Your web site is alive

Your web site is aliveYour web site responds to attention and nurturing just like any living being. The more attention you give it, the better your search engine rankings.

You see, Google (and this is the 400-pound gorilla to pay attention to) figures that the more attention you give your web site, the fresher your information and the more useful your web site will be to people.

So, if you do nothing else to your web site other than spruce it up once a week, you’ll rank higher in search engine results than your (similar) competitor who hasn’t tweaked a page all year.

Here are some easy things you can do to freshen up your existing web site:

  1. Revise wording. Trim wording and make sure the important content is within the first couple of sentences. Use subheads with your keywords. Pick a blog and make sure it’s up to date. Things change, and maybe your understanding of a subject changes. Maybe keyword popularity changes. I have a client who’s a landscaper and hardscaper. There’s always something new we can tweak re: technology or plants. Or something else.
  2. Add SEO-friendly wording. A look at your competitors’ web sites may give you an idea of words and phrases that work. Or go to Google AdWords and run your own test. If you have questions, call me. I can make this process easy for you. 410.404.5559.
  3. Upload pictures. Pictures will also help to keep people on your web site (we also call this “stickiness”).
  4. Include additional downloadable information. Google looks very favorably upon .pdfs, for instance. When it sees you offering .pdfs, Google figures you want to help educate people, and education is tops on Google’s list.
  5. Start a blog. If you have a wordsmith on your staff, this is a no-brainer toward higher search engine results. Just address industry topics in simple, understandable terms. If you don’t have a wordsmith, you can still blog. Quote industry publications (giving credit, of course). Upload photographs of your products. Take questions from your public, and answer them.

There is plenty more that you can do to continually freshen your site. For now, aim to do a little something every week. And watch your stats go up. Oh, you do have a free Google Analytics account, don’t you? And a Google Business page?

Web harvest — some random items

A Picture of a eBook

Ebook

Today’s web harvest: some random items

People wonder what I do at my desk all day, when they see me pop up on Facebook and Twitter.

Research, I tell them.

And today’s harvest has been remarkable:

  • A WordPress widget that can turn your blog into an electronic book. Really. It can’t tell good from bad writing, of course, but it can help you format it professionally and get it ready for sale on Amazon.
  • Anthologize, made by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media. Bravo.

What have you found on the Internet today?

Some things about fireflies

Behold the Photinus Pyralis, also known as a lightning bug

Maybe I like the name “lightning bugs” more. Not sure. But in my never-ending quest to learn about things I’ve long forgotten, here are some things about fireflies.

They’re beetles, actually. And they use bioluminescence to attract mates and prey. Their light is considered a “cold” light, according to Wikipedia, with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. A firefly’s light can be yellow, green, or pale red.

And this I swear I never knew (like a lot of things these days) — firefly larvae are often called “glowworms.” Like the song. When fireflies are infants, though, the glowing warns away predators, apparently, as many firefly larvae contain chemicals that don’t taste so good or are actually toxic.

It was once thought that fireflies were warning off predators even as adults, but this is no longer the case. Most scientists believe that they’re selecting and attracting mates. Their abdominal light actually communicates something to their mates.

This is way too high-level description, of course, because we know that in some species only males light up. The females stay home, I’m not sure why. They can’t fly. Some species don’t light up at all, but do use pheromones. In these cases, scientists say that lightning bugs don’t even have to see where they’re going! Males can find females blindfolded. I don’t know how scientists figured this out, exactly, but I believe them.

Regardless of all that, the first lightning bugs of the year signal the real first day of summer for me.

I saw my first firefly of the year Monday night, May 31st. And in Virginia, where I am sometimes, they’re sporadic and surprising. I had a home in Ohio for a while, and at night, on the big great hill where my house was, I could look down on thousands of fireflies. I don’t count so well anymore, either, so maybe it’s even millions.

Nonetheless, lightning bugs communicate with me. I was so excited about seeing my first ones the other night that I went to sleep and dreamt that I was catching them in a jar and lighting up my bedroom.

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