Rohingya crisis: Sikh volunteers reach Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide langar to refugees


Rohingya crisis: Sikh volunteers reach Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide langar to refugees

 

Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Amarpreet Singh, managing director, Khalsa Aid, India who has reached Teknaf, a border town in Bangladesh where the refugees are living in the camps, said that condition at the border was “miserable to say the least”.

Written by KHOJ IN INDIA | Ludhiana | Updated: September 12, 2017 3:47 pm

Volunteers of Sikh organisation Khalsa aid helping Rohingya refugees at Teknaf, a border town in Bangladesh (Express Photo)A team of volunteers from Sikh organisation Khalsa Aid reached Bangladesh-Myanmar border Sunday night to provide relief to the lakhs of Rohingya Muslim families fleeing Myanmar. Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Amarpreet Singh, managing director, Khalsa Aid, India who has reached Teknaf, a border town in Bangladesh where the refugees are living in the camps, said that condition at the border was “miserable to say the least”.
“It was our first day here today and we did a pre-assessment before launching a major relief operation. We had come prepared for providing relief to some 50,000 people, but there are more than three lakh refugees here. They are living without water, food, clothes and shelter. They are sitting wherever they can find a corner. It is raining, but people do not have anywhere to go. It is miserable to say the least. We will be providing them langar food (community kitchen) and shelter. We are arranging tarpaulins but since the number of refugees have overwhelmingly exceeded our preparations, it can some time to make arrangements,” he said.
He added that there were huge camps at Teknaf and each one was crowded beyond its capacity. “A camp can accommodate at least 50,000 people but in most of them there are more than one lakh refugees. But we are committed to run langar here (community here) till the crisis is not over. The priority is to not let anyone sleep without food. Children are roaming without clothes and begging for food. Those who do not get space in camps are sitting along roads in hope of getting food from someone,” he added.

Another team of Khalsa Aid volunteers is expected to reach the border town Teknaf in coming days to assist in the relief operations, said Amarpreet.Khalsa Aid team is now serving langar and water to the refugees. “Teknaf is almost 10 hours ride from the capital Dhaka from where we are ferrying all the material needed to prepare langar. Connectivity issues and rain are creating hindrances but we are trying our best to provide food to the maximum people at the earliest. The langar will continue here till crisis is not over and refugees continue to reach the border,” he added.
Another team of Khalsa Aid volunteers is expected to reach the border town Teknaf in coming days to assist in the relief operations, said Amarpreet.
Muslims Protest Against Rohingya Crisis, Demand Strict Action
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Jeevanjyot Singh, a Khalsa Aid volunteer from Jammu & Kashmir who is also in Teknaf, said that refugees started from Myanmar by foot almost ten days back and then reached Teknaf through boats. “They are in an extremely bad state as of now. They have nowhere to go.
We have spoken to some families and they have told us that after crossing thick jungles on foot in Myanmar, they crossed border through boats and then resumed journey on foot. Most of them have traveled for more than ten days. Since then, children had no food or water. They are in dire need of food and water,” he said.
Myanmar led by its state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been rapped by the United Nations for gross human rights violation against the tribe of Rohingya Muslims and as per UN estimates, 2.70 lakh Rohingya Muslims have already fled to Bangladesh and even more are trapped at the border.
 

