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Breaking News: Facebook’s Big Announcement – More People, Less Pages

  The writing’s been on the wall. Literally. During last year Facebook tested an idea where they placed pages and their content in the “Explore” tab to separate them from personal posts from family and friends. This was a vision into the future and a sign that things were going to change for pages on […]

Facebook-announcement

 

The writing’s been on the wall. Literally.

During last year Facebook tested an idea where they placed pages and their content in the “Explore” tab to separate them from personal posts from family and friends. This was a vision into the future and a sign that things were going to change for pages on Facebook. That time is here.

 

On Thursday, 11 January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, posted to his own profile that in 2018 Facebook will be looking at making the interactions between people a priority. Zuckerberg wrote “Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”

 

What does this mean?

“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down”, Zuckerberg wrote in his personal update.

Facebook will now see interactions between people more valuable than interactions between people and pages, therefore, if your Facebook page does not create engagement between people in the form of discussions between your followers in the comments or shares, you may find a large decrease in the reach of your posts.

Facebook makes use of ranking to determine which posts you see in your news feed and in what order. This ranking takes into consideration the type of posts people interact with and start discussions around and will, therefore, be ranking these posts higher in the news feed.

 

Zuckerberg also stated that after research, they noticed that browsing Facebook has become a passive experience with people interacting less with one another.

At this point, it is very difficult to determine how pages and businesses will adapt to this change. This could mean that more will be spent by businesses on ads to improve the probability of their content being shown, as well as the demise of pages which are not generating content that prompt discussion and engagement between people.

While this may seem like doomsday to marketers who are highly dependent on Facebook, it would be fair to mention that while reach and engagement on pages will decrease, these very same pages have become a large source of information for consumers and clients or customers and this does not mean a total downfall. Facebook will now be granting it’s users the power to visit pages at their own time and on their own terms.

 

Will people still be able to see pages at the top of their news feed?

Yes, but only if they choose to. Users will still be able to select the option to follow a page and see their news first in the feed.

 

Can we make people engage with our content?

No. In December of 2017 Facebook announced that over the coming weeks they will be rolling out updates which will directly address pages which make use of the “engagement-bait” tactic.

Engagement-bait includes the type of posts we have all come to see on Facebook, such as “Like if you’re a Gemini”, “Tag a friend who loves gaming”, “Comment ‘YES’ if you agree”, and the list goes on. We’ve all experienced these posts and they will now be shown less in our news feeds. Facebook also made it known that pages which repeatedly make use of engagement-bait will face stricter demotion in the news feed.

 

Will content from pages still be seen in the news feed?

Yes, but much less. While it will take months for Facebook to roll out all their changes, the first changes we will see will be in our news feeds where we will be seeing more content from our friends, family and groups.

 

Why is this happening?

Over the years, videos and content on Facebook have exploded on Facebook and in this process, the goal and use of Facebook have changed from being a platform for real people to connect with one another, to a platform where everything goes and businesses can sell.

Mark Zuckerberg explained that through research and user feedback, they came to the conclusion that people were growing tired of spam in their news feeds and felt that the time users spend on Facebook needs to become valuable again. Facebook’s goal is now to create valuable social interactions. This may come at the expense of seeing less entertaining and educational content in our news feeds for the time being, but the control of what is seen in the news feed will be in the users’ power.

 

 

We’ll post more on this as we learn more about the updates and its implications for businesses and marketers.

Will this update be affecting your job or business? Let us know.

 

Til next time,

Stay unique.

 

Yours in digital,

iMod Education

10 Awesome eLearning Trends & Predictions to Watch in 2017

By now, I am sure most of us have gotten into the flow of the new year, and we are officially done with the “Monday” of 2017. Over the last couple of years, we have been seeing a great amount of evolution surrounding the concept of eLearning and 2017 will be no different. Think you’ve seen […]

Blog Title - 10 Awesome eLearning Trends and Predictions to watch in 2017

By now, I am sure most of us have gotten into the flow of the new year, and we are officially done with the “Monday” of 2017.
Over the last couple of years, we have been seeing a great amount of evolution surrounding the concept of eLearning and 2017 will be no different.

Think you’ve seen it all when it comes to your online courses?
Think again. We’ve put together a list of the most enticing trends and predictions for 2017.

If you’re as much of an online geek and fan of eLearning and the convenience that it provides as we are, you’re sure to be just as excited over what has been predicted to make waves in the industry in 2017.

If you haven’t hopped onto the online learning bandwagon, then this may just be your year to get with the program and realise your full potential in one or more of the exciting online learning channels available.

Here’s a list of what to look out for this year.


#1 Smarter, bigger data

Thanks to the years that eLearning has been building its name as an industry, millions of people have become students on the internet. Trends can be identified by analysing the massive amount of data at our disposal. This data can and will be used to develop a system for learning where the trends of previous learners can be used to analyse the most effective methods.

Over the past few years, so many forms of online learning have come into play, and with this comes all the insightful data they have gathered. All of this data can be used smartly to create more personalised and rewarding experiences for every learner. We can expect to see more and more courses showing different content based on the answers and engagement from the learner. For example, a learner who picked option A as opposed to option B as their answer will see the next part of the course differently to the learner who chose option B. This is an example of the type of personalisation we can start to expect from online learning, and by using the available data smartly, the personalisation opportunities are endless.


#2 Two-Way Communication

We have seen an increasing amount of institutions and companies create learner portals, apps, interactive quizzes, polls, questionnaires and more. All of these are mediums for the lecturer to receive communication from the learner, instead of the learner simply digesting the course content. This 2-way communication provides valuable insight into the needs of modern learners and allows for online education to be molded around these needs. This to and fro communication further expands the learner-base and effectiveness of the course.
In 2017, we should see more courses allow for this type of input from its learners. When learners are able to engage with their course educators at this level, it is not only beneficial for the educator. Lecturers will be able to use this information to improve the course and to gauge the level at which their learners are understanding the subject matter and whether they are benefiting from the content. Many courses now also provide students with the opportunity to see how their fellow students, colleagues or friends are performing in the course compared to themselves, or allow for learners to compare opinions providing an open forum for social learning. This is said to become a large part of eLearning in 2017. Because no two learners are the same, each will have a unique and personal experience by being able to express their thoughts and opinions.

We all want to feel special, don’t we?


#3 Video

Of all the forms of content out there, video has become an unbeatable force to reckon with. It is predicted that by 2019, video will be responsible for 80% of all internet search traffic globally,  and what’s more, it is expected that by 2019 users will share almost one million minutes of video content every second. There is no doubt in the popularity of video content, and this has also translated into online education. You will find newer courses being presented as videos or webinars. We have seen a rapid increase in this in the last year and by the looks of those statistics, in this year educators will find only more innovative ways to make use of videos within their course content.


#4 Microlearning

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, microlearning is a method used by online educators to help learners take in the information more effectively by presenting the content in smaller bits. The amount of information given is according to the average human attention span as well as the amount of information we can successfully retain at a time.
More of these microlearning courses will appear in this new year after how well it has been received the world over.
Microlearning will not just remain a trend, but possibly a standard as it allows for short focused study sessions. It caters to what our brains are able to handle and provides learners with a sense of accomplishment when they are able to complete a lesson while on a lunch break.


#5 Mobile Learning

In the last 5 years, we have seen a climb in the number of courses offering device flexibility. In the coming years, we are able to expect full responsiveness from online courses across a multitude of training needs. Content and courses will now be optimised to adapt to the device it is being viewed on.
The rise of mobile learning, or mLearning, will also be greatly beneficial to the educators as this will draw more students to their course.

Obviously. Who wants to whip out a laptop when you’re on a 5-minute break?


#6 Learning Apps

The introduction of apps into the online learning industry is probably one of the most fun, flexible and effective means of presenting a course. In this year, we will see even more of an uprise in the use of apps for both formal and informal learning.
Presenting material through a learning app opens up various possibilities that benefit learners. With apps, educators are able to send push notifications as reminders, have a highly engaging course since applications encourage interaction, allow students to create to-do lists and schedules, share their progress and so much more. The sky truly is the limit with what mobile apps can offer in terms of eLearning.
Many corporations, learning institutions and independent educators have caught on to the hype and 2017 will only show more progression into app learning.

What do you need? There’s an app for that.


#7 YouTube

Since being founded in 2005 by 3 previous PayPal employees, YouTube has evolved to become the company we know and love today. With 1,300,000,000 users (source), it’s no doubt that YouTube deserves a spot on this list. With free access to all the content, and 3.25billion hours of video watched every month, YouTube is any online learner’s go-to spot to learn how to do just about anything. YouTube is also growing in popularity among online educators since it provides a platform where beginner lectures can be uploaded. Videos like these are beneficial for both the lecturer and learner. Learners are able to have instant gratification when studying a beginner topic by having free access to the videos, and the lecturer is able to get exposure as well as engagement from possible future students who are willing to pay to learn about more advanced topics.

Thanks, YouTube. You are lit, fam (I think that’s what the kids on YouTube say). No?

