Monthly Archives: April 2013

Social media at work. Really?

John Stepper

Imagine you’re a salesperson at a big global firm and you’re paid well into 6 figures. You’re at your office, about to call a client, and you want to research her first. Who’s she connected to? Where has she worked before? What’s she up to these days?

Now imagine your firm won’t let you do any of that research on their office computer (but it’s okay <wink wink> to use your own phone to do it). And imagine your firm spends millions on training but not a nickel on how you can effectively use the most powerful client research tools on the planet.

That’s the state of social media at a lot of financial firms. Many firms block it. (You can’t even read content published by your own firm.) Most don’t train anyone. Most aren’t sure of what to do next. And most have their heads firmly planted in the…

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We Can All Be Heroes Today

A little good news in the wake of insanity – thanks Jane!

Theycallmejane's Blog

When senseless tragedy hits I have to find a way to cope. My own experience with this can be calculated by the before & after 9/11 timeline.

Before 9/11, I would cry, devour the news, curse the terrorists, curse God, cry some more and then, eventually, slowly, move forward.

After 9/11, I cry, scan the news, pity the terrorists, cry a little more and then relish in all of the Good Samaritan stories that begin to trickle through.

After reading a handful or more of these stories, I can move forward with gusto.

In my lifetime, I’ve noticed that with every tragedy caused by a handful of idiots, hundreds upon thousands of good, kind, compassionate, caring, amazing heroes emerge. It is a wonderful, beautiful, mathematical probability that can only be explained by love.

Man is inherently good. Evil, while it tends to grab the spotlight with a better stronghold, is rare. When…

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Filed under Children, Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

Changing your website? Don’t forget to leave a forwarding address…

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Website Rank

Having a top ranked site on Google is the web Holy Grail.  But if you change your website without careful planning you could easily lose that coveted spot and it may take years, or perhaps never, to get it back again.  And that’s a shame because, just like moving house, all you need to do is tell people that you have moved to keep things as they are.

brokenLinks

Links to web page addresses are stored in many places: Search engines (Google, Bing etc.), other websites and even people’s private bookmarks.  If you move a page to a new address, even if it is still under the same base URL (e.g. mycompany.com) then those links are can easily be broken leaving your customers confused and lost.  

If you’re lucky then people will find your new site and update their bookmarks, but it is just as likely that their search will return a competitors web page instead.  Search engines will eventually just drop the broken links and then you are back to square one.

we-have-movedFortunately the web has its own version of the “We’ve moved” notice.  It’s called a “301 Redirect” and is the web equivalent of the form you give the Post Office telling them your new address.  

Properly set up a 301 redirect tells anyone going to the old link that the page they are looking for has permanently moved.  Search engines will self update and old links and bookmarks used by your clients will automatically deliver them to the new page without anyone being any the wiser.  

What isn’t obvious is that websites, unlike houses, are made up of multiple pages and each page has a unique address that needs its own “we’ve moved” notification.  Even if your base URL (e.g. mycompany.com) hasn’t changed the pages below the top might move, especially if you have changed technologies such as replacing a static HTML website with a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

So what do you need to do?

  1. Figure out which pages are bringing content to your site.
    • Install something like Google Analytics on your current site and let it watch the traffic for a while and then take a look at the visitor flow to see which pages people are regularly arriving at.  
    • Run your own searches using keywords and see which pages are being served up by Google and Bing.  Write down exactly the addresses that returned.
    • Write down the URL for each major section of your website (e.g. Home, About Us, Contact Us, Products, Menus etc.)
  2. Each page logged needs to be mapped from the old site to the new site.  Put all of URLs  (old and new) into a spreadsheet ready for the next step.  Don’t forget that mycompany.com and http://www.mycompany.com are actually considered different addresses and both might need to be mapped.
  3. Add 301 redirects before you switch to your new website or, if that isn’t possible, as soon after going live as you can.  How you do this will depend on the technology you are using but if you are using a CMS then there is almost certainly a plugin that will let you just fill in the old URL and the new URL.
  4. Test!!!  Take an old bookmark or manually type in the old address.  Don’t be surprised if your old website still comes up even if it no longer existing.  Browsers will cache websites to speed up browsing and may have full copies of your old site lying around.  Usually hitting refresh (F5) will clear that up and take you to the new site.

That’s it!  The hardest thing to do is to plan ahead and remember to do it.  Considering that the cost of not telling people you’ve moved could be catastrophic it’s well worth the time.  And if you have hired a company for your website redesign have a chat with them and make sure that they have a plan for this.

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Solving the recognition paradox

Such a simple thing to do…why do we do this so rarely?

John Stepper

No Thank YouEvery year, we send out employee surveys and, every year, we discover employees aren’t as engaged as we’d like.

And yet every year we neglect to do one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective things we can do to improve employee engagement: appreciate what people do.

Why?

More than sex and money

Harvard Business Review routinely publishes articles on employee motivation and engagement. One of the most famous is from Frederick Herzberg who, in 1968, wrote “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” In that article (which for a long time had more reprints purchased than any other from HBR), Herzberg dismissed ham-fisted attempts by managers to motivate employees and urged them instead to focus on job enrichment and “motivator factors”.

“The growth or motivator factors that are intrinsic to the job are: achievement, recognition for achievement, the work itself, responsibility, and growth or advancement. The dissatisfaction-avoidance or…

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