Almost 2 in 5 rivers in Donegal have a ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ quality status, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency.The EPA is warning that river quality is deteriorating across Ireland. The country is seeing a loss of pristine (‘best of the best’) river water bodies. There are now just 20 pristine river sites down from over 500 sites in the late 1980s.The number of seriously polluted river water bodies (the ‘worst of the worst’) has started to rise – from 6 to 9 – after many years of an improving trend. There are 67 rivers in poor ecological health in Donegal. Two river bodies are listed as ‘bad’ quality.21 Donegal rivers were rated as ‘moderate’ while 73 rivers are of ‘good’ quality and 21 are ‘high quality’.The catchments with the lowest percentage of satisfactory river water bodies, below the national average, were located mainly in the north west, east, south-east and midlands. The report found that less than 40% of the river water bodies at the Foyle and Donagh-Moville monitored in were in satisfactory ecological status.The EPA said the main significant pressures impacting water quality in Ireland include agriculture, wastewater discharges, impacts to the physical habitat conditions including excess sediment (hydromorphology), and pressures from forestry activities. EPA Director Matt Crowe said: “Ireland has made commitments to protect and improve water quality, under the Water Framework Directive and the National River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021. The aim of European and National Water Policy is to get polluted waters clean again, and ensure clean waters are kept clean.“However, the findings of this report indicate that water quality is getting worse after a period of relative stability and improvement. We now have an increase in the number of the most polluted river sites, and the number of rivers in poor ecological health is also increasing. Positive trends reported previously by the EPA have reversed. Not only are we failing to improve overall water quality, we are also failing to prevent further deterioration of our rivers.”Almost 40% of Donegal rivers below quality standards was last modified: December 10th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
RELATED ARTICLES Meeting the Airtightness ChallengeRoofing and Cladding for the Orenco PassivhausWalls and Windows for the Orenco PassivhausPlacing a Concrete Foundation on Rigid Foam InsulationThe Largest Passivhaus Building in the U.S.Multifamily Passivhaus Project Starts in Oregon While an ultra-high performance enclosure lies at the heart of the Passive House concept, the mechanical systems constitute the “yang” to the enclosure “yin.” The HVAC system, water heating, lighting, appliances, and conveying systems all contribute to the building’s high level of performance.Because the Orchards at Orenco project is a large multiunit residential building, these systems and components are in many ways quite different from those one would see in single-family residences designed to meet the Passive House standard. Part 1 in this blog series introduced the basic pieces of the mechanical system design at Orchards. This post will provide more information about the design and discuss some of the challenges encountered during construction and commissioning of the system. This is Part 6 of a blog series describing construction of the Orchards at Orenco project in Oregon. The first installment was titled The Largest Passivhaus Building in the U.S. A forthcoming blog will discuss the key lessons learned at the Orchards at Orenco project, and will report measured performance data from the first year of operation of the building. A hybrid approach: HVAC “pods”After reviewing the respective pros and cons of centralized vs. unitized mechanical systems, the team ultimately decided to utilize a hybrid approach, optimizing the mechanical design to capture the best qualities of those two different approaches. VentilationEach penthouse has a different size ERV, rated at 1,500 to 3,500 cfm, based on the flow rate and volume of the building zone served (see Image #4, below).The ERVs are manufactured by the Loren Cook Company. Initially the team had specified Zehnder and UltimateAir units since they were the only available units identified that met the ventilation efficiency requirement of the Passive House standard. Midway through design, however, the team identified the Cook units as potential candidates. Several months of back and forth with the PHIUS technical committee resulted in acceptance of the Cook units for our project.These units have a heat-recovery efficiency that ranges from 73% to 76%. The Cook units were considerably less expensive that the UltimateAir units which had been previously specified, and the savings allowed the owner to afford other valuable features on the project, such as the “green screen” I will discuss later.Distribution of the ventilation air from the ERVs is via 4-inch hard ducts running directly to and from each apartment. These duct “home runs” are collected into main trunk lines running above the ceiling at the third floor corridor (see Image #5, below). By keeping the duct penetrations no larger than 4 inches in diameter, this approach eliminates the need for fire-smoke dampers at each apartment (see Image #6, below).A continuous 50 cfm of supply air is delivered to each bedroom, with continuous exhaust from each bathroom and kitchen area. To filter cooking pollutants, recirculating hoods are provided above the kitchen ranges. Continuous air flow regulators installed within the ducts help to ensure balanced continuous airflow into and out of each apartment. While the mechanical design uses a centralized water heating system, a decentralized “pod” system is used to provide ventilation air as well as space heating and cooling. The project has three mechanical penthouses (see Image #2, below), each of which houses a large energy-recovery ventilator (ERV) with a heat pump condenser coil in the the supply air duct to temper the ventilation air. Each pod serves a zone of 10 to 24 apartments and adjacent common areas (see Image #3, below).The “pod” approach optimizes cost and performance while also reducing future maintenance. Regular maintenance of 57 individual ERVs would have been required if a fully unitized approach were used. Going with the pod approach allowed the use of smaller ERVs as well as shorter duct runs than would have been required with a centralized approach. Ducts were smaller, reducing system costs while also reducing distribution losses.The mechanical penthouses are built on top of the roof and accessed through large ceiling hatches at the third-floor corridors. The walls and roof of each penthouse have the