Posts

backlink strategyAt some point in a social entrepreneur’s journey, there will likely be a need to build a website, a blog, or some meaningful web presence so you can be found. When that happens, you are immersed into the sometimes-clear, often-murky sea of search engine optimization.At the end of the day the goal is to be found online by major search engines such as Google and Bing.When it comes to placating search engines, and even impressing them, the idea of backlinks comes to play. A backlink is when another site links to your site.

Simple, right?

Part Art, Part Science

Google actually evolved from a project originally called BackRub was a way to look at backlinks to a site to determine that site’s importance or relevance of a site.  It kind of makes sense, right….if Jane tells you about a great new bakery in town, you’ll listen and maybe be interested. But if Maya, Juan, Roger, Penelope, and Dwayne also tell you about it—-there’s a good chance the bakery recommendation may be more valuable to you.

Now, search engines come up with complex algorithms to try to discern the relevance and importance of a website based on a variety of factors, including valuable backlinks.

There is a great talk on Lynda.com about Backlink strategy called “SEO Link Building in Depth” by Peter Kent. While Kent goes into great detail about various nuances of the art and since of increasing backlinks to your site, here are a few broad overview tips that may be helpful.

5 Tips on Building Quality Backlinks

1. Look at keywords. As you get more comfortable with the logic behind search engine optimization you will start seeing the connection between the words you use on your website and how search engines tend to notice.  And you may become an evangelist for effective keywording (i.e. the key terms or phrases you use throughout a page or post to describe its main crux). One place that you can place keywords is in the link title and anchor text used to describe the link. Make the most of these opportunities to be found by using deliberate, researched keywords.

2. Build relationships with websites with related content.  If your site is about cake decorating, a back from an auto repair website might be great. But don’t you think a link to your site from a cake decorating tools manufacturer would be even better? There’s a good chance the search engine algorithms agree and value links that are related a similar nucleus of content.  It may be worthwhile to build relationships with bloggers and web administrators and social media folks of sites related to yours. Plus, it may also help you discover ideas and other great sites related to yours.

3. Use awesome anchor text. Once you’re in the keyword know (i.e. see #1), try to score great anchor text umbrella-ed in the backlink to your site.  Sure you can connect a backlink to site with phrases like click here. But why not use the opportunity to say something meaningful about what the link is linking too, and including some of those snazzy keywords you are trying to highlight…

4. Don’t forget to link within. You may have some wins with closely related sites, linking to yours, and using great anchor text–but don’t forget about your own site as a way to highlight your content. You can use the same practices to link back to relevant content in your site and use great anchor text and rich keywords. You may want to keep track of your content in some content management way so you can easily reference related posts or pages.

5. Focus on what you can control = write great content. Building an army of quality backlinks is challenging. There’s so much you don’t have control over—i.e. whether sites will link to you or not, whether you can suggest that they use great anchor text, and whether you can ever amass enough links to bump up your PageRank. However, there is one thing that you have direct control over. Building amazing, awesome, relevant, helpful, useful content that is off the hook. Focus on this and other sites won’t be able to resist linking back to you. The industry calls this link bait, but link chocolate sounds pretty good too.

BlendedProfit.com is a site focused on fostering the new economy, through posts on news and trends, and interviews with thought leaders in the field.In its series of live Google Hangout webinars, the site’s Chief Curator Brian Weinberg interviews various individuals at the forefront of profit and cause—to better understand the existing infrastructure and future of an economy blended with profit and purpose.

Today marks interview #14 and will be with Lisa Hall, President & CEO of the Calvert Foundation.
You can tune in to today’s GameChangers episode here. (8 PM EST/ 5 PM PST)
Innov8Social logo

 

BlendedProfit.com

 

 

Here is list of 25+ tools to build your inner entrepreneur.That’s it. Just a compilation of lectures, publications, blogs, news, learning tools, and more; in no particular order.Whether you were born an entrepreneur or are called to be one, one or more of these tools might help you hone your skills and sharpen your instincts.

productivity tools

So, peruse, learn, and then flex your inner entrepreneur in whatever setting you find yourself in.

