Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Finally Optimized It

For a product owned by Google, Blogspot is pretty poor when it comes to SEO, that is why I did some code modifications to improve the search engine friendliness of this blog. Inspiration came from SEO for Blogspot article which I have published myself. There are few more things that could be done to raise the standard, like making labels show as keywords in single posts, but that could be a bit cumbersome and since I'm not targeting search engine traffic in this blog that could be done at a later time. Hope you will find my new super optimized blog via search engines.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Refresh Colombo - March 2011

When you are looking forward for something it usually is something pretty good and that's the feeling I get with Refresh Colombo. Organizers were kind wise enough to move the event to Tuesday, because there was a quarter final on Thursday. There were four presentations lined up today, all of them different but related to me in various ways.To learn more about the event visit the Refresh Colombo Website.
The first presentation was done by @Joe, Wishmini and Harith and it was about Open Space. I have being seeing tweets about Open Space for a while now so I was very interested to learn more about the company and what they offer. They are promoting a concept called co-working and it looks like a nice idea. Niche blogging and freelance SEO can be a lonely job and it is nice to have some buddies around to bounce new ideas. It looks like an ideal place for start up businesses as well with the very affordable pricing structure. For a location based business I think they could do a better job promoting the location. Finding the address in there website is not the easiest thing to do, and if I'm the owner I would surely add a map or image highlighting the fact that it is near Galle Road and it is very easy to get there. And if you came to Refresh you are entitled to a discount ;) .
Next presentation was by Yasas and it was about Business process outsourcing. I have written some articles about this topic for the sake of back links but they tend to perform well in search engines. I get a web design gig here and there from those articles but I have to turn them down or refer it to someone else because I don't know web design :-) .If you are a web design company and want to be listed there you can contact me.Yasas talked about how BPO could be good source of revenue for Sri Lankans, challenges faced by Sri Lanka to improve this as an industry etc. As he pointed out in his presentation, Sri Lanka cannot compete with countries like India when it comes to providing man power, so we should focus on small niches that requires skill, where few people can get high returns. One area where Sri Lanka already have a reputation is in Financial accounting and I think Web design and Search Engine Optimization are another two areas we can compete in. They require specialized skills and few people can easily handle multiple clients and there are plenty of excellent web designers in Sri Lanka. If you want to learn more about BPO and want BPO certification then visit Lanka BPO Academy.
The next presentation was done by @Anudi and it was about Intellectual Property Law and how to protect your rights. In Sri Lanka soon as you publish something online it is very hard to protect those rights. Take celebrity pictures for example, how can you take action against a pictures published in a free blogspot blog with no contact information. You can complain to Google and get the blog banned but it's a tedious process. She also talked about the importance of adding © ( copyright symbol ) for any creative work you do. You can easily add this to a blog post by going to HTML mode and typing &#0169 .What she said about Facebook TOS is what really got my attention. Before the recent changes in FB TOS every photo we uploaded is owned by FB and can be used by them. I have few clients who work with ShutterStock and they promote there photographs thorough Facebook. Definitely need to check out if this could impact there earnings and violate ShutterStock terms. If you are a photographer looking to earn some money from your photos then give ShutterStock a try.
Next presentation was a bit of technical one with @Jerry talking about CSS3. IE haters Web designers in the room seem to enjoy it and I guess that is how they create those premium Wordpress themes that cost a small fortune these days. If you take a WP theme like Thesis there are so many things you can do with it and I suppose technologies like this are what makes them possible.
To conclude it was another great Refresh Colombo meet up and definitely looking forward to the next one. And thanks a lot for all the presenters who shared valuable information with us.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Refresh Colombo - February 2011

After missing two editions of Refresh Colombo for various reasons I managed to attend the February 2011 edition. I did a presentation about "Outsourcing for Freelancers" and Amisha Amarasinghe did a presentation about using social media beyond a marketing tool. Although it was scheduled to start at 5.15PM it was around 6PM when things got underway.Gihan Fernando of GTS Game Studios was kind enough to sponsor the event and provide the refreshments.
Speaking is not my strong point and this was one of those moments where I wished I finished all my speeches at IFS Toast Masters Club. Most people were interested in Fiverr, which I use heavily to outsource various things. I guess everyone can use some extra cash and if you missed the presentation by any chance you can read my full Fiverr Review. Another thing I noticed is that not many people are aware of search engine optimization or at least that's the feeling I got when watching the crowd. This is an area with lots of potential for most companies and very few are seriously using it to increase there traffic and sales.
After my presentation Amitha did a great presentation about how you can use social media for other purposes other than marketing. I wrote a post about Social Media Marketing in Sri Lanka a while ago, it wasn't a detailed study, just some random thoughts about various social networks with some affiliate links mixed in. Presentation by Amitha was more focused on how you can build your online reputation using social media and why it is important to have an online presence. He also showed some social media sites like LinkedIn that are critical to building your online reputation. Apparently HR managers Google your name before making a hiring decision and you don't want your drunk pictures you posted on Facebook coming as the first result. LinkedIn profiles and Facebook profiles rank easily for your name searches so make sure to have a good professional looking profiles if you are interested in getting a job.
Since there was time left Indu Nanayakkara did a quick presentation about digital radio and how ITN is ready to support that technology etc. At the time of writing this I'm not too happy with ITN because of there allegations against Mahela and Thilan and hopefully they will own up and apologize.
If you are reading this and haven't attended Refresh Colombo you are missing out on a great opportunity. Not only will you learn many interesting things but you will get to interact with many interesting and successful people and that can only be a good thing.