same level of insulation and airtightness as the main walls and roof of the building, so the penthouses are functionally within the Passive House enclosure. Water heatingTwo central boilers (Bradford White eF Series boilers with 100-gallon tanks and 98.5% thermal efficiency) provide hot water to the building. These are housed in a first-floor mechanical room near the center of the building.Over the course of multiple design iterations, the team determined that a temperature maintenance system with heat trace tape was likely to be more energy-efficient than a recirculation pump. Hot water piping to the apartments is insulated to minimize distribution heat losses (see Image #9, below). High efficiency plumbing fixtures are used at the apartments to minimize the water heating load and further improve system efficiency. Green screenThe building has an information screen mounted prominently in the main lobby (see Image #11). This screen provides news that is important to the residents, while also indicating the energy use of the overall building and the electrical usage in each apartment (see Image #12). Intended as a tool for educating the residents about their energy usage, the green screen also fosters a fair degree of social interaction. Mike Steffen is a builder, architect, and educator committed to making better buildings. He is vice president and general manager of Walsh Construction Company in Portland, Oregon. Other active systems and componentsHigh-efficiency lighting is used throughout the building to minimize the electrical load. Pinned fluorescent lighting was designed to meet a target of 0.4 Watts/square foot at the apartments. LED lighting is provided in the common areas, with lighting controls used at the corridors and stairs to further reduce loads.Upper tier Energy Star appliances were specified for the apartments (see Image #10, below). Appliance selections were made to achieve the best balance of cost and performance as well as accessibility requirements (some of which can significantly limit the number of models to choose from).Only two stairs are needed in the building to meet code egress requirements (one near each end); however, the Orchards design includes a third stairway, adjacent to the main lobby. This richly detailed stairway is intended to encourage residents to access their apartments on foot rather than using the elevator, enhancing resident health and interaction while reducing energy use even further.A MLR traction elevator is used in lieu of a hydraulic model (the type of elevator that is typically used at a building of this size). This choice, combined with the provision of the “attractive” stairway, is expected to reduce elevator-related electricity usage by 57%. Heating and coolingAt each penthouse, a Samsung AM024 VRF heat pump coil is placed inline on the supply air distribution line. This air-source heat pump has a COP of 4.31 and provides approximately 80% of the heating for the building, as well as some cooling during the summer, though it does not meet the entire cooling load. The heat pump is in parallel with the ERV so that it does not create static pressure in the ventilation system.About 80% of the heating load is met with the ventilation air. Electric-resistance cove heaters in the apartments are designed to meet the remaining heating load (see Image #7, below). These heaters are expected to operate only on the coldest of days, or in some apartments not at all. The team has metered eight of these heaters to provide verification of our assumptions.The Pacific Northwest summer is relatively cool and dry compared to much of North America, and air conditioning is usually not provided in new multifamily buildings in Oregon and Washington. Though the HVAC system at Orchards does not provide full air conditioning, the ventilation air does provide some degree of cooling.The 50 cfm requirement for supply air at the bedrooms is intended to provide additional airflow to temper the apartments during the summer months. The system includes heat-recovery bypass with an economizer to assist with night-flush cooling. The residents are instructed to close their windows in the morning, keep them closed during the day, and open them again in the evening. This helps minimize heat flow to the interior during the day during warmer periods and further assists with night-flush ventilation. Upon initial occupancy of the building, this was not well understood, but after a few hot spells, nearly all of the residents have learned the protocol.It should be noted here that two key elements of the basic building design, the balconies and the eyebrows, serve an essential shading function to keep the apartments cooler during the warmer months (see Image #8, below). Low-solar-heat-gain glazing is used at the east- and west-facing windows (LoE 366/180, argon-filled units, SHGC = 0.25) to further control against overheating.
Though they lost ground this year, the student wing of the Samajwadi Party continues to be the leading force in the prestigious Allahabad University Students’ Union elections, results for which were declared in the early hours of Saturday.The Samajwadi Chatra Sabha grabbed two posts, president and joint secretary. However, the National Students’ Union of India of the Congress sprung a surprise as it also bagged two posts, vice-president and cultural secretary, in what is its best performance in over a decade.One seat fore ABVPThe student wing of the RSS-BJP, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, was restricted to a single seat, general secretary, which it had also won in 2017.The SCS had secured the post of president, vice-president, joint secretary and cultural secretary of the central varsity last year, winning four out of the five posts.The counting of the polls turned controversial as the hostel in which the winning candidate for the president’s post —Uday Prakash Yadav of the SCS — is living was set on fire by miscreants. Senior Superintendent of Police, Allahabad, Nitin Tiwari said that six to seven rooms in the Holland hostel were set on fire and that all items inside Mr. Uday Yadav’s room were gutted.The room of last year’s president Awanish Yadav, also of the SCS, was also gutted, while his car was set on fire. Several motorbikes were also gutted.The police are probing the case and an FIR will be registered.Mr. Uday Yadav alleged that police laxity had led to the incident, which he said tarnished the tradition of the Central varsity. The SCS alleged that the losing ABVP was behind the incident.“This is not an ordinary incident. But the police administration is silent because the BJP, known for its misuse of government machinery, has been dealt a cracking defeat,” said Mr. Uday Yadav, who is a first-year law student from Deoria.