Roles of PR, SEO & Marketing Teams in a Start-up


Roles of PR, SEO & Marketing Teams in a Start-up

No matter which industry you are dealing in, an increasing need for search engine optimisation can't be avoided
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
Success of an entrepreneur not only depends on his personal instincts rather it evolves out of a team effort. In cases where start-ups need more resources or funds, the composition of the foundation team becomes crucial.
Here we will discuss a few roles that are necessary to be taken by every entrepreneur. A company can achieve great success through proper management of its human resources. Equip them with the company and its resources and manage them to attain your developmental goals.
Marketing and Public Relations (PR)
The PR and Marketing are two separate teams. But in case of small companies, they may merge together for accomplishing goals set by the company. A single team comprising experts in both fields can perform those tasks. Therefore it may pick up any one of the labels.
But for a bigger company, it is important to understand the difference between the two.
PR is to do with spreading the brand message outwards. The PR and the Marketing team could coordinate to ensure a consistent brand image.
PR team could develop the marketing plans and can join hands with marketing team to receive feedback.
PR team can look towards the perception of customers, vendors, partners etc. This team can take a look behind and can ask for how a particular price or message is decided. They understand the perception of all stakeholders and if it is not the desired perception, then it is the responsibility of PR team to identify it and correct it.
Managing the Reputation
It is the responsibility of the PR team to handle all the critical issues related to branding. If there is any sort of negativity found, PR team will look into the matter and handle it. This task is called reputation management.
Nothing is more pleasing than having people talking positively about your brand. A good PR department can handle the following tasks as well:
Event management
Social media campaigns
Brand development
Press releases and control
SMM Teams
The SMM team of your organisation is generally responsible for the following activities:
Building social media profiles
Building contacts with the people on social media.
SMM is a general marketing team. The marketing team is a bigger umbrella under which SMM team performs.
There is a gap between you and your target audience and you need to bridge that gap with your intelligence and marketing efforts. SMM team will help you in that. A social media manager will play the most important role here. His skills and knowledge could help you to boost up his sales. He could help you in identifying your target audience, increases exposure to your brand and boost up the return on investments. For a great new startup, all you need, is a team of social media professionals who will ensure turning the audience’ attention towards you.
Search Engine Optimisation
No matter which industry you are dealing in, an increasing need for search engine optimisation can’t be avoided. Heading towards digital marketing, an SEO specialist will boost up your sales in no time without putting in much pressure in your pocket. This will bring out higher ROI than any other method of online selling.
An SEO is also similar to SMM. They also manage the company’s websites, blogs etc. It establishes a link with other companies’ websites. It determines the most powerful keywords to be used in the marketing plan to attract more and more customers.
Conclusion
Understand and gauge the people you hired. Know their skills and personality traits and identify their potential to work with others. Develop a great team and define the roles each and every individual. Let them know their responsibilities. It will allow your company to earn more and more profits at minimum costs. Not to waste any more time now. Kick start your media marketing plan and achieve success.

The 5 Actions You Must Take to Beat the Fear Blocking Your Success


The 5 Actions You Must Take to Beat the Fear Blocking Your Success

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Never trying because you were afraid is the only failure you can't learn from.

Image credit: Yuri_Arcurs | Getty Images
 
You’re brainstorming a crazy idea, thinking of quitting your day job, and building a wildly successful business. You want to build your own company, recruit your own talent, and make the world a better place.
But… deep down, something strong is holding you back. Fear. You’re afraid of failure. You’re not sure of your crazy business idea. You don’t think that you can quit your day job, because your dream of building a million-dollar company might just be wishful thinking.
How do you beat your fear and succeed as an entrepreneur?
Here are five tips to help you:

1. Face your fears.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”Henry Ford
Entrepreneurship is full of challenges, uncertainties, and difficulties.
At some point, while you’re running your business, you’ll get confused, scared even. “You have this fear of failing and of doing something new, which is very natural,” Google co-founder Larry Page said as he discussed his company’s early days in a Fortune interview. “In order to do stuff that matters, you need to overcome that.”
In other words, you must face your fears. Facing your fears is about being true to yourself. Admit that you’re afraid, then work to understand your weaknesses and strengths. Outsource what you can’t do, leverage your strengths, then move on.
Remember, the secret to success is to move on as fast as you can and not get stuck in the yokes of procrastination.
Related: 12 Quotes From Google's Larry Page on Drive, Success, Creativity and Hard Work

