Professional event planning: Why details matter

Whether your business is looking to host a dinner, seminar, conference or other event, it’s essential to do it well. An event is not only about sharing information and experiences; it’s an excellent marketing tool. A well-organised event will reflect well on your business, and has the potential to build and enhance business relationships. While venue and catering are important considerations, they are certainly not the only ones. Giving short shrift to invitations, promotional material and even name badges and lanyards, will reflect when it comes to the actual event.

Where to start

If you are new to event planning, the best advice is to do your research and be methodical. Create a checklist of everything that needs doing, give everything a time frame and completion date, and be sure to include even the most minor of details. Always determine a budget, and be sure to stick to it at all stages of the planning.

Help please?

There are plenty of online resources that can help take the hard work out of organising your event. The Brisbane Meeting Planners’ Guide 2011-13 for instance, is a free download full of ideas, information and tips for event organisers, no matter the location. Search for a convention bureau in your area, and there’s a good chance they’ll also have information, advice and publications on hand. The Melbourne Convention Bureau and Business Events Sydney are other examples.

Bigger is not always better

Don’t be daunted if your event is quite small. While organising a low-key seminar and international conference may seem like chalk and cheese, there are elements that overlap. In essence, it’s about finding the right ‘content’ and presenting it in the best available venue, and using the event to help your business shine.

You may not have the budget for instance to present your seminar in a five star hotel, but there are plenty of interesting, and even quirky venues available to rent for affordable prices. Remember too that the venue is just one aspect of any successful event.

Detail, detail, detail

Many successful conferences and seminars have been successful not because of where they were held, or the food that was served, but because of the engaging speakers, quality materials provided, and positive interaction that was had with the host company and other attendees. Hosting an event is an incredible opportunity to market your organisation and build engagement with your business.

One of the key ways to market your business, and engage attendees, is with name badges. Name badges can facilitate networking, and can be branded with your business colour scheme or logo.

If you don’t have a huge budget, it just means you need to start thinking creatively. Want to provide a show bag for attendees? Then perhaps look for local business sponsors who will provide free contents in exchange for logo placement on the official publications and/or banners.

Looking to get your business name out there? Then include it on all materials. Even the lanyards ( that hold the name badges can be imprinted with your company name or logo.

Make sure all employees who are working at the event are also wearing name badges. They are easy to put together with a lanyard, and ensure that attendees find it easy to locate staff members if they need help, or have questions. Branded name badges also have the added effect of marketing your business, and showing off how well you do customer service.

How can video conferencing and telecommuting help my business?

Many businesses are feeling the effects of difficult economic times and rising costs. There is also a shortage of skilled workers in many professions, which means that a lot of companies are trying to find ways to attract and retain valuable employees. Whether your business is large or small, there are a number of ways that employing remote technology such as telecommuting and video conferencing can help.

Reducing travel time and costs

Do you or your employees spend a lot of time communicating with clients, staff or customers outside the office? Travelling to meet customers and clients can be expensive and disruptive. Video conferencing makes it easier to connect with clients and colleagues around the world, and means less time spent out of the office travelling. Allowing employees to telecommute from home can also help them reduce their travel costs, and commuting time.

Environmental benefits

Reducing driving and long haul travel also comes with environmental considerations. By implementing an effective video conferencing system, you may be able to reduce your business costs as well as making a positive contribution to the environment. Allowing employees to telecommute can also help reduce your business’ consumption of electricity and other resources.

Improving staff morale

Offering opportunities for employees to enjoy a greater work life balance with flexible working conditions, and the ability to work from home, can be a great way to attract skilled employees and help maintain staff loyalty and morale. With a shortage of skilled workers in many professions, many companies now have to compete for a limited pool of talented employees. Offering telecommuting can give your business the edge when it comes to attracting and keeping the right staff.

Telecommuting can help increase employee satisfaction, reduce stress and even increase productivity and motivation in employees. This can benefit employers in terms of reduced staff turnover, fewer hiring costs, and more productive employees.

Keeping in closer contact with clients or customers

If you have clients who are located a significant distance away, it can be difficult to keep in touch. Video conferencing allows you the opportunity to build relationships with your clients face to face, without having to travel to meetings. This can benefit your business in terms of improved client relationships and hopefully more business. Customer issues can also be more readily resolved face to face through video conferencing and chat.

Reduced need for physical workspace

With less of a requirement for employees to be physically present in your office, you may be able to reduce space and save substantial costs. The use of other resources such as office supplies and electricity may also be reduced, allowing you to further cut costs.

