As I mentioned in my last post, I was recently laid off. I have found some more work, but the experience has made me think a lot about financial diversity and the idea of not putting all your eggs in one basket.

One of the things that has suddenly clicked in my head, is the idea that if you are dependent on one source for the majority of your income then you are pretty much owned by that person or that company. If you rely on an employer for most of your income then you are a slave to them and their ideas.

Having a diversified portfolio of income gives you independence and gives you the power to choose how and where you get your money from.

It also cushions you from the ups and downs in one line of business or in one company.

  • If you rely on your savings account for the majority of your income, what happens when interest rates fall?
  • If you rely on your property, what happens when you can’t rent it out?

I think it is a simple philosophy, but the benefits of diversifying your income are easy to see and is something everyone should start thinking about doing today.

My mission from now on is take make sure that I am never again reliant on one source of income for more than 33% of my income (we shall make that living income). That could be anything, whether a job, a bank account or my own company. I don’t want my fate tied so closely into one thing.

I want the power to choose and I think diversification gives you that.

What do you choose?

I am writing this from the position of recently having lost my job and now moving onto new things. When reality hit that I was no longer employed and that I wasn’t going to be receiving my latest paycheck, I decided to take a step back and make sure I reacted in a positive way.

Amongst all that was going on around me and the situation it was pretty difficult, but I am also a pretty simple person, so I like things as straightforward as I can make them. I like a simple method I can follow, because the simpler it is, the easier it is to fall back on. This is how I dealt with the upheaval.

The first thing I did was to accept that I couldn’t alter what had happened and so put that behind me. Why waste time on if’s and but’s and things you can’t change? The situation was done, it wasn’t going to change, no matter what I did. So…

  • Rule 1: You can’t change what has already happened, don’t waste your energy.

The second thing I did was decide to see what the positive side of being laid off was. Or what it “could” be. As they say, you attract what you focus on, so I started to look at the opportunities for change that it gave me, the new possibilities.

Once I started doing this I actually became pretty upbeat and life started moving in a positive direction again. Then the momentum effect began to take over, it’s important just to get the ball rolling.

  • Rule 2: Look for the opportunities the change has created.

I believe Winston Churchill once said that “some people see difficulty in all possibilities while some people see possibility in all difficulties”. I think this is something to bear in mind. When change happens, train yourself to focus on the possibilities.

Having seen the opportunities that being out of work had given me, somethings that I had been blind to previously, I quickly started to feel more positive and decided to pick my fight. Where was my energy and focus going to go?

For me, it wasn’t going to be to fight the change. It was going to be to fight for a better future. The result being that I have now found myself a better job and also have set about more time for myself to update me skills.

  • Rule 3: Pick your fight wisely, then put all you energy into it.

Of course, you can choose to fight the change (if you are sure it is a change for the worse and it’s of a benefit to be fought) or you can choose to fight for new openings and new opportunities.

This is my simple story. This is my simple method of dealing with change. I hope you can take some optimism from this and start to believe that all change isn’t bad. Find your own way of coping and turning it into a positive experience and make it a habit.

I have come back from holiday and just one of those things, it has proven difficult to get back into the blogging habit. The break has given a bit of a new perspective on things though as it has moved me away from the action and so I have had a bit of a think about the direction of the blog.

Before I went away I was beginning to drift, so I want to add the focus back to what I was doing, so I am going to introduce some themes for the week. These are:

  • Monday-Tuesday: Self Improvement
  • Wednesday-Thursday: Finance
  • Friday-Saturday: Blogging & Marketing
  • Sunday: Links & Everything Else!!

I am also kind of embarrassed by the look of my site, so I am going to try and work it around a cleaner theme. Fingers crossed that I can make it look a bit more appealing :D

The hard work has been done for you. Take a look. It’s that time of the month now where I host a carnival to help people show off all the great articles they have written. I received a lot of submissions and it took me a while to sort through them all to make sure they fit in with the site and are of appropriate quality. Bearing that in mind, many thanks to all the authors for their hard work and the many words of inspiration and new ideas for my readers.