2. Get started.

“If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.”—Drew Houston
We all have dreams, ideas and goals, but few of us make our dreams a reality. Why is that? Because we don’t get started.
The would-be athlete gets stuck in the bondage of doubt, wondering if their running shoes are too cheap to get them ahead of the competition. The would-be author gets stuck in the bondage of writer’s block, doubting every plot point and character.  The aspiring entrepreneur also gets stuck in the bondage of their unwillingness to act, blaming investors for not giving them the chance to build their dream company.
The one thing that all of these fearful folks have in common? They don’t get started. They are stuck in the bondage of procrastination, which is another form of fear. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is all about having the guts to package your crazy ideas into a product, the hoping for the best.
Related: To Be a Real Entrepreneur Quit Nitpicking and Just Get Started

3. Grind

“What I lack in talent, I compensate with my willingness to grind it out. That's the secret of my life.” —Guy Kawasaki
Failure is a byproduct of fear, procrastination and inaction. Success is a byproduct of hard work. From Buffet to Gates, Jobs to Zuckerberg, we have learned that to be a successful entrepreneur, you must put your nose to the grindstone. Instead of showing up late, you wake up early. You plan tomorrow’s work today so you can spend extra hours to beat the competition. You work long and hard to build your business into a success.
Related: 8 Ways to Structure Your Daily Grind for Success

4. Do quality work.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work…” —Steve Jobs
It’s easy to cower in mediocrity, succumbing to your weaker self and doing poor work that has less value. But that easiness will only pound your dreams into the dirt because fake work doesn’t last. What does last is quality work, which can only be possible with learning and expertise. Successful entrepreneur Sam Ovens advises that "As soon as you’re committed to building an online business of your own., immediately begin reading as much as humanly possible.”
Sure, it’s not easy to produce quality work, but taking the time, energy and resources to produce excellent work makes all the difference in your life. It proves your expertise, earns you respect and accelerates your career. Above all, only quality work adds value to your customer’s life, thus increasing your ROI.
Related: Why Quality Over Quantity Matters When You're Scaling a Business

5. Never, ever give up.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela
It really feels scary at first.
You quit your day job and go on to build a business that you’re not sure will work. As a founder, your startup is just an institution operating, as Eric Reis, the Lean Startup founder, puts it, “under a condition of extreme uncertainty.”
So you might start running your business venture today, and you won’t attract any prospect or close any sale for a month or two. It’s an uncertain world, and that’s why only a few patient entrepreneurs succeed. The majority give up and quit.
If you want to beat your fear, focus on the process of building the foundation of your entrepreneurship career, and make the whole thing enjoyable. That’s how successful entrepreneurs do it. “Whatever you’re doing in business, it should be fun,” advised Richard Branson, the business magnate and founder of Virgin. “That has always been a priority at Virgin, and it’s a vital component of our success.”

7 Things You Can Do When Your Customers Refuse to Pay on Time

 

7 Things You Can Do When Your Customers Refuse to Pay on Time

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On-time payments are vital to the health of your business.
This story originally appeared on Due
7 Things You Can Do When Your Customers Refuse to Pay on Time
Image credit: Shutterstock
On-time payments are vital to the health of your business. But inevitably, you’ll run into at least one customer who consistently fails to pay on time. If it continues to become a problem it’s on you to take proactive action and correct the situation.
You’ll have many options in your arsenal to deal with it.

