Repost from LinkedIn. Original article by Ilya Pozin.
Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive. Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.
1. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.
2. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
3. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.
4. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.
5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.
6. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.
Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.
What’s your secret to productive workdays?
About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!
Repost from Ragan.com. Original article by Shanna Mallon
Listen, even good writers make mistakes, from obvious repeats to subtle misspellings. It means we’re human.
If you’re like most writers, you’re probably making common blunders on a regular basis. Don’t lose heart. Awareness is half the battle: By becoming alert to typical mistakes, you become less likely to make them.
Before you publish your next blog post or submit another magazine article, do yourself a favor and check it against this list. Below are five mistakes that even good writers miss:
1. Accidental repeats. You know that feeling of telling a friend a story and then realizing you’ve already shared it? It happens in writing, too. When you’re not paying close attention, you might repeat a phrase, a story, or a point without realizing it. One good way to catch these accidental repeats is by reading your content aloud; often your ears catch mistakes that your eyes don’t.
2. Empty adverbs. Let’s be honest. When you add “really” to a verb, what are you adding? Is calling something “very” cold better than calling it frosty, frigid, or icy? The truth is, many common adverbs are empty: They add little or nothing to the meaning of a sentence and only clutter your copy. Cut them out.
3. Dangling modifiers. Dangling modifiers are a classic symptom of writing exactly as we speak. Although casual, conversational language may contain dangling modifiers, written language should not; they muddy your message. A modifying phrase should immediately precede the thing it modifies. So, instead of writing, “Setting an editorial calendar, the blog mapped months of topics,” write, “Setting an editorial calendar, the writer mapped months of topics on her blog.” The blog is not setting the calendar; the writer is setting the calendar.
4. Which vs. that. The words “which” and “that” are not interchangeable. Both begin clauses, but “which” clauses are unnecessary to the meaning of a sentence (and thus set off by commas) and “that” clauses are essential.
5. Overly complex words. Using overly complex words in place of simple ones is a perfect way to alienate your readers. Better to be clear and get your message across than to be fancy and lose your audience. When reading over your content, ask yourself whether the meaning is obvious. If not, rewrite.
Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services such as website content writing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.
There are tons of free fonts out there on the web.
Explore. Have Fun. Create.
Step 1: Log in to your Self-Hosted WordPress Account
Step 2: Go to “Plugins” in your dashboard and click “Add New”
Step 3: Search for “nRelate” and click “Install”
Step 4: Activate the Plugin
Step 5: Check out the settings page via the nRelate section on the Dashboard sidebar
If you would like to download the zip file, please visit our page on wordpress.org: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nrelate-related-content/
Questions: How can I add icons and links for RSS/Twitter/Facebook in the area where I have my widgets?
It’s essentially a 2-step process:
1. Upload the icon image(s) to your media library.
2. Add a “Text” widget to your sidebar and insert code similar to the following:
<a href="http://twitter.com/utoia"><img src="http://www.deliberatemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/twitter-icon.png" /></a> <a href="http://www.facebook.com/utoia.wooten"><img src="http://www.deliberatemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/facebook-icon.png" /></a> <a href="http://www.deliberatemom.com/feed/"><img src="http://www.deliberatemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/rss-feed-icon.png" /></a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/WooLadyU?feature=mhee"><img src="http://www.deliberatemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/youtube-icon.png" /></a>
Then just change the URLs so that they point to your icons and links. As you can see, I have four icons in my sidebar (twitter, facebook, email, and rss).
Original Post by Kelly Ward
Don’t worry – you don’t need to do this every time you write a blog post. Simply use a WordPress plugin to have them automatically appear on all your blog posts (and/or pages!). There are several plugins that allow you to add social media sharing buttons to your WordPress blog. However I found that the ShareThis plugin is not only easy-to-use but also allows for some additional customization to meet most bloggers’ needs.
Before you do any SEO you need to research the part of the web you will be trying to change. Many people believe this is the most important step in the SEO process. No skipping!
Complete the The Beginner’s Checklist for Learning SEO – Completing all the tasks on this list will give you all the skills necessary to complete this checklist.
Write down your goal – Why are you doing this? Why do you want people to find your client’s site? Is simply viewing your client’s site not enough? My goal was “I want local parents to find my client’s website and be persuaded to register their children.”
Brainstorm and write down search queries – What words might people type into the search engines to look for your client’s company? For my example, I came up with “Issaquah Preschool,” “Issaquah Daycare,” “Sammamish Preschool,” (a neighboring suburb) “Preschool Summer Camp,” and “Creative Preschool.” Your list should be longer.
