Monthly Archives: March 2012

Five Ways to Optimize Video for Search Engines | Entrepreneur.com

Many website owners believe that simply filming a video clip and posting it to YouTube constitutes good video marketing. Unfortunately, they are missing out on major opportunities to increase the number of views their videos receive and the website traffic they generate through implementing a few simple search engine optimization strategies.

Their loss can be your gain, so consider the following actions to ensure that your videos are properly optimized for the major search engines:

1. Create engaging content.

The best thing you can do to optimize search engine results is to produce video content that is informative, helpful and engaging. When you release videos that help people solve problems or entertain them, you increase the likelihood that viewers will want to share your videos with others.

As your videos are shared more, not only will your rankings within the search engine results increase, including both the traditional Google, Bing and Yahoo and YouTube’s internal search results, increase, but you’ll also earn more backlinks pointing at your video content and your website.

2. Incorporate relevant keywords into your videos.

Because search engines often display video clips along with text pages, your videos will show up in the results more often if you incorporate target keywords into your videos.

Consider incorporating target keywords in as many of the following locations on the video upload page as make sense for your particular video clip:

  • Title tag
  • Video description
  • Category listing
  • Keyword tags
  • Subtitles or captions

Related: How Using Microdata Can Improve Your Website SEO

To increase the likelihood that viewers will click through from your video to your site, consider listing your full URL as the first line of your video description. This will ensure that it’s both clickable and is displayed above the “show more” tag, which cuts off most of your description on the video clip viewing page.

3. Share your clips on many video sites.

Sure, your videos can pick up plenty of views when optimized correctly for YouTube. But YouTube isn’t the only game in town.

To increase the total number of video backlinks pointing to your site and improve overall exposure for your video content, consider submitting to any of the following video directories as well:

Submitting your video clips to these sites will require a little extra effort to create accounts and set up your videos for each one. But because the sites each have a substantial number of users, your efforts will ideally be rewarded with more traffic.

4. Take advantage of YouTube’s analytics tools.

YouTube offers rich analytics tools that allow you to determine how well your current videos are performing and uncover potential opportunities to create appealing new videos. Remember: The more people who watch and engage with your videos, the more likely they are to be featured in the YouTube search results pages and to be shared as a “recommended result” when other videos are displayed.

Related: What You Need to Know About YouTube’s New Analytics Program

Specifically, a few of the things you’ll want to pay attention to include:

YouTube Analytics, where you’ll find data on your current video performance. To help you plan future videos, you can see which of your video topics have drawn the most viewers.

Annotations, which are bubbles of text overlaid on your video and displayed while it plays. When used sparingly, annotations can provide a better interactive experience for your viewers.

Channel display, where you’ll have the opportunity to customize your unique channel page and make your brand more memorable for viewers.

5. Make a call-to-action in your videos.

When creating video content to share on YouTube and other video directories, be sure to optimize your clips with a call-to-action. Because YouTube seems to reward channels that have more subscribers, for example, you could incorporate the message, “Subscribe now for more great content!” into your videos.

Implementing any or all of these strategies can help videos perform better in searches and, ideally, expand your business’s audience.

via Five Ways to Optimize Video for Search Engines | Entrepreneur.com.

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Best Startup Tips from Trep Talk | Slideshow | Entrepreneur.com

The most successful entrepreneurs have faced the same challenges that startups are grappling with today. There are lessons learned that can help anyone who is starting a business. Here, we offer a dozen of the best business tips from the entrepreneurs behind the big ideas in ‘Trep Talk — from picking a market to executing on your idea, plus how to determine whether you’re really creating a viable business.

Spanx Inventor and Founder Sara Blakely

"Don't be afraid to fail. My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn't have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. "

Mashable Founder Pete Cashmore

, if you’re a creative person. “”]

Gurbaksh Chahal, Serial Entrepreneur and RadiumOne Founder

"Many business people focus on what is static, black and white. Yet great algorithms can be rewritten. A business process can be defined better. A business model can be copied. But the speed of execution is dynamic within you and can never be copied. When you have an idea, figure out the pieces you need quickly, go to market, believe in it, and continue to iterate."

