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Archive for Best Of

Aug
05

On Meeting Liz Strauss

Posted by: Char | Comments (10)

Anyone who has been moving around the business blogging circles for any amount of time has certainly heard the name Liz Strauss a time or two (and if you haven’t, now’s the time to get to know her). When you visit Liz’s Successful Blog site you immediately get the impression you have just been welcomed inside somewhere special – that is by design. Successful Blog is the home of Tuesday Night Open Comment Night and more thought provoking, mind challenging, and business blogging posts than anywhere else I know. Some have even commented that Liz is inside our computers.

Well, she’s not! On Friday I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Liz face-to-face. And you know what? Even though that was the first time I had ever met Liz in person, it didn’t feel that way.

Liz Strauss and Char Polanosky

Liz called me Thursday morning and  said “I have an idea.” Anyone who knows Liz will tell you, if she says that, you had better be prepared! She said I’m coming to Washington DC for the weekend and could we meet Friday afternoon? We are working on a project together and there were lots of loose ends that needed to be discussed and this just seemed like the most efficient way to get it done.

And it was! No technology. Just paper, pencils, two minds working, talking, and sharing ideas. The meeting was a tremendous success on so many levels. There was also plenty of talk about SOBcon 07 & 08, Blogher, blogs we love, rock stars, families, education and silly stuff.

I got to meet two of her friends – Peg, who is super cool and made me laugh – and Vincent, who was kind enough to take this picture of Liz and me.

Thanks Liz! It was a wonderful meeting.

Categories : Best Of
Comments (10)
Apr
24

My Favorite Blogging Perk – Synergy

Posted by: Char | Comments (5)

496315 beach physicsHindsight is 20-20 and if I even had an inkling of the power that blogging held for a work from home, freelance designer like myself, I would have jumped in much sooner! Since beginning my blogging journey almost one year ago, I have grown as a designer, a writer, a business woman and a person in ways I never could have imagined.

Apart from the daily professional development and being exposed to the trends in my field, blogging has given me the opportunity to synergize with super talented professionals that I would have never met otherwise!

Synergy or synergism (from the Greek synergos, meaning working together, circa 1660) refers to the phenomenon in which two or more discrete influences or agents acting together create an effect greater than that predicted by knowing only the separate effects of the individual agents. (wiki)

I have experienced the satisfaction of helping others and I have certainly been on the receiving end of a lot of great help!

In her guest post at Alister Cameron’s blog today, Randa Clay writes about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers. All of her points are valid and certainly worth the read, but her item #5 – synergize – is the one thing that I think every blogger needs to do, as it delivers the most pay off. As an example, Randa talks about our niche blogs and how we have generously given each other insight, feedback, how to’s and support – to the benefit of both of us. The end result is something much greater than we could achieve on our own.

byob2At the MomGadget forum, members regularly share their tips, ideas, and support for the benefit of all members. The community is thriving and as a result, we are all better for it – the synergy at play even sparked a new blogging network where bloggers bring their own blog. After all – what fun is success if you don’t have anyone to share it with. And those who have walked a similar path to yours understand the meaning of that success much more!

Most recently, I experienced blogging synergy first hand when I decided to make over this blog – right before your very eyes! Many designers would have considered it unprofessional – not me! I knew that some of my readers would love to see the transformation happen and could learn from it. Me, I got some genius ideas out of it – things I might have missed out on if I were designing in a vacuum. (Thanks Kevin and everyone else who gave me input – you rock!)

What is your favorite blogging perk? Join the conversation and we will all benefit!

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Feb
08

Thirteen Things Every Website Needs

Posted by: Char | Comments (13)

Thursday Thirteen

It’s my first Thursday Thirteen and I figured I would return to my roots on this one. Let’s give our sites a mini-audit using this checklist of 13 things every website needs!

  1. Title – Do you see that blue bar at the top of your screen? What does it say? At a minimum, it should have the title of your site plus a few key words or phrases that will help your users find you in their bookmarks. 50-80 characters is optimum.
  2. Description – You need an “elevator speech” for your site – a concise, descriptive summary of your site – up to 250 characters including spaces. You need this in your meta tags, but also keep it handy for when you register your site with directories and/or social marketing sites. It is also what appears under your site title (see #1) when being listed in the search engines.
  3. Keywords – Not just any old words, but approximately 1024 solid characters of descriptive words used in your site. Don’t list keywords you think might be popular but don’t appear in or apply to your site.
  4. NavigationIs the navigation on your site intuitive? Is it laid out in a logical manner? Keep it simple and specific. You don’t want to lose your readers because they have to click through 8 layers of navigation to get to the info they need.
  5. White Space – Make your site easy on your readers’ eyes by giving all the elements room to breathe. Ample white space around images and margins will give these elements more impact. See this article at A List Apart for more explanation.
  6. Content - But not just any old copy. Your main page needs a minimum of 250 meaningful, content rich words. Remember, your visitors are in a hurry – give them the content they need in small, easy to read chunks, set off by subheads, bulleted lists and short paragraphs.
  7. Fresh Information – When was the last time you updated your site? Create a news section or at a minimum, change out the content or images on your home page regularly.
  8. Spell CheckDon’t tell me you forgot this one! Take the time to tend to the details like spell and grammar check – it will save you future embarrassment.
  9. Images – A picture is worth a thousand words and a well-placed picture or graphical element will save your web site from eternal loneliness. There are plenty of places to get images for free or at a small cost. And don’t forget to tag those images, too!!!
  10. Quality Links – Provide your readers with quality outbound links and seek out quality inbound links. Your PageRank will thank you.
  11. Call to Action – What is the purpose of your site? To sell a product? A service? To get more readers? Make it easy for your readers to figure out what your purpose is and to act on it. And don’t forget to put your ads above the fold.
  12. Copyright – Your content is yours and while the average, rule following individual can understand the Creative Commons License, others can’t. Protect your information.
  13. ContactHow can anyone do business with you if they can’t contact you?

There you have it! I’m sure there is more to the list – feel free to share!

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