…and here’s what I’ve learned.
- Someone will always know more than you. Sometimes, they actually do. Often, they don’t. Listen to the ones who have actually been there and done that, and then put it into action. The ones who haven’t? Listen to them too. You’ll still probably learn something, but it’s probably not what they’re trying to teach you.
- Help people. No matter what your skill set is, someone could use your help. If they can’t afford you, help them anyhow. It doesn’t always mean working for free. Maybe it’s a introduction to someone who is in their price range. Perhaps it’s just a “try this instead of that” tip. Don’t expect payment, but expect for it to pay off.
- Go big(ger). Sure, you can get work by being the cheapest, but unless you’re just stepping foot into the industry, you don’t always want whatever you can get. Be choosey about who you work with. Turn down jobs that aren’t quite a good fit. Bid for jobs that are bigger than you’ve ever done. Charge more than the other guy, but deliver an excellent product that’s worth paying more for. Someone will take a chance on you, and then you’ve successfully bumped yourself up the food chain of perceived value.
- Don’t spend money on “stuff”. Spend it on growth. You don’t need the newest MacBook Air. You do, however, have to keep up with your competition. Whether it’s a conference, workshop, online training, or whatever; if it’ll help you directly bring more revenue and retain better clients, spend the cash on it.
- Don’t be everything to everybody. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to be oblivious. Don’t try to do it all. Partner with other people who do the things you need well, and stick with what you know. It works out better for everyone that way.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Don’t eat crappy food. Take a walk. It helps you stay productive, focused, and healthy. If you ignore this, your work will be affected.
I learned most of these the hard way. You’ve just learned them the easy way.
Houston, if you don’t know, has one of the best job markets in the country right now. We’re a town rich with industries in the high-tech, medical, and petrochemical/energy fields. Something that’s a great byproduct of this is a strong and prosperous entrepreneurial community. Whether it’s a new-idea-incubation startup, or a creative/tech service like what I do, right now is simply this best possible time and climate to start a business.
Through knowing great folks at places like CulturePilot, Primer Grey, and Ecclesia Church, I’ve come to become connected to a great non-profit organization called C2 Creative. C2 is launching a new creative co-working space in the Montrose area of Houston (just west of Downtown). Ecclesia is proving a great facility for not only a top-notch co-working space, but a great performance/presentation venue, art gallery, and some of the best coffee in Houston.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking for an environment that will help you grow (both mentally and in your business), I’d suggest you check out the memberships. They’re extremely affordable no matter what level of resources you might require.
It’s been pretty commonly agreed for quite a while that PageRank (in the form that’s publically viewable) is a number that just doesn’t match up to the real authority of a particular site. The latest post from the Webmaster Tools blog solidifies that fact that this just isn’t something to base your success metrics on.
The key phrase of the article?
…PageRank comes in a number. Relevance doesn’t.
Anybody with any marked SEM experience would agree that conversions are the ultimate goal. Beyond the obvious (conversion rates, bounce rate, number of conversions), there are a few numerical metrics that I like to keep tabs on.
Domain Authority and Page Authority
Domain Authority is a pretty good indicator of how you’re doing when it comes to building your link profile. Yes, it’s a number, just like PageRank, however, there’s a clear definition of what’s being figured into that number. Inside of Domain Authority, you’ll notice that MozRank, MozTrust, number of linking domains, among others. Page Authority is a similar score, but limited to the single page. The domain’s Domain Authority score is a site-wide average of the Page Authority metrics.
Visit-To-Goal Conversion Rate Trending
You can have all the #1 organic rankings in the world, but if you can’t convert, you may as well just not have a website, right? Far too often, clients are so focused on achieving first place organic rankings that they lose site of why they’re spending money on internet marketing in the first place; to make a sale, a contact, or a lead. Thorough documentation of SEO efforts (dates included) will help you determine with pretty close accuracy as to what is working and what isn’t when it comes to your conversion rate metrics. People tend to overlook high-converting, low competition, long tail keywords because they normally don’t bring an appreciable amount of traffic. However, these quick and easy wins can make the difference between an okay month and a great month of conversions.