Marcia Kilgore, Founder of Bliss Spa, Soap and Glory and FitFlop

"Get everything in writing, especially with business partners. When you're starting out, things can be quite friendly and exciting, but people's memory can change due to money. Obviously, better to have a lawyer do it, but at least have some written recollection that you are partners, who's responsible for what, and how much money each of you put in."

Jim Koch, Founder of Boston Beer Co. and Samuel Adams Boston Lager

"You have a viable business only if your product is either better or cheaper than the alternatives. If it's not one or the other, you might make some money at first, but it's not a sustainable business."

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

"Be true to yourself. If you follow that principle, a lot of decisions are actually pretty easy."

Caterina Fake, Co-founder of Flickr and Hunch

"Pick a good market. The idea for approaching that market may change, but find a meaty problem to solve. You can try to attack it a bunch of different ways. Don't be too narrow."

Meetup Co-Founder Scott Heiferman

"Something worth doing might take a while, so really flesh out the potential of the business and be honest about whether it's worth doing. If it's not a $100 million company in five years, maybe it'll take 10 or 15 years. If you're doing something that has a universal, timeless need, then you need to think of the company in a timeless way."

DailyCandy Founder Dany Levy

"Don't spend money until you have money. When we used to put candy in our media kits, I would go to the Duane Reade store the day after Easter because the candy was on sale. Of course, it's important to spend on certain things in the beginning. You need good servers but you don't need Aeron desk chairs."

Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons

"What I learned from Rockefeller that's off-the-hook important is: You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves."

Barbara Corcoran, Corcoran Group Founder, Shark Tank Judge and Investor

"The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you're in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being so focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that… don't miss it."

HomeAway Co-Founder Brian Sharples

A good idea is not enough. Business aren't just about ideas, businesses are about execution. Don't get too enamored with your own idea. Other people are going to have that same idea or something similar. You have to build a better team to execute it. You are only human, nobody has all the skills required to make a business work. Ask yourself - what people are required to make it work for this idea, for this business?

via Best Startup Tips from Trep Talk | Slideshow | Entrepreneur.com.

[Tool] TypeButter – Optical kerning

Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between two characters, or glyphs. This space is called a kerning pair. And the space between any two characters can be different than the space between any other two characters. There are many examples, in traditional typsetting, where known problems exist between letter pairs. For example, any time an oblique-sided upper-case letter is used with one of the four rounded lower-case vowels, the appearance of the type is greatly improved if the vowel is slightly tucked under the rising side of the upper case letter in such a way that the two letter spaces are actually overlapped. Because many of these problems are common to the majority of fonts, type designers — at least the good ones — have made it a point of honor to build into the font a table of kerning pairs.

In theory, a perfect font would have specific kerning information for each glyph in combination with every other glyph in both upper and lower cases. In fact the more kerning pairs that a font has is usually a good indication of how well crafted that font is. If the type designer has made every effort to insure that there are no unsightly spaces between letter pairs, then that designer has probably included many kerning pair instances. This is a process that takes time and a certain amount of experience.

TypeButter allows you to set optical kerning for any font on your website. If you’re longing for beautifully laid out text that today’s browsers just don’t provide, this is the plugin for you!

TypeButter | Optical Kerning FTW! TypeButter | .

Top 7 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make – Forbes

As a small business, your website is a vital piece of your marketing and branding efforts. Visitors are coming to your website for a specific reason, and you want to ensure that you answer their questions and use your website to sell your product or service.

If you get your website designed wrong, you can easily lose thousands of dollars initially, and ultimately lose even more money in potential revenue that you could be making from a well designed, properly functioning website.

Grow your bottom line by avoiding many of these common mistakes among business owners:

1. Putting urgency over understanding your target market.

Instead of focusing on getting your website done as soon as possible, you must first research your target audience in your specific market. Then, design your website around your research.

For instance, if your target market is older, perhaps the font size should be larger. Or if your product is geared towards a younger demographic, then you need to think about catering your site to be smartphone compatible.

