Wonderful Women

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. Unfortunately it wasn’t my 21′st or my 30th, but the next big one. I remember a bumper sticker I saw when I was a kid that said “40 isn’t old – if you are a tree”. I really was dreading turning 40. Isn’t 40 too old to be an entrepreneur? Perhaps my children are interested in pursuing my business ideas instead. But then my birthday came and went, and I realised that I still have a lot to offer. I feel like I am only just getting started, and there is no stopping me. Decisions can be made, with enough time to regroup if it turns out to be the wrong decision.

Valentina Tereshkova – 50th anniversary of the first woman in space

There is one woman that I would like to mention that has shown that the sky is the limit. That is Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. This week marks the 50th anniversay for the first woman from Russia to be sent to space on the 16th June 1963 (the USA didn’t send a woman to space until 20 years later). Valentina was a former textile factory worker and was chosen partly because she was an experienced and enthusiastic parachutist.

Valentina spent a total of three days in space which was more than the combined total of all men that were previously sent to space.

Not only did she spend a long time isolated and a long way from home, she had some dramas to deal with. The space shuttle was launched at a dangerous angle, and there were high winds.

Then there was the landing to also consider – The process back in 1963 for landing was to eject and land via parachute, while the shuttle explodes on impact. A daunting prospect to be facing during the whole event.

Suddenly those decisions I make in business don’t seem all that scary.

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words, But Video Tells The Whole Story

We have all heard the saying that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. This is true as especially for those learners that like to see things visually compared to kinesthetic and auditory. Use of video on websites, is one of the fastest ways to convert to sales or further enquiry.

A report in January 2013 by Econsultancy explored the correlation between savvy online marketing video and retail sales. They found that the shoe retailer Zappo’s increased their online sales between 6 and 30 percent after adding video footage.

Your video should be no longer than around 3 minutes, and must offer a call to action. Make sure you give your potential customers a message about what you offer. The content should be relevant and up to date.

We offer video creation, and perhaps this is something that you can look at for your business. Feel free to get in contact with us for an obligation free quote.

SEO - Penguins & Pandas

Google has a number of methods for ranking websites. Their updates to algorithms are often referred to as Penguins and Pandas’. This is one more way to complicate SEO. Search Engine Optimisation is so complex, that no one can sure of the way to reach the top of page ranking other than going for a paid campaign. If you do opt for a paid adwords campaign for certain keywords, you will be listed at the top of search results with a pink box in the background. It is important to note that this can be quite costly. However, Google does reward you by remembering this, and often moving you up the list once your paid campaign finishes.

The Panda was released in February 2011 and then just over 12 months later, Google announced the launch of the Penguin. It was predicted that this change in algorithm affected around 3% of English language sites.

There has been speculation this week that Google has again updated their algorithms. Perhaps in time they may give this one another quirky name such as Parrot or Python or Pelican. Have you noticed a difference with the rating of your site?

Has Google updated their algorithms again?

Facebook Fatigue

According to the Herald Sun  around 400,000 Facebook users in Australia have drifted away since December 2012. The initial interest has declined, and people are tending to shy away from it. It is hard to predict whether this trend will continue, and whether Facebook will respond in anyway to try to entice users to stay. The recent increase in advertising has certainly deterred people from using Facebook, and I am sure Facebook will be aware of the correlation.

Facebook fatigue is world wide, and in fact has been much stronger across the USA and Europe. Australia is now showing the same trend, with increasing numbers dropping away. This can have a huge impact on marketing, especially on those that have invested a lot in setting up a client base. Those business sites who rely entirely on Facebook for sales, could be in trouble. Those businesses that were using Facebook to promote their website, will need to ensure they have other marketing options.

At this stage, it appears that other Social Media sites are holding steady, but this could well change. The thing to remember is to not have all your eggs in the same basket. If you have a business, make sure you use a range of methods for promoting and selling your products or services.

