Officials probe girl’s slaying

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Two county supervisors are calling for a report within 30 days into the death of a 2-year-old girl who was taken from a foster couple and returned to relatives now charged in her killing.Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s report says the hospital staff at Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, who allegedly saw the girl for a broken arm the day before her death, failed to follow proper procedure in reporting possible child abuse.Sarah Angelina Chavez was found dead in her Alhambra home on Oct. 11. Four days later, Alhambra police arrested Frances Abundis, 35, believed to be Sarah’s mother’s aunt, and Armando Abundis Sr., 32.On Oct. 27, the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, child abuse and assault in Alhambra Superior Court. The case also is under investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.At today’s meeting, Los Angeles County supervisors Antonovich and Gloria Molina will request a speedy report on Sarah’s death from the department and call for improvements to the child protection system.Antonovich’s motion says the State Community Care Licensing Division investigated Garfield Medical Center and found the hospital did not follow protocols relating to Sarah’s assessment and that the nurses and a doctor failed to follow procedure in suspected child abuse. The girl was allegedly taken out of the hospital by the Abundises against medical advice.Antonovich’s spokesman Tony Bell said this information came from the Department of Health Services. A call to a representative from the Department of Health Services was not immediately returned.Stuart Riskin, a family services spokesman, said he could not confirm the agency released that information, but he said the department collaborates with other agencies throughout the investigation of a child’s death.Antonovich’s motion requests that within 90 days the agencies establish a mandatory program for hospital staff on laws on reporting child abuse and neglect.The motion asks also that the report on Garfield Medical Center be submitted to the state’s medical board and the Board of Registered Nurses.“We have a situation that if doctors and nurses had reported this pursuant to their guidelines and the guidelines that are a part of the policy, a life could’ve been saved,” Bell said Monday.Molina’s motion said there has been no inspector general in the children’s services office “for a number of years” and that this role is crucial for internal oversight.Her report said there is $226,000 in the budget for an inspector general and asked that it be used for such oversight.The motion also would “immediately direct the DCFS-Office of Independent Review to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Sarah and provide a status report to the board within 30 days.”Sarah’s former foster parents, Dianne Hardy-Garcia, 40, and Corri Planck, 37, of Los Angeles, said they were pleased to see the county supervisors pay attention to Sarah’s death.“Where agencies work with each other, that’s where the cracks are,” Planck said.Planck added that they hope the review of Sarah’s death will include information on the courts’ part in the toddler’s case.“If her aunt and uncle did it to her, ultimately, they are responsible,” Hardy-Garcia said. “But it’s positive to see there’s a willingness to have this addressed and addressed publicly.” [email protected](626) 578-6300, EXT. 4496last_img read more

Erik Karlsson talks chemistry with Burns on Sharks power play

first_imgSAN JOSE — Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi stated the obvious after the Sharks power play broke through with three goals Thursday night. Things worked out well with Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns skating on different units.Both defensemen are super creative, produce a high volume of offense and are used to playing the role of quarterback on the power play. Through the Sharks first six games, they struggled to hit the right notes on stage together.In some ways, it’s like putting Jimi Hendrix …last_img

A’s pick up one, decline another option on pair of relievers

first_imgThe A’s declined the $5.75 million option on left-handed reliever Jake Diekman. Diekman came to Oakland at the trade deadline from Kansas City with an 0-6 record and 4.75 ERA. He was sometimes unhittable, but inconsistent with walk issues in his time with the A’s, drawing up a 4.43 ERA in 28 games.The A’s now have five players on the books for 2020 (Petit, Joakim Soria, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty and Mike Fiers) totaling in $42 million committed money. There are 12 players eligible for arbitration.SEASON PASS DIGITAL OFFERIf you have not already, we strongly encourage you to sign up for a digital subscription, which gives you access to all content on the Mercury News and East Bay Times websites. With your support, we can continue bringing these stories — and much more — to your screens. Here’s where to sign up for the season pass: Mercury News, East Bay Times. The Oakland A’s exercised their $5.5 million option on right-handed reliever Yusmeiro Petit, in perhaps what was one of the easier decisions for the organization this offseason.Petit had a 2.71 ERA and and a .194 opponents batting average in 83.1 innings. Perhaps the most telling stat: Petit appeared in 80 games, which led the American League.He was manager Bob Melvin’s go-to guy, never wavering in his dominance and resilience even in the face of adversity. Petit’s father, Alberto, died in September. Complicated travel plans had Petit decide to forgo a trip to his hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and stay with the team.He pitched five days later. His teammates constantly spoke of his leadership skills. MLB Winter Meetings: A’s trade for Phillies’ Rule 5 pick in transaction flurry Player to be named later in A’s Jurickson Profar trade revealed Former Oakland A’s lefty Brett Anderson finds new home with Brewers center_img What A’s winter ball performances can tell us about the second base race MLB Winter Meetings: A’s lose All-Star closer, Coliseum to add more netting Related Articleslast_img read more