Telecommuting and video conferencing can be a great boost to many different areas of your business, as long as it is implemented effectively. If done without careful consideration, telecommuting can cause issues and increased stress for employees. Make sure your employees have access to the technology they need, and that your telecommuting systems and policies are well thought out, and you can hopefully enjoy the many benefits that video conferencing and telecommuting can bring to your employees and your business.

Visit for a leading supplier of video conferencing solutions.

Robe: Accommodation for All Seasons

Robe: Accommodation for All Seasons

In the southeast corner of South Australia lies a diverse region of rugged coastline, sandy beaches, beautiful vineyards and charming villages. The Limestone Coast is home to the historic seaside town of Robe, which is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby natural wonders. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, there are plenty of options on hand.

The Water’s Edge

Robe is an ideal spot to make the most of aquatic activities, or simply relax and soak in the wide ocean views. For a beach hut with all the mod cons, consider Dunes at Robe, overlooking West Beach. The two cottages here are spacious, comfortable and ideal for couples and families. Looking to spoil yourself? 128 The Esplanade is a two-storey home with five bedrooms, a heated pool and everything you need for a luxury break. Head out the gate and meander down the track to Robe’s best swimming spot, Long Beach.

For those looking to self-cater, The Beach House, overlooking lovely Guichen Bay, is a three-bedroom home that’s superbly equipped with everything from air-conditioning to a barbeque, flat-screen TV and DVD selection. Or for romantics, there’s Driftwood House, an atmospheric timber home with views of Fox Lake, and only a short amble to the beach. Spa bath, breakfast hamper and wine are included.  The budget conscious haven’t been forgotten either, with Lakeside Tourist Park, Sea Vu Caravan Park and Robe Nampara Cabins all very good options for waterside holidays.

History and Heritage

In the 18th century Robe was a bustling port and home to ship crews, working fishermen and an influx of Chinese who arrived via Robe to seek their fortune in the Victorian goldfields. Why not immerse yourself in the history with a stay at one of the enchanting historic properties in and around Robe.

Victoria Cottage is a restored fisherman’s cottage in the heart of town, featuring an open fireplace, secluded cottage garden and attractive heritage decor. Built in 1847, the heritage-listed Robe House is a stonewalled property with a lovely wide verandah, relaxing garden and all the mod cons. Criterion is a two-bedroom settler’s cottage with a contemporary extension. And Cornerstone Cottage, “the second house built in Robe” is another centrally located and fully restored timber cottage, originally built around 1846. The charmingly named Granny Banks is a one-bedroom property with spa, open fireplace and a self-contained kitchen. And Robe Cottage is an atmospheric 150 year old stone cottage with four bedrooms, spa bath, spacious living areas and a private garden.

Unique and Award Winning

Robe has its share of quality and unique properties. Robe Harbour View Motel has won awards for its superior service and accommodation that is ideal for families, couples and groups. It has spacious, comfortable rooms, and assorted room types to suit all budgets. Check out the accommodation options at Robe Harbour View Motel.

Cricklewood Cottage is an award-winning two-bedroom option that has soaring ceilings, quality furnishings and enticing extras, including a deep claw-foot bath, plump towels and bathrobes. It’s set in a secluded location with lovely lake views, yet still only a short drive to the shops, restaurants and beach. The design-conscious may well appreciate the architecturally designed Adrift @ Robe. Finally, if you’re looking to experience something truly unique, don’t miss Honeyfield in Robe, a striking French-style 19th cottage with quality interiors, and a stunning lavender garden. It lies in the beautiful Mount Benson wine region, yet is still just a ten-minute drive from town.

Accommodation Details

For full details on all your Robe accommodation options, including booking links, visit the South Australian Tourism Commission and Robe tourism.

A Glimpse Into Mosman Fine Dental

Mosman Fine Dental are a team of highly experienced dentists based in Sydney’s northern suburb of Mosman. We spoke to the Mosman Fine Dental team about their practice and services and this is what they had to say!

When it comes to dental care, the staff at Mosman Fine Dental understands your concerns and fears. We want to welcome you with a warm smile and heart-warming gesture that lets you know everything is going to be fine. At Mosman Fine Dental, we offer a variety of different services and treatment options to meet all of your dental needs. Some of our specialties encompass cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, dental implants, sleep apnea, dental hypnosis, orthodontics, dental hygiene and sleep dentistry.

Our exceptional practice provides you with the warmth and relaxation you need when dealing with different dental needs. The friendly staff will help make sure any fears or concerns about your dental treatment are addressed properly. We want to ensure you are comfortable and happy with the service you receive in our practice.

