How to Be More Productive At Home

You might think that you can’t get anything done at home. But it’s really about setting yourself up for success when in your own space.

Staying productive at home is important as with the COVID-19 pandemic, more offices changed to working from home. Workers now have to experience a new change in habits. Research shows that only 1 in 10 people reported their productivity had gone down during lockdowns. The rest maintained or even improved their productivity. While it can come easy for some to stay productive, it’s important to use tools and strategies to maintain a strong work life balance the entire day.

In this blog article, we will discuss how to be more productive at home. This guide is for people who lose focus easily and want to work on staying productive throughout the day at home using these productivity techniques and strategies.

Morning Routine

There are may tips out there on creating a morning routine, a source of motivation, wake up early, eat a healthy breakfast, meditation, reading, mindfulness or make a to-do list. That way, before the day begins, you have a tradition of what needs to be done and can plan accordingly

The reason successful people claim to be so effective is the way they start their day off on the right foot. Your morning routine could include making your bed because it gives off the impression that things are being taken care of. It takes self-control to do this consistently, so find what works for you.

A daily routine is one of those new habits that primes your body and mind to be ready for the challenges that will come will set you up perfectly for having a productive day.

Create an environment for success

Put everything in its place before beginning work or doing any tasks at home so it doesn’t become overwhelming if there is something new added later into the equation.

It’s important to reduce distractions from the internet, apps on your phone and TV. Shut your door so this way you can focus more on what needs to be done, take video calls, and function as your at home office space.

It can be a good idea to make your home office an area where you don’t associate with any other activities. If possible, keep it in a corner of the house, a place of comfort, so that there is no temptation for distractions from family members or pets. Keep that background noise out with the help of music.

Manage Your Time

The best way to be productive is by managing your time so that you can get everything done in a timely manner. A sure fire way to experience stress is to not have your time managed well – this is integral as part of your new routine to save time. The worst thing for productivity is when people are constantly waiting on others, which causes them to lose focus.

Basic strategies for this can include inbox zero for email, time-blocking through your calendar. Even something as simple as using morning hours to take on big tasks you want to make progress on. You’ll notice a big difference in mindset when you’re at your most alert after a morning routine.

Prioritize

It’s important to prioritize what needs to be done first. You could do this by writing down the top 5 things that are most urgent or require the most attention that day in your personal or work life.

Prioritizing is a skill and requires discipline to master. To learn how to do this, you could also use the Eisenhower matrix to map out what requires full focus, delegation, or re-scheduling in for another time.

Use Time Blocking

Priorities your tasks with the help of time blocking. This will make you more productive at home by eliminating procrastination, as well as making sure that everything is done in a timely manner.

Keep track of how much time you’re spending on certain things which can lead to being more productive or not so productive. It’s important to know where your free time is going and how that fits into your work schedule.

Take Breaks

It’s important to take breaks from what you are doing and give your brain some space for creativity, problem-solving or just relaxing. It makes sense as this will help increase productivity levels in the long run because it gives your body and mind periods of rest which they need.

The Pomodoro technique is a great way to stay focused on one task at a time while allowing breaks in to check your Facebook messages or get lose in that YouTube video you saw come up.

Set Ground Rules For People in Your Home

If you have people over at your house at the same time, it’s important to set boundaries for when you’re needing to focus in on work. This is quite common as remote work is more prevalent than ever.

For example, if you’re trying to focus on a project but one of the other people in the room is watching TV or checking their phone continuously then that can lead to wasted time and energy.

Agree as a household what are work hours where you’ll need to be able to have video meetings in your work space. Make a suggestion on how you can create a great work environment at home, and what things for children are off-limits during work hours.

That’s why having a dedicated workspace can be so important to mentally have an that’s for your to be in a work mindset.

Go outside

You’re spending most of your day inside the house, it’s easy to feel exhaustion, sluggish and unmotivated. Get some fresh air and sunlight to break up your day.

Studies show that this can improve your memory, fight depression and lower blood pressure naturally.

Don’t Eat Junk Food

Junk food is energy dense but nutrient poor so eating that when trying to be productive can lead to lower concentration levels (we’re all too familiar with the crash). So it’s healthier for our bodies if we were more conscious about what we eat while being productive. It might also make us feel gross afterwards! Stick with foods like protein bars, fruits and nuts.

Exercise

Get the blood moving through the body and muscles, I recommend doing this before breakfast as it will not only jump start your day it helps with your brain health. Exercise is proven to help with feelings like stress, , decreases depression and anxiety levels, and overall improves your well-being.

Summary

It’s easy to mix your work life with your personal life when working from home. To combat this, try to get into a regular work routine just like you were going to the office every day. Set clear start and stop times as well as breaks throughout the day.

Should I Focus on One Goal At A Time?

For myself trying to spin many plates in life and at the same time goals around, exercise, writing, business, and learning.

The intention is there, mastering multiple areas of life however can be confusing and lead to reverting back to what I know, or only making gains in one goal.

So here’s the simple solution: Choose one. Make a decision about something right now. Attempting to accomplish everything will not only waste your time, but will also make all of your goals less efficient.

By concentrating all of your efforts into achieving the desired outcome, you can better manage your time, energy and resources.

One Goal

So ask yourself what’s the most impactful goal you could have right now that by completing that journey, personally & professionally there will be a great reward at the end.

I like to think of these as your “flagship” goal that will drive up other secondary goals along the way. An example would be being able to take up jogging, science has proven time and time that exercise leads to increased happiness, so by proxy, this should lead to better work performance. By mastering just one thing at a time, you’ll be creating more opportunities to master other things in life as well.

It’s not about abandoning dreams and simply making the most of your current situation, or settling for a less fulfilling life – It’s actually quite the opposite. Start focusing on achieving maximum gains from each of your goals by picking only one goal.

