Saving Money the Smart Way

There is really no point in trying to save money if you put it in one end and let it leak out the other. Your home can be the biggest cause of money leaching out of your bank accounts. Unexpected expenses are one thing, but when you let your energy escape month after month through drafty windows, leaky doors, inadequate attic insulation and walls that aren’t insulated properly, you are letting yourself in for a surprise at the end of the month. The monies you thought you were going to stash away are suddenly not there because of a $300 heating bill or a $400 air conditioning bill.
The answer to this impending misery is to stop all the leakage of savings and income by doing something about the ever-rising energy bills that your home is incurring. You can address the supply, as in using solar energy instead of the natural gas company or oil deliveries, or you can address the demand by helping your existing hvac use less energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer without overburdening your budget or working harder than it has to.
There are lots of ways to go about this. We like spray foam because of its superior insulating value. There are two types depending on whether you need a vapor barrier too. You’ll want a vapor barrier in moist areas like the basement or an attic but you don’t really need it for walls unless you are insulating a wet area like a bathroom. This choice allows you to choose not only insulating value, but air and moisture movement level that you want. It does cost a bit more up front, but if you expect to be in your home for many years to come, then you will save money every single month and that will add up over time. In fact, you can boast about your low heating and cooling bills to prospective home buyers when you eventually decide to sell your home. For them, it may have enough value to offer a higher price for your more energy efficient home.
You’ve now saved money in the present and may make more in the future. A win win.

Structure is Important

Your site can be easy to navigate for consumers, but is it easy to navigate for search engines?  Not all sites take into consideration the affect that certain site structures have on the bots that crawl your site nightly, or at least frequently.  Make it too difficult, and they might not visit as often.  Make it easy and you may find that your pages get indexed quickly and more of them get indexed.

What we are referring to is something called siloing.  Think of a silo that you might see in a farmer’s field.  The silo has layer upon layer of corn or another crop.  All corn, just stacked up one kernel on top of another until the top of the silo is reached and it can’t hold any more.

To know what is in the silo you don’t have to dig down to make sure that every kernel is a corn kernel.  You know from looking at the top that the entire silo is filled with corn.  A website silo accomplishes the same thing:  everything in the silo is related to the same subject.  So if your silo is about kitchen cabinetry, then every page in that silo is about cabinets, the types of wood used, the types of hardware available, the cabinetry door profiles, how to construct a cabinet, how to hang a cabinet, installation techniques, and so on.

Each silo page links to the other pages in the silo.  They all relate.  So someone landing on a page about cabinetry hardware, might also want to know how to install that hardware, and voila! There is another page on the silo menu about installing cabinet pulls or hinges.  If your site is organized in silos such as this, search engines have very little trouble figuring out what the silo is about, and what the pages are about.  They see you have a lot of pages about this topic, they all relate thematically, the words used all relate to kitchen cabinetry in some way, and they give you “ranking credit” for the fact that you have made it easy for them and for searchers to find the information that they need.

The ranking benefit of this structure is that you really don’t have to rank all the pages one by one.  Concentrate on the top of the silo and everything else should get the benefits of that link juice because they all share (because they are interlinked).  This is a simplistic explanation of how it works, but the idea is that you have done your job with structure and quality, extensive content.  You don’t have to work hard on every page, just the top page.  Just like with a corn silo, you know what is inside just by looking at the very top layer.

Any confusion? Read this Moz article for a more in depth discussion.


The Importance of Speed

Did you ever stop to wonder about how people perceive your website?  All of us want our customers to engage on our website, find out what they need to know and then contact us or make a purchase.  That way, their problem gets solved, and the business makes money and adds a valuable asset to their business with a new client.

But did you ever stop to think that the experience on a website determines how a potential customer feels about your business?  If your site is hard to read, are they going to think that your company is hard to deal with?  Probably so.  How about if your website loads so slowly that they are turned off before they ever get to the information they are looking for?  That is a big turn off.  People are buying newer and newer hardware (phones, tablets) that are faster because they want speed and they want it quickly.

So back up to where it all begins, with your businesses infrastructure.  And by this we mean cabling.  If the roadway that your businesses’ information is traveling on is not optimal, then there will be detours and slow downs on this road as your customers try and negotiate those roadways to interact with you.  They want to download a white paper.  If it takes too long, then they will go somewhere else.  How about your employees?  Aren’t they more productive when the tools they use everyday are working at their optimum?  Slow downs on your company’s information superhighway affects their performance, too.

