Planning for disasters

first_imgIt only took a couple of questions to cut to the chase during a panel discussion on preparedness for national disasters.“Are we ready today for a really large-scale event, bigger than any of those we have contemplated?” asked Herman “Dutch” Leonard, the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management and moderator of “Oil Spills, Earthquakes, Tsunamis & Meltdowns: Acting In Time Against the Next Disaster” held on Thursday (April 28) as part of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.Leonard was not idly posing a hypothetical question. He was querying a panel that included some of the top leaders in American homeland security and the military, including representatives from the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and the Navy. These were the very people responsible for coordinating a national response to a crisis, or as Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Dean David T. Ellwood put it, “If all of their phones start ringing at the same time, I would say move out of the building quickly.”A reassuring response came from Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau and a U.S. Air Force four-star general. “We are much better able to handle a large-scale disaster than we were a decade ago,” McKinley said. This is due to improved communications and cooperation among federal agencies and greater ability to create a unified response to establish command and control systems, he said.“But it would be naïve of me to say that we could handle an emergency any better than any other government,” McKinley said.In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill, “the country has learned a lot of lessons,” said Adm. James Winnefeld, head of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. “We have put together a fairly robust system, a national response framework, a national management system. And if we have a hard time handling a large event in the future, it will be because of capacity, not because of teamwork.” The panel was held in conjunction with the Harvard Kennedy School’s first Homeland Security Executive Program for General and Flag Officers and sponsored by the HKS Executive Education and HKS Program on Crisis Leadership. Bart Stupak, a former Michigan Democratic congressman who chaired the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, zeroed in on one gap in the nation’s preparedness, the reality that local first responders — firefighters and law enforcement officers  — are not “inter-operative.” That means they lack the technology and structure to communicate with each other rapidly in an emergency.If you want to save lives, you have to talk, he said. “We have been talking about [this issue] since 1978 in this country, and it’s ridiculous we can’t do [anything]. …With our technology and our telecommunications, there is no excuse for it, other than a lack of will.”The panel noted that disasters have political and social dimensions that must be incorporated into an overall crisis response. “Any major event is not only a technical event and operational event but also very much a political event,” Leonard noted.Adm. Robert Papp, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said that when disasters drag out, as in the Gulf oil spill, agencies that initially respond quickly and effectively may become stymied by political and media “overlays.”“Not all of us are completely comfortable in that world,” he said. “Nor sometimes do we understand all that’s involved in that, particularly on the political side.”Juliette Kayyem, assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2011, who played a key role in the response to the oil spill, noted that responders may be frustrated by politicians who have agendas or who are trying to score points rather than comprehend an overall strategy. But “you’re going to waste a lot of energy if you think it’s going to go away. So one way to think about it is how to manage it.”Kayyem also said the word “homeland” was a “bad term for a variety of reasons.”“I really think it’s 50 homelands and a couple of territorial homelands,” she said.  The BP oil spill was “essentially one event but five different engagements.”In preparing for the future, the country must not only learn from the lessons of 9/11, Katrina, and the Gulf spill, but must prepare for crises as yet unknown, and “something we haven’t thought about,” McKinley said. That is why establishing “pre-need relationships and plans” is key, Papp said.Members of the military comprised much of the audience at “Oil Spills, Earthquakes, Tsunamis & Meltdowns: Acting In Time Against the Next Disaster,” held at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.McKinley warned of complacency and of paralysis at the state and local level caused by a perceived lack of resources.  “We all know that hesitating will cost lives,” he said. “I would caution everybody that we as a nation are going to have to deal with the financial aspects, and we can’t shortchange the response to a major natural or manmade disaster.”Asked about the role of social media in a disaster, the panelists generally agreed that vital technical information could be effectively disseminated via blogs and websites to help “translate” operational decisions. “What we can’t counter is the reality being set by social media,” Kayyem said. “All you can do is try to get a louder message out there.”last_img read more