World-class banking for 2010

first_imgA section of the massive Absa Bank callcentre in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.(Image: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)Wilma den HartighThe 2010 Fifa World Cup will not only boost South Africa’s tourism industry, it will also be an opportunity for the country to show off its sophisticated banking system to the world.According to Nikki Tyrer, Accenture South Africa’s heads of customer relations management, the financial services sector should make the most of this opportunity by offering efficient service to visitors at all times.According to Accenture research, South African banks will be under severe pressure during the World Cup. With more than 3-million visitors expected in South Africa, foreign exchange and ATM facilities will experience much higher volumes of tourist traffic.Coping with this demand will require meticulous planning. Banks should, for example, set up additional exchange counters in branches and ensure ATMs are always online and stocked more often.Tyrer said that while the services locals and international tourists needed may be fairly similar, the visitors could require more help in areas such as language. More than this, plans must be made for situations such as an ATM machine swallowing a foreign tourist’s bank card late in the evening when the traveller is due to fly home the following morning.South African banks could learn from the Bank of China, she said, which set up a multilingual call centre for international tourists as part of its drive to improve customer service during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.All their branches and key staff were given training in business acumen, service etiquette, foreign languages and servicing customers with disabilities. Tyrer said tourists travelling to South Africa are unlikely to prefer a specific bank and all branches will be a key point of contact for many clients. Banks should consider additional signage in foreign languages and employ more floor staff to help with queries.Prof Hennie van Coller, head of the Afrikaans Department at the University of the Free State, says the skills needed for a multilingual call centre can be readily found . “South Africa definitely has all the language expertise needed to set up a facility like this,” Van Coller said.The university’s foreign language departments have already discussed setting up such a facility. He explained that it will also be useful in other sectors such as health, safety and general communication queries.Volunteers from across the county could participate and need not be stationed in one place, Van Coller said. Postgraduate foreign language students could also get involved in the project, which could be structured as part of the courses.Accenture also recommended that banks extend operating hours, step up security and even expand product offerings. For the Beijing Olympics, the Bank of China created targeted products for tourists such as “Olympic Temporary Accounts” and safe box facilities.Other financial services institutions could also step in, which insurance companies, for example, offering short-term insurance against theft, or medical cover.Doret Els, an economist with financial and investment firm Efficient Group, said the financial sector has already started taking steps in the right direction. “The latest development that allows people to pay for fuel with credit cards is very useful to South Africans and foreigners,” Els said.She added that international visitors are used to sophisticated financial systems, which is why electronic banking systems are so important. Most tourists would prefer to make transactions electronically, instead of carrying large amounts of cash on them.Accenture’s research had similar findings. Small businesses and vendors may require point-of-sale (POS) facilities for foreign tourists. Tyrer said financial institutions could supply POS facilities at a reduced rate for smaller businesses.“If we have good financial structures it will attract more investment into the country in the future,” Els said. “This is a great opportunity that South Africa has to leverage.”According to Accenture, the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany resulted in an annual GDP increase of 0.7%. Revenues from tourism and travel exceeded US$400-million (R4-billion), with a further $2.62-billion (R512-billion) attributed to retail sales during the four-week tournament.South Africa stands to draw similar benefits for growth and investment, with its GDP expected to grow by about $2.1-billion (R21.3-billion) – a figure many economists consider to be an underestimate. Tyrer encouraged all sectors of the economy to prepare to create a positive experience for tourists, encouraging them to return.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articles2010 to give SA a $2.5bn boost Top marks for SA auditing SA banking net spreadsSA banks overtake global giants Standard Bank on the money Useful linksAccenture South AfricaUniversity of the Free StateEfficient GroupSouth Africa 2010FifaSouthAfrica.info: 2010last_img read more

Geocaching.com Caption Contest 22 – Win a Barely Coveted Prize

first_img19 Lackeys voted to award the winner of the twentieth Geocaching.com Caption Contest a barely coveted prize. Click on the image at right to discover the winning caption from the previous Geocaching.com Caption Contest.Explore the wit and wisdom of geocachers by checking out all the Geocaching.com Caption Contests.Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedGeocaching.com Caption Contest 19 – Win a Barely Coveted PrizeJanuary 5, 2011In “Community”Geocaching.com Caption Contest 25 – Win a Barely Coveted PrizeJune 30, 2011In “Community”Geocaching Caption Contest 20 – Win a Barely Coveted PrizeJanuary 18, 2011In “Community” WINNING CAPTION: “This is knot what I wood have expected.” – 1Delta10Tango.Try your caption writing skills in the twenty-second installment of our Geocaching.com Caption Contest.   You could become the proud winner of a barely coveted prize! What caption would you write? “You’ve barked up the right tree.” You can do better!Caption contest prizeSubmit your caption by clicking on “Comments” below. Please include your geocaching username in all entries. Then, explore the captions that other geocachers have crafted.You can influence the voting. “Like” the caption that you think should win.  If you think your caption should win, convince your fellow geocachers to “like” your caption. Lackeys decide between the top captions to crown the winner of this Geocaching.com Caption Contest.The winner receives a barely coveted prize from Groundspeak Headquarters. This time it’s a much coveted prize, a Jeremy Irish Trackable Gnome.Click on the image to discover the winning caption from this contestlast_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #3: Be Yourself