 


#8 Non-Traditional Credentials

Gone are the days where you are only recognised if you have a shiny laminated degree from a gloriously overpriced university. In recent years, companies have started offering new types of credentials to learners such as digital badges for achievements, certificate programs bearing the company’s name as recognition and more.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to live in a country where higher education is provided free of charge making it that much harder to afford the education needed to aim for our dream jobs. For this reason, the recognition and creation of “micro-credentials” afford us the opportunity to strive for further education at much lower costs. Micro-credentials are increasingly being recognised by hiring companies should these micro-credentials bear the name of a reputable company.

In 2017, experts predict, colleges and universities will begin offering more micro-credentials. An example of this would be the option to study a portion of a degree, with the option to complete the full degree at a later stage and most likely at a reduced cost.


#9 Gamification

The gamification of education, something that is stereotypically seen as boring, has made waves worldwide. This one is also much more than a fad. Even though it is nothing new, more companies are now creating a “game-like” experience for learners. The technique has been tried and tested, yielding great results and has been proven to increase learner engagement and retention rates.

Gamification provides learners with constant encouragement by means of instant reward and continuous feedback on all progress made. All this while allowing them to have fun while doing it. This combination has a powerful psychological effect and keeps learners from stopping or becoming discouraged.

Life is already so serious, we might as well make the important stuff fun.


#10 Specialised Online Degrees

This prediction is probably one of my favourites. We are starting to see more specialised degree courses being developed to cater to students’ specific career requirements. Specialised disciplines such as data analytics, cyber security, digital marketing and much more have started to surface as degree courses. Best of all, the majority of these specialised courses are being launched online.

These unique and specific disciplines give individuals the chance to learn what is truly needed for their career or career change. We can expect to start seeing credentials offered such as a bachelor’s degree in real estate instead of needing to study for a more general degree such as marketing or business administration.


Want to be a professional gamer? Food tester? Mattress Comfort Specialist? There will probably be a course for that. Stay tuned.

Let us know what you would like to see as a new development in eLearning, or even what you would like to see right here on our SEO Course.

‘Til next time,
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

5 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp Over The Holidays

Fairy lights everywhere, Boney M and Abba in the supermarkets, tinsel from shedding Christmas trees, giant “SALE” signs wearing Santa hats. The holiday season is here for real! After this introduction I won’t blame you for thinking, “exactly, so why would I even think about being productive?”, and that’s what this post is all about; […]

5-Ways-to-Keep-your-mind-sharp

Fairy lights everywhere, Boney M and Abba in the supermarkets, tinsel from shedding Christmas trees, giant “SALE” signs wearing Santa hats. The holiday season is here for real! After this introduction I won’t blame you for thinking, “exactly, so why would I even think about being productive?”, and that’s what this post is all about; keeping the ol’ noggin sharp while still enjoying the holiday vibes.

Here are 5 fun things you can do this holiday to make the “back to work” transition in 2017 easier.


#1 Don’t stop reading articles

Keep up with what’s happening in the world and industry around you. While you sip on your morning coffee, have a read through your emails to see what all your blog subscriptions have to say. Most blogs and newsletters keep with the times so they will surely maintain festive themes to keep you in the holiday spirit.

In many instances you will also find that blogs will have holiday gifts such as course discounts, free webinars, and more goodies you might have missed otherwise.

Why: It will take the edge off when you step back into the office in the new year. You’ll be in the know on all developments without needing to fumble through emails or Google.

 

Image result for reading meme

 

#2 Sign up for a short online course

When the year is over, we normally end up feeling tired of all we were keeping busy with. Use a small amount of your time in the holidays to do a short course and learn a new skill that you can implement in the new year. There are many short course sites out there that “gamify” the learning experience to make it feel much less serious and lets you have fun while you’re upping your game (literally and figuratively).

Studies have found that online learning has the power to increase information retention rates by 60% and corporations say that e-Learning is the second most valuable training tool. Everyone benefits.

Why: It will give you something to look forward to when you’re back in the office in 2017 instead of just heading to your desk to do the same old tasks. The implementation of your new skill will also be sure to impress.

Image result for learn all the things meme

 

 

#3 Blog

Writing is much like fitness. Wait, I don’t know much about fitness, so… Let’s say writing is much like gaming. When you stop playing for a while and suddenly you get thrown into a boss fight, your screen will most likely, after a minute of button smashing, read “Game Over’. You’re not sure which button is for what move, what is effective, which strategy to use, or whether it is a matter of stealth and patience versus fast, powerful actions. To prevent your brain from saying “Game Over” when you are faced with having to write content, do keyword research, marketing, or any sort of writing, keep a blog of your holiday experiences so that you keep your skill sharp.

Why: You are continuously improving by writing, especially when you are writing about a topic you truly enjoy, like your holiday adventures. Bonus, you will have documented your memories and will be able to look back on them.

 

Image result for blogger meme

#4 Level up

Take one of your current skills and do research on how you are able to expand it even further. This could mean reading a book about it, taking an advanced course, or even watching YouTube videos on how to do it.

Why: You will gain a fresh perspective on something you may have been practising for a long time and may have started getting bored of. Not only will you perhaps rekindle your love for something that started fading, you will increase your chances of being recognised for a promotion or increase at work.

 

Image result for over 9000 vegeta

#5 Learn something completely different

If you are a highly career-driven individual, your brain is probably chocked full of skills and knowledge which is almost exclusively valuable to your job, right? Well, even if your answer is no, I’m sure you feel pretty tired of hearing the same old jargon after another year of hard work. Embark on a personal educational journey where you teach yourself something enjoyable that is entirely unrelated to your work. This also doesn’t need to be expensive. From being able to attend one lesson workshops, reading a book, or learning from videos, you can learn whatever it is your heart desires. Learn to brew beer, grow a herb garden, make sushi, become an origami master, how to do DIY projects, or whatever it is that has ever made you think “I wish I could do that”.

Why: It is common for people to start feeling like they live to work and work to live, nothing more, or like they are in a rut. By learning a new skill that interests you, you will be able to find joy in being good at something outside of work as well have something to turn to in order to relieve stress. This will also help you to see that you are capable of more than your day job and will be a nice change of pace at the end of your year.

 

Image result for online learning meme


Try out at least one of these tips over the holidays to keep your mind in focus while your body relaxes. You’ll still have time to go out, enjoy the ambient lighting, cheesy Christmas music, practice self-control with 50% off sales and always finding tinsel somewhere.

If you’re not busy over the holiday and looking for something a bit more in depth to study, why not sign up for our awesome SEO Course? Go on, take 20% off too because we love you. Simply enter “IEHOLIDAY” as your coupon code at checkout. Sign up here!

Have a wonderful and safe festive season!

Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,Pixel Christmas Kitty
iMod Education

10 Intriguing Facts About Black Friday

It’s holiday shopping time, y’all! With Black Friday being here this Friday, 25 November 2016, starting off the holiday shopping season, we’ve put together a list of some interesting Black Friday facts you may not have known. Is the hype about Black Friday justified, or is it merely one of the greatest marketing feats in […]

It’s holiday shopping time, y’all! With Black Friday being here this Friday, 25 November 2016, starting off the holiday shopping season, we’ve put together a list of some interesting Black Friday facts you may not have known. Is the hype about Black Friday justified, or is it merely one of the greatest marketing feats in history?


 

#1 Black Friday and the economy

The coming of Black Friday marks the start to a very important time of the year for America’s economy. In the US, a massive 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas, and for retailers such as jewellers, it is at 40%. With nearly a third of all annual retail sales occurring within one month of the year, the pressure is on for retailers to reach their target sales.

photo-1459257831348-f0cdd359235f


 

#2 In-store shoppers are decreasing

The crowds are starting to become a bit smaller during Black Friday weekend. In 2015, there were 102 million in-store shoppers over Black Friday weekend in the US which is 33.7 million less than predicted and 31.7 million less than shoppers from 2014.

Shoppers


 

#3 Why is it called Black Friday?

The shopping day was coined “Black Friday” in 1966 and was first recorded by Earl Apfelbaum, a rare stamp dealer. The day got its name due to the fact that the masses of people going out to shop caused traffic accidents, violence and overcrowding. So, it didn’t exactly start out as a term of endearment.
There are numerous rumours as to where the name actually came from. Some refer to a time when accounting was still done on paper where black indicated the profit made and red indicated losses.

Black Friday


 

#4 Wal-Mart is a dangerous place to be

The most Black Friday violence appears to occur at Wal-Mart, and there’s even a hashtag for it; #WalMartFights. In 2012, two people were shot outside of a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida. They were fighting over a parking space. In 2011, a woman pepper-sprayed a crowd of shoppers inside Wal-Mart’s electronics department in Los Angeles.

South Park


 

#5 Mobile shopping has taken off in a big way

Mobile shopping reached a big milestone when it crossed the $3 billion mark. A total of $4.45 billion was spent online by consumers in 2015 with 34% of purchases made on mobile devices. A study by Adobe also recorded that products sold online saw an average discount of 24%.

Mobile Shopping


 

#6 Shopping with sharks

More people die while doing shopping on Black Friday than in shark attacks. Since 2006, seven people have died and 98 have been injured in the US alone on Black Friday. In 2011, Target shoppers trampled and killed a store employee and continued to trample officers attempting to save the victim. The cause of death is usually either crowd violence or stampeding. There is one shark-related fatality in the US every two years.