Don’t find a tool you love? Just add it in the comments and we can incorporate to the list.

A special thanks to my fellow participants of StartUp Weekend Next SF (Oct 2012) for contributing their favorite tools to the list!

  1. StartUp Weekend — find out what’s it’s like to have an idea, work on it non-stop for a weekend, get customer feedback, and build a prototype
  2. StartUp Weekend Next — take your StartUp Weekend experience further and work on your idea in a guided setting for another 3 weeks
  3. Udacity — learn about about how to map out your startup strategy including this class from Steve Blank author of “Owner’s Guide to StartUps”
  4. Tools for StartUp Weekend — list of nearly 30 more tools for startup success by TokBox Developer Song Zheng
  5. PitchCrawl — informal events organized by DishCrawl where startups can pitch to VC’s in a ‘speed dating’ setting
  6. Steve Jobs — book by Walter Isaacson based on 100+ interviews of those who knew the Apple Co-Founder and CEO, and 40 interviews with Jobs himself. Candid, honest account of an innovation & entrepreneurship luminary.
  7. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose — book by Zappos! CEO Tony Hsieh, an insightful narrative (he reads the audio book version himself)
  8. Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives — book on entrepreneurial leadership by Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek, founders of Mountain Ventures.
  9. Founder Dating — an online network to help you meet your next co-founder
  10. LaunchPad Central — online tool to help you manage, track, and analyze your startup and business canvas
  11. Coursera — take online classes on what you don’t know from top schools across the country
  12. Codeacademy — learn how to code through these online, interactive classes.
  13. 24 Must-Read Blogs For Entrepreneurs — article by Alyson Shontell of Business Insider. Links to blogs by entrepreneurial thinkers such as Guy Kawaski, Penelope Trunk, Seth Godin and more.
  14. Meetup — search “entrepreneurship” to find meetup groups for start-ups, bootstrappers, and entrepreneurs, possibly just like you.
  15. DeskWanted — find a coworking space near you, or list one
  16. Animoto — make a totally unique, creative animated slideshow explaining your site or blog
  17. Dezquare — find a web or print designer who vibes with your design sensibilities and get a quote on a project
  18. Apple One to One — a one-year pass for in-store trainings with Apple trainers to learn the ins and outs of Apple software that can can make your presentations, videos, and slideshows sparkle
  19. MorningStar Financials — take a look at the financials of other players in the space
  20. AngelList — online platform where startups and investors can meet
  21. 10 Legal StartUps to Keep You Out of Trouble — blog post by Natasha Murashev, of StartUp Stats, re: new legal startups on the scene, including those that have forms available for startups.
  22. Privacy Icons for Privacy Policies — initiative by Disconnect to categorize privacy policies–a way to find privacy policies aligned with your startup’s goals. Read more here
  23. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist — book by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson
  24. Instagram — it’s more than a photo-sharing app—its the way millennials and their successors are building communities–around images and experiences
  25. Pinterest — expand your reach by finding ways to integrate this way of sharing content
  26. Facebook Groups — These private groups can be a way to manage internal communication on Facebook. Besides, you’re probably on FB all the time anyway—might as well get your startup updates here too!
  27. HootSuite — manage your startup’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. accounts from one place and schedule posts too.
Dear Innov8Social readers and followers,

Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully the holiday left you charged to not only count your blessings, but multiply them for yourselves and those around you.

 

