Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NAU Researcher’s Closer Look At Mars Reveals New Type Of Impact Crater

Lessons from underground nuclear tests and explosive volcanoes may hold the answer to how a category of unusual impact craters formed on Mars.

The craters feature a thin-layered outer deposit that extends well beyond the typical range of ejecta, saidNadine Barlow, professor of physics and astronomy at Northern Arizona University. She has given them a name—Low-Aspect-Ratio Layered Ejecta Craters—and presented the findings this week at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences in Denver.

Credit: NAU

Barlow found the LARLE craters while poring over high-resolution images to update her highly popular catalog of Martian craters.

“I had to ask, ‘What is going on here?’ “ Barlow said.

Delving into “explosion literature,” Barlow said she and her collaborators learned more about a phenomenon known as base surge. After a large explosion, fine-grain material forms a cloud and moves out along the surface. The cloud erodes the surface and picks up more material, creating an extensive outer deposit.

By adjusting equations from volcano research for Martian conditions, Barlow said, the researchers, including Joe Boyce, an NAU alum from the University of Hawaii, could accurately explain the “thin, sinuous, almost flame-like deposits.”

“So we think we’re on to something,” Barlow said.

The craters are found primarily at higher latitudes, a location that correlates with thick, fine-grained sedimentary deposits rich with subsurface ice. “The combination helps vaporize the materials and create a base flow surge,” Barlow said. The low aspect ratio refers to how thin the deposits are relative to the area they cover.

Barlow, Boyce and Lionel Wilson, of Lancaster University, relied on the stream of data that continues to flow from ongoing surveillance of Mars. Older data from the Mars Odyssey Orbiter was used for a global survey, but more detailed studies referred to high-resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter—about six meters per pixel.

“We’re looking in more detail at these deposits to find out what their characteristics are,” Barlow said. “We can see dune-like structures and the hollows that occur in the outer deposit.”

Barlow said she hopes to complete the revision of her catalog within a year, and welcomes surprises such as the LARLE finding along the way.

“That’s part of the fun of science, to see something and say, ‘Whoa, what’s that?’ ” she said. “Projects like this end up leading to proposals.”

Contacts and sources:
Eric Dieterle
Northern Arizona University

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

7 Ways for Freelancers to Avoid Getting Stiffed for Payments

It’s the seventh circle of hell for freelancers of all experience levels: getting shafted for pay by a deadbeat client.
The best way to drill any lesson into your head is to learn by experience……but I honestly feel like many freelancers can avoid the headaches of payment problems if they follow a system to secure their finances, and don’t just rely on their gut.
What steps can you take to avoid these nightmarish situations?
Today, you’re going to find out! :)

1.) Always Investigate Your Client

No, you don’t have to get out the camouflage gear and binoculars, but you should at least do somestalking on your potential clients, because you can never know too much about who wants to pay you.
As someone who’s worked with many early-stage startups, I try not to be too critical on judging new businesses, but generally speaking the longer they’ve been around, the better.
Some other things you should be looking for:
  1. How “public” are they? (Any founders or big personalities active on social media?)
  2. What do customers say about them?
  3. Have they been featured in any respectable publications?
  4. Is it easy to get a hold of people who work there?
  5. How willing are they to answer your questions?
  6. Are their biggest concerns about your work related to price? (This is a big red flag)
The important thing to remember here is to not be afraid of asking questions, even if you have to go as far as asking for a reference from a previous client (I’ve done that before!).


Look, I understand that when you are just getting started with freelancing that it CAN be a plus to do some free work to land your first client, but if you’ve been established for any amount of time, I can’t repeat this enough: no free samples… EVER!
Do you know what kind of clients ask for free samples?
Clients who appreciate the work you do will take the time to check out some of your previous work, and they’ll be able to judge your abilities for their desired task from your public portfolio. (You do have one, right?)
Anyone who wants a free sample for their specific project isn’t really looking to see what you can do, they’re look for free work.
I’ll rest my case with a final tidbit from The Joker:
If you’re good at something, never do it for free.