North Korea’s Kim sends ‘get well soon’ wishes for South’s coronavirus battle

first_imgNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a letter expressing hope for South Korea to overcome a coronavirus outbreak, President Moon Jae-in’s office said on Thursday, as the South battles the biggest epidemic of the disease outside China.The two sides’ exchanges have ground nearly to a halt after the North closed borders and temporarily shut a joint liaison office in a border city to avert an outbreak, while the South added 438 infections on Thursday to swell its tally to 5,766.In the letter delivered on Wednesday, Kim voiced concern over Moon’s health, and expounded what he described as his “honest view and position” regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, Moon’s office said, without elaborating. North Korea had resumed missile testing on Monday after a three-month pause, prompting Moon’s office to urge a halt.Kim Yo Jong, who is also a senior official of the North’s ruling party, said the exercise was not meant to threaten anyone, deriding Seoul for what she called “perfectly foolish” words and acts.North Korea has not confirmed any virus infections, but state media said people showing symptoms faced a month in quarantine, while further “high-intensity” measures included stricter checks in border areas, at airports and sea ports.Moon offered to help the North’s prevention efforts, but Pyongyang has not responded, officials said.Topics : “Chairman Kim wished to console our citizens who are fighting the coronavirus,” Yoon Do-han, Moon’s senior press secretary, told reporters.”He said he believes we will win, and hoped the health of southern compatriots will be protected.”Moon responded with a letter of thanks, Yoon added.The rare message came less than two days after Kim’s sister, Yo Jong, issued a statement attacking Moon’s office for criticizing a military drill by the North.last_img read more

Crystal Palace fans delighted with signing of Jordan Ayew

first_imgThank you Mr. Parish you’re the best owner in the league xxx— sam 🎪 (@Roilionpapis) July 25, 2019 Absolutely Stupendous— G (@worldclasswoy) July 25, 2019 Black Stars striker, Jordan Ayew might have been the target of some criticism for large parts of his senior career but it seems the player is in line for a fresh start next season at Crystal Palace.Having spent last season on loan at the London club, Jordan has now signed a permanent deal keeping him at Selhurst Park for three more years.Despite not being the most prolific goalscorer for the club, with only two goals and two assists in 25 appearances last year, Jordan endeared himself to Eagles fans with his work rate and effort.His game-deciding strikes for the club certainly didn’t hurt his reputation with the club’s supporters either.center_img Jordan Ayew’s often ignored goalscoring prowess came to the fore at the just-ended African Cup of Nations tournament where he led the Black Stars to the Round of 16, scoring two of Ghana’s five goals at the competition.This has heightened the excitement of Palace fans who hope that he can replicate this fine form in the Premier League.last_img read more

STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – FRIDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2016

