Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Building Your Website – Page Content and Site Updating


5.    Web Page Content
As search engines become more sophisticated, web page content becomes more important. Content should be written in an interesting informative way. It should relate to your website and its purpose. One way of relating is it is by using your keywords and key phrases, but not too often. According to Mike Small, a veteran SEO specialist, the rule of thumb is not to mention your keywords more than 4 times per page and to split them equally between paragraphs. Two mentions of your most important keyword in the first section is the only exception. He goes on to say that there should be between 150 and 250 words of text per keyword. Finally, he says to mention each keyword towards the end of the page. This shows overall consistency and topic authenticity.

Keeping your visitors interested in your website and having them stay on it for several minutes will help increase your site’s search engine rankings.

6.    Website Updating
Another way of promoting your website is to update your pages frequently. Adding pages can also helpful. The pages must be added for a meaningful purpose, not just for search engine show. Keeping you website up-to-date and accurate shows search engines that your website has substance and is important to its visitors! Besides, it you don’t keep your contents up-to-date all the time, why would people want to visit your site more then a few times, even if you have an interesting site? I think the key to having a great site is to put you as being one of its visitors. What would you like to see as a visitor? How often would you go onto your site if you were a visitor and why? Answering these questions will help you think about your site more often and will help you manage it better! Remember the old saying “Treat others as you would have them treat you”. If you and your site “treat” visitors well, your website will be a great hit!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Building Your Website - The Importance of Text


5.    Use of Keywords in Text
Just as the selection of keywords is important, making sure that they are seen and found is also important! In order to optimize your keywords, they need to be mentioned several times throughout your text. However, their placement must make sense. As I have previously said, search engines are becoming much more sophisticated each day and can tell when a site is trying to fool them into giving a higher ranking then is deserved. They don’t take kindly to this and can penalize. The penalization may or may not be warranted, but regaining ranking is a Herculean task. Assuming you are creating a legitimate website, let your information and expertise be your “Calling Card”. Ultimately this strategy will become the benchmark for website ranking.
6.    Highlighting Text
As it stands right now, web crawlers are sent out by search engines to find keywords. Just including the keywords in your text will help, but won’t make them outstanding. Highlighting keywords (bold, underlined and italicized) will really help. Remember, though, this is how it works now, but likely, not in the future. You need to either keep up with internet technology yourself or find someone you trust to do it for you. Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared”!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building Your Website – Meta Elements (Continued…)


1.    Meta Tags and Descriptions
In my previous articles I mentioned the importance of keywords. Keywords act as your 24/7 electronic “Business Card”. They are part of what search engine crawlers are looking for. Because they are important, it is imperative that you and your website designer consider them carefully. Keywords can either be a single word or a “string” of words. They need to reflect what people, who are looking for your kind of website, will type into the search engine for their “search”. The more specific your keywords, the more qualified the visitors to your site. Well thought out keywords can also increase your chances of being on the front page of search engines. When you are thinking of what your keywords should be, think what you would type in to find your kind of product or service. In other words, become the visitor!
2.    Meta Description
The Meta description describes and defines what your website is all about. The description has to been short and concise and, most important of all, it has to be accurate. Although Meta descriptions don’t affect your search engine ranking, they do help categories your website, especially with human searchers. They tell the searcher what to expect in your website and hopefully draw them to enter your site. As with keywords, careful thought should be given to your Meta description.
It should be additionally noted that each “important” page in your website should contain both keywords and Meta descriptions. Each page can and should be you silent, 24/7, sales partner!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Building Your Website – Optimization (Continued…)


As I mention in my previous article, building you website so that it attracts Search Engines is an absolute must! There are many things within a website that search engine “web crawlers” look for. (Wikipedia describe them as follows: A web crawler (also known as a web spider, web robot, or—especially in the FOAF community—web scutter) is a program or automated script which browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner.) “Crawlers” are what search engines “send out” to gather up-to-date website information. Search engines use this information for each website to categorize it and to rank it. Some web designers think that all they have to do is to insert some keywords and search engines will love them. This may have been true a few years ago, but, “times, they are a changing!” Search engines are becoming much more sophisticated and are now looking, in addition to keywords, at Meta descriptions, page content, outside links, website continuity and site and content relevance.  If you haven’t included all of these into your website you won’t likely be highly rated by search engines! Being to “cute” also does not help! Search engine companies don’t like it when you try to fool them. If they find out that you have been “fixing” your site too much, they may penalize you or, worse, delete you from their search engine entirely. Having someone you can consult with about the intricacies of website construction and search engine optimization will go a long way to having the type of website you deserve!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Building Your Website


