Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Web Secret #273: 1,000 Awesome Things

Sometimes I feel completely uninspired.

I actually start to think that I have no more posts in me. I think about abandoning this blog and starting a new one, on a completely different topic.

But if I just wait, (a challenge since I am epically impatient,) something wondrous comes to my attention, and I am instantly revitalized. This week I discovered two very different blogs that reignited my commitment to iWebU.

The first is the Race Card Project - started by award winning journalist Michele Norris. Michele wanted to start an honest conversation about race in America. So she asked people: "to think about their experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments or observations about race and identity. Then, I asked that they take those thoughts and distill them to just one sentence that had only six words."

To her amazement she received hundreds of submissions that are, as she puts it: "thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking, brave, teeming with anger and shimmering with hope." Many people submit their six words and then write an accompanying essay explaining their thoughts. In turn, many readers write responses to these posts. And the conversation evolves. Here is a typical post from the site:

"The Art and Racket of Passing"

The second is "1000 Awesome Things" which is just what it says, "a time-ticking countdown of 1000 awesome things. Launched June, 2008 and updated every weekday." Simple, right? Well Neil Pasricha, the creator of Awesome, has gotten over 51 million hits on his blog. He has multiple best selling books eg "The Book of Awesome," and was invited to give a TED talk called "the 3 A's of Awesome," which has 1,712,091 views. (And that's just for starters.)

Here are some of my favorite awesome posts - do not judge me:

#996 Opening and sniffing a pack of tennis balls

#973 Sleeping in new bed sheets

#908 Peeling an orange in one shot

#83 Flushing a toilet with blue water in it

#57 Taking all the free stuff from hotel rooms


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Web Secret #272: Notes from the job search

I recently had the good fortune to meet Steve Paul, a career coach with an expertise in using social media, especially LinkedIn, to find a job.

Steve is so knowledgeable about personal branding and using technology to define one's career and find employment that I invited him to speak about it during an all day presentation I gave in Seattle, Washington.

I discovered that Steve is anything but your typical job coach. He previously worked as a Lead Program Manager for Microsoft and a Director of IT at a not for profit. He writes a fantastic blog "Notes from the Job Search" which manages to make the topic of job hunting brand new (pun intended.)
Here are some of his best posts:
Whether you are job hunting, thinking of job hunting, or just hoping to make more of your current position or business, you will find "Notes from the job search" to be just what the doctor ordered.

Read one post per day, and continue until finished.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Web Secret #271: You need a social media policy

If you are in private practice, do EAP work, or own a business, you need a social media policy.

You need a social media policy, even if you don't use social media, because your clients/customers use it.

Let me be even blunter unless you are living off the grid, and alone, you need a social media policy.

What would a straight forward, comprehensive social media policy look like?

Meet Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco based psychologist in private practice. She treats "Internet, technology and social media visibility issues." She gives a course on "Digital and Social Media Ethics for Psychotherapists,." She has co-authored a paper "Summary of Client-Therapist Encounters on the Web: The Client Experience."

And she has put together an excellent social media policy that is not only relevant to clinicians, but can easily be adapted to fit the needs of other businesses as well. Even better, Dr. Kolmes has been generous about sharing her model policy with other professionals.

Thank you, Dr. Kolmes!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Web Secret #270: SEO

Social marketing expert Rick Rochon famously said "Having a website is like having a billboard in the desert."

It was a succinct way of stating that merely having a website does not guarantee visitors. For that, you also need to work on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Optimization is actually a simple concept, it describes any method that increases the number of visitors, page views, new visitors a website receives during a pre-defined time period.

Nevertheless, many mental health and EAP professionals are intimidated by SEO and believe that it is best left to the experts.

The only way to measure SEO is to explore the performance of key metrics over time. In the recent past, that meant using a program like Google Analytics, a program that tracks the number of visitors, page views and other stats.

With the smartphone/tablet explosion, there are now a number of apps that do the same work as Google Analytics. This means that you can now check your website's performance while you are standing on line for that all important Starbucks latte.

Website Magazine issue recently published a useful listing of the best apps for "analytics on the go," including gAnalytics, Viralheat and Quicklytics, to name a few.

So now that you know how many visitors you have and how long they stay on your site, how do you work on your SEO? Many mental health professionals timidly wait for their web designer to insert key words into their website's source code. Sure key words can help, but even a tech novice can improve their website's visibility. Think about:
  • Listing your website in your e-mail signature and on your business cards
  • Making sure that your Twitter points to your website, your website points to your Facebook and your Facebook points to your Twitter.
  • Listing your website URL in your bio, in the text of an article you just wrote and on your PowerPoint slides.
  • Sending out an e-mail blast to your contact list announcing your website or promoting a recent upgrade.
  • Commenting on a blogpost that impressed you and inviting the blogger to visit your site.
You don't need IT expertise to work on your SEO.