New SEO for WordPress Training Course

Course now available on Udemy.com In October 2015 I began the process of creating a comprehensive SEO for WordPress training course for Udemy.com. I launched the course on November 28, 2015 and have already had over 1200 students enroll so far. The feedback so far has been amazing. I created the course to help people learn SEO best practices through explanations and included specific workflows that are involved with SEO projects. The course lasts about 2.5 hours and features over 40 video lectures, PDFs that can be used as SEO cheatsheets, and a discussion board for follow-up questions. One great thing about Udemy’s training platform is that when you purchase a course, you have a lifetime access to the course. I decided to take advantage of this, and designed the course in sections with short videos that people can reference in the future as they are working on different websites or blogs. It’s also great because I plan to release new lectures and updated existing lectures over time, so it’s nice to know that past students will get immediate access to those lectures as I release them. Below is the course description and a link to purchase. Course Description During this SEO for WordPress online training course you will learn how to optimize your website using on-site and off-site SEO best practices. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme that promises #1 rankings overnight. Actually, it’s the opposite. It is a tried-and-true approach to SEO I use with my clients. Don’t waste your time with other SEO for WordPress courses that are outdated and only focus on simple concepts. This course contains...

Planning for Educational and Career Success Starts with Research and Accountability

There has been a lot of social unrest lately — Ferguson, Baltimore, etc. — and most of the unrest seems to tie back to socioeconomic status and opportunities for advancement within society, among other things. Awareness has been raised about the seemingly limited paths to prosperity. But, what can I do about it? The truth is I probably cannot make much of a difference on a policy-making nor systemic level. I’m not an elected official and I don’t have the ear of many high ranking state or federal legislators. I also don’t have millions, or even thousands, of dollars that I can barter with in terms of campaign contributions. However, I don’t think change has to start in the halls of Congress. It can start in your own home or school, and then spread to other communities once progress has been shown. Median Wages and Earning Power Recently, I was watching Vice’s new series called The Business of Life. In episode 1 they mentioned that it takes people until 30 years of age to earn the median wage in America, which according Georgetown University is $28,031/year. There were also people talking about student debt, and the failings of many people to find gainful employment after earning a 4-year degree. As I was digesting this data, I began thinking about a few things: Wow! I could never afford my lifestyle earning $28,000/year. Imagine if I had to pay to student loans, and tried to afford my current lifestyle on $28,000/year. I wonder how many people actually look into earning potential for their careers before pursing that degree/career path. While thinking about these things,...

I Don’t Make Art, I Make Sales

There are two situations that make me nervous when clients want to redesign or rebuild their website: Clients want “a pretty site”. Make it look pretty they say. Clients spend hours looking for websites that already exist and want to copy their design. I understand why companies do this. People want pretty things and they don’t want to get through the painstaking process of defining goals, user interactions, and content before they start designing. But, that process ultimately creates value.   There are pretty sites that fail (don’t drive conversions). There are ugly sites that win (they drive engagement and conversions). Beauty is subjective, and what may look pretty may not be the most effective in helping people take key actions.   Take Craigslist for example. Craigslist may be one of the ugliest sites on the internet, and its appearance has been mostly unchanged since it was created. But, Craigslist is consistently ranked in the top 100 sites in terms of traffic. Now, I am sure a graphic designer could make Craigslist “pretty”. But, the real question is, why do it? Would it drive more engagement? It’s hard to believe it would. Craigslist has a bounce rate under 20% according to Alexa.com Craigslist has remained minimalist and action focused (filter & sort by location and category) since it’s inception. And, it’s worked very well for solving the problems of connecting buyers and sellers. Don’t let your graphic designer try to win an award at your business’s expense.   Let’s take a look at Amazon. Anyone with an eyeball would notice how cluttered Amazon’s pages are. But it works. Amazon is projected to have revenues...

On Success

The number one rule to (potential) success: Trust your instincts and have the guts to risk your money to prove your instincts. Then, adjust your strategy as you get feedback and collect data. This line of thinking breaks the mold of traditional education. Most people won’t encourage you to think or act this way. Generic Advice and an Example Wrapped into One Core Idea Don’t trust your individual success and the validity of your ideas/path to success to someone who hasn’t risked their own capital trying out their own business ideas. Ideas are cheap. Talk is cheap. Execution is difficult, draining and expensive. That’s why you’ll hear 10x more “innovative ideas” than ones you’ll see in your life. It takes guts, time and overcoming fear to progress forward. On Perceived Safety/Risk Avoidance/Job Security I’m more inclined to argue that if you’re saving money you’ve earned but are afraid to reinvest in your understanding of human needs and behaviors, then what is truly the point of earning money in the first place? No matter if you work for another organization or yourself, you create your own job security, or lack thereof, based on your skills, the industry you’re involved in and the competitiveness of your business model (as an employee, contractor or business). In the words of Jay-Z: I’m not a businessman, I’m a Business,...

MBA versus Entreprenuership

With grad school admission responses being received around the country, and having attended an event recently where many people my age were in graduate school pursuing an MBA, I’ve been forced to reflect on my choice to forgo an MBA in pursuit of entrepreneurship. The Backstory Three years ago, at age 24 I quit my job. At the time, nationwide unemployment was over 9% nationwide, and pundits were talking about a prolonged recession. This is roughly still the case, but my life has dramatically changed for the better. And, I’d argue that I’m further along than most people who would have went through a full-time MBA program, because I have my own clients now, a professional reputation that’s been built over time, a stronger resume and the added savings vs. added debt ratio is in my favor. Entrepreneurship instead of a MBA Everything in life has Pros and Cons. The real internal debate should be whether or not you will enjoy the Pros and can form a solid plan to deal with the Cons. Pros Make your Schedule Flexibility – Potential to work when you want, where you want and with whom you want The potential to determine your own income and monetary worth Momentum – You own the accounts and the business. Each year things can get easier. Learn the skills you need to succeed (or fail) Cons Risking your own capital No steady paycheck Worse job benefits (no paid vacation, no dental plan, etc.) No 401K match (You have alternatives here, but they take some setup work) No “job security” Before You Take the GMAT I think...