SEO for Rotary Clubs

I just got back from attending my second Rotary Leadership Institute class.  As an officer of the Boyertown Rotary, I feel it is my duty to learn as much about Rotary International as possible.

2011 Rotary Logo

Note: Many of the tips in this Search Engine Optimization (SEO) post could apply to any non-profit or company site.

What is Rotary?

Rotary International is a non-profit service organization.  There are clubs all over the world, and there is probably one or more Rotary Clubs near you. Many towns have multiple Rotary clubs.

Each Rotary Club operates  a little differently, although most meetings have many of the same elements such as sharing info, doing service projects, and networking.

Service projects vary from doing local community projects like student mentoring, park development, or projects that are unique and needed in each clubs town.

In my town, one of the service projects done by  the Rotary was a “playground for everyone” which is a playground that is handicapped accessible.

But Rotary is much more than service..if you are lucky enough to be asked to join, check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

Why do Rotary Club Websites Need SEO?

When I search for a town’s Rotary, I expect it to come up. Often times, I am looking for a town’s Rotary to see when and where it meets, and I can not find the chapter or any info about it. Or even worse, I find an out of date site that is from 2005.

Additionally, I think the Rotary Websites should be optimized so that when someone searches for the club’s town name, the club should be on the search engine results page right at the top of the list. So if I was to optimize my club site fully, it would show up for terms like “Boyertown, PA” ‘Boyertown Service organization” in addition to “Boyertown Rotary”.

Lastly, if the site were to truly become an authority in the town, it would make selling advertising to reputable businesses with the town so much easier. What club wouldn’t love to bring in some extra revenue for service projects?

How Can Rotary Clubs Optimize their Sites?

First, they can use content management systems that are SEO friendly and which can be updated easily and regularly.  ClubRunner, the system we currently use is not SEO friendly, but it does have a ton of features that make it good for Rotary clubs and it is pretty easily updated.  I am thinking about doing a blog post that compares  different platforms for Rotary Clubs. I believe providing platforms for Rotary Club websites is a huge niche that a web development company could do well in.  My small club pays maybe $35 a month for the site. There is a club in almost every small town, and in some towns there are multiple Rotary Clubs.  Additionally, Clubrunner charges more if your club has more members. But I digress…

The second thing that Rotary Clubs can do to optimize their sites, is to integrate their sites with Social Media. Having social media widgets  for your Social Media profiles does affect search rankings.

The third and most important thing that Rotary Clubs should do is to undergo a club link building campaign. This can be as simple as getting each club member to comment on one blog per month, and drop their club’s site url into the website field. Additionally, if the members have websites of their own, they can link to the club on their site. One way links are what it’s all about.

Easy Rotary SEO

These three tips are not a complete SEO strategy, but they are a start. If your club is in a competitive market like Las Vegas or New York, to show up at the top in the search engines, it may take a bit more work. If you need some  help, let me know by dropping a comment with your contact info.

 

Rotarians: Drop your club or district’s url in to the web page field in the comments section to get a link to your site.

 

Posted in Charitable Organizations, rotary, rotary international, Rotary marketing, Rotary PR, rotary seo, SEO, seo for rotary clubs | Comments Off

Guatemala Mission Trip – Day1 Building a House with FromHousestoHomes.org

So our first day of work with FromhousestoHomes.org(FHTH) began at 830am on August 1, 2011 at which time we were assigned our teams at the office. Our team was lead by Isaías Xoc and Abel Santos, with 6 volunteers to do the grunt work. FHTH has built over 400 homes, at 3 houses per week, they
Posted in Antigua Guatemala, Fromhousestohomes.org, Guatemala, Guatemala Mission Trip, Santa Maria De Jesus Guatemala | Comments Off

Guatemala Mission Trip

We have been back from our Guatemala Mission Trip for several weeks now, so I better do a brief synopsis of our trip. (not as brief as I intended) I am doing a more detailed series on the trip on All-travel-sites.com.  You can click on each picture below to see the full online version. Additionally, you can go down to the bottom of the page and visit the Fromhousestohomes.org Facebook Fan page to see all of my Guatemala Mission trip pics.