first_imgBlog postsIf you haven’t already noticed, you’re currently perusing a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites. We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.Check out our free blog post templates for writing great how-to, listicle, curation, SlideShare presentation, and newsjacking posts on your own blog.EbooksEbooks are lead-generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website.Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: After reading a blog post (such as this one), visitors might want more information. This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, directing people to a landing page where they can submit their contact information and download an ebook to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.Case StudiesCase studies, also known as testimonials, are your opportunity to tell the story of a customer who succeeded in solving a problem by working with you. A case study is perhaps your most versatile type of content marketing because it can take many different forms — some of which are on this list. That’s right, case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast … even an infographic.Your goal in a case study is to show the people who are considering your product that the proof is in the pudding. Before choosing a customer for a case study, you should determine which form the testimonial will take and the area of your business to which you’re trying to drive value.TemplatesTemplates are a handy content format to try because they generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.InfographicsInfographics can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.If you’re ready to get started, get our templates for creating beautiful infographics in less than an hour.VideosVideos are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike. Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity — after all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content — it’s a medium worth experimenting with.HubSpot Research recently found that video is the most preferred form of content. Video also captures people’s attention more than any other content format.PodcastsStarting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don’t have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing — in 2018, nearly one-third of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast in the last month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.Here’s our comprehensive guide to starting a podcast.Social MediaOnce you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, it might be time to start thinking about distributing your content on other sites. This could mean repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog, creating original content specifically for external sites — such as Medium — or publishing website content on various social networks.Considering Medium? Check out our insights from our first year of publishing original content on ThinkGrowth.org.Posting on social media, however, is pivotal to amplifying your brand’s reach and delivering your content to your customers where you know they spend their time. Social networks on which businesses often post include:FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedInPinterestSnapchatYouTube (yep, this is technically a social network)When launching a business account on any of the social networks above, it’s important to post the type of content your followers expect to see. On Instagram, for example, users want photos, videos, and graphics that reflect current events, show off user-generated content, or even go behind the scenes of your organization.On Facebook, your options for what to post open up a bit: Not only can you share your blog posts and website content, but you can also post native Facebook videos, product promotions, and original memes that resonate with your customers. You can also interact with other businesses that have a similar audience as your own.While the goal on social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat is to connect more intimately with your audience, your goal on platforms like Facebook and Twitter is to expand that audience, drive traffic toward your website, and start conversations in your industry. Do some basic market research to discover which platforms your buyers are on, and mold your content to their expectations.When you’re ready for more ideas, there are a plethora of different content types to diversify your website. Check them out below:7. Publish and manage your content.Your marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you’ll create — it should also cover you’ll organize your content. With the help of an editorial calendar, you’ll be on the right track for publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website. Then, create a social media content calendar so you can promote and manage your content on other sites.Many of the ideas you think of will be evergreen — they’re just as relevant months from now as they are today. That being said, you shouldn’t ignore timely topics either. While they may not be the bulk of your editorial calendar, they can help you generate spikes of traffic.Most people count on incorporating popular holidays such as New Year’s and Thanksgiving in their marketing efforts, but you don’t have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates. If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. HubSpot’s Service Blog Editor Sophia Bernazzani compiled this ultimate list of social media holidays — keep an eye on it when you’re planning your calendar.We know this is a lot of information, but the work has just begun. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won’t be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources here.For additional guidance, use HubSpot’s Marketing Plan Generator to create a 12-month strategy in just a few minutes.Happy creating. Topics: Originally published Sep 4, 2018 12:20:00 AM, updated February 15 2019 What Is Content Strategy?Content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable … you name it. It is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry.You might’ve heard how important content creation is to the growth of your business, but as you’ll see throughout this post, it needs to have a well-planned purpose. When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider:Whom You’re Creating Content ForWho’s the target audience for this content? For how many audiences are you creating content? Just as your business might have more than one type of customer, your content strategy can cater to more than one type of reader or viewer.Using a variety of content types and channels will help you deliver different content to each type of audience you have in mind and engage everyone your company does business with.The Problem it’s Going to Solve for that AudienceIdeally, your product or service solves a problem you know your audience has. By the same token, your content coaches and educates your audience through this problem as they begin to identify and address it.A sound content strategy supports people on both sides of your product: those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are, and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges. Your content reinforces the solution(s) you’re offering and makes your customers more qualified users of your product.What Makes You UniqueYour competitors likely have a similar product as yours, which means your potential customers need to know what makes yours better — or, at least, different. This is where content comes in. In order to prove why you’re worth buying from, you need to prove why you’re worth listening to.The Content Formats You’ll Focus OnWhat forms will your content take? Infographics? Videos? Blog posts? Having identified the topics you want to take a position on, you’ll need to determine which formats to budget for so you can best express that position.The Channels Where It’ll Be PublishedJust as you can create content in different formats, you’ll also have different channels you can publish to. Channels can include owned properties, such as your website and blog; and social media properties, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’ll talk more about social media content strategy in the step-by-step guide later in this article.How You’ll Manage Creation and PublicationFiguring out how you’ll create and publish all your content can be a daunting task. It’s important for a content strategy to know who’s creating what, where it’s being published, and when it’s going live.Today’s content strategies prevent clutter by managing content from a topic standpoint. When planning a content calendar around topics, you can easily visualize your company’s message and assert yourself as an authority in your market over time. Learn more about topics in content strategy in the video below.Why Do Marketers Need to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Think about it — if you can create just one blog post that gets a steady amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an ebook or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on.HubSpot’s Sales Blog Team found this to be key to their strategy to increasing traffic to the blog over time. Read about their blog strategy here.The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Plus, your content will not only help attract leads — it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan.How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy1. Define your goal.What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy. (Want help figuring out the right goals? Download this goal planning template.)2. Conduct persona research.To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your buyer persona.This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.3. Run a content audit.Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)4. Choose a content management system.Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place using HubSpot software. Another content management system is a WordPress website hosted on WP Engine.5. Brainstorm content ideas.Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. Here are some tools to get the wheels turning:HubSpot’s Website GraderHubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area.With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.BlogAboutGet your mind gears going with IMPACT’s unique content idea generator, BlogAbout. This tool works a bit like Mad Libs, but instead of joke sentences, it shows you common headline formats with blanks where you can fill in the subject you have in mind.This brainstorming technique helps you put general ideas in contexts that would be appealing to your target audience. Once you have a headline you like, BlogAbout lets you add it to your “Notebook” so you can save your best ideas.HubSpot’s Blog Ideas GeneratorGet blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.FeedlyThis popular RSS feed is a wonderful way to keep track of trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.BuzzSumoDiscover popular content and content ideas at BuzzSumo. This company offers a number of market research tools, one of which uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked. In turn, this information helps you see which content ideas would do well if you were to create content about them.Blog Post Headline AnalyzerCoSchedule’s tool analyzes headlines and titles and provides feedback on length, word choice, grammar, and keyword search volume. If you have an idea in mind, run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to see how you could make it stronger, and to move your idea further along in the brainstorming process.6. Determine which types of content you want to create.There are a variety of options out there for content you can create. Here are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating, and tools and templates to get you started.Types of Content MarketingBlog PostsEbooksCase StudiesTemplatesInfographicsVideosPodcastsSocial Media Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan — to make sure it’s up-to-date, innovative, and strong.After all, you’ve got more competition than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B marketers report spending 40% of their budget on content marketing as of 2018 — up 1% from 2017.The first step to getting a leg up on the competition is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. If you’re having trouble planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh ideas to include in your plan, read on.Click here to try our free Blog Ideas Generator tool.In this post, we’ll dive into:What content strategy is.Why your business needs a content marketing plan.The exact steps you will need to take to create your strategy, including:How your content can generate leads.How (and what) to publish on social media. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content Marketing Strategylast_img read more

