The reviews are on sale! And more news

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Upcoming: Yoast Consulting project

As of next month, we’ll offer a new type of review. At Yoast, we regularly get questions from people who need more guidance in SEO than our reviews can give them. Also, our SEO team likes to carry out more in-depth SEO projects. They love to really dive into a website and give high quality and personal advice. That’s why, as of next month, we’ll start offering Yoast Consulting projects.

In a Yoast Consulting project, we’ll look at every aspect of your website with our complete SEO team! This team consists of Joost, Michiel, Annelieke, Judith, Jaro, Michelle, Patrick and Meike. You’ll receive a complete analysis and many practical tips. We’ll start with an intake meeting by Skype (or you can come by our office in the Netherlands). Later we’ll also have a Skype follow-up meeting, to make sure you’re completely satisfied. A Yoast Consulting project will cost $10.000. We’ll only do one Yoast Consulting project a month, as it will take much of our time. If you’re interested in purchasing a Yoast Consulting project, make sure to contact us.

Read more: ‘What our website reviews can do for you’ »

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How to choose the perfect focus keyword

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Discover some information about search volume

Once you have found a long tail search term you would like to start ranking for, you should put some effort into discovering whether or not the search volume of your chosen focus keyword is high. We will be the first to admit, Google has made this really hard. The only way to know ‘for sure’ how often a search term is used, is by having an active and alive AdWords account and by bidding on the search term of your choice. We understand this is a bit too difficult and expensive for most of you (we honestly hardly ever do this).

Not to worry, using Google Trends should give at least some idea, in a creative way, about search volume. Google Trends allows you to compare the search volume between two search terms over time. This will give some insights in the volume of the search terms people use (always relative to another term).

If you already have some (blog)posts that rank well for good terms, you will know how many visitors these posts attract. Using Google Trends to compare the focus keywords of older posts (of which at least the number of visitors to your website is known) with the focus keyword you have in mind for your new post, could give you some idea about the potential of traffic this new focus keyword could have. Make sure to choose older posts that are most similar to the post you’re planning to write: if you’re planning to choose a long tail keyword, compare posts with long tail focus keywords as well.

For instance, this post about focus keywords could be compared to a post about snippet previews, a very related feature of the WordPress SEO plugin we wrote about before:

Comparing "focus keyword" and "snippet preview" in Google Trends

As you can see the traffic is comparable, we know the search traffic to our snippet preview post is reasonably good, so we know it’s worth optimizing for.

Using Google Trends to compare between your old focus keywords and the one you would like to choose will give you some insights about the prospects for your focus keyword.

Another way to use Google Trends is when you are doubting between a number of (long tail) focus keywords. Google Trends will easily show you what search term will have the highest search volume (compared to another). Google Trends will help you decide which long tail keyword is most common in the search engines.

Google your proposed focus keyword!

Apart from knowing which search terms are actually used by people, you need to know whether or not your idea for your post or page fits the desires and expectations of the people who use the search terms. The best way to find out whether or not your content fits these desires is to Google your proposed (sets of) keywords yourself.

Take the time to look at the first two result pages. Are the articles Google shows of the same character that your article will be like? Does your website fit between the results shown in these result pages? If you decide to write your blogpost or page, while optimizing for this exact focus keyword, you are aiming for a display of your page amongst these.

For instance, when we wrote this post and Googled our chosen focus keyword, we saw we’d be competing with ourselves:

a search for "focus keyword" in Google

We also saw lots of questions on the WordPress forums, giving us all the more reason to write this post.

Note that we looked at the old post and decided it wasn’t good and complete enough, so we decided we would delete it and replace it with this one.

Make sure to use the content of the result pages as an inspiration for your blogpost. Are there any useful ideas (we are NOT encouraging to copy content, merely to see whether you perhaps missed some information or arguments for your own blogpost)? But more importantly: how can you make sure your post will stand out? In what way could your post be better, funnier, more original than the post presently displayed in the result pages. Try to think of content that will make the audience click and share!

Conclusion: picking a focus keyword is not easy

Choosing a perfect focus keyword is not an exact science. You should aim for a combination of words that are actually used by a search audience. Aim for a focus keyword that is relatively high on volume and aim for one that will fit your audience.