Shark


 

#7 Deal or No Deal?

A study from WalletHub has shown that 14% of products will have prices on Black Friday that are similar to their regular in-store prices, while 17% of items will be more expensive on Black Friday than they are on Amazon. Statistics such as these are quite alarming and makes us wonder how much trust can be placed in retailers and their advertising.

Discount Balloons


 

#8 A Black Friday Secret

Pssst. It’s not really the biggest shopping day. ShopAdvisor tracked prices for 6000 retail items in 2013 and found that the average discount is about 5%. Just before Christmas discounts reach 17.5%. The Saturday before Christmas is actually the biggest shopping day when speaking in terms of deals and bargains and has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.

Black Friday Line


 

#9 Plastic is not so fantastic

Fewer and fewer people are whipping out the credit card for their holiday purchases and have realised that the love affair with credit card debt is not mutually beneficial. Consumers are more likely to use the money they saved. That means 41.9% use debit cards, 24% use cash and 2.3% pay by cheque. Only 31.8% use credit cards for holiday shopping.

Credit Card


 

#10 Most wanted

Electronics always seem to be a winner when it comes to Black Friday deals. According to Adobe, the five best-selling electronic products on Black Friday 2015 were Samsung 4K TVs, the Apple iPad Air 2, the Microsoft Xbox One, the Apple iPad Mini, and the Sony PS4. The five most popular toys were Lego Dimensions, Shopkin dolls, Lego Star Wars, Barbie Dream House, and Lego Friends. Sales from limited online deals accounted for 40% of all online sales.


 

When will you be doing your holiday shopping? Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Super Saturday? Do you prefer shopping online or in-store? Let us know!

 

Until next week!

iMod Education

20 Steps to a Peaceful, Positive, Productive Life Before 2017

It’s hard to believe that we are headed for the end of 2016. With only 44 days left in the year, we’re changing things up a bit from the usual tech, career and SEO speak, to talk about you and how you can get yourself ready for 2017 from a wellness point of view. When […]

It’s hard to believe that we are headed for the end of 2016. With only 44 days left in the year, we’re changing things up a bit from the usual tech, career and SEO speak, to talk about you and how you can get yourself ready for 2017 from a wellness point of view.

When we near the end of a year, we’re always bombarded with “X Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions” or “X New Year’s Resolutions to Keep”, but to be honest, I have a serious hate for the “New Year’s Resolution”. It follows the same principle of “I’ll start my diet on Monday”, “I’ll start going to the gym next month”. You are setting yourself up for failure, and if you think you need a change in your life that will benefit you, why wait? Without talking about slimming down or fitness, I’d rather talk about habits you can start forming before 2017 that will enrich your life, give you new strength for the year ahead, and help you maintain a positive attitude.

Having a deep love for psychology along with the digital world and writing, I take great pleasure in combining these to give you this week’s post. Your psychological well-being is even more important than your marketing strategies, SEO, and career. Without it, none of those would be possible.

Take some time during the last stressful part of the year and during the holiday season to adapt these 20 changes to make your life more peaceful, positive and productive before moving into the new year. Don’t fall prey to the new years’ propaganda. Remove the unnecessary pressure of “new year, new me” and just focus on making the existing “you” happier. Who would want to start a new year with so much pressure anyway? These are the changes that I have already, or will be implementing in my life, and so should you.


#1 Place yourself before your work

There are those times where we have to reach deadlines, head into the office a bit earlier or need to hustle to finish work before the end of a month and this is understandable. Sometimes, however,these things become everyday occurrences. Arriving earlier and earlier, leaving later and later, more stress and less gratitude. Make an active decision to put an end to this and realise that number 1 is you. Arrive on time, leave on time, switch off from work when you leave. You will thank yourself for it and as an added bonus, your employer will realise that they are unable to take advantage of you.

1-place-yourself-before-work


 

 

#2 Let go of those pants that you “just know” will fit someday

And everything else you don’t need.
Head straight for your closet, unpack it all and rid yourself of what you are holding onto for that one special occasion that might happen or the item of clothing that you are trying to fit into. All you need to take care of is the person you are now.
Does it fit you now? No? Throw it out.
Are you planning on wearing it in the next two weeks? No? Throw it out.
Have you worn it in the last 6 months? No? Throw it out.

Of course, I am not talking about sentimental items of clothing, and by that, I mean really sentimental. Don’t hold on to the shirt you wore during your first kiss.

After your ‘closet cleansing’, take the time to donate everything that is in good enough condition to those less fortunate. If you feel like you are experiencing “loss” by getting rid of your clothing, this will be a great pick-me-up and make it worth it.

clean-your-closet


 

 

#3 Create a cleaner, more organised living space

Now, I know that once you have cleaned out your wardrobe, you might be left feeling empty, but since you are already in the motion, apply this to your living space. Declutter and let go of what you don’t use. Have the decorative items in your home be things that resonate with you and give you a positive feeling, not just something that is pretty. Create a space that means something to you. Decorate your home with photographs, books that changed your life, gifts from special people or items you immediately fell in love with.

There is much to gain from living a life of minimalism and to stop consuming what you do not need. For more tips on realistic minimalism, read this great post from Soul Anatomy.

cleaner-living-space


#4 Find happiness in the “everyday ordinary”

I think everyone is guilty of this one.

Stop wishing your days away. Stop living for the weekends, or holidays. Stop saying “if I just had this, I would be happy”. We will never achieve happiness this way because once you get that one thing you believed meant the difference between happiness and unhappiness, you will just find something else to want. Once you are able to see and accept the fact our lives are mostly made up of non-extravagant, ordinary moments, you will be able to make yourself happier.
Start taking notice of the small things that happen on a daily basis that are positive and take a moment to appreciate it. By finding happiness in everyday occurrences, you will be even more happy than before when the big things do happen. Your dog is excited when you get home? Be just as excited to see him, he won’t always be there to welcome you. You succeeded at a recipe? Be proud. You finished a book? Take a moment to think back on it. Did it start raining on a scorching day? You can see where I am going with this. Appreciate your days and the small things that make your life the way it is. You will surely notice if they are gone.

everyday-ordinary-pug


#5 There is more than what is on the screens

If you are reading this blog, it is safe to assume that you, just like us, spend the majority of your time behind a screen. It’s our jobs, it’s our social life, it’s our entertainment and time fillers. People have lost touch with real life the struggle is real when you are faced with an area without network coverage. Life is what happens while you’re busy looking at what’s happening in other people’s “Facebook lives”.

Dedicate time every day to breaking away from technology, turn off your phone and read a book, meditate, go outside, take a walk, or practise a hobby. It is almost like living in the age of technology, we have to teach ourselves that life does, in fact, exist outside of our computer and phone screens and not every thought and moment needs to be documented on social media.

5-break-from-screens


#6 Drink more water

No need to necessarily put a number on it. Drink as much as you can handle and it will help rid your body of toxins, improve digestion and keeps you hydrated and healthy.

drink-more-water


#7 Earlier to bed, earlier to rise

Make the most of the important parts of the day and adjust your sleeping pattern gradually by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. You will feel more refreshed when you don’t need to rush in the mornings and be in a better mood.

earlier-to-bed


#8 Cook your own food

Instead of going for takeout, or the easiest option, start cooking for yourself and find therapy in it. You will appreciate what you put into your body so much more when you have prepared it yourself.

cook-your-own-food


#9 Take more breaks

As much as I wish I could be productive for the entire 8-9 hours I spend at work without losing steam, we were just not built that way. In a study posted by The Atlantic , social scientists believe that in 2014 they discovered the perfect productivity formula. Now, as odd as it may sound, I think it’s worth a try.
Their formula states, work for 52 minutes, break for 17 minutes. This is very specific and for those of you not interested in setting up reminders, it is recommended that you take a break every 50 – 90 minutes, depending on your own concentration and needs, and your break should be 15 – 20 minutes long. This is especially important if you spend your day looking at a computer screen.

take-more-breaks


#10 Find something beautiful every day, and photograph it

This is actually one of my favourite habits, and since most of us carry camera phones, it’s also the easiest. It forces you to only look for the beauty around you and when this becomes a habit, you will start seeing more and more positivity around you. Subconsciously, you will start looking at the world trying to find your picture of the day which changes your entire outlook on the world and gets you out of your own bubble. You will find yourself noticing so much more, and it’s usually positive.
Here’s a challenge to add to this habit: don’t post everything on social media. Why, you may ask? You are taking these pictures for yourself and the moment you start uploading to social media, you will start looking for other people’s admiration of your photo through likes, comments and shares. Instead, show your pictures to someone face-to-face where you are actually able to talk about it.

take-photos


#11 Become your own philosopher

There is no need to feel inferior when you do not subscribe to the beliefs you were taught growing up and it doesn’t make you any less unique if you do. Take some time to make up your mind about why we’re all here, the reason behind it all, or simply what it is you want your life to mean. If you have something of your own to hold onto, it will put your world into perspective and give you fulfilment. Make up your own mind about theories, whether it be life, the future, UFO’s, religion or whether the chicken came before the egg, the important thing here is that you decide for yourself and place value into your own thoughts.

become-your-own-philosopher


#12 Read two articles a day

You don’t always need to sign up for classes and courses to educate yourself or have decades of life experience to be better at your job (or at Trivial Pursuit and 30 Seconds).

