Friday, December 19, 2008

Quality Content Always

An old woman, in search for different kinds of apples, went to Google and made a search. To her surprise, the search engine has given a lot of search results for a single website alone. Nothing seems to be wrong with the title that appears but when she clicked on it, voila!, crappy and useless texts were posted on her monitor. After that, the old woman, as vengeful as she is, vowed never to visit that site again.

Sounds unreal, but, well, it could happen.

To optimize a website to be able to rank high on search engines, there are a lot of things that needs to be done. Build quality links, submit related articles, submit site to online directories, etc. Being too busy of taking care of these task, oftentimes, search engine optimizers and internet marketers forget one of the important, if not the most important, concepts and ideas to build traffic into the web pages. First things first. Offer quality content on your site.

Along with quality content of course is the correct link building process. Links should only be given and provided to related websites. Another is to put in the correct and updated title tags, meta keywords and description is also part of providing quality into the site. By building good links and optimizing the website, one can get better shot at the search engine result pages.
But the main point is, what is the purpose of bringing in people to visit your site and creating traffic into it, if there is nothing there that would be of interest to them. For example, for an information-driven website, it must offer something that would help the target searchers or if not, give them information that they need. Thus, giving them the reason to trust your website and visit it the next time that they would need to search related topics. Another instance is for the online shops, one must provide good details of the products or services that they offer to prevent shoppers to ask questions and to avoid that they would search on a competitor's site because of the lack of information on your side.

To sum it up, the content is the most important part of search engine optimization. It allows users to give their trust and like your website. Who knows, they could even refer it to their friends! It may take a long time to drive traffic because one is limited on the structure of the pages for web crawlers, but don't worry, the wait will all be worth it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Web Maintenace and Update Tips

Web maintenance plays a very important role in getting more visitors and more traffic in a website. That is why you need to be very very careful with the steps you make when maintaining a website. I decided to post some tips to follow in order for the website maintenance to be most effective.
  • Fresh Quality Content Always. The main objective of website maintenance is to keep visitors coming to your site. And the search engines drive great traffic when you update your website from time to time by adding new post. This is the reason why it is very important to add fresh and quality content regularly.
  • Tracking Visitors. It is also of utmost importance that you keep track of the activities by the individuals who visit your site. Which pages most of the people go to, which pages do they stay the longest and what attracts them most. This would assist you analyze your target audience interests and would help in making decisions for your next update and for the future improvements.
  • User Feedback. This is also a must for an effective website. Not only it would let people interact with each other, they will be able to give constructive comments and feedbacks that would give more maintenance tips. This can be done by setting up a forum on your website, providing a contact form and letting others to comment on your posts.
  • Newsletter subscription. Making newsletter subscription feature available would give your visitors an option to know updates made on your site. This would keep previous visitors to visit your website again.
  • Web Design. The design of your website play a vital role in the optimization of your site. Read more about it on my other post.
Do not have any ideas about these? No worries, nowadays, webmaster services is very much available to good outsourcing companies and virtual assistants are very much knowledgeable of these information.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blogging Tips: What to follow

Writing a blog is not as easy as just plain writing. There are things to consider. One don't just go and post something for the sake that he blogs, rather, blogs aims something.