So here it is, a whole host of articles arranged around 3 themes related to this site. The themes are the ideas of self help, inspiration and mind hacks. Please enjoy :D

General Self Help

Arin Vahanian presents How to Build True, Lasting Confidence posted at Super State (editor says: an interesting look at how to build confidence and how very close you are to it)

FitBuff presents How to Speed Up Your Metabolism posted at FitBuff.com’s Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog (editor says: learn how to speed up your metabolism and receive the many health benefits)

Silicon Valley Blogger presents My One Money Advice: Be Prepared For That Rainy Day posted at The Digerati Life (editor says: you’ve heard it before, but never forget it)

Matthew Spears presents The innocence of anger posted at Loving Awareness (editor says: a look at a positive process by which to use anger)

Todd Goldfarb presents Why Your Smallest Actions Define You posted at We The Change (editor says: a reminder that the small things add up, so don’t let your standards slip… even for a second)

Alex Marlin presents Most Educated People Have No Social Skills posted at Life Improvement Tips For Thin and Small People (editor says: it’s among the most important things for success, take the time to learn and use it)

Albert Foong presents Love, Sorrow, and Attachment posted at Urban Monk (editor says: shows how nothing is permanent, learn how to cope with change through love)

John Crenshaw presents Are You Proactive or Reactive? posted at Dominate Your Life (editor says: a reminder to think ahead so you don’t spend your life just reacting to situations)

Inspiration

Bradley Woods presents Defeat Is Only Temporary posted at Conceive, Believe, Achieve (editor says: the greatest people in the world share one thing… perseverence)

karen alonge presents relationship life preservers posted at postcards from nowhere (editor says: some very sound advice on preserving a relationship)

Tupelo Kenyon presents Choose the Companionship of Positive People Who Inspire You posted at Tupelo Kenyon (editor says: learn how to get more positive energy and relationships in your life)

Nubby Twiglet presents The 5 Secrets to Success posted at Nubby Twiglet Art & Design (editor says: a straight forward guide to point you in the direction of success)

Ronit presents If You Think You Can or Think You Can’t, You Are Right – The Story of Marina posted at Ronit Baras (editor says: as it says on the tin… eye opening case example)

Jennifer Mannion presents Heal Pain Naturally: Self-Talk posted at Heal Pain Naturally (editor says: Jennifer has an interesting story, this part is on the effect of your internal dialogue)

Tina Su presents How to Fight Your Fears posted at Think Simple. Be Decisive. (editor says: 5 ways to fight your fears and empower yourself)

Mind Hacks

Uni presents Personal Brain Revitalizer:Take Advantage of Your Brain Cycles posted at You Deserve More (editor says: an interesting method by which to select the hemishpere of your brain which you want to use)

Bert presents Attention posted at Ask-Bert (editor says: nice article from a new blogger on how to keep your focus)

Here it is. This is my first attempt at hosting a carnival. I wanted to make something which would coincide with the aims of this blog, which is to provide some inspiration and to give people simple and effective ways in which to add more zest to your life. It took me a while to check through the posts, but I believe I have provided a worthy selection. Many thanks to all the authors.

Self Improvement

Todd Goldfarb presents Get Perspective by Working in Nature posted at We The Change (editor says: a beautiful look at how just to get on your life without letting the outside world affect you)

pnreddy presents Beat The Deadline To Get The Things Done Fast! posted at Self Help Zone (editor says: a bit of a kick up the backside to help you get stuff done)

Ellesse presents Is There Anything You Wished You’ve Never Done? at Goal Setting College posted at Goal Setting College (editor says: some ideas on how to avoid getting hung up on the past and enjoying the journey)

Peter S C presents 4 Effective Practices for Gaining Perspective posted at I will change your life (editor says: learn how to put that much needed perspective into your life)

Moneywalks presents How to Determine Financial Success posted at moneywalks (editor says: get back to basics and boost your wealth)

Rodney Burge – Marketing Strategies presents Leader, Know Thyself posted at Diane Bolden – Leadership Training (editor says: read this and you will understand that you can become a leader)

Arun presents The Power of Being Social posted at Arun is bringing you…Your Daily Remedy (editor says: he’s a definate character and provides some great ideas on how to get more sociable and the fun of doing it)

Inspiration

Arin Vahanian presents How One Quote Can Change Your Life posted at Super State (editor says: learn how to stopping blaming others and make that change now… yourself)

Jonathan Fields presents Karma Capitalism: A radical approach to accelerated business and career growth posted at Jonathan Fields | Awake At The Wheel (editor says: it’s a long article, but it’s a great read on how you can do business without the need to grab instantly for all you can get)

Yazan Manasrah presents You have more than you realize posted at The Blasted Crossing (editor says: a simple reminder to realize how much you have)

David B. Bohl presents Life Coaches Blog Column: The Art of Predicting Your Own Lasting Happiness posted at Slow Down Fast Today! (editor says: is happiness difficult to find? Find out here)

Alexander Becker presents How Context Creates Meaning posted at WOW (editor says: a reminder of the fact you can choose how you view something)

Raymond David Salas presents The Power of Letting Go posted at ZenChill.com Power Tools Blog (editor says: advice on letting go and how it can help you build a new life)

edithyeung presents What are You Waiting for posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act. (editor says: Just do it!)