SEO New Hampshire

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Cultural Previews in SEO Quality

Andrew Raynor

 

 

In Yoast SEO Premium 3.2, we introduced social previews. It works much like the snippet preview people have come so used to. As the snippet preview does for search rankings, we think social previews will improve your social workflow.

Social previews in Yoast SEO Premium

Which picture will Facebook pick?

When you publish a post and you haven’t specifically selected a Facebook image in our plugin, you don’t know which picture Facebook will use. Yoast SEO has a big hand in this process: it determines which images it “gives” Facebook with its metadata. When you specify a Facebook image, it specifies just that image. When you set a featured image for your post, that’s the image it will feed to Facebook. If you have no featured image either, it will grab the images from your post. Our social previews take the guesswork away and show you what Facebook will use.

It looks like this for this post (because I haven’t specified a specific Facebook image yet):

Facebook preview of this social previews article, showing the featured image and the meta description being used

As you can see this allows me to preview what my post will look like when shared on Facebook. We have a similar preview for Twitter. Both previews also have edit fields below them, allowing you to change the individual Facebook and Twitter metadata. That looks like this:

Twitter social preview with edit fields

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The Chance in Disappointment

Andrew Raynor

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Rachel Miller. Rachel is the Executive Director of Forbid Them Not Ministries and the author of three books. She is the happy aunt of 10 amazing nieces and nephews, and slightly addicted to life in Montana.

A year ago last week, I climbed a set of wooden steps and reached for a door that would change my life. With each step and each tightening knot in my stomach, the opening phrase of The Art of Work echoed in my brain:

A calling is not some carefully crafted plan. It’s what’s left when the plan goes horribly wrong.

Why You Haven't Found Your Calling Yet

I knew those words to be true. I had lived them. Twenty years of nonprofit service for orphans, widows, and single moms had crashed down around me at the moment my own dad and pastor unexpectedly left this earth. He was gone, and little by little, everything normal in my life began slipping away — everything but that one passion.

But while my world crumbled, my calling grew stronger. My understanding of the need deepened. When everything else seemed lost, my heart still screamed, “Fight for your calling!”

As I reached for that door at the top of the wooden steps, my stomach churned. This was not fighting. At best, it felt like a betrayal of the calling and of those I longed to serve — but I saw no other choice. I opened the door, walked into the employment agency, and sat trembling at a desk in the back room. I signed page after page of documents I could barely read through my tears, and set out on a journey I never intended to take: finding a job that had nothing to do with my calling.

Two and a half months later, with my attentions split and my grief still raw, my ministry was barely hanging on. I sought counsel, but found little encouragement. Two leaders told me, “Sometimes we just have to give up what we love.” A third told me it wasn’t worth fighting for.

To top it all off, sharp accusations were publicly flung in my direction. They were not true, but the damage was done, and I had to find restoration on my own. I was devastated, convinced that I had failed everyone by not securing a peaceful resolution.

As I drove down the street in tears two days after that event, I was shocked to hear myself praying, “Why should I even keep trying?”

Three weeks later, my new job as a leasing agent at an apartment complex was combined with another position (double the work), and the hours were cut nearly in half. The sense of failure was overwhelming.

Your failure doesn’t define you

During all of this, I had been taking The Art of Work course. Between the quiet whisper in my car and Jeff’s constant emphasis on pivot points, it didn’t take me long to realize where I was, and that I didn’t have to stay stuck there.

Although I would still have to take on more work, not having full-time hours at the apartment complex meant I could start rebuilding the ministry. That idea gave me hope, and I started taking steps—building a bridge, as The Art of Work calls it.

Three months later, I walked across that bridge to meet with a single mom in Burger King. She was weeping. The State was pursuing termination of her parental rights. They had brought crushing testimony against her. Some of it was true. Some of it was grossly exaggerated. Some of it was false. Because of my own tearful moment in the car months earlier, I was able to lean across the table, look her in the eyes, and say, “Those lies do not define you. Who you are is not what people think or say about you.”

That day opened a door to work with her on a regular basis. She has grown, matured, and found new confidence over the last seven months. She has even gone back to school and started her own business.

