#SwimBiz Conference 2015: Takeaways

#SwimBiz conference at the Olympic Training Center in ColoradoBack in the day when I was a Director for an international association or two, I got to travel quite a bit on my employer’s dime. It was always the right amount of travel – enough to feel comfortable zipping through airport security, and not so much that I forgot my home address. I left that job and that lifestyle four years ago. When you’re self-employed, the idea of work travel suddenly becomes much more costly and much less glamorous. Zipping around the beltway to meet with clients or metroing into the city for a business meeting doesn’t have quite the panache as twice-yearly conferences in Las Vegas.

My dry streak ended last month, however, when I got the opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs for the first annual #SwimBiz conference, a marketing and social media conference hosted by USA Swimming. You know that when a conference incorporates a hashtag into its name, it’s serious about social media (and yes, we did watch this video).

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Mobilegeddon is coming!

If you’re a web developer or involved in SEO, you’ve probably heard of mobilegeddon already. If not, it’s coming your way April 21st, and here’s a quick run-down:

mobile friendly websites are no longer an option

This is you, and your friends, and everyone else, searching Google.

So, what’s mobilegeddon?

Back in February, Google, the overlord of the internet search (joking . . . mostly), published a blog post about their next search algorithm update. While that’s not unusual, the content of this blog post has far-reaching effects. Essentially, Google recognizes the direction of the wind — towards mobile devices and away from standard desktops. Mobile searches, if they haven’t already, should eclipse desktop searches soon. While desktop searches will return results in much the same way they do now, mobile searches will penalize sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.

What does that mean for you? It could mean that your site won’t display when someone searches your optimized keywords on a mobile device, if you fail Google’s mobile-friendly test. This is kind of a big deal, since you’ve probably invested a bunch of hours and a bunch of money into SEO, which means showing up high on search results. Hence, the web-world-wide freak-out that’s happening right now. [Read more…]

Securing Your Joomla! Website

I recently attended a webinar by Siteground hosting that covered Joomla! website security. There was a lot of excellent information provided. The main takeaways were that no website is impossible to hack, security is an ongoing process, and all interested parties must be involved – the host, the developers, the end-users, and the add-on developers.

Securing your Joomla website is one of the first steps you should take when you setup a new site. But what happens if you don’t? [Read more…]

Managing your mail, before it manages you

A few weeks ago, my sister discovered an email informing her she’d won an Honorable Mention in a songwriting contest. The email was a year old. She suffers from what so many other internet users do: email clutter. It can take over an inbox and consume hours of productivity. It can also prevent us from reading important notices (like that long-passed contest) or bills, which may have negative financial implications.

For small business owners and non-profits, this can especially affect the bottom line if you’re not responding to customer inquiries in a timely manner. There is an annual Clean Out Your Inbox week every January, but it’s never a BAD time to get back on track to managing your email flow. Here are my tips: [Read more…]

Practicing What You Preach: Social Media Outreach

This afternoon I had a conference call with a client, and I was advising her on social media marketing. We were discussing how and when to create Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages. Of course my advice has remained consistent: if you’re not there, you’re missing out on potential clients! Seems silly, then, that I was lacking a few basic social media pages too.

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Buzzword of the Day: Responsive Design

If you’re involved in the wide world of web design (say that five times fast), all you’ve been hearing about lately is responsive design. For those non-technical visitors, this involves the practice of designing a website that responds well across all devices and screen sizes – that is, in essence, responsive to whatever machine the end-user is utilizing to browse the website.

In practice, responsive web design can take on a lot of different technical aspects. I found a great infographic from Templatemonster that can help walk you through steps to discover, understand, and employ responsive web design.

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2012 London Olympics, and how big events can help even the smallest organization

I spent much of the past two weeks working on a new website design for Tsunami Swimming. I originally designed their first website back in 2003 using frames, re-designed it in 2005 with some help from Dreamweaver, and finally launched a powerful, SEO-ready and social networking-savvy Joomla! site last weekend.

While I worked on the Tsunami website, I kept one eye on the 2012 London Olympics. Not only am I a huge fan of the Summer games, but as a life-long swimmer I couldn’t turn away from action in the pool! Of course, that helped immensely when it came time to write good content for Tsunami’s site. Being able to experience something as awesome as the Olympics this year is a tremendous help when it comes to writing compelling copy. Tsunami needed their audience to get excited about the sport, and what better way than to share stories of success by Team USA?

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Another Year Over

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of December! This has been a busy, busy year for me – having a new baby, leaving the safety of my full-time position, and launching my own business are all things I can be proud to have accomplished in 2011.  But even with all of that, there are still a lot of things left on my to-do list.

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