Writing For Robots

writing-for-robots

Designing An Online Higher Education Website

H1’s, H2’s and H3′ tags can be the key to getting readers to read and engage with your website, but there are definitely a few no-no’s when writing these headings. If you have beautiful collegiate phrases they might engage a few readers, but what will a robot think of it? If I just read, “Online learning with the flexibility to fit your life” would I know exactly what that section would be talking about? It is a great readable heading for a blog reader, but you may not want to use it for an information page of a website. A website’s headings should be clear enough for a person to glance at it and understand what they are about to read, but also be creative enough to catch attention. This is where a website’s information pages may differ from general product writing or blog writing.

Don’t use headings that seem too wordy to be headings.

First of all let me preface this, “You are likely a better writer than I am and I don’t really have the right to correct your writing. I really don’t have the grammatical skills to teach you here”, but if you are trying to learn how to engage a reader and write for robots like Google… Look at the sample headers below.

Writing for A Glancer Rather Than A Reader

Many people will glance at the headings and see if it catches their attention or they may glance and see if the heading is what they were looking for. If they don’t understand it instantly, they might skip over it.
Here are some samples. My word list below is what I chose from to create the headings. Generally I create a big word list of key words and phrases and then try to gently use them through the text. They don’t need to be over-used. You may think of more key words or phrases, but my initial list is below.

Sample Headers

Online learning with the flexibility to fit your life. Vs.

Online Flexible Schedules
Learning Online and On-Campus (Blended Learning)
Blended Learning is Flexible
Blended Instruction fits your schedule.
Special Note *It may also be best not to use words like “blended” in a heading until you have explained them.

A multi-dimensional approach to a community of learning. Vs.

Online learning with a community feel 
Learning in an online community
Flexible Learning, Flexible Community

You will for sure come up with better titles than for your programs but, I am hoping this will offer the guidance needed to make your online higher education website successful. When I first start my process I do some Google searches to get ideas of the keywords I am looking to infuse in my webpages.
Here are the core ideas I decided I wanted to get across:
Flexible Schedules
Flexible Learning Times
Blended Learning
Blended Instruction
Online Learning Community
Online Program Distinctions
Lutheran Learning Distinctions 

To break these down into an even more granular list I then look for words incorporating the list above. We want these words mixed into our headings, body text and META data with program words like Master’s, Graduate level, Associates, MBA, Liberal Arts and anything else that fits your future student body…. For me, the bold ones should be used the most.
 
On Campus
Flexible Schedules
Flexible Learning Times
Blended Learning
Blended Instruction
Distance Learning
Online Learning Community
Online Community
Online Program Distinctions
Accredited Online Programs/Degrees
Online vs. Traditional Degree Programs
Online College
Online University
Online Courses
Online Course Schedule
Online degree programs
Online Certificate Programs
Online bible seminary
Online Bachelor/Master/… Degree Programs
Cost of online degrees
National University
Lutheran Learning Distinctions
Christian
Bible School – For theology
Christian School
Christian College Degree
Lutheran University

Information Pages vs. Blog Writing

Finally, we need to consider the difference between writing information pages vs. blog or other personal pages on your higher education site. If we first realize that students and robots will be reading your website, it will likely help you understand how important it is to use clear headers to help visitors engage in your website. Higher education websites are full of Information pages, but if you were writing for a blog than these rules don’t apply. For instance, when you are writing a blog you use beautiful, flowery, descriptive text and that is great for a blog reader. The text there flows with personable writing and is very enjoyable to read. Now think about writing for an information page in contrast. You are likely writing for a reader that may be new to your content. This reader may need to be engaged from a different part of their brain. They may be a skeptic, they may be predisposed one way or another about your content. Your job is to influence them to read your content. This is where your headings will help. Simple readable headings will allow your reader to find the information they were searching for and when they read the content below your headings they will now learn to engage with your style of writing. Now you have them. They are interested and reading your content.
Congratulations. Step one is complete.

Secure WordPress Admin with .htaccess

 

With 70 Million WordPress sites and counting and so many hackers looking to get into your site it is worth while to look at a few options to secure WordPress admin files on your website. After scouring the web for months I came across many different ways that you can block WordPress hackers with htaccess. This is not the safest way for new programmers or users that use WordPress plugin quite often, but if you are confident enough to try or you have a good developer. You will likely like the option listed her for protecting your WordPress website from any malicious attempts to access your files and directories. And as usual I have cut out the fluff and given you the quick and dirty steps that can be taken to secure WordPress admin files. Make note that all of these steps could be taken, but this is more of a pick and choose what suits your particular set up best.

Let’s start with what a typical WordPress .htaccess file looks like and go from there.

