Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

Are Poor Conditions Slowing Down Your Web Traffic? December 13, 2010

Filed under: Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 11:03 pm
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Winter storms and icy roads have been causing quite a slow down in traffic here in Indianapolis. It is definitely December and this is the time of year when everyone seems to do their own sort of hibernating. Don’t they?

I cannot believe that next Monday is the LAST MONDAY before Christmas!!! 🙂 I will get back to continuing my part of the holiday wishes with you next week. However, this week I really needed to write about slow traffic. . . web site traffic that is.

For links to a web page load speed testers and tips to speed up your website load time continue reading: Are Poor Conditions Slowing Down Your Web Traffic?

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SEO is Changing November 29, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 10:13 am
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SEO is changing. Google is changing. Bing is… well, it’s still trying to figure out what it means to be a “decision engine”. I thought their commercials were sort of funny, but seriously… decision engine? I’d rather make my own decisions thank you very much. 😀

With that being said there are some rules for search engine optimization that will NOT change. My post on darkbluesun.com this week:  4 SEO Rules that Are Here to Stay

In case you are just now joining us, my website: darkbluesun.com is being overhauled. I’ve done some things like change the theme and make it a little prettier. I fixed my header to include my image again 🙂 and I am going to make better use of that extra white space in the top section so no worries.

Today I have posted about something a little more technical… and a little more VITAL to the success or failure of my website: getting found.

To make sure my website is properly indexed by search engines, I must first make sure that my site is following the basic SEO rules that aren’t changing anytime soon.

So go, read, learn from my mistakes, and have a great week! 😉

 

WordPress Redesign: Choose a Layout November 22, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 10:44 pm
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The advice I shared at my new post on darkbluesun.com (my personal blog I will be giving a makeover for the next few weeks) is all about Website Layouts.
The advice shared in the article is geared toward people with personal and startup blogs. And it is a warning for all of you technically inclined enough to try and do-it-yourself.

Anyone with a professional or ecommerce blog: Hire a professional developer or purchase a theme geared for professional use.

What this article will teach you:

☑ Why it’s good to go with a theme that is close to what you want:

☑ Why it’s bad for professional websites to go with a theme that is free and used on other websites:

And why changing your WP site layout is NOT just as easy as changing your theme!

Visit: darkbluesun.com for Choosing Personal and Blog Website Layouts

 

I Am Redesigning My WordPress Blog! November 15, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 1:42 pm
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Do you want some tips on fixing yours up?

I am going to be moving my Monday posts to darkbluesun.com while I take the next few weeks to redesign the entire thing! I am so excited about this.

You know how it is. I work on websites professionally all the time, so of course, mine gets neglected. 🙂

I will post an outline of my progress here though since most of you are used to coming here for my articles.

My plan is to:

  • Choose a new layout.
  • Add Better Navigation.
  • Completely redo the homepage content.
  • SEO, SEO, SEO…. <- There are so many fixes to this I will share with you!
 

15 Easy Free DoFollow Backlinks to Your Website October 18, 2010

Filed under: Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 3:02 pm
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Remember from the “Website Backlink Popularity Tools” post: “Backlinks are incoming links to a website, web page, or blog post.” And just so you know, I use the words linkback and backlink interchangeably. 🙂 Also please note that these links will help websites or businesses that are still in the startup phase. I don’t think any of these links have a higher Google Pagerank than 2 or 3. ** This means that creating backlinks from these resources are worthless to a site that already has a pagerank of 4 or higher. **

General Places to Get a Listing for Good (Meaning Not the “NoFollow” Kind) Backlinks / Linkbacks:

1. Merchant Circle is a definite must have business listing. Here’s mine: http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Virtual.IT.Assistants.317-670-9977

2. http://www.haiku.com/VirtualAssistants This one isn’t one of my favorites, but it works.

Helpful Internet Business Tools:

3. Outright is a cool accounting service that Jen uses for her business. I’ll bet that when she first setup an account with them she didn’t realize they’d give her a free good backlink! See her profile: http://entrepreneurs.outright.com/virtual-assistance-by-jen

Social Network Profiles:

4. Fast Pitch Networking is an internet business social network site. A profile here is worth setting up for the good linkback to your business site: http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/profile.cfm?ContactID=52366547

5. YouTube Got videos? Get them on YouTube and be sure to fill in your business site into your profile for yet another good linkback. See my profile: http://www.youtube.com/user/virtualitassistants (Scroll down to my avatar and see my link under there. If you are curious about where it shows up.)

6. Inbound Marketing University If you are into internet marketing of any kind, you should already have heard of this place . Even if you are already an experienced inbound marketer, you should at least have a profile here. See mine: http://inboundmarketing.com/user/3906. It also gives you a good link.

Twitter: (Of course, the master tool for getting backlinks and traffic. )

7. Mashable Twitterlists See Kena’s Lists: http://mashable.com/twitterlists/user/KenaRoth/ She may not have realized this when she shared her lists here, but it gave her a free link back to her site from mashable.com. Bonus!