Your building can be wired with poor quality cables, or high quality cables that can handle the speed and amount of information that keeps your operation running at peak.  The cost to install these cables is the same, whether you choose cheap ones or the highest quality cables.  But if your cheap cables cannot handle the amount of data and speed of data that your company needs, then why bother?  You’ll just be redoing this in a couple of years when the next manager can’t put through the work flow in an efficient manner and keep the company on track to production goals.  It is really quite simple..choose cabling that supports the speed you need and will support it for the foreseeable future.  This way, you can cross speed off your list as one variable that won’t give you headaches next year, or the year after that…


Just a new video

No post here today. Just a new video to check out and contemplate.

Spammy Links


Is your website drowning under the weight of spammy links?  You know what these are, the voluminous links from low quality sites that helped your inbound link numbers at one time but now are hurting your rankings.

In the prior SEO world, it was possible to send thousands of links to a site and the rankings would go through the roof.  No more.  With the Penguin updates of the past few years, quality has replaced quantity.  You might still have some of these legacy links lying around, clogging up your Google Webmaster Tools link profile and creating a problem within your rankings.

What can you do about these spammy links?  If you have a list, you can contact the site owner where the link is coming from and ask them to manually remove the link.  This can be quite tedious, but is the best way to get the job done if you have fewer than 50 links or so.  More links?  Then your only resort may be to use the Google Disavow Tool that can be found within Google’s Webmaster Tools.  Basically, you create a list of all the links that you believe are low quality and created without your knowledge or consent, and submit these links to Google.  Does this work?  Not all the time.  Sometimes, site owners find that these links were not the problem at all and something else was causing the problem.  Sometimes it does work and the site slowly starts to regain rankings bit by bit as newer, high quality links and content are added.

The following video goes into great detail about link spam and where it comes from and what to do about it. This video is courtesy of the Search Marketing Expo.

One note. Link spam can be malicious and is not owner or owner’s agent generated. In this case, it is best to use the Disavow Tool and to ask for a manual review of your site.

Does your business need SEO?

Are you one of the thousands of businesses that gets emails, phone calls, letters and other solicitations for SEO services each and every day?  We certainly do.  Very few of them, however, tell you why you should use this online marketing strategy and why SEO plays a huge role in your online success.  Here are just a few reasons why:

1.  SEO is number one for ROI.  When properly done, SEO will give you the nonstop traffic your site needs to grow at a much less cost than paid search could ever hope to deliver.  If you haven’t had success with SEO before, it is probably because the vendor you selected didn’t have a clue what they were doing or why.  Maybe the work was sent overseas.  Low quality means low results even in SEO.

2.  When you invest in a SEO service that knows what they are doing and does it right, it will cost you more than a few hundred dollars a month.  Simply put, these services are a ripoff and six months down the road you will have wasted your time and month.  An experienced firm will make SEO work for your site, consistently, over and over again every month of the year…no matter what algorithm change comes down the pike.

3.  SEO will be around as long as the Internet is around, so you might want to get into the game now.  Techniques to build and maintain rankings change all the time but good SEO consistently maintains high standards and evolves with the changes.

Consider these tips when you are selecting your next SEO vendor.  It is not difficult to find a good SEO.  Good SEOs charge you a fair price based on the return you get for your efforts.  And in business, ROI is the name of the game when it comes to investing in new equipment or in an Internet marketing plan.


Online Blueprint


Internet Marketing Tips


Some business owners are just waking up to the fact that they need to be online.  And not just in a “put something up” kind of way, but in a more meaningful way.  They see the success that their competitors are having online and figure that they should be part of this latest gold rush.  The herd mentality takes over and one feels as if one is missing out on something.

The problem is that all business niches online are different.  Sure they can use the same marketing vehicles such as SEO, SEM, social media, banner ads, contextual links, etc.  to build an online presence and begin to convert visitors to paying customers.  But the way each kind of business should use these vehicles is different.

Most companies can benefit from testing out a few different internet marketing methods to see which ones work the best for their business.  When money is tight, however, it is hard to get people to invest in testing.  But a small test that is scalable is infinitely less risky than putting all your hopes in one method or another.  You won’t waste time doing testing, but you can waste a heck of a lot of money if you pick the wrong thing to start out with and it doesn’t work out.  Your window of opportunity could close, you could run out of money, or any of a number of things could go wrong.  By testing, you limit both your downside and upside, but if it is scalable, you can always go back and rinse and repeat.

For the newest of companies, you’ll want to try a little Adwords or Facebook ads, you will want to do seo optimization for a few key terms, you will want to try and get posts on complementary sites and a few more to see what works and what doesn’t.  Once you have a good idea of how these vehicles work for your business, you can do more of the good ones and drop the bad ones completely.