 

Volcan Agua

Volcan Agua seen from the Antigua Market

Overall, it was a great trip…I am blessed to have gone.  Guatemala, from what I saw is a very beautiful, but poor country. Antigua, is an old city, with cobble stoned streets and lots of ruins for tourists to tour threw. We actually went through the ruins of  one old church on our first full day.

We arrived in Guatemala on Thursday the 28th of July in the early afternoon. Our work week with Fromhousestohomes.org (FHTH)began on the following Monday.  On Friday, we climbed Volcan Pacaya, one of Guatemala’s active volcanoes….well worth the trip. The next day we went to Lake Atitlan, which is the largest and deepest lake in Guatemala, and is also a must see for any one touring Guatemala. Sunday we went to a bi-lingual church for our Sunday service. Other than buying occasional hand crafted goods from the locals, this was the extent of our vacationing.

FromHousestoHomes.org Mission Trip

  • Guatemala Mission Trip day 1 -August 1, 2011we arrived at the office at 830am every day and worked until 430pm with frequent breaks to play with the family kids and neighborhood kids through out the day. We also ate lunch at noon, and depending upon the afternoon rains, might have a lengthy lunch or just a half hour lunch.  Today, our goal was to establish the boundaries of the house,  dig a trench for the footer, poor the footer, and then the first layer of block for the walls.  Additionally metal mesh wire and rebar were installed before putting in the footer.  Oh, the cement for the footer, was mixed by hand, and then the bucket brigade of us volunteers poured the footer.
    1st Day Progress

    1st Day Progress

  • Guatemala Mission Trip day 2 – August 2, 2011Today we did about 8 courses on the walls of the house. Much of the labor involved mixing mortar by hand, keeping the two skilled masons supplied with buckets of mortar and block, and filling in cracks with mortar. There was lots of time for taking breaks and playing with the neighborhood kids today as well.

    Day 2 Mission Trip Progress

    Day 2 Mission Trip Progress

     

     

     

     

  • Guatemala Mission Trip day3 -August 3, 2011Today we started out setting up scaffolding inside the walls of the house. Then the work involved again supplying the masons and with mortar and block. Also 4 volunteers were employed to fill in cracks with mortar. In the US, and else were masons typically do this at the same time they lay the blocks. They might have purposely not put mortar on the sides of block so the volunteers would have something to do today.
    Volcan Agua

    Volcan Agua

    At about the 10 course, or about the middle of the wall, the blocks that were used had the middles hollowed out, so a trench was formed. The trench was then filled with cement and rebar. This layer of cement served to tighten up the house.  The same process was then repeated at the end of the day for the final row of wall blocks. The back wall of the house was one layer higher than the front, so that the flat roof would have a slope for rain to drain off.

     

    Day 3 Guatemala Mission Trip Progress

    Day 3 Guatemala Mission Trip Progress

     

  • Guatemala Mission Tripday 4 -August 4, 2011 Today was actually a very short work day. We started out the day by going to Escuela Kemna’oj de Santa Maria de Jesus,  the Montessori elementary school in the town of  Santa Maria De Jesus that is supported by FHTH and will be run by FHTH starting in November of 2011.  This school serves to provide an education to many of the children in the poor town of Santa Maria De Jesus, which was the town were we built our house. FHTH has built over 150 homes in this small town alone.
    Inside Escuela-Kemna’oj de Santa Maria de Jesus

    Inside Escuela-Kemna’oj de Santa Maria de Jesus

    Then after touring the school, our primary task today was to get the cement floor poured. So all the concrete had to be mixed by hand, and then bucket brigaded the cement into the house, where a mason poured it and floated a nice flat surface. All this was done before lunch. After lunch, we took the kids of the neighborhood out for ice cream at a local hacienda(store). After ice cream, the staff and volunteers were driven up to the top of the town to a field for a football(soccer) match. This was great fun. My team however did loose, but did manage to score two goals.  A great day, with no injuries.

