Why You Need Training For Small Businesses

Many people become excited by the idea of owning a business in the future. Financial freedom means no boss or other people you choose to avoid at work. You will finally be in a position to control your company and your destiny. Starting a business is not as hard as maintaining it and making sure that it is consistently profitable. To deal with such challenges, you might consider training in small businesses development and administration.

The first benefit of acquiring this training is that it equips you with legal knowledge for your line of operation. There are regulations and laws in every state which will dictate means of operating, advertising, employees, and taxes, among other things.

Many of these regulations and rules can change from year to year, so having up to date training in your field is crucial as developments happen. Effective training will help you avoid problems and deal with changing regulations.

Financial training will help you get a handle on income and expenses, tax deductions, and other management issues you will need to handle. Just because you an expert in the type of service or products that you are offer, does not make you to be an expert on running a business or it’s accounting aspects. Many professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, have learned this the hard way.

You will become more effective in dealing with your clients and the staff. In addition, it will better equip you with
tools to gauge risk and reward, and deal with growth and planning projections that will occur as your business grows. The training is very significant if you would like your enterprise to grow because you will need to learn how to work on your business, instead of in your business.

Alt Text for Images

Writing effective ALT text for images

Anyone who knows anything about web accessibility knows that images need alternative, or ALT, text assigned to them. This is because screen readers can’t understand images, but rather read aloud the alternative text assigned to them. In Internet Explorer we can see this ALT text, simply by mousing over the image and looking at the yellow tooltip that appears. Other browsers (correctly) don’t do this. The HTML for inserting ALT text is:

<img src="filename.gif" alt="Alternative description goes here">

But surely there can’t be a skill to writing ALT text for images? You just pop a description in there and you’re good to go, right? Well, kind of. Sure, it’s not rocket science, but there are a few guidelines you need to follow…

Spacer images and missing ALT text

Spacer images should always be assigned null ALT text, or alt="". This way most screen readers will completely ignore the image and won’t even announce its presence. Spacer images are invisible images that pretty most websites use. The purpose of them is, as the name suggests, to create space on the page. Sometimes it’s not possible to create the visual display you need, so you can stick an image in (specifying its height and width) and volià, you have the extra space you need.

Not everyone uses this null ALT text for spacer images. Some websites stick in alt="spacer image". Imagine how annoying this can be for a screen reader user, especially when you have ten of them in a row. A screen reader would say, “Image, spacer image” ten times in a row (screen readers usually say the word, “Image”, before reading out its ALT text) – now that isn’t helpful!

Other web developers simply leave out the ALT attribute for spacer images (and perhaps other images). In this case, most screen readers will read out the filename, which could be ‘newsite/images/onepixelspacer.gif’. A screen reader would announce this image as “Image, newsite slash images slash one pixel spacer dot gif”. Imagine what this would sound like if there were ten of these in a row!

Bullets and icons

Bullets and icons should be treated in much the same way as spacer images, so should be assigned null alternative text, or alt="". Think about a list of items with a fancy bullet proceeding each item. If the ALT text, ‘Bullet’ is assigned to each image then, “Image, bullet” will be read aloud by screen readers before each list item, making it take that bit longer to work through the list.

Icons, usually used to complement links, should also be assigned alt="". Imagine the following link:

Contact us iconContact us

Many websites use the link text as the ALT text of the icon. Imagine if in this example the icon was assigned alt="contact us". Screen readers would first announce this ALT text, and then the link text, so would say “Contact us” twice, which obviously isn’t necessary.

(Ideally, bullets and icons should be called up as background images through the CSS document – this would remove them from the HTML document completely and therefore remove the need for any ALT description.)

Decorative images

Decorative images too should be assigned null alternative text, or alt="". If an image is pure eye candy then there’s no need for a screen reader user to even know it’s there and being informed of its presence simply adds to the noise pollution.

Conversely, you could argue that the images on your site create a brand identity and by hiding them from screen reader users you’re denying this group of users the same experience. Accessibility experts tend to favour the former argument, but there certainly is a valid case for the latter too.

Navigation & text embedded within images

Navigation menus that require fancy text have no choice but to embed the text within an image. In this situation, the ALT text shouldn’t be used to expand on the image. Under no circumstances should the ALT text say, ‘Read all about our fantastic services, designed to help you in everything you do’. If the menu item says, ‘Services’ then the ALT text should also say ‘Services’. ALT text should always describe the content of the image and should repeat the text word-for-word. If you want to expand on the navigation, such as in this example, you can use the title attribute.

The same applies for any other text embedded within an image. The ALT text should simply repeat, word-for-word, the text contained within that image.

(Unless the font being used is especially unique it’s often unnecessary to embed text within images – advanced navigation and background effects can now be achieved with CSS.)

Company logo

Websites tend to vary in how they apply ALT text to logos. Some say, ‘Company name’, others ‘Company name logo’, and other describe the function of the image (usually a link back to the homepage), ‘Back to home’. Remember, ALT text should always describe the content of the image so the first example, alt="Company name", is probably the best. If the logo is a link back to the homepage then this can be effectively communicated through the title tag.

Conclusion

Writing effective ALT text isn’t too difficult. If it’s a decorative image then null alternative text, or alt="" should usually be used – never, ever omit the ALT attribute. If the image contains text then the ALT text should simply repeat this text, word-for-word. Remember, ALT text should describe the content of the image and nothing more.

Do also be sure also to keep ALT text as short and succinct as possible. Listening to a web page with a screen reader takes a lot longer than traditional methods, so don’t make the surfing experience painful for screen reader users with bloated and unnecessary ALT text.

  • Copyright © 2012 Webcredible.

 

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Tips

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Tips

How to Drive Traffic to

Your Blog from Search Engines

By , About.com Guide

Getting a high rank on search engines through user keyword searches can be difficult, but with proper focus on writing your blog posts for search engine optimization (SEO), you can boost your rank for specific keyword searches and your blog’s traffic. Follow these tips to get the biggest results.

1. Check the Popularity of Keywords

In order to obtain traffic from keyword searches on the major search engines like Google and Yahoo!, you need to be writing about a topic that people want to read about and are actively looking for information about. One of the easiest ways to get a basic idea of what people are looking for online is to check the popularity of keyword searches on websites like Wordtracker, Google AdWords, Google Trends or the Yahoo! Buzz Index. Each of these sites provides a snapshot of keyword popularity at any given time.

2. Select Specific and Relevant Keywords

A good rule to go by is to select one keyword phrase per page then optimize that page to that keyword phrase. Keywords should be relevant to the overall content of your page. Furthermore, choose specific keywords that are more likely to give you a better search results ranking than a broad term would. For example, consider how many sites use the keyword phrase of “punk music.” The competition for ranking using that keyword is likely to be tough. If you choose a more specific keyword like “Green Day concert,” the competition is a lot easier.

3. Select a Keyword Phrase of 2 or 3 Words

Statistics show that nearly 60% of keyword searches include 2 or 3 keywords. With that in mind, try to optimize your pages for searches on keyword phrases of 2 or 3 words to drive the biggest results.

4. Use Your Keyword Phrase in Your Title

Once you select the keyword phrase you plan to optimize your page for, make sure you use that phrase in the title of your blog post (or page).

5. Use Your Keyword Phrase in Your Subtitle and Headlines

Breaking blog posts up using subtitles and section headlines not only makes them more visually appealing on a text heavy computer screen, but it also gives you additional opportunities to use your keyword phrase.

6. Use Your Keyword Phrase in the Body of Your Content

It’s important that you use your keyword phrase in the body of your blog post. A good goal to try to achieve is to use your keyword phrase at least twice in the first paragraph of your post and as many times as you can (without keyword stuffing – see #10 below) within the first 200 (alternatively, the first 1,000) words of your post.

7. Use Your Keyword Phrase in and Around Your Links

Search engines count links higher than plain text in their search algorithms, so try to create links that use your keyword phrase. Avoid using links that simply say, “click here” or “more information” as these links will do nothing to help you with your search engine optimization. Leverage the power of links in SEO by including your keyword phrase in them whenever possible. The text surrounding links is typically weighted more heavily by search engines than other text on your page as well. If you can’t include your keyword phrase in your link text, try to include it around your link text.

8. Use Your Keyword Phrase in Images

Many bloggers see a large amount of traffic sent to their blogs from image searches on search engines. Make the images you use in your blog work for you in terms of SEO. Make sure your image filenames and captions include your keyword phrase.

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9. Avoid Block Quotes

There are differing opinions on this issue with one group of people saying that Google and other search engines ignore the text included in the HTML block quote tag when crawling a web page. Therefore, the text within the block quote tag won’t be included in terms of SEO. Until a more definitive answer can be determined to this issue, it’s a good idea to keep it in mind and use the block quote tag cautiously.

10. Don’t Keyword Stuff

Search engines penalize sites that stuff pages full of keywords simply to increase their rankings through keyword searches. Some sites are even banned from inclusion in search engine results because of keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is considered a form of spamming, and search engines have zero tolerance for it. Keep this in mind as you optimize your blog posts for search engines using your specific keyword phrase.