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Reference Check: You Are Who Google Says You Are

Reference Check: You Are Who Google Says You Are
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    If first impressions count, then you are who Google says you are. Your reputation is the first 3 pages of search engine hits.

    The internet and its search engines have become so powerful, available and user-friendly that your reputation is becoming defined by what the first 3 pages of yahoo or google search hits turns up. Forget about personal and professional references for making a first impression because the internet search gets done before that.

    Think about how often you will do a quick internet search before meeting a prospective client or supplier coming to your office. How about checking up on a prospective date or hire? Chances are that you might do a quick internet search before meeting. Likewise if you meet someone at a networking event, how often will you look at their website and maybe poke around the net for a couple minutes or more to get a better sense before calling? For most corporate purchasing, the salesperson doesn’t matter much these days so long as there is good information on the website. If you are looking for a product or service, chances are that you would troll the net before doing much else. It is fast, cheap, easy and hassle-free because you can passively review the information without talking to sales people or going through any tedious hoops.

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    There are 3 simple steps you can take to enhance your web profile:

    • Ensure your internet profile from the first 3 pages of hits matches up with who you want others to think you are.
    • Become involved in the online community so there are more cross-references to you and to your website if you have one.
    • Put good content on your website or wherever you leave your mark. If you are submitting articles or participating in searchable forums, make sure the stuff doesn’t work against you later. Presentation also counts so present the content well and not in the wrong places. Porn sites are likely not the best place to post articles, especially if you have a nosy mother-in-law with broadband.

    If you have a website, it should be well maintained and checked often enough to ensure the material there positively supports the online profile you are trying to establish and maintain.

    There are some great ways to enhance your internet profile. Most of them do not involve paying search engine listing fees or buying ads. The better ones include:

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    Publishing articles online. Articles that contain your name, links to your website and key words are automatically picked up by the search engines and will bump up the hit counts on your main website.

    Affiliating with other websites. Your hit counts will get pulled up if you tie into trade association or non-profit organization websites, especially those with higher hit counts than yours. Many non-profit associations have websites and if you are an active member chances are stuff will get onto the website and maybe other places on the net from this.

    Keeping past content on the server. Do not remove past content from your website if it is consistent with your desired messaging and already picked up by search engines. It keeps working to advertise you or your business and adds to your hit count. Conversely, empty hits which are those annoying dead ends when you click on a search engine result that goes to content that has been removed frustrates people.

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    Monitor your hit counts and do regular searches. Use your website hosting company or third party performance measurement and monitoring tools to tune your website and track links to affiliated sites, articles, etcetera. Be mindful that as your traffic increases, it grows geometrically, not linearly. If your site is an early hit on the search engine results lists, it gets additional traffic because people tend to go to the highest hits first, increasing the counts non-linearly by that act alone. Just like in most competitions, 1st place gets much more attention than 3rd place and 4th place gets no notice or prize money. Hitting on your own site can effect the counts and improve search engine placements, especially if you are highly specialized.

    Send people direct links to your content rather than the file itself. A good example would be for articles. Rather than attaching the file itself to an email, put a link in the email with maybe an extract from the article in the body of the email. That way you do not load down people’s emails while you create additional hit counts that raise your positive internet profile.

    Become a great spammer. Spam the internet itself with your messaging. It is not the same thing as sending spam via email. Participate in forums, comment on relevant news pieces (putting in a link to your website), post articles, join lists and get your messaging into as many places as possible.

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    Let your introduction and a positive first impression be made for you by the internet search engines. Whether dating, looking for a job or a client, if you do a good job developing and maintaining a good internet profile, you will have a chance to make a good second impression when you first meet the person.

    Peter Paul Roosen has an engineering background and founded numerous companies including firms involved in locomotive and plastics manufacturing, computer software and marketing. Tatsuya Nakagawa is president and CEO of Atomica Creative Group Ltd., a strategic product marketing company based in Vancouver Canada. He has assisted numerous companies in diverse industries with their early stage deployments and product launches in North America, Europe and Asia.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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