Chris Wondra presents Music: A Metaphor for Forgiveness posted at Chris Wondra . com (editor says: a nice metephor on how to learn to get over it and get on with life)

Tristan presents Arland Dean Williams Jr: The Ultimate Act of Unconditional Love posted at The Synergy Institute (editor says: a beautiful story of inspiration and courage that brought tears to my eyes)

Alex Landis presents Are you anybody’s favorite person? posted at AlexLandis.com (editor says: a thought provoked question that might change your ideas on relationships)

Liz presents Goal Setting Commandment #9 – Thou Shall Reward Thyself! posted at Personal Strategic Plan (editor says: it’s so simple but we so often forget it)

Mind Hacks

Rob presents Early to bed, early to rise; How I learned to become an early riser posted at Dusk and Dawn (editor says: it’s been done a lot, but it’s another perspective worth looking at)

Giannis Mamin presents Don?t loose energy on the way posted at WeddInWeb Blog (editor says: when you are making progress, people try to stop you, don’t let them take your energy and momentum)

Rodney Burge – Marketing Strategies presents See What You Want posted at Lori Prokop – Keyboard Culture (editor says: it’s simple, but it’s just as powerful. Don’t forget it)

Hope you have enjoyed this edition. Please take the time to read all the articles and provide some feedback and support. It’s what makes blog carnivals work.

If you want to submit your blog article to the next edition of the carnival of inspiration and self help using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

As you sit there, you know that sometimes it pays just to get away from the world and focus on something else. Focus on your growth and remove all the stress in your life. Now, take a breath and just imagine how it feels.

Do it. Throw all your negative thoughts away just for a minute. Experience the power you can gain from just stepping out of the rush and taking the time to go to the place you want to be. Smile.

This is what this little meditation and visualization technique is all about. It’s just a little tool in your belt to fight against the constant rush of the modern world and to keep you focused on what counts. Your goals and the feelings and power associated with them.

  1. Take a goal you want to focus on and imagine what you could do if you had it. For example if you are after wealth, picture going into the most expensive restaurant in town and not caring about the price.This is your picture. (If it helps draw out this picture beforehand).
  2. Make sure you are somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
  3. Sit in a comfortable and upright posture and close your eyes.
  4. Take 3 deep breaths, slowly breathing in, holding, letting go.
  5. Focus on the thoughts in your mind. Take each one, acknowledge it and tell it you will attend to it in 5 minutes time.
  6. Keep going until your mind is clear.
  7. Take 10 breaths, focusing on the air going in and out. Focus on the rhythm.
  8. Now take that picture of your goal. Visualize it ( if you need help with this take a look at this exercise for you imagination). Feel it. Be part of it and enjoy the experience.
  9. Smile and say thank you to yourself and the world. You are done.

As with any kind of meditation or visualization, the benefits come through doing it regularly and repeatedly. Take self improvement one step at a time. Success needn’t be difficult. The natural power of meditation and visualization is way beyond the simplicity of this exercise.

Your Task

Just take 5 minutes to escape everyday and make sure you focus on something you want. Remember to say thank you.

A lot of self help uses stuff requiring visualization, which if you aren’t a visual kind of person can be very difficult. Simply put, by learning to improve your visualization, you can in turn help improve your life. Just try these exercises now to give yourself the chance to start truly using your imagination for your ultimate enjoyment and unlimited benefit.

Is it really possible to improve my visualization?

Simply put… yes!! I stumbled upon a great way to practice using your imagination when I was reading through a book on memory improvement. When training your memory to be effective, a lot of the techniques involve using visualization and so the exercises involved are naturally good at getting you used to and practicing vivid visualization techniques.

There are some important things to bear in mind when making these images in your head:

  • They should involve movement
  • They should be extreme (for the sake of effective memory and this visualization exercise)
  • You should use all your senses to give yourself the full picture (smell it, hear it, see it, feel it, taste it)

In memory, the use of pegs to remember something is very common. This simple method just pegs what you want to know to something you already know. In order to remember the new stuff you simple have to remember what you already know. It is incredibly simple and incredibly powerful.

So lets take a look at how you might do this and how you can use this exercise to power up your imagination.

  • Step 1 is to take 4 rooms in your house (for me I chose my bedroom, lounge, kitchen & bathroom)
  • Step 2 is to then take 5 things in each room as you would naturally find them as you walk around the room (for example, I chose: bedroom – bed, light, cot, closet, vacuum. Lounge – TV, stereo, bookshelf, picture frame, laptop. Kitchen – toaster, kettle, table, fridge, sink. Bathroom – toilet, razor, towels, mirror, shower)
  • Step 3 is to start to peg stuff… let me show you how now…

So here is a list of 20 words off the top of my head that we are going to try and peg to these objects in order to practice our visualization:

orange, car, pineapple, notebook, George Bush, pencil, telephone, school, paper clip, book, tomato, cloud, tree, light switch, money, football, chainsaw, coffee, battery, cow.