 

Typical WordPress .htaccess file

 BEGIN WordPress
 RewriteEngine On
 RewriteBase /
 RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
 RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
 # END WordPress

First of all let me suggest that any additions to the .htaccess file to be added after # END WordPress. Also, let’s also make sure that if you are going to make changes to your .htaccess file you better save and copy the file first as well as keep it in a safe place.

Wp-config.php Protection

<Files wp-config.php>
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 </Files>

This will prevent any access to the wp-config file.

Control IP access

order deny,allow
 allow from 201.090.21.0 (replace with your IP address)
 deny from all

Allow access for selected users only. This snippet of code will deny access to anyone that is not on your IP address

Stop directory Browsing

# directory browsing
 Options All -Indexes

Too many programmers know WordPress and can find access into your site through plugins or other content. Block their access to your directories with this code.

Deny access to Wp-content

Order deny,allow
 Deny from all
 <Files ~ ".(xml|css|jpe?g|png|gif|js)$">
 Allow from all
</Files>

This code requires it’s own .htaccess file which must be added to the wp-content folder, it allows users to see images and possibly CSS, … but protects PHP files.

Protect Files

# Protect the .htaccess
 <files .htaccess="">
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 </Files>

Use this to protect a file rather than a folder section of your site.

.htaccess Protection

<Files ~ "^.*\.([Hh][Tt][Aa])">
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 satisfy all
</Files>

This piece of code blocks users from accessing anything that starts with hta

Ban Bad Users

order allow,deny
 deny from 202.090.21.1
 deny from 204.090.21.2
 allow from all

If you have noticed bad users abusing your site, identify them by IP and block them.

Facebook Doesn’t Compete With Google Plus

Facebook Doesn't Compete With Google Plus

 

 

 

 

I was talking with a friend that just joined Google Plus and told him Facebook Doesn’t Compete With Google Plus. He was disappointed and this is the final thought I had about Google+ and how it works. It seemed interesting so I decided I would post it.

Google Plus competes with Twitter

Google+ is more about live content and search-ability. I don’t think this is a direct competitor to Facebook. They just let everyone believe that they are trying to compete with Facebook to try and get people to join.

If you are interested in what I mean, try a test like typing something into the search bar from your Google+ page like “economics” or “car reviews” (no quotes needed) and you can see all the trending topics relating to economics and cars…. Most people don’t even realize that Google+ does this.

Also, the content on G+ can be searchable without having a login to G+. That creates a great opportunity to spread your content to a live audience by a simple comment on trending content.

Google Plus competes with LinkedIn

I would actually say that G+ is a cross between Twitter and LinkedIn. It has a similar feel to Twitter’s live content, if you are in the search bar and it is more like LinkedIn when you post personal or business content on your about pages.

It’s not so much about re-connecting as it is about new connections. I might even say its about “topical” connections. Thought leaders in your area of interest that you might be interested in.

Google+ is Still Better Than Facebook…for SEO

Google Plus vs. Facebook Fan Page

It’s 2013, a new year has launched and many people are still talking about the difference between Google+ and Facebook, but I have not seen anything about SEO in these articles. So, I will try and make this a brief review on why SEO for your business is best done on Google+. I know I will likely get some kickback on this, but I hope I make some valid points for my readers to think about.

Good luck this year and feel free to comment on my thoughts below. I enjoy the conversations.

Let’s take a look at this in CNET style and go Round by Round and see how they stack up. So is Google+ still better than Facebook…for SEO? We will break the rounds up in 3 Categories to test this theory.

 

Round #1    

How Easy is it to Update Content?


Round #2    

Is Content Searchable (Public)?


Round #3    

Can You Optimize Your Content?

 

Facebook Fan Page

As an online marketing program is highly focused and has great Ease Of Use. Facebook starts out in the lead. Facebook has us addicted to their app. We wake up to it and go to bed using it. We see what are friends are doing and if they are working we see their fan pages showing up in our feeds. So, All in all, Facebook starts strong. We can post updates quickly and if our fan page has followers we can get the word out about our product or service to those people that have friended our page. This all starts out sounding good until that last part, people need to friend our business to see our posts and Facebook is not big on making them public in search. So that one is painful for SEO. So how do I rate it in points from 1 – 5?

 

Content Updating Ease – (5)

Fast and simple through your mobile app or computer. Everyone knows it. It’s the best.

 

SEO Searchable Content (3)

This one struggles if you do not have many followers of your fan page. You may grow this following faster than you can get +1 on Google but it will not be searchable content.

 

Optimization Ability(1)

This one is a failure. Since you cannot optimize updates, you blindly rely on Facebook or your marketing expert for whatever they do.