So for myself, I’ve picked writing as my flagship because it impacts all other areas of life, it allows me to organize my ideas, reflect which is important for my mental health, It also makes me feel good which increases productivity and creativity throughout the day.

Write Them Down

Research shows that people who write down their commitment are up to three times more likely to achieve their objective than those who don’t. And this should be no surprise: Simply by committing in advance, you’re much more likely to follow through on what you say you’ll do.

If we want something badly enough, we should make the effort of writing our intention and then following up with regular reminders until action is taken – and not just once but daily if need be. It’s time-consuming and repetitive work but it will set us free from procrastination and excuses because we’ve already committed in writing.

“I’m going to run for 30 minutes every day at 6:30 p.m.” is a specific commitment, as in “I’m going to implement an intention.” These are referred to as “implementation intentions” by scientists.

Consistency is Key

One should always be consistent in adhering to a goal. This will help in establishing a pattern that will lead them to success and the attainment of their goals. If your intention was to run every day at a specific time, commit to that verbatim. No need to go overkill by running for 1.5 hours, or waking up at 4 am. Stick to the script to avoid burning out and losing the tempo you’ve set.

Time management strategies

Time management is the key to success in all areas of life. If you focus solely on one task, it can be completed more efficiently and leave room for other tasks in your busy day! Read this guide from start to finish so that you’re able to manage your time well without worrying about what else may need doing.

What is Time Management?

Time management is all about maximizing your productivity by focusing on the tasks at hand. Managing time doesn’t just mean trying to do more in less time, it’s also about being mindful of how you spend each hour of the day and making sure you are using that time wisely.

What Can I Do To Improve My Time Management Skills?

There are many strategies for improving your time management skills including setting a schedule or routine; blocking out periods for specific activities; batching similar jobs together so they can be completed consecutively without having to switch between different tasks; creating an effective task list with deadlines and reminder notes attached (remember to share this task list with others who need updates); actively tracking progress against goals set in advance; delegating tasks

Benefits of Time Management

We all have the same number of hours in a day; Determine your priorities and focus on those tasks that will bring you closer to achieving them.

Stress Relief

Managing time can be a great stress reliever. It provides a sense of control that helps reduce stress and anxiety.

More Time

Time is the one thing that we can’t get more of. It will free up your time so that you have the opportunity to do other things in life – time flies when you’re focusing on the fun stuff.

More opportunities

As we go through life there are so many awesome opportunities that come up, with effective time management we’ll be better placed to seize these life-changing moments.

Achieving goals

Managing your time well can help you achieve your goals and lead to better life satisfaction. It will provide the structure and discipline that is necessary to see your achievements through and lead you to more fulfilling work and personal life.

What are the best tips for managing your time?

  • Block out periods for specific activities

Creating an effective task list with deadlines and reminder notes attached (remember to share this task list with others

  • Create short, achievable, SMART goals

Break your longer-term goals into smaller increments that are more manageable. This will help you stay focused on what is important now. The SMART Goal system can allow you to create Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals.

  • Define your priorities

This may seem counter-intuitive, but many people find that prioritizing their less important work first actually helps them see a clearer picture of what the great work they need to focus on will be.

  • Give your full attention

Being able to concentrate on the task at hand will make it seem less far from completion and you’ll be more likely. Attention management is critical for powering through those meaty tasks. Use the Pomodoro technique to maximize your attention and productivity.

  • Plan your days, weeks, months ahead of time

One way to alleviate overwhelm is by planning ahead. You can plan your days, weeks, and even months in advance with this strategy. What tasks should you be doing each day? Which items on the list are most important or urgent? Plan out how much time you’ll spend on these things and what will happen if any other task comes up

Implications of Poor Time Management

Research has shown that poor time management can have negative effects on the individual and others. This may lead to many other problems in life, including stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and much more

Chaotic workflow

A poor workflow will result in bad output invariably lead to a lack of productivity. Unclear or vague workflows are the worst for this, but even well planned and written ones can be confusing if people don’t know what they’re doing

Low morale

When time management skills are poor, it’s very difficult to stay motivated. If you find yourself becoming unmotivated over the course of the day – it’ll be harder to finish tasks and you’ll feel like quitting.

You’ll run out of precious time

You never want to end up in a situation that was a waste of time, it’ll be difficult to prioritize which tasks should take precedence. This can lead to various other problems such as confusion about what needs to happen first or an inability to decide on a priority level.

Summary

Do you find yourself struggling to get through your day? Have you tried a variety of skills and strategies but nothing seems to work for you? You’re not alone! Mastering time management is tricky, especially if it’s difficult for us. But the good news is that there are plenty of tips out there on how we can improve our time. Check out my productivity guide for more tips & hacks!

Pomodoro technique: Take the Stress Out of Working

Working in a stressful environment can make it difficult to stay motivated and productive. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that has been found to help reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase productivity. This blog post will discuss the benefits of this technique and how you can implement it into your work day!

What is the Pomodoro technique?

Francesco Cirillo, then a university student, was struggling to focus on his studies. The Pomodoro Technique was born when Cirillo committed himself for 10 minutes of focused study time and found an tomato shaped kitchen timer.

While the timer was set, Cirillo would work on his assignment and take short breaks to rest. If he needed a break before 25 minutes were up, then he could take one.

This technique is a time management method that uses short, timed intervals to help manage work tasks. The Pomodoro Technique can be used on any task and works well for both large scale projects as well as small single-task assignments.

The idea behind this technique is simple – set a timer for 25 minutes (Pomodoro), focus intently on the task at hand during those 25 minutes without distractions or interruptions from other activities, take a five minute break before starting another Pomodoro cycle of focused work, repeat until you have accomplished your goal! You’ll find yourself more productive, less stressed out about how much there’s left to do in order to reach your deadline and having plenty of time for breaks between cycles

Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

– Improves focus

– Reduces stress by making time seem more manageable

– Increases productivity and helps keep you on track with your goals.

– Helps prevent procrastination

– Lets you work in a flow state, which can lead to higher creativity and quality work

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

– Set a timer for 25 minutes

– Work on a task until the timer goes off

– Take a five minute break between each Pomodoro. If you finish early, take an additional short break or do something that isn’t work related (like watching TV)

What makes the Pomodoro technique so effective?

– It’s simplicity

– There are no distractions. You don’t need to worry about checking email, Facebook or Twitter every five minutes and you can focus on the task at hand.

What Kind of Results Can I Expect from Using this Technique?

The Pomodoro technique is a great way to get work done without feeling stressed out.

Studies have shown that people who use it report an improvement in their productivity by more than 25%, as well as reduced stress over time.

A study published in Scientific American found that participants performed better on tasks they completed with breaks rather than those without so there’s a lot of science behind its effectiveness! The best part is anyone can do it with minimal effort: all you need is a timer

How Many Backlinks Does It Take to Rank On Page 1?

The core pillars of SEO are:

– Technical

– Off-site, and

– Content.

There are wafts of information out there on ranking signals. It generally falls into technical or ‘on-site’ SEO, content or ‘relevance’, and backlinks or ‘off-site’ SEO.

We can control technical and content SEO. We can do keyword research, create content based on that, optimise title tags and metas. We can fix structural issues at their core with smart solutions, with an understanding of how Google crawls and indexes pages.

The core component that is left: backlinks.

The age-old question that often arises, much to the dismay of SEO specialists is: “How many backlinks does it take to rank on page one?”

This question usually comes straight from the potential / current client you’re working with. The answer SEO specialists will go to is: “It depends”. Let’s be real, clients don’t want to hear those words. They want to know when – the year, the month, the day, the hours, and probably even the seconds!

What if we could better predict when a website will see that big success? To hit the first page, and hit number one for their core target keyword. What if instead of saying “It depends”, we could confidently predict “It will take 6 months to hit the first page, no worries”?

How important are backlinks to an SEO strategy?

Think about a website like a bar you own. You’ve made sure it complies with government regulations, you’ve picked your demographic, decorated the interior, and have a ton of booze on offer to serve the dearly inebriated.

How are you going to start getting people through the door?

People may walk past, come in, and have a great time. But, to build up the credibility you need the word of mouth to spread and you need good reviews. It’s those external factors that will get waves of people coming in asking for Pina Coladas and shots.

When it comes to the question of what’s the most important ranking signal? What’s the silver bullet for SEO? The answer is backlinks. Studies show that the greater number of linking domains a webpage has, the higher up the SERP they will likely be. For instance, #1 rankings had an average of 168% more domains than those further down the SERP.

Source: https://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking

Google’s now-famous PageRank Algorithm changed the game. Instead of simply analysing the content of a page, Google looks at how many links to that page came from external sources.

Nearly 20 years later, links are STILL the best way to determine the quality of a webpage. That’s why backlinks remain Google’s go-to ranking signal.

Backlinks are the growth factor that SEO can’t avoid. Gain them and you have the building blocks for a successful campaign.

How many backlinks do I need to get to the top?

There isn’t a straightforward formula for calculating the number of backlinks you need to rank number one. If SEO consultants knew this with 100% certainty, it’d change the entire game.

The critical factor is quality. This can’t be stressed enough.

Google is savvy enough to know that the logic of backlinks help you rank doesn’t mean more backlinks, more rankings.

Based on my experience from seeing long term effects of gaining backlinks, the metrics to critique them with are:

Niche relevance

Website theme and/or content relevant to the industry of the client. This contextualises to search engines and provides relevant authority to that domain.

Domain Authority (DA)

Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time. Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings and has no effect on the SERPs.

Organic traffic & keyword relevance

The amount of traffic a domain attains is an important factor taken into consideration when acquiring backlinks. Domains with a moderate to a high volume of traffic will equate to a higher click-through rating and help to rank higher for relevant keywords.

When establishing a backlink, it is key to include relevant keywords within the content. Keywords that are relevant to the client/site will leverage rankings and visibility

Writing quality

Domains that contain excellent content that is in-depth, within scope, and meaningful are highly valuable.

Do follow & no-follow

By default, all links are do-follow links unless they are modified. Do follow links pass along what the SEO community commonly calls link juice. Do follows are preferred, however, if you acquire a no-follow from an extremely high-quality domain, you’ll be still in a great spot for boosting your ranking

Not all backlinks are created equal

Backlinks are not created equal. Much like with general ranking signals, each one of these has a scale of which it can hit all these metrics.

One might have a fantastic DA, yet its organic or keyword base might not be as relevant to the website.

You could have the most amazing content piece written about you, but the website barely has DA to make it worth it outreaching for.

Having a high-quality link connected to your website is worth its weight in gold.

There are ways to build links very quickly that can give you those results. However, over time you’re at risk of unbalancing your backlink profile with spammy or low-quality links.

Think of it this way, if you were looking for restaurant recommendations and 1000 people all said: “Check out this place it’s amazing, it will blow your mind away”. Later finding out that they’d never even been there, sampled the food, and perhaps had an obvious cash incentive to endorse it.

Now, what if Gordon Ramsey recommended the same place publicly saying it was the “best pizza in town”. Links are endorsements by entities that are authoritative in the eyes of the public – I’d take the “Gordon Ramsey of backlinks” each and every time if given the chance.

What’s the best indication of how many you will need to get to the top?

… Competitors!

Their backlinks are available to us through tools such as SEMRush and AHREFs so we can start digging into what their authority is built on.

One of my most frequently said phrases at StudioHawk is “Competitors have done all the work for you, figure out what they do and steal the good parts”.

