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WordPress is one of the most flexible open source Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world.

So it’s no surprise that WordPress has been downloaded more than 32.6 million times or that it powers 40% of all websites.

WordPress is also SEO-friendly, to the point where even non-techies can easily implement some simple optimization techniques. This is great news for small local businesses which may not have the budget for sweeping SEO improvements, but still want to rank better in local search.

In this article, I’ll show you seven simple SEO improvements you can make to boost the local search ranking of your WordPress site.

1. Optimize Your Content

Your content offerings are the most important assets on your website. Having a great site structure, lightning-fast load times, and tons of security measures won’t help you if your content isn’t up to par.

So, before you can think about optimizing your content, you need to start with something your audience finds valuable.

To do this, you’ll need to understand your audience’s pain points and know how your products solve their problems.

Once you understand this, you can turn your solutions into all sorts of compelling content, from videos to blog posts to infographics, which keep them coming back for more.

Once you have great content, the next step can seem a little daunting: on-page optimization. Fortunately, we can enlist the help of some basic tools like the Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast SEO also points out some important on-page factors such as word count and keyword occurrences.

2. Review Your Link Profile

We know from recent studies that links are still the #1 most important ranking signal when it comes to localized organic rankings.

The number of domains linking to your site, the quality of your backlinks, and the optimization of your link anchor text are all strongly correlated to your local ranking.

Good organic link building takes time to cultivate, but here are a few simple steps you can start with:

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

The number of domains, IPs, and C-blocks linking to your site are important, but one high-quality backlink from an industry leader in your niche is worth far more than dozens of irrelevant, low-quality links. Use link tracking software to find and eliminate low-quality links.

Find & Fix Broken Links Optimize Anchor Text

Optimize some of your anchor text for local search by including your city’s name. Just be careful not to over-optimize (e.g., changing all of your anchor text, too many exact matches, etc.).

There’s no ideal percentage for location-optimized anchors, so conduct some competitor analysis to figure out what’s generally accepted in your niche.

Identify Potential Link Building Opportunities

Use a competitive analysis tool to find potential link building opportunities, such as relevant sites in your industry that link to your competitors but not you.

3. Speed up Your Website

The tortoise may beat the hare in children’s tales, but you can’t say the same in the SEO world.

Site speed remains one of Google’s most important “technical” ranking factors, and if you want to beat out your competitors in local search, then you’ll need to make sure that your site is as fast as possible.

Possible techniques include:

Compressing Large Images

Large image files are the biggest offender when it comes to slow websites. Use a plugin like WP Smush to compress and optimize your images.

Clean up Your WordPress Theme

Get rid of outdated page elements (e.g., unnecessary database calls, functions, JavaScript, etc.). And make sure you delete old themes – hackers may use these to infiltrate your site.

Reduce Server Load With a Caching Plugin

Caching plugins create state HTML versions of dynamic pages which significantly reduce server load times. There are a number of options for you to consider, including free options such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, and paid options such as WP Rocket.

Don’t Go Too Plugin-Crazy

You can find a plugin for practically any function, but try to stick to essential plugins that provide real value to your site. Too many plugins will slow your site down.

Alternatively, you could make your life easier by investing in website auditing software. Quality products will analyze your on-page speed factors for you and suggest ways to speed your site up.

4. Optimize for Mobile

A lot of your potential customers are looking for local businesses via mobile. This, coupled with the fact that Google indexes mobile sites preferentially to their desktop counterparts, means that mobile optimization is more important than ever.

The best thing you can do to improve your mobile site is to focus on page speed and image compression, but here are a few other tips and tricks:

Use a Responsive Theme

At the very least, you should make sure your WordPress theme is responsive and fits your content to all mobile devices.

Design Specifically for Mobile Visitors

Use the built-in wp_is_mobile() function to detect different devices on the server level and create custom experiences for your mobile visitors.

Launch a Mobile App

According to an eMarketer study, 88% of mobile media time is spent on apps. Mobile users like apps that give them a comprehensive way to engage with their favorite brands.