Originally published Sep 8, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Campaigns Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Enter to win a copy of Aaron’s Book!The Evolution of Location Based Marketing”At that point [in 2007], it was really just one of these cool things. It was fun. There were some legs to it, but you couldn’t quite see the business use.”Using location based tools started out as just a cool thing to do. But in 2009, Foursquare launched with an eye toward utilizing location based tools for marketing and business. People started to realize that you can check into businesses. Businesses started setting their locations and offering incentives for check-ins.Now more companies are getting into the location based marketing game. According to Aaron, there will be more development in this area, and then more consolidation and acquisitions, but we’re really just at the beginning. Businesses are still trying to figure out how to use these tools in a beneficial way.Adopting Location Based Marketing Services”I think with the location based things, it’s not to say that if you make a mistake it won’t get some notice, but I think both customers and the press and social media in general are willing to cut you more slack if you’re going in and playing around with them.”If you’re a business, now is the perfect time to be trying out location based services because they’re still relatively small communities. If you make an error, you won’t get as much backlash as if you were just starting out with Twitter or Facebook.Building a Successful Location Based Marketing Campaign”We like to have what we call the Five Golden Rules.” Here are Aaron’s Five Golden Rules for creating a successful location based marketing campaign: 1. Go out and explore the services. Get yourself set up on Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, and Local Response. Claim your location in those places. 2. Start embracing the influencers that are checking in. Pick one or two services that are right for you (probably Foursquare, and maybe Yelp), and do that. 3. Create your offer. Make sure your offer syncs up with what your business goals are (loyalty, engagement, increase foot traffic, increase sales, etc). 4. Test, learn, optimize, and measure. Keep tabs on what’s working and what’s not working, and make changes.5. Operationalize. Train everyone involved (from the top to the bottom) on what the offer is, how it works, and what the purpose is.Using Location Based Services to Build a Loyalty Program”I think that goes into perpetuity. Every fifth time you go, you’re getting this extra benefit, and smart companies will start to think about how do I do that.”Here are a few examples of companies who are using location based services to build up loyalty programs:Tasti D-Lite has a loyalty program where, through the swipe of a card, you can check into Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook. Checking in earns you additional points towards free menu items.Starwood Hotels has a similar program where, when you attach your Starwood account with Foursquare, you get additional points for checking in.Hideout Theatre has it so you don’t just benefit the first time you check in or if you’re the mayor, but also during your 5th and 10th visits as well.Point-of-Purchase and Location Based Services”So I think the more you can tightly tie in some of these elements to the point of sale, the bigger retail stores will embrace this. But I don’t know if it’s going to be the end-all, be-all. It will definitely add scale. It will add comfort, I think, to a lot of these customers.”A new element that is emerging is a way for businesses to track when people have actually purchased and been inside their business. This builds on loyalty programs, but it can also be used to further relationship building and engagement.Offering Incentives for Sharing With Your Networks”The more reasons you give for someone sharing their check-in with their Facebook account or other social networks, the better.”It’s best to give the user the control on how/what they share with their networks, but the more reasons you give them to share, the better (e.g., “Get more points for sharing your check-in on Facebook.”).What Happens After Check-In”We need to think about the benefit that geo-awareness adds to any kind of transaction business data, etc.”Businesses need to figure out how they can use this information going forward. Can you build check-in information in your loyalty program? Can you add that into your communication with your customers?Digby (a mobile ecommerce company) is looking into this issue. If they can get you to check-in on an app that they’ve built, they can passively know whether you’ve been in a store or not. So then you have that data that you can work with.What Kinds of Businesses Should Use Location Based Services?”I think if you look at companies like Bravo TV, companies that are either publications or they’re consumer package goods, there are things that you can do — whether they’re educational, they can be partnerships with the actual retail locations.”Location based services aren’t just for brick-and-mortar businesses with lots of locations. Other types of businesses can partner with retail locations.For example, you can check in at the Statue of Liberty. When you do, you can pull up a particular show episode on the History Channel and historical facts. The History Channel has partnered with historical locations so that when someone checks in, they’re shown History Channel content.Measuring the Effectiveness of Location Based Marketing”This is a space that will continue to evolve. One of the things that we do have is we have a website. It’s LocationBasedMarketingForDummies.com, and that’s going to be the book site, and we’re going to keep a regular blog there. You’ll be able to find out about some of these services as they evolve, because Mike and I will keep wiki pages that will let users contribute as well — talk about all these different services that can help measure and monitor.”A lot of the platforms offer their own dashboards for tracking who’s checked in, demographics, etc.But there are also a lot of other tools that can help you measure and monitor these campaigns. Some of them are:MomentFeed: for tracking across multiple locations and multiple servicesGeotoko: for managing multiple offersValuevine: for all kinds of tracking of location based campaignsLocal Response: for mining Twitter and finding specific check-ins and making offers to themResources for Location Based Marketing Information”I have a list that I’ve actually built if someone checks out my Twitter handle, @AaronStrout. You can see my LBS Twitter stream that I’ve got.”Check out @Mr_LBS on Twitter, the Location Based Marketing Association, @JBruin on Twitter, and all of the individual services’ Twitter handles and blogs.Where to Start Your Location Based Marketing Efforts”Try it out as a consumer and check in to some places and get some ideas, and then get your company set up. Claim your location. Think about maybe a light offer that you could do.”If you’re just starting out, get set up on Foursquare. Try it as a consumer. Get some ideas. Then claim your location, and work on a light offer.Connect With Aaron OnlineYou can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronStrout and his personal blog. Don’t forget to also check out his company blog, his book, and the Quick-n-Dirty podcast.Enter to Win a Copy of Aaron’s Book, Location Based Marketing for Dummies Topics: Aaron Strout joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s social media and inbound marketing podcast! Aaron is the head of location based marketing at WCG in Austin. He is the author of an upcoming book, Location Based Marketing for Dummies, he runs his own podcast called The Quick-n-Dirty Social Media Podcast on BlogTalk Radio, and he blogs over at his own site.In this episode, we chat about:The evolution of location based marketingTips on adopting location based marketing in your businessBuilding a successful location based marketing campaignUsing location based services to build a loyalty programPoint-of-purchase and location based servicesOffering incentives for sharing with your networksWhat kinds of businesses should use location based servicesMeasuring the effectiveness of location based marketingResources for location based marketing informationWhere to start your location based marketing efforts