first_imgPhilip D’Amato5814111124%62%$834,810 Edwin Maldonado85138915%35%$528,540 Joseph Talamo10413151413%40%$644,654 FRESH START FOR KOBE’S BACK IN BLINKERS?Kobe’s Back, who gets out of the gate slower than a Sumo wrestler, will wear blinkers for the first time in 17 career starts when he runs in Sunday’s Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes for older horses at six furlongs.“He deserved a little freshening,” trainer Peter Eurton said in explaining why the five-year-old gray son of Flatter has not raced since finishing seventh of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland Oct. 31. “That’s the only reason he got the time off.“He’s not a nervous horse in the gate; he just gets pretty complacent. I hope the blinkers will help Sunday. This will be the first time he’s worn them in a race, but he’s had them on for every work since the Breeders’ Cup, in fact, almost every day in his training.“He does seem to be on the bridle more and getting underneath himself better. His works have been stronger, he’s showing more desire and interest, so we’ll see.“I may say after the race that it’s something I should have done sooner. Let’s hope so.”Owned by the C R K Stable of Lee and Susan Searing, Kobe’s Back won the Grade II San Vicente Stakes in 2014 and the Grade III Commonwealth last April, in addition to a maiden victory. He has earned $652,250.The Palos Verdes, race six of eight: Kobe’s Back, Gary Stevens, 5-2; Salutos Amigos, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Mystery Train, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Pulling G’s, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Rocket Heat, Edwin Maldonado, 9-2; and Cautious Giant, Santiago Gonzalez, 4-1. JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Peter Eurton40611615%58%$372,520 Drayden Van Dyke6777910%34%$431,329 LUCKY SEVEN POST IN LEWIS FOR UNCLE LINO?Both trainer and jockey are pleased with the draw for Uncle Lino in Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.“If I had to pick a post position, that would be it: seven of seven,” said Gary Sherlock, trainer of the son of Uncle Mo who tries two turns for the first time.“Hopefully he’ll lay off some of the speed and put in a good finish.”Added jockey Fernando Perez, who has ridden Uncle Lino in each of his three previous races, resulting in a maiden win and two photo-finish losses, a second and a third, each by a neck: “I don’t think he’ll be too wide with seven horses. I think it’s a good post position.”The Lewis: Let’s Meet in Rio, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; I Will Score, Mike Smith, 5-2; Dressed in Hermes, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Laoban, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Mor Spirit, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Path of David, Joe Talamo, 8-1; and Uncle Lino, Fernando Perez, 5-1. Peter Miller6293715%31%$333,040 John Sadler3956313%36%$246,810 Kent Desormeaux4479516%48%$619,745 STREET FANCY TAKES ON CHAMP SONGBIRD SATURDAYIMPERATIVE THE NEW CHOICE IN SAN ANTONIO STAKESOUTSIDE POST GOOD FOR UNCLE LINO IN ROBERT LEWISMcANALLY SEEKS TO ADD TO HIS SANTA ANITA RECORDBLINKERS BETTER LATE THAN NEVER FOR KOBE’S BACK?DAVID C. LOPEZ IMPRESSES HORSEMEN AT SANTA ANITACHAMP NYQUIST TO WORK BEFORE FIRST RACE SUNDAY David Lopez891881520%46%$535,176 Agapito Delgadillo4265614%40%$162,942 Steven Miyadi3057517%57%$178,744 Jeff Bonde1952326%53%$121,360 Rafael Bejarano1042323922%53%$1,114,785 Fernando Perez891051611%35%$489,844 Mike Smith4863613%31%$537,385 Doug O’Neill7711121314%47%$493,362 Jerry Hollendorfer6766119%34%$378,911 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won ‘HAPPY’ IMPERATIVE SET FOR SAN ANTONIOWith Dortmund abstaining from Saturday’s San Antonio Stakes, chances for the opposition improved dramatically, specifically in the case of Imperative, who was made the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Grade II race at 1 1/8 miles with $500,000 in purse money.“The absence of Dortmund certainly should help a little bit, but my horse is doing good,” said Richard Baltas, trainer of Imperative, who was a game second to 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 9.“We’re not going to be that far off (the pace). He was closer last time. The horse is happy. I’m looking forward to the race.”The field for the San Antonio, race seven: Cat Burglar, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Donworth, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Cyrus Alexander, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Hard Aces, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Hoppertunity, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Blingo, Alex Solis, 20-1; Imperative, Mike Smith, 5-2; and El Kabeir, Gary Stevens, 6-1. McANALLY HOPES TO ADD TO LONGEVITY MARK IN SAN MARCOSRon McAnally has been at Santa Anita since 1948. He ranks fourth all-time in victories at The Great Race Place with 703, behind Bobby Frankel, 917, Charlie Whittingham, 869, and Bob Baffert, 751.McAnally also is fourth in stakes victories with 113, and hopes to add to that number Saturday when he sends out Quick Casablanca in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes for older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf.“I’ve been here all my life,” said McAnally, who turns 84 on July 11. “The most dramatic change? Off-track betting. It hurt the live crowds, although originally they said the satellites would be 50 miles from here. Now it’s 20, at Pomona.“But my horse is doing well. He should like the distance. He doesn’t want to go a mile. He wants a mile-and-a-quarter, a mile-and-a-half. He won at a mile-and-half in Chile.”The San Marcos: Gaga A, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Class Leader, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; Chiropractor, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Southern Freedom, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Power Foot, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Ganesh, Flavien Prat, 15-1; Flamboyant, Brice Blanc, 4-1; Hay Dude, David C. Lopez, 5-2; Abbey Vale, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Quick Casablanca, Tyler Baze, 15-1; and Big Cazanova, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1. Richard Baltas4976314%33%$477,594 Flavien Prat1011791517%41%$849,968 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Martin Garcia5686814%39%$492,789 (Current Through Thursday, Feb. 4) Bob Baffert4587918%53%$500,740 Martin Pedroza4664213%26%$156,390 Santiago Gonzalez12224171120%43%$934,188 STREET FANCY MAIN THREAT TO SONGBIRDPhil D’Amato is not deluding himself when it comes to Street Fancy’s chances of defeating champion Songbird in Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes, but on the other hand, he’s not the meet’s leading trainer by accident.Through 24 racing days, D’Amato held a 14-11 lead over runner-up Doug O’Neill, and had started 19 fewer horses. Making her first start this meet on Saturday will be Street Fancy, a daughter of Street Sense who won the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos Dec. 12, closing from seventh in a field of nine to win the mile-and-a-sixteenth race by a length under Mike Smith.The Hall of Fame jockey has ridden Songbird in each of her four victories and will be aboard again on Saturday.