Why on-time payments are important

First, let’s cover why this is an important matter in the first place. Who cares if your customers fail to pay on time late occasionally?
  • Cash flow. The first and most important impact here is on your company’s cash flow. If you’re not getting income consistently or predictably, you could find yourself unable to make your own payments on time. More than total revenue, cash flow is an indicator of your business’s ability to succeed. In fact, it’s possible for a business to close its doors due to a cash flow shortage even if it’s technically profitable on paper. Staying on top of your invoices, and taking corrective action when you aren’t getting on-time payments, is one of the most reliable strategies to keep your cash flow firmly positive.
  • Books.Invoice payments are also important for keeping your books in order, especially with month-end and year-end closes. Submitted invoices are often counted as revenue, but if that revenue isn’t there, your reports could be inaccurate. This may not matter to a small business that’s just starting out. However, if you’re reporting to investors board of directors, or the public, you’ll have some extra explaining to do.
  • Reputation.Accepting late payments could damage your reputation and expose you to future issues. For example, your clients may become more lackadaisical on payments and orders if you build this reputation.
  • Compounding problems.All of these problems get worse over time. So the longer you wait to fix the situation the more consequences you’re going to face. For example, when a customer learns they can delay payments, they’ll make it a habit whether deliberately or subconsciously. As your books become more tangled month to month, it will become harder to predict or chart your overall progress.

Strategies to improve timely payments

Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies you can employ if you find yourself consistently unable to get payments from your customers on time:

1. Tighten your invoicing process.

Your first step is to audit your invoicing process. Chances are, something is wrong with it. If you don’t have an invoicing process fully documented and in place, that should be the first place you start. Beyond that you’ll need to be consistent about when you issue invoices and how your departments communicate. Additionally terms and conditions as well as late penalties should be clearly defined. Without a follow-up process in place, your invoices will easily get lost or ignored. There are two steps to this process; first, make sure that your procedures make sense on paper. Do you have firm protocols in place, or are your employees just supposed to wing it? Then, monitor and engage with your employees to make sure they’re following that on-paper process in real-time. If they’re not consistent with their implementation, it could compromise your results.

2. Issue formal warnings.

If your customer is more than a few days past due, it’s a good idea to issue a formal warning. You can start with an email giving the client a friendly reminder of how they can pay. If that doesn’t work, you can use follow-up emails, letters and phone calls in succession to follow up on payment. If necessary, you can also warn your client about legal action if the invoice remains unpaid. These are important for several reasons. Most importantly, they’ll resolve innocent mistakes (the client simply forgot), and will put pressure on the business to make a full payment.

3. Change terms for your best (and worst) customers.

If you have specific problematic customers, or specific customers who always pay on time, consider choosing different terms for payment. For example, if client’s habitually pay late, then you can consider changing the terms for those clients. Additionally you’ll also need to consider if and how you penalize late payments. Some states do have a strict limit on how much of a late fee you can charge, so make sure to do your research; otherwise, an annual interest rate of no more than 10 percent will likely keep you well within those restrictions.

4. Accept more types of payments and plans.

Some clients will be unable or unwilling to pay on time simply because of their circumstances. They may be struggling with cash flow, or are so bombarded with work, they forget to pay their invoices in a timely manner. Luckily this can be easily solved by offering alternative payment plans. For example, you might split one big invoice into three or four smaller invoices, or set up a weekly installment plan. If you can, have an open, honest chat with your client about why they’re not making timely payments; if you can discover the root cause, it will be far easier to find a solution.

5. Use factoring.

If you’re in a tight spot, and your changes aren’t yet taking effect, you can pursue a strategy known as factoring. The process is pretty simple; you’ll look for a factoring company that can provide you factoring services, and you’ll “sell” those companies your unpaid or past due invoices for a fixed amount, usually a specific percentage less than the full amount owed. The factoring company will pursue the client for payment, and you’ll get to walk away with the cash. This isn’t a good long-term fix, since you’ll be losing money and chasing your customers almost constantly, but it’s a good way to get past a rough cash flow patch.

6. Fire problematic clients.

If you have a selection of clients who are constantly frustrating to deal with, you should consider firing them altogether. If you’re a young company that’s struggling with income, it may seem like a waste of revenue -- but you’re not getting that revenue steadily anyway. If a customer has ceased all forms of contact, this firing process will be easy -- they’ll probably be expecting your services and/or communication to cease. Otherwise, you’ll need to have a direct, straightforward conversation about

7. Take legal action.

If you’ve exhausted all other options then you may want to consider legal action. Collect as much information as you can on the engagement and contact a lawyer to discuss the possibilities. Depending on the amount owed, it may not be worth your time and money to chase down the late payment, so weigh your options carefully before proceeding.