Take the first one, in my case I have a bed + orange. Next you just need to use your imagination to combine them in some way so they get joined together. At this stage, get extreme, it’s much more fun and makes it miles more memorable. As I said, you need to use all your senses and add strong movements and emotion as well.

So for example I will take my bed and turn it into a bed made from oranges. Then I will add in a bit of lateral jogging for fun and the oranges begin to burst. I can feel them pressing against my skin. I can smell that smell of oranges in my nostrils. It’s implanted in my head.

OK, now take the next one, you can use mine (light + car) or your own if you want.

Here, I have just taken the image of a car made from lightbulbs. Then it starts to break up as I drive it, leaving glass splattering everywhere. I can hear the glass breaking with the car crumbling beneath me. I can see the shattered glass left everywhere down the road.

I take the next one, cot + pineapple.

I imagine a hungry cot which I have to feed pineapples to. It takes them in whole in one big crunch. Listen to it. Crunch.

Are you getting the idea now? Try the next one and let your imagination run wild. If you want to use my examples just take a notebook and closet. Let’s see what you can come up with. Don’t look beyond this picture until you’ve tried it.

Now, what did you get?

I pictured my self sorting through my closet to find the notebook I wanted. Looking for that important memo. I could feel the notebooks and here the sound as I shifted them about.

Ok. One more. We have a vacuum and George Bush. Take the two things and make it extreme. See if you can make me laugh. Add movement and feel whats happening. Smell it. Live it. Be it.

What did you get?

I had a picture of George Bush in just his underpants, vacuuming the oval office. Guess my imagination ran wild :D

Anyway, you can get the idea now and continue until you have done the entire list. Make the images as strong, dramatic and powerful as you can. Your imagination will gradually grow stronger and more vivid with every time you practice this. You will begin to notice changes as you start to use it in all aspects of your life.

You also have the added bonus, you have also just memorized a random list of 20 objects! That’s how easy it is to make huge and lasting changes. Just believe it and act now.

Please check out some more of this site and come back tomorrow for a follow up post to see how you can use your visualizations effectively.

This is my story of how I managed to get married, start a family and pay off my credit card debts WITHOUT using the law of attraction. I have read quite a bit about this supposed “law of attraction”, of the miracles it has created, of its “science” and yes, I have cringed every time I read these stories.

I believe some elements of it are true and reasonable, but the way the proponents try to portray it gives false hope, is somewhat fake and is also unrealistic.

The basic rules of the law of attraction, as they state, are these:

 

 

  • Know what you want and ask “the universe” for it
  • Focus your thought and energy entirely on this
  • Behave as if you already have it
  • Be open to receiving it from “the universe”

 

 

Hmmmm… as far as I’m concerned, this is basically a mixture of arty farty new age thinking and just basic common sense? If you want something, decide what it is and then go after it with all your life. I mean c’mon,this really isn’t headline catching stuff concerning the secrets to success. However, the proponents try to explain it as some mystical and physical power, they also claim it has a basis in quantum physics and is in fact a “law” of the universe.

If you understand more about how absurd the whole theory is, then my story basically helps show you what a load of $&#$ the whole idea is.

18 months ago I was single and enjoying life, but I was frustrated by my lack of success in relationships. I used to beat myself each evening that I couldn’t find a suitable girl and I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably might never get married. I couldn’t find it in myself to trust anyone enough to let them close to me.

Basically, I didn’t think I knew what I wanted, in life or a women and I was focused entirely on the fact that I hadn’t had a relationship in a couple of years. My thinking was everything the law of attraction would tell you not to do and then it was right at this point my future wife fell right in my lap. Splat!!

My now wife, literally forced me into a first date. I tried to split up with her, I tried to avoid her, but she wouldn’t have it. I ended up falling in love. How ironic that this clearly had nothing to do with the law of attraction, but the result was easily worthy of the hype and anecdotes they like to spin.

So just how DID I get what I wanted? I really don’t know, but I would personally just call it either luck or destiny. I am a great believer in luck and if you want to know how to utilize this theory in your life, then take a look at why the rich believe EVRYTHING is luck.

The second incident that has happened to me quite recently, which shows that the law isn’t such a real “law” and more just “luck”, is to do with my problems with my credit cards. The last year or so has been a huge financial strain for me. And I mean HUGE.

To summarize for you, this was my situation.

