SEOdamian's Blog

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Site Redo / Refresh – Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 2

This the second part of  my suggestions for a site redo/site refresh. Part one is at https://seodamian.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/site-redo/

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve its website. 

Not knowing the answers to the core questions asked in part 1 makes concrete and prioritized recommendations a challenge. But, to start the ball rolling, here are some recommendations:

  • A Twitter re-tweet button, and all social media sharing buttons. This allows members to easily share group ideas into different circles with accuracy and ease.
  • Google analytics to allow us to track to see who and what  people are looking and as well as how much traffic we are getting.
  • Update the Graphical masthead that shows a variety of different businesses rather than a Macomb, Illinois sense of Main Street alliance. We need to show that various types of main streets across Illinois that IMSA represents. We have many members from across the state and need to let others understand not just in words but also visually:
    • City – Chicago is the obvious business here.
    • Suburbs.
    • Small town.
    • Farm
    • Soloprenuer/home business
    • manufacturer
    • Service business
  • Use more illustrations and images through out the site. The term a picture is worth a thousand words is just as applicable here as elsewhere on the web.
  • Easy call to action.
    • How to reach out to Senators Durban and Kirk
    • how to reach out to Congressman.
    • How to reach out to Illinois state capital Springfield.
    • How to reach out to us – IMSA.
  • Upcoming events
    • This should be where we are linking people to our site from our Facebook postings, as well as tweets, as well as our LinkedIn and e-mails.
    • Ideally past and present meeting agendas would be posted here as well.
  • RSS feeds. these would list and include key articles from the news about the different campaigns that we are most interested in, such as:
    • HCAN
    • PPACA
    • ACA
    • Citizen action
    • insurance exchange
    • dream act.
    • Smart enforcement.
    • rate authority bill.
    • Budget fight in DC.
    • SB 1729.
    • 1577.
    • These could be either separate pages, each of themselves for each feed or one ongoing stream. The more pages the better the website (typically) from an ease of use and ability to be ranked well by the search engines. Generally speaking from the standpoint of making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, as well. As for the search engines to make it easy for us to rank higher and therefore getting more traffic. It also helps in allowing other websites to link directly to us in more appropriate lead directly to the specific area that they want reference.
  • Links to other blogs related to our main street business’ costs such as:
  • Photos
    • This area could have two different purposes. One would be just to build community.
    • The second would be to create a resource tool for the press to see images that we have available that they may desire to utilize with stories and articles and letters to the editor that we may be submitting or writing about. This section would need to have probably watermarked or properly controlled images that the press could utilize for reproduction in their newspapers. Once they get approval from us. We can send them full resolution versions of them.
  • Standalone domain name. Having a standalone domain and therefore standalone site is important in creating the credibility appropriate for an organization with the clout of IMSA. Multiple domain names may be appropriate, especially for segmenting into different parts of the website. This is a good way to help improve search engine results/Google ranking.

Many of these suggestions should be relatively easy to implement continuing to use WordPress as a underlying CMS or content management system. Some of these start to walk to the edge of WordPress’s abilities and a more sophisticated CMS such as Joomla! or Drupal may be appropriate. Again this goes back to the original goals and objectives and the amount of resources that would be available to help maintain and develop a website.

Again, without context, it’s really hard to focus on the right parts of your very broad question. there are a variety of tools in evaluating effectiveness of a website that are free that I could go through and highlight but it feels like those aren’t even the appropriate sense of direction to be looking at at this point. However, I may be wrong in understanding what we’re trying to accomplish your at this time. May I suggest that a conference call may be more appropriate and getting with key decision-makers of who’s working on this process. Let me know who and when and how will try and plug into that. Also understanding where we are in the lifecycle of this is also key. In other words if the website is 80% done, then most of  this is too late. Then I can move my focus elsewhere, on the other hand, if this is all too early, I can put this in a more exploratory framework.

In our next post I will explore some suggested pages to add to the site.

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October 25, 2011 Posted by | Chicago, How To, Internal Organization, Social Media | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Facebook Edits Your World

This is an interesting article that is key for those marketing on Facebook. Is is in the Atlantic Magazine

How the Facebook News Feed Algorithm Shapes Your Friendships

I find it interesting to see how Facebook’s evolving editing becomes significant so quickly. On the other hand Google has been shifting our perspectives for a decade and newspapers and TV Networks have been skewing our view of the world for hundreds of years (and clergy before that). What has changed though is how covertly it can happen, and how close to our world it happens. It is one thing to shade what the president did or did not do. But helping to edit (by showing or not showing) what friends and family do and say is a different level of ‘control’. Of course it is not all Facebooks fault, but it is something to keep in mind as we look at how we communicate both as individuals as well as how we communicate as businesses.

The full story from the Daily Beast has the breakdown of more specifics:

Cracking the Facebook Code

Here are the top discoveries:

The Daily Beast’s one-month experiment into Facebook’s news feed yielded the following discoveries:

  •  A bias against newcomers
  •  “Most Recent” doesn’t tell the whole story.
  •  Links are favored over status updates, and photos and videos trump links.
  •  “Stalking” your friends won’t get you noticed.
  •  Raise your visibility by getting people to comment.
  •  It’s hard to get the attention of “popular kids.”

Looking over these 10 ‘discoveries’ starts to create ideas as to how to capitalize on them for your social media strategy. Notice I did not say Facebook strategy, for a couple of reasons. First, what Facebook does, others are sure to follow as they have become the 800 pound gorilla on the web. Second, look to align with Facebook both on and off their site. They are not just simple posts, but a whole universe on and off the site. Third, don’t look to go very black hat or even grey hat. The web means anyone can change what is happening or even what is shared about what has happened with a few changes to code. There is no need to recall the history books anymore. Play honest, if for no other reason then it will be easier in the future.

As you can see there is a need to start as soon as possible and start to build your network actively. We are past the point of the Field of Dreams ‘Build it and they will come’.  But as a tradeoff, you can see what has and has not worked for others before you. So getting traction will be easier in some ways if you can build a community and work in partnership with them. As usual it is about looking at your audience from their perspective. Think about what they want to hear, not what you want to share first.

How will you change your Facebook Marketing Strategy now that you know how Facebook edits the world? Share your experiences below.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | local marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking to network in Chicago?

While at the BizNetExpo on Friday, I found another group in Chicago – SMCC

Social Media Club Chicago

Social Media Club  [SMC] is a worldwide organization, with local chapters, that serves as connecting organization for anyone interested insocial media. Membership is free and open to all levels, including beginners. Chicago’s SMC chapter, launched in October 2008, presents events that mix socializing, networking and learning. SMC Chicago events include:

  • the future of social media with Jason Falls;
  • Brand U.0 with David Armano;
  • social media meets Chicago media;
  • BtoB and social media; and
  • women, blogging and social media.

Join us on Facebook http://smcchicago.org; LinkedIn http://budurl.com/smcchicagolinkedin or twitter http://twitter.com/smcchicago. ”

I have not been to them yet, but I heard the founder yesterday and she seemed impressive enough to put this event on my calendar.

October 23, 2010 Posted by | Blogging, Chicago, Community, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment