Why is Economic Recession Good for Startups

Weaker Competition:

Many big companies are struggling with laying off employees, cutting off secondary product/service, rebuilding management structure, asking for cash investment…..but definitely not going to release new product or better service very soon. Well, this is your chance to sneak into their market.

Lower Cost:

When people get unemployed, even students from great schools and managers from big companies are considering to work for small startups with discounted salary, which rarely happened in the past. Stuff like office, server, food are also cheaper than before.

Better Plan:

While VC is holding back their offers carefully in the recession, it’s more difficult to get fund with a lousy business plan, especially those without a clear revenue model or healthy cash flow. While your business plan is revised again and again but still get cold-shoulder from VCs, it’s more likely to survive in the real business environment.

Fairer Chance:

Well, we all say 9 out of 10 startups are going to fail within 12 months. It’s true that small company has high risk of failure, but after Lehman Brother fell apart, Merrill Lynch got sold, and auto industry monsters kept crying for help, it’s pretty clear that no company is safe in this world, and size definitely can’t determine the fate of a company. I’m sure people will tend to have a fairer attitude towards small companies.

Tighter Pocket:

I have a friend getting >10,000 dollars a month as revenue from his online business. Pretty good for startups, isn’t it? But what makes me sad is, he spend 10 times more money every month, 90% of which is for senior management’s salary, while the job of those seniors is just flying for coffee meeting once a month. It’s never too late to watch every penny in your pocket, dude, no matter it’s recession or not.

Japanese Version (日本語) of this post >>

7 Steps To Build A Better Blog

1. Create Value:

Whatever you write, remember to bring value to readers. Just saying Myspace sucks can’t make your a good writer, since there are over 1 million people already knowing this conclusion earlier than you. Just saying viral marketing is amazing can’t make you a great blogger either. Say something more to make us know something fresh, or, to save our time, or, to create other value.

2. Focus on your own industry:

I can’t remember anything you write if you write about everything. Focus on one industry you’re interested in, man. Beer, Mac, Black-Hole theory…… anything would do, as long as you’d rather cut your sleeping time and sacrifice your dinner to make yourself know it better than anyone else.

3.Blog is not twitter:

Blog is blog, but twitter is another thing. Don’t make your blog into another twitter. I’m not really interested to know what you had for lunch or which brand of soap you bought unless you are Charlize Theron, and 10 posts a day makes me doubt whether you are a blogger.

4.Write drafts:

When you think of some new ideas, put them into drafts as soon as possible. Finally you will find your drafts full of great materials to make a great article, and this is how other Blogger’s great articles are made.

5. Appearance matters:

Just as a great pianist needs a gorgeous concert hall to show his best performance, you need a suitable appearance to make your blog looks great if you believe it is great. Pick a clean theme, use related pictures, insert sharing buttons…and more.

6.Share:

Leave a full link when you quote another blogger’s post, and they will thank you very much and probably do the same thing to you in the future. It’s a small world, and readers won’t forget you just because you refer them to read another blog.

7.Hold on, man:

It’s a lonely and boring job to write blog when no one notice you. Don’t give up if you believe your posts are creating value to the society.  Check your blog system to make sure the SEO part is well done. Hold on and keep writing. If you are still lonely after you write 50 posts, leave your blog address here, dude,  and I’ll be the 1st one to make you not lonely anymore.

[Image from ToothPasteForDinner]

Practical Tips for Google SEO

Never underestimate the power of SEO. It’s the most effective & healthy way of marketing online. Although Google is constantly changing its algorithm of search ranking, but some basic rules for SEO still works at least now. Here is several tips from my own experience when I was in charge of the promotion for Tucia.

Commitment:

Pay money and extend your domain expiration time to 5 or 10 years later, so that Google won’t easily put you into the list of temporary spamming & cheating sites.

80/20 Rule:

20% of your keywords bring 80% of traffic. Give up all the other keywords except these 20% most important ones. 3~5 keywords would be the best. Focus on them.

Forget 6%:

Adjust your content, link’s TITLE, image’s ALT and everything else to high light your keywords. Don’t be afraid of too many keywords (forget about the 6% density limit), because you’ll never have enough high keywords density in a readable text.

I’ve seen a very stupid personal site with lousy page TITLE, DESCRIPTION, META, and shitty codes, but standing right on the top of Google search results. The only reason is ultra-high keyword density which I can never achieve when I try to make visitor enjoy reading it at the same time, for God’s sake.

Avoid Duplication:

Every page must have a different TITLE and DESCRIPTION and also different content text, unless you want Google to put you into the list of trash-producing sites.

Cross-Level Consistency:

You need to make Google believe that you page is highly related to the keywords, which can be simply done by putting the same text in different levels of the same page. Such as link TITLE, link TEXT, image ALT. For example, this text link to abc.htm:

<a href=”/abc.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″>keyword1-keyword2</a>

and this image link to abc.htm

<a href=”/abc.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″><img src=”/abc.jpg”  alt=”keyword1-keyword2″ /></a>

Remember you have to put keyword1-keyword2 in the page TITLE of abc.htm

IF you can change the page file name of abc.htm to keyword1-keyword2.htm, that will be best:

<a href=”/keyword1-keyword2.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″><img src=”/keyword1-keyword2/keyword1-keyword2.jpg”  alt=”keyword1-keyword2″ /></a>

Social Media Effect:

I found it by chance that a high rank in social media (e.g. Digg & del.icio.us) will prominently make your rank higher in Google too. I send Tucia to a low-cost social media marketing service provider called Naifenqian.com, who helped me to get 600 diggs & 300 del.icio.us bookmarkers in a short time. In 72 hours, I found Tucia climbed to Google’s 2nd page from 5th page with the same search keywords.

Use Great Tools:

http://www.the-escape.co.uk/tools/pageanalyzer/

http://www.searchengine-analysis.com/

http://website.grader.com/