15 Weird and Wonderful Company Holiday Cards

first_img9) MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FERCopy editors and The Chicago Manual Of Style followers can stop praying for that Christmas miracle: The agency created a bookmarklet to that adds the Oxford comma to web pages because “missing Oxford commas ruin Christmas.” 10) BrokawThe holidays are a time of joy, laughter … and, quite possibly, shame fueled by free alcohol and inordinate amounts of sugar at your office holiday party. But thanks to Cleveland-based Brokaw’s post-holiday apology-maker, you might just be able to atone for your behavior. 11) Zulu Alpha KiloThe agency employed its reputation management skills to rebrand and make over the abominable snowman. A series of 16 videos shows the creature’s start as a “tough” client to his transformation into a charitable, well-read vegan. We’ve included the first one below, but you can watch the whole series here.12) Brownstein GroupThe agency used popular movies as inspiration for a set of holiday-themed posters. Check out three of them below, inspired by Diehard, Home Alone, and Jingle All the Way respectively. 15) WundermanWunderman created a “12 Days of GIFAWAYS,” where a “snowbro” plays a charades-type game and viewers guess what he’s acting out to win a gift. (You need to be in the U.S. and have a Twitter account to enter.)16) The Pita Group The holidays can be a stressful time. Luckily, this agency decided to take it out on fruitcake, not clients in this stragely beautiful, very satisfying high-defitinion video.17) The Duffy AgencyThe Duffy Agency created an Instagram Christmas tree with ornaments featuring the faces of the agency’s friends and business partners. Is your face on there?Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!Want more content like this? Subscribe to Agency Post. Topics: This post originally appeared on Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.It’s that time of year again, when agencies use all their remaining creativity and joyful spirit to create festive holiday cards, videos, and websites. It’s also the time where agency staffers are given free reign to get downright weird. And thankfully, this year did not disappoint.If you’re looking for messages of goodwill and hope for humanity, you won’t find it in these examples. But you will find awkward people dancing around in onesies, a hipster santa, and a Pomeranian in 12 different outfits — and isn’t that the most you can hope for this holiday?Check out this list of the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of agency holiday cards. (Warning: The audio in #3 is NSFW.)1) Exit10There’s nothing like pelting your co-workers with snowballs to spread a little good cheer around the office. Exit 10 used a Phantom camera to film the slow-motion, icy attack. 2) AKQAThe agency created a website that can turn your phone into a virtual snow globe. When you this website on a mobile device and shake the screen, it’ll start to snow (on your screen, not in real life). If you rotate the phone, you’ll see other parts of the winter landscape inside the globe. You can even write your own message and send the globe to your friends and family by email or social media. (Go ahead, check it out! We’ll wait right here.) 3) Ogilvy & Mather ParisIf Christmas was the product of an advertising stunt, this video shows it would look a lot different. This video from Oglivy & Mather shows what it might be like if the concept of Christmas was pitched to a focus group — and it brings up some questions about the strange traditions we all accept. (Warning: Audio is NSFW.)4) School EditingThis is a fun one one one agency did of their employees lip synching to a catchy Christmas song — even more impressive, they did it all in one take.5) Door Number 3Austin-based Door Number 3 introduces us to “Hipster Santa,” who brags about his free-range reindeer and his sleigh that “runs on penguin tears and pure Santa sweat.” And, just FYI, he’s requesting soy milk and gluten-free cookies this year.6) Plan BPlan B brings the “Elf on the Shelf” to the agency world to report on who’s being naughty and who’s being nice — both in their dealings with clients and their professional behavior in the office. 7) Klick HealthKlick Health remixed “Jingle Bells” using 131 office sounds to create a unique and fun holiday tune. 8) Wasserman + PartnersWasserman + Partners created a fun Instagram video series they call “12 Holiday Holograms.” Here are two examples: Originally published Dec 24, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated October 23 2015 Holiday Marketing 13) OrganicOrganic tries to erase fruitcake’s bad reputation with the Fruitcake-O-Matic. The site lets you create your own treat and send it to a friend — and the agency is sending 20 real cakes to users each day. 14) St. John & PartnersThe agency is crowdsourcing a 3D printed holiday village. Want to add to the growing village? SImply tweet an idea using the hashtag #PrinterWonderland. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Sell When You’re on Vacation: Tips for Putting Your Out-of-Office Reply to Work