Create Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are incredibly fast pages designed specifically for mobile. WordPress comes with a default AMP plugin you can use to create AMP pages that are listed at the top of SERPs when users search from mobile devices.

5. Integrate Google My Business Into Your WordPress Site

Google My Business bundles together a number of key factors related to local rankings. Signals such as physical proximity, user reviews, and business descriptions and categories will all impact your position in SERPs.

Once you’ve claimed your GMB page, make sure you add your WordPress site to your profile, plus other key information, such as hours of operation and a description of your business.

Then look for plugins and widgets that will let you transfer key ranking signals such as photos, a business map, and customer reviews from your GMB page to your website.

You should also install a plugin that lets you add your GMB review to your WordPress site, such as the Google Places Reviews plugin. These will help increase consumer trust in your business!

You may also want to consider putting an intractable business map on your website via a plugin or widget. Google Maps Builder is one example that will help your customers find you.

6. Add Structured Data to Your Pages

Ever wonder why some local business listings seem so rich – including reviews, star ratings, and robust descriptions – while others fall flat?

The difference is structured data.

Using plugins like Schema, you can feed Google additional information about your business.

This will give your customers more detail when they find you in SERPs, including useful tidbits such as hours of operation, price range, and physical location.

7. Include Location Keywords in Your URLs

Generally speaking, URL structure plays a minor role in your page’s ability to rank.

When it comes to local search, however, including location keywords in your URL can help improve the user experience.

This is especially true if you have multiple landing pages targeting different locations and you want to assure your customers that they’re in the right place.

Previous versions of WordPress didn’t give you a lot of flexibility when it came to your URLs. They were all “ugly permalinks,” which looked something like this:

However, the latest versions of WordPress default to “pretty permalinks,” which include the date and name of your posts. They might look like this:

Conclusion

Want to take your SEO game even further?

You can make even more improvements to your WordPress site beyond what I’ve suggested here by manually creating chúng tôi files, generating XML sitemaps, optimizing your site structure, and more.

Image Credits: Paulo Bobita

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Local Seo: 15 Marketing Techniques To Promote Your Local Business Online

Launching a business online can be quite intimidating to any small business owner. Fortunately, any business can benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), which can make a small investment go a long way, as well as making sure that local buyers find their websites. Therefore, local SEO is an obvious choice to promote and market your business on the Web. The following blog post provides 15(!) low-cost marketing techniques to help drive traffic and sales to your website.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is a specialist technique that aims at getting your business name and website in front of people who are physically located near it. Search engines are the modern-day yellow pages, and your potential customers are looking to find you where you and your products and services are located.

Why is local SEO important?

According to 2009 chúng tôi report titled “Great Divide’ Separates Small Biz, Online Consumers,” 82 percent of local consumers use search engines to find local businesses. Furthermore, more than half (57 percent) use Yellow Pages directories with 49 percent using local directories. Local consumers are going online to find local businesses. It is important to be visible in order to acquire new or existing business.

15 Marketing Techniques to Grow Your Business

1. Submit Your Website to Search Engines

The first thing you will need to do when launching a website is to submit the site to search engines; Google and Bing are the major search engines to focus on. Out of the 15 techniques, this will be the easiest but one of the most important.

Tip: There are local search engines that can be of more benefit such as Yandex (for Russians), Baidu (for Chinese), and Kvasir (for Norwegians).

2. Make Your Website Easy to Use

Before marketing your website through various online channels, make sure that your meta data is accurate and follows the Google Webmaster guidelines. On-site optimization includes page titles and meta descriptions. Page titles should include your business name and one or two keywords that you want Web visitors to find you with. Avoid using too many keywords and make the titles and descriptions appear natural.

Tip: Search for competitors in your area to see keywords they are using to attract Web traffic.

3. Implement Google Analytics

Web host providers will often try and bundle analytics and data packages, but the best, free analytics tool on the Web is Google Analytics. It takes less than two minutes to sign up and implement the code, and you can start collecting Web traffic data immediately. Data includes the number of Web visitors, how long they browse your site, where the visitors are located, and how they arrived at your site. This is significant data for promoting your business and the most active channel (and geographic location).

Tip: Once your account starts collecting Web traffic data, map out goals on your website and begin tracking. Goals could be submitting a form or signing up to a newsletter.

4. Add Your Business to Google+ Local

Adding your business to Google+ Local is the next most important technique to implement. More people search for businesses online than anywhere else, and adding your website and business information to the Google local business directory can help. It’s free and simple. Also, you can manage your listing information including business description, product/service details, photos, videos, and offers.

Tip: Make sure your Google listing has a 100 percent score; most local businesses don’t reach 100 percent. 

5. Create Social Network Business Profiles

Not only is this at no cost, but you will also get trustworthy links from these profiles. The more trustworthy links you get to your website, the higher you will appear on Google.

Tip: Get your family, and friends to become the first to “like” or “follow” your business, and stay away from buying friends from third-parties. Build your social media presence naturally.

6. Launch an Online Marketing Campaign

Tip: When you create your campaign, make sure you use Ad Extensions that include local information, phone number, and Google + page.

7. Get Listed in Local Directories and Local Listings

Get listed in local directories and increase the number of trusted inbound links to your website. Most directories are free, and by adding your business, you will see an increase in Web visits from potential customers. (According to Mashable, positive Yelp ratings can boost a restaurant’s nightly reservations by 19 percent.)

Within two days of adding a small business to local directories, Web traffic from mobile grew from 0 percent to 18 percent of total traffic, and 30 percent of total traffic was referral.

Although claiming business citations is listed at number seven on this list, BrightLocal ran a survey in 2011 that found the top five most important local search ranking factors.

(Full report can be found here.)

8. Get Involved in Your Community

This continues to bring home to Google the relevance of your business to a specific area, especially if you’re able to include links to your website (be very careful not to spam social communities, though).

If there are local forums in your field, then it’s a great idea to get your business actively participating in them. By creating a profile and adding value to the forums, this continues to add relevance of your business to Google.

Tip: Try not to spam the forums or websites with links to your online business as this will only get you banned.

9. Optimize Mobile SEO and Its Accessibility

Tip: Visit your website on your smartphone and find three ways to improve the experience.

10. Add Social-sharing Buttons

In the footer of your website, make sure you add a link your Google+ Local page along with other social sharing buttons.

Tip: Make sure your email address and phone number is listed on each and every page of your footer.

11. Implement Webmaster Tools

Using webmaster tools in both Google and Bing helps you identify issues with your website. By fixing these issues, you will ensure that both search engines have no issues crawling (finding) your website when a local search is made.

Implementing both tools is relatively straight forward, and your web developer should be able to support you with this.

Tip: When adding your website to Bing Webmaster tools, you will receive $50 in market funds (US only).

12. Upload Pictures

The local directory sites like to provide users with pictures of your business. To help ensure that your business gets the best exposure, upload your own pictures. They don’t need to be of a professional quality but they will represent your business, so make sure they are decent.

Tip: Save your photo with a filename that includes your business name and a keyword.

13. Ask for Reviews

Most local sites and directories allow customers reviews. Other than Yelp, most are supportive in requesting reviews. Customer reviews, whether good or bad, make your business more credible to future customers.

Research shows that having at least five reviews in Google+ Local is the magic number where the reviews may start to help with rankings. However, since the recent Google Places move to Google+ Local, reviewers are required to have a  Google+ account.

Tip: Use your website, invoices, thank you pages, and email communication to ask your customers to review your business. 

14. Launch a Blog

Write about your industry, your talent, your services, and promote it in all channels. Blogging not only helps increase awareness of your business, but it also improves your writing. You will learn more within your field (become an expert!), and it is a great way to acquire new links to your website.

Tip: Link your Facebook page and blog by adding the RSS reader application in Facebook, making sure that your blog posts will show up on your Facebook page each time a new post is published.

15. Be Consistent

Each time you add your website and business information to a local directory, social network, or forum, make sure you be consistent with your business name, address, telephone number, email address, website link, and business description.

Tip: Create a file that you can use to copy and paste the information from to make sure all listings are the same.

Local SEO is Essential to Your Business

Small businesses cannot afford to spend a great deal of money for online marketing, but using the marketing techniques above will help lower the cost and support the launch of your local business online. Local listings and SEO have always been important for small business online marketing efforts, but now they’re even more essential.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Local Seo: New Google Local & Google Maps Features That Boost Marketing

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The key to local business success: Be the first to use Google’s newest marketing features in your area.

Get more traffic in the door, get your business noticed faster, and outrank your competition.

Amanda Jordan, Director of Digital Strategy for RicketyRoo Inc., joined me to discuss the easiest ways to incorporate the new Google Local and Google Maps features into your local SEO strategy.

The pandemic, changing search habits, and more people shopping locally have driven the need for local businesses to have a strong presence in the search results.

Google Business Profile and other local features are vital to adapting to these changes.

In this podcast, you’ll learn how to grow your local business with a few tweaks on Google Local, Google Maps, and Google Business Profile.

Every time I’ve seen someone go from no Google Business Profile to a cool business profile, or even just adding anything like that, there’s a huge amount of growth because essentially you’ve just made yourself visible to lots of people that didn’t even know you existed before. –Amanda Jordan, 58:54

The more thorough and valuable your reviews are, the more of an impact it does have on your ability to rank. –Amanda Jordan, 19:55

It’s good just to have something up there that’s recent and current just because It’ll help you stand out. –Amanda Jordan, 11:35

A lot of times, we see social media and SEO as two completely separate things, but they can inform each other. They both give you data about who your customers are, how they found you, why they like you, and what they’re interested in. –Amanda Jordan, 22:01

A lot of times, especially with local SEO and the focus on reviews and things like that, we can forget about the technical elements or not be as confident in our ability to handle them. I think it’s perfectly normal but I think that’s a place where a lot of technical and local SEOs can grow. –Amanda Jordan, 40:40

Connect with Amanda Jordan:

Amanda has extensive experience designing campaigns, including web development and SEO, and is very talented and creative.

She began her SEO career in 2011 and has enjoyed tackling complex problems for clients. Her specialty is local SEO for legal and enterprise companies. In her free time, Amanda enjoys playing with her dogs and beating her son at Mario Kart.

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

10 Best Practices For Cyber Attack Prevention

Cyber attacks are growing in frequency and complexity, due to factors like a higher number of expert malicious actors, more distributed workforces and technologies to protect, and an increase in devices and users that can unknowingly act as attack gateways. 

Although there’s no way to guarantee that an organization will stay safe from a cyber attack, several physical and technical safeguards can be established to better protect network data. 

Read on to learn about how your team can stay up-to-date with the latest tools and knowledge to arm themselves against the next major cybersecurity threat.

Readers also read: Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats

Zero trust, the tools and practices behind the idea of “trusting no one and verifying everything,” is quickly becoming the most affordable and crucial part of cybersecurity efforts. Zero trust has even reached federal policy levels in the U.S., with President Joe Biden signing an executive order in May 2023 to increase national cybersecurity efforts through zero trust, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and improved encryption. 

Many enterprise leaders have developed misconceptions about what zero trust means and what the security approach entails. Jim Taylor, chief product officer at SecurID, an identity and access management (IAM) company, explained what zero trust actually means when enterprises get it right:

“‘Zero trust tends to be thrown around quite a bit by marketers, so businesses should be warned: Zero trust isn’t a product, feature, or service,” Taylor said. “Instead, it’s a goal to strive toward. It’s a way of thinking, not a product. Risk isn’t the trade off we make in pursuit of convenience: It’s just a bad practice, full stop. If there’s no valid reason to expose an asset, then you simply shouldn’t, … [but] don’t get too swept up in trying to achieve true zero trust. Instead, use a risk-based approach to map the frequency, likelihood, and impact of a given event and prioritize the highest-value threats.”