Two months after that moment in Burger King, my ministry—the one that “wasn’t worth fighting for”—received a $5000 gift. It was enough to put down a deposit and six months’ rent for a small office, furnish the space, and offset the cost of moving the ministry out from under the umbrella of our church and establish it as its own 501c3.

Shortly after settling into our new office space, we discovered that the offices surrounding us belong to an agency focusing on single moms of meth-affected babies, as well as drug- and alcohol-related peer mentoring. We’re working on a referral plan.

Finding a voice

In The Art of Work, Jeff stresses the importance of sharing the work. This has been an area of struggle for me for many years. I wanted to share my vision with others and wanted them to be more involved, but no one seemed interested beyond a small gift or project here and there.

One of our board members recommended that I enroll in a course dealing with partnership development. The first night of classes, I realized the course would give me the opportunity to practice many of the things I had learned in The Art of Work.

I soon found the courage to begin intentionally presenting the ministry to others. I’ve since learned the joy of seeing them get involved. We now have a volunteer heading up our clothing exchange! I’ve learned that the people I think will want to get involved might not be interested, while people I would never have considered might play an amazing role in the organization.

Embracing the unexpected

In the midst of all this activity, a dispute between the company I work for and the local Housing Authority led to unexpected moves for two of our Section 8 residents. Both were single moms.

After much prayer and a conversation with my manager, the ministry was allowed to help both of these women relocate by providing the moving truck for one family and moving volunteers for the other.

It’s amazing how many obstacles have “opportunity” written all over them, like the interruptions that kept me at work late today. Because of them, I was there to answer a phone call that has connected the ministry to a family who just lost their home to a fire.

We still have a long way to go. We are not out blazing a trail with fireworks and fanfare. But we are, little by little, accomplishing our goal through simple solutions. This thing is far from dead.

Walking up those stairs and reaching for that door a year ago seemed like the ultimate sign of failure, but in reality, it was an amazing pivot point. It became an opportunity for the ministry to grow, to learn, and to serve others as much as we can—and for me to recommit to my calling.

Our ministry has now gained a glimpse of what is possible with persistence, faithfulness, and patience. We’ve seen beauty come from the ashes of a plan gone horribly wrong.

What unexpected challenges have you faced? How have they given you a different perspective on your calling? Share in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Just how to make use of Yoast SEO’s information evaluation

Andrew Raynor

 

 

The Content Analysis Tool in the Yoast SEO plugin measures many aspects of the text you’re writing. These checks run real-time, so you’ll receive feedback while writing! The content analysis helps you to make your text SEO-friendly. In this post, I’ll first describe the most important features of the Content Analysis Tool. After that, I’ll explain how to use and interpret these features.

Yoast SEO content analysis

Most important features

1.  The plugin allows you to formulate a meta description. This description has to be a short text describing the main topic of the page. If the meta description contains the search term people use, the exact text will be shown by Google below your URL in the search results.

2.  The plugin analyzes the text you write. It calculates the Flesch reading-ease score, which indicates the readability of your article. The Flesch reading-ease score takes into account sentence length, for example. In the future, we’ll add more checks on readability. This will allow you to check the SEO and readability of your text simultaneously.

3. The plugin does numerous content checks on your page. It checks whether you use your focus keyword in:

The plugin also checks the presence of links and images in the article. It calculates the number of words and the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article. Moreover, the plugin checks whether you’re using the same focus keyword on other pages of your website. This should prevent you from competing with yourself.

If you write a relatively SEO-friendly text (based on the aspects mentioned above) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Writing pages that are rewarded with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of those pages.

Two warnings before you start!

When you optimize your post for a certain keyword, keep two things in mind:

  • The first thing is that in this phase (the final, optimizing phase) you shouldn’t change any major things in your article. If you’ve put effort into writing an attractive, structured and readable text, the optimization process should in no way jeopardize that.
  • The second thing is that you shouldn’t change your keyword strategy in this phase. If you’ve done your keyword research properly and you’ve written your post or your article with a focus keyword in mind, don’t go change your focus keyword now! Read The temptation of the green bullet for more in-depth information about that.