At Mosman Fine Dental, we understand how important your teeth are to your overall health and self-confidence. Since your teeth and smile are extremely valuable to you, we will do everything we can to treat them as a precious commodity. To help all of our patients reach the best possible dental health, we will take the time to approach your issues with care and expertise. We want to make sure that the time you spend in our practice is a positive one.

All of our staff undergoes comprehensive training on a regular basis to ensure they are well trained and knowledgeable. Our team works to operate in a professional and proficient manner. Beyond simply educating the staff at Mosman Fine Dental, we make sure all of our techniques and skills are current. The materials and technology inside our practice is the best on the market today. It is our goal to ensure we always provide you with the best practises around.

Since everyone is unique, we understand that your needs are unique as well. Through a complete assessment, consultation and estimate of cost, we make sure you are well informed about everything going on with your dental treatment. If you are worried about the cost of treatment, we offer financing to help counteract the cost. Plenty of options are available to help you move ahead with your treatment plan and restore your smile to its original luster.

Many dental practices leave patients waiting for an extended period in the waiting room. When you come to Mosman Fine Dental, you will not have to worry about waiting for an extended length of time. Everyone has somewhere else to be, which is why we strive to get you in and out as quickly as possible. We also work to provide you with a longer appointment time to help reduce the amount of visits you will make into our practice.

Not only are we easily accessible, but we have plenty of parking available for our patients. You will not have to spend a long time finding somewhere to park and getting into and out of our facilities. If you are a new patient searching for a dental practice, feel free to spend time asking any questions you may have with our front desk staff. They will help address your concerns in a timely fashion. It is important that you understand whether you are getting the best dental practice around for your specific dental issues.

For further information on Mosman Fine Dental, please visit their website:

Reduce waste with reusable name badges

One of the key aims for any business is the minimisation of waste. Efficient waste reduction processes are an important part of a business’s overall strategy to maximise productivity and efficiency in the workplace. With that in mind, let’s talk about name badges, which are often under-used, and unnecessarily wasted.

For large companies with a large turnover of staff, you would expect to have to replace name badges on a regular basis. You may consider getting rid of name badges altogether, but this is not recommended, as name badges have several benefits, including:

  • Fostering stronger relationships between employees and clients
  • Encouraging more employee accountability
  • Raising workplace morale with a sense of belonging and familiarity
  • Public relations and marketing benefits

Reusable name badges are the solution. Reusable name badges, if designed well, can be an easy and effective way of having the benefits of a permanent name badge, without the hassle and waste of having to constantly order new ones as employees come and go.

Re-using materials, even things as small as name badges, is one of the best ways to reduce waste. The Victorian Government has a wealth of information about recycling and reusing in the workplace. Good quality reusable name badges can be used and re-used many times, meaning you don’t have to replace name badges when staff are replaced, when employees are moved to different departments, or lose them, of if your company’s details or logo changes.

You may be surprised how convenient it is to have reusable name badges in the workplace. It’s always handy to have spares that you can give to visitors who come to the office.

Reusable name badges are also ideal for conferences or expos. If your company regularly holds networking events, then top quality reusable name badges will significantly cut the costs of producing name badges.

Not only do they reduce waste and save you the cost of purchasing new badges, they also save you the time of ordering new ones. With the right software, replacing a name badge should be as easy as entering the information, such as name and title, into a specialised computer program, printing out a slip, and inserting it into the name badge holder.

No manager wants to see high levels of wastage, and we don’t just mean the disposal of surplus materials, but also inefficient processes where staff, time and financial investment are not used as productively as they can be. Using reusable badges will not solve all your business’ productivity issues, but it’s certainly a good start.

Some other hints for minimising waste in the workplace include:

Review waste management processes. This is something that should be done regularly, so you can determine whether your company’s waste management goals are being reached. If they are not, implement better processes to reduce wastage.

Don’t over-order. It can be extremely wasteful to buy in bulk and then have to dispose of a large portion of stock. Try not to order items that can spoil before you get to use them.

Training. All staff should be trained in effective waste management, and be assessed on their waste minimisation procedures regularly.

Go paperless. Electronic communication has reduced the need for paper. Only use paper when necessary.

Reducing waste not only lowers operating costs, and improves productivity, it can also make your business more sustainable, and eco-friendly. Visit this Australian government website for more waste reduction tips.

Guest blogging for links

Guest blogging has become common practise and can also be an opportunity to achieve back links. More importantly, it is an avenue for a writer (whether well known or not) to build a rapport with the Blog audience and offer useful and informative information. With social media, your post can also reach audiences beyond the Blog audience.

