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Guest Blogger – Sarah Allen

What is the key to a good website? Written by Sarah Allen

Image Credit: "Frustration" by Sybren A. Stuvel

Most of us know how to get someone to look at our website. The problem comes when we have to keep them there. Once they have arrived, what is the magic key to captivating their interest and attention? There may only be a second, one beautiful second, where the reader pauses and thinks to himself/herself, is this really worth my time. People have a short attention span in this digital age, and it is not getting any longer. The trick to having a website that people go to and actually stay on is easy, but at the same time a lot of us miss the mark.

I don’t know if you have ever clicked on a website and found yourself waiting for what seems an eternity, as you watch your mouse go round and round. Finally a hint of color begins to appear and right when things are looking up, an annoying song begins to play. Losing interest quickly, but still a little curious in what the site has to offer you stay. At last the page loads, and you go to find the contact information for the group, but to no avail because it is carefully hidden, so no one will ever find it. As you go through everything, you start to realize it bears a surprising resemblance to the maze at the pumpkin patch, you visited a week ago. Finally frustrated and disappointed, you go back to google and click the next sight that comes up.

Don’t let this be you! To learn more about how to have a good web page, read 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors. I had never thought in detail about what makes a good site and what doesn’t. But after reading this article, I have a different perspective. If I am ever in a position where I need to design a web page for a business or company, I will remember what I read today with points like the importance of things loading quickly, having an uncluttered appearance, and providing an easy navigation system.

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Topics of the Week

 

All about TweetDeck

Image Credit: "TweetDeck.com Shirt" by Homard.net

As I am new to Twitter, I’m still working on getting to know and use the basics. A friend said that TweetDeck was a great tool to really stay connected with different social media accounts.  Once I learned how to use it, it’s super helpful and pretty easy.  Just like anything else there’s always something new to be learned. PRdaily posted an article with 7 easy ways to master TweetDeck and I think it’s an article everyone in the social media world should take a look at. The article talks about all kinds of Twitter things from tweeting to shortening URLs. Check it out and see what you can learn.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in PR Connections

 

Twitter Chat Experience

Last night I partcipated in a Twitter chat for the first time.  I joined in on the #PRStudChat at 8:30pm and it was quite an experience. Since this was my first public relations chat – well, first twitter chat at all for that matter – I really had no clue what to expect or even what do to or say.

Image Credit: "Tiny birds in my hand" by llse.

The twitter chat started off with everyone introducing themselves, so of course, the first thing I did was introduce myself. Well, while I was taking maybe 20 seconds to do that, I had literally missed a little over 20 tweets for the conversation.  And that began my confusion.

  • I learned that PR chats can be super beneficial and a great way of meeting other PR students, PR professors or even PR professionals.  Last night, everyone welcomed me to that chat with open arms and tried to get to know me.  Some are even following me and want to stay in contact, which is actually pretty cool.
  • It surprised me most that I was barely able to keep up with the conversation.  Perhaps there is a better way to do so, but the way I was doing it made it very difficult.  Someone would ask a question and by the time I thought about responding, I had missed many tweets and they had moved on to the next question.  After a few minutes I got a little used to how things worked, but I was still behind on keeping up with who was tweeting me and who was saying what.
  • In order to me to be more succesful at using chat, I would like to know a little more about the charts that were given out in the beginning that explained who was who.  I would also like to know more about how to keep up with the conversation. Once I am able to learn these things, participating in a chat will be more beneficial and definitely more fun.
 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Topics of the Week

 

Charlie Sheen now holding a world record #winning

 

Image Credit: "Charlie Sheen" by Becksmithhollywood

Some of you may, or  may not,  know that Charlie Sheen recently joined Twitter.  When I say recently, I mean not even 48 hours ago.  With all of the controversy that is surrounding Sheen and his television sitcom Two and a Half Men, he has been the talk of many. Sheen created a Twitter account March 1st and less than 24-hours later he had a little over 1 million followers. This is record-breaking. According to an article published earlier this morning from Mashable, Sheen has received a new record: “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers” as a Guinness World Record.

