Tech

Tech Thursday: Your Presence on Pause

A lot of times, you just want to press ‘delete’ on things online: your Facebook profile, that page on your website, most anything. We discuss how both everything and nothing are permanent and why you should consider deactivating, un-publishing, or other temporary measures before you do the final delete.

Tech Thursday: Online Reputation Management

Coming at you live from Anchorspace, we set up today’s Tech Thursday talk show style to talk about managing online reputation. Topics include: “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” and the Reply All podcast, our thoughts on “We Serve Everyone” (wait for Kassie’s truth bomb), and making Google results look more like you want them to are all covered. In terms of preventing an online fiasco, remember to pause and ask if it’s truly a good idea (or if it’s potentially harmful to someone else). If you’re giving an apology later on, make sure it’s sincere. People can tell if you’re just going through the motions, and there’s nothing worse than an “I’m sorry you feel that way” apology.

We’re thinking this might be our new Tech Thursday arrangement, but we’ll probably trade chairs (the brown chair is SO comfy).

Google’s Algorithms as the Cast of “Mean Girls”

Google_Mean_Girls

You may have heard- Google is updating its algorithm at the end of the month (April 21, to be specific) to rank mobile friendly sites higher in search results. This was always vaguely the case, but no one could definitively figure out the amount of weight it carried. Which made me think, Google is the most popular girl in school who we all wait on to decree what’s important and what isn’t. We’ve been saying mobile friendly is cool for years now (hence the switch to responsive design only a couple years ago), but now that Google has declared that it’s definitely “in,” everyone is going to scramble to make sure their websites are compatible. Perhaps due to the excitement of using the stand desk all most of the day and Anchorspace opening to the public tomorrow, my brain decided that Google operates in very much the same way as Regina George. The rest of the Plastics are the algorithms that she has decided (in the past or present) are important. Get ready, because we’re about to crack open the internet’s Burn Book (well…sort of).

Google as Regina George. Like Regina, Google decides who comes and who goes, what’s in and what’s out, and we all clamor to meet it’s expectations. Ponytails once a week and pink on Wednesdays are the current expectations, but that could change at any moment. Below is a comprehensive infographic from Hubspot that details all of Google’s algorithm changes since 2003.

infographic google algorithm changes keyword seo

 

As you can see, there have been several updates to the algorithm every year, most go by without us noticing. Panda in 2011 and Penguin are considered the two largest updates based on the number of sites affected. Keep in mind that although your current method is doing well, this guarantees nothing about your site’s future performance. Regina can always change her mind and throw you under the bus.



Authorship as Gretchen Weiners. Google Authorship was declared dead in August ’14. As this article so eloquently says, “Google [Regina] has repeatedly demonstrated that nothing it creates is sacred or immortal.” Meaning, just because Gretchen/Authorship is “SUCH a good friend,” Regina/Google may still decide there are bigger fish to serve as your right hand man and then fry.

For those who implemented authorship on their website and gave it a lot of time and effort, the decision to pull authorship was a pretty big bummer. There were blog posts detailing the importance of integrating authorship, complete with how-to instructions for various software, so of course people thought “Hey, I should probably do this.” Remember the girl who bought  army pants and flip flops because she saw Regina George wearing army pants and flip flops? Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to cater to Google’s rules, but don’t get caught in the web of having all your eggs in one basket. As the chart above demonstrates, the things that Google considers important are a shifting territory, and you have to be prepared to make changes when the time inevitably comes. In other words, don’t rest on your website laurels. The rules, much like Gretchen Weiners’ popularity, are fleeting.

Sorry Gretchen.

Sorry Gretchen.

Mobile Friendly as Cady Heron. Mobile Friendly sites have been around for a bit now, and are a huge determining factor in the amount of time visitors will spend on your site (more statistics on mobile users in this blog post). Yet, some people weren’t entirely sure if having a mobile friendly site was “worth it” until Regina/Google decided “Cady/Mobile Friendly is IN.” Once Google officially pronounced mobile friendly as relevant, even those who had formerly been on the fence were buzzing about how cool and necessary mobile visitors are for websites.

Creating a mobile-friendly site will only become more important, so if you’re not already on the bandwagon, you’ll want to hop on soon.

Loyal friends are always good to have around. Or at least, people to help you with navigation.

Loyal friends are always good to have around. Or at least, people to help you with navigation.

