Monday, July 24, 2006

The Biggest Distractions Of Working From Home And How To Avoid Them

Do you ever have days when the little things in life seem to be fighting to keep you from getting any work done? Here are some suggestions to help you alleviate some of the most common distractions people face when working from home.

If you have young children underfoot throughout the day, it is easy to be drawn away from work. Try to get things done during nap times and after the children have gone to bed. You can hire a teen aged mothers helper to come in for a few hours each day, or go all out and hire a Nanny. Even 10 hours a week of quiet, uninterrupted time will help you drive your home business forward.

Repeatedly checking your emails can be another major distraction. Replying, deleting, and managing emails is a drain on your time and produces no real results. I recommend checking your emails no more than 3 times a day, and deleting unwanted emails only once a day, in the evening. You will be surprised how much time this will free up for you to do more important tasks.

Surfing the net can be a serious time waster. If you are looking for specific information, find what you need quickly and then get out . Sign yourself off of messenger services, and by all means stay away from chat rooms, forums and blogs until you have completed your work for the day.

Use a voice mail service to take your phone calls if you don't wish to talk on the phone. Make sure to turn the ringer off so you won't be distracted. Set aside a specific block of time each day to call contacts and leads and follow up. Stick to your plan.

Running errands can be done at specific times during the week, such as on Wednesday between 1 and 3. Going out for just one errand 2 to 4 times a week is a waste of energy, time and gas. Get it all done in one afternoon and don't worry about it for the rest of the week.

Housework is not everyone's favorite activity. If you avoid it, you'll get overwhelmed. If you are spending too much time on it, you have little time for your business and family. It helps if you delegate some of the responsibility to other family members. Break up the chores by doing 15 minutes worth of cleaning several times a day. This has the added benefit of getting you up out of your desk chair and moving. If finances allow, you can hire a cleaning service to assist you with the chores that you really dislike doing.

Putting these suggestions into practice will keep the distractions to a minimum and ensure your home business will run more smoothly.

Angie Hewerdine is a successful home business owner with a driving passion for helping others change their lives. She has assisted many in realizing and attaining their personal and financial objectives. Learn more at or call 1-800-491-4758.

Freelance Pro: Professionally Free

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Web Directories

In my previous post, Freelance Gigs: Be an SEO Part 2 - Link Builder, I wrote about the minimum skills someone who is starting on SEO should acquire. This post is about web directories.

Web Directories, What are they
The term directory suggests a list. Much like the traditional phone directories. It lists and categorizes websites. It allows people to add their sites in categories that best describe their site. Supposedly, when you want to find something, you go look in web directories. But not anymore. With the arrival of better search engines, web directories was relegated to the sideline.

In this day when search engines are kings of the web, web directories still has their use, helping search engines find new sites. A link from a web directory gives your site better probability of being indexed by search engines. And remember, most web directories are categorized. This help search engines determine the relevancy of sites.

Web Directories for Link Building
As I've said, there's not much you can do with web directories. They had been overtaken by search engines and portals. But they are still good for creating a relevant link to your site. Creating a link from web directories are easy - way, way easier than emailing for link trading/exchange.

What's more? There are more than a handful of them around and growing by the day. There are directories that asks for payment, others ask for a linkback, some require you to write an article in their forum/blog. But what's great about web directories are they still work. There are still some that search engines trust.

Low Quality Link
It is common knowledge around SEO communities about the quality of links that web directories provide. But believe me, many good SEOs still have web directory strategy in their list. Don't limit our link building activities to finding only high quality links. Web directories, other than the low quality links, can send some direct traffic to your site as a side effect.

Where are they
Or better yet, where's the list. Web directories list sites. There are other sites that list web directories. One site that lists web directories that I always start with when submitting sites is this free web directories page. It highlights which directories are free and which requires payment. This way you save time if you only wanted free directories. Even if you are looking for paid listings, this list gives you an estimate of how much a link on that directory cost.

Automated Directory Submission Software
When link building, why do it manually if it's easier to just fire up a program to do all the work for you. Right and wrong. Yes, it's easy but you won't learn anything. You have no way of knowing if that program you bought for $49.50 really does what it advertise. Web directory admins do change their signup process from time to time that will more or less break your auto submitter. What's worse is that you still end up doing some work because submitter cannot email back because almost all web directories today require some sort of verification and have anti-bots.