Where it becomes low quality is when the post is solely written for the purpose of obtaining link(s) and offers no value.

Matt Cutts from Google has recently answered a question about guest blogging (video below) and I quote the following:

  • It is a worthwhile exercise especially from high quality writers
  • It can also be a great opportunity for a writer who isn’t as well known but produces high quality work
  • Where it is not good is when the practise of guest blogging is taken to extremes, for example the same blog post is distributed multiple times or spinning the blog and distributing to multiple sources. Once it becomes a mass production kind of activity where low quality posts are produced for the sole purpose of obtaining links, these are the types of links Google won’t count.

As Matt has mentioned, there is a case for high quality posts that are well written and offer value rather than those posts which are of low quality and offer the bare minimum just to get by.

Do I need SEO?

You’ve heard it many times, produce great content and you will be rewarded by your audience and by the search engines!

If you do great things for your community (let’s just say you give your time for free to those in need such as the sick and elderly), people will naturally recommend you and naturally talk about you in a positive light.

Similarly, if you produce great website content for your target audience, they will naturally talk about it and naturally recommend it.

Seems simple enough. All you need to do is produce great content, put it out there and people will love your website content and so will the search engines!

Then why do you even need SEO?

Well believe it or not, SEO still plays an important role. You need to know what your target market is looking for in terms of content. I’m sure you have your own ideas about this, after all, it is your website and you know your business better than most. That being said, it is a good idea to know how your audience searches online for your products and services.

As SEO’s, we can help you with this 🙂

Your site needs to be structured in a way that meets the needs of your audience. It must be clear, concise, and user friendly. It must quickly and easily lead them to the information that they are looking for.

It needs to be accessible, to both users and search engines! Again we can help.

We can ensure your site is error free so that all of your content becomes visible.

As SEO’s, we can guide you to produce content that your audience wants and needs. We can help you to achieve popularity and relevancy with the search engines – naturally and ethically.

These days, as the search engines evolve and become smarter, you won’t get away with ‘black-hat’ tactics and over optimisation techniques. You won’t get away with link buying schemes and automatic methods. Instead, you will pay the heavy price of severe drops in rank, traffic, and business.

You need to remain focused on your audience and produce the content that they want and seek. You need to offer an enhanced user experience. You need to engage with them, and become an authority for your offering.

Together with SEO, Social Media continues to play a vital role in that it serves not only as a great medium for interaction and engagement with your audience, but also as a search engine validator for your organic rankings via social signals.

Again, as an SEO, we can guide and help you so that you maximise your website goals.

Hopefully this answers your question, do I really need an SEO? You do, more than ever, though seek the services of an SEO who cares for your product or service and uses ethical tactics to get your great website content found.

Written by Bill Vasiliadis

Codename freshness plus other changes

Google’s recent algorithm changes emphasizes the importance of keeping your site fresh with updated and new content. As a result of the algorithm changes, fewer stale pages are shown to searchers.

As always, you shouldn’t produce content for the sake of content, instead produce meaningful and high quality content that is useful to your target audience.

Here are the changes for the project codename “Freshness” taken directly from Google:

Improvements to freshness. [launch codename “Abacus”, project codename “Freshness”] We launched an improvement to freshness late last year that was very helpful, but it cost significant machine resources. At the time we decided to roll out the change only for news-related traffic. This month we rolled it out for all queries.

More precise detection of old pages. [launch codename “oldn23″, project codename “Freshness”] This change improves detection of stale pages in our index by relying on more relevant signals. As a result, fewer stale pages are shown to users.

Here is a complete list of the recent algorithm changes.

Pagination for SEO

A very nice explanation on pagination for SEO.

This is useful when you have paginated content for blog posts, product categories, or any other content that is paginated.

If you have a ‘view -all’ page for your paginated content, it is useful to implement a ‘rel=canonical’ on the component pages of the paginated content pointing to the ‘view-all’ page. This hints to Google that this is the preferred page to index and to also pass value (such as links) to it.

If you don’t have a ‘view-all’ page for your paginated content, the other option is to implement ‘rel=next’ and ‘rel=prev’ on the component pages. This groups the paginated content together as one entity and hints to Google the preferred page to index, usually page one.

Which option do you prefer for your paginated content?

Google+ an essential social network for any search marketer

As predicted many months ago soon after the launch of Google+, Google is closely linking its search product to its social platform. This article gives real life examples of how Google+ is embedded in Google search results pages. Any search marketer who still believes being on Google+ doesn’t matter?

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