3.) Raise Your Prices

In a weird way, this almost seems like bad advice, but I assure you from years of experience (and from talking with many other established freelancers), it’s one of the best tactics for avoiding deadbeat clients.
I could describe 100 reasons why, but the gist of it is this: bottom-dollar prices attract bottom of the barrel clients.
Not only does raising your freelance rates give you the opportunity to work on less projects for higher pay, you’ll also have the added benefit of only courting people who are willing to pay premium money.
These sorts of customers view your work as an “investment” above all else, and if the value you bring to them is worthwhile, they aren’t going to haggle with you on price.
Make sure you aren’t setting prices that will allow clients to undervalue your work; if you’re a hard worker and talented at what you do, charge like it.

4.) Keep Your Cool

This is one that gets newbie freelancers all the time: you’ve just landed a new client, they say that your prices/deadlines look great and they’re ready to get started.
One problem though…
“This is a fast-paced project! We’ll write up the contract shortly, but if you could just get started on the first 3 tasks, that’d be great!”
Unless you have plenty of evidence that this client is 100% trustworthy, do not fall for this nonsense. If getting the contract written up is something they are supposed to complete, then it’s their problem, you shouldn’t have to start working for free before you have a GUARANTEE that you are going to get paid.
I’ll admit, I have some very relaxed terms with a few of my clients, but it’s because the trust has been there for a while and they’ve never let me down before.
When it comes to new clients though, get it in writing and don’t do a lick of work before you do.
Speaking of which…

5.) Leave a Paper Trail

If you don’t think you need a written contract for a client that you’ve never worked with, think about it this way…
Without a written contract, your client has no legal obligation to pay you. At all.
That means that if they decide to drop you from the project or just aren’t in the mood to pay you this decade, you have the options of:
  1. Doing nothing
  2. Whining about it on Twitter
Seriously, you have no legal way to acquire the money that you are owed without some sort of “paper” (digital or physical) trail that connects your client to you. Emails will often not suffice because most of the time, terms are not negotiated down to the specifics over email.
You’re currently on a website that offers beautiful proposal software for new client projects, so there’s your first step. Don’t be afraid to take things much further though: get the specifics of the project down in writing, answering the myriad of questions that pertain to your services (when/how you will be paid, do you retain rights to the work, what deadlines must be made, etc.)
Don’t get burned just because you were too timid (or too lazy) to do a little extra paperwork.

6.) Require an Advance / “If-then” Plan

One of the safest ways to assure that you get paid for the work you do is to schedule a payment plan for certain project milestones, including an advance for when you first begin your work.
This way, if things go bad, you’ll have been paid for whatever work has already been completed, and the money will be sitting in your account.
Another fantastic way to bulletproof your contract is through “if-then” plans.
The process is simple: set up outcomes (that the client must agree to) in your contract in the form of these “if-then” plans. An example would be something like, “If a payment is made late, then I will halt work until it is completed.”
Some of these specifics that you come up with may seem too obvious, but the advantage lies in establishing them before you start working (and in creating a list of terms that you can re-use for other clients).
This way, you won’t have to “wing it” every-time you receive a late payment from a client: you have a set system (that they agreed too) on what you’ll do when certain things occur, so there’s no stress on your end and no confusion on your client’s end about what is going to happen next.

7.) Consulting? Set a Time Limit

Consulting is an excellent way to supplement your income by taking your knowledge and sharing it with others, charging appropriately for the cost of your time.
Although I mentioned above that you shouldn’t ever do free samples, I don’t hold the same stance of offering free consulting… well, sort of.
While offering consulting is a great way to expand your network and grow your business organically due to the referrals you’ll inevitably get, remember that time is money.
It’s nice to be able to say, “Sure, we can sit down and talk about your business”, and it’s even a smart marketing strategy to do so, but you need to be VERY stringent about the time you are willing to take with these sorts of prospects.
If you are willing to stick around for a full 30 minutes with someone who may be able to help get the word out about your business (or someone who’s work you simply admire), do it, but don’t get stuck with them for 2 hours because you can’t force yourself to end the discussion.
Bottom line: it pays to be polite, but if you are using consulting as a paid source of income or a free way to network/market your business, you need to be careful with your time, those free “extended” chats can really add up.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the comments!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

How Modern Gadgets Make SEO Less Important ?