How can we gauge it with the tools available?

Moving past ideas like “quality content” and “searcher intent”, the estimation tool that we’re utilising for this is AHERF’s Keyword Explorer tool. Alongside “Keyword Difficulty” This can indicate the average number of websites needed to rank within the top ten of search results.

AHREFs calculates this by taking a “weighted average of the number of linking domains to the current top-10 ranking pages and then plotting the result on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100.

Numerous case studies from the past few years show that backlink factors have a higher correlation with rankings than anything else. That’s their Keyword Difficulty (KD) score is based solely on the average number of linking websites to the current top 10 ranking pages, which makes it super easy to comprehend.

While AHREFs does not fully endorse this as the be-all and end of how many links you need, it is helpful. The KD score cuts through on-page factors and tells you what the likelihood is, based solely on the number of referring domains linking to the top-ranking pages for your target keyword.

Let’s put it to the test:

I thought, why don’t we analyse websites that have achieved the coveted top 10 ranking in our course. How many backlinks did they gain with us?

What does AHREF estimate they need?

And for those outside the top 20, how long will it take?

The clients I analysed ranked within the top 10 of search results. The majority of their backlink profiles were made up of ones that we acquired as part of our SEO strategy, and the words assessed were clustered around their main organic traffic driver.

I discovered:

On average, when a client has 3-5x the backlinks of AHREFs backlink estimation, they are highly likely to rank within the top 10. This was great for a very small sample base. However, expanding across their entire keyword profile, there were still a ton of low difficulty keywords that were ranking outside the top 10, the perceived ‘low hanging fruit’. Keywords that, according to AHREF, they should have placement for but are not even on the map for.

If you go right now into AHREFs and start checking up on your own website for this, you’ll see variances in the pool of links needed to get on page 1. AHREFs do express that this Keyword Difficulty estimation isn’t an exact figure but, for my own curiosity, it was interesting to see these variances directly through the view of StudioHawk’s client base.

It’s a great tool regardless. Using it you’ll get a snapshot of what you’ll need backlink wise, you’ll see what links they have, you’ll see their quality, even their weaknesses, and can start building your link strategy around this important data.

This can form the basis of your Skyscraper push, use it to fire up the Moving Man Method.

Without a doubt, you’re going to need more quality backlinks to get your website into the top 10 of search results.

A specialists Conclusion

To summarise, getting to the first page of Google is no simple task.

I wish there was a secret formula, but there isn’t one that we can back with 100% certainty.

However, backlinks have been and will continue to be a vital component in achieving the goal of ranking on page one.

Without them and relying solely on other factors, it’s going to be a hard road to start driving organic traffic with only high-value keywords.

The number of backlinks needed will rely on your competitors who are winning out and jockeying for those positions. Strengthen your resources for links based on this.

Key Takeaways:

Backlinks quality over quantity every time.

Use tools like AHREFs & SEMRush to assess competitors’ profiles

Know what you’re up against.

Build your strategy using tried and test techniques to gain more high-quality backlinks than your competitors.

Event SEO: Tips & Tricks

In a perfect world, everyone who hits the ATTENDING button on Facebook would show up to your awesome shindig. You invest all that time and effort into planning a great event which will benefit so many people, and yet you know that folks won’t turn up. How can you change this mindset? How can you turn this trend around? You need to find a way to boost event attendance without pressuring people too hard. You need to find a way to entice people, draw them in and make them WANT to attend. You need strong event seo.

There are as many marketing strategies out there as there are statistics backing up those results. The problem isn’t in figuring out that marketing is important, it’s in learning what type of marketing to leverage for your end goal.

In the events space it is all about raising awareness and hype to draw people to your thing. The marketing here is all announcements, social media posts and actions that build and grow in real time. The hidden gem in these campaigns is Event SEO so you can draw in users that are ‘high intent’ through your organic presence. Smart marketing isn’t about shouting the loudest message, it’s about sending out the most effective message. The first step in this process is putting your message in front of the right people.

With the year 2020 behind us and a world opening back up in 2021, let us show you how to get the most out of your event marketing through organic searches, and we’ll have you drawing in the right people for your event.

The Core SEO Conundrum

A key component of building your audience is creating an event website. All of your SEO marketing plans are designed to bring people back to your web page where they can learn more, subscribe, sign up, buy a ticket, merchandise, you name it.

If you have a recurring event, you need to be agile in making changes and updating information for people to be in the know. Outdated information is a big negative blow to your SEO and attendance. Each new and updated page needs to maintain the backbone of your previous message. This gives people a seamless and user-friendly experience. It also builds authority and demonstrates to Google your professionalism, allowing it to rank for your keywords.

Let’s use music festivals as an example. What I often see in Australia with these events is they will build an EPIC WEBSITE, hyping their event with featured artists, special locations and other entertainment, and in the background they build out a massive keyword list based on searched for terms for these things.

When the event is over, the buzz goes quiet. The event organisers keep the websites up, basically a splash page with words like- Stay Tuned for Next Year!

So why do they keep these webpages up? All that great content they had leading up to the event, giving them some massive organic search results, are rendered useless and are gone forever.

Keywords will start burning off because of the monumental shift in how the website looks and the removed content that was allowing them to rank for keywords.

You can see from the below chart the volatility in search results which happen before, during and after an event.

There is a much smarter way to powerfully leverage these organic search rankings for a longer and more consistent set of gains, to get you more traffic and sales.

Events may lead up to the day, but the play could be so much longer. Play harder with Event SEO as a backbone to your next event and you will win more success.

Search Intent Based Artist Pages

It always starts with keyword research.

Establishing a target audience does more than focus your efforts, it opens up opportunities to tailor messages and open pathways to communicate. When you have a clear vision of your audience, when you get a set of social media interaction and a good idea of what they search for to find events like yours, you get a massive advantage on your competition.