Sure thing, no one is a perfect blogger, myself included. But I decided to post some useful tips that some could follow in order to make an effective blog article and be an interesting blogger. The following are just a few, but these are what is considered to be the basics of blogging.
  • Make an opinion. People love blogs that are written by people. Do not sound like a robot or a writer for a corporation. Others read to be informed, they hate advertisements. And always do not forget to make a stand on an issue. Blogs can make great influences if written the correct way. Do not stay anonymous on an argument. Make a stand.
  • Less, short and understandable. A long article is harder to get and easier to forget. A short one would be its opposite. Be direct. Time is very important for you, much more for your readers. Give information as fast as possible yet the simplest as you can.
  • Make your post easier to read. Maximize spaces. Separate ideas through numbers or bullets. That way, it is much easier to grasp the idea. Create a scan-friendly article. Utilize sub headings, they serve to be friendly for long articles that offer lots of different ideas. This would work best if someone is only looking for a certain line or abstract. Use pictures to replace some of the content. Just be sure to optimize the image.
  • Be consistent. Do not change your topic from time to time. If possible, focus in only one theme. And be still with your style in writing. People want to know what to expect always.
  • Maximize your post. Make powerful links to your sources with the use of helpful anchor texts. Maximize the keywords that you focus on writing a certain post. Emphasize them by making them bold or underlining on them.
  • Edit your post. Correct the mistakes you did. Never hesitate to admit that you did something wrong.
I would also like to stress the fact that successful bloggers do not just blog because they earn money, or it is their job, rather they love what they are doing. Passion is always the key to success in any fields.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Design Tips for Web to be SEO Friendly

How you developed your website contributes greatly on its optimization with the search engines and the success of your website with its marketing.

I formulated a list or tips that would help the design of your website to be search engine optimization friendly.
  • SEO Friendly URLs. Make sure that the urls that you are using are Search Engine Optimization friendly. By this, I mean that it is better if your targeted keywords would actually be part of it. Avoid characters like "=" or "?", rather use "-" or "_" to separate words. Separating the words are not that important for search engines, yet is suggested so that human visitors of your site would easily understand the content through the clear representation of the url.
  • Using Semantic Tags. Using semantic tags would help on website development would help the search engines to understand which terms are being emphasized and is put into importance. Use this list to of sematic tags to help you on your web development and website optimization.
  • Use Text for Navigation. Avoid using flash for the main navigation. Search engine crawlers cannot read flash. If this is used, they will not be able to proceed to the next pages. Yes, the only negative thing about this is that you are sacrificing the attractive designs you are aiming at. This can be, however, fixed by putting a little portion of your webpage at the bottom a sitemap, in which all your main pages will be listed in pure HTML.Website Optimization
  • Optimizing Images. There are instances that you will be using images to replace the content of your website. The problem is that spiders and crawlers are blind, they are only able to read but they cannot see. Thus, the text placed on the images will be useless. To optimize the images, first, you must be sure that the file name of the image will contain your targeted keywords for displaying the image. Secondly, be sure to put description of what message the image is trying to convey. Place alt tags on your images. Optimize the keywords in it. Lastly, optimize the image size. I would be honest, I hate pages that takes so much time to load, so I think any of you. Make image sizes smaller. It researches has stated that people leave the website if it takes up to 12 seconds to load. Imagine how short it is for web development optimization and how long it is for the browsers.
  • Optimized Links. Build only quality links. Be sure to use important keywords for your anchor texts. Be sure only to link on important and theme related site. Optimize the link flow of your site by linking to your own site content. Spiders love these.
  • Keyword Research. Optimize your keywords. Not only use your targeted keywords, explore to related words. If you theme is ice cream, don't focus on ice cream all the time, use other words like chocolate, vanilla, sweet, tasty, etc. Also base your design concept of your theme. Do not make a site full of the color yellow if your theme is blue, the same as to not to use pink if your topic is soccer.
Always be sure to think about how you would react when developing and designing a website. Take constructive comments from other people especially those who know nothing about you.

Don't have any idea to build a website that is SEO friendly? Do not worry, there are many good virtual assistant outsourcing companies that offer webmaster services and well trained virtual assistants on a low price.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Good Way of Marketing your Website

Making a webpage in the world wide web is only a step. After that, the next one would be to market you website. But is there really a need for Internet Marketing?

What is Internet Marketing? Internet marketing is the concept that refers to the ways and the strategies that are applied to promote products or services on the web, marketing procedures. These strategies would include SEO or Search Engine Optimization, online marketing and promotions, building quality links, website development strategies or creating a valuable, informative and useful site, and many more.

Do I really need this for my website? My answer would be yes. The importance of Internet Marketing has increased throughout the growth and expansion of the Internet Itself. Plus, this is also one of the main reasons why one is building a website, to promote their products, services or organization. So what would be the use to create a site that would not be seen by its intended and targeted audience? This is why promotion of your webpages is one of the most crucial stages of web development and maintenance.