You’re keeping up with your SEO, right? Google is the world’s largest traffic referrer, so you want to take advantage of every click they can send you. Unfortunately, many bloggers have seen their referrals from Google drop in recent months. Most of us think we know the reasons why: Panda and Penguin. Yet there are other factors at play here that have a wide-reaching effect on your referrals from Google.

Penguin and Panda

Yes, there is a good chance that your blog has been affected by Google’s recent updates. Google Panda, which dropped in 2011, put the kibosh on short, low-quality content. That did affect many bloggers, but it hit the low-quality blogs the hardest. As long as you created lengthy, high-quality content chances are Panda didn’t hit your blog very hard. If, however, your strategy was to write two dozen one-paragraph posts per day, chances are you saw your Google referrals drop significantly.

The Penguin update, which Google dropped earlier this year and has since released a few updates, hit more bloggers — and harder. They penalized unnatural links, both those existing on sites and sites with incoming links from questionable sources. This affected bloggers in two ways.

1. It penalized bloggers with unnatural links on their own blogs. They had to go through their blogs and remove those offending links before applying for reinstatement from Google.

2. It hurt backlink profiles. Bloggers with unnatural incoming links no longer received credit for these links, since the sites they originated on were devalued. That is, what used to be three links from a PR3 blog became three links from a restricted blog. Google even went so far as to penalize those blogs with incoming links from these sites until they had those links removed. It became a long, arduous process for many bloggers.
Yet these are just surface explanations. They don’t touch on a gadget trend that has changed the way SERPs appear.

The mobile revolution

What percentage of your blog’s overall traffic comes from mobile sources? If you don’t know the number off the top of your head, that’s the first problem. Why? How about this: One of my blogs now sees a full 33 percent of its traffic coming from mobile sources. That’s a huge, huge number compared to what it used to be — we’ve seen it grow 150 percent in the last year and over 400 percent in the last two years.

It is of the utmost importance, then, to take advantage of this burgeoning trend. Many bloggers have responded in kind, creating mobile-friendly websites and mobile apps for their readers. This is a great start. If you haven’t gotten this far yet, you can bookmark this article and come back to it once you have a working mobile-friendly site. You should probably develop a mobile app, even a simple one, as well.

Back? Good. Now it’s time to talk about why mobile and SEO don’t mix. It’s a topic I haven’t seen explored frequently, yet it’s hugely important for every blogger to know.

Smaller screens = fewer results

Grab your smartphone and open up the browser. Now run a search for one of your money keywords. Now take a look at the SERP. Notice something funny? Chances are it doesn’t look very pleasing at all. No, it’s not the design of the SERP. It’s what the SERP contains.

Most money keyword searches will feature at least one AdWords spot. The top keywords will feature up to three AdWords spots. Those spots, of course, appear above the organic results. On full-sized desktop monitors that might not mean much. But with the steep increase in search coming from mobile, it means a lot. That is, even if you rank No. 3 for a term, you might not show up above the fold on a search. That is going to drastically reduce the number of clicks you see.

Go ahead and run the same search on a tablet. You’ll see a few more organic results, but still not many. Those PPC ads dominate. The same even goes for laptop computers. I’m constantly dismayed when running searches on my 13 inch Ultrabook. It sounds like a large enough monitor, yet I still only see three links above the fold. Whoever ranks No. 4 is going to see far fewer clicks than they once might have.

The recent trend of smaller, higher resolution screens has greatly affected the human aspect of search. Even if you managed to preserve your rankings through Panda and Penguin, you still might have seen your referrals drop. If your rankings dropped from No. 1 or No. 2 to No. 4 or No. 5, you might have seen a disproportional drop in referrals. Chalk it up to the mobile revolution, which has introduced these small screens that leave only a select few links above the fold.

How to fight back

So how can we act against these forces? The answers aren’t simple. They require time and money that some bloggers just don’t have. But if you want to recover your referrals and traffic, here are a few suggestions.