7 simple steps to optimize your text

Step 1: Put your text in the WordPress backend

You’ve written your article or your blog post. You can write directly in the backend of WordPress or write in any kind of text editor and copy your text into the WordPress backend. Do whatever you like!
If you choose to copy your text in the WordPress backend, copy without the layout. You should adapt the layout in the backend, as otherwise you might run into some layout problems. Make sure to set subheadings into heading 2, sub-subheadings to heading 3 and so on. Then put the title of your post in the title box.

Step 2: Enter your focus keyword

Scroll down to the Content Analysis Tool in the WordPress backend. Enter your focus keyword in the appropriate field of the Yoast SEO Metabox. Your focus keyword is the keyword you would like your post to rank for. Ideally, this should be a keyword which emerged from your keyword research and which you have kept in mind during the entire writing process.

Read more: ‘How to choose the perfect focus keyword’ »

Snippet editor in Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO premium offers the possibility to optimize one article for more than one focus keyword. Optimizing your post for more than one search term allows you to rank for more keywords and to gain traffic to your site through more keywords.

Step 3: Write a meta description

Enter the meta description of your post. Describe clearly what your post or article is about. And make sure you use the exact phrase of your focus keyword. The meta description will be shown by Google below the URL if people search for your focus keyword.

The meta description in the Yoast SEO content analysis

It’s important that the meta description contains the focus keyword. Not because it will improve your rankings, but because otherwise Google usually won’t show your meta description in the search results. Google will try to match the search query with the description. If the focus keyword isn’t mentioned in the meta description, Google will just grab a random piece of content from your page containing the keyword.

The meta description shouldn’t be too long. On the other hand, there’s no ‘penalty’ for having too long meta descriptions either. What you should pay attention to is: 1. the logical bits of it are of the right length and, 2. when it’s cut in half, it still makes sense and still entices people to click.

Keep reading: ‘How to create the right meta description’ »

Step 4: Fine-tune your headings

Look critically at your title, the headings and subheadings of your article. Do these contain your focus keyword? If not, can you alter them (without changing the structure or content of your article) in such a way that they will contain your focus keyword? Don’t put your focus keyword in all of your headings though! That is too much. Using your focus keyword in one heading and in your title should be enough. You can read more about headings in one of Michiel’s posts.

Step 5: Fine-tune your body text

You should also mention the focus keyword in your text a couple of times. Make sure to mention it in the first paragraph. Throughout the text, you should mention it again. As a general rule of thumb: try to use your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. Say your article has 300 words, that means you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times. 300 words isn’t the exact goal, nor is the amount of keyword mentions. However, 300 is a decent minimum for the number of words of an article that needs to show authority.

Step 6: Check your bullets!

Clicking on the Content Analysis tab will allow you to see which aspects of the search engine optimization process were successful. The green bullets show which aspects are good. Orange and red bullets indicate where you can improve your SEO strategy. You don’t have to keep on optimizing until all of the bullets are green. Posts on Yoast.com, often have a few orange bullets and sometimes even one or two red bullets. The important thing is that the overall bullet (the one on the upper right in the backend of your post) should be green. The overall bullet will become green if the majority of your SEO aspects are covered.

Overall SEO score in the publish box

Overall SEO score in the publish box

content-analysis

SEO New Hampshire

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Find your market

Andrew Raynor

 

 

After you’ve determined your shop’s mission, you should focus on finding the right niche for your (online) business. Merriam Webster defines a niche as “the situation in which a business’s products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people”. If you have found your niche, your products, sales, communication and marketing can be optimized to target that specific group’s needs and wishes. In this post, we’ll try to help you find your shop’s niche. We’ll go into the two most important pillars of your niche: your product and your customer.

find your shop's niche

Who is your customer?

If you want to determine who your customer is, it might help to determine a number of buyer types. Buyer types help you realize there’s probably not just one customer profile for your website. I can relate to a study about buyer types (partially funded by Carnegie Mellon and the Russell Sage Foundation) that divides your customers into three main groups:

  • Unconflicted, also called the Average Spenders. The majority of buyers (61% according to the study). A group of buyers that make common, logical buying decisions and that care about value-based pricing. “I need something, where can I find the best buy with the best reviews for the company and product.”
  • Spendthrifts (15%). A small group of rather uncontrolled buyers. “I want it now, even though I don’t really need it right now.” This group will be triggered by premium products and cares less about the price. This group is more than other groups triggered by scarcity, for instance.
  • Tightwads (24%). You’ll need to work hard to convince this buyer to purchase your products. They’ll do more research, need more details. More than the other groups, this is the type of buyer that will highly value a proper blog on your website.

