Friday, December 23, 2011

6 Things Dissenters Don’t Know About WordPress

6 Things Dissenters Don’t Know About WordPress

Monday, December 19, 2011

7 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks Effectively

Most web design Singapore ers, regardless of whether you are self employed or an employee, have a to-do list full of all kinds of different tasks that are fighting for attention. It may include finalizing a project for one client, working on an estimate for another client, responding to emails, recording payments and working on financials, etc. With so many different things going on and a to-do list that likely includes tasks related to several different projects, knowing how to effectively prioritize can be a real challenge.

Having productivity in your work day is important, but having productivity on the right tasks is what will really lead to a successful use of your time. In this article we’ll look at 7 tips that may be of help to you when struggling with knowing what to work on next.

1. Respect Deadlines

When working for clients the most obvious factor that determines priority and urgency is the deadline. If your project has a deadline approaching or if you are behind the pace to meet a deadline in the future, the work should have some added urgency. Meeting deadlines is an important part of giving your clients a positive experience working with you, and most web design Singapore ers understand the need to use deadlines in prioritizing work.

2. Set Milestone Deadlines

If a client project only has a deadline for completion of the project, make an effort to break down the work that is needed to complete the project and put it into a few different steps or parts. Assign each part with a deadline to hit a certain milestone that will allow you to move on to the next step, and use these self-imposed deadlines to help with prioritizing. This way rather than just seeing the final deadline, which may seem like it is far off into the future, you’ll have a clear understanding of the smaller steps involved in the project and what you need to do now in order to stay on pace.

These milestone deadlines that you set for yourself may not even need to be shared with the client, they can be used just to help you stay on track and to view the big picture of the project. Staying on pace with a project can also have an impact on everything else that you are working on. If one project gets off track you may need to dedicate extra time to getting caught up, which of course takes time away from your other projects. So staying on course will allow you to prioritize effectively, rather than being forced to dedicate your time to certain things because you’re behind.

3. Consider the Consequences

Most likely there will be times where you’re not sure how you’re going to be able to get everything done. If you have several different things that are pressing for your attention and you’re not sure how to prioritize, consider the consequences of not getting the work done or not meeting the deadline. Chances are, there will be much different consequences from one task to the next.

For example, you may have a client project that would be disastrous if you can’t meet the deadline. Maybe the client has other things, such as a marketing campaign, that are dependant upon you getting your work done by a specific date. On the other hand, you may have a client project that has an upcoming deadline, but there really are no significant consequences if it falls a little behind schedule.

Another factor to consider is your relationship with the client. If it’s a client that you have worked with for a while and have always met deadlines, they may be more understanding if you’re struggling to meet a deadline (depending on the situation). Or you may have a situation where you’re working with a new client and hoping to get more work or referrals in the future from this client. In this case, your relationship with the client may be important enough to shuffle things around to get the work done.

4. Consider Payment Terms

You’ll also want to take into consideration the impact that a task will have on getting paid. You may have a project where you will be paid at various milestones throughout the project. If you are just a small step away from reaching one of those milestones you may want to give added priority to getting it done and getting paid.

Likewise, there may be a situation where a client has already paid for your services and you just need to complete the work. Completing this client’s work may take priority since they have already paid for your time.

If you’re a freelancer you’ll always need to be considering your cash flow situation. So taking into consideration the situation with Money lender Singapore and how/when payment will be made will help you to know what you need to be working on to keep your Singapore business directory functioning smoothly.

5. Consider Time Required

There may be times when you have two or more equally urgent tasks that are competing for your attention. However, although they are equally urgent they may not require the same amount of time to complete. My preference is to prioritize the tasks that will take less time to complete so that I can get it crossed off my list and be able to focus more effectively on the remaining tasks.

6. Set Monthly Goals and Work Backwards

Setting goals can be very helpful for determining what needs to go on your to-do list. This process is made a little bit easier if you take a look at the big picture before setting your to-do list for a particular day. Try starting with monthly goals of what needs to be done. Then look at the specific actions or tasks that need to be done in order to reach this goal. For the first week of the month take the most urgent actions, those with deadlines and those that are foundational for other tasks, and put them onto a to-do list for the week. Then you can plan your week more effectively by splitting them up and setting certain things that need to get done each day.