My wife is a student and I have to pay her school fees. Along with this I have started a family and had a number of unforeseen financial expenses along the way which resulted in me having $4000 on my overdraft and $4000 on my credit card on top of a previous loan which is about $10,000. My salary can cover rent, bills, school fees, baby costs, loan repayments & food etc but doesn’t leave so much to pay off these immediate debts as well.

Anyway, I managed to stop the boat taking in any more water and so I then worked out what I could afford to pay back. It was tough, but I figured it would take about 2 years of hard work to get it all sorted out. I had this in my mind, I was set for the long, slow, painful journey of paying back my debts.

Again I was going against what proponents of the law of attraction might preach. I was purely focused on the debt and not at all on financial freedom, just on getting rid of the damn debt. That made sense to me and I was truly driven by this desire.

Next thing I know, which was a couple of weeks ago, $4000 lands on my lap. Now, at this time I also noticed an opportunity to get another $4000 and I was alert enough to take it. This literally happened in less than 6 hours. The money had arrived to pay off my credit cards and overdraft out of literally nowhere.

Hey, I don’t know what happened but, due to my positivity and belief in luck and opportunity, I took a chance when it was there. Now, if I believed in the law of attraction then I would give it all the glory and credos for solving my financial headache. But clearly, it had nothing to do with it. It had more to do with just keeping my eyes open.

Having said all of this, I do in fact believe THERE IS a formula for success, that has been proven over the ages, but I am not going to claim it as mine or that it is a law based on physics. There are basic rules and basic characteristics that help guarantee success. However people try to spin it, however they try to give the message, I think the secret to manifestation pretty much comes down to 4 things:

 

 

  • Know what you want – don’t be afraid to have big dreams and make sure you know how to recognize when you have in fact got what you dreamed for
  • Be aware of where you are now – be honest about where you are now and the fact that you (and only you) are in control of your life (i.e. stop the blame game)
  • Create a road map to success – make a plan, make the tough decisions, look at new and different options and make sure you can’t choose to fail
  • Just do it – act with determination, energy and desire on your chosen path

 

 

It is that simple, you just need to act on it and don’t give yourself the excuse that it is not under your control. You have the choice and the chance to create your destiny right now. Just keep your eyes open.

Overwhelmedconfusedstressedhopelessdon’t know where to start?

These where the words that sprang to my mind when I first start to consider search engine optimization (SEO). However, it is these words that made me research a basic method that even I could stick to and understand. Are you the same? Does it seem like… well… just way too much effort?

If this is the case, or you even if you are just looking for a few new ideas to implement, then I hope that with my straightforward beginners guide to the do’s and dont’s of basic SEO that I can clear a few things up for you. After you have read it make sure you get going on implementing some of the ideas and begin to enjoy more search traffic.

This SEO starter guide comes from my personal experience, experimentation, reading and what I have noticed about visitors to my site up to now. This is written specifically for WordPress bloggers but the principles can equally apply across all platforms. I hope it is useful in at least showing you how to start getting a steadier flow of relevant search traffic to you site. It has already made a difference to me.

What exactly is SEO?

SEO is basically the process of improving internal and external aspects with regard to the your website and web pages, in order to increase the traffic your site receives from search engines. When doing this you are looking to increase the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural”,”organic” or “algorithmic” searches.

The higher up the list you are, the higher you “rank” and the more click throughs you are going to get to your site. Obviously, you want this stream of visitors to be targeted and appropriate for your siteotherwise it is pointless. By looking at and then following through on the steps and ideas shown within this article, you can learn the basics of how to set up for effective SEO and so naturally get all the visitors you want.

If you feel you want to know more then check out the SEOBook by Aaron Wall. But, hopefully I can help remove some of the mystery and fear commonly surrounding search engine optimization.

Why do I Need SEO? Can’t they just find me anyway?

The Internet is a huge place and when people are looking for new things they more often than not start out with a search.

If you are providing the product that the person is looking for then you owe it to yourself and to them to make sure you appear high up on the results page so that you can meet.

Search queries, which are the words people type into the search box when they are trying to find your site, contain a lot of inherent value. This are the specifics the searchers are looking for, their basic needs. If you can meet these needs then you have found yourself a new customer. Well targeted visitors to a site can provide regular sources of low cost revenue, new customers and general exposure that is second to none.

Search engines are never going to have the ability like a human to determine what is good content or not. That is why SEO is necessary.

SEO is not trying to trick the search engines, it is trying to make sure your quality product or information gets the exposure it deserves to the users who are looking for you.

In order to achieve that deseried exposure, it is necessary to understand how the search engines work and so make the most of them and in fact also help them improve at the same time.