Innov8Social has not been far from my mind for the past few months. And I am excited to share my recent adventures and ideas for what’s ahead with you.
white board notesIn September 2012 I participated in StartUp Weekend, an exciting entrepreneurship event that brings together developers, designers, and non-coders for 54 hours of a ‘hackathon’-like experience of building out a startup idea. The goal is to be able to give a brief pitch of the idea and show a prototype to the judging panel by Sunday evening. Our team won recognition for our website design.
The event was a mind stretch—requiring participants to wear multiple hats, think through potential pitfalls and problems, and be able to pivot our idea in any direction as we built it. It was the quintessential experience in entrepreneurship.
I was fortunate to have joined with a dynamic team and together we began building a solution to the problem of how people in a neighborhood can ‘vote’ on which local businesses they wish to see in their neighborhoods. From our review, there seemed to be a need for effective ways for people to support and encourage small businesses they desire in their neighborhoods. That, combined with the popularity and influence of crowdfunding platforms, put us on a fascinating journey involving lots of interviews, product market fit testing, and pivots on the idea.
I have learned that in social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship is the initial challenge. And the challenge can be formidable! Before you think about how your business should run and what it’s core values are…you have to have a business.
The experience makes me all the more appreciative of start-up entrepreneurs who bootstrap their way to profitability and then scale and grow their ideas to broader audiences and markets, all the while staying within the broad course of their core values.
The past few months have been all about ‘getting out of the building’ a phrase that Steve Blank uses often in his Udacity lectures to encourage entrepreneurs to be action/input-oriented rather than insular inventors.
I’ll be posting more on these recent adventures. But for now, I wanted you to know that I am thankful for this space for us to connect and that there is so much we can do together. I have ideas of ways to continue building and improving Innov8Social, and would love to hear your input on what you would like to see.
All the best, always.
In whatever stage of your social entrepreneurial dream you find yourself in, there is something you may have noticed. There is a power in momentum. Here’s insight on the momentum that led to the launch of BlendedProfit and to my involvement with the new site.

http://www.blendedprofit.com

The Momentum Effect

Momentum. It can be challenging to build, and once achieved you have to think strategically about how to maintain, pace, or even shift it.

One interesting aspect of momentum that I have noticed is that once it is set in motion, it can actually build on itself.  I have been writing on Innov8Social for over a year this week. It has been amazing, exhilarating, and eye-opening. Parts of it have been marked by solitude and self-motivation, and others have been built on collaboration, attending events, and meeting thought leaders.

One aspect of my social innovation journey that I realized I wanted to build a few months ago, was working with a team.  I think some of our best work emerges when we work with and alongside dynamic thinkers, dedicated to exploring a field or concept from various angles.

So it was a welcome surprise when one Brian Weinberg connected with me over social networks after reading one of my blog posts. He talked about his idea about a new site featuring podcasts by thought leaders and helpful resources for social entrepreneurs and innovators (he had seen Innov8Social’s list of fellowships), and he wanted to know if I was interested and what I might be able to bring to the table.

And just like that, a wheel was slowly put into motion.

Push Start — BlendedProfit emerges

That was months ago, over half a year even. The idea was big and, in some ways, amorphous. Conversations, emails, Google hangouts, text messages, and cloud-based documents slowly chiseled it into something we could understand, participate in, and contribute to. Brian’s podcast interview with Sam Daley-Harris (former Director of Microcredit Summit Campaign and thought-leader in micro finance) was not only informative and professional, but provided a footprint of possibility for how these interviews can give useful insight on past and current social innovation efforts.

When the website mockup of BlendedProfit was released, it further fueled the momentum.

The Team

Through our connection, the entire BlendedProfit team has been inspired by Brian as the ringleader. He has taken the role to heart, welcoming ideas, infusing input, and facilitating collaboration. And if Brian connected individuals, the idea of a blended economy sustained the connections. Says Dhruva, one of the team members, “Inspiration to join the team was first and foremost Brian’s passion…In addition, I think that the blended profit economy is the most sustainable way to build the world most people would want to live in.”

It has been inspiring virtually working with dynamic individuals spanning the realm of social innovation. Here’s a snapshot of the founding team, broken down by the various section of the site:

Content Team

Operations Team
  • Graphic/Web Design: Carol Nguyen
  • Marketing: Kristin Schultz and Carol Miller
  • Business Development & Strategy: David Dimmock and Dhruva Rajendra (@drajwfu)
  • Social Media: Pelpina (@pelpina)
  • Audio Engineer: Emre Yagni

Mission-Inspired Momentum

As simply posted on the site, “Blendedprofit.com seeks to aggregate actionable resources for a community of people committed to a lifestyle that supports good business. By shifting how we interact with business throughout our societal roles, we can grow the good economy together.”