This can be a much more effective way of prioritizing tasks than simply trying to decide what to work on for a particular day without really giving much though to the big picture. With weekly and monthly to-do lists in addition to a daily list you’ll be able to see how each task impacts the other things on your list, and priorities tend to clearly emerge.

7. Schedule a Percentage of Your Time for Personal Projects

There are other tasks that are important aside from just working on client projects. Things like working through tutorials, reading a book on a topic that you’d like to learn more about, re-web design Singapore ing your portfolio site, maintaining a blog, etc. often get pushed to the back burner because they don’t seem to have the same urgency as other things on your to-do list. In the long run though, these types of personal projects and opportunities for development or improvement are very important.

The best way to make sure that you get time to work on these things is to prioritize them by setting aside time in your schedule. You can decide that you’ll dedicate 10% of your time (or some other amount) to working on projects like this, and set aside time each week to do something for your own improvement. If you don’t set aside the time, most likely you won’t get around to it since other things will always come up.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Find the Clients That YOU Want

Many Singapore web development web design Singapore ers find that they don’t have trouble attracting clients, but they do have trouble attracting the right clients. The work that you do can be far more rewarding, fun, and profitable if you are able to work with the types of clients that are a better fit for your services. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to make yourself and your services more noticeable and more appealing to the right kinds of clients.

In this post we’ll present some tips that you can implement to help you to attract the types of clients that you want.

1. Identify Your Ideal Client

The first step in attracting the right kinds of clients is to identify specifically what types of clients and projects you want. If you’re struggling with this, think about the clients that you’re currently attracting and why they are not right for you. Once you know the types of clients that you would like to work with you can develop a plan to promote your services specifically to those people.

Some examples of the types of clients and projects that you might want to target could include e-commerce Singapore web developmentsites (or more specifically, Magento, Shopify, etc.), WordPress themes, Drupal development, band Singapore web developmentsites, photography portfolio sites, church Singapore web developmentsites, and so on. You may also want to work with clients in a particular budget range, geographical location, or company size.

How you identify your ideal client is up to you, but the more specific you can be the easier it will be to target that type of client.

2. Target Them with Your Portfolio Site

One of the most effective ways to attract the right kinds of clients is to make your portfolio welcoming and appealing to those people and projects that you are targeting. This could include any number of things, including use of effective page titles, headlines, graphics, testimonials, work samples, and even calls to action.

As an example, let’s assume that you want to target clients with e-commerce projects. In this case you could include e-commerce development in your page titles and headlines on the portfolio site. This could help to improve your site’s rankings for searches related to e-commerce, and once on the site it will help these types of clients to see that you would be a good fit for their project.

You may want to showcase your work samples from other e-commerce projects over your other types of work samples. You could also include testimonials or case studies from past e-commerce projects.

All of these things will help to align your portfolio site with the specific type of client that you want to attract. Taking it a step further, you could also include a blog on your portfolio site where you publish articles about different topics that would be relevant to this audience. This content would help to attract more search traffic and it could help visitors to feel more comfortable about hiring you for their web design Singapore or development project.

3. Showcase Your Most Relevant Work

As was mentioned in the previous point, you should showcase the work that is most relevant to this target audience. You may want to showcase other items from your portfolio that are not specifically geared towards this target audience, and that is fine because quality work can still show your talent without being directly applicable to their project. However, what you don’t want to do is to not showcase any past projects that are relevant to the clients and projects that you are targeting. So if you don’t already have some quality work samples on those types of projects you will need to get some as soon as possible.

Case studies often help more than just visuals from your past projects because with a case study you can provide details about the project, what was accomplished, and how it impacted the client. When clients in your target audience read case studies about successful projects that have a lot in common with their own project they will be naturally more drawn to your services.

4. Use a Teaser to Attract Attention

One option that some web design Singapore ers use very effectively is to give away a free product or resource as a teaser. For example, you could write a detailed article about the keys to successful e-commerce Singapore web developmentsites and give it away from your Singapore web developmentsite as a PDF download. Those in your target audience are likely to be interested in this article/report and it could be very helpful to them while also branding yourself as an expert on the subject. Of course, somewhere in the PDF you could include your contact information (or a link to your contact page) and a call to action for readers to reach out to you regarding their own project.

You could require that visitors opt-in to a mailing list in order to get the download, which would allow you to have contact with these people going forward. If the free teaser product is of high value you may even be able to get bloggers who reach a similar audience to mention it, increasing exposure and hopefully leading to more clients.