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Jul 11, 2012 3:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 We all know there are many different strategies and tactics that can factor into generating more traffic to your website. And there are even more to consider if your business targets an audience that spans multiple countries, because you’ll need to create a global SEO strategy for your website, too!But going global can be a daunting task, and you may not know where to start. That’s why we’ve created an international SEO guide compiling all the best tips international marketers should know. That being said, it’s also important to know about the biggest global SEO mistakes international marketers typically make so you know to avoid them. So without further ado, here are the 9 worst ways to do global SEO:1. Translate All Your Content Using Google TranslateWant to make your website sound like a complete idiot and undermine your company’s credibility to an international audience? Just take all the content on your main website, run it through Google Translate, and paste that into your foreign language site. It will sound totally Google Translated — in other words, robotic, unnatural, and in many cases, completely nonsensical — to anyone who speaks the language natively. Want to avoid sounding like an idiot? Get help from someone who is fluent in the language you’re creating content for.2. Avoid Language- or Country-Specific Sites for Fear of Duplicate ContentYou might have avoided setting up a .co.uk counterpart for your .com site for fear of Google deeming this as “duplicate content,” since there’s not much of a language difference. However, Google now supports using the rel=“canonical” link element across different domains. This means you can have similar content on both the .com and .co.uk extensions of your site, and use the canonical link element to indicate the exact URL of the domain preferred for indexing. This will make duplicate content a non-issue. Also, keep in mind that this is not required when using different languages. Google does not consider foreign language translations to be duplicate content. But keep in mind that it is something to consider for multiple locale sites in the same language.3. Neglect Your Google Webmaster SettingsAccording to Trimark Solutions, many webmasters will simply keep one single sitemap for their entire website, which is not nearly as efficient to maintain and update. Google Webmaster tools allows you to submit multiple sitemaps, so you can submit one for each country or region you are targeting. Note that this is only necessary if you’re using subdirectories for each of your locale sites.In Google Webmaster tools, you can also geographically target certain websites or sections of your website to certain locations. You can find these settings by logging into your Webmaster Tools account, looking under ‘Site Configuration,’ and changing your geographic targeting in the ‘Settings’ tab.4. Assume One Keyword List Will Work for All CountriesIf you create one keyword list and assume it will serve your SEO purposes across all the countries you target, you definitely won’t be targeting your audience in those countries effectively. Different keywords may cater to different audiences depending on location, so as an international marketer, you need to identify which keywords are most popular in each country you’re targeting, and optimize the pages on that country’s section of your website accordingly. In addition, remember that even a correct and accurate translation of a keyword or term may not be what people actually use to search for a product or service locally. To help you identify international keywords for your global SEO strategy, the advanced option in Google’s free Keyword Tool enables you to choose keywords by country and/or language. Just enter one of your keywords, choose the language and/or country(ies) you wish to target, and Google will provide you with a list of keyword ideas and their associated monthly search volume.5. Make Your Different Locale Sites Hard to FindEven if you’re taking all measures possible to send website visitors to the right domain or website section, such as auto-detecting their location and redirecting them to the right web page, there will be people who are traveling, or simply slip through the cracks and end up on your main .com. So make sure your different locale sites are easy to find. If you have several versions of your site in different languages, add visual cues linking to your multilingual content in or near your top navigation. For example, you can use flag icons to link to each country or language’s site/website section. You can also add links to each country or language site in your sitewide footer.6. Add Multiple Languages to a Single Web PageGenerally speaking, you shouldn’t mix languages on the same web page. You might think that doing this will help your website visitors understand that your website caters to them even though your company is based in another country, but in reality, it will not help your website’s overall user experience. You’ll only be making your page confusing to sift through, as your visitors might not understand the content at the top of the page, leading them to immediately click the back button. Instead, refer back to #5, and use your website’s top navigation or footer to link to sections on your site dedicated solely to that country/language.7. Build Inbound Links Only to Your Main HomepageGenerating inbound links is one of the most important elements of SEO, no matter what countries you’re catering to. The more inbound links you have from external websites, the better your site will rank, and the more visibility it will have in search engines. However, when you guest blog or request inbound links, make sure your homepage isn’t the only page getting linked to. You should aim to increase inbound links to each of your locale sites from sites of the same country. In other words, get sites in the UK to link to your co.uk extension, sites in Ireland to link to your .ie extension, etc.8) Make Cultural AssumptionsAs you’re designing your website, you might think your sleek white layout will have a positive connotation for website visitors around the world. After all, in most of Europe and the Americas, white is associated with purity and marriage. But did you know that in Japan, China, and parts of Africa, white is traditionally the color of mourning? The same cultural assumptions might hinder your SEO strategy. If your business targets customers in countries foreign to yours, learn about the different countries’ cultures to understand what appeals to them versus people in your country.9) Forget to Take Local Competition Into AccountIf you’re located at your primary headquarters, you know who your local competitors are. But when doing global SEO research, don’t forget that your competitors in different regions may be different. Just because you’re an international business, doesn’t mean that all businesses abroad are also global. In other words, there might be some competition that you don’t even know about yet! Take that into consideration when you’re identifying keywords to target in each country so you can compete for search engine ranking positions local searchers may be using to find products and services like yours.Do you have anything to add to the list? Add your #10 in the comments below! SEO Strategy