This is a very rough division of customers. Of course your (potential) customers have many more characteristic. Marieke wrote a post about getting to know your audience that might help you with analyzing your existing online audience.

Besides that, I think we can be all of these three customers mentioned above. It just depends on the type of product you want to buy online, and perhaps even the amount of money we’ve reserved for this specific purchase. The tough job for you as an online shop owner is to send the right triggers to the right person at the right time. Just thinking about how to do this will narrow your niche. I’d like to add an extra question to that: what’s your product?

What’s your product?

It might seem silly to ask yourself what your product is. However, it’s important to know your product (and its users) to be able to find and narrow down your niche. If you’re an online art shop, the world is your competition. If your online goal is to rank for ‘art’, stop dreaming and get to work. You need to focus on long-tail keywords, so to say. Your niche is described by your product and a number of limitations or perhaps better: specifications.

B2C or B2B?

Are you (mainly) selling to end-users or other businesses? You might have expected that question under ‘Who is your customer”, but I beg to differ. When you start your business, you unconsciously think about selling B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business). I think that in most cases the decision B2C or B2B isn’t made in a business plan. Your business grew in a certain direction because of other choices you’ve made:

  • What is my main product?
  • What other products relate to that?
  • Do all these products fit a certain product group/assortment?
  • Does it pay off to invest in the option to sell more related products?

Does it matter if your customer is a business or a consumer? Obviously, there are differences between the two. Consumers require other care than businesses:

Businesses will come to your site, order and go. The reason could be that you are the cheapest one for that specific product in Google Shopping. I think most B2B customers will be in the Unconflicted group, mentioned above.

Consumers, on the other hand, want to experience your company and products. There will be more emotional buying in that group, which aligns more with the Tightwads group. This obviously depends on the product you are selling.

Is it possible to serve both B2C and B2B customers? Most definitely. Example: we sell plugins. A consumer will purchase one, a business might want to buy several to use for their clients. That is why we offer bulk prices. We know we serve both groups.

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The Brief Manual to Starting a Home-Located Website in 8 Moments or Less [ Screencast ]

Andrew Raynor

I’m gonna cut to the chase: You need a blog. The world is changing and moving on without you, and it’s time you had a platform of your own to share your message. The best and easiest way to launch a self-hosted blog is with WordPress.

There are over 60 million blogs on WordPress, one of several platforms that helps you to publish online. This number, according to one source, represents only 43% of all blogs, making the total somewhere around 160 million blogs. (I recently heard this number could be as high as 300 million).

These blogs are viewed by an audience of over 400 million people each month — and that’s only one place people are connecting online.

Incredible, isn’t it? You’d be hard pressed to argue there’s not a tremendous opportunity here. But are you taking advantage of it? It’s never been easier to connect with an audience and get your message heard… but are you engaging in the conversation?

The opportunity you don’t want to miss

Forget for a second all the technological hurdles and learning curves you think are associated with blogging, and imagine for a moment: If you had the chance to share a message with the world, what would you say? And what would happen if people actually listened?

We all have something to say. Blogs not only make that possible, they make it easy. All you have to do is act. It’s time to dive in and figure out what it takes to get your message heard, to see your cause spread.

What happens if you don’t do this? Well, nothing. You keep getting what you’ve always gotten, which probably means:

  • No more attention
  • No more trust
  • No more permission

You stay invisible, and your message remains irrelevant. If that’s okay with you, keep doing what you’re doing. But if not, it’s time for a change.

For years, I dreamed of having a personally-branded website I could have control over. But once I started getting bogged down by the technical aspects of blogging, I froze. Then I’d stall and eventually give up.

But you don’t have to do that.

Setting up a self-hosted blog sounds technical but is, in fact, easy to do. And yes, I think it’s worth investing a little money into having full control over your website. I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do (if you already have a blog set up like this, feel free to share this post with a friend).

