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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Category: do it yourself (page 3 of 14)

What’s new with SEO? – Search Experience Optimization Workshop 2015

SEO-search-experience-optimization

Learning the basics of SEO can help you get found on the web. Not knowing it will make sure you aren’t.

Being found on the web is getting harder and harder to do.

The big brands are finally catching up to how the search engines see them and they are now putting substantial budgets into paid and organic search and social campaigns in order to be found on the first page of Google (for their important keywords).

So how do you compete?

Well, there are a lot of ways to compete but you need to have the basics down first.

In my workshop on search engine optimization or the better term for it, search experience optimization (SEO), I break down the basics and try to shed some light on simple things you can do to make sure the search engines and the people using those search engines see you. Because if they can’t see you, then you don’t exist.

Here’s the deck I used. Now you can flip through the deck if you want but it doesn’t have the text that you’ll have here.

When it comes to SEO, the first thing you have to do is produce good content. I know that sounds silly and like my friend Erik Deckers says, “Telling people to produce good content is stupid.”

That’s so true.

You need good content but you have to understand what makes good content and how to produce it specifically for your desired audience.

I like to say that good content is all about making people laugh, cry or think about your subject matter. If you can do that, then you have exactly what they are looking for. They will read it, watch it and share it.

Sharing is very important in this day and age of social.

Buzzfeed (who is one of the reigning kings of sharing content) talks about how they produce good content. You should read it and try to incorporate what they do to produce it.

If you’ve got the content down, then SEO gets pretty simple.

I like to break it down into these 8 things that you should focus on.

1. Content Strategy is basically what should be on the website when it launches and what will you continue to add to it. This is taking your good content and making sure it is focused on your subject matter. Once you have that down, your website should be able to handle these simple questions for both the users and the search engines.

  • Who You Are
  • What You Do
  • Where You’re Located
  • Your Value Proposition
  • What Visitors Should Do Next

2. Platform Strategy is knowing what devices your content is on and how your users see them. The platforms I believe you should worry about are iOS & Android first. Mobile is how people are connecting them most. I’ll have more on that later. Then you need to verify how you look in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

There are two testing tools I like – www.browserstack.com (paid with free trial) and www.browserling.com (free but more features with paid).

3. Information Architecture is how things are laid out on your website (goals, navigation, search, calls to action). Essentially where the content will go. I love that more and more sites are moving to the “hamburger patty” navigation button and essentially hiding standard navigation.

Instead of driving people’s attention away from the content, the hidden navigation will help get your Call-to-Action noticed more and that’s the whole point of the website, right?

4. Keyword Research will help you understand what terms your users are using to find your type of content. Why guess when the search engines can tell you what terms you should be using and what terms you are currently indexed for.

I like using Google’s Adword Keyword Planner tool as well as Soolve to discover more familiar terms.

5. Usability and User Interface are two separate things but they really revolve around each other. I believe you can’t have good Usability without good User Interface and vice versa.

When I think about usability, I’m worried about how easy is it for a user to navigate the site? Do they understand your Call-to-Action? Are they incentivized to do it?

6. When I’m thinking about User Interface, you should be focused on the mobile website vs. the desktop for the first experience. The mobile version in responsive design will really teach you what is most important then you can focus on that when you start doing the desktop design. You should be focused on touch (thumb size) instead of mouse clicks as well as more and more screens become touch sensitive.

Color/design mean everything to the user. Check out my post on digital body language to understand more of how to be intentional with everything the user sees so they will do what you want them to do.

7. Accessibility is important because everyone should be able to view your content including those with disabilities. I’ve been told that up to 25% of your audiences can have vision problems and you can help them by making your website 508 compliant.

Check out 508checker.com and boia.org to help you get 508 compliant.

8. Last but definitely not lead is Inbound Links. These are the amount and strength of other websites hyperlinking to your website. The more you have based on your subject matter, the more the search engines will look to you as an authority in that subject matter.

You used to be able to manipulate these inbound links with blog farms and other black hat techniques but the search engines, especially Google, is constantly on the hunt to keep their search from being gamed. So it’s better to just focus on great content and asking people to link/talk about you on their websites.

You should definitely have a distribution strategy to execute upon when you put out great content. I love using email, social networks, blogging networks, etc… to encourage people to visit the content when we get it up on the website.

