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What I have learned…

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During CA 260, I have learned quite a lot! It has truly been an educational experience for me. Prior to this class I had never imagined that I would be creating a blog, writing code, or making my own website! The most interesting lesson, and one I had never thought about, was the search engine optimization, discussed in last weeks module. I really spent a lot of time trying to understand everything I could about SEO. Given that I hope to continue my website for my design and artwork, I felt that it was extremely pertinent to do everything I could to ensure that my site could be easily accessed via search engine.

Some additional resources I used are:

 

I was able to use these resources in attempts to optimize my site. I have placed tags and titles, an everything I could to the site to increase traffic and attempt to be accessed via Google. I read quite a few articles in regards to SEO keywords. Specifically, which keywords are the best to use and how to apply them to my website. For this, I referred to several articles:

http://www.wordstream.com/seo-keyword

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research

https://www.inc.com/guide/2010/06/picking-effective-seo-keywords.html

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo-site-keyword-optimize-ht#sm.00000c0fiuh2qdebjy0qlc87h5l8h

These allowed me to target specific keywords so that I can optimize search results for potential online viewers. Overall, of all the things I learned throughout this course, this was my most favorite. I was intrigued to think about how search engines, such as Google, worked “behind-the-scenes” to proved search results to users. Below are some interesting facts about search engines.

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(SEO) Search engine optimization

Image result for seo site description

This week in CA260 we learned that SEO, or search engine optimization, is a helpful way to increase traffic to your website. Before this week I had honestly never thought about how search engines determine what listings go first when I performed a search. All I ever knew was that I typed in a few words and results popped right up. It was really interesting to find out what happens in the background during a search and how search engines, such as Google, determine what sites come up first.

After this week’s lesson, I will definitely be using SEO for my own website to hopefully increase traffic. Because my site is geared towards potential employers and freelance clients, it will be helpful to me to draw more people to my site using SEO. After doing some additional research on what keywords to use, (http://emptyeasel.com/2009/04/27/keyword-targeting-for-artists-a-simple-yet-comprehensive-guide-for-beginners/) I learned a lot about what keywords I could use to stay competitive in search engine results and create a more targeted market.

For example, I used the meta keywords: Graphic Design, Freelance, Artist, Mobile, Alabama, Semmes, Alabama, wall murals, mural, wall art, custom art, design, photoshop, illustrator, vector, hire, buy, prints, color pencil, original, rustic, unique, fun, creative, logo, sign, ads, advertising. By targeting the local market, I should be able to generate more traffic from my area specifically.

 

Let’s take a closer look at SEO’s and what some of the pro’s and con’s are.

Pro’s:

  • SEO Delivers A Continuous Flow Of Free And Targeted Traffic
  • SEO Gives Your Business Exposure To People Who Are Looking For A Solution
  • SEO Generates Traffic
  • SEO Can Help You With Business Growth

Con’s:

  • SEO Results Will Take Time
    • The biggest and most noticeable drawback to an SEO is that it takes time. It takes time to establish your website and getting a good online presence in search engines. The process could take several hours, days or even weeks.
  • SEO has no guarantee for results (especially 1st page ranking)
    • Accordning to digitalmarketing.com, “Landing on the first of Search Engine Results Pages will be one of the most important goals you should plan to achieve with your SEO. For landing on the first page is really what matters in search results, as 75% of search users will most likely never scroll past this very first page and disregard the rest. SEO provides no immediate guarantee that you will land in the first pages of search results using the keywords you are targeting for.”
  • SEO Provides You No Full Control
    • Digitalmarketing.com also states, “No one really knows the true ins and outs of Google’s algorithms. What you think matters in search rankings (and what so-called gurus are suggesting) may deliver results that are opposite from what you are expecting. Only Google knows and so only Google has full control. You have no control of how much traffic you will generate and what type of traffic you will be getting from all your SEO efforts.”

 

 

 

Good Ole’ Days

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This week’s artwork is a photo I took several semesters go in Photography class. I really enjoyed learning the camera an being in the darkroom being able to develop the photos myself. I took this as part of a “Rural Decay” series. It is an 8×10 on resin-coated (RC) photography paper in satin. I call it “Good Ole’ Days”.

What’s in a name? – Domain names

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This week for CA260:

  • Think of a few domain name ideas for your website and look them up in the WHOIS database. Are they  currently registered? Who owns them? How can you  tell?
  • Do you think you will buy a domain name for yourself  or your business? Why or why not?
  • Do you think you will pay for hosting or use a free  service (like the one provided in this class)? Why?

So I looked up my weebly site name: “yellow pony design” and a plethora of .com’s, .net’s, .fun’s, .everything’s came up. Firstly, I had NO IDEA how many different .something-or-other’s there were! “Back in my day” (insert aol dial-up screeching here) all you had were .coms. When did all these other dots get here? .xyz? Really? Some of these were relatively inexpensive – .88 to roughly 19.99. Others – $2975.00! Holy-Moley! Luckily for me, “yellow pony design” was not registered/taken with any of the sites, (the yellowponydesign.com was owned by WHOIS). It was fairly easy to navigate and determine that my name was not taken.

Based on the pricing and the huge variety of .com’s, etc. out there, I think (at least for now) I will stick with my free .weebly.com. Once I graduate and (hopefully) find a decent job, or if my freelance work takes off, I may invest in a better domain name. If I do that, I will upgrade via Weebly so that I do not have to recreate a new site. (Those things are a lot of work!) Easily enough even if I purchase a domain name via another site, there is a place on Weebly in which I can upgrade to use my own domain name. Then I won’t have to “recreate the wheel” by making an entirely new site.

One resource I used personally to ensure that my business name was not taken was the TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was really helpful when I was coming up with a business name to help me determine whether or not I would have any issues in using the name. I would hate to invest money in starting a business only to have conflict and have to start all over because the name was already taken (I have known people starting home businesses that this has happened to).

Ultimately, this week was very enlightening about the ease of use for obtaining domain names, and also how cheap I am that at this point I would not pay to buy one.

No Privacy

This week in CA 260 we were assigned the following resources:

Read:

Watch:

 

  • As future communication professionals, how do you think these issues will affect your work/career?
  • —Do you think changes in the way we view privacy has implications for public discourse and a democratic society? Why or why not?

 

After reading these articles and watching these videos, my conclusion is that social media and internet presence not only affect jobs but also people’s personal lives as well as the way they correlate together. Already things people do in their personal lives affect their jobs. Many human resource departments are looking at a person’s social media to determine candidacy for a position and many others are including social media clauses in their hiring paperwork. For example: Complaining about your boss could jeopardize your employment. Your employer could see that information and make working for them uncomfortable or even cost you your job. Additionally, posting images in bikinis, drunk “selfies”, party pictures and poor grammar could make you seem like an untrustworthy candidate. From my own personal experience, at my last job, I was a manager who would have people call into work. On one instance, I had an employee (with frequent attendance issues) who called out from work. The employee didn’t realize that she had “friended” me on Facebook, and I later saw that she had ditched work to go to a party with a friend of hers. I took that information to human resources and within 24 hours the employee was terminated.

Especially with the prevalence of the internet becoming more centrifugal in peoples lives, it is important to realize that it is extremely difficult and almost impossible in some occasions to remove something from the internet. In addition to the loss of people’s privacy, identity-theft and “hacking” have also become more prevalent. I encourage you to read the article “Wired: “Three Essential Steps To Make Yourself More Hack-Proof” to get highlights on how to protect yourself from hackers and identity-thieves.