Research your chosen keywords – Sign up for Google Adwords and learn how to use the provided “keyword tool” and “ad text ideas” generator. Learn how to use Wordtracker (paid) and/or the Keyword Difficulty tool (free).
Using what you learned from keyword research, record what you believe to be the best keywords – For my project, I used “Issaquah Preschool,” “Issaquah Early Childhood,” “Preschool Summer Camp,” and about five others.
Analyze the current Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your keywords – Who is ranking? What are they doing effectively and ineffectively? Investigate and get to know your competition.
Create a list of your competition – Use the information from the previous step to create a list of competitors. You will use this to figure out how other sites were able to get into your targeted SERPs.
Use Yahoo Site Explorer to find the sources of your competitor’s links – Record the sources of links your competitors have and save them for later.
Search for your client’s site – Use the site command on Google, Bing and Yahoo to see if your client’s site is indexed. Ex. “site:www.gigglywigglypreschool.com.” If your client’s site is not indexed, you need to figure out what is preventing the search engines from crawling it. Be sure to also search the title tags of your client’s most important pages to see where/if they rank. Record your results.
Sign up and verify with Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Bing Webmaster Center – This is an important step that will become necessary later.
Let Google Analytics run for two weeks before doing any SEO – This allows analytics to collect data and provides you with a baseline. I recommend you screen capture the relevant pages so you can show your client how your work has positively affected their site.
Evaluate the visual design of your client’s site – If the site drives people away, no amount of SEO efforts will help. If the site looks terrible, find well designed sites in your client’s niche.
Check compatibility between browsers – Visit your client’s site using Mozilla Firefox 2.x and Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Safari 3.x. Remember to do this on both a Mac and a PC. You want to make sure your client’s website renders correctly and won’t drive away users.
Create a new e-mail address specific to the site you are working on – Use this address for all e-mails pertaining to your project. This is especially important for link building.
Look at your HTML code and optimize all of the SEO related tags – If you are unsure what these are, reread the Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Primary objective should be accomplishable from the homepage
- Keyword in title tag (unique for each page, include keywords)
- Keyword in H1 on each page
- Keyword in text
- Optimize URL architecture (www.website.com/birds/eagle instead of www.website.com/allanimals/?type=bird&species=eagle). Use 301 redirects if you rename pages
- Information architecture – as few clicks as possible
- On relevant images include keywords in alt tags and in filenames
- Nofollow appropriate links
Decide if you need a meta description – Modern search engines are great at scanning the text of websites and displacing applicable snippets based on user queries. You need to decide if you want to rely on the algorithm or create your own description. I suggest making your own meta description for your homepage and letting the engines figure out the rest. Remember the purpose of making your description is to convince potential customers to click on your link in the SERPs. Make it convincing and use your keywords.
Add company address and phone number – Be sure to do this on every page. The search engines are smart enough to detect address and phone number formats. This data is essential to local search. I recommend adding the the following formatted data (example is for an American company) to the footer of all of your client’s pages:
1111 11th Pl NE
City, State Zip
Add a robots.txt – This is important for a couple reasons. First, it allows you to specify exactly what pages major search engines can crawl. Second, including a robots.txt makes tracking search engines easier because they always download the file before navigating your client’s site. This characteristic differentiates the SEs from normal human visitors.
Add your client’s business and website to the major search engine’s local listings – This is paramount as local search is likely to drive the majority of your traffic. These are the most important places to submit:
Add your client’s website to industry specific directories – To find the relevant directories, use the list of link sources you created earlier. Also, you can try searching for “(your client’s local city name) business directory” and “(your client’s industry) directory.” For example, I would search “Issaquah business directory” and “preschool directory.” Be sure to record which directories you add your client’s site to and the usernames and passwords you use. You should use the e-mail address you created earlier for directory registrations. You should also make sure to use different passwords for different logins. You should always be thinking about maintaining your client’s security.
Try to get the links your competition already has gotten – Use the list of link sources you generated from Yahoo Site Explorer and try to acquire links from those sources. This may be as simple as submitting a form or as cumbersome as e-mailing webmasters to find out their link addition policies. Always try to get your keywords in your link anchor text.
Get more links – Scour the internet and find other sites that might want to link to your client’s site (site:website.com “submit a link”). Remember the importance of the source of your links and the anchor text used. 100,000 links from spammy sites with bad anchor text will help you less than a single link with excellent keyword anchor text from a super authoritative site. A good place to start is to use the Juicy Link Finder. You should also consider your local chamber of commerce, local networking groups, and local complimentary businesses. Search engines like to see local links pointing at locally targeted websites.
