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4 Tips for Boosting Your Site’s SEO

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When it comes to choosing good search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, it is important to avoid falling into bad habits that can actually harm the traffic your websites receives. Although keywords are still the strongest pillars of any SEO strategy, the old approach of simply peppering your content with certain keywords is no longer effective. Here are four fresh practices you can use to boost the SEO factor of your websites and see an incredible increase of hits.

Always be original

The current Google search algorithm is not kind upon websites that feature duplicate content. If you must copy content across various pages in your site, make sure it is less than a paragraph and that it does not contain keywords; Google can spot this attempt at boosting relevance and flags it as negative. With this in mind, you should never copy content from other sources, and you should always try to inject an original angle into the content you publish. If your website is an ecommerce store that sells jewelry, you should produce original content related to fashion, precious stones, and lifestyle.

Choose the right hosting package

If you want a quick boost to on the Google search engine results page (SERP), you will want to move your websites to the fastest host you can find. In today’s highly competitive business world, people will click away from a site that has not fully loaded within three seconds. We want fast page speeds; most consumers want to be able to view the items they’re browsing as soon as possible or they lose interest. A bonus recommendation for WordPress websites would be to install the Accelerated Mobile Pages plugin and take advantage of this Google preference.

Spend time on keyword research

Now that Google evaluates every search result from a semantic point of view, strategic keyword research is more important than ever. The best modern approach is to look at the long-tail keyword phrases and try every possible variation. The advantage of long-tail keyword marketing that is rich in synonyms and equivalent phrases is that this practice leads to better conversion rates. Google knows when your written content is on topic; if your website promotes a pizza delivery business, you are better off publishing interesting and topical articles than just trying to fit keywords within long articles.

Network to get quality inbound links

Getting high-authority sites to link to your online properties requires networking and making connections. If your site promotes a local, brick-and-mortar business, you should try to get the attention of local news websites because they tend to be connected to larger news organizations; this networking effort may one day lead to quality inbound links. If you can get a more authoritative site to link to yours, whether because you do business with them or some other connection, this step can greatly help your site’s SEO.

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5 Steps to Take to Keep Your Blog Secure

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Are you doing enough to protect your blog from cyber attacks and intrusion? It’s frustrating when you invest countless hours into your blog, only to discover that it’s been compromised by a hacker. Maybe the hacker is redirecting your blog to another website, or perhaps they are using your blog to deploy malware, or maybe it’s simply a vindictive way to mess with you, possibly for no reason. No matter why your blog ends up compromised, it’s certainly something you want to prevent. Here are some steps to take to avoid this issue happening to you.

#1) Use a strong password

Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong password. According to a Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, 63 percent of data breaches are attributed to weak or stolen passwords. To safeguard your blog from intrusion, create a strong and unique password that consists of letters, numbers and special characters. You can make one yourself or you can use an online password generating site that gives you a long, completely random group of characters.

#2) Update CMS and files

Using an outdated content management system (CMS) or other associated files on your blog can open the doors for hackers. They often target blogs and websites using outdated files because they can be exploited. So, keep your blog updated to protect against cyber attacks, which often entails downloading the latest security as well. If your blog uses WordPress, for instance, you should update the WordPress core files as well as all themes and plugins.

#3) Create unique username

Granted, the default “admin” username is probably easier to remember than a unique username, but it also increases the risk of intrusion. A common tactic used by hackers to infiltrate websites involves the use of software to continuously and automatically spam different username and password variations. Known as brute force attack, it’s more effective when used against blogs in which the admin has the “admin” username. If the hacker knows the admin’s username, he or she only has to crack the password.

Whether your blog uses WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or any other CMS, don’t use the “admin” username. Instead, make a unique username that’s different than the name publicly displayed on your blog.

#4) Web hosting

What web host does your blog use? Choosing the cheapest hosting provider may sound like a good way to save money, but it could open the doors to cyber attacks and intrusion.

Shared web hosts often contain thousands of websites, meaning other webmasters have access to the server. Avoid using shared web hosting for your blog and instead either use a virtual private or dedicated server.

#5) Enable two-step verification

Finally, consider enabling two-step verification on your blog. As the name suggests, this involves two steps to log into your blog. In addition to entering a password, you may be required to enter a PIN sent to your smartphone or email address. You can learn more about two-step verification for WordPress here.

Following these tips will help lock down your blog from potential cyber attacks. And once it’s secure, you can get back to what really matters: publishing content and attracting readers.

 

5 Ways to Dispose of Old Technology

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We all have older electronics we no longer use. More often than not, we end up letting these items sit in a drawer or closet because we simply don’t know what to do with them. Most people update their phones every couple of years, but hold on to the older models. We also seem wary of getting rid of laptops, even if the data is backed up. When you purchase a new tv, what do you do with the old one? It’s something not many people know much about, because getting rid of older electronics can be a bit complicated depending what it is and often requires special steps. You cannot simply throw your desktop from the early 2000s in the trashcan and not worry about it.

