January 27, 2023

You’re the Boss Blog: Releasing New Web Sites and Trying to Manage S.E.O.

She Owns It

Portraits of women entrepreneurs.

In the last few months She Owns It business group members Beth Shaw, who owns YogaFit, and Alexandra Mayzler, who owns Thinking Caps Group, have overseen the redesign of their company Web sites.

When we last discussed Ms. Shaw’s proposed new site in depth, many readers were skeptical that her Web developer would meet her Jan. 1 deadline to go live. The developer came close — the new site was up Jan. 3 — and Ms. Shaw said she was “about 90 percent satisfied.” There was a problem with the search function, but it was quickly addressed, she said.

The redesign did not include new Web site copy. Most of the old text was merely “poured over,” Ms. Shaw said. “So, I will have the painstaking task, once I get freedom, to go probably page-by-page and rewrite a lot of stuff.”

Ms. Mayzler said she found the new look of YogaFit’s site “soothing.”

“I’m really happy with it,” Ms. Shaw said. “I look at it and go, ‘Wow, why didn’t I do this three years ago?’”

For Ms. Shaw, the next step is search engine optimization. YogaFit’s site has had no S.E.O. whatsoever for at least a year, she said, adding that this may be why business is down. Ms. Shaw suspects that when YogaFit’s Web site was updated about a year and a half ago, all of its S.E.O. was wiped out. “Now I’m much more on top of these little things,” she said.

She just hired a firm to handle S.E.O. The first phase of the project will involve cleaning up the code on each of YogaFit’s Web pages for a charge of about $2,500. After that, ongoing S.E.O. will cost $1,500 a month. Ms. Shaw found this price reasonable after talking to another firm that wanted to charge between $2,500 and $5,000 a month. When she asked the firm how long it would take to see results, she said she was told she might not see any.

“It’s not a guaranteed science,” she acknowledged. Still, the answer made her leery. She said the firm she hired sounded “a little bit more optimistic,” and told her that, within three months, she should see more traffic and click-throughs on her site.

Group member Deirdre Lord, who owns the Megawatt Hour, said she’s skeptical of S.E.O. firms and admitted she’s done “zilch” so far to optimize her site. “I feel like you should be able to see major impacts in the first couple of months,” she said, “but these firms, I don’t even know what these firms do.”

“I get stats every day on how many people went to our Web site, so I’ll be able to tell — and I can cancel the contract at any time,” Ms. Shaw said.

Ms. Mayzler also has a new Web site that went live last month. The update was necessary to reflect added offices and programs, refresh the site’s look, and improve functionality. For example, new pages could not be added to the old site.  The new site also offers more information about Thinking Caps’ various programs, but presents it in a streamlined manner. It adds a personal letter from Ms. Mayzler, and photos of actual pairings of students and tutors.  Ms. Mayzler is very happy with the site and said its organization makes it “easier to understand how we do what we do.”

Ms. Shaw asked whether Ms. Mayzler plans to optimize it for search engines.

“I don’t think so,” she replied. She explained that the site really serves as a resource for existing clients. “People don’t generally search for us all that much,” she added.

In addition to getting a new Web site, Ms. Mayzler’s company got a new name, Thinking Caps Group. It was formerly Thinking Caps Tutoring. She said the name change reflects the fact that the company offers broad academic support and not just tutoring, helping students become “independent learners.” She wanted the new site’s URL to match the company name but wanted those who knew the company by its original name to be able to find it. For that reason, she plans to keep the old site up for awhile, and it will re-direct visitors to the new one. “It was painful and slightly inconvenient, but it will just take time,” she said.

What do you think of the new YogaFit and Thinking Caps Group sites?

You can follow Adriana Gardella on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/releasing-new-web-sites-and-trying-to-manage-s-e-o/?partner=rss&emc=rss

U.S. Seeks Stricter Limits on Food Ads Aimed at Children

The guidelines, which would be voluntary, could push companies to speed up changes already under way to cut sugar and salt and add fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

The proposal, released by the Federal Trade Commission, encompasses all forms of advertising to children and teenagers, including commercials on television shows, company Web sites and online games that promote products, often discreetly, and even the cartoon characters that appear on many cereal boxes and other packaged goods.

The food industry immediately pushed back against the proposal, saying that it was already taking important steps to address the issues. But industry clearly felt pressured by the proposal, even though the guidelines were intended to be voluntary.

“There’s clearly a demand hidden behind the velvet glove of the voluntary language,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, a trade group that represents companies that advertise their products.

He called the government proposal “overly restrictive.”

Many food companies have already signed on to an industry-led effort to restrict some food advertising aimed at children, but each company is allowed to set its own nutritional criteria, which critics say undermines its effectiveness.

Regulators said it was important for the entire industry to adhere to a uniform set of standards.

“The goal is to encourage children to eat more healthy foods because obesity is a huge health crisis,” a lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission, Michelle Rusk, said.

The report was initiated by Congress and written by the commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the agriculture department and the Centers for Disease Control.

Regulators said they would take comments and consider changes before submitting a final report to Congress, perhaps before the end of the year.

The proposal envisions guidelines that would be phased in over five years or more if companies agree to accept them.

They call for foods that are advertised to children to meet two types of requirements. Both packaged foods and food served in restaurants would have to include certain healthy ingredients, like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables or low-fat milk. And they could not contain unhealthy amounts of sugar, saturated fat and salt.

The sugar requirement would limit breakfast cereals to 8 grams a serving, far less than many popular cereals have today. Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch, for example, contain 12 grams a serving.

The salt restrictions are particularly stringent, and many packaged foods would have a hard time meeting them. In an initial phase-in period, the guidelines call for many foods to have no more than 210 milligrams of sodium a serving, while main dishes and meals, including both restaurant food and packaged food, could have no more than 450 milligrams. The restrictions would get even tougher over time. Today a can of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli has 750 milligrams of sodium per serving. (A 15-ounce can has about two servings.)

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=db2b83b793346a7c6c5c0655884da654