In other words, the main objective of Internet Marketing is let people see your site, adding traffic to it.

There are many ways to market your site. There are ofcourse procedures that can give immediate results yet are against the rules set by the search engines that proves to be destroying the quality of the web and user satisfaction. These should be avoided. The good thing is, there are effective ways to promote your website while staying under the rules. Including are building only quality links, joining on social media only on related themed websites, and maintaining quality content. These procedures may take some time, yet it proves to be the most efficient.

Do not have any ideas? Worry not because there are great outsourcing companies nowadays that offer these services. Hiring a virtual assistant not only lessens your work burden, they do only the trusted and "good" ways to market your website and their services are always cheap.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Copyright Infringement and The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Lara copies a picture she saw from a Yahoo! search and posted it to the net. Little did she know that since she did not give any credit to the source of the image, she has already committed a crime.

Copyright Infringement has always been an issue in the Internet. When do you use the internet legally, when do you not? This question is indeed very hard to answer, added the fact that the internet has limited restrictions and copyrighting with regards to its content.

It was in the year of 1998 wherein this issue has been given lit on. It was on October 28, 1988 when President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) which implements most of the Intellectual Property treaties that was on active before it. What makes DMCA more efficient is that it has a chapter that focuses most of the copyright related issues that is web and internet related. In other words, it has given more protection to the copyright holders that is providing their content on the web. It also gives limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities. It has also given a broad protection on the original designs that is posted on the net. And lastly, it has set the standard and provisions on giving penalties to those found guilty of copyright infringement.

Is this good? Definitely! But of course not to those who are violating the law. But what about those who did not know that they have committed something illegal? Ignorance, they say, is not an excuse.

My personal suggestions, do not just copy content on the web. Much less without any permission. If this is unavoidable and the source of the said content is not reachable, give him credit. Thank him for the content. It wouldn't do you any harm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Building Quality Links

Upon outsourcing, one of the first things most website owners would consider is directing traffic to their site and adding its popularity. But how can this be done?

One of the best way to do this is by Link Building. Link building means that we create links that will direct other people to your site. This is also one of the things that Google takes into consideration upon assessing the importance of your content. And how can we build these links? There are many ways to make links. The following are some of these.
  • Submitting Articles. There are many sites that cater article submissions. By doing this, you would be given a number of links that would go back to your site. But in order for your articles to be listed, this needs to be educational and appealing. In this case, others would get interested in visiting your site.
  • Submitting URL to Directories. This is another way to build links. Not only that you will be listed on these directories, you will also be given a link back to your website. Plus, some people prefer to search information through directories and the search engines gives points for every link.
  • Participating in Social Networking and the Blogosphere. Participate on discussions of other people's posts and articles, give useful feedbacks, and give informative data. By doing so, it would give other users a chance to view your website and to check out its content.
There are many other ways to make links. But it is not as easy as that. Many people often get in trouble for not knowing that what they did is not correct, that is making links just for the sake of popularity. Google actually may ban you from their search results if you are not careful and you are creating links of no use or value. One should build quality links, or in other words, those that would bring great value. But how? Here are just a few tips.
  • Link only to the neighborhood. In other words, link to those that have related content. Do not just participate in any discussions, be sure to place comments and feedbacks to those that, if not the same, relates to the main theme of your site.
  • Build links incrementally. Do not make 200 links overnight, this makes Google suspect you're a spammer and your site is not useful. Build them slowly. Never participate on garbage link request or those that would post links on spam e-mails and off-topic sites.
  • Vary anchor texts. Use your targeted keywords, not just texts like "click here" or the url. Also, mix them up frequently. Do not use words like "advertisement" or "sponsor" because search engine spiders devalue these links.
  • Submit only to respected directories. The example of these is Dmoz or the Open Directory Project and Yahoo directory. Do not just submit on directories, always check its credibility.
It is always advantageous if the virtual assistant you hire knows these information and knows good search engine optimization practices. Lastly, to wrap it up, building quality links may take time, but it is definitely worth it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Optimize Your Website

Website optimization is one of the important things one should consider when developing a website. But how can we optimize a website. What do we mean by that?