Sell it to someone

If the technology you’re getting rid of is still functional, but you’ve replaced it with something more up-to-date, you might want to consider selling it. You can easily post on Facebook groups or other online forums or download an app that allows you to sell items. There are lots of options out there and people are always looking for a good deal. Remember, before selling any electronic device, make sure you wipe it clear of your data so no one learns your personal information.

Donate it to charity

Instead of selling an item, maybe you feel more inclined to donate it. Or maybe it isn’t in great condition, but still usable. Regardless, donating technology to charity is great, but make sure you aren’t unloading a useless piece of tech on a charity. Before donating, make sure it’s usable or can be easily fixed and where you’re donating the electronic actually takes these kinds of donations. There are also more niche donation organizations that specialize in tech and can likely repair any minor issues.

Learn about restrictions

There are some electronics you can simply throw out, but before attempting to do so or donating it, make sure you learn about any descriptions regarding the item. Maybe it was recalled for some flaw or there might be toxic parts that could leak in the landfill. Donating electronics are usually your best option because they can be properly dealt with.

Use parts that are still good

Once you learn about any potentially toxic parts of your electronic, you can possibly use some of the parts for something else. If you have a decent understanding of how electronics work and are put together, you might be able to recycle some of the parts from your old device and then properly dispose of whatever’s left over.

Find an electronics store

If you’re looking for a specialized donation center that makes getting rid of electronics simple, head to your local electronics store. Best Buy has an entire program focused on taking old electronics that no one wants anymore and may even give you some money depending on the type of electronic and the condition it’s in. Do your research and then see if you can drop of your old technology at your local store.

6 Tips for Fantastic Networking

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No matter what profession you’re in, you’re going to have to network to some degree, especially if you’re just starting out in your career. Even if you’ve already landed the job, you’ll want to create connections with your coworkers and superiors and others in your industry. You’ll likely eventually want to move to a better opportunity, whether within your company or at another, so you’ll need to rely on your networking skills to make a good impression. A lot of your career success depends on your skills and experience, but a lot also depends on how you can connect with others. Learn how to win at networking each time and see how it influences your career success.

Tap into your current network

One of the best places to begin establishing new connections is with your current network. Do not be afraid to ask your friends or coworkers if they know anyone with the same interests or career goals as you. Think of your ideal job and see if you have any mutual connections with someone in that position. It’s also beneficial to go to networking events with other people, as long as you make an effort to branch out once you’re there.

Attend plenty of events

Making yourself attend networking or company events, even if you don’t know anyone else there, will be incredibly beneficial to you in the long run. You’re able to meet new people and even if you don’t talk to dozens of people at the event, you’ll become a familiar face if you’re a regular at networking events. People are more likely to hire someone that they know than a complete stranger.

Listen intently to others

Once you begin having meaningful conversations with new connections, make sure you’re actually listening to what they’re saying instead of advocating for yourself and advertising your business. People love talking about themselves and really appreciate those they view as good listeners.

Ask questions and be personable

While listening, make sure you also ask questions and are personable while networking. Make yourself seem open and actually interested in what the person is saying. Remember personal details about them and seamlessly work in common interests or experiences the two of you may have. If you’re easy to talk to, people will want to connect with you.

Connect with all kinds of people

No matter what industry you work in, connect with all kinds of different people. Even if you’re in completely different professions, you could still make a sincere and genuine connection with someone and help each other out in some unexpected way. The more diverse your network of connections, the better.

Follow up afterwards

One of the most important steps of networking is to make sure you follow up after the initial connection is made. Ask for a time you can grab coffee or set up a phone conversation to continue talking. Make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn and other professional social media sites. Following up shows you’re sincere about your interest and it’ll help both of you remember your meeting.

6 Ways to Boost Your Productivity

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I’ve previously written about some of the best organizational apps, but I’d like to offer other ways to improve your productivity outside of simple apps to use on your phone. There are an endless amount of articles floating around on the internet offering ways to become more productive. However, I don’t feel like writing another article on the topic is redundant. I believe these articles are so numerous because people genuinely want to know how to increase productivity since they’re struggling with achieving this goal on their own. No matter what your job, it’s hard for anyone to focus on a task for 8+ hours a day. While you will need to take breaks and switch your focus, there are certainly ways you can improve your productivity. Here are some tips on how to get through the mid-afternoon slump and keep producing quality work.

Time yourself

Many people don’t realize how much time they actually spend distracted by something unrelated to what they’re trying to accomplish. Instead of allowing yourself to fall into this trap, time yourself when you’re working on a larger project. If you know something should take around an hour, but find yourself constantly checking your phone, you’ll realize how much time you’re wasting not focusing. Knowing you’re being timed helps you focus on the task at hand.

Take breaks

This tip might sound counterproductive, but if you try to constantly be on task, you’re going to get distracted. Take short breaks every hour or two and make sure you take time to get outside and go for a short walk. You’ll find it’s much easier to focus on what needs to get done once you’ve cleared your head.

Set deadlines

Even if you don’t have an actual deadline for a task, set one for yourself. Much like timing yourself, knowing you need to finish your project in an hour or by the end of the day helps motivate you to actually get it done. Reward yourself once you stick to your deadline and you’ll find your productivity level is much higher.