Babur Khan, a technical marketing engineer for A10, a cloud and 5G network security company, believes that zero trust is an important component of cybersecurity but that it works best in combination with SSL inspection.

“SSL inspection provides in-depth traffic examination as well as detection and amelioration of malicious requests, monitoring data entering and leaving networks for analytics, and protecting against DDoS attacks, to name a few,” Khan said. “President Biden’s executive order is the most far-reaching cybersecurity infrastructure and cyberattack prevention strategy the federal government has ever put forward and its promotion of zero-rust architecture is the only practical and effective foundation for all of its goals. Adding SSL inspection completes the architecture and ensures, unlike our traditional brick-and-mortar bridges, that our cybersecurity and cyberattack prevention foundations are future-proofed.”

Getting started with zero trust: Steps to Building a Zero Trust Network

Your organization’s most frequently used apps more than likely include the remnants of users, permissions, and dated security approaches that make those tools vulnerable to attack. It’s important to check how all of those applications are configured and monitor who has access and when and how they use that access.

“The first step to keeping Active Directory secure is to ensure all aspects of AD that can be compromised are properly secured,” Melber said. “This includes users, attributes, groups, group members, permissions, trusts, Group Policy-related settings, user rights, and much more. 

“A good example would be to require strong authentication on service accounts and actively manage the groups they are in. Part of this means mandating multi-factor authentication for all users. Enforce the principle of least privilege across all endpoints to prevent lateral movement, blocking default administration, denying access from a built-in local administrator account and avoiding many of the built-in groups, which have too many permissions.”

A large number of successfully launched cyber attacks make it into enterprise networks through the unknowing actions of an authorized user, usually due to a phishing email. Enterprises can’t ensure they’ll catch every instance in which a user falls victim to phishing, but they can add additional security measures to email and other applications that turn users into a gateway for external actors.

Mike Spanbauer, senior director and technology evangelist for Juniper Networks, a major global networking company, believes efforts in communications-based security are crucial to protecting your users and their network actions: 

The majority of enterprise employees not only use corporate equipment for work activities, but also use personal mobile devices to check email, open collaborative documents, and perform other actions that can expose sensitive company data. 

Spanbauer with Juniper Networks said the best way to make sure that personal mobile devices do not expose the network to unnecessary threats is to establish and enforce a mobile device and data management plan.

“Mobile technologies continue to gain in processing and data-gathering power, but many companies still employ a bring your own device policy,” Spanbauer said. “This is fine, so long as the resources these devices can access are sufficiently gated, and the networks they can access are restricted and robustly monitored. A proven master data management solution is always a good option. Effective inspection of the guest network can also help to prevent the spread of threats from device to device as well as to protect the organization from potential harm.” 

Also read: Cybersecurity Market 2023

Employees often have trouble remembering their user access credentials, and to try to make it easier, they use simple passwords and store their information in unsecured places. Bad password habits expose enterprise networks to large amounts of risk, making it possible for malicious actors to steal credentials from any number of users.

As a result of the many cyber attacks based on credential theft, experts like Taylor from SecurID encourage companies to find passwordless and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) strategies for user account security. 

“One way to address [remote worker security vulnerabilities] is with modern security principles, including passwordless, device-based, risk-based, and UEBA,” Taylor said. “These modern techniques and technologies increase security and improve the user experience. By simply having your phone in your pocket and performing a task in the same way you always have, you create a cybersecurity stance for users that’s far easier than asking them to remember a complex password — and far more secure as well.”

No matter how much security infrastructure you put into place, every network will still have some vulnerabilities that can eventually be targeted by a hacker. Most enterprises make the mistake of only responding to these events reactively, handling the security problem as it comes but not doing any additional work, training, or policy development to prepare for other attacks. 

Dave Martin, VP of extended detection and response at Open Systems, a global cybersecurity company, believes that companies need to start by updating their incident response plan and actually putting it into practice.

“Seconds count during a breach, and you cannot afford to lose precious time that should be spent responding to a successful attack in a coordinated and impactful fashion,” Martin said. 