Free Marketing Tools

SEO is such a buzz word, and search engine ranking is highly competitive. I often get asked by clients how to get their website ranking on the first page of Google. I don’t promote that I am an SEO guru, and can’t guarantee any first page results. I do, however try to offer some suggestions that are either free or cost very little. Here are some suggestions that I often give clients:

  1. Use Google web master tools to make sure your site is listed. To do this, there are instructions found here. It might take you a few minutes to do this, but I would highly recommend it.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, you can add your website to free listings such as www.hotfrog.com.au and www.truelocal.com.au. Search Engines love ‘back links’ which are ways for people to find your site. So, for example, if you had your business listed on Hot Frog and someone clicked through to your website from your contact details on the Hot Frog website, this is called a back link.
  3. Be sure to include your web address everywhere. This includes business cards, invoices, your ute, email signature, voice mail, etc. You want to encourage as many people to your website as possible.
  4. Join any associations/organisations that allow a listing.
  5. Use Facebook to promote your website. Make sure you give your Facebook fans a reason for going to your website.

Some was to increase your Facebook following might be:

  1. Offer a competition on your website that perhaps is only available to FB fans. Ie they might have to put a post on Facebook about their favourite product, and then one lucky fan will be selected for a prize.
  2. Regularly post on Facebook, keeping the content relevant and topical.
  3.  There are a few Facebook pages or groups out there that you can tap into. Look for pages relevant to your business.
  4. Add your Facebook link to your email signature, letter head, etc. Make sure people are aware that you have a Facebook page.
  5. Encourage your current fans to interact. So when you post a comment on Facebook, make sure you add a question. Better still, make your post so exciting that they will want to Share. That will mean that all of their followers will see your post too, and perhaps like your page!

One thing to note which you may or may not be aware, is that search engines refresh about 7-10 days. So even if you make some changes to your site, you may not notice any difference for a little while. Sometimes months. However, seeming your site is not ranking anywhere, you may need to look at some paid optimisation campaigns.

10 Great Websites For Kids

Aren’t children wonderful? Their developing brains are like sponges and absorb so much information.  With each generation, technology usage increases and it is amazing to watch a toddler navigate their way around an iphone or iPad. There are some great websites out there that are both fun and exciting and provide learning opportunities at the same time. I have three children myself (aged 10, 8 and 5) and have picked out ten websites that I think are wonderful for children.

www.abc.net.au/abcforkids

ABC 4 Kids is a site that represents all of those favourite programs that most of use grew up with, such as Playschool, Blinky Bill and Sesame Street. This website is aimed at the younger generation and is an easy to use, colourful site that even parents will find easy to navigate. There are games to play, craft activities and your children can even watch their favourite program on the computer again and again and again.

www.funbrain.com

Fun Brain is organised into a reading section, a maths arcade and games. This site is often used in primary schools as it encourages children to learn maths, vocabulary and keyboard skills without them even noticing!

www.pottermore.com

This one is for all of the Harry Potter enthusiasts and was co-created by J.K Rowling. The site is easy to move around in and offers things like the history of the characters, some magical spell recipes, and gives you a real online experience of the Harry Potter world.

www.readingeggs.com.au

Reading Eggs is another ABC initiative. There are some great reading games and activities and are engaging for children. The site is divided into sections based on ages as young as three and right up to 13. There are however charges associated with this site. You can sign up for either a 6 or 12 month subscription at a cost of $59.95 or $79.95 respectively. There is also the option to purchase packs which includes activity books, stickers, posters and reading books. Great for classroom activities. The site offers a 14 day free trial so you can try before you buy.

www.barbie.com

It is claimed that one Barbara Millicent Roberts (aka Barbie Doll) is sold every three seconds, with an estimated one Billion Barbies being sold across 150 countries since 1959. Needless to say, this website needs no introduction. It is what you imagine with all the glitz and glamour that you could imagine.