General tips for success

If you want to be successful with any of these strategies, you’ll need to follow these tips at a minimum:
  • Document everything. You’ll want a paper trail if you have to confront your client about missing payments. You may also need one if you ever need evidence in a legal situation. Document everything you can, including your phone calls.
  • Automate whatever you can. Invoicing is tough to do manually. That said, take efforts to make every step of your invoicing and follow-up strategy automated by software. This mitigates the risk of human error interfering with the process.
  • Be polite, but persistent. Politeness is an underrated strategy in ensuring invoice payment. When reaching out via email or phone, avoid using harsh or accusatory language. Instead, start a conversation and learn what you can about the client’s circumstances.
  • Focus on internal, then external. Before implementing punitive measures or dealing with clients externally, focus on what you can do to improve your own business and processes.
Chronic late payments are a problem that many businesses eventually face. Fortunately, with a few strategic changes, and a commitment to revising your approach, you should have no trouble restoring your invoicing process to what it used to be.
 
(By khojinindia.com)
 
This story originally appeared on Due
 

4 Practices to Keep Sales Innovation on Track


4 Practices to Keep Sales Innovation on Track

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Federal proposals for cuts to research and development funding mean that companies may have to look inward for solutions.

Image credit: shutterstock
Sales innovation is often the factor fueling companies' race for relevancy, for their products and services. And, in recent years, as companies have instilled and and nurtured innovative cultures, they've positioned themselves for agile growth.
But then came President Donald Trump's budget blueprint: Its proposals for cuts to research and development funding meant that caution flags suddenly went up.
Many startups and small businesses are frustrated at the government's apparent lack of support. I'm thinking, for example, about the medical software company Syapse, whose $400,000 in funding is in jeopardy. If the Trump administration chooses to implement its budget, organizations will have to look inward for solutions. Rather than lament this shift in perspective, though, companies can capitalize on these circumstances by turning a routine pit stop into a viable, lucrative opportunity.
Related: Here Is What Small Business Needs From the Trump Administration

Get innovation on track.

All businesses can innovate by implementing four practices. The first two forge stronger intra- and interdepartmental connections, while the second two create bonds with prospects and clients:

1. Break the bureaucracy chains.

When you remove bureaucracy, you instill a line of open communication and understanding. Suddenly, teams aren't silos -- they're "in this together"-type allies. Likewise, by embracing a more agile culture, companies become more seamless and adaptable.
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For instance, companies may want to place a sales-enablement liaison in their marketing departments. As an intermediary, this individual can foster initiative development and bolster interdepartmental-support structures. According to Salesforce, two-thirds of customers feel that sales teams are underprepared for their initial meetings.
That's a statistic that indicates a striking disconnect between what customers expect (marketing) and what they've been delivered (sales).
Not only will this liaison strengthen relationships between the sales team and clients, but he or she can also improve the sales team's ability to communicate internally.

2. Rebrand new sales strategies.

Calling new sales strategies "projects" or "initiatives" can lead to a flavor-of-the-month mentality and dilute their potential.
Take former 3M CEO George Buckley as an example. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, when Buckley initiated a project, he often found it difficult to get his research and development team on board if the project didn't appear to lead to a breakthrough. But he learned that by applying more traditional branding principles to the company's internal projects, he could garner interest and investment so the project could run its course.
Borrow a page from his book and rebrand your own new sales strategies as "experiments," a term that will not only imply that what you're doing is a test, but will also allow room for failure. Once you decide to undertake an experiment, though, dedicate yourself and your sales team to it from the beginning.