Launch a self-hosted blog in less than 8 minutes

In this eight-minute video, I share what I wish someone would’ve told me years ago when I started blogging. It would have saved me a lot of time and pain. And I would’ve been able to start sharing my message sooner. I hope it does just that for you or someone you know.

In this free tutorial, I share my affiliate link to Bluehost, a company I highly recommend that makes the whole process very easy. If you click the link and buy, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please know I only recommend products I use and love, and offering affiliate links is one way I am able to keep this blog going.

Five steps to launching a blog

If you prefer reading text versus viewing a video, here are the quick steps you can take (however, the video shows you everything you need to do):

  1. Get a host. A web host is where your website “lives.” You own it, but you pay a small fee to keep it online (kind of like paying property taxes to the government). I recommend Bluehost for only $3.49/month (a special rate for my readers). It’s one of the most popular web hosts on the Internet and offers excellent, 24/7 customer service.
  2. Register a domain. You can get a domain name (e.g. goinswriter.com) through your hosting company. I recommend doing it this way, so you can keep everything streamlined. With Bluehost, this service is free with a hosting plan (as opposed to paying extra through a service like Godaddy.com). If you’ve already registered a domain through another service and need to host it, you’ll either have to transfer your domain registration or point your name servers to the host (here’s a video on how to do that).
  3. Install WordPress. Blogging requires software, and the best that I’ve found is WordPress. It’s easy, quick, and best of all, free. You can set up WordPress through your host (Bluehost does this for you for free). Otherwise, you have to go through WordPress.org to download the software and then upload it to a host. (Note: Using WordPress.org is different from signing up for a free blog at WordPress.com. This infographic explains how.)
  4. Get a theme. When you start using WordPress, you get access to a bunch of beautiful blog designs (called “themes”), many of which are free. For those just getting started, I recommend Platform; it’s a simple, elegant theme. I used it for the first year of my blog, before upgrading to a custom theme.
  5. Log in and start blogging. The URL for your dashboard (which redirects to the login page if you’re not logged in) is yourblogname.com/wp-admin/. Once logged in, click “Posts” on the left-hand sand, and then select “Add New.” Write a title and create some content for your new blog, and you’re off to the races!

And that’s it; now you’re blogging. Which is where the hard, but good, work of writing begins. If you’re ready to jump into this world of blogging, click the image below to get started with Bluehost.

See you on the other side!

bluehost special

BONUS: Bluehost is offering a super-promo sale today only, April 27. Prices will drop to just $2.95/month for 12 months on the Basic Plan and $4.95/month for 12 months on the Plus Plan. Get your blog started now.

What if you have already have a domain name?

If you already have a domain registered with another service like Godaddy.com, but need a place to host it, you have two choices:

  1. Transfer the domain registration to Bluehost.
  2. Change the name servers on your domain to point to your new host.

This video will show you how to do that:

For more on getting started with a blog, check out: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Own Blog.

If you’re ready to get started blogging with Bluehost, you can use my affiliate link to get a little extra off the normal $5.99 price (only $3.49/month). They’re a top recommended host by WordPress and have great customer service. I’ve worked with them before and been very pleased with the service.

If you want to share this with someone, please do. Feel free to link to this post or embed the video on your website. You can find the screencast on YouTube and Vimeo.

Do you have your own self-hosted blog? If you do, what do you love about it? If not, what questions do you have? Share in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Wp robots.txt case for SEO that is excellent

Andrew Raynor

 

 

robots meta tag ultimate guideThe robots.txt file is a very powerful file if you’re working on a site’s SEO. At the same time, it also has to be used with care. It allows you to deny search engines access to certain files and folders, but that’s very often not what you want to do. Over the years, especially Google changed a lot in how it crawls the web, so old best practices are no longer valid. This post explains what the new best practices are and why.

Google fully renders your site

No longer is Google the dumb little kid that just fetches your sites HTML and ignores your styling and JavaScript. It fetches everything and renders your pages completely. This means that when you deny Google access to your CSS or JavaScript files, it doesn’t like that at allThis post about Google Panda 4 shows an example of this.