Solution: Even if your site is mobile responsive, which means it adjusts itself to fit the screen of any mobile device or tablet, communicating what you do to your visitors should be a top priority. Having a captivating image and a short text overlay of your mission statement is a great idea for space above the fold (what you see first without scrolling down) of your website. The text should be short and sweet (i.e. the length of a tweet).Just because your current consitutents and your staff know what your organization does, doesn’t mean you should ignore stating the obvious for your new visitors.Problem #2: I can’t easily find how my donation will impact the mission. Soluton: Make sure your content is easy to scan. Blocks of paragraphs turn visitors off and are usually never read in full, anyway. Make the content on your homepage short, sweet, digestible, and even visual (with images or videos). Try to break down the important points into bullets to engage vistiors faster.Has your organization taken the next step to optimize your website for mobile?Image credit: mikecogh Solution: Whether your website is mobile responsive or not, make sure your text is big enough to read. There are a number of products that allow you to adapt your current website to fit all mobile devices to minimize this problem. If visitors can’t read about your mission, how are they going to be able to understand what you do and how they can impact your mission?Problem #6: When you do give me information, you’re overloading me with text. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 14, 2013 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Solution: Below your mission statement on your homepage, or at least as one of the first tabs in your navigation, should be an explanation of what a donation would do for your mission. This could be as simple as equating a dollar amount to something tangible.Or, you can show highlights of your impact from previous years. If you have fundraisers or volunteers, share their stories, or record one for a video, and feature it on the homepage. Make sure to include how that individual’s contribution impacted something specific. If you have project sites across the country or the world, use Google Earth Outreach, which allows you to create a map of your project locations with Google Maps and embed it on your website. This is a great way to show physical proof of your organization’s work.Problem #3: You’re asking me to donate before you tell me what your organization does. Solution: You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, so why ask someone to donate before giving them more information about your organization? Priming your new audience with content about you and even your supporters is a great way to break the ice. Feature stories from your blog on your homepage to keep your content up to date. Keep your donate button in the top navigation or under a tab called “Ways to Give.” But don’t have it be the first thing people see when they view your site on a mobile device.Problem #4: I can’t find your About Us page easily. The smartphone revolution is here and your organization cannot ignore it. 83% of Generation Y respondents to a recent study said they have smartphones. And according to StatCounter Global Stats, global mobile traffic represents 13% of internet traffic, up from just 1% in 2009.You do not want to ignore this channel of increasing traffic.When thinking about your nonprofit’s website and how these Millennials are interacting with your organization, do not forget the mobile experience. Try to avoid these six problems when redesigning or updating your nonprofit’s website.Problem #1: I don’t understand what your organization does. Mobile Optimization Solution: Have your About Us page be the first tab in your navigation. Remember, not all of your visitors know about you. What if they’re coming from a link on, say, your friend’s social media profile? For any new traffic, it’s the first place your new visitors want to go to learn more about your organization, staff, and board members.Problem #5: The information you do provide about your organization isn’t legible.
Social Media Strategy There’s been lots of talk lately about Millennials and their roles in helping nonprofits (including on this very blog). It seems people are a bit confused as to how to connect with them … and by them, I mean us. As a 24-year-old Millennial, I often get asked how others can bond with my age group. These organizations are desperate to understand exactly what makes a Millennial tick.Churches are no exception.Many twenty-somethings fall out of the habit of attending church on a regular basis. But, the newest group of Millennials is taking it to a whole new level. The Barna Group, a national research organization, found that 59% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 drop out of church after regularly attending as a teenager. While reconnecting with this demographic may seem impossible, it’s not!There are a few approaches every church — and frankly, any marketer, business owner, or organization — can take to connect (or reconnect) with Millennials.Embrace the way Millennials want to communicate.Lately, when reading about Millennials, I’ve commonly seen the phrase “understanding the communication preferences of Millennials.” In order to really understand how Millennials communicate, you have to start by understanding the way we communicate isn’t a preference.The iPhone came out in 2008 — I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. Even before then, though, cellphones were already widely popular, and I don’t even remember a time before computers.This technology, passed on by the generation before mine, is innate to how I communicate. By understanding that one concept, you have the opportunity to connect with Millennials in a whole new way.Instead of seeing the Millennials in your church as young people who choose to communicate differently from you as a way to be rebellious, you’ll see them as another group of potential members of your congregation that want to interact with your church, but in non-traditional ways.Offer programs specifically for Millennials.Let’s face it: Every generation is different from the next. Your parents’ generation had a tough time connecting with you when you were 20, too. This isn’t a new phenomenon.This feeling is extended to the churches I work with. Especially while at church, we all — Millennials included — want to feel needed, accepted, understood, and successful.So, consider asking Millennials to join in on focus groups, building projects, worship teams, or community outreach. Show the young people in your church how much you respect them by valuing their opinions and ideas.Stay current — adopt new technology.A great way to show Millennials that you value them is by investing in new technology, like iPads in your church or an interactive website or online community where this younger generation can share stories and learn from each other.This can be driven through social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter. It’s also optimal to use your blog often to connect and give the Millennials in your church a place to keep up with information. Remember that the church has been addressing new ways of communicating for centuries, and it’s okay if you communicate differently!One of my favorite things about going to church is seeing hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of people of different ages and life stages in one place. The last thing you want to do is neglect one of those groups of people.An ideal way to connect to Millennials in your congregation is to give them the option of receiving information in a different way. Instead of making all the important information only available in your Sunday bulletin, show Millennials, and other tech-savvy people in your church, that you value how they consume information by putting it on a responsive website or church app that can be accessed on mobile devices.It’s okay to start small!If you feel like you aren’t there yet, that’s okay! The first step is to just start getting content out there. Here