     

    Day 4 Guatemala Mission Trip Progress

    Day 4 Guatemala Mission Trip Progress

     

  • Guatemala Mission Trip day 5-August 5, 2011 Sadly, today was the last day of our official Guatemala Mission Trip. This days tasks consisted of painting the inside and outside of the house. Each family chooses the colors of their house, so each house is unique to each family. Our family’s house has a blue interior and an orange exterior. While the volunteers were painting the house, the masons were busy putting on the metal roof. For safety reasons, volunteers are not allowed to help with the roof.  The family’s dad stayed home from the fields today to help with the final touches and to be available for the dedication ceremony which was when the volunteers gave the family the keys to the house and a plaque which is affixed to the house.The closing ceremony was marked with a lot of tears from both family and volunteers. To show their thanks to us the the family mother made us lunch which consisted of the most delicious Pollo Guisado (stewed chicken), cervesa(beer) and rum and cokes.  Additionally, we also each given a hand made shoulder bag.
    Inside-the-house-volunteers-crew-family

    Inside the house,volunteers,crew and family

While we were in Guatemala, history was made. For the first time ever, Guatemala had a team in the World Cup and on Saturday night, they scored the first goal ever by a Guatemalan team, and beat Croatia 1:0. That night, there were fireworks all across Guatemala.

Tips for Traveling to Guatemala

  • Take a bottle of Lysterine- gargle in shower to be sure you don’t drink any of the water.
  • Ask for Agua Pure at meals..bottled water is the only safe water.
  • Never eat roadside fruits..period..unless you want to be seriously ill.
  • Only eat fruits that need to be pealed, like oranges, melons. If you eat apples or strawberry’s ask if they have been washed with pure water.
  • Keep a record of all atm transactions, and check to make sure you have not been double billed. Be careful which atm machines you use.  You may want to consider canceling your bank card upon return home.
  • As with many countries, never exchange currency at the airport, unless you want to pay a poor exchange rate.
  • Don’t just give money to beggars, but give them food. We always saved our left overs and gave them to homeless people.
  • Be prepared to be swamped with goods to be bought by the locals. If you don’t want to buy anything be prepared to say ” No Gracias” frequently when out. Don’t get angry with locals if they are very persistent in trying to sell you their goods.
  • Don’t flush Toilet Paper(eww), but put used TP in the bucket beside the toilet. Its gross to us int he US, but its what they do.
  • Grilled food from roadside vendors  is delicious.
  • Spanish schools are really cheap, and immersion is  a great way to learn a language.
  • Visit by volunteering on a mission trip. Its a great way to get to know some locals, you are not just seen as a tourist, but as someone who wants to help.
  • Don’t be afraid to barter with the locals for their goods, but don’t beat them up. Remember they need to make a living.
  • At the time of my trip the rate of exchange was roughly 7.5 Quetzales(Q) to the dollar.  I read on the FHTH site that teachers earn 1-10 Q per day..wow..for me, that would be really hard to live on.
  • Don’t climb any volcanoes by yourself unless you want to get robbed.
  • Ask around for a reputable tour guide, some are not to be trusted.
  • Take a ride in a Tuk-Tuk (three wheeled taxi) its really fun.
  • Be careful when crossing the roads, motorcycles are everywhere. Jokingly, I heard someone say, there are rules for driving in Guatemala, but no one follows them. But they do come to a crawl before speed bumps.

Additonal blog posts about my Guatemala Mission Trip can be read on all travel sites. The first post I did about my trip was Pre-Mission Trip Activities

You can see all my photos from the trip on the FHTH Facebook page.

 

Antigua View from the Cross

Antigua View from the Cross

 

Final thoughts about Guatemala

Guatemala is a beautiful but poor country that really should not be missed in your travels.  As I have seen on other web sites, it is known as the land of eternal spring. Not once did it get so hot that I thought I would die. Even during our hardest labor, the temp was not much higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Its a country that has a lot to do, a lot to explore.