The old best practices of having a robots.txt that blocks access to your wp-includes directory and your plugins directory are no longer valid. This is why, in WordPress 4.0, I opened the issue and wrote the patch to remove wp-includes/.* from the default WordPress robots.txt.

A lot of themes also use asynchronous JavaScript requests, so-called AJAX, to add content to the page. By default, WordPress used to block these. So I created the ticket for WordPress to allow Google to crawl the admin-ajax.php URL in wp-admin. This was fixed in WordPress 4.4.

Robots.txt denies links their value

Something else is very important to keep in mind. If you block a URL with your site’s robots.txt, search engines will not crawl those pages. This also means that they cannot distribute the link value pointing at those URLs. So if you have a section of your site that you’d rather not have showing in the search results, but does get a lot of links, don’t use the robots.txt file. Instead, use a robots meta tag with a value noindex, follow. This allows search engines to properly distribute the link value for those pages across your site.

SEO New Hampshire

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101: In The Event That You Were Created for This How to Locate Out: Meeting with Bob Guillebeau [ Podcast ]

Andrew Raynor

A lot of people talk about dream jobs, but few people take the practical steps to make them a reality. Do you know what your dream job looks like? Or if it even exists?

101: How to Find Out if You Were Born for This: Interview with Chris Guillebeau

There’s plenty of shallow advice online about following your passion and throwing caution to the wind. The trouble with that approach is passion alone doesn’t pay the for the gas in your car or your morning latte.

But what is a dream job without passion? How do you know what you were made for? How can you discover your purpose?

Few people have more experience pursuing a calling while practically providing value to others than my friend, Chris Guillebeau. In his latest book, Born for This, Chris explores the idea of calling and how to find the work you were meant to do.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Chris and I discuss misconceptions about calling, fulfilling your mission in life, and why everyone does not need to be an entrepreneur. Listen in as we talk about embracing the failure of false starts to discover for your life’s work, and the intersection of three components to validate your dream job.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Chris and I discuss:

  • How to help people find the work they were meant to do
  • Compiling great stories into a compelling narrative
  • The truth about how we make big life decisions
  • How you can make your day job more like your dream job
  • Why you need a broad vision to guide an adaptive strategy
  • Where failure fits into the process of discovering your calling
  • How to know you’ve found the thing you were meant to do

Quotes and takeaways

  • ”Giving up on something isn’t necessarily a failure.” —Chris Guillebeau
  • Just because you have a day job, doesn’t mean it can’t be your dream job.
  • Your calling involves following a passion and connecting it with skill to make something viable.
  • The effort to get skilled at something often leads to growing a passion for it.

Resources

Do you know what your dream job is? How does it relate to your day job? Share in the comments

Andrew Raynor

The ADHD Guide to Building a Writing Habit

Andrew Raynor

Those of us with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have a bit of difficulty when it comes to sitting down to write. We read the articles on finding our voice, but the act of writing, the actual moving of our fingers across a keyboard or our pen across the page, can seem impossible.

The ADHD Guide to Building a Writing Habit

We get distracted. We get discouraged. We self-sabotage. At the end of the day the screen is a blank page, the pencils haven’t been touched and we wonder how to just get the words on the page like everyone else does.

This article will show you how to finally get past the resistance that our ADHD puts up and actually use it to get a writing habit locked in.

Take out the trash

First, let’s start with a clean slate when it comes to our writing or lack thereof. Sure, you can say, “Why did I waste all the time sorting my socks when I could have written the next great spy thriller?” Let’s just move past that. Shake the Etch-a-Sketch. Hit reset. We are starting over today. We aren’t going to swim in a sea of regret about what we did or didn’t do. Today you’re a writer.

Identify the fear

Our ADHD will kick into hyperdrive at times when we try something new. Sure, we are impulsive. We go to Target for four things and come back with twenty. But when it comes to the act of writing we start feeling this clutch of fear. What if everyone hates it? What if it’s not original? What if … what if …what if… Our ADHD just won’t let it go and once you’re ADHD latches on to something, it’s going to keep playing that tape over and over.