Read two articles a day – one relating to the industry you are in to expand your knowledge, and one about something you are completely unfamiliar with. The second one can be anything from how to make sushi to growing a herb garden to history. Keep your mind active and enrich your knowledge.

read-two-articles-a-day


#13 Be thankful

Take a moment to count your blessings every day. Learn to not want and to be happy with having what you need. There is always someone with more, but mostly there is always someone with much less.

Here is some food for thought: If you have $10 and no debt, you are richer than 15% of American households put together (source)

if-you-have-food-in-your-fridge-clothes-on-your-back-a-roof-over-your-head-and-a-place-to-sleep


#14 Smaller, realistic goals

As humans, we are always dreaming of having, being and doing the best. While dreaming is not a bad thing, we need to adjust our goals.
Instead of thinking what you want to have achieved in 5, 10, or 20 years, set smaller, more realistic goals that are attainable with the right amount of work and effort instead of something you have no control over in the future. You will not be doing less than you are now, but you will remove the unrealistic pressure you place on yourself and allow yourself to be proud of what you have accomplished rather than constantly feeling like you have incomplete or failed goals.
Work on making your life or work better today, this week and this month, the rest will build on this and your long term goals won’t seem so far-fetched.

smaller-goals


#15 Keep a journal

For many people, this seems like one of those “new years’ resolution” type goals and like too much effort. It isn’t. Journalling can take many forms and it’s up to you which suits you best. This will allow you to create a personal timeline of special moments in your life, quotes, pictures, people you’ve met, goals you reached, milestones, or even naming what you are thankful for or what you took a picture of that day. After all, we all need to get things off our chest.

The following are some journalling options:

  • Blogging
  • Keeping a notebook with writing, snippets, images, quotes and numbers neatly in one place.
  • Scrapbooking
  • An incohesive journal where you simply write single sentences as you encounter different things throughout your days. (Idea – If you have a blog site, add a new page for this type of journal with single image or sentence entries)
  • Photo journal
  • Vlogging / video diary
  • Voice diary

15-keep-a-journal


#16 Be aware of what you take in

Start to take stock of the things you let into your life, trust, and body. This includes the people you spend time with, the music you listen to, the shows and movies you watch, the food you eat and all else. Everything we choose to surround ourselves with has a definite impact on our health. Cut out what you believe is meaningless and toxic to you or has a negative influence. Never forget there is power in the word “no” and you have the right to use it. Be better and do better, you deserve that.

be-aware-of-what-you-take-in


#17 The only approval you need is your own

Put an end to seeking approval from anyone other than yourself. Even though it is thoroughly rewarding to receive external praise, people are far more likely to criticise than they are to compliment. This search for approval comes in many forms; excessive social media posts, externalising your self-doubt with the hopes that someone will reassure you, or always asking others what they think of something before you do it.
You need to be happy and proud of yourself, and if you are, the important people in your life will be too. The approval starts with you. Listen to that voice in your head that comments before you do something and trust your gut. There will always be criticism in the world, and as Dita Von Teese has perfectly put it, “You could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches”.

your-own-approval


#18 Organise. Your. Life.

I mean everything. Clean up your house, throw out or donate what you don’t need and organise what you keep in such a way that it is easily accessible. In the kitchen, know that you in just about every way, one is enough. If you have multiple frying pans, keep one and give to someone in need, if you have more than one mixer, do the same, and so forth. Organise your personal documents in a system that will take the stress out of future situations where you may require them .
Get into a routine for housework and make it therapeutic by adding music or some dancing and singing to your chores.
Before leaving work, have a look at what is ahead for the next day to set your mind at ease so you can relax at home.
What this one boils down to is: if it’s chaotic, opulent or messy, organise it.

organise-your-life


#19 Work on your patience

Improving your patience will not only make you feel more at ease and positive, it will make you a more pleasant person to be around. So, how do you do it? I started with small things. As a very impatient driver, I now let that guy who doesn’t deserve it cut in front of me in traffic. Finding ways to occupy my mind when I’m waiting in lines instead of getting impatient. If someone is forgetful, let them repeat the same thing without correcting them or making them feel bad. Identify the things you find annoy you or make you impatient, and consciously change the way you handle them. Either way, the annoying things in life will never go away so we might as well save ourselves the teeth grinding and blood pressure fluctuations.

work-on-your-patience


#20 Let go of toxic people

I left the most difficult one for last because the people in our lives have the most influence over us than anything I have mentioned above and this certainly isn’t as easy as cleaning out your kitchen.
The toxic people in our lives could be friends we’ve known for years, family members, or someone we’ve just met.
Regardless of your relationship with them, if they are toxic to you, you need to distance yourself. This includes people who constantly place their happiness above yours, walk over you, negatively influence you or your loved ones and so on. Since this is no small decision and you may feel guilt over distancing yourself, I truly suggest that you do not enter into this on your own. Go to someone you know truly cares for you and discuss it with them and ask for their support.
It is hard letting go, especially if the toxic person is someone you love, but never forget, those who truly love you, will only bring out the best in you.

let-go-of-toxic-people


That is our list of 20 steps to a more peaceful, positive and productive life. Remain calm over the last stretch of the year and embrace this change, you will enter 2017 a new person and ready to take on whatever the search engines, clients, marketing trends, and SEO practises throw at you.

Be your own happiness.

Until next week,
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

Should You Pursue a Career in the Digital Marketing Industry?

Now that the US election is over and we watch our social media feeds explode into Trump memes, reactions and articles, we think it’s a nice change of pace to write a blog post about you, our reader. We want to help you reach for your dreams just like Donald… sorry, President Donald Trump did. […]

Now that the US election is over and we watch our social media feeds explode into Trump memes, reactions and articles, we think it’s a nice change of pace to write a blog post about you, our reader. We want to help you reach for your dreams just like Donald… sorry, President Donald Trump did.
After spending 3 months as part of the iMod family, closely studying them as well as the industry, I believe it is time for me to share my findings through a post about the perks and overall reasons to consider a career in the industry of SEO and digital marketing. Now that I have been able to thoroughly over-analyse my career change by doing research and reading hundreds of articles, I’m very happy with the changes. If you are like me, always overthinking and planning, then let me save you some time by sharing the facts that have set my mind at ease about choosing a path within this booming industry.


 

Is this career path for you?

New career choices are emerging quickly in the age we live in. The “what do you want to be when you grow up?” has become an increasingly more difficult question to answer and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a 6-year-old answer “I want to be an SEO when I grow up”. Nevertheless, just because some kid only thinking in fantasies didn’t say they want to be an SEO, doesn’t mean it isn’t as fun.
Having read through many blogs about what it is business owners are looking for when recruiting for their digital needs, there is a consistency within the majority of their answers. Hiring managers would much rather employ someone with a basic knowledge of HTML, graphic and web design, marketing, writing and the ability to uphold an intelligent conversation with them and clients over someone with just a degree. It is important to remember that much of SEO is about words and therefore a strong vocabulary would surely benefit you. A career in SEO encompasses three qualities that are great to have and develop; analytical thinking, creativity and language skills.
Often times it has also been observed that individuals who find themselves in an already technical field such as web development or data analysis would see SEO and feel that it may not be technical enough for them, however, they will find soon enough that it does become quite involved and would surely be a commodity and highly valuable skill to add to your repertoire.


 

Why should you join the SEO and digital marketing industry?

According to The Digital Marketing Institute, 150,000 digital jobs are predicted to rise by 2020. The job market may be booming at the moment, but the demand for digital skills has exceeded the supply, which, I don’t need to tell you, means this industry is a good place to be.
As much as I would love to only write about how fun, educational, and evolving a career in the digital industry is, we do all need to worry about the circumstances beyond our control. We have families to take care of, bills to pay, and need to adapt to the state of our governments, which in turn requires us to have stable and financially rewarding jobs.
Seeing the great rise in companies increasing their budgets, staff and resources for their digital marketing efforts, allows us a sense of job security when we have to face a recession and job scarcity issues or worry about whether we will be valuable in the long term to employers.

With the depressing considerations out of the way, one of the most awesome aspects of pursuing a career in the digital industry is not only the fact that you are an in-demand professional, but you also possess a set of fresh and future-proof skills. With all types of businesses, small to large and everything in between increasing their capacity to employ professionals with digital skills, you will benefit from far better career choices.

Bonus perk: Get bored easily? Don’t worry, the internet, search engines and technology is constantly changing meaning so will your skill set (if you actively keep evolving and adding to your expertise).


 

Let’s talk numbers

HubShout conducted a survey in December 2015 of small to mid-sized digital marketing agencies to see the biggest online marketing trends for 2016 (source). These are their results.