first_img Originally published May 2, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.Can you sell when you’re on vacation? Sure you can … but dragging out your laptop and taking calls from the beach is sure to annoy your family. There’s another way to keep selling when you’re out of the office, and this option doesn’t require any work on your behalf.Instead of thoughtlessly scribble an out-of-office reply five minutes before you board the plane, put a few more minutes of thought into what you write. The right words in your out-of-office reply and your signature could spark prospects’ interests and lead to a sale down the road.Here’s how to get two undervalued email assets, your signature and out-of-office replies, to work for you — even when you’re not working.Your Out-of-Office ReplyThere are ways to put your Out-of-Office (OOO) reply to work for you while you’re on a break. I see too many people with the generic, “I’m out of the office with limited access to internet and will be back on [date]. If it’s urgent please contact [coworker].”How many emails do you get per day? I might get hundreds, so this is a key time for me to advertise.Instead of a generic out of office reply, try something like this:I’m currently traveling with limited access to Internet and will be back on [date]. In the meantime, check out our most recent article [link to company blog post, personal blog post, or recent good press]. If it’s urgent, please contact [coworker].This way, you’re not wasting those eyeballs you’re getting while you’re offline. Want to spice up your OOO reply? Try HubSpot’s Out-of-Office Email Generator for some added inspiration.Your Email SignatureA picture does not a good email signature make. For starters, too many people throw a bunch of images in their email signatures. I don’t care if it looks pretty — don’t go overboard.Instead, make your signature as simple as possible. The only thing you should add to your basic information is a link to recent positive PR. If the title of the story isn’t that good but the article is awesome, change the title in the link that you share.Example Signature:[Name] | [Twitter Handle][Title], [Company name][Mobile/Skype] | [Office/Skype]Forbes Names [Company Name] Top 10 Fastest Growing in 2015, Find Out Why!The article you link to should be customized to who you’re trying to sell. For example, If you’re selling experts on signing up for Udemy, you can include an article titled, “Udemy Raises $32 Million to Democratize Education” and rename it in your signature as “Udemy Raises $32 Million from Top Investors to Make Experts More Money.” An expert who gets this in an out of office reply is likely to click the link — and become even more interested in Udemy.My friend Scott Britton does this with his blog to increase traffic. Scott explained to me, “Instead of including a link to my blog in my signature, I link to each post individually with the precursor ‘Most Recent Thoughts.’ This more compelling copy is likely to inspire a click.”What’s the ROI on this? Scott said, “It took me about 20 seconds to change the hyperlink in my email signature within my Gmail settings. To measure the amount of traffic this drove, I used a bit.ly tracking link. It turns out that 45 people clicked on my ‘Most Recent Thoughts’ link over the past three days. From those 45 clicks, three people reshared this content via Twitter. Assuming an equal number of referrals per tweet, I used Google Analytics to project that this link was responsible for over 100 page views. Not too shabby for an extra 20 seconds of work.”Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High Velocity Sales Machine. It is published here with permission.last_img read more