To get that condemning voice out of my head, I simply confront it. What if everyone hates it? Well, I probably learned how to write or how not to write along the way. What if it’s not original? See that mystery section over there? In that mystery section, in nearly every book, someone dies, no one can figure out who did it, then someone figures out who did it and then there’s a big conflict to see if they get caught. So yeah, there’s not much out there that’s original and some of those books sell millions upon millions. Once I answer the fear, it quiets down.

Want a FREE copy of Ryan’s book, Conquering the Calendar and Getting Things Done? Grab your copy here.

Kill the distractions

Distractions are the arch-enemy to our writing life. Especially with being ADHD, any shiny objects in our field of vision get us off our writing game. We check Facebook and Twitter and down the terrible rabbit hole we go.

Make a conscious decision to turn off your wifi and power down your phone. Yes, power it down. Unless you are a brain surgeon on call, you’ll be fine for the 1/2 hour or hour that you’re writing. Yes, no one will be able to reach you—and I get that can cause anxiety, but you’ll feel a great increase in your focus. (If someone has to reach you, put your phone on vibrate and turn off the wifi. I’ll actually delete apps that I can get lost in.)

Set up the writing space

Did you ever try to write while lying on your bed? Fell asleep, didn’t you? Did you write in your kitchen? I’m sure you fixed twenty snacks. Our ADHD brains latch on to location to tell us what is going to happen. We sleep in a bed. We eat in a kitchen.

So what I had to do was only write in two places: a desk in my house and a coffee shop. When I sit down in those spaces, my brain will say, “THIS IS WHERE WE WRITE! I KNOW THIS PLACE!” Since I’ve developed the habit of sitting there over and over, my brain resists less and less and I get more and more writing done.

Decide where you are going to write. Make it comfortable (but not too comfortable) and make it your sacred writing space.

Pack Your bag

Your ADHD will not remind you to bring your charger or your pens. It will not remind you to bring that article or your research. There is nothing more frustrating than starting your writing and not having your tools available.

One of my mentors told me to pack a “writing bag.” A writing bag has all of your equipment for writing: computer, charger, pens, paper, notes, research, etc. I also carry an extra external battery for my phone, postcards and stamps. And one of the best moves I made was buying another charger for my computer. One is marked with Sharpie: RYAN—HOME and the other RYAN—BAG. It’s a little extra to have an extra charger, but it’s worth it to not have your computer on 3% just as you are hitting your stride.

Also, you want to pack this bag the night before you write. You are thinking more clearly and you are not rushing out of the door. You are more apt to remember what you need to bring when you’re not itching to get to writing.

Set micro-goals

I coach a lot of beginner writers and they will say, “Well, I’m shooting for 10,000 words this week.” I’ll ask, “Have you ever written 1,000 words in a week?” “Well, no, but I figure I can just sit down and do it.”

Oh, that’s when I LOL and then ROTL.

So adorbs.

If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t give it a shot the day of the race. You’d train. You’d take small steps to get there and practice a long obedience in the same direction. It’s the same with writing.

I recommend that you sit down and attempt 250 words and sit there for at least an hour. If you get your 250 done and want to go longer, great. If you can’t get 250 words out, but you sit there for an hour, perfect. But you have to complete one or the other: 250 or an hour.

Every day just crank out 250 words. If you can do more, great. If not that’s fine. The following week, add 50 words. Make it 300. Then the following week, 350. You get it. You’ll be making strides quicker than trying to get it all done

Create a reward system

Who doesn’t like a trophy? Am I right?

When you hit a writing goal, whether it is 1,000, 10,000, or 100,000 words, have a reward ready. Maybe go to a movie. Maybe you buy yourself a set of LEGOS or a some books that have been sitting in your Amazon wish list for a long time.

Whatever it is, make sure it’s valuable and a bit healthy (if your reward is three Milky Way bars, that’s not going to be great for anyone.)

Pull the trigger

By developing a habit you won’t have to push yourself to get your writing done. It will start to become a natural part of your day and the actual joy of writing will happen. Your ADHD won’t keep you from writing, in fact, it will encourage it because you’ve removed the obstacles and built in a reward system.

Give it a go. And I’m curious…have you discovered any tricks for overcoming distractions to write? Share them in the comments.

Andrew Raynor