If you are writing a blog it comes with a natural advantage, a lot of what search engines like is provided naturally within the blogging platform. It is always fresh, bloggers naturally link to each other and it allows you to provide a lot of content to target different niches.

What are the Basics of SEO I Need to Know?

When you are trying to implement a search engine strategy, these are 10 basic things that you need to be aware of and apply now to make sure you get the kind of ranking your content or product deserves.

  1. Links – search engines regard links into your site as pretty much the most important thing there is. Why? Simply because of the fact it is harder to manipulate these off site factors than on site factors. People used to take advantage of this through link farming (submitting sites 1000’s of low quality directories) but search engine algorithms have now advanced to try and avoid this link manipulation. The power of these links into your site is shown by the fact that it is possible to rank for words not on your site purely through the anchor text (anchor text = visible text in a hyperlink) that is used to link to it. If you want to see more on this, take a look at the description of a “Google Bomb“. Knowing this power, it shows how having relevant and respected sites that link to your website will obviously give a huge boost to your rankings.
  2. Title tags – these are the most important thing you can do on site regarding your search engine placement. Ignore them at your peril. When you are choosing your title use words that are clearly related to your topic and that most importantly people will use when searching. You should also try to make sure these words appear at the start of your title in the browser window and not after your site name.i.e. it should be “SEO :Million Dollar Blog” and not “Million Dollar Blog: SEO”. If you are working for a business, you need to choose the 1-3 keywords you want to target and put them in your title. If you want to mass edit your titles in WordPress then you can use this plugin which will do the job for you.
  3. Keywords – these are the words you are targeting for your site. The basic advice here is to put them in your introduction and in your summary. There is no need to splatter them everywhere. In fact I have found the best thing is to try and use synonyms throughout your article so as to broaden the range of your audience. Nowadays as web users become more savvy with their searches this is going to become more important as you pick up more users for less common terms or the “longtail” of the web search as it is becoming known. The benefit of this is that these are the visitors that are the hot prospects, the ones who are more likely to be making purchases.
  4. URLs – basically, you need to optimize them by using related words. This means using “pretty permalinks” as they are called, i.e. no question marks (such as .com/?=p55) and also that the URLs relate to your keywords.In WordPress just go into the options>>permalinks menu and put in a permalink such as /%category%/%postname%/ (note: if you don’t use a host with an Apache server then you are going to run into difficulties doing this). If possible you should get rid of irrelevant parts in the URL such as the date or month. Using the category and postname as shown is a good way as it is going to include terms useful in the search. However, depending on your site layout, what is best may differ.
  5. Meta Tags – yep, they are very dated, but if you look at the search page in Google then it is the meta tags which are used for the description below the title. It means you should make sure you use the meta tags to your advantage in the description and make it one which is going to pull people into your site. Again, take this chance to use the description to broaden the search terms you can rank for. It is also highly recommended that the meta keywords you put in are ones that DON’T appear in your post (such as misspellings). There is no point in using it for a full range of keywords as webmasters did years ago. In order to adjust your meta tags in WordPress just use this plugin.metatags
  6. Quality content – in your content you need to pay some attention to your grammar and layout (even if it’s cool not to). Don’t use profanities, the search engines don’t look to well upon these. Doing this is this not only good for yourself and your readers and likely to encourage more links back to your posts (which is what you want), but nowadays search engines also use algorithms associated with quality writing to try and judge your content.
  7. Headings – first of all the use of headings (and heading tags) makes it much easier for readers to scan and enjoy your work (as people do when reading on the computer screen). This in turn makes it more likely they will link back. Secondly, in addition, they can be used to emphasize the keywords or topic to the search engines and give your article a more solid structure.
  8. Design – generally it’s recommended to keep it clean and easy to navigate, both for your readers and the search engine. SEO pros recommend keeping the style and content separate using CSS and making sure the content is at the top of the sources so the search engine doesn’t have to trawl through to much to get to your message.An important thing here is to try to make all pages accessible in less than 3 clicks, the search engine most likely won’t go any deeper.
  9. Sitemaps – provide a Google sitemap (which will help Google index your site). If your site has good navigation it isn’t necessary but it doesn’t hurt either so you might as well do it. This plugin will build anXML sitemap for you. Also provide a sitemap for your readers. It’s good manners as this will help their navigation and has an added benefit in that it provides good anchor text linking back to your articles. This WordPress plugin will build a WordPress sitemap on a page for your readers to access.
  10. Archives – related to the above, it is suggested to move your archives to a category based archive with related anchor text. I think it is a great idea, but I am still working out the best way to do this one myself – any help and suggestions would be appreciated.