Decide if utilizing social media sites is advantageous – Is your client in an industry that could actively participate in social media? If so, be sure not to be spammy and to only contribute quality and appropriate content. It is much more expensive to fix a ruined online reputation for a business than it is for a standard user. You may also want to consider adding your client’s business to professional networks such as Linkedin.
Create and submit sitemaps – Create a sitemap. Then login into Google Webmaster Central and Bing Search Webmaster Tools and submit it.
Optimize your client’s site from Google’s side – Login to Google Webmaster Tools and click on the tools menu. You will want to set the correct geographical target and preferred domain. In addition, you must also decide if you want to enable image search. It may drive you traffic but the traffic will unlikely be useful.
Track and Improve
Track progress – I recommend taking a monthly screenshot of all of the following SERPs. A screenshot is an easy way to gather a lot of information. The image files contain data on when they were taken so they are easy to organize. I recommend you do this for the following:
- Ask Local SERP
- Ask Main SERP
- Google Local SERP
- Google Main SERP
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Bing Maps SERP
- Bing Local SERP
- Bing Search Webmaster Central
- Yahoo Local SERP
- Yahoo Main SERP
- Yahoo Site Explorer
Create and maintain a spreadsheet of your rankings – This gives you a resource to prove to your client that your work is necessary. Be sure to keep it updated monthly so that you are always aware of how you rank.
Continue to make changes, build links, and record your results – This step will never be completed. You should strive to become number one on all your SERPs and get so far ahead that none of your competitors will be able to compete.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t just about “engines.” It’s about making your site better for people too.
New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over 1 million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO.
The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an in depth tutorial on how search engines work that covers the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine friendly.
- How Search Engines Operate
- How People Interact With Search Engines
- Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary
- The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development
- Keyword Research
- How Usability, Experience, & Content Affect Rankings
- Growing Popularity and Links
- Search Engine’s Tools for Webmasters Intro
- Myths & Misconceptions About Search Engines
- Measuring and Tracking Success
Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy by Andrew Liveris
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas W. Friedman
In Fed We Trust by David Wessel
The World is Flat by Thomas W. Friedman
Better Together: Restoring the American Community by Robert Putnam
The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Way We’ll Be by John Zogby
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera
Favorites: Daily and Weekly Reading
Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.
Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags.
Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here’ buttons on Internet banners and websites. In advertising, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red nails, red-light districts, ‘Lady in Red’, etc). Red is widely used to indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights). This color is also commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.
Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.
Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.
Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.
Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.
Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.
To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.
Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design. Orange is very effective for promoting food products and toys.
Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.
Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.
Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination, wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.
Yellow is the color of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.
Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is often associated with food. Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs are painted this color. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms. Yellow is seen before other colors when placed against black; this combination is often used to issue a warning. In heraldry, yellow indicates honor and loyalty. Later the meaning of yellow was connected with cowardice.
Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. You can choose yellow to promote children’s products and items related to leisure. Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design. Men usually perceive yellow as a very lighthearted, ‘childish’ color, so it is not recommended to use yellow when selling prestigious, expensive products to men – nobody will buy a yellow business suit or a yellow Mercedes. Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety. Light yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually needs a dark color to highlight it. Shades of yellow are visually unappealing because they loose cheerfulness and become dingy.
Dull (dingy) yellow represents caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.
Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy.
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.
Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes lack of experience; for example, a ‘greenhorn’ is a novice. In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.
Use green to indicate safety when advertising drugs and medical products. Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote ‘green’ products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.
Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.
Olive green is the traditional color of peace.
Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.
Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.
You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision when promoting high-tech products.
Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability; it is a preferred color for corporate America.
Avoid using blue when promoting food and cooking, because blue suppresses appetite. When used together with warm colors like yellow or red, blue can create high-impact, vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red is a perfect color scheme for a superhero.
Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.
According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors. Purple is a very rare color in nature; some people consider it to be artificial.
Light purple is a good choice for a feminine design. You can use bright purple when promoting children’s products.
Light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.
Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.
White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection.
White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.
In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because it’s the color of snow. You can use white to suggest simplicity in high-tech products. White is an appropriate color for charitable organizations; angels are usually imagined wearing white clothes. White is associated with hospitals, doctors, and sterility, so you can use white to suggest safety when promoting medical products. White is often associated with low weight, low-fat food, and dairy products.
Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.
Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, ‘black death’). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie, black Mercedes). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.
Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background diminishes readability. A black suit or dress can make you look thinner. When designing for a gallery of art or photography, you can use a black or gray background to make the other colors stand out. Black contrasts well with bright colors. Combined with red or orange – other very powerful colors – black gives a very aggressive color scheme.