I’ve seen a few examples of this type of teaser in use by web design Singapore ers and developers who specialize in working with membership Singapore web developmentsites. Visitors can get a free report or e-book about running a membership Singapore web developmentsite, but most of them will need to hire someone to help set up their membership site, so the author would then be a natural choice for them. As you can see, this approach has a lot of potential for attracting the right type of clients. Of course, on the negative side it will take some work to develop the teaser, but you’ll probably find it to be well worth the time.

5. Demonstrate Your Expertise

If you want specific types of clients to hire you for their projects you should strive to position yourself as an expert in that particular area. There are a number of ways that you could do this, and some will depend on the type of client or project you are targeting. For example, if you are looking to work on projects related to a specific e-commerce system or CMS there may be some type of certification that you can earn. As a certified partner you would bring a great deal of credibility to any related project.

In addition to certifications, there may be associations that you could join. Any certifications or associations should be mentioned on your portfolio site so that potential clients see that you are an expert.

Other options for demonstrating your expertise can include blog posts, books, and podcasts. Blog posts and podcasts could be published at your portfolio site, or you could get involved with large publications in the industry that would provide some added exposure and credibility.

6. Get a Connection

If you don’t have much experience working with clients in your target market you will need to find a way in. This could involve doing some work for free or at a deep discount for a client that would provide you with valuable experience and some work to showcase in your portfolio. Obviously, this isn’t something that you would continue to do going forward, but if it helps to get your foot in the door it could be worth the time and effort.

If this is something you are going to do, look to find a client and a project that will have an impact on other potential clients. Look for a client that is well connected and well respected, and maybe they will be willing to introduce you to other potential clients in exchange for your work.

If you do already have sufficient work samples in your portfolio, getting a connection could involve collaborating with someone who provides related services to your ideal clients. For example, if you’re offering e-commerce web design Singapore you may be able to find a developer that handles the coding of e-commerce sites but doesn’t like to handle the visual web design Singapore . A collaboration could be mutually beneficial.

7. Advertise in the Right Places

If you have an advertising budget you will want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. In order to do so you will need to be placing your ads where they will be seen by those in your target audience. Some possible examples include sponsored reviews on highly relevant blogs that your audience would read, banners on those blogs or other Singapore web developmentsites with the same audience, a well-managed pay-per-click campaign that targets the right searches, and sponsored tweets from influential Twitter users in the industry.

8. Socialize in the Right Places

In addition to advertising, you should also strive to get involved and socialize in places where your target clients could be found. This could include guest blog posts, blog comments, forum participation, relevant social networks, and even face-to-face networking at events and conferences.

A lot of web design Singapore ers spend time on social networking, but if you think about the types of clients you want to work with and make an effort to socialize in the same places as them you will be closer to attracting the right types of clients.

9. Consider Packages

Although I am not a big fan of package-based pricing in general, if you are targeting a very specific audience or type of product it may be effective. Packages work best when your projects are often very close to each other in terms of time required by you and what is needed by the client.

Back to our e-commerce example, you may want to offer packages for setting up e-commerce Singapore web developmentsites. The packages could include a new web design Singapore , development, and set up of a specific number of products. For details that may vary significantly from one project to another you can also offer upgrades or add-ons to the base package prices.

Package-based pricing can help clients to have a more concrete idea of what to expect in terms of pricing, as opposed to having to get custom quotes from several different web design Singapore ers. Also, from your perspective, packages can help to save time on proposals since most projects will ideally fit into a package.

In terms of attracting the right clients, packages show exactly what you are most interested in offering, and if a client’s project fits within one of your packages it is clear that this project may be a good fit for both parties. In terms of pricing, if your ideal client has a specific budget range you can reduce the number of inquiries that you get from clients outside of this budget range by pricing your packages accordingly. For example, if you feel that you are wasting a lot of time talking with clients who have budgets much smaller than you are able to work with, packages will discourage those clients from contacting you because they will see that your packages are higher than they can afford.

17 Tips to Get More Exposure for Your Blog Posts

The most significant challenge that bloggers face is attracting visitors. For new bloggers nothing can be more frustrating than trying to figure out how to get people to see the content that you’ve spent time preparing.

Getting visitors to your blog is possible and quite realistic if you’re willing to put in some effort to get the exposure that you need. If you’re spending hours on blog posts and you feel like that work is being wasted because not enough people are seeing the posts, we’ll take a look at some things that you can do to get the right exposure.