Add Yourself to Local Twitter Lists:

8. Twitter States

9. Local Tweeps

(P.S. Find twitterers near you and follow them. It’s great to have friends all over the world, but you be surprised at how practical it is to get tweets regarding events closer to home)

Website and Blog Site Tools with Profiles That LinkBack:

10. Sitemeter Do you like sharing your site analytics? Create a profile at sitemeter.com for your domain.

11. MyBlogLog If you have a blog, then you need to signup for a free account at mybloglog anyway. – Never mind the free backlinks! See some of my blogs: http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/darkbluesun/

These next profiles may be a little less practical for brand new businesses, but you should still know that they are available to anyone.

12. Act.ly Twitter petitions at act.ly include your web address that you use in your twitter profile. I created one about cybercrime awareness a long time ago: http://act.ly/uo. When you stop by, you should sign it! It’s been awhile, but all the info is still very relevant.

13. Quibblo is a  free online quiz creator. It links back to your site when you set up a profile. See mine: http://www.quibblo.com/user/virtualitassistant

14. Google Knowledge Profiles (called Knols): If you have a knol, or have some good content to start a knoll, you should definitely link back to your business site where appropriate. (Only create one or two links. That should be sufficient.) See mine? http://knol.google.com/k/darkbluesun/the-abc-s-for-work-at-home-parents/1jq3j1sfpra4f/1# I just happened to link to myself within this old business starter e-book.

15. Squidoo lens Do you have one? Do you know someone who does? If you create a linkback to your site from it, then it does give you a good link as well. http://www.squidoo.com/darkbluesun#module29853702

Who is linking back to you right now? Check it out at Link Diagnosis. Look for the ones where the link type equals good. And let me know if I missed any other easy linkbacks.

Another great way to get linkbacks is to guest post for a great blog like this one! 😉 We had to take a break from that little opportunity for a little bit due to the volume of responses and the lack of extra time to find the best ones. There are still so many great guests we will have before the end of this year I promise. However, we still want to fit you into the rotation as well to get your turn in the spotlight! So signup to be a guest blogger today. If you haven’t heard from us and it has been more than 2 business days since you sent your response then please let us know.

 

Does This Header Make My Brand Look Big? 5 Ways to Assess Your Online Image August 17, 2010

Filed under: Web and Blog Site Tips,Work at Home — sironroad @ 12:50 pm
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Shalon IronRoadIn the spotlight today is Virtual Assistant Shalon Ironroad, Human Swiss Army Knife.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
– Author Unknown

This weekend, I was invited to a presentation about a “Work from Home Opportunity” for stay-at-home moms (sound familiar?). I am hugely skeptical about any kind of “opportunity”, so I got the URL prior to the presentation so I could do my homework. My findings were my inspiration for this post.

I was told that the goal of the company was to help young moms make money from home. With that information, I expected to see a website that was professional, fun, and appealing to Gen X mommies. Not so much. The website was a standard sales page (white background, blue text, cheesy graphics), with broken links and typos. I was turned off immediately. While this is an extreme example, it got me thinking about the message we project through our websites. In the offline world, it has been proven that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. How does that translate to the online world, where most of what we see is written text? The overall feeling you get within the first 3 seconds on a website is that non-verbal aspect, and it can either help businesses or hurt them.

Is your Online Image helping you or hurting you? Here are 5 areas to check:

1) Website Layout
Is your website too cluttered? Is it too simple? Go to your website on your computer, then take 5 steps back. From a distance, where does your eye go? Is there a focal point, or does your eye wander? Now figuratively step back and look at your business. If your message and your personality is simple and clean, make sure your site reflects that.

2) Color
Take a look at your color scheme. Now think about your personality. Now your color scheme. Now personality. (sorry…just thinking about the Old Spice guy) If your personality is more subdued and mellow, don’t use hot pink or neon yellow on your website. People will be confused! Instead, go with softer tones like pastels. Same goes for you more outgoing and bubbly ones. Using black and all neutral/muted tones does not automatically make you look professional. Be yourself, and your clients will love you for it.

3) Graphics
There is a common myth that all graphics have to be flashy and complex (and expensive). Wrong. Think about your personality and what you want people to know about you, then work those pieces into your graphics, especially your logo and header. Symbolism is fun…get creative!

4) Voice
When a client calls you for the first time, wouldn’t it be great if he/she felt like it was a continuation of a previous conversation? This is do-able if you use your own voice on your website (and in social media). If you’re not used to writing this way, record yourself speaking, then transcribe the recording word for word. I guarantee your clients will feel more comfortable during that initial phone call!

5) Energy/Movement
The web is full of some really cool (and free!) ways to add energy and movement to your website. You want the energy level to reflect the same energy level you naturally have. This helps people get to know you before they even meet you. YouTube videos are always fantastic, or try checking out Widgetbox.

For more tips, tricks, tools, or just to get to know me better, visit my blog or my business website.

Wishing you the very best in your Work at Home Life!

Tweet: Does This Header Make My Brand Look Big? 5 Ways to Assess Your Online Image

Cheers,
Shalon Ironroad
Human Swiss Army Knife

 

The Thesis WordPress Theme August 9, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 12:18 pm
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This post has moved to: The Virtual Assistant Journal.

Continue reading about the benefits and drawbacks of using the Thesis WordPress Theme

 

 
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