Here’s the sticky part. With all that is going on about Sheen, I’m not too sure now would be the best time to be creating a Twitter.  As far as the 1.2 million followers, I’m not sure which of the reasons why they’re following him: because of their love for him or because of their interest and entertainment with his lifestyle and chaos that he is known for. As of yesterday, Sheen had his kids taken away and according to an article posted early this morning from the CBS Morning Show, he won’t be getting them back anytime soon. We can’t help his actions, but are we supporting him by following him on Twitter? Would you put yourself in the spotlight on purpose like creating a Twitter during the most hectic time of your life? I don’t think I would, but I’m not Charlie Sheen. On the PR side of things, if I were a part of Sheen’s management team I would do everything in my power to keep things quiet. Do you think Charlie Sheen having a Twitter right now is helping or hurting him and his reputation? In the mean time, #tigerblood  and #teamsheen will continue to dominate the Twitter world.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in PR Connections

 

Starbucks make-over coming soon

Change – its happens, but not everybody likes it.  This March (which is in a few days) Starbucks will be serving you a new-looking cup.  The Starbucks name will be removed off of the logo and will be solely the green mermaid.  A news article in January from the NYtimes shows the changes in the logo from the beginning and their predictions of the logo in the future.  Controversy over customers’ preference is rising.  If the consumers don’t like the change, they may not buy it.  We all know that even if the Starbucks name is not on the logo, everyone will still be able to recognize where the cup is from.  There’s no question about that. Howard Shultz, the chief executive of Starbucks states in the NYtimes article, “The world has changed and Starbucks has changed.”  The real question is … will everyone be on board with this change?  Is Starbucks too globally loved to ever suffer with business simply from a logo change? Probably not, but only time will tell.

Image Credit: "Nuevo logo de Starbucks" by La Ignorancia Mata


 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in PR Connections

 

How to win an interview

Looking for a job? A new career? The best place to start is by creating the perfect resume. Most people don’t really know what belongs on their resume or even where to start. I can help by giving you some tips and giving you some great websites as resources. To clear up some normal assumptions of a resume… Its purpose is to get you an interview not the position, it should be used to make you stand out on paper, and it shouldn’t tell your life story.  Let’s begin.

Here are the basics:

Image Credit: "Resume T-Shirt" by SocialisBetter

  • Your resume should include your personal information, such as name, email address, phone number, etc.
  • Employment, volunteer experience, and education (if you are student or a recent graduate) should also be included in order to show your experience and things you have accomplished. If you are fresh out of college and need to fill white space you may include extracurricular activities like clubs and organizations – but I would only include that if you had an important title.
  • Dates of employment and education should be listed.  Year and month is fine, they don’t need to know the exact day you started. The most current positions should be listed at the top. Make sure to include city and sate as well.
  • Responsibilities and tasks accomplished should be professionally listed to give the resume reader a sense of what you did at your previous employments.

Other tips:

  • When new into the job world (current student or fresh out of college) your resume shouldn’t exceed one page.
  • Be honest, yet creative.
  • Don’t make things too fancy.  You want your resume to stand out, but only in a good way. Stick to using only white paper and black ink (unless applying for a really creative position), and please, leave the coffee stains at home.
  • Choose wisely what you put on your resume. Never put something on there that you aren’t proud of or would never want to discuss.
  • Be specific.
  • Double check spelling! If you have a grammatical error on your resume, there’s a great chance you won’t be getting an interview – or in that case, even a phone call.

Here are some helpful links to check out for more information and some resume examples:

All about resumes, Do & Don’t, Resume builder

Good luck!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Topics of the Week

 

Bieber hair for sale.

Image Credit: "Justin Bieber" by Americanistadechiapas

If you don’t know who this is I would have to say you are way behind my friend. Justin Bieber has become so famous so quickly it’s almost unbelievable. Teens everywhere are dying to be around him or even see him.  Things are growing so fast in the celebrity world for him, but has it gone too far? As all of America knows, Justin has recently cut his hair and it’s making news.  Imagine every time you made a small change about yourself people were ecstatic and going crazy over the change. (By the way, I think the last time I had my hair cut no one really noticed. Which is really no big deal – I’m not the famous one.) According to an OK! article “Justin Bieber’s Hair for Ellen DeGeneres,” Bieber is allowing Ellen to sell his old hair shavings on Ebay to raise money for a non-profit organization.  You’re thinking how sweet of Ellen, right?  Yes, but how far is too far? As of Ellen’s tweet yesterday the hair was already being auctioned off for $10,000. Holy Cow! That price of $10,000 was only after the hair being up for an hour; imagine what the current price is right now. Is this ridiculous or right on target?

Watch this YouTube video from the Jimmy Kimmel show…

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in PR Connections