If you want to be an effective SEO/linkbuilder, do it by hand and learn something along the way.

Freelance Pro: Work when you feel like it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Freelance Gigs: Be an SEO Part 2 - Link Builder

To become a SEO, you need to learn some basic skills that all SEO possess. They have to start somewhere and most still do the basics. There are a number of basic skills an aspiring SEO must learn. Link building, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, keyword density analyzation and copywriting are just some of the basic skills SEO must have.

With more and more sites popping up daily, online businesses need a way to promote their sites and wares. The need for SEO also increases. Search engine optimization as an activity need humans who can think and adapt to the situation. SEO has not yet been fully automated other than spamming blogs and emails. This make SEO a good freelance gig.

The most important skills of SEOs is link building. This is the holy grail of search engine optimization. The days of keyword stuffing the meta is over. The rise of Google as the king of search pave the way for links to become the most precious online commodity. Google made links as the basis of a site's credibility. Google Pagerank, the algorithm that ranks websites in the results page, uses the number of inbound(incoming) links to rank sites against other sites.

As you can see there more stuff in links that are important other than giving site A a way to access site B. Nowadays, links offer a whole lot more than that. The ratio of your incoming and outgoing links plays a major role in search result ranking. The anchor text(e.g. the underlined text being displayed) of the link tells the search engines/bots something about the site at its destination. A link with an anchor text home loans is telling the search engine that the site found at the other end is about home loans. So if that site about home loans gets enough link pointing to it with an anchor text home loans, chances are it'll rank higher in the search engine result pages(SERPs) for the keyword "home loans".

As a link builder, your task will be to produce inbound links to your client's site. Some things you should consider:

  • what are the terms/keywords your client wish to rank for in the SERPs

  • how will you produce/deliver those links

  • how long can you make his/her site appear in his desired position in the SERPs

Those are not easy task even for the experienced SEOs. That's why they usually outsource those to freelancers.

The term/keywords your client wishes to rank for is the determining factor of your success. Some terms are very easy to rank for, some are not. Trying to rank for the term "real estate" or "home loans" is harder than, let say, "real estate provo utah". You see the more generic and the shorter the term, the harder it is. It's because people who search are just too lazy to type and are always in a hurry. This behavior also applies to how they click on those results - always the top one.

Link Production
Every SEO dreams of having the ultimate program for them to create enormous amount of links in the shortest possible time. But then again if everybody is doing it, they are just offsetting each other. Producing inbound links is an art. Sometimes it uses deception, sometimes creativity, sometimes ingenuity and sometimes necessity. Those are just some of the things bots cannot do.

Link building is an art because you have to carefully craft a scheme that will make people link to your site. SEOs have a term for this: linkbaiting. Linkbaiting is something that you do to gather links without begging, buying or threatening. People just finds it irresistible.

Ways to linkbait:

  • Creating a super original and very good content that will merit as a source that everyone will link to

  • Original Humors, they always travel fast and are being passed along everytime

  • Bordering on defamatory remarks - most of the time an authority on the subject gets away with it

  • Having the scoop on the latest upcoming super secret web.0 app.

  • Give away free or semi-free stuffs - Yes, people are a sucker for freebies

Of course if linkbaiting is not for you, there's always directory submission. You, basically, just submit links to directories. Probably the most boring way to build links but, hey, someone's got to do it. And if the pay is good, why not?

Another way to build links is by link trading. Link trading or link exchange is done by two similarly themed or related sites. If your site is about auto detailing, most probably you'll want to trade links with sites that sells mod parts. You put his link on your site, he put yours in his.

Now if you're thinking of blog comment spamming to build your links, go ahead but be warned. It's never good in the long run. Your site loses credibility and the only sale you get is from duped visitors. This technique is most suitable to fly-by-night sites that sell porn, pills and casino.

When will you rank
There are no guarantees in SEO. You can never predict when will your site appear in the first page of SERPs. That's why link builders are often paid by the hour they spent building links.

One tip I always remember when link building: Never build your links too fast. You risk losing them.

Freelance Pro: Be your own boss.