Now let’s touch on tools I use to find out what’s going on with the website.

First there’s Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

I have an article on how you can get them both set up and connected together.

google-webmaster-tools

Search Queries that lead to people finding your website

Once you have that you can start looking at what you are being found for currently and then adjusting to be found for other keywords.

Google Webmaster Tools will also let you sort of control your most popular navigational links so you should have know what those are.

Also Google Webmaster tools is going to tell you a lot about how Google sees your website, from mobile experience to your 404 broken link / missing page issues.

Speaking of 404 broken links and missing pages, I use Xenu to scan websites and get a report of what’s wrong with them so I can check. It’s simple program (free) that anyone on a PC can download. Since I’m on a mac I use Wine to run the program.

Here’s a link to my article on how to fix 404 issues.

Fixing 404 Broken Links

Just go into your CMS and fix the links.

Next up with SEO tactics are your images. It’s pretty simple to fix these. All you need is a process. I would not recommend going back and fixing all your image SEO problems unless the images are on your most popular pages. You can find what your most popular pages are in your Google Analytics. Just click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and you’ll get a list.

Here’s my article on how to fix images to make them SEO friendly.

Cow In A Grass Field

Cow eating grass in a green field

Finally let’s talk about website Title Tags and Meta Description. You should use real keywords within your Title Tags because the domain URL is going to be very important to the search engines. They especially don’t like numbers or non-sensical titles.

Meta-Descriptions have been seriously downgraded for SEO if they were even a part of the search algorithm in the first place but they are seriously important to the Google Snippet which people read about the page they are visiting. If you don’t fill this out, Google will pull any text on the page that it thinks describes the website. You don’t want that to happen.

Here’s my post on how to do Title Tags and Meta-Descriptions.

Page Title

Page Titles are probably the most important piece of SEO you can do.

So this was my workshop on Search Experience Optimization (former Search Engine Optimization). Do you have things you would like to add to it?

How do you make a movie with the iMovie App on the iPhone 6?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about content (mainly video) recently – probably because I’ve been encouraging people to use video more and more since the social networks are making video more popular than ever. So I wanted to show you how to make a simple movie or video using the iPhone 6 iMovie App.

This is mainly just images but I thought that would be the easily way to show you how to do it. And I like “How To” article that are mainly pics and just a bit of text.

With this article I’ll be building a quick tutorial on doing a “talking head” video with added B-roll and photos. It’s not as hard as it looks and the software is very forgiving so why don’t you give it a try! The video is above.

 

01-imovie-open-app

Open the app. Click the Plus on the bottom right.

 

02-imovie-select-movie

Select Movie instead of Trailer. Trailer adds movie trailer like sequences to your iMovie. Sometimes this is a lot of fun.

 

03-imovie-select-style

Select Your Style. I like Modern.

 

04-imovie-touch-video

Touch the video/music icon on the middle left.

 

05-imovie-click-all

Click all to see your movies.

 

06-imovie-select-video-to-edit

Select the video you want to edit.

 

07-imovie-select-download

Select the download button to get it into the iMovie program.

 

08-imovie-scroll-right

Scroll all the way to the right. Hit the “Play” button to watch the movie play.

 

09-imovie-select-timeline-adjust

Where the arrow is pointing is your timeline – touch the video and it will highlight in yellow.

 

10-imovie-trim-start

Trim the video bar by touching the video and dragging the thick yellow bar over. You’ll also notice an option menu at the bottom of the program.

 

11-imovie-detact-audio

With the video highlighted, select the scissors icon and then “Detach”. This will remove the audio from the video section. You should see a blue line representing the audio track.

 

12-imovie-audio-separated

With the audio track separated, you can add what you want to the video track like photos or other B-roll video.

 

13-imovie-add-name

Let’s add a name. Listen to the audio and select where you would like the name to disappear. Click on the video and then click Split.

 

14-imovie-select-text

Then you’ll select the frames you’ll want to see the text on. Select the “T” icon and then the style of text action and the location of where you want the text to be. I selected Gravity Style and Lower location.

 

15-imovie-type-text

Next you select the text that shows up on the video screen. The keyboard will appear and you can type what you want.

 

16-imovie-add-broll

Now we can add B-roll. Select the location to add the video just like you did before. Select the Scissors Icon. Select Split. Select the Video/Music icon and then add the video you want.