“Street Fancy is doing well and we’re going to see where we stand against the best filly in the country,” D’Amato said, speaking in glowing terms of unbeaten Songbird. “She’s a special filly. She might even be the best three-year-old in the country, male or female. But my filly’s not missed a beat since winning the Starlet. I think she’s moved forward and this will be a really good test or gauge to see where we stand.”The field: She’s a Warrior, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Land Over Sea, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Street Fancy, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Jade Princess, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Decked Out, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Songbird, Mike Smith, 1-5; and Merirosvo, Drayden Van Dyke, 30-1. APPRENTICE LOPEZ LIVING A DREAM AT SANTA ANITAApprentice jockey David C. (for Charles) Lopez is one of the best-kept secrets in Santa Anita’s riding colony. Through 24 days of the Winter Meet, the 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico who was raised in The Garden State and is “a Jersey boy at heart” ranked third in the standings with 18 wins from 89 mounts, a respectable 20 percent average.It doesn’t appear Lopez will slow down anytime soon, since he doesn’t lose his five-pound apprentice allowance until March 7. The next day, he will ride as a full-fledged journeyman,“Originally, I came out from Monmouth Park,” said Lopez, who is represented by agent J.R. Pegram. “I was raised in Long Branch, right next to Monmouth Park (in Oceanport). I went on a break for a while just galloping horses since 2011, then came back late 2014, early 2015 to Turf Paradise, got going a little, then went to Golden Gate with agent Dennis Patterson, and he got me rolling right off the bat. I think I won three the first week there.“It’s all been clicking. I never dreamed I’d be doing this well at Santa Anita, ever in my life. I just wanted to make a living at any track I was at, and I came here and everything’s been like a dream, really.“I’ve been galloping seven years and racing professionally about a year-and-a-half.”Lopez comes from a family of racetrackers, as does Pegram. David’s father, C.C. Lopez, still rides at Penn National at 53; his brother, Erick Lopez, 28, rides at Golden Gate; and his cousin, Jose Ferrer, rides at Tampa Bay Downs.“My grandfather, Carlos Lopez, also was a jockey,” David points out.Agent Jim Pegram is the father of J.R. and agent Brad Pegram. Owner/breeder Mike Pegram is Jim’s brother.One important horseman Lopez has impressed is leading trainer Phil D’Amato.“I think he’s definitely shown he can compete with the big boys on the Southern California circuit,” said D’Amato, who saddled two winners Thursday.“David’s got great hands and is one of those riders horses just run for. He reminds me of a version of Pat Day. He’s got light hands, finesse, and seems to get better each week.”FINISH LINES: Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Nyquist will work five furlongs under regular rider Mario Gutierrez at 10:15 a.m. Sunday before the first race at 11 a.m. as he prepares for his three-year-old debut in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Monday, Feb. 15 . . . Bob Baffert on Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund missing Saturday’s San Antonio: “He’s been training but I lost some time with him. I was trying to get him back, but he’s not quite like the Dortmund we know. Kaleem (owner Kaleem Shah) said whatever you need to do, don’t run him until you’ve got him perfect.” . . . Baffert spent Thursday being escorted through Super Bowl’s Media Center and Radio Row in the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco under the supervision of NTRA Media Relations Director Jim Mulvihill. Ever the good sport, Baffert even dove into a pit filled with foam squares when he tried to catch a long pass. NTRA posted the video on its Facebook page and suggested he “stick to training.” . . . Multiple stakes winner Toews On Ice worked six furlongs from the gate for Baffert in company Friday for the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 15. The son of Archarcharch was clocked in 1:14.20, while stablemate Speed Check went in 1:13.80 . . . Congratulations to Santa Anita’s popular on-track TV analyst Michelle Yu and her husband, trainer Ryan Hanson, on the birth of their seven-pound, four-ounce baby girl, Olivia Rein Hanson, at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday in Orange County. “She was born on American Pharoah‘s birthday,” Yu pointed out. “Her hobbies include eating and sleeping, both of which she does very well.” . . . Favored in all four lifetime starts, Donworth makes his first start for new trainer Doug O’Neill in Saturday’s San Antonio Stakes since winning the Stanton Stakes by 11 lengths at Delaware Park last June. A 4-year-old colt by Tiznow, out of the Street Cry mare Temple Street, Donworth was purchased by Dennis O’Neill, Doug’s brother and stable consultant, at Keeneland’s breeding stock sale in November for $550,000, making him the sales topper. Donworth was purchased out of the Regis Farms dispersal handled by Three Chimneys for owner Paul Reddam. “We’re very excited,” said Doug when asked about Donworth. “Mario (Gutierrez) worked him for us last week and he loved how he felt. With Dortmund out, we believe he has a good chance to win.” Vladimir Cerin1661238%56%$154,690 Tyler Baze12112211510%40%$669,676 William Spawr2065230%65%$156,362 Mark Glatt4355212%28%$257,960 Mario Gutierrez939161110%39%$528,544 Kristin Mulhall2052125%40%$193,610 J. Keith Desormeaux2351622%52%$147,390last_img read more

20 Years flypast wows inauguration crowd

first_img24 May 2014Jacob Zuma’s presidential inauguration in Pretoria on Saturday was followed by a stunning aerial display – including a formation flypast in the shape of “20”, marking South Africa’s 20 years of democracy – that left the massive crowd at the Union Buildings breathless.The salute flypast, followed Zuma’s swearing-in for a second term as President of South Africa, drew cheering, ululation and vuvuzela blasts from the thousands of people gathered on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings.The crowd was treated to a series of formation flypasts featuring the Gripen, the front-line fighter aircraft of the South African Air Force; a Hawk fighter jet formation including a lead aircraft painted in the colours of the national flag; and flag-bearing helicopters from squadrons around the country.South Africa’s VIP transport aircraft, comprising the Presidential Jet, a Falcon 50 and a Falcon 900, also flew overhead, escorted by two Gripen fighters, followed by a South African Airways Airbus.But the largest and most spectacular formation of the day was made of 19 aircraft, including the Silver Falcons, the aerobatic display team of the South African Air Force, forming the shape of a “20” to mark the country’s 20 years of democracy.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

How to Ensure Your Leads Ignore Your Nurturing E-mails

first_img Originally published Apr 20, 2010 11:05:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t include one of those silly calls to action.   Granted, images won’t guarantee a trip interrupted by the SPAM filter, but they certainly help.  At worst, your leads’ email programs don’t render them, and you end up with ugly images.  At best, your leads open your email and roll their eyes at the “artwork”.  Either way, you’re well on your way to the Delete key. Make it look exactly like a newsletter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Write only about your product or service. Lead Nurturing   “Cut your IT costs with virtualization!” “Free Seminar!” “Get your V!agra now!”  All of these (and probably many others that you can think of) guarantee that your email will be ignored.  As a free bonus, many of these might even help your email go straight to the SPAM folder! . Write a canned subject line. If your newsletters already don’t get people’s attention, use this opportunity to try them out again!  And the more impersonal the better, so that your leads truly don’t feel like you’ve given any effort to nurturing them.  Unsubscribe link, here we come! Lots and lots of images. But seriously, folks, the bottom line is that you need to provide good, useful content with a compelling subject line, a personal message, and a sound late-funnel call to action.  It’s going to take more work, and you’ll have to actually provide value, but you’ll end up with better leads and more customers in the end. freezelight Image courtesy of You and your sales team have spent hours and hours developing sales-y content; this is the perfect place to use it!  It doesn’t matter at all that your lead has already seen this on your website.  It doesn’t matter that it provides zero true value to help your lead solve their problems, it helps you get your message across!  Right?  Right?  Well, okay, so maybe they’ll tune it out immediately, but it’s a great way to pat yourselves on the back while turning off your leads. Topics: For fun, let’s look at the other side of the coin–how to guarantee you’ll be ignored. And certainly don’t link it to a landing page! If your leads make it through your subject line, many images, and sales-y content, you definitely don’t want to make it easy to follow up with you!  For that matter, don’t include a real reply-to address either.  Hey, if your leads can’t figure out how to connect with you, they don’t deserve to give you money.last_img read more

8 Tips for Leveraging Platforms for Marketing [@InboundNow #37]

first_imgPhil Simon joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s social media and inbound marketing podcast! Phil is the author of The Age of the Platform, The New Small, Why New Systems Fail, and The Next Wave of Technologies. He focuses on the intersection of people, management, and technology.In this episode, we chat about:The concept of building platforms and planksAdopting community and letting people develop on your platformLearning from the gang of four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google)How to compete against an entrenched platformTips on building your own platformEmerging platforms to keep an eye onGetting people to build on top of your platformThe future of where the platform is headed Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 20, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013last_img read more