Here are some things that you can do to get your blog posts in front of more people and to get more impact from each post.

1. Offer Email Subscriptions in Addition to RSS

Many bloggers only offer subscription via RSS. If you’re not also offer subscription by email you’re cutting out a portion of your audience, and you’re missing out on the continual exposure to people who would subscribe by email. If, like most bloggers, you’re using FeedBurner to publish your feed, offering an email subscription is easy. Just go to “Publicize” and “Email Subscriptions” in the FeedBurner dashboard to activate it.

2. Be Active on Twitter and Facebook

When I started blogging several years ago Digg was the social media site that almost every blogger was targeting for traffic. In recent years Facebook and Twitter have raced ahead of sites like Digg in terms of their potential for sending traffic to a blog.

In order to get the most out of Twitter and Facebook you’ll need to be active on those sites and establish a following. Once you have done so, each time you publish a new post you can get some easy exposure by sharing a link with your followers. Hopefully it will get passed around by others, and before you know it you can reach hundreds and even thousands of people consistently.

3. Submit to Other Social Media Sites

Although social news and voting sites aren’t as popular as they were a few years ago, there is still an audience waiting to be reached. In addition to major sites like Digg and Reddit, niche social media sites can also be highly effective for getting exposure to a targeted audience. For those of you who blog in the web design Singapore niche, we’re fortunate to have a number of sites like DZone, web design Singapore Bump, web design Singapore Float and The Singapore web development Blend, among others.

4. Put Relevant Buttons on Your Posts

Some bloggers cover their posts in voting buttons, badges, and widgets, and others use none at all. From my experience voting buttons can be effective if they are used in moderation. I’ve never seen it work very well to have buttons for every social media site imaginable, but having a couple buttons may encourage readers to share or vote. Currently Twitter, Facebook and Google +1 buttons are the most common. Simply including those buttons at the beginning or end of your posts may help to get you some extra exposure with each new post.

5. Build a Network

One of the most critical aspects of building a successful blog is the need to establish a strong network. Every successful blogger is well-connected to others in the industry, and so it should be a priority for you to do the same if you want to also achieve that success.

In terms of getting exposure to your posts, having a network can help in a few specific ways. First, many bloggers share tweets, likes, and votes with their friends. So when one of your friends has a new post you may get an email requesting a tweet or votes, and you may be able to make a similar request when you have a post that you want to promote. Also, a network can help to attract more links to your blog, open up guest posting opportunities, and provide other possibilities for promotion and collaboration.

6. Offer an Email Newsletter

In the first point we looked at the need to offer an email subscription to your blog in addition to just the RSS feed. Aside from your blog posts that will go out to email subscribers, building a separate mailing list for a newsletter can provide even more exposure. A growing number of bloggers are now offering newsletters as a way to stay in touch with readers, and of course the newsletter presents another opportunity for you to get your blog posts in front of your audience. Most bloggers link to their recent posts somewhere in the newsletter so subscribers can quickly see what has been published recently.

7. Practice Writing Compelling Headlines

If you want your posts to be shared more on social media, to be linked to by more bloggers, and to be read by a higher percentage of subscribers and visitors, headlines are critical. Compelling headlines that get the attention of your audience will have a drastic impact on the amount of exposure that the posts receive.

Writing effective headlines is something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but it is worth the effort to learn more about how to do it. Copyblogger has an excellent resource, How to Write Magnetic Headlines.

8. Use Keywords in Titles

Page titles are one of the most significant on-page factors in determining search engine rankings, and therefore having keywords in your titles can help to improve the amount of exposure that your posts receive on an on-going basis. In most cases the blog post title will also serve as the page title, but you can use also a WordPress plugin like All-in-One SEO to have more control over your page titles.

Before you publish a post give some consideration to what people will be searching for, and even do some basic keyword research if necessary. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a free resource that will show how many people are searching for various phrases.

9. Link to Posts Internally

One easy way to get more exposure for posts in your archives is to add links to them from your new posts. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time you probably have a wealth of information built up on your blog. These old posts probably aren’t getting much traffic unless they are ranking well in search engines, but by including links to relevant posts you can increase the exposure to these old posts while helping your readers at the same time.

Get in the habit of reading through your posts before publishing just to look for opportunities to link to posts in your archives. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard and have posts that are completely filled with links, but readers will appreciate when you link to something that is related so they can get more information if they choose.