 

17-imovie-select-dissolve

Select the “Dash” icon and then select the action buttons for “Dissolve”. You can pick what you want but dissolve seems to work the best for B-roll.

 

18-imovie-select-broll-audio

Now we need to remove the B-roll audio. Select the added B-roll frames. Select the “Scissors” icon and then touch “Detact”. Once you have the second line of audio (below your first audio track), select that one to highlight yellow and then touch “Delete”.

 

19-imovie-match-audio

This is probably the hardest part of doing video. You need to match the audio track and the video by dragging the video track of the frames after the B-roll. This will take some time with trial and error. CHEAT TIP: You can scroll back and forth from the end of the video to where the B-roll is and trim the video so that the end of the video matches.

 

 

21-imovie-fade-to-black

We’re almost done. Now let’s add a “Fade-to-Black” at the end of the video. Scroll to the end of the video and select the “Gear” icon at the bottom right.

 

22-imovie-fade-to-black-switch

Pretty simple. Just slide the switch for “Fade-to-Black” over.

 

23-imovie-name-movie

Now let’s name the movie. Select the left arrow to go back to our project name. Select the text in the center and it will bring up the keyword. Delete the fake movie name and type what you want.

 

24-imovie-save-video

Save your movie by touching the upload button.

 

25-imovie-select-video-save

Select where you would like to place your movie. I always save to the phone first.

 

26-imovie-select-resolution

Select your resolution and Ta-Da, your video is done. I would recommend saving anything worth keeping to higher resolution. Quick videos that aren’t keepsakes can be just large format to save space.

 

That’s it. If you have any questions or need some clarification I would be happy to help. Just leave your questions in the comments or you can hit me up on social media.

Below are videos I’ve made on this  as well.

How to start a project in iMovie

 

How to do basic editing in iMovie

 

How to  add b-roll in iMovie

 

How to add photos in iMovie

 

How to add and edit text in iMovie

 

How to save a video from projects in iMovie

 

 

Seven Steps On How To Build A Farm Website Yourself

death star website

Your website is the only thing you truly own.

Recently I’ve been asked a lot of questions about building your own website. Farmers have been asking me if they can do it.

The answer is, of course, you can.

Is it hard? Nope, not compared to back in the day (mid 90’s) when you had to handcode everything. Websites are much easier to build and there’s several companies that would love to do it for you like Wix or Square Space.

But if you want to DIY it. Here’s how I would go about it.

1. Get your content together first!

  • Get photos
  • Write the text
  • Make some videos

Honestly you would not believe how many people want to jump right into the website build without any content prepared. How do you know what you want to say?

When it comes to a print brochure, you never start the design without having the content. The content is crucial to the design. Websites are no different. Start with the content first!

What content is normal? I would see these as navigational items on a dairy farm website followed by what question it answers for the customer.

  • Milk Production – How is milk made?
  • Animal Care – How do cows live?
  • Our Community – What is it like where you live?
  • About Our Farm – What else is on your farm? How does it run?
  • Contact Us – How do I ask another question?
  • Journal/blog – How can I see what it is really like to live on a farm 24/7?

 

fair-oaks-website

Fair Oaks Call To Action – VISIT THE FARM

2. Think about what you want people to do or know about your farm.

This is your CALL TO ACTION. Make this the most important call out on the website. Think about these questions when you are putting it together.

  • Do you want people to reach out to you if they have questions?
  • Do you want people to visit the farm? Maybe take a tour?
  • Do you want people to sign up for an email list – you can give them updates on the farm, share recipes, tell them when BLANK is going on…
wordpress-logo

WordPress.com or WordPress.org are both good choices for small sites

3. Should you setup with wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org? Well, that depends.

First you need to ask yourself “why” you want to self host. Here’s a general list of pros and cons.

Pros
– you have almost full control
– you can add content pretty easily
– lots of people use wordpress so there’s a ton of help online
– lots of design templates to choose from

Cons
– can be complicated to set up
– there are monthly costs (domain and hosting)
– can be limiting down the road if you need more features
– there are always updates that you need to be installing

Why I initially went with wordpress.com?

  1. No cost
  2. No worries on set up
  3. Search engines love WP.com

Why I switched:

  1. I wanted more control over the plugins I could use.
  2. The costs are very small.
  3. I wanted to capture email addresses and have more control over the design.