Website optimization means that we do the best in order for the website to be compatible to all its users, or in oder words, we maximize its usability. By users we mean, those who are visiting the site. There are instances that people use an outdated browser or a non-flash compatible one, and we do not want them not to be able to navigate the website we are making. We also want to maximize the web pages to be very friendly to the search engines, in order for it to find your content. But what are the things to consider to optimize your website? Here are just the few guidelines to consider:
  • Text Text Text. Nothing is more friendlier than to make a website with most of its content made up of text. All browsers, old or newly updated, can read text, making it a lesses requirement for people to be able to read you website. Plus, the fact that search engine spiders(or those who are responsible for indexing your content to be able to be viewed on the search engine results pages) can only read text, it would be easier for them to access your website, and access its importance.
  • Maximize Keywords. In making a website, be considerate of the content that you input in it. Since we are taking into consideration the targeted keywords to be used and to be optimize, we should only use it when it is necessary. Also, we should never "cannibalize" these words, or using it even unnecessary.
  • Links Optimization. Take time into reviewing the links that you would use in an outbound manner. Meaning, other websites that you would be using to link into. Make sure that they have the credibility and their content would have great significance to yours. Another is that create good interlinks or those links that divert back into your site. Just be sure that they would be very related. And when making a link, be sure to use powerful anchor texts. Do not just use urls or words like "click here", use those that would add the reliability and the importance to those that you are linking into.
  • Quality Content. Always make quality content. I mean, what is the use to create a website that others would find no importance at all. What people are looking for is the content, not your website architecture. So always take time to make quality content.

These are just the few things to consider to optimize your website. But always make sure that the virtual assistant or the webmaster you hire, knows these things to consider.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Protest Against Longer Working Hours by an IT-BPO Union

My post today would actually be about a current news with the Business Process Outsourcing industry.

It is very much known that many of the industries today, especially the Business Process Outsourcing sector, sometimes would need "extended" working hours as to have the job done. And as per law and mandate that the regular working duration is eight hours a day, companies require to pay for the overtime.

But there has been a recent problem that has been identified in most IT firms in India. These firms allegedly has an "arbitrary policy" reportedly enforcing longer working hours that violate this working mandate. Because of this, the Union for Information & Technology Enabled Services (UNITES) Indian section has plans to file a PIL or public interest litigation.

UNITES is affiliated to the Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc). It is also India’s first union in the IT-BPO sector. It claims to have around ten per cent of the total IT-BPO workforce of two million as members, and stated the numbers have been rising over the last two months on the back of lay-offs in the sector. UNITES is also part of Union Network International (UNI), which has over sixteen million workers in thirteen different sectors from 163 countries.

On the part of these IT sectors, they are saying that workers are still working for eight hours in one day, six times a week, therefore this is not a violation. And since most companies work for only five days, this , they say, creates the wrong idea.

R Karthik Shekhar, UNITES’ secretary general for India does not buy their response. He then speaks about the Business Standard. "The labour law in India allows an eight-hour working day, whereas in most IT companies in India people are involuntarily working for over 12 hours daily," he stated.

He also says that this is just a business strategy of many IT companies in the country. And he calls this tactic "a double standard by the IT firms, who, on the one hand are firing people saying they are not getting enough work, and on the other hand, forcing employees to work more since they are getting more work".

But it seems that few of the workers tend not to agree with the idea of the union. "In call centres people are used to long working hours. During peak season (December-January), they work even 14 hours a day. But now due to the ongoing crisis, expectation levels are very high. Performance is being monitored frequently," a team leader working with vCustomer stated.