 

Top 2016 Online Marketing Trends Stats – HubShout:

74% of agencies expect their clients’ marketing budgets to increase in 2016; 17% expect a significant increase.
55% of small business clients spent between $501 and $2,500 per month for digital marketing in 2015; 26% spent more than $2,500.
56% expect Website Development to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
53% expect SEO to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
51% expect Content Marketing to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
67% of agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider.
51% outsourced website development services.
46% outsourced PPC services.
37% outsourced content marketing services.
61% of agencies cited SEO as a top source for leads.
45% cited Social Media as a top source for leads.
The biggest challenge for agencies in 2016: Lead Generation.

With such high numbers, it’s easy to see why this is an exciting time for SEOs and digital marketers. The industry is growing, evolving and the business world is seeing the true potential and value there is in pouring more resources into their digital marketing strategies.


 

Money talks (we were all thinking it)

Think of digital skills as a commodity which is in high demand but low supply. Such a commodity, thus, increases in value, and more money is spent on quality digital resources. In general, the pay scale is tipping in favour of digital professionals.
In the Marketing and Digital Salary & Sentiment Survey 2016, it was recorded that 56% of the survey participants had received a salary increase in the last year and 65% of respondents received a bonus.

There is great earning potential in this industry and even more skills to be explored which will all end up being intermingled and support each other with the added benefit of making you more valuable. For example, if you are a practising SEO, you will become even more valuable if you possess web development and web design skills as you will be able to build an SEO-friendly website right from the start and there will be no need for your client to outsource their web development to a separate company. The possibilities for growth are endless.


 

Most in-demand digital skills

Don’t know where you should be expending your efforts if you’re at the start of your career or where to branch out as a professional? We’ve got you covered. Below are the most in-demand digital skills.

 

1. SEO

In a study by Smart Insights, it has been found that SEO was one of the most in-demand skills of 2015. This is no surprise as the business world is starting to witness the true power that there is in driving traffic to their website through white-hat SEO. With Google owning over 60% of all US desktop searches and an even bigger portion of mobile searches at over 80%, SEO goes hand in hand with becoming (or trying to become) a Google expert, which is not as easy as it sounds when you realise just how much Google is always evolving.

Another reason why SEO is such a sought after skill is because when SEO is practised ethically, although it is a time-consuming process, it yields long-term rewards when continually upheld.

 

2. Analytical Insight

I have placed analytical insight and business intelligence second on the list even though I wholeheartedly believe that this skill goes hand in hand with SEO. Smart Insights found in their survey that the analytics talent gap is at a drastically high 37%. Understanding analytics and the measurable data from your SEO efforts is as important as the practice itself. Without being able to understand and interpret the data from your marketing implementations, it would be impossible to see what has worked, what appears to be ineffective, as well as why you are seeing changes. All of this data is used to plan your strategy moving forward and the importance is of analytics skills is about as serious as the shortage thereof.

 

3. PPC

If you are considering moving into PPC or Pay Per Click advertising, it would do you well to know that the job market is starting to heat up in search of PPC specialists. The reason for such a spike is that there is great potential in making use of PPC to drive targeted traffic to your website and in increasing conversions.
PPC involves very strategic thinking, analysis as well as math skills. You need to drive the right audience to a website for optimal conversions at the lowest possible cost.

 

4. Content Manager/Creator

Finding a person with good writing and language skills along with digital marketing and SEO knowledge is no easy task. This is someone who needs to be able to write compelling content that will grab (and retain) the attention of readers, while also ensuring that the written content is SEO-friendly. Phew, right?
The need for creative and technically minded writers is on the rise. Now is the time to put to use that literary degree that everyone told you will be of no use and pair it up with some SEO knowledge. iMod Education can surely help you out with that. Wink.

The beauty of a career within this industry is that it is ever-changing and you will NEVER stop learning. So, if you are looking for that 9 – 5 where you can become complacent and good at doing the same thing every day, this is not the path for you.


 

Baby Steps

Information overload? Feel like you’re in a maze? It’s never easy when you are at the start of a career or career change and you’re probably wondering where to start. We’ve put together a few starting points to get you on board. Relax, you can do this.

With so many careers having a set educational path which can be followed in preparation for the real world, many professionals are able to simply learn the field they are interested in and follow their education with a degree to show for it. While there are indeed now degrees in digital marketing, these programs are not available worldwide and there is also no degree program for SEO which makes the path to follow in this field slightly more difficult to decipher. Start at the beginning – a very good place to start.

 

1. The basics:

In order to take the edge off when you start a new job or ask for a promotion, pay some close attention to the basic skills needed to thrive in your chosen direction. For example, if you are looking to do SEO, find resources and courses where you are able to learn the basics of reading or coding HTML, how to navigate and work on Google Analytics, AdWords, and understand the principles of SEO and how they are implemented. Taking a writing class or two also won’t cause any harm.

 

2. Get in touch with the industry

Start learning what is going on in the industry by following the industry leaders and their blogs for the latest news. This isn’t merely a mundane task where you end up emptying your inbox constantly, but something that will actively affect and change the way you work. Because the digital industry is so dynamic and constantly changing with new developments from search engines, it is imperative that you stay in the know about what’s happening in the world around you. You will gain new insight, tips and vital information about what you should be implementing in your own practices.

Here are a few great blogs to get you started:
1. iMod Digital
2. iMod Education (Obviously)
3. Search Engine Watch
4. Search Engine Land
5. Moz
6. Kissmetrics
7. Social Media Examiner
8. The Keyword – by Google


 

The Job

In an attempt to find that job that you are looking for, I will always firmly stand by the fact that a personal approach is always the best. Now, we know that when you are in dire need of employment, it can be very time consuming to craft a unique message to each vacancy or company you approach, but remember that this will get you noticed much faster than spamming dozens of companies in the hopes that you will score an interview.
Do research on companies in your area, narrow down the ones you like and have a good track record, then approach them with a thoughtful and individual email. If only things were like the old days where you could walk into an office and present yourself. Even though we aren’t always able to do that, you can write your message in the same manner as you would speaking to the person face to face. Since you don’t approach real people with a templated conversation, don’t do it with your digital communication either.

Put together a killer CV. Flaunt your personality and have the skills to back up your resume.

There are endless possibilities in a digital marketing and SEO career, a bounty of endless skills, paths, approaches and niches lie ahead if you are looking at moving your career into such an exciting world.

If you mean it, you will make it.

 

If you are looking for even more career tips, visit our blog post “How to Enhance Your Career from a Real-World Perspective”.

Want to kick-start your SEO career? Right this way…

ENROL NOW

 

Until next week,
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

iMod Education Logo

Got blog ideas or a certain topic you’d like us to cover?
Let us know on our Facebook page, Twitter, or email us at [email protected]

 

 

 

5 SEO Myths That We Can Learn From

Even though SEO has been practised for over 2 decades, we are still met with constant myths about SEO that need to be debunked and forgotten. SEO myths are usually conjured up by those who have had failed attempts at optimising their websites, have had bad experiences with agencies, or simply do not want to […]

Even though SEO has been practised for over 2 decades, we are still met with constant myths about SEO that need to be debunked and forgotten. SEO myths are usually conjured up by those who have had failed attempts at optimising their websites, have had bad experiences with agencies, or simply do not want to invest the necessary time into their SEO and need to justify it somehow.

Although we do cover the topic of black-hat SEO as well as some common misconceptions about SEO in our SEO course, this week we’re focusing on the myths surrounding SEO so our students and followers do not fall into these misinformed ways of thinking.

Let’s get right into it.


Myth #1: SEO consists of tricks to manipulate search engines

No. Just no.

The only time SEO can be seen as manipulative or as “trickery” is when someone is making use of black hat SEO tactics to intentionally fool search engines and gain artificial rankings.
Something that is often overlooked is the fact that SEO’s share the same goal as search engines; providing the visitor with an enjoyable browsing experience by showing them results that are relevant to their needs, up to date, valuable and informative.
SEO aims to make valuable content more discoverable to search engines and people, creating a fluid and easy user experience by optimising the structure of a website, giving data a structure that is easy to understand and easy to access, abiding by technical standards that make it simpler for search engines to display the right content to the right audience which in turn will lead to the audience sharing the content and thereby generating links, optimising a website for social engagement, and improving site speeds.

If SEO only consisted of tricks, we would be seeing sudden spikes in our rankings, and just as suddenly thereafter, a great fall.

SEO takes work, and not just once. All the actions mentioned above are invaluable to a website on their own and by investing time into implementing SEO as a marketing strategy, you will reap great rewards.


Myth #2: SEO is not affected by activity on social media

Although Google does not make use of social metrics such as likes, followers or the number of shares when ranking websites, it is not this direct type of effect that we should worry about.

By making use of social media, sharing your content and engaging with your audience, you stand a much larger chance of reaping incredible rewards. When you use social media platforms correctly, you place a great amount of power into the hands of your users and this is valuable because, in this manner, the correct audience decides whether your content is valuable, instead of users who happened across your site, and found that it was not what they were looking for due to incorrect search terms or the like.
By creating and sharing great content on your social media, as well as optimising your website for social sharing and engagement, you make it easy for users to distribute and share your content which can lead to a wonderful snowball effect which includes links, more visits and brand awareness.

And this does, in fact, affect your SEO.

social-media-icon-signs


Myth #3: SEO is about ranking #1 in search results

This one is a pretty common one. My personal opinion is that this one has a lot to do with agencies promising to land businesses the number 1 spot in search results for a highly competitive keyword or keyphrase along with the great desire for business owners to rank number one as an ego boost.

