Do You Want Prospective Students to Find Your Website? Google Tells You How

24 03 2013

Despite Bing’s aggressive marketing campaign, most people still use Google as their main search engine.  Google has put out a number of videos, in non-technical language, to help us help Google promote their websites.  They are narrated by Google engineer Matt Cutts, who seems to act as the face of Google when issues around their algorithm come up. Here are two examples.

The first one is on keyword density, or how many words that users would use to find your site should you make sure to include on your page.

The second is also on keywords, but on how much text versus images need to be on your website so that Google can figure out what you are about. Cutts describes it as a balancing act — pictures are more attractive and can entice viewers to stay on your website longer, but you still need some text.

Another tool mentioned by Cutts is Google Web Fonts, which seems to give you the ability to add more ornate fonts to your website without having them in a JPG.  This can GREATLY expand your site’s font options, aside from the standard Ariel, Helvetica, Times, etc., families — if it works (some of the comments under the video indicate that it’s may not work so well on some browsers on PCs).

For more videos, visit Google Webmasters Video channel on YouTube (remember, YouTube is owned by Google).

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Using Facebook

21 03 2013

Facebook is widely touted as the biggest thing in social media, with EVERYBODY and their cute crabby cat constantly logged in. However, using Facebook to successfully market your martial arts or self-defense school is something else.  Many of us have found that the time spent on Facebook has not led to contacts from potential students.

A local (Seattle) company, Brown Paper Tickets, published this list of 5 tips to making Facebook work for your events. My personal favorite is Tip 5, which is writing your event is a distinctive and engaging way (rather than just throwing the usual date/location info out there). My second favorite is #3, which is to post directly to Facebook.  In my experience it appears to be true:  for a short while I was scheduling posts via Hootsuite, and they consistently got fewer views/likes/clicks than did material I posted directly to Facebook.

One person who has seen success via Facebook said that it’s worked for her because she is on it constantly, and you have to be making those connections. So, for best chance of success, you should not just be posting your events, but be connecting with other similar organizations and people, and contributing intelligent and engaging comments on their posts.  Even  though it’s a new technology, the same old rules apply:  it’s all about the relationship.





In The News – Joanne Factor of Strategic Living

20 03 2013

Within the last few weeks, NWMAF member and Certified Self-Defense Instructor Joanne Factor was in the local Seattle media. Two were TV news segments (although in the second late-night segment we were not identified), and two were local radio broadcasts.  You can see (or listen to) the recordings at Strategic Living’s press page.

As self-defense instructors, I hope you all have similar press pages on your website. You do, right?

Two tips for the press page: make sure you have the media available from your own website (on your host server), as sometimes smaller media outlets over time drop older reports.  Also, if the story is still on the news media’s website, include that link — this aids credibility, and the source likes the linkback.

And one other important step.  Check your website’s analytics for the day of and the day after your media exposure.  (You do have analytics, right?  Google Analytics is fine, and free.)  That way you can assess if this media exposure had any effect.  For example, I did not notice ANY increase in visits to my site from either the TV news segments or from the AM radio interview.  But I did notice a bump after the FM radio interview, as well as several emails and phone calls asking about self-defense presentations and classes.  This information will help me decide if I wish to participate in a Health and Wellness Fair put on by one of these media companies (for which I would have to pay, at minimum, $300 for a bare-bones table with no promotion).





8 Habits of Successful Facebook Pages

25 05 2011

Mashable, that source for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture, has put together a brief list of companies that are successfully using Facebook to grow their interactions with customers. Each company has a “lesson” to be learned based on that experience. The lessons, in short, are:

  1. Ask your staff, customers, vendors, and partners — who already know you and like you — to “Like” your Facebook page first.
  2. Ask a lot of questions. You’ll get valuable feedback, plus you’ll be more likely to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds.
  3. Share lots of photos, and ask your fans to share photos. Facebook’s Photos remain the most viral feature of its platform.
  4. Find the resources to respond to your fans questions and inquiries.
  5. If you have a physical location, use Place Pages and Deals to drive traffic through your doors.
  6. Know your audience well, and when you make a mistake, quickly own up, do right by your audience and fix the problem.
  7. Integrate Facebook outside of your Fan Page, on your website, in as many places as you can. Create more compelling opportunities for people to buy your product based on their friends’ Likes.
  8. Find synergy with other organizations and entities, and then work together to promote each other’s Facebook pages so that everyone benefits.

Better yet, just read the article: http://mashable.com/2011/05/24/successful-brands-facebook/#. That way you’ll see which brand provided which lesson (from the Brooklyn Muesum to Oreo to Restaurants.com).

Thanks to Lauren Taylor of Defend Yourself for finding this article!





Tech Tip: Paper Disposal

1 04 2011

Today is April 1st, and what immediately springs to mind is . . .  spring cleaning.

Really, how many of us don’t have enough paper? How many of us, especially around tax time and if you run a school, aren’t up to our eyeballs in forms and pamphlets and statements Who among us isn’t just a bit weary of mounds of former forest, just sitting there, generating constant reminders of how far behind we are in our paperwork and how much bigger our carbon footprint has become?