You’re going to have to determine where should your users go once they get to your site? That question is easily answered if you know your market.

2. Design is too busy or flashy.

My company, Ciplex, is a web design and development company, and we know that in order to be successful on the Internet you need to focus on marketing your website — not a flashy design. Your design should not just be focused on bringing users there, but also getting them to the right place once they reach your homepage.

Plus, flashy websites don’t look good on mobile phones or tablets, and a large majority of Internet users now visit websites from these wireless devices.

Remember: when a visitor comes to your website, they probably already know what they want out of it. If within three seconds they can’t figure out what to do next, you might need to go back to the drawing board.

3. No clear call to action.

What do you want users to do once they’ve found your website? Do you want them to buy your product, contact you, or subscribe to your business e-newsletter? You need to tell visitors what the next step is and when (ideally, now!). Your content should answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” and then the call to action tells them what to do next.

4. Paying too little or too much.

You don’t know how many times people come to my company after they’ve hired a cheap designer, let them make business decisions that are poor, and ended up with a horrible product. At the same time, companies get distracted by expensive agencies that work with big brands, and don’t realize these agencies might not be able to help a small business that’s ROI focused. Simply put: don’t blow your budget on your website, but do your research to ensure you’re receiving a quality product.

5. Stale, out-of-date content.

Customers expect your website to contain the latest information about your products, services, and company. When it doesn’t have this, they may assume you’re not in business any longer, or simply aren’t innovative and ahead of the competition. Your content must address the needs of your customers (or potential customers) and be updated as things change. If you have a blog, updating it at least once a week — if not more — can help you drive visitors to your website and keep search engines happy.

Additionally, avoid putting links to your Facebook or Twitter pages if you only have a small following. People may think your business is too small and end up not hiring you.

6. Trying to target everyone.

This goes back to knowing your target market; your website will be a mess if you try to accommodate every kind of visitor you might end up getting. It’s best to figure out your most frequent users and focus on creating the best possible experience for them. If you try to please the masses you’ll likely end up not pleasing anyone.

7. Taking the DIY route.

Your website is often your customers’ first experience with your brand. If you don’t have design experience, do you really think you can do it justice? Remember first impressions are everything. Don’t allow your customer to make assumptions about your business because of a poorly designed website.

via Top 7 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make – Forbes.

The 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time

1. Steve Jobs

Jobs: At the Apple offices in 1984

Company: Apple
Sales: $108.2 billion
Market Value: $546 billion
Employees: 63,300
Advice: Say no to focus groups and market research.

Though he could be abusive and mean-spirited to people who threw themselves into their work on his behalf, Steve Jobs has been our generation’s quintessential entrepreneur. Visionary. Inspiring. Brilliant. Mercurial.

Perhaps the most astonishing fact about Jobs was his view that market research and focus groups only limited your ability to innovate. Asked how much research was done to guide Apple when he introduced the iPad, Jobs famously quipped, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want. It’s hard for [consumers] to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.”

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Avoiding Founder Failure: 26 Quick Tips and Real Data

Several years ago, I met with Noam Wasserman who had recently joined Harvard Business School as a professor.  I initially came across Noam because he was doing some fascinating research on startups — particularly in the arena of founder relationships.  When I met him for lunch, he brought up some of the toughest issues I’ve ever encountered in my entrepreneurial career: Should you start a company with a close friend or family-member?  Is it wise to divide equity in the startup equally among the founders?  If you had to pick, do you want the cash (get rich) or the control (be queen/king)?  What about your co-founders?  Deep, deep, topics.

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The One Question That Kills A Good Interview And Reveals Absolutely Nothing – Forbes

If you want to know what my five-year professional plan is, ask me what I do on a Sunday afternoon and not what’s ticking on my career clock.

By Lindsay J. Westley

“Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?”

I was in a job interview last week that was going well. I was connecting with my interviewers, I’d done my research on the position, and the job sounded like it would be a good fit for my writing skills and desire to mentor undergrads.

Then came the killer question: “Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?”