Google Plus 

Google Plus has a great business center. It was previously known as Google Local, Google Places for business and I am sure a few other names. Point is, it’s not as used as Facebook for socialisation, and it has gone through some changes, but it has always had strong use for business. If you want a business listing that is highly visible in search results, can be updated quickly for anything from business listings to daily changes of hours for holiday’s or want a listing that you can optimize or have a SEO company optimize it is very secure and hard to beat. So let’s get to the points.

 

Content Updating Ease(3.5) 

Not as easy as Facebook, if you aren’t a regular user, but simple once you are accustomed to the constant or often changing face of Google+/Local/Places for business.

 

SEO Searchable Content(5)

In Search Results – Google+ is hard to beat. It is normally number one in search results for business on Google and the strongest place to be for mobile business based on Google’s local search for mobile phones.

 

Optimization Ability(4)

Content can be updated at any time through your business account and is almost instantly changed on the website ( as long as the content is not changing major. The flaw, Google doesn’t make recommendations on what is best. They leave you to figure that out based on their often changing algorithm of search.

Final Score

Google 12.5 | Facebook 9

BEST Business Listing Conclusion

Ok, so I have no plans to give up my Facebook business fan page. I have fun working on it and I like the way it looks. It is very social, but I also will not neglect my Google+ page. It has too much authority in Google’s search engine and we all know that when we are really looking for something specific, we will go to Google because they do deliver the results we are looking for.

SEM Company Defined

previous…

Search Engine Marketing (sem) defined:

Sem is defined as, how a website is marketed online using digital media and social media. SEM is not a single step. It’s the the creation of all your digital channels that drive traffic to your website. It’s Youtube Channels for video marketing. It’s becoming social through Facebook pages that allow you to connect with your customers and serve them. It’s creating Twitter and Yelp pages that benefit your customers. SEM is the new Web 2.0 word. – It’s the creation of an online digital presence, showing off your business and stimulating your customers to purchase, inquire, apply and research. It displays who your company is and what your business is doing.

Remarketing – It’s how your current customers will remember that they found  your website online.

Tracking (TRAK) defined:

Tracking or analytics is the new buzz word that let’s you measure the results of your online digital efforts. Analytics tracking shows you how many times you are on page one in search, what keywords people use to find you, where your company needs to improve and gives a dollar value to your efforts. It quantifies your bottom-line ROI.

Monthly tracking will show you who is interested. Measurable results will let know who’s looking and who’s clicking.

Review –  Research – Analyze – Rank  – Implement

 

  • Review the performance of your website using Google Analytics.
  • Research how your customers find you.
  • Analyze your competitors and how they perform in search engine results.
  • Rank your website according to the search engines.
  • Implement a plan of action to meet your needs and work within your budget.

 

You need to have an ally to develop your online business plan and give you the ability to compete in your online market place. Want to know how our consulting can help you business succeed?

Check out our Internet Marketing philosophy.

(s)earch (e)ngine (m)arketing and Analytics (TRAK)ing

Traditional Marketing is Dead

 

Marketing-Quotes

 

Bill Lee of Harvard Business Review posted an article recently that speaks to what is happening in marketing. The world has gone digital. Traditional marketing and traditional branding has been replaced with online marketing, digital branding with website logos, building optimized web pages and marketing website online with Search Engine Optimization – SEO and Pay Per Click – PPC advertising.

 

Will traditional advertising ever be back to the power player it once was? We’re not sure… but what we know for now is that Google is seeming to reign as king in the world of website marketing. If you aren’t marketing your website with SEO or PPC you are probably behind. If you’d like to check out the article I have posted excerpts below.

 

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

 

Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews. in today’s increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn’t work so well, it doesn’t make sense. When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn’t work. Just ask Facebook, which finds itself mired in an ongoing debate about whether marketing on Facebook is effective.

 

Restore community marketing. Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience. In turn, social media firms, such as Facebook, should become expert at enabling this. They can do this by expanding the buyer’s network of peers who can provide trustworthy information and advice based on their own experience with the product or service.

 

Find your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about.

 

So take this article for what it is and think about how your traditional marketing efforts should change… Or if you have already changed your marketing tactics, congratulate yourself. Marketing in the digital age is different, can seem scary, but with a little bit of the right help your business will be successful for a fraction of the cost of the past. Branding a company and marketing a company with traditional media always had a fixed cost, and it was high. The Light at the end of the tunnel is that online or digital marketing using social media and SEO could be free if you do the work your self or you can pick your budget if you choose to do something like AdWords (PPC). So don’t be afraid,  do a little research, contact an online marketing professional and get a little advice.

 

And as usual from the Free SEO Tools Blog… Happy Marketing!