If this describes you, then this product will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  The Minecraft USB Desktop Nether Portal takes care of all those “important” documents and dissertations.  Sure, you can just recycle your excess paper products, or leave them in a corner of your yard for the mice and squirrels to nest in. But this Desktop Nether Portal will dispose of them efficiently, without big trucks rumbling through your street or neighbors complaining of the increase in vermin.  As an EXTRA BONUS, the soft purple glow and hum are strongly soothing, and you will quickly relax, knowing your important papers are appropriately filed.

ORDER TODAY for only $39.99, and enjoy the rest of your first day in April!





The Challenge

29 03 2011

It’s simple. Really. I’m almost embarrassed to call this a “challenge,” but it is.

If you are an NWMAF supporter you know how much value and growth you get out of the NWMAF, Special Training, the Self-Defense Instructors Conference, and even this blog. Isn’t it worth keeping your cohorts and colleagues in the martial arts up-to-date on this AWESOME organization? I’m asking you to SPREAD THE WORD, and here’ how to do it, early and often.

You’ve already seen that two SDIC presenters have been profiled on this blog, and there’s more to come. We’ve made it easy to share these as they are released. Most, if not all, blogs have this technology.

At the bottom of this post are buttons to share via Facebook, Twitter, email, and a few others. So if you are on Facebook, please “like” these posts.  If you are on Twitter, please “tweet” (or “retweet”) them. Email these posts to your friends. Print them out (there is a Print button!) and post it on your school’s bulletin board. Just one or two clicks of a mouse or trackpad, almost no effort on your part.  Yet if enough of us take the few seconds to click, just imagine how far and wide word of the AMAZING training that awaits us will spread (how deep into that “6 degrees of separation” can we get — think we can reach the White House?). This is viral marketing (which is GOOD, and nothing like a computer virus which is bad). And think of how much your colleagues and cohorts will appreciate your keeping them up on a cutting-edge conference.

Within the next few weeks, more posts about SDIC and ST trainers will be appearing. Please share.

NWMAF’s success comes down to you. Really.





Sharing Your Blog Content via Social Networks

22 03 2011

Blogging is a key way to get your message out to potential students. But not every student is inclined to seek out blogs, or even subscribe by email (some even feel that email is (GASP!) dinosaur technology). To more widely distribute your message, make sure your blog can also distribute via social media.

WordPress.com (host of SafetyNet) gives you the option to have each blog post, as it comes out, appear in both Facebook and Twitter, giving your posts a broader potential audience.

[Wordpress = WP, Facebook = FB, and Twitter = Twitter]

Facebook has several ways of distributing your info. First, every user needs their own personal profile page. People who connect with you on this page are your “friends.” FB insists that you use your real info in setting up such a page, and woe may befall those that try to get around this. From this you can create other business/organization/club pages, which instead of having “friends” has “likes” (they used to have “fans” but changed that nomenclature about a year ago). Whatever you post on your FB personal or business pages will get distributed to your friends or likers.

Some people use their personal profile page for their marketing. Others use their personal page for family and real friends, preferring to keep business and marketing on a business page.  If you are working with several concerns (such as your martial arts school, self defense school, and SafetyNet), separation is important.

[There is another type of page called a Group, which also has members. A major difference is that stuff posted to the Group wall does NOT become distributed, and you have to visit the Group page to find out what’s happening. Groups are most often for select coterie, and related to a specific interest.]

One negative about the connection between WP and FB from the WP end is that it will link to your personal FB, not a Facebook business page. If your personal page is your business page, that’s great. If you have a separate business page  not so great. If I wanted to link this blog post to FB, it would get directed to Joanne Factor’s personal FB, not the SafetyNet FB page. Not what I’m looking for!

Facebook, on the other hand, supports Social RSS (http://apps.facebook.com/social-rss/tabsettings.php?ref=bookmarks&count=0), an application that will feed your blog posts onto a business page. Much better solution!

Twitter is structured differently.  You can set up as many Twitter accounts as your brain can handle, and set WP to feed to a specific account!  You do not need to have a “personal” account at all. Wonderful way to automate feeds. From WP it is easy to feed into Twitter. When you write your post and are almost ready to hit the Publish button, select “Publicize” from that panel and specify “Twitter.” You will fill in your Twitter account name and password, and you’re done!

So far I’ve mentioned how, on the publishing end, you can distribute your material more widely.  Now you also want your readers to be able to redistribute (also known as “share” or “retweet”) to their own friends.  To add “share” buttons to the bottom of each post you can go into the Settings for your WP blog, select “Sharing,” and choose the services you’d like to be available for your readers.   That allows the reader to further distribute that post to their own network of friends and fans.

Details in this post are specific to using WordPress.com for your blog. There are other blogging platforms:  Blogger (owned by Google), Typepad, Posterous, and some website hosting companies also include a blogging feature. Though exactly how you set up feeds for each may vary, it is worthwhile to get those feeds going and your content out to a broader audience.