How to Work Faster in Excel: 6 Helpful Tips & Features

first_imgSparklines provide a quick and easy way to interpret trends in our data without having to invest time and effort in formatting multiple charts.6) Arrange data using multiple Custom Sort levels.If you’re a veteran Excel user, you’ve probably used Quick Sort quite a bit to arrange your data in a logical and coherent fashion. (If not, read up on how to alphabetize in Excel here.)But many spreadsheet users don’t know that it’s possible to sort on multiple levels. For example, we can sort a sheet by last name, and, if two people on the sheet share the same last name, sort by first name next. Each level of our sort can be totally customized — with contents sorted from A to Z, or largest to smallest.To Custom Sort on both Windows and Mac, select your data and head to “Data” > “Sort” > “Custom Sort.” A window will appear asking which column you’d like to sort by first, and how. Press the small “+” icon at the bottom of the screen to add an additional level of sorting. Using the dropdowns provided, you can choose to sort based on cell values (either numerical or alphabetical), or based on more advanced features such as cell color, font color, or icons.In the following example, we’ll use an advanced Custom Sort to rearrange our list of people, ordering first by last name, then by gender, and finally by houses owned.We now have an easy-to-read list of people ordered by family and properties.There you have it: six of the most helpful Excel functions to make you faster and more productive. If you enjoyed this article, put it in your bookmarks bar to keep these Excel tips on hand at work. What do you want to learn how to do in Excel? Share your thoughts below. On a Mac:Navigate to the “Tables” tab on the ribbon.If your data already has headers, click “New” > “Insert Table With Headers.”If it does not have headers, click “New” > “Insert Table Without Headers.” Our data immediately becomes much more beautiful, with tastefully-striped rows and a nice blue color theme. Notice that Excel has also automatically added sorting and filtering dropdowns at the top of each column, so we don’t need to insert those ourselves.But pretty formatting isn’t the only advantage of using a data table. There are a couple other key features that will make analyzing this data set supremely easy.First of all, we can reference columns of our table by name within functions. Let’s try summing up the number of castles owned for everyone in our data set. Normally, we’d have to use cell references to obscure cell letters and numbers to perform this calculation. But with Tables, we can reference an entire column at once by name. In this case, we’ll take the SUM of the “Castles owned” column like so:=SUM(Table2[Castles owned])It’s that easy! No confusing numbers or letters to memorize — just the name of a column.Second, we can easily add data rows to our table without worrying about breaking formulas. Let’s add a row for our dear friend Tyrion, who we’d be remiss to leave off of this spreadsheet.When we start typing at the bottom of the table, Excel automatically adds a row and autoformats it per the table’s specifications. Best of all, the SUM() function we created automatically updates — no need to change the cell references once we’ve added a table row.Finally, we can easily add formulas to every row of the table itself without copying and pasting. Let’s create a new column that calculates each character’s total number of properties by adding together their “Castles owned” and “Houses owned.”In the first row of this column, take the SUM of the “Castled owned” and “Houses owned” columns. Notice that rather than using the standard cell reference nomenclature, Excel has used a new format: =SUM([@[Houses owned]],[@[Castles owned]]). And the formula automatically applies itself to every cell on the table.2) Use the CONVERT formula to make speedy calculations.We often find ourselves needing to perform unit conversions in Excel — like degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius or kilograms to pounds — particularly when we’re collaborating internationally.It’s typically an onerous process involving some online research and manual copy-and-pasting. But there’s an easier way: Excel includes a generic conversion function called CONVERT() that helps us convert weight, distance, time, and temperature to and from various units.The CONVERT formula looks like this: =CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit)The from_unit and to_unit arguments are strings pulled from a pre-defined set of units built into Excel. Here are some of the most useful:DistanceTemperatureTime Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Excel Originally published Jun 8, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img (Click here for a complete list of text values)Let’s try it out by converting each character’s preferred temperature from degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius. Rather than looking online for conversion formulas, we can simply use the following formula in a row column of our Table:=convert([@[Preferred temp (F)]], “F”, “C”)3) Use the DATEDIF function to calculate the difference between dates.We often need to calculate the differences between dates in our spreadsheets — particularly when formatting tables to be used to generate charts and graphs. Many Excel users resort to using numerous columns full of complicated YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY() columns to extract and compare date information from various cells.But there’s an easier way: The seldom-used DATEDIF() function. DATEDIF() allows us to take the difference between two dates using a number of predetermined Excel settings. For example, we can find the total difference between two dates, in days. Or we can find the difference between two dates ignoring their years and months, so that only the numerical days are considered.The DATEDIF() function looks like this: =DATEDIF(start_date, end_date, unit)That ‘unit’ argument tells Excel what to take the difference between, based on the following table:(Click here for more on the DATEDIF function and units.)Let’s say, for example, that we wanted to find the difference, in days, between the birth dates of Cersei and Tyrion. We could do it like so:=DATEDIF(D5,D18,”D”)If we wanted to look up the same value in years, we could use a very similar formula, with the ‘unit’ argument slightly modified:=DATEDIF(D5,D18,”Y”)4) Analyze numerical comparisons using Data Bars.Setting up a chart in Excel takes time. You’ve got to select your data set, generate the chart, and ensure that the data is being displayed correctly. Then, you have to format the chart, adding axis labels, titles, gridlines, and more. Charts are a great tool for making beautiful data visualizations in Excel, but what if you just want to get a quick look at how a set of data compares internally?Enter data bars. These are a handy way to visualize numerical comparisons using Conditional Formatting — without going through all the complexity of chart creation and development.To get started, simply select a row or column of numbers to compare, then — on either Windows or Mac — hit “Home” > “Conditional Formatting” > “Data Bars” and pick the bar color of your choice.Cells in our selected row or column will automatically fill with in-cell data bars. The length of these bars will be proportional to that of the other bars in our data series, with the largest numbers almost filling the cells in question.Let’s try it out on our “Houses owned” column. With a couple of keystrokes, it’s easy to get a visual sense for who owns the most houses — no charts required.5) Identify trends over time using Sparklines.Data bars, described above, are an easy way to get an at-a-glance visual comparison of different static numerical quantities. Trouble is, they don’t help us much if we want to quickly look at trends over time.Of course, we can always use charts and graphs to visualize data, but they become cumbersome and cluttered if we’re trying to look at multiple data sets at once.Fortunately, there’s an easier way to visualize this data: Sparklines.Sparklines are in-cell graphics (just like data bars), but they don’t show just static quantities. Instead, they show multiple pieces of data at once — like a mini-chart within a cell. Here’s an example of Sparklines in action, used to show trends in houses owned over time for a number of different people:Follow the instructions below to try out Sparklines on your own.On Windows:First, select a column or partial column; this is where our completed Sparklines will be inserted. (Note: Sparklines can only be inserted into adjacent cells within a single column — they don’t work as well when used within adjacent cells in a row.)Click “Insert” then select the type of Sparklines you’d like to insert under the “Sparklines” section. There are several options here: line charts, column charts, or win/loss charts. Choose the one that will best assist in visualizing your data.Enter the data range from which you’d like to generate your Sparklines in the “Data Range” box. The data range you select should be a two-dimensional matrix, and its number of rows should always be equal to the number of cells you selected before creating your Sparklines.Press “OK.” On a Mac:First, select a column or partial column; this is where our completed Sparklines will be inserted. (Note: Sparklines can only be inserted into adjacent cells within a single column — they don’t work as well when used within adjacent cells in a row.)Click “Charts” then select the type of Sparklines you’d like to insert under the “Insert Sparklines” section. There are several options here: line charts, column charts, or win/loss charts. Choose the one that will best assist in visualizing your data.Enter the data range from which you’d like to generate your Sparklines in the “Select a data range for the Sparklines:” box. The data range you select should be a two-dimensional matrix, and its number of rows should always be equal to the number of cells you selected before creating your Sparklines.Press “OK.” Topics: If you’re a frequent user of Excel, there are probably a few features you’ve found yourself using over and over again in your work.VLOOKUPs, autofilters, and conditional formatting are critical pieces of any veteran’s arsenal — and they’ve been making appearances in spreadsheets for years.But what most Excel users don’t know is that these features only represent a fraction of the program’s capabilities. Beyond the basics, Excel has a variety of tools that can make your spreadsheets more beautiful — and your life a lot easier.Download 9 Free Excel Templates for MarketersToday, in the spirit of exploration, we’ll dive into six of these little-known Excel features to explore some of the most helpful — but least-used capabilities — of our favorite spreadsheet program. These tips and features are designed to help you work faster and smarter … and who doesn’t need more hours back in their day?(Note: If you aren’t familiar with these features above, don’t panic. Excel can be really tricky to master, so you may want to start here or here … or here.)How to Work Faster in Excel: 6 Helpful Tips1) Leverage the Tables Tools to organize data and conduct quick analyses.Although much of the data we enter into Excel is technically in table format — meaning that it’s organized into rows and columns — Excel has a separate Tables feature that allows you to analyze a group of related data more easily.To get started with Tables, we’ve got to begin with a set of data. In this case, we’re working with some fake data from one of our favorite television series: Game of Thrones. To create a table, select your data. Once your data is selected, follow the instructions below.On Windows:Navigate to the “Insert” tab on the ribbon, then click “Table.”If your data has headers already, be sure to check the “My Data Contains Headers” box so that Excel knows to create a separate header row for your column titles.Press “OK.”last_img read more