In partnership with the policy development and training that comes with creating an incident response plan, it’s important to also have regular monitoring and security auditing in place to catch minor issues before they turn into major ones.

Martin with Open Systems explained the importance of getting your people and processes accustomed to a monitoring and auditing workflow:

“Preventive security technologies such as firewalls, antivirus, proxies, multi-factor authentication, and more are necessary, but they are not sufficient,” Martin said. “The threat actor landscape has evolved from simply developing malicious software to now including the sophisticated weaponization of that software, using trusted delivery methods to obscure malicious activity. 

“The only way to know if your prevention layer is working is to have security experts continuously monitoring all potential attack surfaces using best practices and repeatable processes to detect and respond to threats. Many organizations take a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ approach to the prevention layer, and as a result, continuous monitoring has emerged as an essential ingredient to minimize risk by providing an important feedback loop. Security is a journey, not a destination.”

More on network audits: Creating a Network Audit Checklist

Data security is a key point of greater cybersecurity principles, and data governance ensures that the right data receives needed protections.

Will Bass, VP of cybersecurity at Flexential, an IT and data center management solutions company, believes that strong data governance involves reviewing data at the source and protecting people from unnecessary data access on a continual basis.

“Organizations keep too much data for too long,” Bass said. “Sensitive data is a target for bad actors that increases organizational risk. 

“Reducing this threat requires good data governance practices, such as deleting any data that is not required to provide their services or meet a regulatory requirement. Deleting unneeded sensitive data in the environment not only reduces the risk of a compromise, but also decreases IT costs by reducing the infrastructure footprint and narrowing the scope for privacy and other regulatory requirements.”

Especially in the era of big data, it can be challenging to distinguish between unneeded data and data to protect. But Seth Cutler, CISO at NetApp, a large data management and cloud company, believes that some of these data management best practices are a good place to start:

“Looking at the sheer volume of data that companies are having to manage, store, retrieve, protect, and backup,” Cutler said. “As this [data] continues to grow, so too does the cybersecurity implications of data overload.

“With this, developing strategies for data life cycle management, data privacy compliance, data governance, and data protection are critical. … To help remedy data overload, companies should consider data classification, data tagging, and development of clear guidance and policies on data retention.”

More on data governance: Data Governance Trends 2023

Companies tend to invest most of their time and finances into the right cybersecurity infrastructure and tools, often overlooking the importance of training all teammates on how they can protect themselves and the company from security threats.

Bass from Flexential said it is the organization’s responsibility to train all users on common social engineering attacks and phishing practices.

“Humans pose the biggest threat to keeping an organization safe,” Bass said. “With the perimeter becoming increasingly secure, bad actors are jumping the perimeter by socially engineering employees, using techniques such as phishing, vishing, and spear phishing to gain a foothold inside of organizations. 

“To combat this threat, organizations should educate their staff to recognize the signs of a social engineering attempt and what to do if they suspect an attempt is being made against them. Organizations should also run regular exercises using these methods as a learning experience for their staff, to understand the risk posed by their user base and reduce the risk posed by social engineering.”

Although automation is not the answer for all cybersecurity problems, artificial intelligence (AI)- and machine learning (ML)-powered tools make it much easier to set security monitoring and other quality controls into action in the cloud.

James Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Cado Security, a cloud-native digital forensics company, believes cloud security automation is one of the most time- and cost-effective ways to secure distributed networks.

“Incorporating automation into the cloud investigation journey is essential to reducing the amount of time, resources, and money that’s required to understand the root cause, scope, and impact of an incident,” Campbell said. “With the amount of data that sits in the cloud today, organizations require the ability to automatically capture and process data at cloud speed and scale.

“Security teams shouldn’t have to worry about working across multiple cloud teams, access requirements, or the fact that their investigation spans multiple cloud platforms, systems, and regions. While all of these complexities have historically dragged out the start of their investigation or completely halted it from ever happening, automation flips the script by reducing the complexity and time required to conduct investigations.”