SEO Mistakes to Avoid:

Along with making sure you are doing the right things you also have to make sure you aren’t making mistakes that could send you to the forgotten land of the search engines. All your hard work will be for nothing if you don’t avoid these 9 simple but common mistakes. Some things may be repeated, but the first thing is to make sure you are avoiding these mistakes before you work on what you SHOULD be doing.

  1. Using Javascript or Flash menus – the search engine crawler usually can’t follow these menus as it can’t see them, which basically means it isn’t going to get very far in your site if you have them. Most menus which use flash can be replicated using CSS, so if you have flash menus you should try to look into this as soon as possible.
  2. Unoptimized URLs – the most optimal URLs contain relevant, popular keywords and a minimal number of slashes, without any question marks. As mentioned before, when using WordPress, be sure to change your “Permalink Options” to use rewritten URLs rather than the default of your post IDs
  3. Too much reliance on images and flash – if the content is hidden away in images and flash then the search engine is going to miss it and that means you aren’t going to rank for it. It’s as simple as that.
  4. Not using the meta-tags – back to these meta tags. These are like the guidelines for the search engine. They are little used nowadays but they DO provide a guide as to the site and are still used to varying degrees by some search engines. Make sure you don’t leave them empty and so open to fate.
  5. Multiple homes – make sure you use either just WWW. or just HTTP: The search engine will rank both if you don’t and you can lose half or more your power. The trend is moving towards omitting the WWW so hop on the bandwagon and save your rank.
  6. Unoptimized content – if what you write doesn’t tell the search engine what it’s about then it’s useless. You could write a 10,000 word article on global warming for all the search engine cares, but if you don’t mention that word then it is next to useless. You need to show the search engine what is important in terms of that page as well as informing the reader.
  7. Not trying to get links to your pages – you are not an island, links allow people to find you. You owe it to your site to try and get people linking in to you. It’s what makes the Internet go round. read further on for ideas and help on getting these links.
  8. Letting pages be indexed that shouldn’t – there are pages on your site that are just duplicates, such as the archives, the post page and the category page. There are also pages which are of no value such as the contact form or the printer friendly page. Check out what is showing up in the search engines using the site: operand in Google and then disallow unnecessary pages using your robots.txt file. If you need help regarding this then you can find a neat header php trick here and some other examples of robot.txt for optimizing for search engines which should point you in the right direction.
  9. Unoptimized anchor text – interlinking within in your site let’s you link to your articles using the anchor text you most want your article to be associated with. Take advantage of this fact and also know that it has the added benefit of keeping users on your site for longer.

How Can I Structure My Article for Maximum Effect?

What it takes to be a good writer is the desire, the desire to revise the text until it meets your high standards. When writing on the net, it needs to fit in with your site and design. It is more like a song than an article. More so than in print it needs to be easy to read, few people are going to wade through solid text on their computer screen.

To ensure your page gets ranked for what you want it to, then there are some simple guidelines that it pays to follow.

  • Make One Stop resources – these might sometimes be called pillar articles. These are what your site should be built around. It can be of huge benefit to write extended articles of exceptional quality that can become a one stop shop for people looking for information on a certain subject. These articles can become like an ‘industry standard’ and generate huge amounts of traffic to your site as well as increasing the respect of your opinion and expertise within your niche. It is better to have one industry standard article than hundreds of articles that are rarely read or referred to.
  • Put Your Keywords prominently in the document – don’t worry about stuff like keyword density and the like, that’s pretty 1990’s, just try and put them in as naturally as possible, but make sure they are there.
  • Keep the post on topic and of high quality – nowadays, search engines are moving towards lexical analysis in order determine the contextual value of words within the post (through Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI) and so help determine the relevance of a post on a certain subject. If you aren’t focussed on your topic then your rank is going to drift. They are also developing algorithms to identify the components in high quality writing. Thus, great writing can now provide benefits to your rankings, AS WELL as visitors. Keeping on topic will help ensure you rank well for your chosen target audience.
  • Structure the document effectively – basically at the start say what you are going to talk about, next you talk about it and then at the end review what you have just said. Just like any report or newspaper article, it needs an Introduction, a body and a conclusion. That is the 3 easy steps to a well laid out document that you need to remember.
  • Keep text together – Most SEO people recommend using CSS in your site as it helps keep content together rather than being broken up by tables or even worse “frames”. It can also be achieved through tables if you want, just as long as you focus on the layout and don’t use to many nested tables which will break up the flow.
  • Use sub headings and images – these help with the flow and make it easier to read on the screen as well as providing a kind of summary of the key points in the article for the search engine. Also make sure you use the “alt text” in the images to tell the search engine what they are.

What is The Value of Links?

Everybody talks about links and pagerank, but what exactly is the value to a webmaster?