BlendedProfit + You—Together Ahead

Our journey with BlendedProfit is on its way, and no doubt the months ahead will show evolution and growth in content, organization, and a better sense of how the site will engage and serve the audience.
But the journey for you is just beginning. Now is the time for you to connect with the idea of a good economy, one based both on profit and on values of sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental tenets. You can connect with BlendedProfit on Facebook and Twitter, so we can continue the journey together.
The new year is swiftly underway and with its first month nearly behind us, an interesting theme seems to be taking hold at the Innov8Social headquarters.
Adaptive persistence. The concept, described by entrepreneurs and leadership experts Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek in their book Life Entrepreneurs, describes a trait social innovators can develop in the face of adversity.
growing through concrete
What is adaptive persistence?
Adaptive persistence is applying flexibility and ingenuity to situations of resistance, rejection, and refusal—all common ends a new social innovator is likely to face.  Specifically Gergen and Vanourek describe it as “hanging in through adversity while creatively tailoring one’s approach the circumstances.”
How does adaptive persistence apply to social innovation?
Social innovation, at its essence, is about finding new connections between existing disciplines, subjects, and concepts. It’s about look at how business can create social impact. Or how a triple bottom line can be integrated in a company’s bookkeeping. It focuses on the entrepreneurial potential of maximizing impact of a non-profit beyond maximizing funding.
It looks at existing societal issues, environmental concerns, and proven solutions with fresh eyes and innovative intention.
All of that, however, is to say that social innovation is about trying, testing, and calculating leaps of faith to achieve new success. And along the way, a social innovator is nearly guaranteed to face some form of resistance–internal, external, and everything in between.
In those situations, the concept of adaptive persistence can provide a respite. It can be a recharging station. The choices are not only to keep doing or stop doing—adaptive persistence creates the option to refine, reframe, and recalibrate efforts continually and consistently so that small failures can be written off and released, making way for new incremental successes.
A new year of Innov8Social
2012 is shaping up to be a bold and interesting year for Innov8Social. While we have spent the past months dipping a toe in the social innovation sea, the new year brings new opportunities for furthering understanding, being able to discern grey areas of the field, and beginning to discriminate nuances of its practice.
You may notice sporadic posting in the early part of the year—the exploration is very much alive and occurring in offline avenues which will be reported on in due time.
As we use concepts like adaptive persistence to navigate the waters, we hope it can provide clarity and support to you in your social innovation exploration.
Innov8Social is 6 months new! It has been a unique and exhilarating experience formulating the concept, creating content, and finding a voice and niche for this site. And, by all definitions…at 6 months old, there is lots to learn and grow ahead.paper heartThanks.

This is a post to say thanks and mention some of the supporters, mentors, and practitioners that have inspired our posts. And we have worked with the superstar social entrepreneurs at Back to the Roots to provide readers with a discount for their truly innovative gourmet mushroom kits….find out more here!
Mentors
When you start a new project in an area unknown and unexplored, you may find that mentors seem to arise from unlikely places. Deep gratitude for great insight, ideas, and food for thought:

Social entrepreneurs
At the heart of this effort is providing useful information, tools, and news about social innovation. So many of the true inspirations have been those individuals and organizations actually in the field. Here are a few we have had the pleasure of connecting with:

    
Social entrepreneur legal community
It has been immeasurably helpful to tap legal practitioners well-versed in the field to better understand how policy affects the legal landscape for social entrepreneurs and how law can evolve to support and encourage social innovation. A special thank you to the attorneys and policymakers who have provided great insight and been able to answer the big and small questions about social entrepreneurship law.
   
Readers
You inspire the best work. Attending events, seminars, conferences, hearings, one-to-one meet-ups, and talks has been made more meaningful knowing that there will be others interested in reading about key takeaways and insights. Through the last few months it has been encouraging to see new levels of interaction, such as the sharing and additions to the 50+ social innovation fellowships post. Thank you.Cheers to the social innovation exploration so far, and all that is to come!
Location, location, location. It is a key factor in deciding where to live, work, and play. And it can also be a telling indicator of where to launch.Introducing: Opportunity Scores by Opportunity IndexHuffington Post overviewed a new tool that enables you to assess the potential of any geographic area in the U.S. based on factors such as education, median income, poverty level, unemployment, and availability of affordable housing. These opportunity scores, part of the Opportunity Index project by Opportunity Nation, give an apples-to-apples comparison of counties and states.