Things I would like to do on my next trip to Guatemala

  • Do a mountain bike tour with oxexpeditions.com. I stopped in and talked with them, and it sounds like they have a cool ride around 5 towns which is geared to all riding levels.
  • Take a zip line through the rain forest. I believe there are quite a few companies that do this.
  • Spend a night or two touring the towns around Lake Atitlan.
  • Go to the beach, next time we are definitely going to check out the beach.
  • Rent a house instead of staying in a hotel..HomeAway has tons of homes for rental, and I believe I would save money doing..
  • Visit some Inca Ruins.
  • Take Spanish lessons.
Posted in Antigua Guatemala, Antigua Guatemala Mission Trip, Fromhousestohomes.org, Guatemala, Guatemala Mission Trip, Travel | Comments Off

7 Reasons to Use WordPress as Your CMS

I was doing a Dallas Mexican Restaurant Review on thegrubhound, for the Mexican Restaurant Mattito’s. Upon doing a ctrl+U shortcut to check out the code of their site, I discovered that the vibrant Mattitos Mexican restaurant site is using WordPress as its CMS.

Mattito's Mexican Restaurant Screen Shot

Mattito's Screen Shot - Doesn't that Margarita Look tasty!

The Amazing WordPress CMS

I have been seeing more and more sites that are using WordPress for their Content Management System(CMS).  At our SEO Company,  Baldydog.com, we don’t normally build websites, but we refer potential clients to our select group of Web Designers like Newconceptsonline.com who designed the current Baldydog.com site or Liquid Interactive, a company that specializes in B to B sites for fortune 500 types of clients.

However, as a service to the local business community and many friends, I do occasionally build a site using WordPress as the CMS. These are usually small Mom and Pop types of sites that don’t have a huge budget, for a designer or a premium website. A few of these are the Limerick Barber.com, Cdsplace.com, Dierolfsupply.com, and EasyDesigns.
Several of these have static home pages, which are homepages that are not blogs.

How Do You Make a Static Home Page

Depending upon the Theme, you are using, you might be able to make a static(permanent) home page differently like EasyDesigns,  which was made with a premium theme(not giving a link because I would not recommend or use the theme again).  WordPress does however give you an easy way to make any page you chose to be a static home page.

Visit the previous link to get detailed directions on setting any page to be a static home page.

How Do I Design a Home Page

To let you know, I am not a designer. Baldydog.com does have an in-house graphic designer, who does our basic work, and as I mentioned before, we have partnered with web designers who we refer to for more elaborate designs. Unless you are a programer, and would like to slowly define your website design like Wayne, my suggestions as a non-designer, is to start with a good theme, and go from there. For many of the sites I have been building lately,  I have been using the free Mystique Theme by DigitalNature that was recommended to me by my wife, the owner of Fatladysingz.com.

Mystique is an easy to use theme that allows for a multitude of adjustments that can be made, some easy, and some a little more tricky,  which involve adding some code to the template such as these 40+ Mystque Theme modifications. Using any of these modifications as well as the many options available on the Mystique user panel, the web designs you can make with Mystique are unlimited. Mystique can be found in the WordPress themes directory.

I probably will not be creating any sites that look half way as nice as Mattito’s  since my design abilities are so limited. But using WordPress as your CMS, allows you to create sites that can compete with large company websites .

7 Reasons to Use WordPress As Your CMS

  • Its open source, so there are tons of pluggins that can enable it to do just about anything you could want a site to do, such as have a video or photo portfolio, do a fundraiser such as my Guatemala Trip Fundraiser and show how much you have earned.
  • Its customizable. You don’t like the look of your site, its not difficult to change. Often times it can be done with one click, and a new theme.
  • WordPress is SEO friendly. Search engines, especially Google love fresh, original content. Using WordPress, you will be able to make updates as easy as writing an email. Additionally, there are pluggins such as the TheAllinOneSEO Pack.
  • In my opinion and many others, it is the best blogging platform on the web. This will enable you to make your website social, so you can make it the hub for all of your Social Media profiles.
  • Easily integrates with Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn and YouTube.
  • WordPress is inexpensive to use as a CMS. Compared to some other CMS platforms, WordPress is relatively inexpensive to use for a business website.
  • As I have discussed, its easy to make a static home page so your business site, does not look like a blog, yet it can easily incorporates a blog as well.( I highly recommend having a blog if you are using WP as your CMS).