10 Steps to Being Found on Search Engines

first_imgLet’s do an experiment. Go to Google and type in the most commonly used version of your organization’s name. Do you show up first in the resulting list of sites? What if you type in a short phrase describing the type of work you’d like to be known for? Do you show up in the top page of those search results, too?Your placement on search engines like Google or Yahoo Search is important. At a minimum, it should be easy for your current constituents to find your site using your organization’s name. Showing up on the first page of search results for key terms — for instance, something like “Cincinnati women’s shelter,” if that describes your organization — can also make a huge difference in your site traffic, not to mention in potential donors, volunteers, and clients’ ability to find and connect with you.You don’t have complete control over where and how your Web site shows up in search engines, but you have more power than you might think. The process of site tweaking and outreach that’s used to enhance your search engine placement is called search engine optimization (or SEO for short). While SEO is often described in ways that make it seem like a mystical art form, in fact none of the key steps are particularly hard to understand. They are often, however, time consuming, and most require at least the ability to update your site’s text, if not basic HTML skills.Investing time in comparatively straightforward tasks like including key phrases in titles and headlines can reap some substantial benefits. Below, we suggest 10 steps that can help search engines find and prioritize your site content. While some steps are more technical than others, these concepts can help anyone understand and prioritize search engine optimization for their organization.1. Ensure Your Site Has High-Quality InformationThe cornerstone of any optimization strategy — or just a good Web site strategy, for that matter — is a lot of great, relevant information tailored to those you’d like to attract to your site. A large volume of high-quality content helps with a number of the steps listed below — for instance, you’re more likely to have information that’s useful to any particular person, you’re more likely to include the key phrases for which people are searching, and other sites are more likely to link to yours.Not to mention, of course, that a terrific site is more likely to engage the people who find you through search engines, and encourage them to become not only repeat visitors, but friends of your organization.2. Help Search Engines Find Your SiteSearch engines read through huge volumes of information on the Web with software programs called “robots” or “spiders” (because they navigate, or “crawl,” through the Web). These spiders create an index which contains, essentially, all the pages they’ve found and the words that are contained on them.You need to make sure your Web site is included in those indexes. You can easily check to see if your site has been indexed by Google’s index by searching “site:www.yourdomain.org” — i.e. site:www.idealware.org. This search will show a list of all the pages from your site that are included in Google’s index (ideally, every page on your site).If you’re not included in the indexes — for instance, if you have a new Web site, or one without much traffic — none of the steps below will do much good until you are. How do you get included? You can submit your site to the search engines — to Google, or Yahoo for instance — but experts are divided on how useful this is. It’s certainly not a quick way to be included.A better way is to get other indexed sites to link to yours. You can start this effort with huge, general-interest directories like the DMOZ directory, but you’re likely to have as much or more success with directories or listings related to your field. Is there an online directory of children’s service organizations? Does your United Way have a listing of local organizations? Do your funders have a list of grantees online? Any of these (or ideally all of them, as per the next section) could provide the link you need to be indexed.Some online services say they’ll submit you to a lot of directories and search engines automatically. These generally aren’t worth the money, as indiscriminate listings aren’t nearly as useful as ones targeted to your sector.3. Encourage Others to Link to YouLinks from other sites to yours are a critical aspect of search engine optimization. A couple of links will help the search engines find your sites, but lots of links will show them that your site is a central, important resource for particular topics.The more incoming links you have from credible organizations (that is to say, organizations that show up high on search engines themselves), the higher you will be listed in search results. To check to see the links that Google has indexed for your site, enter “link:www.yourdomain.org” into the Google search bar. The resulting list doesn’t include every link from every site, but is a guide to the approximate quantity of high-quality links.How do you get people to link to you? As we mentioned above, there are likely a number of organizations that have a list of organizations like yours. Ensuring you’re included in all the relevant directories is a good start. See if partner organizations will link to you. Do a search on the phrases for which you’d like to be found and look for ways to get the organizations at the top of the search results to link to you. Think through content you could provide — perhaps reports, articles, toolkits, directories of your own — that would be so useful that organizations would be inspired to link to it.4. Identify the Keywords For Which You’d Like to Be FoundWe’ve talked so far about ways for people to find your site as a whole — but people are unlikely to be looking for your site specifically. They’re much more likely to be looking for good information or a resource on a particular topic, which they’ll identify by entering the first words that come to mind when they think about their topic, known as keywords in search engine optimization lingo.Identifying the keywords that people are likely to use, and for which you’d like to be found, is a critical step in search engine optimization. You should ideally think through keywords not just for your organization as a whole, but for each content page that might have useful information for your target audience. For instance, “Cincinnati women’s shelter” might lead people to your organization, but if you offer meaty content on your site, a search on “signs of domestic abuse” might also lead people to you.How do you identify your core keywords? It’s not a science. First off, try to identify phrases that are reasonably specific to your organization. Trying to show up in the top of the search results for “the environment” is likely to be a losing battle, but “measuring river-water quality” is a more achievable goal. In thinking through your keywords, consider: Be careful of duplicate pages.Search engines react badly to duplicate content, as it’s a common ploy of those trying to spam a search engine into better placement. Be careful of structures that show the same page content at multiple URLs (for instance, as a print-friendly version). If multiple versions are important, use the “robots” metatag to specify that additional versions shouldn’t be indexed. Also, take particular care not to set up a site so it can be seen in its entirety at multiple domains (for instance, at both http://www.idealware.org and http://idealware.org) — instead, redirect from one domain to the other. Page text.Repeating your keywords a number of times (but not so many times to annoy your readers, of course) throughout the page text is likely to boost your placement. If you are looking for a comparatively quick way to optimize each page, adding keywords in just the title and description metadata can provide substantial results without a wholesale rewrite of your site.Note that the keywords need to be shown as text. Spiders can’t read images, so any page, header, or feature that’s displayed as a graphic — regardless of how prominent on the page — is invisible to search engines.6. Ensure a Search-Friendly Web Site ArchitectureOkay, we need to delve into a bit of technical detail for a minute. Unfortunately, the detailed structure of a Web site can affect your search engine placement in important ways. If you’re not generally familiar with Web site construction concepts and HTML (the language of Web sites), you may need to flag this section to the attention of a trusted Web developer.Spiders don’t read in the same way that a human would, so it’s important to follow some basic site-structure guidelines to ensure that they can find and read your information: How many keywords should you have? That’s up to you. Ideally, you’d have a least a couple keyword phrases for each page on your site. Some organizations optimize for thousands of keywords. However, starting with just a few phrases and a few pages is far better than nothing.5. Place Keywords in Prime LocationsOnce you’ve identified your priority keywords, the next step is to integrate them into your Web pages. When someone searches on a key phrase, the search engine looks for pages that include prominent mentions of the phrase: ones that contain it a number of times, show it toward the top of the page, and include it in key locations.Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for the time-consuming task of incorporating your keywords into each content page. For each page, consider how you can incorporate your keywords into: Headlines and section titles.Text that is formatted prominently (bigger, bolder, higher on the page) is more likely to affect search engine placement than other text, so keywords will hold more weight in headlines. What search phrases are people using in your domain?Tools like Good Keywords or WordTracker can help you to brainstorm keywords related to the ones you’ve already identified, and to find the phrasing that searchers are most likely to use. Ensure there’s a simple link to every page on your site.JavaScript navigation schemes — particularly ones that use rollovers — can make it hard for spiders to recognize and follow a link. Dynamic URLs, particularly ones that indicate the parameter with a question mark, can also be problematic. If your site is dynamic, consider creating a site index that contains a link to every page. Ideally, convert your dynamic URLs so that they look like static pages with a command like mod_rewrite. What phrases are associated with your organization?Start the keyword process by listing the words and phrases that you’re already using in your marketing materials. The name of your organization is an obvious one, as is the name of any well-known people associated with you. Do you have a tagline or short mission statement that concisely and usefully summarizes what you do? What phrases do you use in that? How are people currently finding you?If you have access to a Web site analytics tool, you can likely see the search engine phrases that people are currently using to find you. These can be a useful starting point in understanding how people search for your information. Think about how you can increase the ease with which you can be found for these phrases, and use them to provide inspiration for more important phrases. Page description metadata.Each page has a “description” field, a longer description of page content that can be accessed in a similar way to the “title” metadata. The description is another important place to include your keywords, and is also sometimes shown by search engines as the description of your page in search results. Page title metadata.Each page has what’s called a “title metadata field,” which controls the text that shows up in header bar at the top of the browser window — and which is also frequently shown as the page title in search engine results. This is one of the most important places to include your keywords. This title field can be edited through the HTML code of the page, or through most methods you might use to update your site — for instance, through Dreamweaver, Contribute, and most content-management systems. Link text.The words used as a link to your page are prioritized highly when the search engines consider that page. Optimize the links within your own site and especially any external links you have control over, for example in your blog, email signatures, social network profiles, and so on. Encourage others to link to you using your keywords — for instance, by providing keyword-heavy titles and descriptions for resources on your site. Include content early in each HTML page.When looking for content keywords, search engines prioritize keywords that show up early in the text of the page — and that text includes all of the HTML code. Try to structure the page so that the HTML code includes the content as early as possible — as opposed to, for instance, including code for complex headers, navigation bars, and sidebars before getting to the actual page text. Use standard header tags.Some search engines prioritize text that is displayed in standard formatting tags such as H1 or H2, so it’s worthwhile using those as opposed to creating custom names for your header styles. Page URL.If you can control the actual filename of the page (e.g. “search_engines.html”), keywords embedded in the URL are also counted as highly relevant. One last caution: avoid tricks. In reading through this article and others, you may think you’ve found loopholes to get higher placement without the work. That’s very unlikely. Search engines spend a huge amount of time trying to preclude shortcuts, and they don’t take kindly to being tricked. If you set up your site in a way that looks to a search engine like you’re trying to fool them, they may remove your site from their listings altogether.7. Keep Your Site FreshSearch engines love new pages. Try to add new stories, reports, news releases, and the like so that search engines feel that your site is frequently updated and thus should be frequently indexed. If your site is rarely updated, it can take months for search engines to find your infrequent new additions.Blogs can be a particularly useful way to easily add new pages to your site — and can also provide great information that encourages links from others (not to mention all the other ways blogs can help in marketing and outreach!).8. Consider Google GrantsSo far, we’ve focused on ways to tweak and optimize your site in order to be listed for free on any search engine. There’s another way, though, to be listed on Google: Google gives away free search-engine advertising (the links listed as “Sponsored Links” down the right side of the search results page) through its Google Grants program.If you’re approved for the program (at the moment, Google appears to be using a non-competitive vetting process, although it can take up to six months or so to hear back), you can place text ads that show up each time someone enters key phrases into the Google search box. The grants often offer enough free advertising to allow you to place ads for hundreds of keywords.Google Grants isn’t a replacement for the steps above. It only affects Google and not other search engines, and many organizations find that an ad to a page doesn’t bring nearly as much traffic as a link to that page from the traditional search results. However, it’s a straightforward process that every nonprofit should consider.9. Be Patient, but Keep Checking InSearch engines don’t respond to changes overnight. In fact, it might take a month or more to see the results of your efforts reflected in search engine results. Don’t give up hope — keep including keywords in new content, and asking other organizations to link to your resources.Once you do see some results, don’t rest on your laurels. The Web is a dynamic place, and new Web sites, new articles, and changing search engine priorities can affect your placement. Check in on the search results for your keywords at least every month or so, to help maintain your position and continue to enhance your strategy.10. Enjoy the Fruits of Your LaborUnfortunately, search engine optimization isn’t a particularly short or easy road. But it’s important to take on at least some of the basic steps — for instance, ensuring your site is linked to from a few well-known sites, and including some of your most important keywords in page titles and headers.When your new donors, volunteers, and clients mention that they found you through Google or Yahoo Search, you’ll be glad you took the time.Many thanks to Heather Gardner-Madras of gardner-madras | strategic creative, Kevin Gottesman of Gott Advertising, and Michael Stein, Internet Strategist, who also contributed to this article.This article is courtesy of Idealware, which provides candid information to help nonprofits choose effective software. For more articles and reviews, go to www.idealware.org.Copyright © 2008 CompuMentor. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.last_img read more