17 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2015 [Free Ebook]

Make sure your 2015 SEO strategy is up to snuff by downloading this new free ebook.

Source: blog.hubspot.com

Tina Howe shared this gem on Facebook. As SEO strategies seem to be changing, and this is a topic that I think I need to get better knowledge of, it seems like a good resource to use going forward. 

–techcommgeekmom

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Top 15 Expert Tech Predictions for 2015

This was posted on LinkedIn and created by Experts Exchange. I think it has some pretty accurate predictions of things that will be predominating our collective tech conscience. A few of these topics are once I’ve already seen overtures to in the last year, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming year and how that will change our perceptions of content going forward.

Check it out here:

What do you think? I think this is mostly spot-on. Do you agree? Share your insights below.

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Improve Your Writing with This Periodic Table of the Figures of Speech

When you write something–either for work or for fun–the purpose is to convey meaning and engage whoever reads it. Knowing how to use the figures of speech in your writing can take it to the next level, and this table can help show you how.

Source: lifehacker.com

This is a great find made by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler himself, which he posted on Facebook. 

 

If there was any question as to how writing works, look no further than this poster! Everything your can think of appears to be here. Check it out! 

–techcommgeekmom

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2015 will be a year of ch-ch-ch-changes.

David Bowie is trying to assure me that everything will be okay.  "Oh baby, just you shut your mouth."

David Bowie is trying to assure me that everything will be okay.
“Oh baby, just you shut your mouth.”

2014 has been a whirlwind of a year, so much so that I’ll be reviewing that in another post soon. But much of what’s been on my mind lately is how I want 2015 to be a significant year of change. I keep hearing David Bowie singing his song, “Changes” in my sub-conscious much of the time these days, as I try to make some sense of what kind of changes I want to make.

But recently, some of these decisions have been made for me. I was told within the last two weeks that my contract has not been extended by a year, but only by four months. When I had discussions with my managers about the upcoming year’s workload months ago, I was assured that there was plenty to do, and no worries. They suddenly were changing their tune, because of instructions from higher up from them that the direction of content needs were going to be changing, so there might not be as much work and maintenance down the line. When they first said they couldn’t commit to a year, I thought, “Well, if it’s six months, that would be okay. I would get off in time for summer break when my son has off from school, and then I can find something in the fall.” When they said that they could only commit to about three months, I was shocked. It really sent a ripple through me that I’m still recovering from. They assured me that it was not a reflection of my work, but quite the contrary. I had proven my value and commitment to my job throughly this past year. With my contribution to their new external website, they told me that had I been an employee, I would have been recommended for company recognition, but since I’m a contractor…well…

It’s hard to hear the “It’s not you, it’s me” line from employers after so many times of hearing it. I’ve always worked hard and proven my worth as an asset to the company, and yet something like this always happens. I see other people go from contractor or temporary worker to employee–why not me? I’ve been told time after time to not take it personally and that it’s not a reflection of my work, but after a while, you can’t help but not completely believe that, and wonder what’s wrong with yourself that you can’t fix to make yourself someone they will fight not to let go. I know that employees don’t have much security anymore either, some say, but having been through the process more times than I’d like, I can tell you that employees have a little bit more security, because a)they let the contractors go first and b) there is usually some sort of severance pay involved, including unused vacation time. Even if it’s not much severance pay, you get something. Not with contractors. It’s usually short notice that your contract is ending when you thought you might be renewed due to the workload, and barely a word of thanks. Trust me, like I said, I’ve been through this several times before.

I’m pretty sure that this is hurting more than other times when this has happened because I really liked this job. I like the company. I like the people I work with. I like the set-up of working from home most of the time. I liked the work, and finally had a chance to have more freedom in how I did things–I could call my own shots more often than I had in any other job, and my voice was heard, making this very valuable to me. I also had the opportunity to learn how to use new tools to add to my personal toolbox of skills. Why would I want to leave that?

So, for now, I know I just have a few more months left on my contract, and I need to try to figure out what my next step will be. What kind of job should I get next? I have a little more experience now, but it doesn’t feel like much when looking at job listings. Do I settle for another contracting job, or look only for permanent employment? The other idea that’s been floating in my mind is becoming an independent contractor, as in setting up my own little tech comm consultancy. The job I have now might not completely end, but might slow down to a crawl. I’m still one of their uber-users for thier custom CMS, so I can keep them on part-time if they’ll have me. Part-time work is better than no work, and usually pays better than unemployment, after all. But perhaps I could find some other clients and start doing work, and get my own business running. The trick is figuring out where to find those clients! I wouldn’t know where to begin doing that. The rest of the business set-up doesn’t concern me, like setting up an LLC or stuff like that. It’s finding the work. I’m thinking of getting the LLC set up, even if I don’t use it right away. But where do I go from here? Continue in content strategy? Revisit looking at instructional design work? (I’m thinking “no” on that for now.) Look at social media strategy work? Find a job being a professional blogger? Or should I take a technical writing job? I feel like I’m swimming in confusion.