Music Festival Example

  • Artists & Locations

As a keen fan of music festivals, often I think- “Damn, when is this artist coming to my town?”, and thus you’ll find many artists have these variations of keywords “artists + locations”, with some combinations reaching strong volume numbers.

Seeing this, we implemented specific landing pages based on this keyword research, not only for Melbourne, but for all cities that the artist was touring:

·         /brisbane/lineup-lizzo/

·         /sydney/lineup-lizzo/

You get the idea.

Through this strategy we hit 1st position right at the peak of her tour and leading up to the event day itself.

This method doesn’t just work for artists. Any person of interest will have significant search around them.

“Person of interest + location”

Why?

Search intent – we’re satisfying a more direct user intent by landing a user on a page targeted toward their favourite artist and their location of choice. We can create a stronger conversion point off this.

  • Post Event

As a landing page for traffic being directed through backlinks, searches, and ads, the page needs to load quickly and read easily.

A good landing page benefits from multiple passes and audits to ensure it’s optimized for various devices and bandwidths.

It needs to contain core information presented according to SEO standards. This helps raise ranking while not discouraging visitors to leave before they even fully arrive.

A few options for these might be:

  • 301 Redirecting pages back into the homepage. This will help maintain any backlinks that we’re pointed toward these pages.
  • You could build out Artist Profiles on previous artists involved with the event, which will be useful if that artist then returns to the same event so you can re-energise that page.

  • Data Driven Planning

A festival is only as good as its artists involved, to generate hype having the hottest artists on stage.

Using keywords we can actually see the trends of artists across the globe. Looking at Lizzo, which we were doing above, she was riding a big wave of hype from late 2019 into 2020. Now Tate McRae, while less searched overall, is surging in user interest.

  • Link Outreach

The power of backlinks is in anchoring your knowledge and authority to that of other pages. For every important site you link to, and for every important site that links to you, a bond is formed.

These bonds show that the information you present has value and isn’t just useless background noise.

Authority is important for establishing and holding dominance of a keyword and leading the internet, rather than following it.

The event page will be the target of all your backlinks. It provides the nuts and bolts information to guide your attendees. Finally, it works to convert visitors into attendees.

  • Content

Content drives the biggest part of SEO. After all, SEO can’t optimize anything if there is nothing to search.

Content feeds the machine with data it can extrapolate and assign value to.

Content has more don’ts than do’s

You need to write for a human. Google, in particular, is wise to content that is nothing more than a jumble of words and concepts trying to stuff keywords and hence rank. Google wants content that proves authority, content that can be accessed by others, and content that spreads organically.

The better your content, the more reliable it is, and the more consistent your content is, the more value will be assigned to it by search engines.

Many of the event websites I researched for this article kept it light on content. While this may be great for UX, it is not good for organic SEO power.

Competitors

Know thy enemy, as General Sun Tzu said. It is a great way to help yourself and your website. Look at the data available online for your competitors. See what they’re using and what words are trending associated with their work.

You don’t want to out rightly wrestle with competitors who are too far ahead of you in the game. Instead, target a niche they may have overlooked to give yourself a better inroad.

Knowing the keywords associated with your market and audience does the heavy lifting in this regard.

Get Started Now

It takes a lot of small, incremental pieces of work to boost event attendance and build an empire. You need the best tools and the best people with the best know-how to build a strategy, keep track of all the data and leverage every advantage for SEO success. Please reach out if you’re looking for help for you next event via email: lawrence@studiohawk.com.au

Shoshin: A Beginners Mindset

Millennials are one of many groups of people seemingly “obsessed” with self-improvement—and that’s a good thing! When you observe the world’s current and past climate, we need to strive towards improving ourselves now more than ever. It’s an addiction.

That’s why nearly 95% of millennials surveyed say they commit to personal improvement, as well as are willing to spend up to $300 a month on self-improvement. That could be in the form of working out, practicing mindfulness and meditation, buying books to expand learning, and much more.

I’m shamelessly part of this pact, with the entire of human history, philosophy, fiction, interactivity, advice at our disposal – I can’t sit idly by watching the days melt away.

Recently I’ve discovered this concept of Shoshin that I’d like to share. The idea of submitting yourself as an empty vessel, understanding there’s a danger in having expertise, and letting go to observe and listen. Having a “beginner’s mind”

This daily concept can drastically improve and alter our perspectives, actions, and interactions with our community.

For how significant this concept is, it’s actually quite simple to integrate into your day-to-day, it just requires consistency and habit.

Having a Beginner’s Mind = Having a Purposeful Foundation

To contextualize what having a “beginner’s mind” means.

Let’s say you’re an avid yoga practitioner. You regularly take classes, engage in fast-moving, strength-building power flows, and you’re a beast at the poses.

Then, one day, you decide to take a gentler, more beginner-friendly yoga class. If you weren’t practicing shoshin, you might be bored by this class, underwhelmed by it, and ready to leave before you’ve enjoyed your savasana (mediation) at the end.

But if you were practicing shoshin, or having a beginner’s mind, you’d get a lot out of this class.

Instead of running through the motions, you’d focus on building a strong foundation, becoming more mindful of your alignment in postures, and approaching every flow with a deeper intention. You’d take that cultivated energy with you after class and talk to your lover like it’s your first date or your mother like it’s your first conversation. You’d begin again, starting anew.

That’s what having a beginner’s mind is all about—appreciating every moment for what it can teach you, remaining a student no matter how much you’ve learned. It instills in you a particular type of confidence that comes from being open to new experiences.

Now, take this example, and apply it to everything: school, work, your relationships, and beyond. Imagine how things could change.

When you approach your life in this framework, you’re able to derive new meanings and messages from everything, even things you’re more experienced in or knowledgeable about. This mindset allows you to remain teachable and humble, something that could benefit us all!