are some easy steps you can take to start building those online relationships:If you have an event, pick a specific hashtag Millennials can use to engage online, like #sundaypray.To get your blog off the ground, start by finding a good story to tell from your next special event and share it on your blog.If your website isn’t as modern as it could be but you don’t feel ready for a website redesign, start by working on getting your information organized and up-to-date. This will help keep your audience engaged and keep your website relevant to new members.If you’re a church leader who is overwhelmed by the feeling that you are falling behind when it comes to connecting with Millennials, know this: It’s not too late. Churches are on the cusp of great opportunity.Technology is constantly changing, and it can feel difficult to keep up when your audience consists of such a wide variety of ages. But connecting with Millennials through new communication techniques today means that you are setting the stage for a connected congregation in your church’s future.After all, Millennials won’t be Millennials forever.What are some of the tactics you use to engage younger demographics and get them more involved with your religious or community institution? Topics: Originally published Jan 16, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Originally published Apr 22, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 How do you decide which topics to write about on your blog to attract the most traffic and leads? What about which types of blog posts to write? How many to publish in a week? How to promote them?These are just some of the questions you might have when creating your blog strategy — and knowing a thing or two about your top performing blog posts will help you find the answers.If you know what made your best blog posts perform so well, you’ll be able to better prioritize certain topics or types of posts according to your content goals. You’ll also get smarter about your overall blog promotion strategy.Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesHow do you know which blog posts are your best ones? To find this out, run a blog leads analysis and attribution report — click here to learn how. Make a list of your top 10 posts along with their traffic numbers and conversion rates.Now, ask yourself which scenario your top posts fit into overall: 1) low traffic but high conversion rate; 2) high traffic and high conversion rate; 3) high traffic but low conversion rate; or 4) low traffic and low conversion rate? In this post, I’ll dig into what each of these four different scenarios might mean and how you can turn that information into an actionable plan for the future.Scenario #1: Low Traffic & High Conversion RateIf you’re not getting a lot of traffic to your blog but your conversion rate is high, it’s a good indication that the traffic you’re getting is high quality. But in order to grow your blog, you’ll need to work on increasing traffic to your blog while still maintaining that high conversion rate.Here are ways you can increase your traffic:Make it easy for your readers to share your content. Include “Tweet this” links throughout your content that have pre-written tweets. “Click-to-Tweet” is a great tool to do that.)Email your blog content to your database. There may be people in there interested in your content but unaware that they can subscribe to your blog.Optimize your blog posts around keywords you want to rank for. You can learn how to do this here.Create content that answers questions you hear about on social media. Then, you can tweet it out to anyone who was discussing the question.Link to other blog posts you’ve written within your post. This’ll help keep readers on your blog longer, get traffic to some of your other posts, and benefit your overall SEO strategy. Look at a report that shows where your traffic is coming from. If you are getting some traffic from certain channels but not others, you’ll learn to focus more on the channels that are driving visits to your site. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this.)Build relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your industry. They can help you reach more people in your industry by promoting your content.As you’re working to attract more traffic to your blog, keep a close watch on your conversion rate. Even though you want more traffic to your website, you don’t want the quality of the traffic to suffer and therefore lower your conversion rate. Scenario #2: High Traffic & High Conversion RateYou may take a look at your top 10 blog posts and see that not only do they have a high conversion rate, but they have high traffic, too. That’s great news! In this situation, the next question isn’t, “How can I increase my metrics?” Instead, it’s, “How can I maintain these high metrics?”Here are some ways to get you started:Note if there was a specific topic or topics that you blogged about in many of your top posts. If you see the topic appeared multiple times, write about that topic again from a different angle. (Here’s some help on turning one topic into many.)Note which type of post appeared most in your top ten. Were many of your top posts quick tips? Detailed analyses? Infographic or image-heavy posts? Videos? How-to posts? If you see a pattern, prioritize that format for future blog posts. Note the authors of your top posts. Was it someone on your team? On another team within your company? Certain guest bloggers? While these authors won’t be able to write all your future posts, it’s certainly a good thing to know so you can encourage and coach them to contribute more often, and allocate resources for great guest bloggers if applicable.Note how you promoted those top blog posts. Was it through social media, organic traffic, email marketing, or something else? Some of these channels may have done much better than others. Keep promoting your posts on the channels that did well, and consider scaling back on the channels that didn’t do as well. This will give you an opportunity to invest your resources in your top performing channels.Note where you placed calls-to-action on your top posts. Were there multiple opportunities to convert? You may have had a call-to-action at the end of your blog post as well as others sprinkled throughout your post. See how your different calls-to-action compared and see how you can replicate their success.Scenario #3: High Traffic & Low Conversion RateYou’re attracting a lot of people to your site, but they aren’t converting. That could mean a couple of things.First, that could mean that they aren’t qualified visitors. You may be writing interesting content that simply doesn’t relate to the interests of your target audience. If this is the case, you’ll want to take a hard look at whether your content strategy aligns with your target audience. How are you deciding which types of content to create? Is the content you’re creating relevant to your audience’s interests and needs?In another scenario, your content could be just fine — it’s just that your path to conversion isn’t clear. Your blog readers may be interested in hearing more from you and reading your stuff, but you aren’t giving them a compelling reason to convert. Or, they aren’t sure how to get more content that pertains to their interests.If this sounds like you, here are our suggestions:Take a look at where your calls-to-action are placed. Is it easy for your visitors to convert into a lead? Are there multiple opportunities for them to convert throughout the blog post? Be sure they’re visible and you’re making it as easy as possible to convert. The last thing you want to do is hide your CTAs where no one can see them.Is your primary CTA related to the blog post it’s been placed on? It can be confusing for website visitors to read a blog post on one topic and then click on a CTA that brings them to another topic. Keep the conversion path consistent from start to finish.Assess how compelling your offers are. Are they