5 Easy Fixes for the Most Common Twitter Faux Pas

first_img Originally published Dec 13, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated August 25 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter Marketing Whether you’ve been using Twitter for a while or you’re just dipping your toe into those whale infested waters, there are several common Twitter mistakes that tons of people are making. These mistakes are easy to fix, but if you keep doing them, it will keep you from getting the most out of this platform as part of your inbound marketing strategy. And you don’t want that, right? Here are five common Twitter mistakes, and how to fix them.Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.1. Sending Sketchy Auto-DMsSeriously, people are still doing this! No matter how amazing the message is in your auto-direct message, if it is an auto-DM, especially if it comes right after someone follows you, it’s a huge faux pas. Don’t waste your time setting these impersonal messages up. Not for you, not for your client, not for your brand. It’s not a good look.How to fix it: Go to your account on Twitter.com, click Settings and then Connections. This will show you all the apps to which you are connected. Find out which app through which you are set up to auto-DM, and cancel it.2. Protecting Your TweetsFacebook, Google+, and LinkedIn have privacy settings that allow you to choose which information to share with certain groups of people. On Twitter, you gotta put it all out there. Well, if you want inbound marketing effectiveness you do. Twitter is different than these other social networking experiences that are based on networking with existing connections–people you know from high school, college, work, and the gym. Twitter is based on networking with people you don’t know. Talk to strangers. Put yourself out there. Make the most of Twitter by making new connections with an open account.How to fix it: Go to your account on Twitter.com, click Settings and go to Account. Unclick where is says Protect My Tweets.3. An Unbalanced Follower:Following RatioSome people may not admit it, but most people care about their follower number. And there’s no shame in that! The more followers you have, the more opportunities you have to share your content and increase your web presence. But if you are looking at someone’s profile for the first time and you see an unbalanced follower:following ratio, two thoughts might go through your mind:If someone is following tons of people with very few follow-backs:  “How come no one is following this person back? This person must not be very interesting, or this person is just looking for followers. I won’t follow back either.”If someone isn’t following back anyone: “Ugh, this person is a Twitter snob! Not interested.”How to fix it: If you haven’t followed a lot of people out of concern for a cluttered stream, consider bucketing people into Lists to clean it up. If you are following too many people compared to the number of followers you have, audit your following list and unfollow those who aren’t providing interesting tweets. Going forward, always scan users’ tweets to see if they would be a good addition to your following list before clicking ‘follow.’4. WTF Are You Talking About?Some people treat Twitter like Facebook or an away message. Tweeting things like “At Foggy Goggles for Brit’s 21st! So excited!” or vague ramblings like “I can’t even believe what’s going on right now…” are not helpful. Your followers will get more value out of your tweets if your tweets are clear. The nice thing about Twitter is that you have the opportunity to be interactive with the thoughts you are sharing; this opportunity is lost with these exclusive tweets.How to fix it: All of these tweets are salvageable. If you want to tweet about Brit’s birthday, use a location app to check in to the Foggy Goggle, and use Brit’s and Foggy Goggle’s Twitter handles in the tweet. This tweet is now a communication with the bar, the bar’s patrons, and Brit’s circle of friends.Instead of “I can’t even believe what’s going on right now…” share a picture or a link to an article and be specific about what is actually going on. Tweeting “I can’t believe what’s going on in Walmart’s parking lot for Black Friday” with an accompanying picture gives your tweet context and a reason to click through to the content you’ve shared.5. @ Versus [email protected] people that also follow whoever you are @replying can see that @reply. Sometimes, people will start a tweet with @ when it’s not intended to be an @reply, though. For example, if you tweeted ”@CNN’s coverage of unicorns is great!” only your followers that follow @CNN will see that tweet in their timeline.How to fix it: If you want everyone to see your tweet, use the [email protected] trick. Stick a period in front of the @ sign, and it’ll send the tweet into the main Twitter stream for all to enjoy.What major Twitter mistakes have you come across? Have you made any of the Twitter mistakes above?Image credit: n74jrwlast_img read more