For myself, when I was younger I had this insatiable sense of needing to be right, mostly in relationships. That I understood the problems and had the solutions found so easily.

Growing older, I found myself letting go more, but not completely. Finding out of Shoshin and reading more into it. Something inherently I used to try to project or felt extreme inadequacy about was being an intellectual. Now I realized the need to trying to be the smartest in the room, if someone knows more or is more well versed, amazing, applaud that!

So, What Is Shoshin, Exactly?

Where does the word “shoshin” come into play?

Well, it directly translates to “beginner’s mind,” the concept we’ve been discussing. Shoshin is a Japanese word that, in Zen Buddhism, means:

An attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even at an advanced level

That’s why the yoga example is so applicable. No matter how advanced your practice, regardless of how long you’ve been studying yoga, you can still approach each class with openness and excitement.

Perhaps there will be a different teacher you’ve never studied under who has something brand-new to say. Or maybe the person next to you in class will have questions you’ve never considered before. Maybe you’ll learn a pose you never knew existed.

The options are limitless. If you’ve ever heard the expression, “The more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know,” that’s another example of shoshin. No one has all the answers—that’s why questions are so crucial for being our teachers.

People are afraid of asking a questions because, at least in my belief, that you don’t want to look dumb or a dreaded feeling of “being wrong”. How can you be wrong asking question? In fact I’d say there’s supreme confidence in doing so as you’re opening yourself up and letting someone teach you instead of assuming the answer based on your own perception.

A great Bruce Lee quote is:

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”

How Can You Practise Shoshin?

Shoshin can be practiced every single day, in every individual activity, chore, interaction, and more, as you navigate the world.

When you go out to eat, can you try a new dish? Or if you have an old favorite, can you attempt to taste it for seemingly the first time, picking out nuances and flavours and identifying them?

Ask the waiter what certain items are, what they’d recommend, make adjustments based on what you want to eat!

Talking to your spouse or partners – everyone feels nostalgic for that honeymoon phase that was the beginning of your relationship. You learn everything about each other, and then fall into a zone where it’s both assumed you off the cuff can recall the name of their year 7 PE teacher.

Practically, once and a while ask a question you may or may not know the answer of, perhaps you’ll learning something new? Instead of predicting what they’d say and just listen to listen.

When you take a photo, paint a picture, walk your dogs, clean your dishes, how can you be a beginner? Is there a better way of making a cup of coffee in the morning? Walk to a place you’ve never been before.

As you can see, the idea of shoshin can be applied anywhere. Take this quote by Shunryu Suzuki, for example:

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

There is a danger that comes with expertise. We tend to block the information that disagrees with what we learned previously and yield to the information that confirms our current approach.

Begin Again Today, and Tomorrow, and for the Rest of Your Life

Mindfulness is something everyone can benefit from—practicing shoshin is a life-changing perspective that can add drastically to your life. When we change our minds, we change our interactions, influencing our communities, and inspiring the world! It’s really that powerful.Click here to check out my other posts, and come back regularly for more content like this.

Quotes That Resonated in 2020

It’s been a wild year, enough said. Throughout lockdown 1 & 2 here in Melbourne, I put time into absorbing articles, quotes, stories, videos, and ideas. More than I really had during my entire lifetime. Here’s a breakdown of my top 10 quotes that resonated with me from this time:

“If this isn’t nice then I don’t know what is”

It’s easy to focus on the world falling down continually, in those quiet moment where everything is right – remember those, appreciate the good times as much as you stress over the bad.

Focus on the road – not the wall

Can’t remember exactly where I heard this, doing research later on apparently this is what race car drivers are taught – makes a ton of sense. Focusing on the wall ahead, the danger, the risk, means you’ll focus on those and lose sight of the overall vision. I coined my own version of this say when I get into conversations with big decisions or stressful thoughts “Put it out into the universe and see what happens”. Keeping your eye on the final goal can cut away the doubts and mental blocks from getting the job done, an risky output is better than crashing into a wall.

“Forever reading, never to be read.”

This was a more recent quote I came across from Alexander Pope,  actually links to an essay by Schopenhauer ‘On Thinking for Oneself’. Majority of our time is spent interpreting inputs, simulation, media, that it can rob the mind of the being about to form thoughts of our own. It’s critical to spend time thinking, developing those inputs into ideas of your own instead of being influenced by others. All great thinkers spend as much time thinking as reading.

“The Man in the Arena”

I remember this one from smashing through motivational and mindset articles earlier in the year then coming across it again in “Daring Greatly” (great recommendation from my friend Emma). This was on the first page and immediate I was like “damn, she knows what’s up”, admittedly I’m not that far into the book, see above quote ^.

The man in the arena conjures up this image of the gladiator, basking in the roars crowd battling through bloodthristy foes. Look not saying my life is anything like that – it’s about being vulnerable, there’s massive strength in vulnerability.

It’s that success seen from overcoming danger, a risk, things could have gone really bad if a few moments panned out differently.

The challenges in life test your own mental boundaries, and after working with a lot of people, progressing in their careers, people may like stability and a cruisy time –  at a point they’ll hit that wall (by taking their eye off the road) and they may not want a test consciously, subconsciously they need a new thing to sink their teeth into.

How do I know that’ll happen? I’ve been through it, I’m currently going through it as I write this.

With work I’m trying more than ever to put my best idea forward first – the best of what I have to offer and know what works. After using my best, there’s nowhere to go forcing to find different perspective or innovate on ideas.

“As the army gets bigger it gets harder to turn”

Our company scaled from 4 in early 2018, to now over 30 in 2020. Each hire creates a new touchpoint, a new personality, a new person to grow and teach. It’s incredible – seeing everyone scale up their abilities, making their own relationships with each other, the strides people have taken so rapidly is inspiring.