Personally, if you are new to blogging or websites, I recommend wordpress.com. It’s a lot easier to set up and get going.

If you are looking for something even easier than wordpress – I recommend blogger or tumblr.

But if you really want to use wordpress.org and control your own website then I recommend using WP Beginner or WP Learner. Read through the beginning steps before starting.

If you select, wordpress.org you can buy your domain through them or buy it through another company like 1and1.com. These are not affiliate links – I just happen to use them.

You’ll also need hosting. You can buy that through several companies. The guides will explain all of this. There are many companies out there and I’ve used GoDaddy, Hostgator and Rackspace to name a few.

4. Selecting a good design template
Both wordpress.com and .org have great templates. There are several things that I’m looking for in a template.

  1. Mobile friendly/optimized. More people are reading with their portable devices and you don’t want to be a pain for them.
  2. Clean design focused on large photos/graphics. Don’t get something to clutter – the user’s eye won’t focus on the content you want them to.
  3. The ability to add right or left side widgets but not both. I like sharing widgets how to connect with me and capture email as well as show them what posts are popular.

5. Make time to write once a month or more.
Putting time on the calendar is the most important thing. Block the time it takes and spend the time it takes. Don’t underestimate the time because then you’ll blow it off. You are going to need a few hours for your first posts. After that it gets easier.

What topics should you write about? Well, that depends.
Everyone is going to tell you to write about your passion which I assume is your farm. I write about marketing and how to do it better. That keeps me going.

But if you want to attract an audience, which I’m pretty sure you want to do then you should be writing about what your customers want to know about farming.

Most farmers I know are awesome storytellers and you should incorporate that into your writing. If the topic is animal care, then don’t just bullet point the checklist you follow for cow health.

Write a story about how you accomplished the checklist or what went wrong and how you fixed it. Nobody wants talking points – they want to laugh, cry or think about what happened on the farm. And some days a picture can be all that is necessary to convey this.

What topics would I focus on?
Animal Care, dairy farming activities, struggles and successes, how the community plays a role in the farm, how you play a role in the community, what you feed your family, what you do for fun with the family, how you are improving your farm, your opinion on just about anything, what hobbies you have…remember most people are pretty far removed from the farm and they are intrigued with the lifestyle.

6. Set up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
After you get the website up and running, it’s time to add some tools that will make your life easier.

Add Google Analytics – this will let you know what people are doing on the website. Where they are going, what they like, what they are sharing, where they are coming from.

Add Google Webmaster Tools – this will tell you how the website is performing in Google’s search engine eyes. Can they search it effectively? What keywords are people searching on and finding your website? What pages are broken? All sorts of great stuff and it’s free.

7. Getting exposure.
The final step is probably the toughest when it comes to having a website. How are people going to find it? While I have a few steps you can do, I’m definitely going to be writing a larger post about getting your website out there but in the meantime here’s a few tips.

  • Share your posts on social media as much as you can. I hate to bust your bubble but most people don’t see everything you post – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. So I would be oversharing as opposed to undersharing. And by social media, there is more than just Facebook out there. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, etc… If you are serious about blogging, then you need to be serious about using social media for the exposure and interaction.
  • Share with the search engines. You can use pingomatic.com to post and it will ping the search engines to come check out your content. BTW, Google normally visits a site once a month until you get popular then they could visit a few times a day.
  • Share via email. When you are first starting out, it’s ok to spam the family until they get tired. Make sure to ask them to share as well. You never know who they are all connected with.

OK, well that’s basically it for the beginner level. If you have questions along the way, feel free to hit me up and I’ll try and answer them. You can leave a comment below or just email me using the links on the right hand side.

Good luck. Can’t wait to see your site!

How do you get more followers on Twitter?

don-schindler-twitter-profile-2014

Follow Me On Twitter!

After you’ve been using twitter for a while, you tend to slow down in follower gains. You usually get a burst of attention, gain 100 or so followers and then it drops off and you’ll only gain a few followers every week if that.

So how do you get more people to follow you?

The main thing is being an active member of the larger Twitter community. Here are my slides from my Twitter 201 class that I’m teaching during National Dairy Board’s Joint Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Hotel.

 

 

 

Active members add more content – contributing to the conversations online.