Do small tasks ASAP

Many people continuously put off small tasks believing they aren’t as important as other pressing deadlines or projects. Instead, if something takes you less than 15 minutes to complete, do it as soon as you learn about it. Send that email or make a call so you don’t keep putting it off until you forget about it.

Avoid meetings

Meetings have a tendency to waste our time, so don’t fall into this trap. If you’re running your own business, try to avoid meetings as much as possible, or make them incredibly concise. If you feel there is an unnecessary meeting, ask if you can be sent a short recap email or document that covers the main points. Having a tangible copy of meeting highlights usually makes it easier to remember than simply listening to someone drone on about a topic.

Take care of yourself

If you aren’t getting enough rest or eating correctly, you’ll find your productivity level suffers. Getting to sleep at a regular hour each night and taking time to step back from your work and do something you enjoy is important for your productivity level. It’s also important to keep a balanced diet and regularly exercise.

How to Extend Your Phone’s Battery

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This question is one of the most common amongst smartphone users. We cannot live without our phones and they help us out in virtually every area of our lives. When you first get a new phone, you might not have to charge it for a day or two and never worry about it dying while you’re out to dinner or traveling. Unfortunately, this honeymoon phase always ends, much more quickly than we’d imagine. Soon, you’re babying your phone and keeping it plugged in every time you’re near an outlet. You’ve probably ordered multiple portable chargers only to realize you forgot to charge them and your phone’s about to die while you’re waiting on an important call. While there is not a guaranteed solution to these issues with smartphone’s batteries, here are some tips that can make yours last longer.

Reduce brightness

Unless you’re in direct sunlight, setting your phone’s brightness to a lower level will be fine. As long as you can see the screen, the lowest brightness level possible is ideal. So much of a phone’s battery life is used for the screen, so a lower brightness helps extend your battery. As an extra bonus, it’s less of a stress on your eyes if you’re not staring at a brightly lit screen.

Turn off Bluetooth

The jury is out on whether or not location services and WiFi significantly wear down your battery, but Bluetooth certainly does. If your phone is constantly searching for and maintaining a Bluetooth connection, you’re more likely to get a warning that it needs to be charged than if you were disconnected.

Avoid letting it die

One of the worst things you can do to your phone is constantly let its battery drain to zero. Letting the battery completely die puts a lot of stress on your phone and wears down the overall integrity of the battery.

Keep battery temperature ideal

Another issues smartphone users often run into is their battery not being at an ideal temperature. Sometimes, when charging, your phone may feel like it’s getting hot. If this occurs, unplug it, turn it off, and let it cool down. It’s also important to keep your phone out of direct sunlight or harsh winter conditions.

Use airplane mode

When possible, put your phone in airplane mode. If you need to focus on a task at hand, it’s the perfect time to use airplane mode so you won’t be disturbed. When you’re sleeping or if you’re going to be away from your phone for a period of time, consider utilizing airplane mode then as well.

Set to silent

You might not realize it, but setting your phone to vibrate actually takes up a fair amount of battery power. Instead, place your phone on silent unless you’re anticipating a seriously important call. You likely check your phone often enough that you’ll notice any new messages or notifications shortly after receiving them anyway.

While many people agree on these tips, there is currently no foolproof way to always make your phone battery last 24 hours. It’s not an exact science, but these small changes can help a bit and hopefully lower the stress on your battery overall.

How to Help New Hires Reach Their Sales Goals

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If you want to help new hires reach their sales goals, it starts with smart, proper training. However, creating a training strategy isn’t an easy process. There are lots of steps and careful thought that must go into creating a training program. Sometimes in an effort to meet training objectives, companies can forget how important it is to make sure employees are well taken care of. Follow these tips for successful training to set your sales team on the right path.

Start on the right foot

Instead of hiring the person you think is right for the job and assuming everything will work out from there, you have to engage your employees from the very beginning. Every employee, no matter how well-suited they are for the job, should go through an extensive training process. However, depending on their background and experience, they may be able to move through it at a different pace than the other new hires.

Choosing how involved training is

The type of industry you’re in or your specific company determines the type of training that’s best for your employees. Some training programs ask employees to go right into the field and start participating in the sales process. Other companies, though, feel it’s best to start training in a classroom setting or through e-learning. You may also want to combine the two approaches: start with a classroom setting and then send new hires into the field when you feel they’re ready.

Best training in reality

One of the best ways to ensure success once the new hire is finished with training is to put them in as many real world scenarios as possible. Even if you’re not going to send them into the field, you can have them role play in order to prepare them for the job. For example, you may want your new employees to deliver sales pitches to management so they get used to doing it and can receive feedback at the same time.

Let new hires accelerate

It’s important to have a comprehensive training program, but management should also be able to recognize when a new hire can move more swiftly through the process. Acceleration or the option to test out of certain training aspects should be offered to employees who already have experience in the industry or in sales. Moving these employees through training more quickly can actually improve their learning experience, not detract from it.

Well-planned, properly-executed training sessions are one of the best ways to ensure sales success for new hires.