3. Establish simple, trackable metrics.

Business intelligence numbers from complex data sets are a vital tool. Too often, though, businesses create sales metrics that can't be understood and that frustrate their sales teams. That's probably why Bloomberg Businessweek notes that in-demand data scientists are seeing their starting salaries climb above $200,000. While having advanced analyses can be beneficial for long-term reporting, simpler and more common sales tracking -- such as a lead source -- makes small-scale evaluation easier.
Companies, then, should make sure they're focusing on qualitative metrics as much as quantitative ones: The former allows you to put a face on the numbers. According to a Gartner prediction, by 2020, only 50 percent of businesses will be able to successfully utilize their business intelligence feedback. So, while the numbers themselves are significant, a company's inability to construct a narrative for those numbers will render all of that great data relatively negligible.

4. Live and breathe a customer's day.

Encourage your sales team to spend time with clients. If your people better understand their clients' businesses, they'll be better able to create new solutions and quash inefficiencies. But impactful innovation can't happen in absentia. It has to happen on-site.
Related: How 9 Successful Companies Keep Their Customers
In an age when sales teams are spending less than one-third of their time actually selling, according to Docurated's State of Sales Productivity report, adding more face time to their schedules may seem like a pipe dream. However, this action can reap great benefits.
In one of my earlier roles leading a national sales team, I insisted that every sales rep spend two days shadowing the people who used our products. Those clients loved the commitment, and we learned so much about what they actually dealt with daily: how they struggled to use our solutions, the inefficiencies we'd inadvertently built into our processes, etc.
Those valuable insights allowed me to turn a sales team that was underperforming into one that exceeded its quota five years in a row.
That said, be realistic. Don't expect your people to come back with a plethora of ideas. Shadowing is a slow but important process.
Overall, the road to innovation can be gusty, but sales teams will stay competitive mile after mile if they're structured for mobility and have the support they need to adapt.

How We Grew Our Organic Traffic 120% in 5 Months with 4 Simple Steps



As a B2B texting software, one of our main goals at Text Request is maximizing value, both for ourselves and our users. That's what led us to focusing on organic traffic.
Billions of people are looking for answers or solutions to their questions or problems, and we're trying to add value. So we saw organic search as a symbiotic relationship we could tap into.
As the guy responsible for our content and SEO, I've only found one "secret" to growing organic traffic. I'll share this secret in a bit, but first I'll walk you through the steps we took to grow our organic traffic 120% in 5 months, and what we learned through it all.

Start With Small Changes

We started making changes at the end of December 2016, and the first step was making technical updates to our website.

  • We updated our International Targeting inside Search Console to focus on the U.S. (which is where our target audience lives).

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Image Credit: Think With Google
Then we adopted a new content strategy from Rand Fishkin (founder of Moz). The strategy is: find the best piece of content on your target keywords or topics, and create something 10X better.
So that's what we did!
Starting in 2017, we looked at what content was available on our target search terms, and then created content we thought was 10X better. It worked! But the question we had to answer first was: What does 10X content look like for our market?

Create 10X Content

The most powerful pieces of content bring in traffic, leads, and backlinks. They're normally what add the most value to everyone, and that became the essence of our content -- add value to everyone.
We said, "Okay, everything needs to be 10X content, and that means it has to be valuable for three audiences."

Me / Text Request

If this doesn't add value to me, how can I expect it to add value to anyone else? It became important to make sure we could do two things with all new content:
  • Use it to inform and direct company discussions.
  • Link back to it in other relevant content on our site.

Our Targets

To bring in our targets, we had to provide something valuable, something that answered their questions and provided solutions to their problems.
An important piece in this: we had to know our targets' wants and needs. Thankfully, our team has spent countless hours talking with and learning about our customers. Otherwise, this would have been much more difficult!

Our Competitors

Brands are always looking for information that validates and promotes their position. We thought if we created this content, our competitors would use it, and come to see us as leaders in the space.
This was a bit of a long shot, but it's working! Nearly all of our competitors, and brands in similar niches, link to our content, which strengthens it and helps more of our targets find us.
If it sounds like this content takes a lot of time to create, it does. That's why we only publish every other Tuesday. But we do publish high-quality content regularly, and it's paying off!

The 80/20 Rule Still Applies

Even following these criteria, it's been difficult to know exactly what will resonate with our audience before we publish it.
It doesn't seem to matter how much keyword research and competitive mapping we do. The 80/20 rule still applies. If you're not familiar, this means about 80% of our traffic comes from about 20% of our content.
I don't think this means we should change our strategy, but that we have to keep producing to find what's most helpful.

Revamping Existing Content

We'd made some technical updates to our site and started publishing 10X content, but we still had a bunch of older blog posts that needed help.
They weren't 10X content, and my understanding of SEO had evolved a lot in the time since we started posting. So we saw revamping existing content as an important part of our SEO strategy.
I started asking myself questions as I reviewed each post, like:
  • Can I tell this story clearly with fewer words?
  • If I wrote this today, would I still feel comfortable publishing it?
  • What graphics would support this?
  • Is there any new research available on this topic?
  • What articles are related to this one? What can I link to?
Responding to questions like these kept me from just spot editing, and made sure each piece began adding real value to everyone.
Over the five month period, I was able to revamp 55-60 of our posts, and I'm confident that made a huge impact on our organic search traffic.

Getting Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the biggest ranking factors for organic traffic, so they had to be part of our plan. From December to May, we grew our total number of backlinks by about 60%, which, in addition to driving referral traffic, boosted our standing with search engines.
Our backlinks mostly came from 3 places:
  • HARO: About one in six pitches were published with a link to Text Request.
  • Guest Posts: We wrote for other publishers, and occasionally had a freelancer contribute on our behalf.
  • Earned Links: We used a lot of research in our content that other brands found valuable enough to link to. This was the biggest source of our backlinks, which I took to mean we were doing the right things.

Our Results

In December 2016, we had a total of 10,663 organic sessions. In May 2017, we had 23,483 organic sessions, meaning that our simple four-point strategy more than doubled our traffic in only 5 months!
I think it's important to note, too, that our bounce rate and time-on-page both improved during this process. Clearly, if you create 10X content, everyone wins.
In poor practice, we didn't set any goals or milestones before implementing our strategy. That's something we could have done better. Although, we really didn't know what would be realistic.
It's safe to say, though, that these results exceeded my expectations, and I'll be thrilled to keep them up moving forward!

What We Learned

It Takes Patience

Anyone in SEO will tell you results take time. As an agency friend of mine said, "The results of SEO work done today might not become apparent, and might not be discovered by search engines, for weeks or even months."
I have to agree. In Search Console, I'll regularly see where we finally "got credit" for a backlink months after it was published. I believe our record is a press release that took two years, four months to register.
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It's possible -- even likely -- that a significant portion of our results came from things we did well before this case study. During the case study, our results still came in stages.
January's organic traffic was 45% higher than December's, but February had flat growth. March was up again, April was flat, and in May we peaked at 120.2% growth.
Then there were publishing cycles to deal with. Ours is three weeks, but guest posts could take anywhere from five days to two months! I felt like I was always waiting for something.
Sometimes you have to keep your head down and stick to your plan, even if you aren't seeing immediate progress. It can take a lot of patience to grow organic traffic, but that patience pays off!