 SEO as Karen. Obsessing over search engine optimization is about as rewarding as trying to teach Karen algebra. The theory of keyword stuffing to increase search engine rankings is pretty outdated (I mean, it was a good idea in the 90’s, but so were scrunchies and mom jeans). This quote from the aforementioned Hubspot article perfectly articulates the early life of SEO: “Ranking high in search results could be accomplished by essentially using a simple, two step procedure: Step 1, stuff your keyword phrase into your page/website as many times as possible. Step 2, get as many gosh darn inbound links as you possibly could.” In the Plastics, simplicity comes in the form of Karen, who doesn’t fully understand carbs or weather.

Keyword stuffing as a method of increasing search engine results for your website is old school (and not in a good way). But, if you’re really interested in keywords, consider instead using something like Google AdWords. Our friend Colin at Root Deeper Marketing is an AdWords guru, if you want to learn more about this type of service.



Facebook as Aaron Samuels. Google and Facebook have an on again/off again courtship. There are rumors that  having a Facebook account associated with your website increases your ranking in Google, but no one knows how serious this relationship is (and let’s face it, they’re probably both seeing other people). According to Matt Cutts of the Google webspam team, Facebook and Twitter do not necessarily factor into Google’s algorithm. In other words, Google is able to retrieve certain content on your Facebook or Twitter page, but it can’t sort out the number of page likes or posts. Being popular on Facebook does not mean being popular in Google search results.

All other search engines as Regina’s Mom. (This is purely for my own entertainment). Regina’s Mom is a lot like Bing or Yahoo. Sure, they’ve been around longer, but we all know who really runs the show.

BingYahooCoolMom

The internet, like high school, is tricky to navigate, unless you have the right information and the basic understanding that nothing is set in stone. Stay in the loop with internet related news (or, have someone in your circle keeping you up-to-date with this information), and you’ll do just fine. Also, I hope you enjoyed this comparison as much as I enjoyed writing it.



Tech Thursday: Online Fundraising

In this week’s video, we discuss some things to keep in mind when you’re fundraising online, whether you’re doing a campaign for a specific date/event (i.e. you’re running a race for charity or are a pizza place that wants money for a new oven) or want your business to take payment on a continuous basis though a donation form. Things to keep in mind include “All or Nothing” campaigns vs. Flexible Funding, the amount that your fundraising company of choice will keep, and at what point your funds will be released to you (especially if this is money that you’re counting on).

In terms of ongoing money intake, we like to use Stripe because a) it integrates with just about any software, b) it has consistent processing fees, and c) it’s easy to use which encourages people to give money. It’s amazing how much more likely people are to donate money when they perceive it as easy.
We kept the video a bit shorter this week, since we spent most of the day yesterday moving into our new space (yay!), so please forgive our (ahem, Kassie’s) zombie-like mode.

Tech Thursday: Online Scheduling

Note: This might be our last broadcast from our current office. Next week, we may have a different wall behind us!

Most businesses have some sort of scheduling aspect (we tried to think of examples of businesses that don’t need scheduling, and it was surprisingly difficult).

When it comes to adding an online scheduling or booking program to your website, you want to consider a few things before committing:

1) How often does the event occur? Is it a regularly occurring event (i.e. once a week) or One and Done (i.e. a conference)?
2) Do want people to pay online or hold payment (a la hotel)?
3) Is this for internal use (scheduling employees) or customer use (i.e. booking a room/provider)?
4) What is it you’re scheduling? A place (room, seat, etc), person (doctor, hair dresser), or a time slot?

And, finally, remember to test out your scheduling software before launching it to the public, or whoever is going to be using it. You want to make people feel smart and make sure they understand what they’re booking, after all!

While most booking software costs money, think about a) how much time you’ll save by having a program handle this aspect of your business for you and b) utilizing the free trial period (a good 95% of these programs offer a 1 month free trial period, so you can really determine if it’s the best fit for your business needs).

If you have any topic requests for us, send us an email, comment on the video, or visit our website at www.breakingeveninc.com!

Tech Thursday: All About Systems

Okay, well maybe not everything. But, as we get busier, we’ve come to appreciate the function that systems provide. The point of having a system is to get things running smoothly, whatever the “things” may be, with a “begin with the end in mind” mentality.

Recently, Nicole chatted with Tim Hoffman about implementing systems in personal and professional settings. All good systems have 3 traits:

1) Effectual (they help reach a desired outcome),
2) Efficient (they ultimately save time/energy), and
3) Flexible (if an obstacle arises).

At Breaking Even, we’ve started systems for documenting processes that we repeat quite a bit, as well as meetings (that’s right, those can be systems, too)!

What systems do you have set up in your life, personal or professional? We’re interested in hearing what others have to say!

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