Read next: Key Cybersecurity Trends 2023

Top Best Practices For Managing Project Budget

Every successful project relies on effective project budget management. Maintaining focus, averting shocks, and eventually completing projects that exceed expectations are essential. With effective budget management, you’ll have the plan to follow, a way to gauge your success, and assurance from knowing everything is in order.

What is a Project Budget?

Project budgeting establishes the overall amount of money used for the project. The project manager and/or the project management team have calculated the budget. The budget is a projection of all the expenses that will likely be needed to finish the project.

Budgets are crucial for securing the project, supporting key stakeholders, and setting expectations. A budget also guarantees that the necessary finances are accessible and aids in performance evaluation for the team. The document defining the budget’s specifics throughout the project should be followed, updated, and evaluated.

Why is Project Budgeting So Important?

Project Budgets are vital communication tools. They encourage open communication between the project team and important stakeholders. It is an important component of project management crucial to success. The following are some of the main reasons why project budgeting is vital −

Setting Financial Boundaries − A project budget establishes the financial parameters for a project and aids in determining the limitations of what can be accomplished with the resources at hand.

Monitoring Progress − A project budget is a road map for monitoring development and spotting departures from the original strategy. This makes it easier for project managers to respond quickly to problems and keep the project moving forward.

Managing Costs − Project budgeting aids in cost management by ensuring efficient resource usage and giving a clear picture of project expenditures. Additionally, it aids in reducing waste and the danger of overpaying.

Allocating Resources − Project budgeting helps project managers to effectively and efficiently allocate resources, such as persons, equipment, and materials.

Facilitating Decision-Making − Project managers have access to the data they need to make well-informed choices regarding the distribution of resources and risk management from a well-defined project budget.

Top Tips On How to Manage Project Budgets Establish the Budget with the Participating Team

Be prepared to include the team in charge of the project’s execution when estimating expenses. Get feedback from all relevant stakeholders since they are the ones who are aware of even the smallest cost that should be included in the final buildups. This is crucial to providing a value quote.

The budget situation must also be known to the whole team. Keep the project team up to date on the projected budget. A strong team that takes responsibility for its initiatives is well-informed. Transparency will be achieved by informing the team about the budget situation and soliciting their opinions to prevent further misunderstanding.

Track the use of Resources

The cost of labor will be one of your project’s highest costs. It will also include tools and technologies. Successful project management relies on continuously managing your resources, just as you would your budget. Review the number of employees working on your project regularly, and if you are going over budget, change your strategy. The same is true of your technology stack.

You can utilize the resources for your project efficiently if you take the time to evaluate them. It will also enable you to determine if more resources are required to complete your project effectively.

Recognize the Actual Needs and Requirements of the Stakeholders

It’s not always as easy to understand upfront what stakeholders say they need or desire from a project. Undefined aims and expectations on both sides of the table may result from this. Imagine that the project manager, sponsors, team members, and suppliers are unaware of the genuine preferences of the stakeholders. Under such a situation, determining the project’s needs is impossible.

Spend as much time as is necessary to have a comprehensive grasp of what stakeholders anticipate. Ultimately, stakeholder expectations, deliverables, and other needs determine everything, even the budget. So, ensuring that project needs are precisely defined, recorded, and validated with all stakeholders — and that they are communicated to all parties involved — is the first step to an efficiently managed project budget.

Hold onto your Project’s Focus

There is a propensity for some unanticipated work to enter your timetable for every project. This “scope creep” may significantly change the project’s emphasis, eventually failing its budget and the project itself. It’s crucial to often remind team members of your project’s initial goal to lower your danger of scope creep.

Unscoped work ultimately results in billable hours. Also, it can need outside assistance, brand-new equipment, or other resources. You’ll almost certainly overpay if you haven’t planned for this in your budget.

Of course, taking unforeseen changes into account is crucial for any project you oversee. Stay adaptable and open to change without worrying that your project won’t succeed if you budget for it.

Make a Budget for Every Stage of your Project

While establishing a budget for each project phase, consider labor and material expenses. Salaries for project workers and any subcontractors required at certain phases are included in labor expenses (such as web designers during development). Office supplies, furniture rentals, and other items needed for each project phase are included in the material expenses.