SEO encompasses so many skills, tactics, strategies and tasks that many of you in the digital industry have probably at one time or another, practised some form of SEO strategy without even knowing it.

chart-arrow

Although #1 is a nice spot to have, especially for a high competition keyword, it is quite likely that this keyword could bring in the least amount of traffic to your site if you have spent a sufficient amount of time implementing your SEO strategy. It is important to realise that when you create your content around topics and provide useful and informative content on the subject, you will find that you are ranking for long-tail keywords that you weren’t even trying to rank for due to the fact that your content was relevant to the needs of the user. In this instance, the user landed on your site because you matched their needs, not a keyword, and that is when you have gained a user that will most likely return and share your content.

While it is proven that being on the 1st page of the search engine results page leads to more traffic due to the ease of access and visibility, however, rankings only form a small part of the overall SEO goal.
Your SE strategy as a whole needs to aim for more engagement, increased traffic brought in by valuable content and an increase in conversions. When we focus on content optimisation instead of obsessing over grabbing the number 1 spot on Google, it is then when your increased traffic and fresh, useful content will aid you in climbing the rankings.


Myth #4: Image Optimisation isn’t important for SEO

Before getting into the technical side of this awful myth, I want to address the fact that we need to be considerate of all our users when we create content. Whether it is a visually impaired user or a user with a poor internet connection that simply cannot have images load, we need to optimise our images to let our users know what the image is.

We look at many websites to find that their images are not optimised with the correct titles, alt text and descriptions, and this problem is very common.
When you search for an image on Google, how do you think Google knows what images to display? There certainly isn’t someone looking at the trillions of images on the web who spends their time analysing and naming them. Search engines cannot actually “see” your images.

The reason image optimisation is so important is because it grants us yet another channel to be seen by search engines and humans. If your images are optimised with titles and alt text, you stand a chance of having images from your website appear in an image search, which in turn can end up leading to a visit to your site. Google suggests that we use descriptive titles and captions as well as keywords if relevant.

iMod Education Image Search

Image search performed for “imod education”

Image optimisation is surely one of the easiest tasks when we create content, it is, however, harder to remember to do it. So, we need to keep reminding ourselves what is necessary when creating new content and be sure to have image optimisation on the checklist.


Myth #5: Good Design and user experience isn’t a requirement

When this argument comes up, we need to look at websites from the perspective of the search engine. Google’s goal is to provide their users with the most relevant and useful content based on their search queries. As Google continued to provide better results to their users, they also used the increase in their user-base to enhance their algorithm and thus, they have included user experience and website engagement into their ranking algorithm. Just as with all of us, Google too is a business and their mission is to keep their customers happy. In order for them to keep their customers happy, they need to direct them to quality web pages. By showing your website, Google is actually recommending your website to one of their users, and should the user experience on your website not be fluid, easy and enjoyable, Google’s user will leave your site and be unhappy about the result they were given. Simple as that.
User experience ties in greatly with SEO because the ultimate goal is to provide the user with relevant, recent, and informative content that is easy and enjoyable to navigate.

user-experience-for-startups


There are a lot of strange rumours out there along with bad and manipulative SEO tactics. Stay aware of the sites you visit for information concerning SEO and be sure that the content you are viewing is up to date and from a reliable source. If you are not currently one of our students at iMod Education, you can learn even more on the topic of SEO, correct practices and reliable resources by joining our course.

I hope this week’s post will help you weed out the fake SEO’s and their advice and encourage you to invest the time and resources into your SEO efforts. When you do, you will see the great rewards which accompany your SEO success.

 

As a big thank you to all of our supporters and readers, we are giving our readers a 25% discount on the SEO course.
To claim your discount, use the code IEBLOG when checking out as your coupon code.

 

 

Do you have any burning SEO or online education questions? Suggestions on what you want to read about on our blog? Let us know at [email protected] or on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next week!
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

 

Our Top 10 Apps for Work – Your Digital Desk

When we think about the world as it is today, how we have taken our social lives, hobbies, communication, writing and so much more online, I think it only makes sense to do the same with our work and desks. In our previous blog post, How to enhance your career from a real-world perspective, we […]
When we think about the world as it is today, how we have taken our social lives, hobbies, communication, writing and so much more online, I think it only makes sense to do the same with our work and desks. In our previous blog post, How to enhance your career from a real-world perspective, we spoke about tips to get ahead in the highly competitive business world we’re in today and promised a list of all our favourite apps and plugins which have made our desks digital and (mostly) paperless. We hope that the insight into the great tools below will help you to create a more efficient work environment leaving you with more time to do important tasks. So, let’s dive right into our top 10 list of free productivity apps that we use in our office.

#1 Asana

We’ve placed Asana at the top of this list because it is truly the heart of where our tasks and projects get started.
First things first, Asana is a tool for teams to track their work in one place. Asana is packed full of features such as an inbox where your team can communicate which leaves your email inbox for clients and external emails, to-do lists, sections to organise your work, attachment functionality and loads more.
Asana Interface

Example of Asana’s interface from their website.

Asana’s project management features include tasks which you can create for yourself or assign to team members, projects which your tasks can be organised into and due dates and times. You are also able to customise your view in Asana into sections such as “Due Today”, “Coming Up” or “Overdue. Team members can also give praise to each other with hearts.
Asana is available on the web, and for download on Android and iOS.

#2 IFTTT – If This Then That

IFTTT is a fantastic application that gives you control over your favourite apps and devices by allowing them to communicate with each other as per your predefined “recipes”. If This Then That allows you to automate certain tasks to simplify your life and save time.
Recipes are your predefined tasks for IFTTT and there are two types of recipes; IF recipes and DO recipes. IF recipes run in the background and are executed once your criteria are met, or “if this, then that”. DO recipes are tasks that you trigger with the push of a button. IFTTT runs in the background and organises your life without you even knowing it.
You can choose to send yourself an email with the location of your parked car so you never forget where you parked, automatically add new subscribers to your MailChimp subscriber list, notify someone when you leave work, all automated.
Here are some of my recipes as an example:
Recipes on IFTTT

Recipes on IFTTT

To enjoy the full benefits of IFTTT, you will need to download their mobile app which is available on both Android and iOS.

#3 TweetDeck

Managing more than one Twitter account or need more flexibility for your own account? TweetDeck is a Twitter browser that lets you view multiple timelines in one single view in an easy to use interface. With TweetDeck, you can add custom columns so you never have to navigate to a different or window. All your notifications, updates, messages and lists can all appear in one window for more than one Twitter account.
TweetDeck is also ideal for tweeting from more than one account at the same time, simply tick which accounts you want to tweet from and off you go. TweetDeck also allows you to schedule your tweets for all your different account so you can remain active on your social media even in your down time.
See below my TweetDeck interface as an example:
TweetDeck Interface

TweetDeck Interface


#4 Canva

Canva is an absolute time saver and an amazing addition to my digital desk. Digital and content marketers will surely understand the value behind this app. Canva is a user-friendly online graphic design software that allows anyone to become a designer. As a digital marketer, I find Canva incredibly useful as I don’t always have the time to fire up Photoshop and design a new graphic from scratch for every post I publish and this is an application I use every day.
Here is an example of only some of Canva’s design tools:
Canva Tools

Canva Tools

Canva Templates

Canva Templates

Not only does Canva have image dimension templates so your image is always the right size for the social media platform you are posting on, it has pre-made templates that you can use for your design inspiration.
Apart from Canva’s predefined social media templates, they also have the sizes for Google ads, Facebook Ads, A4 documents, blog titles and much more.
For content marketing, Canva is a great tool to make each and every one of your posts stand out.
As an added bonus, Canva also has a separate Photo Editor.

#5 Buffer

If you are not familiar with Buffer as a digital or social media marketer, I would suggest you do so right away and make your life exponentially easier. Buffer is a one stop app where you manage all of your social media in one place. Not only can you post from all your accounts in one place, you can navigate the web and as you stumble upon interesting articles or content that you would like to share, you simply click your Buffer plugin to publish right away or add to your queue.
With Buffer you can also choose to publish on all your social media at the same time, or you can make use of the Power Scheduler to post at a different time on each social media platform.
Below is an example of the Buffer interface:

 

 

Buffer Interface

Buffer simple composer

Buffer Power Scheduler

Buffer Power Scheduler

Buffer is also available for download on Android and iOS so you can manage your social media on the fly.