What Do You Think?

Do you know of any good business sites that utilize WordPress as the CMS? What do you think about using WordPress as a CMS?

 

 

 

Posted in Mystique Theme, Using Wordpress as CMS, Wordpress, Wordpress as A CMS, Wordpress CMS | Comments Off

Mexican Food – Where to Get Mexican in Dallas, Tx

If you are in the Dallas TX area and hungry for Tex-Mex, you ought to check out Mattito’s Tex-Mex for some of the best Mexican food Dallas has to offer. If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I love good Mexican food, especially good guacamole(mine is awesome) and margaritas. Being my wife [...]
Posted in banquet restaurant Dallas, Mexican, Mexican food, Mexican Food Dallas, wedding reception Dallas | Comments Off

Local Search Sites – Add MapQuest.com to the Local Search List

A new addition to the sites to submit your local business to is the old time map site MapQuest.com which became a much less used map site due to Google Maps.  MapQuest.com is the number two map site, behind Google, so it can’t hurt to submit your business to it for free. MapQuest Logo

I just submitted a client’s business to Mapquest Local Business Center and was using Mozilla, and was having difficulty. So I openned up IE and it worked much better.  (let me know if you  notice a difference)

In addition to the free submission listing, Mapquest also has some premium listing services to include the $99/yr highlighted premium listing, and the multiple listing feature for $399 a year to a broad partner network:Yelp!, Yahoo!, SuperPages, CitySearch, White Pages, Yellowbook, YellowBot and LOCAL .

 

What other sites to you list your local businesses?

 

Posted in local business listings, local search, local seo, SEO | Comments Off

Directory Submission Fundraiser

As part of the fundraising for our FromHousestoHomes Guatemala trip, we are donating 100% of our directory submission review fees to the following directories until July15th.

In addition to the directory submissions other advertising options are available as well.  See the Guatemala Fund Raising Advertising post for more info.

 

Of Course if you just want to make a donation, that is always appreciated too. $10 donations will receive a link on our Guatemala donors page. Via You can now donate via my Guatemala fundraiser on Crowdwise if you don’t or can’t use Paypal.  If you prefer Paypal, you can use that as well, just visit the first link on this post, and click on Paypal button in that post.

 

Posted in directory links, Directory Submissions, legal niche directory, medical niche directory, niche directories | Comments Off

Simmeria Cafe & Bistro of Fleetwood PA

Simmeria Cafe & Bistro a review of the fabulous Simmeria Cafe and Bistro Simmeria Cafe & Bistro in Fleetwood, PA is an excellent choice for casual to fine dining. Quality food that meets the requirements of the connoisseur. Highly recommended. My rating: 5.0 stars Simmeria Pappardelle Carbonara My Simmeria Pappardelle Carbonara was so delicious, I was looking forward to having [...]
Posted in Berks County PA Restaurant, Eatery, Fleetwood PA restaurant, Italian restaurant, pasta, Simmeria | Comments Off

Participate in #Tweet2Feed – Feed the Unfed

As part of the holiday season, I am planning on donating to our local food pantry, which we are always hearing is always in need of food. Last week I learned about a program that Susquehanna Bank, (which has a branch in my town, but I don’t have an account with yet) is participating in which [...]
Posted in food, Food Blogging, foodbanks | Comments Off

Google Zeitgeist 2010 – Food and Drink Category

I was just reading Mashables post How The World Googled in 2010 and was totally unfamiliar with the majority of the search phrases that were listed in Googles top ten search phrase list for 2010. I then Googled “Google Zeitgeist 2010″ and found the Google Zeitgeist 2010 page which indicates the phrases that were the [...]
Posted in Food and Drink Search Terms, Food Blogging, foodie blog, Google Zeitgeist 2010, guacamole recipe | Comments Off