Generally speaking, search engines are built to follow humans and so this is where the power of links come in. Search engines operate a map of the Internet that can show them not only who is linking to a site or page, but also the relevance and what they are saying about that page or site.

Search engines like Google also have a good idea of who is affiliated with who as they have been involved in the game a long time and so have a lot of historical data to draw on and use it to determine factors such as what sites are worthy of being trusted and so carry more weight (links from .edu, .gov pages and long established sites generally have a higher trust value).

Using the power of links also allows pages deep within a site to get ranked – the benefit of this is that usually a lot of a sites rank is just carried on the homepage. Links to articles deeper in the site allow these pages to get a rank boost and so appear more prominently in search rankings.

When talking about the value of links there are two main factors:

  • The Trust factor – recently the basic idea of a page rank is moving to that of a trust rank, where pages which come from areas of trust will rank higher as will those receiving links from there. One of the main ideas here is that a good site rarely links to a bad and the quality of links is usually in inverse proportion to the number.
  • The Page Rank Factor – the rank of your page is largely due to the quality and quantiy of links coming in. The more you have the higher you are going to rank.This is how Google describes it.

From Google: PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

So, can you tell me how to get these high quality links?

Getting links requires effort, if you aren’t prepared to put in some sweat them it’s next to impossible unless you get into some less reputable methods. Here is an outline of 14 commonly accepted ways to start generating links back to your site.

  1. Most simply write quality content – if you want people to refer to you and link to you then what you write about has to be of high quality in terms of the information provided as well as the writing.
  2. Link to others – link to others and click on the link a few times so it shows up on their stats. You will start to create some Karma back to you. This is especially true with smaller blogs as they will notice the links in and will take a look at your site and often return the favor. In addition to this it is also a good way to build new relationships as well.
  3. Interact on do follow blog – in fact, it is a good idea to interact on all blogs and get yourself noticed and build relationships, but by interacting on do follow blogs (that means adding quality comments and value to them) you get some automatic links back to your site for your effort.
  4. Submit articles to article directories – submit rewritten articles (you don’t want to be penalised for duplicate content and to have all you best stuff all over the web) to article directories such as go articlesand ezine articles and you can build up links with related anchor text and topics.
  5. Create a Contest – a great way to generate interest in your blog or site and get appropriate links back to your site and certain pages. If you have a contest simply go to contest blogger and get it listed to start creating the buzz.
  6. Writing Projects – using writing projects can introduce you to new bloggers, new readers from their sites and provide great content and generate links back to your site from contributors.
  7. Tell other bloggers about your articles and ask for their feedback – bloggers don’t like being asked for links, but if you ask for their feedback, they will most likely give it to you and at times also a link. Even if you don’t get a link you are building up relationships which is as important in the online world as offline
  8. Submit to quality directories – don’t submit to link farms, but being in high quality directories can get you some link juice. If you want to find some high quality ones just head over here to see some of thestrongest linking directories.
  9. Signatures in forums – join a forum and use your signature to direct people and search engines to your site. Forums are a great place to learn and to get yourself known as an expert, if you aren’t a member of a forum or two in your field then it is well worth considering joining one.
  10. Guest Blog – there are loads of blogs out there which are in need of material. Write a few posts on other blogs and you will find it introduces you to a new audience as well as helping getting your name out there and some links back.
  11. Do in an interview – do a short interview, analysis or expose of a respected person in your niche and you can generate a lot of interest as well as appreciation from the person invlolved.
  12. Create a tool – create a tool or a plugin or something that people need and you will get a pile of visitors and links. You could hire someone to do it for you if you don’t have the expertise. This one is for the ambitious.
  13. Disagree with an authority – controversy sells, if you have the guts, simply choose to disagree with an established person in a reasonable and well thought out way and you can get linked to as people either support or disagree with you
  14. Offer your expertise in return for some PR – if you have a sellable skill such as copy writing, write to some other bloggers or websites and offer it around in return for a link or review or some other kind of help.

These are some great and natural ways to get links. If you need help finding links and want to analyse what your competitors are doing and who is linking to them, then some software that makes the job easier is SEO elite. Personally though, I prefer to do it the old fashioned way, through hard work and gaining respect. However, it’s up to you.

Finally, how can I put this all together and boost my SERP?

With this guide I have tried to cover all the basis for effective SEO for people just starting out so make sure that you can get the notice that you deserve. Obviously it is possible to go into more detail and more depth, but I think for 95% of people that is unnecessary.

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to take it all on board at once, but if you start implementing these strategies now step by step then you will begin to notice a difference. First up, just make sure you aren’t making any of the SEO mistakes listed and then move on from there.