www.readwritethink.org

This great website provides something for all children right from kindergarten through to year 12. There are fun activities, book suggestions, projects, games and even podcasts. Teachers will find research based lessons with detailed instructional plan and worksheets. The site is colourful and easy to navigate with a great search functionality.

www.spellingcity.com

With auto-correct and spell check readily available, spelling seems to be something that is often neglected. Spelling City has some great tools for helping children learn spelling techniques. This website offers Premium Membership which allows student progress tracking, some vocabulary development activities, premium games and much more.

www.thewiggles.com.au

Another family favourite, The Wiggles website is as professional as their world tour. It offers a great range of games and activities. Become a Wiggle Time member and you will get access to even more including a Parent Resource Centre with a Parent Message Board and Forum. The kids can even personalise your own Wiggles website, just like a real web developer!

www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing

Way back when I was in school, we learnt to touch type using a heavy old industrial type writer. It took all my strength to type an ‘A’ with my left hand pinkie. Now keyboards are much easier to use and there is less of a reason for only using two pointer fingers to type. This website offers a fun set of tutorials to learn how to touch type – something that is becoming far more important than getting your pen licence. The website talks you through step by step in a system called Dance Map Typing.

www.skoodle.com

Skoodle, previously known as Super Clubs Plus, is a safe social network. Think Facebook without the Face. Users are carefully monitored and learn first-hand how to keep themselves safe online. Skoodle is used in a number of schools and is aimed at children aged six to 14. In fact, only four years after it was launched there are over 180,000 Australian primary school children actively participating from 2,200 Australian schools and together with 300,000 children worldwide. Telstra Foundation helped launch the site and their research found that after 4-6 months of being an active user, the vast majority of children consistently exhibit safer, more resilient and respectful online behaviours.

 

This list only just touches the surface of some really great websites for children. Some other sites that my own children explore are www.kidcyber.com.au, www.global2.vic.edu.au, www.mathletics.com.au, www.yepi.com and www.kids.nationalgeographic.com.au.

It is always important to monitor children while they are online, and a good idea to set up some of your own family guidelines that include things like the amount of acceptable time spent online and sites that they are and are not permitted to visit. The web truly is wonderful and offers a whole new world of learning. Enjoy!

Blogging Faux Pas That Will Kill Your Blog

Special thanks to Richard Eaves from Smart Traffic, for this special guest blog post. If you would like to contribute to this website as a guest blogger, please feel free to contact Shelley Gross via email at sales@wonderfulwebsites.com.au.





These days, you can see a number of successful bloggers writing about different topics. Writing content for the Web yourself, it makes you wonder how they managed to attain online popularity.

Well, one of the key things that contribute to their success is learning from their mistakes. With that said, it is time to look at some of the blogging blunders that may have a detrimental effect on your blog.

Not paying attention to your site

As you know, blogging has become a source of income for some people. It has also become a revenue generator for those who offer pay on results services.

Those who made blogging their profession have two secrets: dedication and hard work. For sure, they went through all sorts of hardships before finally achieving success, and these qualities helped them overcome all obstacles.

So if you want a successful blog, you must be willing to devote a large portion of your time to it. You need to consider everything, from its design down to the content you intend to create.

Now, one of the most grievous mistakes you can commit, as a blogger, is failing to post regularly. You have to give your readers something to look forward to so they keep coming back to your blog.

Not engaging with your readers

Readers make up a huge portion of your blog’s success. This is why it is important not to ignore them.

So when readers leave a comment in any of your posts, take the time to respond to them, even if it is just to say, “Thanks”. You can also engage in a conversation with them by asking questions. By doing this, you can guarantee their return to your blog.

Not writing short blog posts

People these days scan rather than read. So it is important to make your blog posts short to keep their attention.

Then again, this doesn’t mean you can’t write lengthy articles. If you have a post that requires numerous paragraphs in order to get your point across, you can break it up into a series of write-ups. By doing so, you can entice readers to come back for the next parts.

