SMART MARKETING WITH STYLE

How We Celebrated Our Anniversary

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The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue.
Courage is only the second virtue.

-Napoleon Bonaparte

And that my friends is exactly what I think love is all about, endurance. It’s not a fantasy or a feeling, it a marathon and I’m sure anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will tell you the same thing. There is no grand sweeping once and for all gesture that leads to happily ever after. It’s a series of small things that you do even when you’re tired or hungover or sick.

It’s easy to love someone when there isn’t a dog to walk or a kid to chase after or dishes to wash or a job you need to wake up early and sit in traffic for. It’s easy to forgive your significant other when there aren’t bills to pay or errands to run. It’s easy to be patient and kind when you’re not exhausted and starving. But we can’t always have it that easy can we?

This weekend my boyfriend and I went to Palm Springs to celebrate our 6 year anniversary and I got to remember why I love him so much. It was like the vacation montage in This is 40¬†without the getting high part. Without everyday life getting in the way, he was as charming and easy-going as he was when I met him. I’m sure I was too, because the whole time we were there, there were no eye rolls or sarcastic comments. If you’re in a relationship, you know what I’m talking about.

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Lucky for me, I learned a long time ago that even if you’re with the one, which I’m sure I am, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time. I feel comfortable admitting that sometimes he annoys the hell out of me. I even comfortable enough telling him that, and we have an understanding that it’s better to express yourself honestly (but respectfully) than to feel ashamed and keep these things a secret. (If you don’t have the same policy, I highly recommend it.)

Besides, I know I’m annoying too and I can be a nag. That’s something I’m coming to terms with and something I’ve started thinking more about since I saw Before Midnight a few weeks ago. (Go see it, it totally earned the 98% it got on Rotten Tomatoes). For me that movie really captured real love, messy and complicated, and in the process made me appreciate my relationship for what it is.

You know how sometimes you feel like you’re doing all the work in the relationship? Or like the whole situation is really unfair for you and you’re giving up way more than the other person? Before Midnight did a lot to help me adjust my expectations. And I don’t mean it brainwashed me into tolerating more bullshit from my partner. I mean it made me see how much bullshit I’ve dished out and how I take things out on my partner when I’m stressed or disappointed or bored. It also helped me forgive him for doing the same, because at the end of the day, we’re both just doing the best we can.

Jeffrey Pine

Anyway, now that the honesty part is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. If you’re ever in Palm Springs, you must take a ride on the Aerial Tramway. It transports you 2.5 miles from about 2,500 feet to over 8,000 feet in ten minutes to a Willy Wonka wonderland where the trees smell like butterscotch. I shit you not. We went up during the hottest part of the day because it was 35 degrees cooler than the 105 that we would have had to experience on the desert floor.

I wish we could have hiked up to Mt. San Jacinto, but it’s a 12 mile round trip and right now we’re only used to doing about 6 or 7 miles at a time and that’s a whole different kind of endurance. Maybe next time…

How to Do Your Own SEO

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At my new job I’m working on the SEO for two different sites. I’m starting the process from beginning since I just finished building the sites a few weeks ago so I thought it would be helpful for me to walk others through my process.

If you’ve always wanted to make your WordPress site search engine friendly but didn’t know where to start, this series is perfect for you. I only work on SEO a few hours a week and I’ll be writing the posts as I go, so everything will be broken down into easy to manage chunks. I hope this will make it a lot less overwhelming since you won’t have to do 60 hours of work at once. I’ll be pacing you so you can do an hour here, two hours there and still start to see results!

Let’s get started shall we?

Step 1 – Getting Ready

This is what needs to get done first in no particular order.

1. Install Yoast WordPress SEO plugin
2. Open a Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics account
3. Install Google Analytics tracking code
4. Open a Bing Webmaster Tools account
5. Get a real domain

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How to Install the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin
Your blog must be a self-hosted WordPress for this to work. To install the plugin, go to the plug icon in the toolbar column on the left and click on the ADD NEW menu option. Search for WORDPRESS SEO BY YOAST and click on the install now link. If it asks if you’re sure you want to install this plugin, hit YES. Then hit the ACTIVATE PLUGIN link.

There are several other SEO plugins out there such as the All-in-One SEO pack, but WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far the best. Even the SEO options that come with the Genesis framework aren’t as awesome as what comes with WordPress SEO by Yoast.

If you’re using any other SEO plugins deactivate them or you might have some clashing. If you have Genesis you don’t have to worry about deactivating anyway since it was designed to disable the built-in SEO options should you decide to install a plugin, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

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Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
Opening a Google Webmaster Tools account it pretty straightforward. It’s like opening up a Gmail account. If you already have a Gmail account or a Google account for anything, you can use the same name and email.

Google Analytics is pretty straightforward too, except you’re going to need to install the tracking code on your site. Lucky for you, I wrote a step-by-step tutorial on how to install the Google Analytics tracking code already, with pictures!

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Bing Webmaster Tools
When you’re done with Google, do the same with Bing. There are a few other search engines that have Webmaster Tools, but they have a much smaller market share so you can ignore them for now. If you have a lot of competition, then it might make sense for you to target smaller search engines like Ask later.

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Setting Up Your Domain
This might be easy or tricky depending on what you currently have set up. If you already have a domain name, like www.mysite.com, you’re ahead of the game. All you need to decide now is if you want it to officially have the www or not. We’ll talk about that more in the next post.

If you don’t have your own domain, you really need to get one. I’m assuming you’re reading this because you have your own self-hosted WordPress with a domain, but if your blog is on Blogger or WordPress.com and you’re trying to see if there is anything you can take away from this post, then it’s this. Please please get your own domain. If you’re starting to do SEO on your site now and then decide to move away from Blogger or WordPress.com, you won’t be able to take your rankings with you. If you plan on growing your site into a full-time gig, then you’ll seriously be limiting your earning potential, so get your own domain as soon as you can.

That was pretty painless right? The next steps will be equally as bite sized. Next we’ll start submitting your site using Webmaster Tools, submitting sitemaps and telling search engines which one is your canonical URL. You know, fun stuff!

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