Originally, when I was setting out to write this blog post, it was going to be about how I felt I needed to make some changes in how I expanded my knowledge, more specifically in what conferences I was going to attend this year. I wasn’t accepted as a presenter for this year’s STC Summit, so that presents a financial issue for me, as the registration–even with the early bird special–is a lot. I would attend some others that I’ve attended before as well, like ICC or Lavacon, but again, expenses are high when they come out of your own pocket. So, I was thinking of exploring some new conferences. But with this empending unemployment situation in a few months, I’m thinking that might not be a great idea financially. It’s not that I’m against investing in myself to learn more, but I think I have to find more affordable alternatives that are more suitable to my needs right now.

Related to all of this, then, is that I have some time before my contract ends to start teaching myself some new skills that will help make me more marketable. I keep going back to my own advice that I’ve given in presentations about finding tech comm jobs which is you need to always be learning something new or brushing up on a skill to make yourself into a more attractive candidate. But for myself, I’m not sure what that would be. I know it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about SEO, even though there are those who say it’s going away. I keep hearing about Content Marketing. Well, I’ve spend many years doing customer service-related work, so I understand the principles with this, but have never done any formal marketing work other than marketing this blog. Does that count? Or would taking a Marketing 101 class be necessary to be taken seriously for a content marketing job? Or, should I start learning more about coding so that I can learn how to do API documentation? There are so many possibilities that my brain feels like it’s going to explode, and I don’t know what do to.

Add the conundrum of having difficulty finding work in my area without commuting to a major city (usually more than an hour away) or finding another remote position like my current position, and you’ve added another twist to the problem.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

So, 2015 will be a year of change. Maybe it’s shaping up to be going in a direction I hadn’t expected, but there will be changes, for sure. At this writing, it absolutely terrifies me, like David Bowie’s look during his Ziggy Stardust years (not my favorite look, Dave).  I know I’ll be fine in the end. I’ve got great support at home, and I know the tech comm community is there to support and help me, too. It’s the Aspie in me that doesn’t like changes that aren’t on my terms. I like routine to a certain point, and if there’s change, it’s easier when I make the changes. When something or someone else imposes them, I freak out, perhaps looking more like Ziggy here myself as a result. I’m guessing this will be another year of reinvention. Constant reinvention has worked for Bowie, right?

(If you have any recommendations for me based on the above, or recommendations for anyone else who’s looking for work in the next year, feel free to comment below.)

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Why Bloggers Should Own Their Blog and Not Be a Digital Renter

Would your rather own your home or pay rent to a landlord?Most people would probably choose home ownership. Sure, there might be a few positive reasons to rent a house, but let’s face it, the majority of people globally would choose to have their own house if they could.This makes a lot of sense because when you own the house, nobody can tell you to leave or tell you what you can or can’t do.The same thing applies to your blog.Why I’m Using Real Estate LingoRecently, someone in real estate sent

Source: www.linkedin.com

I caught this article on LinkedIn, and I couldn’t agree more with this! One of the best moves I made was creating TechCommGeekMom on WordPress, and relying on social media only to put the word out when I have something new on it.  I’m a big WordPress advocate, but there are other platforms to use as well. The author’s point of not "renting" is on target if you want to be a serious blogger. If you think about it, it’s like owning your own content–you want to make sure that you have control over it and how it’s presented, not have someone confine you based on a contract or something like that. Even using a curating tool like ScoopIt is still okay because I post it on MY blog, and I still have control over the blog content. 

 

If you are thinking about being a serious blogger, I implore you to read this. It’s really the first important step towards that goal. 

 

–techcommgeekmom

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Building your mental muscles

Marc Schnau posted this on Google+ with the comment, “This should work properly with any language one is trying to learn. And not only while learning languages, Maybe this is valid for every kind of learning one will do.”

After watching this video, I think he’s completely correct. I know that the speaker in the video is correct with the idea of using shorter, intense sessions versus longer ones. One of my cousins is a personal trainer, and this is one of the methods he endorses with exercising, so the speaker is correct about it working with physical exercise of larger muscles. But Marc is right too–this applies to any kind of learning, not just with languages.

This video proved to be helpful to me, as there are events going on with my life that are leading me to try to figure out what I need to be learning next.

What do you think? Do you think this is hype, or do you think there’s some validity to this approach for learning anything, not just languages?

Add your comments below.

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Why just 9 hours of coding class changed my whole outlook on technology – Philadelphia Business Journal

Source: m.bizjournals.com

I learned this lesson when learning how to do HTML coding 15 or so years ago, and when I couldn’t absorb Javascript in a day! While tools have been created in the last 15 years to make creating a website more user-friendly and accessible to the masses, the science and art behind it all continues to get more complicated. (Trust me–I know. I’m married to a web developer.)  I’m thinking that I need to do this with some other languages, like update to learn HTML5, more XML-related stuff, or relearn Javascript, or PHP, or…something! It really does give you an appreciation for what full-time coders do, and I’m sure that if I learned some more, perhaps API documentation-related stuff would become easier for me to learn as well. 

 

Check out this article–good perspective. 

–techcommgeekmom

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