How Can the Opportunity Index Be Useful to Social Innovators?

Understanding opportunity scores can help social innovators and social entrepreneurs decide where to launch, where to expand, and where to engage,  in surprising ways. Social ventures rely on business acumen and compelling social cause and arguably, launching in a place that is known for its economic and social stability and mobility could offer advantage at crucial stages of a social enterprise’s growth and development.

Alternatively, the Index can also help identify communities and region that could benefit most from social enterprise. Not the top-scorers, but the cities, counties, and states that are struggling. Knowing cities that have scored high gives us a learning tool to compare and contrast what has helped these cities succeed and how social innovation and social enterprise and can help rebuild and uplift cities with the greatest need, and the greatest potential.

Perfect 5’s for Opportunity: Method and Findings

The granularity of the information in the Opportunity Index extends to the county level. To find cities, I identified top-performing counties and selected a city within that county for the list. These cities were usually the largest cities or centers for local government.

I was anticipating finding a number of large cities along with medium-sized suburbs. Interestingly, the vast majority of perfect scores went to smaller towns, cities, and townships. These seemly tight-knit communities appear to have been able to weather, withstand, and in some cases, even flourish in the economic downturn–according to the success criteria of the Index.

37 Cities With Top Opportunity Scores

So here they are, in no particular order. Thirty-seven cities that scored an overall perfect 5 for opportunity based on indicators including unemployment, affordable housing, median income, education, and poverty.

  1. Quincy, Massachusetts (Norfolk County)
  2. Edgartown, Massachussetts (Dukes County)
  3. Derry, New Hampshire (Rockingham County)
  4. Burlington, Vermont (Chittenden County)
  5. Yonkers, New York (Westchester County)
  6. Hackensack, New Jersey (Bergen County)
  7. Hempstead, New York (Nassau County)
  8. Franklin Township, New Jersey (Somerset County)
  9. Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey (Morris County)
  10. Raritan Township, New Jersey (Hunterdon County)
  11. Norristown, Pennsylvania (Montgomery County)
  12. West Chester, Pennsylvania (Chester County)
  13. Columbia, Maryland (Howard County)
  14. Rockville, Maryland (Montgomery County)
  15. Ashburn, Virginia (Loudon County)
  16. Fairfax, Virginia (Fairfax County)
  17. Charlottesville, Virginia (Albemarle County)
  18. Ashland, Virginia (Hanover County)
  19. Jamestown, Virginia (James County)
  20. Cumming, Georgia (Forsyth County)
  21. Fayetteville, Georgia (Fayette County)
  22. Franklin, Tennessee (Williamson County)
  23. Delaware, Ohio (Delaware County)
  24. Troy, Michigan (Oakland County)
  25. Mequon, Wisconsin (Ozaukee County)
  26. Waukesha, Wisconsin (Waukesha County)
  27. Naperville, Illinois (DuPage County)
  28. Carmel, Indiana (Hamilton County)
  29. Fredricksburg, Texas (Gillespie County)
  30. Overland Park, Kansas (Johnson County)
  31. Castle Rock, Colorado (Douglas County)
  32. Boulder, Colorado (Boulder County)
  33. Grandby, Colorado (Grand County)
  34. Silverthorne, Colorado (Summit County)
  35. Los Alamos, New Mexico (Los Alamos County)
  36. Park City, Utah (Summit County)
  37. San Rafael, California (Marin County)
In law, sometimes you find the most important reasoning in the footnotes. And at conferences, sometimes you find the best advice in the asides.For example at the popular event, Social Media for Nonprofits SF in the course of explaining their key takeaways on social media, many of the speakers, panelists, and attendees also mentioned social tools they use regularly.This was a great complement to high-level thinking on goals and strategies for social media to promote social cause, because it provided practical “how-to” or “how do I do that” tips to enact the big picture.