And the companies actually act on it seriously. "Earlier we could extend our project deliveries by a day or two. Now the management has mandated to deliver by the deadline otherwise it will be marked on performance sheet. Our performance is being evaluated every week. This was a norm from earlier times, but now the management is taking it seriously," a software engineer with Satyam Computers added.

Infosys Technologies HR head TV Mohandas Pai explains and makes a statement about this issue. "The IT industry in India still follows the best practices it had introduced earlier. But this does not mean employees will work less. If they are being asked to stick to duty hours, this will increase the productivity," he explains.

Well, lets wait and see how this problem gets fixed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Right Training Program

When you'll read my previous post here in this blog, you probably have noticed that I took a great emphasis on the proper training for a virtual assistant. But how can we define a proper training? When can we say that a training is enough to mold a qualified virtual assistant?

There are many things to consider in identifying the right training program. There is no standards that are set but most of the time, training is part of every outsourcing company strategy. So it really depends. But what I will provide are some guidelines to follow and to ask.

The following are needed to be answered in order to be sure that you employ and work with a well trained virtual assistant:

  • How many hours was his training? A minimum number of hours training, for example 160 hours, must be specified. By answering this question, one would be an assurance that a virtual assistant is equipped with the knowledge that is needed and the strategies.
  • How is the training done? This also needs answers. Is it done through video tutorials? Or is is with a trainer? Is it done online? Each of us may have their own preferences when it comes to this. But on my own point of view, I do believe that it is better if the virtual assistant you choose to work with has been trained through tutorial videos, since it is one of the best ways to grasp the ideas and the lessons that needs to be learned. I also prefer to have a trainer present so that questions are entertained as fast as possible.
  • Is the materials updated? Yes of course! The a good training needs its materials to be updated from time to time to cope with the changing demands of the businesses and industries.
  • Is there a follow up training? Even the virtual assistant is already knowledgeable and may be considered as an expert already, we still need to have follow up trainings so that, as I've mentioned before, they would be able to adapt new strategies and new ways to improve their jobs.

Well there you have it. I may have just mentioned a few, but these are just things that need to consider. After all, what we aim is to work with, not just qualified, but a good virtual assistant.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Well Trained Virtual Assistant

To know that the virtual assistant that you hire must be well trained and had undergone the a great deal of screening is very assuring. Especially that you are not always present to guide and walk him through the correct processes.

But what are the standards of a proper screening and training? Here are just few of the ideas that are most important to consider and to asses how qualified an individual is.
  • Intensive Pre-employment Screening. A good outsourcing company must use a very strict screening in choosing the right people for the job. They should not only asses the current competency of the applicant but also his ability to adapt, and to learn with the profession. The one that should be hired is the one that would be very open-minded to be corrected of his mistakes and would be able to grow on the process of training. They should also be assessed in what are his strengths and in which specific tasks he will work best.
  • Exclusive Training Program. A very good virtual assistant must also undergo a training program that is formulated and based exclusively in the company's good management and strategies. There should be a minimum number of hours required to complete and they must be able to understand well the nature and how their job works. Also, training should not stop that. It should be on-going. There should be a continuous program that would help the agents stay competitive and focused.
  • Fresh Working Environment. This is also very important because it would help individuals focus on their work and prevent any distractions that would hinder on the quality of their jobs. For this reason, it is much more preferred if a virtual assistant would work in an office, not in their homes. Plus, there would be proper security that would help guard the safety of not just the agents, but also confidential information.
  • State of the Art Resources. It is very important to know that the person you hire uses modern and secured facilities, software and hardware. It is also suggested that they should be working with a monitoring software which would keep the integrity of their outputs. This would also ensure that their job would also be competitive in the modern world today. And lastly, this would enable you to communicate with the virtual assistant anytime, so that giving instructions would be accessible.
These are just few of the things to consider. May this article be one of your guide in choosing the right outsourcing company and the right virtual assistant.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Integrity of Virtual Assistants

Thinking of hiring a virtual assistant? How do you know that he will work just as you are paying him? How sure are you that your confidential information is safe? Is it safe to work with a virtual assistant who is located overseas?