Communicate with your Employees

A project is only as good as the team working on it, and a team with poor communication will almost certainly overspend. Keeping your team updated on the project’s budget projection will promote responsibility and efficiency. Promote open communication to increase project ownership. Employees will generate excellent work if they are invested in the success of a project.

Monitor and Manage Change with Precision

One of the most underrated aspects of project management is change management. Project management experts know the value of communication and how procedures affect stakeholders. A small adjustment might result in major cost increases and budgetary problems in any process. The specific solutions to deal with internal and external changes that may cause expenses to exceed budget should be identified, documented, and communicated by change management professionals in collaboration with project teams.

Bottom Line

Budgeting for a project is a difficult process. Budget issues are mostly caused by either overestimating or underestimating how long it will take to complete your project. You can estimate the project’s cost by knowing how long each component will take. It’s difficult to keep expenses down, keep employees on track, complete your project within scope, and, more crucially, under budget, without defined funding in place and without continuously monitoring your expenditure and your resources.

The Evolution Of Technology And How It Has Evolved Seo Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) has changed over the years. The evolution of technology has been the reason for much of this transformation and has influenced the way that a specialist SEO agency can help clients accomplish their goals.

This article takes a look into some of the ways how technology has influenced SEO best practices to develop,

The beginning of a new era

Desktops became more popular in households in the 1980s. But it was the internet that truly changed the way people used desktops. Tim Berners-Lee proposed the World Wide Web project for the first time in 1989. But the mass adoption of the technology kicked off over the past three decades. As web users began increasing in the mid-90s, search engines started to appear to help users navigate it. Yahoo! came about in 1994 and Google launched its services in 1998. Search engines began cataloging websites and made finding information easier.

At the start, SEO featured a lot of practices now deemed bad behavior by both the engines and SEO agencies. Things like keyword stuffing and excessive tagging used to lead to higher search engine ranking. These days, the engines would penalize you for doing so. Content marketing wasn’t about quality but quantity.

Refining keyword practices

It’s no wonder that SEO best practices began to focus on data. Google introduced its first algorithms to filter search engine results at the start of the 2000s. While keywords and other early practices were still a thing, the quality of your content started to increase in importance.

In 2005, personalization also entered the equation. It was at this time people began to see different search engine results depending on their personal web usage and preferences.

Google began to incorporate results from various sources into its website ranking in the early hours of data generation. This meant SEO wasn’t only about optimizing your website. Companies had to make sure they optimized their social media, images, and video as well. The idea of having an SEO agency helps your business become more prominent.

Introducing smart devices

Smartphones have been another major technology shaping SEO best practices. The devices entered the mass market after the release of the iPhone in 2007. The technology didn’t immediately change how companies had to optimize for SEO. But as smartphone technology kept improving, these devices started to change online marketing.

It was the device together with technologies like the 4G that transformed SEO. If you look at current data, around 90% of the global Internet population use mobile to connect. This means websites have to adjust to different devices. Optimizing your content for mobiles is one of the most recommended practices in the industry. You won’t find an SEO agency that won’t recommend it.

Voice search is another interesting technological development that has become more prominent. Google announced Voice Search in 2011 which is the same time Apple’s version entered the market. Best SEO practices started focusing on localization, conversational tones, and structured data.

You can check the level of optimization of your site for mobile devices, using special SEO tools. For example, one such tool is the SEO Page Checker by Sitechecker. 

Enter artificial intelligence (AI)

AI’s impact on SEO has been best showcased in the personalization of websites and marketing. Content marketing is not aimed at the masses any longer. You can create a more personalized influence where individuals are targeted. AI can be a powerful part of building a stronger SEO strategy. You can use it to learn about your campaigns and market trends.

What will SEO practices look like in the future?

Technology has always played a role in how you should practice SEO. It will continue to transform best practices in the years to come. Predicting the future is not an easy thing to do. But there are trends already shaping SEO.

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