10. List Related Posts at the End or Beginning of Posts

Related posts lists are used by many bloggers and in some cases they can be effective at helping visitors find other content that they may be interested in. For WordPress users there are a number of plugins to choose from that will get the job done, or you always have the option of manually creating the list of related posts. Doing it manually will take a few extra minutes but it gives you more control to promote the posts of your choice, rather than relying on an automated process to determine which posts to promote.

11. Exchange Links

Link exchanges can be a sensitive topic. I’m not suggesting that you go out and get hundreds of link exchange partners for your blogroll. What I have seen to be more effective is a limited use of link exchanges to build links for specific posts.

A lot of bloggers publish weekly or monthly roundups that include links to posts of interest from other blogs. If you currently do this, why not contact other bloggers about the possibility of exchanging links in these types of posts? Focus only on blogs that produce quality content and those that regularly publish similar types of link posts. If you’ll link to each other you’ll both get some added exposure.

Another option with the same basic concept is to exchange tweets. So if you have a friend that blogs on a similar topic you can each send out a tweet with a link to the other’s most recent post.

12. Create a Series of Posts with Other Bloggers

This is an idea that I used in the early months of this blog’s existence and it worked out pretty well. The idea is to get a small group of bloggers together and agree to each publish a post on a specific topic so that each post will compliment or build on each other. Then each post will link to the others in the series, building more exposure for each. So if you have a group of 5 bloggers participating in the series each blogger will publish a post on his or her own blog and link to the other 4 posts in the series (or add the links once the other posts have been published). This will give you a link from 4 other blogs and instant exposure to their audience. If the posts are published at separate times it also creates anticipation for those that come later in the series.

13. Build Links to Specific Posts

When bloggers look at the subject of link building they usually consider social media marketing for specific posts, or building links from other blogs to their front page. Social media is certainly an effective way to gain exposure for your posts, but your other link building efforts don’t have to be limited to getting links to your front page.

If you have posts in your archives that have potential to draw significant traffic or to have a big impact on readers, consider making an effort to build some links to these old posts. If you have an existing network of blogging friends in the niche you may be able to find some related posts on their blogs and ask them to consider adding a link to your post. You could also go back through your own archives and look for places to include links to your key posts. Another option is sharing links to older, but important, posts via social media.

14. List Popular Posts in Your Sidebar

Many blogs link to their most significant content in the sidebar, and this can be an easy way to get more exposure for certain posts. For example, our sidebar includes links to our posts Learn Singapore web development web design Singapore , Learn Photoshop, Learn Illustrator, and Learn Photo Editing because they are good starting points for visitors who arrive at our blog looking for educational information. When new visitors arrive at your blog it can be helpful to them to find some of your best content or a starting point from your sidebar.

15. Write for Other Blogs

Writing guest posts for other blogs is often recommended because it is a great way to build your name recognition and to get links to your own blog or Singapore web developmentsite through the author bio. In addition to linking to your blog’s front page in the bio, depending on the post you may have opportunities to link to other posts on your blog in the body of your guest post. Of course, this should only be done in situations where you are linking to highly relevant content that enhances the usefulness of your guest post, but in the right situation it can be a great way to get more exposure for a specific post on your blog.

16. Find Unique Topics and Post Ideas

A significant challenge that bloggers face when trying to increase exposure is simply getting people to care about your content. If you’re blogging in a crowded niche this will be even more of a challenge. If you’re able to come up with unique ideas for your posts and stand out from other bloggers it will be that much easier to grab the attention of your readers and visitors. Having this type of content will make all of your other efforts easier as well. For example, people like to share unique and interesting content, so once it gets a little bit of momentum with social media other people will do most of the work for you.

17. Keep Key Posts Updated

Most likely you have certain posts on your blog that tend to draw the most pageviews month after month. If you have been blogging for a while and if your site is fairly well established with search engines, you will almost certainly have posts that are a key to your traffic numbers on an on-going basis.

Most bloggers don’t update posts after they have been published, but by keeping your key posts up to date you will increase their usefulness. Pages that you keep up to date provide you with opportunities to share them once again. For example, if you have a post on your blog that is one year old but consistently brings in a lot of new visitors to your site, consider updating it (depending on the nature of the content). After it’s been updated you can share a link on Twitter and Facebook and mention that it has been updated. Since you know that the post topic is already in demand it’s likely to be of interest to a number of your followers.