8 Social Media Tools, Overheard at Social Media for Nonprofits

1. Polleverywhere.com lets you poll an audience instantly through mobile phone voting (i.e. text and twitter). It’s like American Idol polling capability for social innovators. It is free for small audiences and has pricing plans for larger groups as well as plans for K-12 and higher education. Other interesting features include a downloadable slide with results that updates as people vote.

 

2. Topsy.com is a search engine for tweets and Google+. It lets you track influence and influencers according to Twitter and Google+ usage. At Social Media for Nonprofits, Topsy was mentioned as an effective way to find influencers in your field or related to your cause. Connect with influencers, and your message, mission, and social innovation may find a broader reach.

 

 

3. Slideshare.net is a way to share presentations online. The site is the largest community for sharing presentations and is used by the White House, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Social Media for Nonprofits. Users can upload and download presentations, share on social networks, embed video and links, and can sign up for a free account or can opt for pro.

 

 

4. Tweetchat.com is a simple way to listen in to tweets about a particular topic. Just enter the desired hashtag and you will see live twitter chatter about that topic. At Social Media for Nonprofits large screens were set up on either side of the podium featuring live tweets containing the #sm4np hashtag, powered by Tweetchat.

 

 

5. Tweet-in is not a website but an innovative concept employed by Darian Heyman (@dheyman), Social Media for Nonprofits conference convener, emcee, and author. He essentially posed questions related to social media challenges and goals to the room of participants and called on everyone to respond with the #sm4np hashtag. The result? everyone in the room could view the large screens and virtually network with everyone else. It was a unique way to simultaneously connect with potential partners, resources, and mentees. Creative!

6. Twazzup.com is a tool that lets you mine tweets for trending topics, news, and influencers. It gives provides an interesting statistic called “TPH” (tweets per hour) for a particular topic. For example, I searched #socinn and came up with real-time results including highlights (left column), news (no news stories came up) and live twitter feed (right column). The TPH rate for #socinn was 3.

 

7. Twiangulate.com is a tool that helps you pinpoint the lesser-known influencers on twitter. It lets you do some interesting searches, such as searching 3 twitter handles and finding out common friends and mutual influencers. You can make maps and tables that tell you how various tweeters and tweeps are connected. TMI? Maybe you meant TMZ, because TMI doesn’t seem to apply to web 2.0 :)

8. Storify.com is a fascinating tool to enable social media storytelling. You can search social media outlets such at twitter, facebook, rss feed, flickr, and google for content based on search terms. Then comes the fun part, you can actually assemble a storyboard with the social media finds you want to be included. The result is a more-cohesive presentation of social media. Considering the importance placed on storytelling in social innovation, it could be extremely useful.

 

 

Lock and keysSometimes its the things people don’t tell you that are most important. Like, you’re going to end up creating a ridiculous number of passwords in the process of launching a social venture (and creating an online presence for it).Now, granted, passwords have little (aka nothing) to do with doing well by doing good, or pursuing social innovation policy, or understanding issues that will become key issues for the future generation.But then, they kind of do relate. Whether you are blogging from a cafe, sending email from a field site, or setting up apps to enable microlending—there will be passwords.

Where there are passwords, there is online security


And those passwords are a key line of defense to protecting your organization’s online security. I recently attended a talk about WordPress blogging and content management capabilities, and one of the surprising things I learned about was a tool that creates encrypted passwords and remembers them as you traverse the web.

In looking into that tool, LastPass, I also came across a few others that have similar capabilities. Here is a rundown of two popular password managers and key features.  Share tips and your favorites in the comment section below.

2 Tools to Help Manage Your Online Passwords

1. LastPass

  • you can install universally, or to a specific browser
  • is cloud-based
  • remembers all of the passwords you want it to, and fills them in automatically
  • can generate passwords
  • free for desktop version or $1/month for premium (enables mobile device access)

2. RoboForm

  • is cloud-based
  • Stores all logins
  • Enables one-click form completion (including credit card information)
  • can generate passwords
  • Rated #1 in CNET Password Manager Review
  • $30 for desktop version or $20/year for cloud-based version (enables mobile device access)

Read More
Cnet review of password managers