  • Hit Twitter heavily. One of my blogs put a heavy emphasis on Twitter interaction earlier this year, and we’ve increased twitter followers by 2,000 in the last three months. We’ve also seen our referrals from Twitter grow rapidly. By early 2013 we expect they’ll exceed Google’s referrals, which will help offset the lost traffic from Google.
  • Buy PPC ads. Many bloggers will scoff at this notion. Spend money to increase traffic? Pshaw. Yet it’s a proven method. Put yourself front and center, even on small-screened mobile devices by buying ads against your best keywords. It will cost you a few dollars, but it will pay off in referrals.
  • Start a mailing list. It might be time to completely wean yourself off Google as a traffic source. Newsletters are great, because people give you permission to contact them directly. Newsletters also spread well via word-of-mouth, meaning you won’t be as dependent on Google for subscribers.
  • Create a mobile app (publish it to Google Play Store, Apple Store) and mobile website. Attention is valuable, and when people download your mobile app they’re giving you their attention for as long as the app is open. There’s no reason to pass up this opportunity.

The move to smaller screens, whether it be on a smartphone, a tablet, or even a laptop, has changed the way SEO works. Previously you’d see many organic links above the fold. Now that number is reduced to the point where only the top one or two sit above the fold. There isn’t much webmasters can do about this.

Awareness is a good start, though. Once the issue is clear, then you can develop your own action plan. You’ll need it, too. We all know Google is going to make our lives more difficult again and again.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Incredible! Water Remembers Creatures Than Live And Swim In It For Thousands Of Years

Water does not forget, says Prof. Boris Koch, a chemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. Irrespective of what happens in the sea: whether the sun shines, algae bloom or a school of dolphins swims through a marine area – everything and everyone leaves biomolecular tracks. With the help of a combination of new techniques, Boris Koch and colleagues can now identify and retrace some of these. In a special volume of the open access journal Biogeosciences, these scientists report on how these analyses work and which events in the sea have so far been uncovered by researchers.

Researchers working with Prof. Dr. Boris Koch, travelling on the Polarstern research ship, took water samples containing dissolved organic matter or DOM from the sea. The subsequent analysis in the mass spectrometer generates a chemical fingerprint which indicates the origin of the organic substances. Do they original from land plants or marine organisms, or did they enter the ocean via dust in the air or along springs on the sea bed? The analysis also permits conclusions to be made about the age of substances in the water – they can float in the ocean for several thousand years!
Graph: Yves Nowak, Alfred Wegener Institute

Ponds, peat holes and roadside ditches full of stagnant rainwater were previously of no interest to the chemist Boris Koch. “Then I thought: everyone knows this brown sludge; what could be interesting about it? Today we are working with these very substances that colour the water in roadside ditches brown – or expressed more precisely, with dissolved organic matter which not only occurs in ponds, but of course also in oceans,” says Boris Koch, who initiated the research project and is co-editor of the special volume.

It is true that the concentration of these so-called biomolecules per litre of water is lower in oceans than in roadside ditches. However, if we were to tip all of the seawater in the world through a biomolecular porous sieve and convert all the components contained to units of carbon, the relationship would look completely different. It is estimated that the sieve would contain around 25 billion tonnes of stored carbon. This originates primarily from the remains of dead marine organisms and also from the biomass of living whales, fish, algae, bacteria, sea grass and other marine residents. On the other hand, some 662 billion tonnes of dissolved organic carbon would pile up under the sieve, consisting of ten thousands of various substances.

The CTD probe is lowered into the depths. 
Photo: Thomas Steuer, Alfred Wegener Institute

All of these substances aroused Boris Koch’s curiosity: “Our work with dissolved organic matter is accompanied by two fundamental difficulties: firstly, to this day we do not know how much organic material reaches the sea or is produced there and why not everything is biodegraded. Secondly, the concentration of individual dissolved biomolecules is so low that we must consistently enrich our water samples so as to be able to study the dissolved organic matter they contain in an ultra-high resolution mass spectrometer at the Helmholtz Zentrum München,” explains Koch, who is a co-operative professor at the Alfred Wegener Institute and Bremerhaven University and who lectures on marine chemistry.

With the help of this mass spectrometer at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, the team of scientists working with Boris Koch has for the first time succeeded in identifying thousands of individual components in the dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the course of a single measurement. “The device gives us the chemical formula of each molecule and specifies how much carbon, oxygen, hydrogen or nitrogen it contains. We need this information to find out where the individual molecule might have originated from,” Boris Koch explains.

