work to your future employer. Of course, this depends on the industry that you are specialized in. However, we find that this tactic is especially relevant for marketing positions. Assuming your social media accounts are mainly about current trends of your desired business industry news, making the accounts public enables you to portray yourself to an employer that you are always on top of the trends. Before you make your social media channels available for employer access, consider the following:

  • How often do you tweet or create content about your specialization’s industry? If the answer is not very often, then don’t bother!
  • Are there any embarrassing/silly pictures you have been tagged in? If the answer is yes, then you know what to do.

Tip #3: Making a Website

For certain job positions, a paper resume may not be sufficient (e.g. fashion designer, photographer, journalist, etc.). You require a platform to showcase your work, and that’s why you need a website.

There are many free website builders available online which offer sub-domain services (eg. Yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogspot.com). While you can build your website for free with these services, the tradeoff is the lack of control over the look and feel of your webpage. Also, with sub-domains, you are unable to create your own personal domain email accounts. Most importantly, your goal in creating a website is to communicate professionalism, and market yourself as an individual who practices this important skill. Imagine this: if you need to purchase a product from an online store, which store would you pick? The one with a customized domain name, or the one under Blogspot?

Creating a website with your own personalized domain name creates an online identity for you as well as portrays a professional image to anyone who visits your website. Check out this article from Journalism.co.uk as it features how personalized websites helped 5 journalists land their dream jobs.

We’ve made a live demo website that is tailor-made for freelance photographers. Check this out by clicking the iamge below.

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Lack of coding experience? No need to worry!! We’ve created step-by-step video tutorial on how to build this website. So, all you need to publish your professional website showcasing your masterpieces is: roughly $50 for the first year (less than 15 cents a day) + 1 hour of your time. To sign up, simply give this link a click, choose a domain name (e.g. yourname.com) and subscribe to our Unlimited Hosting plan. Need help during customizing your website? Our tech support team is happy to assist you.

A typical portfolio website should contain:

  • A home page with your name, a brief intro about your expertise, and preferably a snapshot of yourself
  • A page with your work/volunteer experience as well as your academic background
  • A portfolio showcase of your work (photos, online article, freelance project, YouTube Video channel etc.)
  • Contact info

Step #4: Go a little bit further

Just before we dive into the details, check out this success story:

http://googlepleasehire.me

The fellow from this webpage was desperate looking for a job, and not just any job, but a job from Google. Like many, he tried all the traditional methods of looking for a job such as sending in resumes, and posting portfolios on LinkedIn. Needless to say, these efforts had not been very effective in getting Google’s attention. Wanting to take things into his own hands, he decided to not just make a website, but also created a video resume for his potential employer. He leveraged the use of domain names very cleverly by including “Google” as a part of the website URL, and the “.ME” domain extension when he made the website. He is a prime example of how to market yourself effectively to employers. Soon enough, a technology blog spotted his website, and slowly many other blogs and the media caught on. He eventually received a lot of media exposure on ABC News, TechCrunch, etc.

So, what’s the takeaway? Be creative, think outside the box, and start building your online portfolio today!