How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions

first_img Originally published Apr 23, 2018 10:41:04 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Conversion Rate Optimization What Is a Website Audit?A website audit is an examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign. Auditing your website can determine whether or not it’s optimized to achieve your traffic goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.When was the last time you gave your website a checkup?Download Now: Free 8-Week Conversion Rate Optimization PlannerIf you’ve never before audited your website, it’s been a while since you have, or you’re planning a website redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your website is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results.Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain for this, whether that be someone in your in-house IT department or an outsourced party.The Benefits of a Website AuditBefore we dive into the things you should be keeping an eye out for as you’re auditing your website, let’s review some of the benefits of doing one. Here are some of the top benefits from a marketing perspective:Website Performance OptimizationWebsite audits usually evaluate a site not only for its content, but also for its technical performance.As a result, an audit will give you a chance to inspect the robustness of your website’s technical framework and infrastructure, assess how friendly your website is to search engines, and determine how easy it is for users to navigate and intuitively find content on your website.Search Engine OptimizationBy conducting a website audit, you’ll be able to identify any missed SEO opportunities and remedy any misguided or poorly executed SEO pitfalls (e.g. keyword stuffing, exact match anchor text links, etc.) throughout the content of your website.It will also allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines second. This will safeguard you from constantly chasing changes to search ranking algorithms, meaning you won’t be applying misguided practices just to show up in the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).Conversion Rate OptimizationThirdly, website audits enable you re-evaluate the effectiveness of your website in terms of lead generation and conversion. As a result, you’ll be able to spot any previously overlooked opportunities to convert visitors into leads so you can add relevant CTAs, as well as identify deficiencies in your landing pages so you can optimize them to boost conversions.As you can see, assessing both the content and technical aspects of your website will open up opportunities to drastically improve the traffic and conversions your website generates.The 4 Assessments to Make When Auditing Your WebsiteLet’s talk about how to pursue each of the three benefits above, and what you should specifically be checking for in this four-part website audit.But first, enter your website into HubSpot’s Website Grader — this will give you a general overview of your website’s strengths so you can gauge your focus on each of the assessments that follow in this article.How’d you do? Got an idea of which website audit benefits you need the most? Here we go.1. Website Performance AssessmentIn the first part of your website audit, you should be focusing on how users navigate your website — from your homepage, to blog posts, to landing pages, and any related content in between.Make a list of the pages on your website and ask yourself the following questions to evaluate them for optimization opportunities: Is Your Website Optimized for Maximum Usability?The more visitors you can attract to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate leads and, ultimately, customers. But only if your website performs well.As I’m sure you can imagine, just having a website does not guarantee results. As part of determining the overall efficiency of your website, your audit should check to make sure your site is designed with your visitors in mind. The design and overall navigability of your website should correspond with what a person would come to the site to seek out, such as more information on a business-related topic, resources, product/pricing information, testimonials, etc. This will largely depend on your individual business.The main goal here is to make it easy for people to get to the information they’re looking for. As a result, you’ll likely see conversion rates improve on their own.To audit your website for usability, consider the following:Are all the main value propositions of our business easily accessible via our main navigations/menu items?Do we have a simple yet intuitive website design and page layout? Make sure pages aren’t too cluttered; littered with ads, CTAs, or links; or void of internal links altogether.Are your conversion paths and/or shopping cart or checkout processes intuitive? Are there a ton of distractions along the way that could be creating friction for your site visitors?You might also consider doing some user testing with members of your target audience to ensure you’re effectively surfacing the content they’re looking for, and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website they’re interested in.How Is Your Website’s Overall Speed?Are there excessive page sizes and/or long page load and server response times? Does your site go down frequently? Site speed can be impacted when image files are too large or HTML and CSS needs to be cleaned up, all of which can drastically improve your site speed.Ultimately, fast-loading and optimized pages will lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. To quickly check a web page’s load time, download MozBar, a toolbar by Moz that you can attach to your browser for simple page analysis every time you visit a website.2. SEO AssessmentOptimizing the performance of your website is crucial to holding onto visitors, but the above question isn’t the only one you should be asking. You should also audit the content you’re publishing to ensure it’s actually solving your visitors’ problems.Is Your Website Content High Quality?As you evaluate your content for quality, think about it from your target audience’s perspective. Did this information leave me satisfied? Did it answer all of my questions? Does it give me all the resources relevant to this topic? Do I know what to do next?Keep in mind quality content should appeal to the interests, needs, and problems of your buyer personas; be interesting and well-written, provide valuable, thorough and detailed information about a particular topic; and leave the reader with next steps (such as calls-to-action, links to resources, etc.).If you’re still not sure if your content is high quality, evaluate it with this checklist:” How to Tell if Your Marketing Content Is Actually Valuable.”Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized?Make sure all your web pages are following on-page SEO best practices. To audit your content for on-page SEO, conduct a keyword analysis in which you do the following:Consult your analytics to review keyword performance. Which keywords are giving you the biggest gains in traffic and leads?Assess how well you’re factoring keyword performance into your content strategy. How much relevant content are you adding to your website to target those keywords?Review basic on-page SEO elements like URLs, page titles, meta description, and copy. Make sure keywords are included where relevant.To help you conduct an on-page SEO audit of your content, read the “Step-by-Step Guide to Flawless On-Page SEO,” which also includes a free downloadable on-page SEO template to keep you on track.3. Conversion Rate AssessmentWhile high-quality, search engine optimized content is a great way to boost your traffic numbers, it’s what happens once those visitors are on your website that really counts. Unless of course, you don’t care about conversions (ha!).Is Your Website Optimized for Lead Generation and Conversions?This is where optimized calls-to-action (CTAs), marketing offers, and landing pages play a major role in the performance of your website. Not only do they offer you opportunities to capture visitors’ information so you can follow up with leads, but they also keep your visitors engaged with your content and your brand.To audit your website for maximum conversion potential, ask yourself the following questions:How many marketing offers do I have in my content arsenal to gate behind landing pages?Do I have a variety of marketing offers that appeal to all my different buyer personas?Do I have any landing pages/conversion forms on my website to begin with? How optimized are those landing pages?Do I have conversion opportunities for visitors in varying stages of the funnel?Am I using calls-to-action effectively? Am I missing opportunities to include calls-to-action on various pages of my website?To learn more about CTA selection, check out our post, ” How to Select the Right CTA for Every Page on Your Website.”4. Technical AssessmentOnce you’ve addressed the three primary goals of a website audit, it’s time to loop in a developer or someone from your IT department for a technical evaluation. You could also hire an outside agency — just be sure to do your homework first.Keep in mind that there may be some carry-over from the three assessments above — website performance, SEO, and conversion rate. The technical evaluation, however, addresses all three to maximize the user experience (UX).Here’s what you should be looking for in the technical assessment stage of your website audit …Is Your Website Design Responsive?Does your website have a responsive design? Meaning, is it a mobile-friendly website? The usage of smartphones to access the internet is only growing. As of 2017, mobile devices account for half of all web page views worldwide. As a result, websites must be compatible with that growing demand.For more on mobile compatibility, check out our “Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Mobile Marketing.”Is Your Website Error Message Free?Are response code errors popping up all over your website where there shouldn’t be any? Calling out 302-, 404-, and 500-level response codes can be useful to tell users that something’s wrong.However, having this happen is also an indication that someone isn’t cleaning up broken links and, as a result, leading users to dead ends. Find those error messages and clean up your broken links. Tools like Google’s Webmaster Tools or Xenu’s Link Sleuth can be very helpful for this.Are Your Website URLs Optimized?Does your site have URLs of excessive length due to keyword stuffing? Do they contain session IDs and/or include tons of dynamic parameters? In some cases, these URLs are difficult for search engines to index and result in lower clickthrough rates from search results.Learn more about SEO-friendly URL syntax practices in this helpful post from Search Engine Land.Does Your Website Have Too Much Flash or JavaScript?Identify areas of your navigation that are entirely Flash or JavaScript. Search engines have challenges reading and accessing these, which could prevent your site from getting indexed.Furthermore, these elements present problems from a usability perspective. Visitors are often looking for a very specific piece of information when visiting your site; if they have to sit through a 10-second visual introduction before they can find your hours of operation, you’re going to have a pretty frustrated visitor on your hands.Is Your Site Structure Optimized for Search Engines?We already talked about site structure as it relates to accessing content and usability for users, but it’s also important to make sure your site structure is optimal for search engines. If pages on your site are not internally linked to from other pages on your site, those pages are less likely to be indexed.Learn more about effective site structure for SEO in this Moz article.Are You Defining How Your Web Pages Are Crawled and Indexed by Search Engines?This can be done through various methods that include everything from robots files and tags, to sitemaps. These measures are a way for you to guide search engines toward your website’s most useful content.Robots Files or TagsThe robots meta tag lets you utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page should be indexed and served to users in search results. These tags should sit in the section of a given page.The robots.txt file, on the other hand, is a text file that allows you to specify how you would like your site to be crawled. Before crawling a website, search engine crawlers will generally request the robots.txt file from a server. Within the robots.txt file, you can include sections for specific (or all) crawlers with instructions (“directives”) that let them know which parts should or should not be crawled.Public and XML SitemapsYour website should also have public and XML Sitemap files. The public sitemap is one that users can access to review the pages of your site, like the index of a book.The XML Sitemap is for search engines to review pages that get added to your site, all in one place. The usual location of a sitemap.xml file is www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml. The XML Sitemap is something every website should have; it offers an opportunity to tell Google and the other search engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed.While search engines don’t guarantee they will abide by your sitemap, anecdotal evidence has proven time and time again that XML Sitemaps help provide insurance that your pages are found, and found faster — especially if your sitemap(s) dynamically update your new web pages.Are You Defining Canonicalization of Content?The canonicalization of your website content is the final major technical consideration to make. To gain more control over how your URLs appear in search results, and to minimize issues related to duplicate content, it’s recommended that you pick a canonical (preferred) URL as the preferred version of the page.You can indicate your preference to Google in a number of ways. One such way is to set the Canonical Tag (rel=”canonical”) in an HTTP header of a page. Be sure to have someone check that the Canonical Tag is properly implemented across the site by making sure it points to the correct page, and that every page doesn’t point to the homepage.It’s important to establish an audit framework early on. Ask yourself questions ideally centered around gauging “How am I doing?” These questions may also include things like, “How does this compare to others, especially my competitors?”Website audits aren’t easy, especially if you’re not totally tech-savvy. For additional resources, check out this article by Distilled, which highlights a list of tools to use as you conduct your technical audit; as well as this complete site audit checklist by SEER.I also recommend passing the Google Webmaster’s Guide along to anyone implementing this kind of work. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more