Over the past year or so, I have talked about the importance of festivals and events having good websites. In my last blog I described a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a website designer/marketer. Over the next few blogs I am going to expand on what my friend told me. I don’t pretend to be a website expert, but over the last few years, in developing my website, www.ontariofestivalsvisited.ca, we have learned a few tricks. Some were by design, but most were by accident! The results, however, have given me a fairly successful website. When you type in “Ontario festivals”, we are consistently shown in the top 1-4 positions on the three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN.
1.    Site Construction: Having a website is easy! With the right tools or the right amount of money anyone can have a website. However, having a website is like owning a car. If you have a poor engine you may or may not get to where you want to go. If you have a great engine, you will get to where you want to go with ease! If you have no engine… while you get the picture! Having a great “engine” is the only way to go, so make sure you find out how to get a great engine! Experienced web designers build websites to attract two types of visitors, human and search engines. Search engines are the most important because they direct humans to websites. Each visitor is looking for different things and so, as I said before to have to appeal to both to succeed. The construction of your website needs a sound foundation that includes all the fundamentals of successful sites, that is well written code. Search engines can and will penalize sites for poorly written code. So, if you are designing your website yourself, check with an expert to make sure your site is constructed properly. There are website evaluators out there who can help you and set you straight if need be. If you don’t want to design your own site, make sure you hire someone who has all the necessary skills to construct you site properly. Remember, a website that doesn’t attract search engines or humans is a site without an “engine”!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What’s In Your Website?


I have been thinking a lot lately about my websites. I want to know if they are as effective as I want (need) them to be. In talking with a web designer friend, I realized that they all needed to be re-evaluated! I asked him to explain what the key ingredients where for a successful website. He started to answer me in another language, techno speak! I told him to slow down and talk to me in a language I could understand, English! He did and we covered a wide range of topics. Here is a summary of our conversation. In future blogs I will try to explain his ideas more fully and hopefully in “plain” English!
1.    SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” – Simple put, getting search engines to recognize your site. Once a site is recognized it is categorized (keywords) and then listed in importance.
2.    Meta Tags and Keywords – These are words inserted in your website. They attract search engines to your site and its pages.
3.    Meta Description – This is the description that appears in you search engine listing
4.    Use of Keywords in Text – In order to emphasize keywords, they must be used often in the text of the web page
5.    Highlighting Text – Once keywords are chosen and inserted, they must be shown as being important. This is accomplished by highlighting (bold, italicized, underlined) each keyword.
6.    Web Pages – Each important page (home, about us, products, etc.) should be optimized (keywords, description, highlighting).
7.    Updating – Sites should be frequently updated and the information must be correct and consistent.
8.    Simplicity – Simplicity is best, especially the home page, in web design, page layout and contents.
9.    Website Layout – Sites should be easy to maneuver. Complicated site discourage visitors from surfing through your site’s pages.
10. Contact Information – Make sure that visitors to your site have a way of contacting you. Since the contact is being made via the internet, e-mail contact is a must.
11. Linking – Encouraging other website to link with yours is important. However, the linked sites should have relevancy to you business or site. Linking for the sake of linking is not a good move.
12. Traffic – Finally, the goal of every site should be increased traffic (visitors to your site). How you design and manage your site will determine its popularity and thus traffic.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What’s The Real Solution?


How many times have we heard politicians and special interest groups call for drastic legislation as a “knee-jerk” reaction to a problem? You don’t need a fish net to catch a fly!
Unfortunately many make far reaching demands without worrying about the consequences. And the problem is, once a law is on the books, it stays there! Rarely, if ever, is a law, good, bad or outdated, taken off the books! So, poorly thought out laws either create havoc or they are just ignored! Most of these groups and politicians are well meaning. They see a problem and want it corrected. That’s fine if it really does solve the problem, but too often the solution goes way beyond the actual problem, thus the net to catch a fly analogy. New laws must be thoroughly thought through and all of the ramification must be considered. Consider the banning of all plastic water bottles. I have heard towns and groups advocating banning them entirely. Why not work jointly with water companies and plastic bottle manufacturers to come up with a safe acceptable solution. Similarly I have heard the some groups want paper coffee cups banned. The same applies here, get all the interested parties together and fine a solution. Poorly thought out laws don’t serve anyone’s purpose!
Personally, I like the attitude of some of the festival organizers have taken. For example, the Guelph Hillside Festival was having problems with too many plastic water bottles. They wanted to reduce or eliminate their use. The Festivals solution was to develop a practical alternate. They decided to bring in a tank full of potable water and then sell re-usable aluminum water bottles that could be filled up for free! As a result of this innovative thinking they drastically reduced the plastic bottle waste! Then there is the Shelter Valley Folk Festival. They wanted to have a “green” festival. They wanted local products to be used and to have little waste. There solution was quite simple. Contract with local food vendors and make sure they were committed to using local produce. That was solution number one. The second solution for waste was just as simple. Invest in re-usable plates and cutlery and convince a whole bunch of people to volunteer to keep them washed! Now they enjoy a wonderful “green” festival, that is the pride of all those involved!
Rather than take draconian measures, each identified a challenge and then found intelligent solutions! Politician and advocacy groups would do well to take note!