This question really only has three answers, and when posed to an ambitious Gen-Y candidate, none of them will make you look good. Here’s what I mean:

  • Potential Answer 1: I see myself doing this same job in five years (Translation: I’m un-ambitious)
  • Potential Answer 2: I see myself doing this job as long as it takes to catapult me to a better job or department (Translation: I’m not sticking around)
  • Potential Answer 3: I see myself doing your job in five years (Translation: I’m here to ladder-climb, regardless of who’s in the way)

I improvised a vague answer about my aspirations to work in academia, but as far as interview questions go, itwas tricky to respond without either lying or being evasive. I answered truthfully — I could see myself working in academia in five years — but it was a two-person department, so my five-year track plan hovered somewhere between option two and option three. As a result, my nonspecific reply sounded dispassionate as I tried to steer clear of enemy waters.

Questions about your five-year plan, your strengths and weaknesses and how you resolved a conflict with a co-worker are unlikely to be dashed from interviewers’ clipboards anytime soon, so it’s smart to come up with a safe answer. If you’re a mid-career professional in a similar field, you can dodge a bullet by sticking to what you know is nonthreatening territory, but if you’re less experienced and don’t know the “right” answer, then what?

You do have a few options. Tap contacts in similar fields for a safe five-year job description that sounds motivated but not bloodthirsty, or do what I did: Be generic. But if you’re so busy playing it safe, what is the recruiter really learning about you? Nothing of note — and it’s a safe bet that you won’t be a memorable candidate, either.

While it’s valid for a recruiter to probe for information about a candidate’s long-term dedication and motivation within the field (not to mention to gauge a personality fit) here’s what I wish interviewers would ask instead:

  • What I’m passionate about
  • How I finance and make time for the things I love
  • How I’ll tailor this job to play up my strengths

Here’s why: Telling a recruiter that you’re passionate about the arts, traveling, writing and creative thinkingproves that you’re cultured, adventurous and innovative; it’s a good getting-to-know-you question, but it’s mostly irrelevant. If a recruiter wants a real answer to the five-year plan question, he should listen to how a candidate finances or schedules the things she loves into her life.

Does she save every penny for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand? Start work at 6 a.m. in order to spend more time with family on the weekends? Volunteer to guest-blog for an outdoor adventure company in exchange for a rock-climbing trip? If she’s willing to make sacrifices for the things she loves doing, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be a dedicated employeeand be motivated to find innovative solutions to professional problems in the same way she does in her personal life.

Finally, ask her how she’ll realign the duties of this job to play to her strengths and complement her passions. If she can tell you how writing the company blog dovetails with her lifelong love of journalism or how brainstorming brochure copy sparks her love of travel — and mean it — then it’s probably a good fit for the company and the candidate. If a new hire is happy and challenged, the question of a five-year career goal is largely irrelevant, whether you’ve been promoted to CEO in half a decade, or are still in the entry-level position where you started.

If you want to know what my five-year professional plan is, ask me what I do on a Sunday afternoon. And if you can’t find a way to incorporate the things you’re passionate about into the job description, you’re better off thanking the interviewer and moving on.

Lindsay Westley

After traveling around the world as a professional polo groom, Lindsay Westley landed in Philadelphia as arts & culture editor of a small daily newspaper and then in the communications department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now writing about art, design, architecture, travel and outdoor adventures from my home near Burlington, Vt. Follow her on Twitter at @LindsayJWestley.

via The One Question That Kills A Good Interview And Reveals Absolutely Nothing – Forbes.

Improvised – to invent or make something, such as a speech or a device, at the time when it is needed without already having planned it
Vague – not clearly expressed, known, described or decided
Aspiration – something that you hope to achieve
Evasive – answering questions in a way that is not direct or clear, especially because you do not want to give an honest answer
Hover – to stay in one place in the air, usually by moving the wings quickly
Bloodthirsty – eager to see or take part in violence and killing
Probe – to try to discover information that other people do not want you to know, by asking questions carefully and not directly
Dovetail – to cause something to fit exactly together