Top 100 Keyword Metrics
I like to individually monitor the top 100 keywords that are sending traffic to the site. This could even trickle down to single digit visits, but that’s okay. The goal here is two-fold; we want to make sure that we’re attracting the right traffic by watching the entrance keywords, and then look for areas that we’re not optimizing for that would be yet another easy win. Just so we’re clear, this list is going to naturally morph over time.
Additionally, 100 isn’t a hard limit. Your particular list could be much larger, or even smaller depending on the site. The methods and reasoning is still the same: getting the correct, targeted traffic to the site with the least amount of hassle.
While there are many more metrics that you can and should be monitoring, these three are certainly very (if not the most) important things you should be keeping a close eye on. If you do well in these metrics, you’ll be pleased with your site’s performance (and hopefully, your client will be also).
As of 9AM this morning, I officially joined the
ranks of the unemployed freelance community.
I’ve been keeping a radio silence this weekend to mull over and discuss the situation with a few trusted friends/advisors, and making sure I have everything in order. While TopSpot Internet Marketing has been nothing short of an excellent place to work and learn, my first love has always been my freelance gigs.
To the TopSpot friends I’ve made in my time there: Keep #winning. I’ve learned a lot from everyone there (and hey, maybe I taught someone a thing here and there). I couldn’t have asked for a better company to spend my time with. If you ever need anything, you know how to reach me.
There are two areas that I am specifically passionate about: WordPress and Search Engine Optimization. I like to think that I’m extremely talented in both areas. So, that is how I’ll be (and am) making my income, through providing WordPress-specific consulting and programming, and search engine optimization services.
I’ve got a great network of people that have inspired, helped, and pushed me to go for this goal, whether it’s been through an active interaction, or simply letting me observe them in their natural habitat. I won’t name names here, but thanks for letting me be a part of what you’re doing.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for someone else, for the things that I want to do, a “normal job” certainly isn’t in line with those things. Other than working, I’ve set goals to do a few things: travel to a foreign country (I’ve never been outside of the US), be on a panel or a presenter at SXSW, help build the best WordPress Meetup Group ever, and get in better shape than I’ve probably ever been in. There are plenty of other goals, but these are certainly near the top of the list.
Questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments below.
Shot a few cellphone photos at the Billy Reid American Songwriter Showcase.
I just thought it was fitting that I jot down a short post while sitting in the WordPress/Automattic Lounge area. I met the very knowledgeable Ian Stewart (he is on the theme team for WordPress.com). He gave some good insight on transferring a .com theme to a regular hosted installation (I’ll cover this in more detail at some other point).
Additionally, he alluded to something very interesting around the concept of local WordPress meet up groups, much like the one I’m a part of here in Houston. Hopefully, with enough input from the folks on the ground (us), and the network and reach of the WordPress entity, we’ll start to see a more unified and cohesive message between the user groups.
WordPress is an excellent CMS for building easily edited and updated websites. It also has a well-structured architecture that performs reasonably well and is mostly well-optimized for search engines. However, depending on your use of WordPress, there are a few tips to keep in mind when building your WordPress website.
Well Written Content
Without decent content on a page, getting a page to rank organically is an extremely tough and often fruitless endeavor. Simply stuffing keywords has been proven countless times to cause a page to perform very poorly, and provides no real value to a human who finds your page. The best rule of thumb is to write for people first, and fill their need before considering any SEO implications.
Use An SEO-Optimized Theme
The core of WordPress is pretty good by itself when it comes to structuring content for SEO considerations. However, the bulk of the work falls upon the theme (also called a “template”). Many of the more common frameworks (like Genesis and Thesis) are very well constructed and perform very well in respect to SEO. Some even have configurable settings dedicated to common parameters that may need to be tweaked for optimization purposes.
Use An SEO Plugin
While the optimization of many of the popular theme frameworks is fairly well thought out, there are many important details that the theme simply cannot control. Robots.txt files, .htaccess editing, and XML sitemap files are all important for proper crawling and indexation. Most of the better SEO plugins for WordPress (Yoast’s WordPress SEO, SEO Ultimate, and Platinum SEO) can control these natively. If you prefer another SEO plugin that cannot access these settings, there are tons of standalone plugins for each of these functions.
There are thousands of SEO tools and plugins available, but keeping these three simple tips will be a great start to optimizing your WordPress blog or website for SEO.