Not having a social media presence

The life of your blog post doesn’t have to end when you hit “Publish”. Instead, let more people know about it by sharing the link on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to drive relevant traffic to your blog.

One more thing, communicate with your social media followers. Constantly engaging with other users helps build good relationship with them. Once you have built a wonderful reputation, they will return the favour by regularly visiting your blog.

Not minding other bloggers

It helps to establish a relationship with those who write similar topics as yours. A simple link to any of their articles is enough to bring new readers to your blog. They can even become regular visitors if they like the content you provide.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the faux pas of blogging. If you are guilty of any of these, it is time to do something about your mistakes so you can manage a successful blog. Sure, the path to success is not going to be easy, but starting now will get you there.

 

About the Author

Richard Eaves is a Digital Marketing Specialist for Smart Traffic, a reputable company providing SEO services to help businesses grow into well-respected brands. 

The Disappointments Of Online Shopping

I turned 40 last week, and actually, it doesn’t feel as bad as I had thought. I clearly remember when my own parents celebrated their 40th birthday’s and thinking that they were a bunch of old people acting silly. Now that is me!

My husband and I are only a month apart and we had a joint birthday party that was fancy dress. The theme was ‘International’. I spent a good part of my childhood competing in Highland Dancing, so Scottish was the choice of costume for me.
Of course, Scotland is a long way away from Australia, so thank goodness for online shopping. I found a great site online that offered traditional costumes at a really affordable price. I went ahead and ordered my husband and I kilts, hats, ties and even bagpipes.

The excitement was building as our party approached. On the Monday before the party, I started to wonder whether our costumes would arrive. After all the UK is a long way away. Shopping on line sure can be convenient, but I perhaps should have taken into consideration the Christmas rush. It appeared that the posties were flat out to make Christmas deliveries on time, but not 12th January deliveries. I had ordered my things on 14th December, and thought I had ample time. Unfortunately our package didn’t arrive until two days after the party. I now have some brand new outfits that I will probably never get the opportunity to use!

Another massive risk that you take with shopping online is being assured you get what you ordered. There is more room for error that the wrong thing will be dispatched compared to physically picking up an object and taking it to a cash register.

Here are some important tips for online stores:
– Products need to be clearly displayed on the website with excellent search facilities
– Photos need to accurately display the product with no false advertising
– Clearly identify shipping policies, terms and conditions, refund policy and contact details
– Make sure you display contact details including a physical address, email & phone number
– Best to have categories for your product for ease of finding what you are looking for
– Great to have ‘Best Sellers’ and/or ‘Sale Items’ – everyone loves a bargain
– Ensure your checkout process is quick and painless!

In case you are concerned about our outfits for the party, don’t worry! I contacted a lovely lady at a local Scottish Dance Group and she bought around some of her families traditional costumes.

My husband and I were fully kitted out, and the party was a success – we did look like old people acting silly!

Top 5 Apps for Kids

1.       Playground HD2

More a ‘Games Cupboard’ than a ‘Playground’, this app has all the old favourites such as tic-tac-toe,  Connect-4 and Mastermind. There are also three other new games that also help with maths and strategic skills. Perfect for all ages from as young as 4 right through to adults.

2.       Animal Alphabet

My youngest son is starting school this year, and I believe learning the letters of the alphabet is one of the first steps to becoming a successful reader. Learning to write the letters and attaching the sounds is a great way to give you little ones a head start and it is all offered by Animal Alphabet.

3.       Memory and Alphabet HD

This app is similar to the Animal Alphabet, but has three game modes allowing the kids to learn to associate different images and sounds of 170 words. The memory game aims to make the process of learning to spell a fun exercise.

4.       Mable Math

Brilliant graphics on this app allow your kids to solve multiplication problems by collecting numbers as they roll and drag their marble through a series of fun mazes. This free app is sure to entertain while learning at the same time.

5.       Recycle Hero

Taking care of the environment is very important, and this adventure game teaches kids about recycling. Your child can be a hero and save the world from being polluted.