Our 1 "Secret" to "Hacking" Google

People, myself included, often get too caught up in the minutia of SEO to see the bigger picture.
SEO is commonly thought of as a set of technical laws. When you follow them, Google rewards you. When you disobey, you will be punished.
But every algorithm update focuses on one key concept: adding value to Google's users.
Search engines care most about the people using their site to search. So when you add value to their users, you're rewarded with traffic.
The thing is, value comes in many forms. Website speed adds value, especially since 40% of viewers leave a site if it doesn't load within 3 seconds.
Page engagement adds value, particularly since most viewers spend less than 15 seconds viewing a webpage. If you give people a reason to stick around for longer, to keep scrolling, and to click through, Google will send more people your way.
When done right, 10X content is powered by this "secret." If things are fast, engaging, helpful, and enjoyable, everyone wins. This is how we were able to quickly grow our organic traffic, and it's how you'll be able to grow yours, too!

Is Starting A Business Right For You?




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Many people toy with the idea of starting a business but hesitate to actually take the plunge and go out on their own. There are many reasons that people are held back from starting their own business.
One of the most common reasons that keeps people from starting a business is that they don’t feel comfortable about starting a business in a field in which they don’t have related experience. You don’t necessarily need experience – I successfully started many businesses without any experience, including a newspaper, a map publishing business, a bicycle rental business, a boat brokerage firm, and a book publishing company.
There are a lot of small businesses that you can teach yourself. Many good businesses you can start are just plain simple and you can learn how to operate them very quickly. Common examples include: lawn care, house cleaning, dog walking, house painting, tutoring and personal training. While these businesses are not glamorous, they are always in high demand. You can make a lot of money with even a simple business idea.
Financial risk is another reason that keeps people from starting their own business. This can be a very valid reason. However, the amount of money that you will risk will vary tremendously from one business to the next. Many businesses you can start under $10,000 and some businesses you can start for just about nothing. For example, I started a map business with almost no money by getting customers to pre-pay to have their advertisements included on the map.
But you need to do out a budget and include the cost of your living expenses until the business starts to provide solid cash flow. Often people underestimate how long it will take a business to start bringing in money. A simple local service business is going to produce positive cash flow a lot sooner than a new product business, for example.
One way to save a lot of money in starting a business is to run it out of your home. There are many excellent businesses that can be operated from home. Examples include jewelry making, art lessons, freelance writing, graphic design, and making gift baskets. The internet has opened up new, home-based business opportunities too. For example, you could start a social media business, developing and executing social media outreach for local businesses.
The great thing about a home business is the lower overhead. Not only do you avoid paying rent, but you avoid what can often turn into the “hidden” costs of a commercial space such as higher expenses for insurance, taxes, parking, electricity, build-out and more. Furthermore, a commercial space usually requires you to commit to a multi-year lease which adds to the financial risk if your business doesn’t work out as planned.
Still another reason people hesitate to start a small business is that they are reluctant to quit their day job. This is a very legitimate concern and I recommend that for most situations (i.e. if you are not starting a highly complex business) that you try to keep your day job and start a part time business.
Plan out your business carefully in your spare time and get really comfortable with your concept and your business plan before you get ready to launch. Even after you launch your business, I suggest you try to keep your day job. There are many great businesses that can be operated part-time, such as on the weekends.
Examples of good part-time businesses include garage clean-out, bartending service, floating art gallery, party planner, collectibles trading and test prep. One of the reasons it makes sense to start a business on the side is that it is difficult to predict how long it will take to be able to make a lot of money from your business. Often as you are starting a business you are testing different marketing approaches, ironing out problems and perfecting your product or service.
Finally, some people hesitate to start a business because the timing is not right. Waiting for a good time to start a business makes sense. Ideally you want to start a business from a position of strength, such as when you have a little money tucked aside, and not from a position of weakness, such as when you have been laid off from your job. On the other hand, if you wait for the “absolutely perfect” time to start a business you may never get it going.
There will be many factors that determine your ability to succeed in business, but one of the most important will be the business idea that you choose to pursue. Some ideas are much more likely to be successful than others. Some ideas you will find more fun. And some will be a better match for you. Starting a small business is your best route to making a lot of money today. There is no guarantee that your startup will be a winner. But by taking your time and carefully choosing which business idea to pursue, you will greatly increase your chances of success.

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