With that comes a price to pay to, losing the ability to be agile – every decision made impacts a lot more people. We have to be very considered in approach with these decisions for the best outcome for all.

“We suffer more in our imagination than in reality”

“Think deeply before you complain”

This is a double combo of statements, I’ll admit I think, I waste a ridiculous doing so. Maybe 20% of the time I spend thinking about conversations I’ll have in the future that consequently help prepare, but most of the time it’s energy spent on the small stuff. Compounding on that is over venting about situations out of your control. People are going to act on whatever values are important to them – some are unholily unchangeable, understand it and let go. The hardest part is letting go.

Sometimes, you have to roll a hard six.

It’s worth making a call than none at all or stewing on the particular. Not being reckless in decisions but taking what you need and rolling with whatever comes. I recall watching this video on airplane crashes with an actual pilot giving commentary. He said “You have to keep fighting, even if you’re doing the wrong thing, keep fighting as hard as you can when lives are at stake”. Most sit on the bench with decision making, those that make calls and take those risks get places, that’s undeniable.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Actually while writing this I learnt this is a mis quoted statement: “According to Quote Investigator, this is probably a canard. Maya Angelou was linked with the saying in 2003, but the site found a version in a 1971 volume called “Richard Evans’ Quote Book”, ascribed to one Carl W. Buehner, a high-level official in the Mormon church.”

Regardless after meeting and growing alongside a ton of amazing people, it’s fruitless caring so much around the actions you take and what people should feel about them, be impressed, be intimidated. It’s all about perception, there’s always a layer deeper of understanding how people think and react to certain actions. Be true to yourself and treat people the way you want to be treated – good things will come.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”

Instead of feeling the need to be good at everything in life, focus on a few, maybe even one key areas to improve on, next year for me it’s around the body, mind, and new experiences.

and now a story…my favorite from the year:

“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”

“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”

Team Leadership Strategies

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Nearly half of employees report quitting a job because of poor leadership and team management—56% believe managers are promoted prematurely, while 60% think managers need more training.

Have you ever considered you might be killing your team’s motivation without even realising it? Or, perhaps your employees are working in a toxic environment, and you’re totally unaware.

A team that is able to work well together—on and off the playing field—is one that achieves results.

So, are you holding meeting after meeting, encouraging cooperation and teamwork, and you’re still not getting the results you want?

Great leaders are great decision-makers. They encourage employee development, free-thinking, and have respect for their employees.

If you’re looking to upgrade your team leadership skills, keep reading for some expert leadership and team management strategies.

Diversify Your Team

Different points of view can never be a bad thing.

When hiring, you may think that finding people who think and act just like you do is best for your business. However, this isn’t only hard to find, but it doesn’t profit your business.

When you build a diverse team, including members from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures, you can create an environment that will benefit from several different points of view.

Encourage Balance

There will always be work. There will always be tasks to check off of a list, more meetings to call, more people to follow-up with. But employee burnout is real, and not allowing them time to recharge their batteries is counterproductive. Plus, overworking your employees creates an environment of resentment.

You never want your employees to feel inadequate. Once they start to hear complaints from their loved ones about working too much and similar complaints at work about missed deadlines, they will become negative. This negativity will affect your employees’ focus, and they’ll start to feel like they’re failing at work and at home.

Ensure that your policies are fair. You should encourage loyalty and reward your employees for their hard work whenever possible. When you can, give your employees ample time to be with their loved ones. You can even consider assigning mandatory “self-care time” or strive to give a few extra days off after the completion of challenging projects.

By ensuring balance, you’re letting your employees know that you care about them as humans, not just employees.

Similarly, you should give your employees time to get to know each other on a personal basis. We’re more inclined to support each other when we know each other on a deeper level. We’ll go the extra mile when we’re a part of a team.

To foster employee engagement, schedule team-building exercises, and encourage after-hours get-together. Take time to ask questions about your employees’ personal life—this will help build trust and loyalty.  

Always refrain from passing judgments. Your business environment should be one where encouragement and positivism thrive. Take the time to consider that each of your employees has a family, problems, and a set of limitations.

Narrow Your Focus

Think you don’t have enough time to think strategically? Often, managers will complain about being too busy. This stems from poor decision making—being reactive instead of proactive.

If you can relate, you might be taking on too much. You should narrow your focus on where you make the most impact at work. And then inspire your team to do the same by making clear decisions and acting on them.

The top 27 CEOs, interviewed by Harvard Business Review, admitted that the more time they spent planning their days, the more comfortable they felt managing their time.

Lead Yourself Before Others

You can’t be an effective leader without analysing your own actions before those of others. You must lead yourself before thinking about leading anyone else.

So, to hone your leadership skills, ask yourself: What do you value? What are your goals? Can you identify your strengths and weaknesses?

Having the ability to name your shortcomings can ultimately help your team. This is because by knowing where you need to improve, you can develop a plan to fill the gap in your capabilities. Perhaps it’s something you can do yourself, but you may also be able to hire someone to complement your skills.

Question Everything

Knowing your weaknesses goes right along with understanding that you’re not the one with all of the answers. Great leaders know they should have more questions than answers.

Any employee can be told what to do, but the best employees can look at a problem strategically and develop their own solutions—that’s exactly what you should strive to teach them.

When approaching a problem with different parts of our brain, we become more emotionally attached to it. This connection makes us more likely to remember the solution and apply it again in the future. Questioning people rather than asking leads to greater accountability and enthusiasm.

Your questioning should also extend to expectations and issues surrounding team performance. When devising your leadership strategy, don’t shy away from conflict. Difficult conversations take courage, but they can lead to better pathways forward.

Show Appreciation

Employees will likely work harder when their hard work is recognised by their supervisor. All work without recognition can lead people to become uninspired and unengaged.