#6 Evernote

Need to keep articles for later? Need to plan out your blog posts? Need to gather resources? Evernote is the best notebook and sidekick you’ve ever had.
In our office, I’m the largest Evernote enthusiast as I use it to write and plan my blog posts. I gather all my research articles in Evernote where I am able to edit and comment on them as needed. Evernote is also especially handy for when I’m on the go to make my own notes and comments on the world around me or as I come up with ideas. If you have a smartphone with writing capabilities such as a Galaxy Note or a tablet, Evernote also recognises handwriting which means you can still make notes the “old school” way.
You can also create your own lists, tasks, reminders and more within Evernote and organise it all with various notebooks and tags.
Evernote integrates beautifully with your life because of all the choices they offer with the web app, desktop app, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Evernote

Evernote


#7 Google Tag Assistant

This one is actually a Chrome plugin and has proved to be extremely useful in the SEO and digital marketing industry. Google Tag Assistant allows you to easily see which Google tags are running on a website and correct them instantly if there are any errors.
You are able to view Google tags such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords Conversion Tracking, Google Tag Manager and more.
Never find yourself in a position again where you may have multiple conflicting tags running on the same website.
Below you can see an example of what the Google Tag Assistant detected on the iMod Education website.
Google Tag Assistant

Google Tag Assistant


#8 Google Suite

Obviously, your digital desk won’t be complete without an office suite. Google has made it easier than ever for us to access our documents anywhere and do all our work online. Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Drawings, Google My Maps and Google Calendar are all wonderfully integrated so you can manage all you need right in your browser, and guess what? You don’t even need to remember to save, Google does that for you. Share your work with your colleagues with a link, see your team’s calendars to schedule meetings seamlessly, and so much more.
One of the other beautiful features of the Google Suite is that it integrates with IFTTT (mentioned above) and allows you to automatically create and automate documents based on the criteria you specify.
G Suite

Google Suite


#9 MailChimp

Email marketing is such a powerful tool in business or even if you are just promoting a blog. MailChimp is the perfect tool for crafting beautiful emails and campaigns without needing to have any coding knowledge. With its simple drag-and-drop interface, you can create custom templates for your emails, customise your emails with your subscribers’ names for a more personal touch and create interactive emails with eye-catching calls to action.
MailChimp’s interface is also highly user-friendly when managing your lists of subscribers. You can create groups and segments for more specific targeting and to create more engaging emails.
MailChimp Logo

MailChimp


#10 Droplr

Droplr is a screenshot and file sharing tool that allows you to transfer files easily with links and take the exact screenshot you want with the added functionality of adding drawings, shapes and text to it.
Sometimes visual communication in the office streamlines things a bit and with Droplr you can easily share your screenshots with your colleagues with the use of a link.
Droplr is also perfect for sharing your screenshots on social media.
2016-10-20-12_32_39-droplr_-screenshot-file-sharing-made-easy
Once you have copied your selected area, Droplr saves your screenshot’s link to your clipboard and you can easily share your URL wherever you need to.

Although in an office such as ours, we use a large number of tools and apps, these top our list for productivity. Since we all need to play so many roles in our jobs today, it’s important to keep your head above water. Luckily we live in an innovative period where all of these wonderful tools are at our disposal and will only get better as time goes on.
Let us know on our social media what your favourite apps and tools are!
Until next week!

How to enhance your career from a real-world perspective

With a tremendous shortage in digital skills compared to the growth of the digital marketing industry, there is no better time than to gain the edge you need to excel in a digital marketing career. If you are part of the emerging digital industry in South Africa, it may be of some motivation to know […]

With a tremendous shortage in digital skills compared to the growth of the digital marketing industry, there is no better time than to gain the edge you need to excel in a digital marketing career. If you are part of the emerging digital industry in South Africa, it may be of some motivation to know that a total of 47% of the South African population are internet users, and to add to this, it has been estimated that by 2017 South African consumers will be spending a total of R59 billion on internet access which is a huge leap from the R19.8 billion spent in 2014 (source). According to Rob Stokes, the Founder and Group CEO of Quirk, the growth in the digital industry has been so rapid (an annual growth of 30-50%) that is has been impossible for skills development to keep up. If you turn to Google you will surely be met with thousands of articles on how to change your career, skills, networking and much more, however, this week I decided to take more of a holistic approach to career enhancement, I’ll be discussing some statistics, the psychology behind success, skill enhancement and more. Here are some facts and tips to help you enhance your career, and even more so in the digital industry.

 

The Importance of Practise

The importance of the process we implement in order to better ourselves is often completely overlooked when we try to engineer the path to our success.
I came across a fascinating article published on Medium by Srinivas Rao where it has been brought to my attention, that the majority of us rely on our performance on projects to be the driver of our success rather than the process. What this comes down to is the fact that in your career, as with many other things in your life, you will practice much more than you perform. Rao uses the example of a musician in his article by demonstrating that a musician will spend hundreds of hours practicing for a single performance, and when we look at his statement from this point of view, it is undeniable that practice is just as important, if not more important, than performance.

In order to improve not only your career but also your daily life at the office, you need to find happiness within the process leading to performance. In the situation of a digital marketer, for example, the process can include things such as market research, keyword research, studying, reading articles, practising the use of your daily tools such as Google Analytics, WordPress, social media, etc. Since your practice is what fuels your performance, it is in your practice where you need to expend all your effort and your performance will be a mirror image of this. When you start to see the importance of practice over performance, you will be set apart from those who only rely on performance and save their energy for when they are in the spotlight instead of when they are in the process.

Keeping your skills sharp by practising them daily, will aid you when you are faced with new challenges or projects because you will be the one set apart from the rest by continuing as if it is business as usual for you.

digital composite of business graphics with office background

 

Build your own ladder

In the year 2016, it’s evident that the workplace is a vastly different place from what it was 20 years ago. Millennials find themselves in a workforce that is the polar opposite of what parents, teachers and dusty textbooks made them believe. However, being the largest generation on the planet with a highly overcrowded and competitive talent pool, millennials have quickly adapted to the new order of things in order to “make it”. Kathleen Murphy, president of Personal Investing, a Fidelity Investments company, says in her post on The Muse that millennials are more focused on enhancing their skills than their titles due to how rapidly the world is changing. Millennials understand that promotion plans and tenure have become much less prevalent and it has become a necessity to develop a broader skill-set to be more valuable and to enjoy a successful career. Along with their skills, millennials have also changed the very environments which they work in to be more accommodating to free thinkers. In many work environments there used to be a strong sense of bureaucracy where ideas and conversations were limited to scheduled meetings which took time and occurred at times where staff are least likely to be inspired. Millennials have started questioning authority, in corporations as well, by asking for more flexibility and an environment where unscheduled discussions can take place and ideas are able to flow naturally.

mix2_8-150ppp

 

In the world of digital marketing, this is no different from Kathleen’s experience in the investment industry. We need to develop more varied skills to adapt in this fast-paced industry, especially when considering that the digital marketing industry is annually increasing at a much higher rate than skills resources. I am by no means saying that we will no longer be specialising in our chosen fields, may it be SEO, PPC, Content Management or whichever you would consider your niche, but we need to view the industry we work in as a Venn diagram where we need at least a basic working knowledge of all things relating to our industry.

There is no corporate ladder left to climb, each one of us builds our own ladder and how high it goes depends on the strength and diversity of the skills we practice.

In the digital age that we live in, we have an endless amount of resources at our disposal when it comes to career enhancement ranging from online courses at reputable institutions such as Udemy, Coursera, Shaw Academy and of course iMod Education which all offer affordable courses to boost your career, to millions of blogs which we can follow to gain insight to building professional relationships, networking and leadership skills.

 

Keep up with your industry

As I am sure you have gathered from my previous point, in order for you to diversify your skills while still remaining relevant, is by keeping up with the trends in your industry and news from reputable leaders within that industry. By staying in the know, you place yourself at a great advantage to keep your skills up to date and valuable to your work while outperforming the greater majority of your peers.
As the world and the internet changes, we need to mould our capabilities to use the resources available to us fully.

Earlier this year Mashable published an article where they had asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what skills and qualities they look for when hiring digital marketers. Their answers ranged from technical skills such as SEO, SEM, to social media advertising and a likeable sales personality all the way to objective, analytical and creative thinking. While this article proves very insightful when trying to gauge what industry leaders are currently looking for, I wanted to find a more tangible list of skills.

Search Engine Journal and the Digital Marketing Institute covered this topic in their blogs earlier this year and after a thorough reading, I have compiled a list of the top “must-have” skills in Digital Marketing today:

  • SEO/Inbound Marketing
  • PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Writing and Copywriting
  • WordPress
  • Design and Photo Editing
  • HTML
  • MailChimp
  • Paid Social Media Advertising. More specifically, Facebook Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation

To gain more insight on these individual skills, feel free to have a read through the Digital Marketing Institute’s article as well as Search Engine Journal’s article.

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There is no way of getting around having these vital skills or continually adding to your arsenal as the industry changes. The point here is that you need to be at the forefront of the latest news in your industry, know which developments are underway, know which breakthroughs have been made and understand them in order to immediately update your skills to match what your industry demands at that point in time.

 

The truth about job-hunting in 2016

I am quite sure that by now all of us have seen the large increase in articles written about millennials, how they work, how they succeed, how they learn, and what sets them apart. Now, while this may become slightly excessive if you follow the same social media pages and blogs as I do, we have to consider that there is an important reason for this. Millennials, for those of you that have not been bombarded with these articles, are individuals born between 1980 and the early 2000’s. The reason I bring this up is because not only are millennials the largest living generation, with the oldest millennials being 36 and moving into more managerial roles, our co-workers and bosses will most likely both be part of the millennial generation so it’s time to pay attention to the business world that they are sculpting and how to find your feet in it.