At the end of the analysis in the mass spectrometer a kind of chemical fingerprint is produced which, in the course of statistical calculation, permits concrete conclusions to be made about the water in which the dissolved organic matter once swam in. “We are just beginning our studies. However, it would appear that, using this method, we have discovered a new way of exploiting the water’s chemical memory,” says Boris Koch. For example, scientists can say how old the dissolved matter is, whether it was exposed to strong sunlight along its path through the oceans or which bacteria and types of plankton probably once swam in the same body of water.

“We can even trace which share of the DOM leaves its tracks in the atmosphere. Foam and waves can transport DOM into the air where it has a considerable influence on climate,” adds Dr. Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin from the Institute of Ecological Chemistry at Helmholtz Zentrum München. After all, the most important questions about DOM arise from climate research. Boris Koch: “The dissolved organic matter in the ocean is one of the largest active carbon reservoirs on earth. Previously climate research paid little consideration to its storage capacity, despite the fact that it binds carbon dioxide for periods of 3000 years or more – the average age of our sample material.”

The question for scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute is now to close these gaps in knowledge and to find out more about the role of the DOM in the global carbon cycle. The chemical analysis process could also be used in other sub-disciplines of marine research: “Oceanographers could always draw on the DOM finger print when it is not possible to distinguish water masses solely on the basis of temperature and salt content readings. Furthermore, during one of the next expeditions with the research vessel Polarstern, together with biologists we plan to examine whether the DOM in bodies of water along the migration routes of southern elephant seals demonstrates certain chemical commonalities. Perhaps we will find evidence that these marine mammals find their way using ‘water odour’”, chemist Boris Koch says.

Personally the new findings mean that he now sees every ditch in a different light. Koch: “We now know that every drop of water contains real chemical information which, thanks to new technology, we are now able to access.”

Background knowledge: What is DOM?

Dissolved organic matter, or DOM, in the ocean is one of the largest active, organic carbon reservoirs on earth. The global volume of carbon stored in the DOM (662 billion tonnes) is comparable with the total volume of carbon in atmospheric carbon dioxide (currently 835 billion tonnes) and in land plants (610 billion tonnes). Moreover it exceeds the volume of carbon stored in living marine animals, plants and bacteria (some 3 billion tonnes) by a factor of 200.

The organic matter is formed from atmospheric carbon dioxide by primary producers such as plants and plankton by photosynthesis. This takes place both on land (plants) and in the sea (algae). The DOM formed is either transported to the oceans via rivers or it is directly released in the seawater or sea ice, for example by algae and converted by microbial degradation. In flat coastal waters and the open sea, bacteria absorb take up part of the DOM as their most important source of organic energy. They decompose the material and break it down into its basic components. The carbon dioxide created in the process dissolves in the water and can thereby escape back into the atmosphere.

The other part of the freshly incorporated DOM is initially not broken down by bacteria, but rather chemically modified, and withstands the decomposition process for a period of up to 5000 years. This is an extremely unusual process from a chemical point of view because in principle the oxygen-rich water column should promote rapid microbial degradation of the organic material. The two major questions are now: why are degradation processes interrupted and why does a significant part of the atmospheric carbon remain stored in the DOM of the oceans, circulating them for a long time? In this way marine DOM acts as a buffer in the organic carbon cycle.

Despite the evident major significance of DOM, until now it has been scarcely possible to classify it in the global carbon cycle. The complex composition of the DOM represented an enormous analytical challenge. Consequently, there was insufficient information about the precise sources of the DOM, the formation and degradation processes and its binding mechanisms with minerals and heavy metals.

The special volume of Biogeosciences, entitled Molecular biogeochemical provinces in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, can be accessed online athttp://www.biogeosciences.net/special_issue95.html.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

How To Improve Family Business Communication

Family businesses can be financially rewarding, but stressful when communications are ineffective. Separating business from personal issues is difficult when your family members are your co-workers and bosses. Especially in family businesses where some owners are non-active participants in the business, strong communication lines are essential. Establishing clear communication methods can minimize business errors and frustration and they can lead to more better interpersonal dialogue and long-term business success.

Step 1

Outline clear lines of command. It is easy to fall into a business structure that neither clearly identifies the bosses nor areas of responsibility in a family business. Step back from the business and clearly define which family members are responsible for each routine task and operational function in the business. Gary Naumann, an entrepreneurship lecturer at Arizona State University, suggests sorting tasks by functional area and assigning responsibilities based on individual competence. Without clear lines of control and responsibility, communications may be ineffective.

Step 2

Create personal, family and business goals together. Goal setting promotes discussions and helps the family members establish common ground according to Dr. Craig E. Aronoff. When all family members understand the direction of the company, communication lines are strengthened as everyone is working from the same foundation.

Step 3

Communicate frequently. One of the biggest risks to family-owned businesses is losing trust and a shared company vision according to Wharton University. Routine communications with all family owners of the business are necessary to keep everyone focused on the same goals and long-term business objectives. Without frequent communications, non-active family business owners may feel neglected and may not support the collective vision for the company.

Step 4

Hold routine family business meetings. Individual family members may want to cash out their shares in the company if they do not feel a part of the organization or believe their financial stake is at risk. Timothy G. Habbershon suggests holding regular family and shareholder meetings as a way to promote family unity and trust in the longer-term goals of the company.

Step 5

Create a development program for younger family members. Business succession requires disseminating information and knowledge to the next generation of family business leaders. Professor Kelin E. Gersick suggests establishing a management development plan that spans 10 years. Establishing a mentoring program or management training course can increase relationships between generations and allows the transfer of accumulated business knowledge and wisdom.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

How To Increase Pinterest Traffic & Direct It To Your Site

While its popularity has evened out over the last few months, Pinterest is still carrying a lot of the momentum it gathered at the beginning of the year. Considering that it drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined and had 23 million unique visitors to the site in August, its ability to direct more traffic to your site has rightly gotten businesses and brands interested in the service. On top of that, the introduction of business pages makes it obvious that Pinterest wants them to get involved.
There’s a process to everything though and like all things, you will have to put the time and effort into it before you start seeing results. Here we will focus on the ways you can improve the content you’re posting, how you can use Pinterest to direct traffic to your site and ways you can optimise it for SEO purposes.

Improving Your Content

Be Original
Repinning is a great way of building up new followers, but to be truly influential, you need to pin your own content regularly and before everyone else. In your communities, keep an eye out for content that has already been posted to see what people like and look for content that haven’t been pinned yet. If you become a source for original content, you will have a greater chance of getting repinned and obtaining new followers.
Pin Videos
Pinterest is a very visual site, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t pin videos on your boards. It’s good to mix up your content a little and provide these links, just to see how exactly your followers react to it. You can only pin videos from YouTube and Vimeo, but considering the former has 72 hours of new video uploaded every minute, this won’t be limiting.
Spread Out Your Pinning Across All Boards
It’s never a good idea to focus all of your attention on the one board. For one, it’s will overwhelm those following your board and it will neglect those following your other boards. Even if it’s a board that you can’t find much content for, it’s better to update it every so often than to leave it dormant so take the time to update your boards at least once a week so to keep things fresh. If finding content becomes difficult, change the title to something more general so it becomes easier to find content to pin.
Use Secret Boards
If you’re preparing a new board and would much prefer to populate it first before revealing it, Pinterest’s new secret boards is what you’re looking for. You don’t ever have to publish these boards so you can use it for other purposes such as bookmarking links and if your account is used by more than one person, you can use it to share links and ideas among yourselves.
Also, if you were running a competition on the site, you can arrange boards first before revealing them and prepare boards in advance if the competition requires more than one. Think outside the box and you will find a number of uses for them.
Download A Browser Plugin
The Web is vast and the chances of you coming across content that you want to pin is quite high. As you’re not going to be on Pinterest 24/7, browser plugins are a handy way of pinning content without having to access your account. If you’re a Chrome user, Pin It and Pin Search are handy plugins and if you’re a Firefox uer,Pinterest Right Click is all you need.  Alternatively, you can settle for Pinterest’s own ‘Pin It‘ button, which can be downloaded directly from the site.
Keep Your Descriptions Short And Sweet
While your descriptions can go up to 500 characters, the chances of people reading the entire description (unless it’s a competition) is slim.  This is especially true when you consider that only a small portion of that description will be visible when you’re browsing boards. It’s best to keep descriptions short and sweet so that both the image and text is easily visible. The description should be used for placing keywords that will help users find your content.

Driving Traffic To Your Site

Add Pin It Buttons To Your Site
The easiest way to get any site content shared is to install a widget on your site. Don’t underestimate the power a Pin-it button has in getting your content out there, but before you rush off and add one, you need to determine whether adding such a button is beneficial for you. If your site has a number of different widgets, it might be better to remove one first and replace it with the “Pin It” button so you don’t clog up your site.
Pin Up Blog Posts
Like any social media site, you shouldn’t go overboard when posting your own content. The focus should always be on providing good content for your users that they can share with their followers and friends. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t slip in one or two of your posts every now and again. Make sure the topic of your blog post matches the board you’re pinning it up to and don’t overdo it, people don’t mind such content appearing so long as it doesn’t dominate their feeds. Ensure that the image you’re using is of high quality as it is the first thing users will see.
Verify Your Website
If your page is popular with users, it’s a good idea to verify your website so that people can find your site through your Pinterest page. Currently, your website is hidden away as a globe icon, which not many people would realise is a URL button. Getting your site verified can help boost your site visibility and improve your SEO efforts. The process can be a little daunting for those who aren’t tech savvy, so if you’re not feeling confident, you should ask someone with basic HTML skills or your web designer to do it for you.
For those undaunted, start by going into settings, and scroll down to the section which allows you to enter in your website. Here you will see an option to verify your website. Click this and download the HTML verification file, making a note of the code at the end of the file. You will then need to upload the file onto your web server at the root folder as http://www.yourwebsite.com/pinterest-xxxxx.html. When that is done, return to the verify page and press the “Click here” link to verify your website.
Alternatively, you can add a meta tag which you can add to the head of your index.html file. Once that is done, return to the ‘Verify Website’ page and click on step two to complete the process. This feature is only available for top-domain addresses (home page addresses) like www.zoneblogger.com. Addresses like www.zoneblogger.com/facebook won’t work as it’s a subfolder.
Monitor Your Analytics
If you use a service like Google Analytics, then you should definitely monitor how much traffic it generates for your site. You should have a good idea of what content works, but don’t expect traffic to jump up immediately when you’re starting off. Experiment with the type of content you’re posting and monitor the results through repins, comments, and the amount of traffic redirected to your site.

SEO Optimisation

Write Your Own Descriptions
Most images that you pin will provide you with a brief description of the page. While this is fine, sometimes it doesn’t quite explain what it is you’re pinning. You’re better off removing the text provided and providing your own summary. Pinterest give you 500 characters to work with so unless you’re running a competition, you shouldn’t really need more than 350 characters for a pin.
Use Hashtags
Just like Twitter, hashtags are a handy way of categorising your content, but much like the microblogging site, it’s better to only use one or two hashtags to describe your content. You should use general terms when creating your hashtags so that it’s easier for people to find your content when they’re using the search bar.
Build Up Links
Search engines rate your site based on the number of backlinks you have built up. When you’re implementing your SEO strategy, include links to your site in some of the description. What happens is that when these pins are shared, it creates a back link which bumps up your SEO ranking. Over time, you could see your site’s SEO ranking rise because of this.
Just in case, you should check to see if ‘Search Privacy’ is switched on as this could be preventing your profile from appearing on search engines. Turning it on means that your profile won’t be found if someone tries searching for it on Google or Bing.

Articles & Guides

A number of other articles and guides that will help you out with your
- Econsultancy uses Sony as a case study and shows how it used Pinterest to drive traffic.
- PR Daily offers seven proven ways to create viral Pinterest posts.
- Social Media Examiner shows you how you can use Pinterest to generate more traffic to your blog.
- Paper.il offer 13 tips that will direct more traffic from Pinterest to your site.
- Unskinny Boppy offers a comprehensive post on how to use the platform to go viral as well as other helpful tips.
- AdviceMedia offer a brief list on how to make your website go viral on Pinterest.

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