Recognition doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair—a simple “thank you” and a performance-related bonus certainly helps. Most people want to know when they’re doing a good job and are appreciated by their employer on a consistent basis.

Rethink Company Meetings

Too many meetings can be draining for employees, which wastes company time. Consider cancelling meetings scheduled for the sake of having meetings. You may have put regular meetings in place to encourage consistent work, but you could be creating the opposite.

Learn how to recognise an unproductive meeting so you can show your employees that you respect their time. First, you should always start meetings on time. Many leaders waste 5-10 minutes of each meeting waiting for people to show up and catching up those who are late. If you start meetings on time and don’t stop to catch people up, they’ll learn to arrive on time.

Meeting objectives should always be clear—make sure everyone present knows what decisions they’ll be making during the meeting. They should be able to come prepared to discuss ideas or ask questions.

Finally, don’t discuss items that are on track. Instead, discuss items that need to be corrected. This method will eliminate discussion that doesn’t add value to the meeting.

Encourage Continued Education

As a leader, your employees should see you as a role model. They will expect to learn from you through shared insights, knowledge, and expertise. If you don’t take the time to transfer knowledge and support your employees’ learning journey, they won’t feel like they’re worth the attention.

By encouraging and supporting employee self-development and acknowledging their effort to grow, you can rest assured that you’re providing them with a solid support system. Don’t be too proud to acknowledge that you don’t know everything—encourage employees to cross-train among all departments.

It’s important to realise that everyone has something to contribute and should be open to learning from each other. Ask employees to collaborate, take classes, develop additional skills, and then bring what they learn back to the business.

Above all, make sure to remind your team that their development is an essential piece of the business’s overall success. As a leader, they should know that you’re there to support them. They will sense in your daily interactions if you are committed to their growth and development as much as your own.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

All of this sound really serious—and it is—but don’t forget to have fun with your employees. Don’t fake genuine experiences with your team. Rather, strive to provide an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves and having fun.

If your team feels good about being at work, they’ll work harder for you. Plus, they’re more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Try These Expert Team Leadership Strategies

Bad leaders are toxic to an entire organisation. Even the best employees need guidance from good leaders.

If you only gain one thing from this post, it should be this: No one is perfect. Try your best, appreciate your employees, and remember you can’t know everything, and you’re on your way to mastering how to lead a team.Are you looking to improve your leadership skills? Continue to follow my blog to guide your mindset, and contact me if you have questions.

How to Be More Confident

Confidence is a difficult emotion to evoke and control, some days you’re on fire and things flow so easily. Other days, you’re stomach is a mess, you feel your heart sink at the thought of a high pressure situation, and you start questioning your decisions and things you say.

To say you’ll be able to be completely confident for the rest of your life in any situation, well, that is practically being superhuman.

We have to be afraid or nervous, or else how else are we suppose to understand what’s a challenge and what is not

When I started working in marketing it was a direct switch from being completely solo, not ever having to communicate with others to jumping on calls pratically everyday.

As an adolescent I winced when the phone rang, as I thought it would always mean impending doom, these days it isn’t even a through that enters my mind to answer.

Stop Worrying So Much

One of the main thoughts I need to tell myself as my confidence is in question is “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Putting everything into perspective minimizes the overwhelming feeling that reduces your ability to be confident.

What concerns people the most is looking like a fool. I’ve learned very quickly that people who act a fool can end up doing incredible things in their life. Richard Branson says “If You Have To Make A Fool Of Yourself, Do It” the more you put yourself out there the more amazing things can and will happen.

As soon as you stop caring so much, you loosen up and attract more good feelings.

It may seem like a trusim, for myself I’m continually reminding myself don’t sweat it, recently in the Last Dance, Michael Jordan was described as always being in the moment and not thinking about “Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken yet”.

Confidence is Muscle

Repetition was key, and the confidence to be able to handle what ever came my way.

If you’re crap at something, do more of it, not confident in public speaking, do more speaking.

Over time it’s an inevitability of learning from what works and what doesn’t. You’ll find the shortcuts, you’ll get feedback from others, and eventually stop worrying about the anticipation of doing the “nerve wrecking” act.

I have to do at least 60 seconds of raw pitching in front of a group of about 20 people each week, and look sometimes I’m not the coolest in the room with it, I stumble my words or it doesn’t flow as naturally as it could. And most of the time it’s because I haven’t prepped what I wanted to say.

I’ve always wanted to be an extremely good improviser when it comes to being on-stage, however for my confidence to be at it’s peak, a little preparation is required. That’s fine, don’t hold yourself to this insurmountable standard you have to be the best at something.

Impostor Syndrome

You’re out of your depth and will be exposed for being a fraud, or not being worthy of being in the room.

I’ve told this to many friends before around dating. My mindset before going on a first date with a girl is, if I try to hard to be confident, I’ll look weird, stop caring about how well it’s going to go and be in the moment, speak from the heart.

To be confident make it personal, draw from your experiences more than anything. Once something is person and has had an impact on your emotionally, it’s much easier to talk about with more gravitas.

Be Your Own Superhero & Smile

The Superhero Stance | En Camino

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed Superhero Pose. I went to a few talks by Justin Dry from Vinomofo, if you’ve hear his story about failing numerous times to get his grandisoe ideas into a fully fledged powerhouse business.

He mentioned using this technique in hard times, looking at himself in the mirror, hands on the hips, and imagining a red cape flowing behind him.

If you’re feeling unnerved before your next presentation, sales pitch, client call, date, wedding — pause for a minute and get into this stance.

For an extra boost, smile, get those good feelings going! This will diminish your cortisol and improving your capacity to deal with pressure.

Science behind the “power pose”

Watch this video for more insights on the benefits of the power pose by Amy Cuddy, a Harvard researcher.