I recommend adding video and images if you can – farmers have the best pictures (there’s so much to see on the farm) and your consumers definitely love to check it out.

Video and images don’t need to be perfect but they do need to be real. Posing is ok for stock photos but showing the nitty-gritty of life on the farm is where it’s at.

@gilmerdairy (Will Gilmer) has really mastered the art of sharing videos and pictures of his farm geared for his customer (not other farmers). He answers all the questions that pop up in the comments as well.

Active members join twitter chats – they get involved instead of just stalking, retweeting or favoriting.

While this can get you noticed, you’ll gain more followers by having an opinion (a respectful opinion, mind you) and be open to having a conversation about your opinion.

@dairycarrie (Carrie Mess) offers her thoughts and opinions and it’s really worked to gain her a following.

Active members know the trends that are happening – you don’t need to jump into Justin Bieber’s antics but if the trend matches, why not jump into the conversation. This isn’t about Newsjacking – it’s about relevant insights to the trends.

Use Trends24 to see what’s going on or Trendsmap to find out what’s happening in your area.

Hashtagify will help you once you have entered in a popular hashtag to see what other hashtags people are using as well. It’s also got a pretty cool interface to play with.

Active members frequently engage with their twitter followers – when it comes to engaging with Twitter, I don’t use Twitter.com anymore. While I think the Twitter app for iPhone isn’t bad, I normally use other apps as well to engage. Here are a few of my favorites.

Hootsuite – this website is how I engage with my Twitter Lists (What’s a Twitter List? It’s the only way to manage who you are following and here’s how to set them up).

Hootsuite also allows you to send content to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. This just makes it easier sometimes when you want to share and don’t want to jump to other applications.

Tweetdeck is another favorite of mine. This is actually an application so you don’t need a browser window open. Much like Hootsuite you can manage lists and conversations.

Tweetcaster, Hootsuite and Twitter mobile applications are what I use on my iPhone. Each serve a different purpose and all are free. I really like how Tweetcaster is set up but it’s your choice on how you want to engage.

Within Hootsuite, I’ve also set up a separate list for just questions people might be tweeting. If you add a “stream” and then select “search” and put in terms like “chocolate milk” or “dairy farming” and then add a ?, you’ll start seeing questions from people about these topics. What a great way to jump into a conversation with someone as the expert (which you are).

Another way to gain more followers is to get yourself out on some Twitter directories. Let’s face it – the search on Twitter isn’t that great but you can set yourself up to be found by getting your profile on these lists.

A couple of prominent lists are Twellow and WeFollow. Add yourself the categories and you’ll see more followers headed your way – especially for farmers. There are so few categories and farmers out there.

Another tip is to use Twiangulate to see who is following other people that you might want to follow. I dropped Ray Prock and Dairy Carrie into Triangulate to see who was following both of them. Not as many as you would think but you can then see who it is and follow them.

Once you are following a lot of people (you can follow up to 2000 without having any followers – after that it is a certain percentage that you need to have following you back to be able to follow more – this keeps the spam down), you’ll want to use a third party website to analyze your followers/following and then clean it up from time to time. No need to follow people who aren’t tweeting anymore. Manageflitter and Tweepi are a couple of my favorites as well as tweet.

Analyzing your content is also a great thing and will help you learn what works and what doesn’t on Twitter. I really like Twitter Ads – just click on the analytics tab to see how you are doing. There’s also Twtrland (which can also help you find people to follow) and Twitonomy.

Tweetreach is a fun tool as well to see how many people have seen the hashtags you are using.

Finally, using hashtag aggregator tools like Tagboard and Hashtagr can help you pull all the content around a hashtag to see if it’s something you want to amplify or just see what’s popular and give you ideas about what to be posting.

So what are your favorite ways of getting more followers on Twitter? I’d be happy to share them here.

Is public trust of farming and agriculture going up or down?

how-americans-feel-about-farming Using a new tool called infogr.am, I created this quick little interactive infographic to see how long it would take to build an interesting set of stats.

It only took a few minutes and I’m happy with the results.

So what do you think, up or down – to me, it says farming and agriculture is an industry I trust. They feed me several times a day and while sometimes there are food recalls, I’m not scared of anything in my kitchen.

Great job, farmers. I really appreciate the hard work you do along with the food industry.

All data was taken from Gallup Polls. Great company, good data.

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