The process of looking for a job has never been more diverse. From going place to place or responding to newspaper advertisements and classifieds in the past, to today being able to find employment through social media. Gone are the days of your simple Word resumes too. There seem to be a few major mistakes that we all tend to make in today’s job market. According to an article by Huffington Post, millennials are still, regardless of their driven, entrepreneurial natures, settling and taking what they get instead of mapping out what it is they want to achieve and formulating a plan to get there. Currently, a massive 12.8% of American millennials are unemployed which only fuels the generation’s fear of finding worthy employment after studying (source).

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I did some further research on what leaders in various industries view as the most valuable job hunting advice, read countless articles of regurgitated information and in all of this I found very few that showed understanding and compassion. After being in the recruitment industry and also having been through this myself during such a competitive time for young people in the job market, I have opted to put together my own list of true and tested tips for when you are looking for your next job which comes from a place of experience and understanding of the struggles out there:

  1. Instead of focusing on articulating your speech more than you normally do, trying to sound impressive and hoping your interview outfit is as crisp as the fancy boardroom you’re sitting in, tell the interviewers your story. Each one of us has our unique story that brings us to that very moment where we are in a chair in front of people way more successful than us in whose hands our very futures are placed. Of all the things you could tell your interviewers, humanity and attitude are the main things that they will remember and showing them the road you took to earn that seat, will allow them to see much further than the “tech speech” and pressed jackets.
  2. Find a company where you will be mentored instead of managed. As I mentioned earlier, millennials seek experience and skills over titles. Do your research and approach a company where employee growth and skills development are nurtured.
  3. Educate yourself with short, specialised courses and reading material. You will quickly find this type of learning so much more valuable than you would ever have thought or even more valuable than years of studying a single subject. With courses and certifications such as these, you start to specialise and become an expert. I believe that in the near future more companies will also start catching up to the recognition of short courses during their recruitment process, especially after one of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters, Ernst & Young, have removed the degree classification from their entry criteria as they have found that having a university degree does not equal later success (source). A great way to commit to the mindset of continuous learning is by setting smaller goals for yourself. I personally challenge myself to find and read at least 2 articles a day that could teach me something new.
  4. Take back control over your job search and do it yourself by creating a unique resume, applying for less popular jobs where there is a greater chance of standing out, and only apply to companies which you are able to research instead of generic job ads.

 

Clear the clutter – go digital

As professionals in the digital industry it only makes sense to move our desk to the digital space too, right? There are fantastic (and free) online applications that we can use to organise our desks, calendars, lives and devices. By integrating these apps into your daily life, you will shave hours off mundane tasks and get back the time to do the things that really matter.

For some great insight on where to start with your new digital desk, stay tuned for next week’s blog post where I’ll share with you the apps we use in our office on a daily basis to streamline our to-do lists.

The world out there is tough and highly competitive, stay unique, stay relevant, stay true to yourself and don’t get caught in the mainstream’s strong current.

Until next week!

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

 

Images credit:  Freepik 

My Journey Into Digital

My journey into the world of Digital Marketing has been an interesting one, to say the least. If you are browsing this site, having a look at the SEO course offered by iMod Education, reading this very blog post, well then there must be a reason for it. If you are a potential Digital Marketer or SEO practitioner still deciding on the field you will be immersing your professional life in and you're in need of some guidance, this post is for you.

Hi, my name is Danni. The newest member of the iMod Digital and iMod Education team and their most recent course graduate. I decided to share a more personal story this week for all our students, prospective students, or those looking for some insight into taking a step toward becoming a professional within the digital space.

My journey into the world of Digital Marketing has been an interesting one, to say the least. If you are browsing this site, having a look at the SEO course offered by iMod Education, reading this very blog post, well then there must be a reason for it. If you are a potential Digital Marketer or SEO practitioner still deciding on the field you will be immersing your professional life in and you’re in need of some guidance, this post is for you.

I am a Digital Marketing “noob” and recently, a course of events had piqued my interest in the mechanics involved in this vast digital world that we live in.

Let me tell you a bit more about how I got here, and why it has so far been the best choice I have made for my career.

 

The Beginning

I had always had a natural inclination to the wonder of technology and never found it difficult to adapt to the increasingly digital and tech-centered world we live in. As young as I am, I explored the web and remember the distinct sound of our dial-up modem in anticipation of a stable connection so I can update my MySpace profile.

That dial-up modem is what started it all.

Although I had this attraction to technology and the web, I had never considered it as a career choice. Technology and the internet were simply personal attributes to my life, much in the same way that people wouldn’t immediately consider monetising their flair for sketching, or writing.

Regardless of how much I enjoy exploring the digital world, I do have another passion that the digital space has been competing with. This would be my love for psychology.

For a very long time, the dream was simple. Finish school, get a psychology degree, complete Honours degree, complete Master’s degree, become a psychologist. Simple, right? Nope.

After completing my secondary education, I started working as a receptionist and admin assistant at a wedding venue and from there on started formulating my plan of dominating the world of psychology and mental health. It did not prove as easy as that.

I guess it’s true what they say. Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

 

The Realisation

Fast forwarding a few years ahead, I am currently a 3rd-year psychology student. I have placed these studies on hold after moving 1800 km from my hometown to Cape Town.

I found myself in a new position as an IT Recruitment Consultant. I started learning the jargon of the tech world, started networking with IT professionals, both candidates, and clients. Soon enough, I found myself realising the immaculate power of the web and technology in business.

Soon before long, I made the personal decision to start a blog. Writing is something I had started doing when I was around 11 years old and is one of the things I have a real passion for. Being able to write again has given me an immense sense of clarity as to the journey I may be able to follow.

My interest in blogging led me to start an online Diploma in Blogging and Content Marketing and this opened the door to digital marketing.

A few courses later, I now have a varying skill set ranging from writing, graphic design, web design, SEO and digital marketing. All of these skills support and complement each other in a way I never thought possible and I was able to gain these skills without having to fork out money that I don’t have or getting a degree which nowadays requires a student loan.

Not much later, I had decided to stop recruiting for the tech and digital world, and join it instead.

dannihearted-blog-excerpt

Excerpt of my very first blog post after I decided to simply take the leap and start posting.

 

The Break

Anyone reading this knows that landing that job you’ve been waiting for is way easier said than done. So what did I do? I forced my way in. I did not place myself on the job market the way most young professionals do these days by placing themselves on online job portals and applying to any and every fake job ad they find. Most of the time when doing this, you will find yourself ending up in the hands of a recruiter and if you are lucky, will get a few interviews at companies you may have never heard of.

I, however, wanted a more fulfilling and personal experience, so instead of looking for vacancies, I started researching companies instead.

After research, browsing dozens of “tech-savvy” agencies in Cape Town, I finally only approached three. iMod Digital was the first place I approached.

I read their vacancies and realised that they were looking for a seasoned SEO to join their team. Although this was slightly intimidating because I was not the SEO they described, I took it as some fuel when I sculpted my email to them.

I told them why I liked their company, what they stand for, what they do and proceeded to add why I would be a good asset to them. I fully portrayed my personality in my email and even added my quirkiness that normally only friends and family see.

A week later I landed an interview. Even though I was not the SEO they were looking for, nor did I have the experience they were after, I was offered a position on their team as a digital marketer and they got someone who was motivated and more than willing to learn the tricks of the trade. Never have I been happier. Upon my start with iMod, they had me start off on their expert SEO course at iMod Education to spruce up my skills and having made my way through this course, I am now even more sure that I have indeed made the right decision. The SEO course covers a great amount of topics in a way that is easy to understand and offers the opportunity to test what you have learned immediately. The fact that the team at iMod Digital has so much trust in their course that they would have someone join their team and use the course as training, is enough for me to recommend it to anyone out there seeking to expand their knowledge on the topic.

Having done many courses, iMod Education’s SEO course is the first course that has been useful on a day-to-day basis at work. A very important point to remember is that this course not only encompasses the hard facts about SEO but also covers many valuable lessons about what you can expect when pursuing digital marketing and SEO and the subjects related to succeeding within digital marketing as a whole such as content, writing, imagery and so much more. Digital Marketing and SEO combines all of my strong suits, creativity, writing, computer knowledge, graphic and web design, content creation, and problem-solving in an out-of-the-box way.

The digital revolution is over.

Yes, you read that right. We are no longer in a revolution into the digital space. The world is digital, and this is surely proven by the billion dollar industry that is eCommerce and Digital Marketing. There is no more room or excuse to bypass joining the online world in business. We need to grow with it and realise the spectacular potential there is for brands, companies, and individuals to make their mark and engage with giant audiences which can generate wonderful returns when done right.

That’s why I’m here, at iMod Digital, where I get to learn from the very best by not only completing their heart and handmade SEO course but by being able to pick their brains in a free and creative environment where I am trusted to work with them as if we’ve been a team for years.

What’s next? Who knows, but I will surely blog it here.

If SEO and Digital Marketing is a space you see yourself in with its endless growth and exploration, or if you need the knowledge to optimise your business’ website, why not give yourself a head start and a competitive edge by joining iMod Education’s exclusive course?

Sign up by clicking the button below

Register Now

 

Yours digitally,

Danni B

 

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