compelling enough to get someone to convert into a lead? If someone can get the same information on your website without filling out a form, they probably will. Make your website visitors curious enough that they would want to convert into a lead.If you aren’t getting qualified visitors to your site, though, then you have more work to do. After all, if you have 10,000 blog visitors but none of them are qualified, then your blog posts aren’t doing much to help bring in new customers.If this sounds like you, here are a few things to try:Take a hard look at whether your content strategy aligns with your target audience. How are you deciding what type of content to write? Is the content actually relevant to your audience?See what keywords you rank for. (Learn how here.) Are you ranking for the keywords that are the most important to your business? If not, work on optimizing your blog posts and creating new blog content around the keywords that your buyer persona searches for.Look at conversion rate by channel. Do certain channels have a higher conversion rate than others? In the example below, let’s say you’re analyzing how well your social media channels are doing. Even though Twitter has the most visits, it has the lowest visitor-to-contact conversion rate. While Twitter may be a good channel in theory, LinkedIn has the higher conversion rate in this case — so it’d make sense to consider whether or not your core audience is on LinkedIn rather than Twitter or Facebook. If so, you’ll want to invest more of your efforts in LinkedIn than the other social media channels. Marketing Analytics (HubSpot customers: You can see all of your marketing channels’ individual performance in the Analytics tool.)Scenario #4: Low Traffic & Low Conversion RateIf you’re creating content but it isn’t driving a lot of traffic and has a low conversion rate, you need to change your approach. To start, let’s focus at the top of the funnel traffic you’re trying to generate to your blog.Why start with traffic? Because without traffic to your blog, no one will convert to the next stage in the funnel. Use some of the tips from Scenario #1 (low traffic & high conversion rate) to get more people on your website and reading your content.Once you’ve successfully increased your traffic, shift your focus to conversion rate. One of the most important things you can do is ensure you have a clear path to conversion. For example, let’s say you write a blog post about DIY design. Is there a clear CTA at the end of the blog post leading to a design-related offer? Having blog content that aligns with the content piece that your visitors convert on is essential. Use some of the tips from Scenario #3 (high traffic & low conversion rate) to create a clear path to conversion for your audience.What other insights have you learned from figuring out your top performing blog posts? Share with us in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
2K+Save What makes a team truly great?Is it the mix of personalities? Is it how teams are measured and rewarded? Does the team leader ultimately determine their success?Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of all-stars.There is a lot of research and opinion on what ingredients are necessary to build a high-performing team because it is one of the most difficult things to do — you are essentially forcing people together — but it’s one of the biggest drivers of success in an organization. A poor performing team can negatively impact an entire organization, not to mention be the cause for missing goals or revenue targets. Weekdone created the below infographic detailing some of the defining characteristics of great teams. Learn what you should look for in a high-performing team and how to recruit to create your own. 2K+Save Topics: Originally published Jan 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Collaboration/Teamwork
Topics: Originally published Sep 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Career Development When was the last time you felt bad about something you did — or didn’t do?For me, it happened about 30 minutes prior to typing this sentence. I left the house later than I had planned, because I allowed extra time for my workout. I felt guilty for dedicating time to my own stuff, when I knew I had a looming deadline.But guess what? Yesterday, when I skipped my workout to get to the office earlier, I felt bad about that, too.I can sense the proverbial chorus nodding in unison with me. That’s because guilt is an epidemic — in fact, one in five people cite it as the reason why they don’t take breaks. And it’s killing the quality of our work.Many of us accept that as common sense — overwork = underproductive. So why do we continue to self-sabotage and feel bad about the time we don’t spend getting things done? Read on to learn the different ways we let guilt overtake our productivity, and why we do it.7 Ways You’re Letting Guilt Sabotage Your Work1) You feel like you can’t take a break.The correlation between workplace happiness and productivity isn’t exactly news at this point. And yet, we continue to ignore that advice. A survey conducted by Staples, for example, showed that 90% of employers say they encourage breaks. But here’s the thing — 55% of employees feel like they can’t leave their desks for one. It’s not like we don’t know any better, though. In that same survey, 86% of workers acknowledged that taking a break would make them more productive.So what’s stopping us?I’ve definitely experienced mixed feelings about leaving my desk frequently throughout the day. What if my colleagues think I’m weird, or that I’m not getting my work done? In today’s workplace, we’re big on perception.Luckily, I work somewhere that encourages taking that time to breathe, and has resources in place to support it. Maybe that’s why Staples Advantage, the division that conducted the aforementioned survey, says that employers need to play their part in creating a break-taking culture.Even if employees are fundamentally encouraged to take breaks, putting tangible resources behind it will create the cultural shift that really allows them to step away. Something like a break room goes a long way — 76% percent of respondents said that having a well-equipped one would help relieve stress throughout the workday.And the result of that relief? Getting more done, with higher quality. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyper focus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.2) You feel bad asking for help.Earlier this year, New York Times Magazine did a great job of summarizing the fine line between stress and guilt.Guilt, Susan Dominus wrote, is “an especially corrosive form of distress: It’s that feeling that nags at you as you rush into the office, sweating, knowing that you are already late, or as you slip out for a ‘meeting’ that is, in fact, a much-needed haircut appointment.”Lying about the time we put toward self-care indicates how guilty we feel for acknowledging that we need it. So maybe that’s why we feel like we’re falling short when we can’t do everything ourselves.In turn, that makes us less likely to ask for help. In a survey of working mothers, Care.com found that 29% of respondents felt guilty about hiring someone to assist with things at home — they feared missing out on important moments, for example. But at the same time, 79% of them also felt like they were falling behind at work.The guilt had multiple sources. That’s the case for many of us — not just working moms.It makes sense that 75% of these survey respondents also saw an overall reduction in stress when they did hire outside help. That’s not limited to home or family care — asking for help at work, too, can be hugely productive.In fact, that’s something my own boss told me on my first day at HubSpot: “To help you be more successful, I’ll help you with whatever you ask me for help with. The most successful people ask for help when they need it!”I wish everyone’s boss would say the same thing. Because she set that tone for me from the very beginning, I knew that I didn’t have to feel guilty about not knowing something, or not being able to do something completely on my own. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, the person you need it from is happy to step in.3) You’re comparing yourself to everyone else.We all have those friends — or distant acquaintances who we observe on social media — who seem to have the so-called “perfect life.” And many of us are sometimes guilty of comparing our own lives to theirs, wondering if maybe — had we just done things a little differently — we, too, could have the perfect life.It’s no wonder, then, that 62% of folks think that their peers are holding it together better than they are. When we perceive that someone is doing a better job than we are, we feel guilty or inadequate.In the past, I’ve had to remind myself that anyone’s life can look perfect on the outside — especially on social media. I like to think of Facebook, for example, like tabloids. People can paint any picture they want, and post it for the world (depending on their privacy settings) to see.And even if someone else really is doing things “perfectly,” which is completely subjective, feeling guilty about how your performance stacks up to others’ is a waste of time. And we’ve already talked about how to use our time productively — squandering your precious minutes comparing yourself to others isn’t going to accomplish anything of value.4) You have Vacation Shame.Remember earlier, when we talked about how many of us feel bad taking time for ourselves? Vacation is no exception.In fact, that phenomenon has a name: “Vacation Shaming.” It was coined by Alamo Rent A Car after the company’s annual Family Vacation Survey revealed that 47% of workers feel shame or guilt at work for taking that time off. The same percentage feels the need to justify using their vacation days to their employer — even if they’ve earned it.There are certainly other reasons — financial ones, especially — why people don’t go on vacation. Nonetheless, 28% of people don’t take advantage of paid time off because they’re afraid they won’t look as dedicated to their work.But that logic is kind of counter-intuitive. I mean, for all intents and purposes, managers place the most value on your productivity, right? And in regions where people tend to take more vacation (like Brazil and Sweden, where paid time off is mandatory), employees tend to bring greater urgency to their work.That could be due to the fact that, according to the Harvard Business Review, “spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.” That echoes the research done by DeskTime about the productivity levels of people who take regular breaks.Simply put: Don’t feel bad about giving yourself the opportunity to step away, whether for a few minutes or a few days. It’ll enhance your productivity while you are at work, and give you a chance to decompress when you’re not.5) You’re just not busy enough.How many of you out there work best under pressure?Me. I do. I have never met a deadline I didn’t like. Am I insane? Probably. But also, I just don’t get as much done when I’m not bound by a timeline.As it turns out, I’m not alone. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was reported that people feel more motivated to complete tasks when they’re busy — even if the deadline to get it done has passed.“Being busy may make people more likely to fail to achieve a specific goal,” the authors report, but “it can also make people more likely to achieve the goal by augmenting the perception that a different goal [like using one’s time effectively] is being achieved.”In other words, when we mess up as a result of having too much to do, we don’t feel as guilty about it. After all, it’s not like we were sitting around doing nothing — we were being productive. But when we make a mistake and don’t have the excuse of our industriousness to fall back on, we feel bad.Staying busy at work might seem like a tall order when only 31.5% of us — in the U.S., at least — are actually engaged there. But there are ways to keep up your motivation and productivity, which my colleague Lindsay Kolowich wrote about here.6) You have action bias.We’ve all had friends who have gotten a bit upset with us at one time or another. When that happens, the best thing is to step away and give her space, right? I don’t do that, and that’s because I have action bias.Also known as a “bias for action,” the Business Dictionary defines action bias as the “propensity to act or decide without customary analysis or sufficient information,” or to “’just do it’ and contemplate later.”It reminds me of something that a leadership professor said to me about extroverts: “We tend to operate in the order of: Ready? Fire! Aim.”We’re all about taking action and getting things done, before all else. So when our time has to be spent on something other than our most essential tasks, or even inaction — like in the case of our angry friend — we freak out.Kolowich has experienced something like this. “In the past, I’ve felt guilty whenever I’ve been doing work that doesn’t have measurable output, like brainstorming, strategizing, and even catching up on industry news,” she told me. (She writes more about these biases here.)“Ironically, that can make you less productive because you’re less thoughtful in approaching the work you do do,” she continued. “I’m far more productive when I take the time to understand a project and plan it out rather than jumping right in.”That’s why it’s valuable to take the time to be thoughtful when it comes to your work, and even take the time to reflect on it. On the surface, that might seem like a waste of time, but it can actually be tremendously beneficial.Take this a Harvard Business School study, for example. A team of employees was divided into two groups. The first was instructed to spend the last 15 minutes of the workday writing their reflections. The other group kept working during those 15 minutes. When each group took a final training test, the one that spent the extra time reflecting performed 22.8% better than the one that worked longer.It might seem counter-intuitive, given our advice above about deadlines and staying busy. And we get it — for those of us with action bias, according to a Barclays white paper, “inaction can make a stressful time even worse.”But you can be industrious and also be patient, without feeling bad about it. Even when a deadline is present, take the time you need to bring quality to your work — you’ll be glad you aimed before you fired.7) You’re experiencing the Zeigarnik Effect.”The what?”The Zeigarnik Effect. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one.”Sound familiar?At the end of the day, no matter how productive we’ve been, it seems like we always dwell on the things we didn’t get done. So maybe we can chalk it up the aforementioned Effect, named for Bluma Zeigarnik, the Russian psychologist who found that having a task interrupted can actually improve the focus you put toward it later.That’s good news — and it supports the advice to take breaks and step away from your work, without feeling bad about it. And even though I’m a repeat offender of what we’ve discussed, like action bias, I actually have experienced the value of letting a task go until the next day.I find that to be particularly applicable to writing. Of course, I have deadlines to meet, but every time I let an article “marinate” overnight, I see multiple things I want to change in the morning — and in the end, I’m actually glad I put it off, despite not feeling great about letting it go “unfinished” the night before.It probably took you a few minutes to read this blog, right? It likely took time out of your day. But hopefully, the time you spent reading it — and next, thinking about it — will actually help you bring more focus and less guilt to your work. How do you keep guilt from getting in your way? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack