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BYU Hawaii Campus For the last two years I taught digital entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University – Hawaii. It has been an amazing adventure for me and my family. Teaching my passion to a diverse group of students has been quite rewarding, but not being trained in pedagogy it has also been challenging. In many ways I believe I have learned more from my time here than what my students learned from me.
In a few days we will be leaving this great island and moving onto another adventure. As I have pondered over my experience here I came across the below article from Richie Norton a BYU-H graduate who has done amazing things since he’s left the school. His profound insights mirror my own thoughts on education and entrepreneurship.
This is more of a case study/personal post than an article that dives into the growth of the healthcare gamification industry. However, this unique sector does exist and is growing quickly.
One indicator of this growth is the annual competition the University of Utah has held for the last several years. I was made aware of the competition by one of my former students and gave extra credit to my Mobile Apps class for participating.
I had two students from the class enter the Arches Young Adult Insurance Challenge category. Here they had to “design a wireframe and associated algorithms to gamify the experience for college age and young adults in learning about health insurance to motivate them to purchase it.”
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Dr. Matthew Memmott, a nuclear scientist by day and web marketer by night, whose post is on the hard lessons he learned on fixing a website after it has been hacked.
I had been complacent. I’d been hearing horror stories for nearly two years about the problems with having a website hacked. For as long as I’ve been dabbling in Internet marketing, I was warned time and again that my websites were under constant threat from some unknown villain just waiting to get into my files. Nothing had happened for 2 years, and I figured that nothing really WOULD happen, but I was wrong, and it was a costly misstep. I’m primarily writing this as a warning about what to look for, and what you can do to minimize the time that your website spends at the bottom of the rankings after being hacked.
I have been working with a WordPress site that specializes in online colleges and universities for a couple of years. Since the beginning of this year, I’d been enjoying a rank of 3 or higher on my primary keywords, and life was good. However, a little under a month ago, I noticed that my website dropped to about 30 in the Google rankings for my primary keyword. In addition, a Google search for any keyword showed the website with dramatically decreased rankings, followed by a link that read “this site may be compromised,” as seen below.
We are all familiar with the behemoth Internet company Google and most likely use many of its other products that take us beyond just searching. For the most part Google’s products are high quality and rather useful—even if they have a short shelf life.
As an internet marketer though you may want to be weary in using Google for all your web marketing needs. This is particularly true when it comes to search marketing. Many of my SEO peers might feel this is a bit tin hat, but throughout my years of doing search marketing I have actually dealt with this issue on several occasions.
My first encounter of Google being abusive was back in 2008. At the time, I had just begun utilizing SEO to do lead generation. A friend had introduced me to this facet of affiliate marketing and had actually given me one of his websites to get me started (I know, great friend). He and I had built up the site to about $1,000 a week. It was a fun time to see the SEO I had been doing for years for other companies actually paying off.
An important element in ranking in Google is having other websites linking to your website. Simple enough, right? So simple that Google has written algorithms that try to penalize people for gaming their system.
If you gain too many “backlinks,” too soon; have lots of spammy backlinks; or both; you can trigger the penalty algorithms. These algos will assassinate your website and leave it in the land of the domain dead. You will no longer exist to the hundreds of millions of Google searchers.
The problem with these deadly algos, is that your competitors can “build” massive spammy links to your website, and potentially get you banned. Google denies this as possible, but I believe this to be a pernicious lie. I’ve seen first hand (but not by my hand) sites receiving the death ray of backlinks from their competitors and shortly after being penalized.
Editor’s note: This is a short guest post from my old friend Janet Thaeler a PR and Social Media genius. Read more from Janet at her blog, Newspapergirl, or follow her on Twitter.
Do you manage Facebook campaigns? Here are a some quick tips to help increase your level of engagement, so more of your fans see and interact with the content you post.
Don’t Launch your Facebook Campaign on a Friday
According to a 3-month study by YesMail Interactive (and reported by VentureBeat) 20 major brands were looked at, “including Abercrombie & Fitch, The Gap, Ralph Lauren, American Eagle, J Crew, and Forever 21.” They found that for higher engagement, don’t launch a new marketing campaign when everyone else does. Friday is the most popular day to launch a new marketing campaign on Facebook, but Tuesday is better.
From 2005 to 2008 I successfully ran a “one man shop” web development company with only knowing the basics in web design and development. However, what I didn’t know in design and programming I made up by thoroughly knowing outsourcing, crowdsourcing, and project management. If you look at my gallery page you will see just a few of the projects I did during that time.
I am often asked to teach these business methods to others, and over the years I have developed a series of lessons to help facilitate these requests. I have been meaning to publish these lessons as an ebook, but with all that is currently going on in my life I don’t see it happening any time soon. So, instead of waiting for that someday to come I have decided to publish the lesson that is most requested—crowdsourcing.
Basically, crowdsourcing is utilizing the masses to do a task. For example, threadless.com uses a community of designers for each of their t-shirts. The designer who has a design selected from the crowd receives royalties from Threadless when the t-shirt is made and sold. Another good example of a company who truly understands crowdsourcing is Quirky.com. Quirky created a business model that has the crowd come up with new inventions. The invention that is selected will be made and marketed, and like Threadless, the inventor gets a royalty.
Today I presented to a group of Utah business teachers from the Alpine School District. My presentation was focused on three possible scenarios teachers could use when utilizing social media in the classroom.
The main problem I focused on was how the school district blocks most social media websites on their networks. There are very real and obvious reasons why schools are aggressively not allowing these sites (which I highlighted a few). Yet, it is apparent that the collective “we” is becoming more and more dependent on digital communication and schools are beginning to have discussions on how to safely inject social media into their curriculum.
I spent significant time researching this presentation, and gained a new found appreciation for our educators. Once things calm down in my life I have plans to break apart my presentation into a series of blog posts that dive more into this topic.
The other day my friend Leland asked if I knew any great SEO SERP tools that were free (serp is an acronymn for search engine ranking position). Personally, I am hooked on the paid tools SEOmoz offers, but I understand that when you start out in SEO you often don’t have the luxury of paying for the all the new shiny tools out there.
Leland’s biggest frustration was that when he did a search in Google all the tools he tried didn’t work. A lot of these websites can’t sustain their tools since they are free. It actually takes real resources to crawl the engines and return results. If a SERP tool pings the engines too often their IP is banned for a day. Get banned too many times and you can count on being permanently locked out.
So, you can see why finding a decent free SERP tool can be difficult. I love the challenge of finding free resources to help people in their SEO quest and hopefully my research from these efforts can help others. Therefore, below are the different tools I found that actually worked. I haven’t used most of them more than once or twice so my feedback is limited. Yet, the one thing I can guarantee is that they will show you your SERPS and that they are free (at least at the time of writing this).
Blah, blah, blah, everyone is doing it. The web is littered with unoriginality. Find what makes you unique and stay with it. Vow to be unique. Example:3 Doors Down—A True SEO Music Video Ü
2. Blog imperfectly
Give yourself a time limit when writing a post and then publish it when you hit the deadline. Published imperfection is progress. Unpublished perfection is worthless. Vow to have flaws. Example: My Imperfect Plan
3. Blog the future
Anyone can tear apart the past. Look into the future and take a chance on what might not be. Not only does it help you look for possible opportunities, but it also gives your blog unique perspective. Vow to guess the future. Example: The Day Search Engines Died!
1. Be unique 2. Give more than you take 3. Do one task at a time 4. Find and resolve problems 4. Access others' knowledge 5. Listen to feedback 6. Learn to be inquisitive 7. Test, test, test 7. Distinguish sense from nonsense 8. Grow from mistakes 9. Accept change as inevitable 10. Befriend your competition 11. Study different industries 12. Learn to build not game 13. Understand the motivation of emotion 14. Work for yourself 15. Build loyalty 16. Don't fear failure 17. Study the past, critique the future 18. Ignite users' curiosity 19. Allow creativity to flourish 20. Never give up
* Mistaking CTR for Conversion * Not using negative keywords * Unoptimized landing pages * Using all default settings * Ignoring tracking results * Not using Geo-Targeting * Not using Day Parting * Not proofreading your ads * Only using Broad Match * Giving up too soon
* Unoptimized title tags * Poor content * Slow site speed * Ignoring social media * Forgetting about conversion * Not staying current on SEO changes * Using splash pages * Overuse of Ajax * An unbalanced backlink profile * Ignoring site structure