Indeed, we set a lot of standards and expectations before hiring a virtual assistant because of the idea that we are not there to watch over them. That is why, it is important to hire a VA from a company that understands the importance of transparency and confidentiality in building trust with you.

The first thing to put into consideration is that the agent must be equipped with proper training and with strategies that can be very helpful in making the right job done. This can be achieved if the company has made sure that they have chosen only those that are qualified. Training must also be updated and accompanied by an ongoing one even after regularization.

There are many ways to know whether a company is qualified to do the job for you or not. A good outsourcing company also employ a robust computer monitoring software. With this technology, one is able to monitor the activities that are done by the agent. This includes the following:
  • Applications that are being used
  • Keystrokes being typed
  • Websites visited every minute
  • Files that are being used, transfered and printed
  • Emails that are being sent & received
This is then installed and maintained in every computers that are being used. This is not used to violate the privacy of the virtual assistant, but rather, it is used to assure that your work is being done. Therefore, in choosing the right company and the right VAs, individuals and corporations should take it into consideration that a software like these is being used.

And as for the intellectual property rights, it is important that one be assured that the virtual assistants that he is going to hire is following a Code of Ethics and an Agreement on Non Disclosure. It is also important to know that the office in which they are working has a good office environment, management and proper security.

To wrap it up, vigilance in choosing the right company and the right virtual assistant is the most important part of the process of outsourcing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why work with a Virtual Assistant?

Why outsource? Why hire a Virtual Assistant? What are my advantages in doing so?

The previous months has been a very difficult time for the global economy. It is during these time that most of us would have to consider ways to save money and prevent financial ruin. That is why, it is best that during these times, one must consider working with a virtual assistant.

A Virtual Assistant is a home based personnel whom is trained enough and has developed skill in order to perform tasks, administrative or technical. In other words, it
involves having a contract with third-party service provider to cater services with an individual or company's internal operations. And as technology advances allowing Virtual Assistants safer data delivery and fast and effective modes of communication, the more accessible it is for them to assist and aid their clients.

Why hire a virtual Assistant? What are my advantages in doing so? There are many advantages in hiring a virtual assistant rather than an internal personnel. The following are just a few of the benefits why organizations should outsource:
  • Time and Cost Savings. Every business needs to work with efficient and effective staff with the least expense and time. With outsourcing, entrepreneurs can save cost since they would have less responsibilities of the virtual assistant's training, insurances, taxes and benefits, office space and so on. Thus, lowering the business' financial efficiency. Plus, hiring a virtual assistant would cut short on the time that is supposed to be spent on the personnel's deployment and training.
  • Security and Commitment. Company-based VAs offer better security than those that are internally hired or freelance workers. VAs are bound with a contract which keeps the confidentiality and job quality to the utmost importance. They also work in offices, maintaining the effectiveness of their work. Unlike most employees, VAs have this genuine interest in the success of their clients since their performance is based on the client's satisfaction. Thus, when it comes to business goals, they share the same perspective as you do. Plus outsourcing provides more owner moderation, restraining risk and maximizing management.
  • Better Expertise and Project Management. VAs are well disciplined and is equipped with strategies that is rarely developed in-house. It is made sure that the knowledge with the industry is maintained by continual training and evaluation. Plus, businesses can discontinue services much easier when working with a VA compared when working with a full-time employee. The same is to when transferring tasks from one VA to another one.
  • Easier Management of Staff. One of the great benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant is that proprietors will have lesser accountability with the resources being used as well as the management of the human resources. In other words, entrepreneurs will not be the ones who will have the responsibility on the personnel's record information, salary, and benefits.
These are just the few of the many advantages of hiring a virtual assistant. Hiring a Virtual Assistant that is equipped with international business experiences, systemized approaches and strategies to attend to services like web development and maintenance, search engine optimization and accounting assistance, can help your company to be more productive in lesser time and in lesser cost.

These concludes that when hiring a VA, you take a big step in the evolution to a more stable and secured business in this world where only change and technology are the constant thing.