Sunday, July 20, 2014

SEO, Carpentry, and Website Productivity



I was talking with a person recently who does carpentry work. I told him I make websites more productive with SEO and content development. He said, "I have a website, but I don't get any business from it. All my business comes from referrals."

He is probably wrong. What he doesn't seem to realize is that even when a customer is referred to him by a friend, I'm sure the customer looks up the carpenter's website to verify that the carpenter's insured, licensed, been around a while, has a land address, is no fly-by-night con artist.

It also helps if the website contains before and after photos of his carpentry projects, a photo of the carpenter and an interesting bio, and website content that answers questions people have about various relevant topics. That's just to start with. There is much more that should be included.

So the website is a partner in the sales transaction; it's a vital part of the chain of events that transformed a person with a need into a paying customer for that carpenter.

If he had no website, or if his website was poorly designed, that would make a bad impression on the customer, and would very likely reduce the number of referrals that turned into customers for him.

You may think your website is just an internet presence, something you're supposed to have, but you're not sure if it's really doing anything for you. Your website should be a salesperson, working hard to attract web visitors -- and to convert visitors into customers.

Part of my work in SEO is advising companies to analyze the effectiveness of their website in terms of achieving conversion goals (product purchase, call phone number to set up appointment, sign up for newsletter, visit store, watch a promo video, etc.)

We do a benchmark study prior to the SEO work and content development. Then we do subsequent studies to measure the ROI, which is accumulative and gradual, not instant riches beyond your wildest dreams. It's incremental.

As you keep adjusting SEO factors and building new content, Google starts ranking your webpages higher, and the pay-off begins to snowball.

Most websites just look okay, but tend to have a lot of underlying code problems and slim content issues that impede effectiveness. They don't attract qualified customers, nor do they do a good sales job.

So it's rather easy to get a substantial competitive advantage by implementing Google Hummingbird compliant SEO.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wheel of Warpathing



Group A hate and kill and destroy Group B. The way of the world.

Arms manufacturers don't care who fights who, as long as death and destruction come from their products.

War profiteers are the cheerleaders of mass carnage and wreckage, no value whatsoever on human life, dreams, or morality.

It's in their best interests that nobody wipes anybody out or off the face of the earth.

They prefer survivors remain to rise up in retaliation, spinning the wheel of endless warpathing: anger, hostility, aggression, violence, revenge, sorrow, pain, maiming, death, destruction, and extinction.

All because Thou Wilt Not Love One Another.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Web Content and Child Prodigy Painter Frauds



Direct, simple, blunt website content is typically the best way to quickly and clearly communicate your message. Write it from the customer's point of view, from the inside of the interests of your audience, not from an external, we-oriented corporate angle.

Getting right to the point, with no hesitation or long-winded wind-up, that's what web content must do in text, video, imagery, polls, widgets, calls to action, and online contact forms.

Tell the truth, in the strongest, smartest manner possible. Your website needs to make your product the hero that solves your customer's problem. If it comes off as a dreary, same old Product X, a generic me-too, nothing special, self-absorbed -- your competition is going to send it to an early grave.

Authenticity with flair. No deception, no hyperbole, no distance from audience needs and customer frustrations. Integrity with style and excitement.

People gradually develop a sense for what is real and what is fake as they visit more and more websites. They see ugly sites with no credibility, spammy sites cluttered with ad proliferation, poorly written sites, boring sites, sites with typos, impersonal sites, web presences that don't convince.

I just finished watching "My Kid Could Paint That" documentary about painting prodigy (or fraud?) Marla Olmstead. I'm pretty sure it's a scam and the 4 year old did not paint what her father says she painted.

One article discussing this topic has an interesting comment by Joseph Kemp. He mentions how the dad talks too much. He over-explains things, which makes him seem guilty of lying.

QUOTE

I once heard an ex-cop who specialized in interrogating criminal suspects talk about behavior like this. Usually, if a person is not guilty of something, and you ask them if they are, they’ll just say “No.”

Simple as that.

But if a person IS guilty of something, and you ask them if they are, they often lie, saying things like, “Oh, how could you ever think me capable of that? I am so offended. How dare you accuse me of something like this? I’m a fine, upstanding citizen in this community. Everybody knows it. Ask anyone you like. People here have known me for years, and nobody would ever say I could do something like this, because of this and that, and blah, blah, blah blah…” And on and on forever.

Guilty people talk forever. They never just say “No, I didn’t do it.”

END QUOTE

Jesus said, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37 - NIV)

I've also noticed how, if you confront a con artist, instead of just dismissing your statement, they go overboard and start falsely accusing you, to take the spotlight off of them. "Well, what about you? You're not so perfect. You've done the same thing...(blah blah blah)."

http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/marla_olmstead/


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Friday, July 4, 2014

I Boycott Fireworks



I boycott fireworks. I celebrate the 4th of July with other rituals or methodologies. (Don't mind my eccentricities. I also fast on Thanksgiving.)

My reasons for shunning fireworks include impact on the environment, harm to other creatures, sensitivities of combat veterans with PTSD, and the glorification of death and destruction as a means of resolving conflicts.

I wasn't always this pure. As a younger guy, I liked loud noises and smoke. I didn't mind a little chaos and violence now and then. I have since refined my views somewhat.

When I lived in NYC, we had roof parties in the summer. And on Independence Day, a party of people on one roof would fire bottle rockets at a group of people partying on a nearby roof across the street or down a few buildings.

So part of the partying was military in nature. Dodging sniper rockets, literally. Drinking beer, grilling brats, smoking various substances, and dodging incoming missiles. Everybody was doing it. It was surreal and comical in some respects. I loved the danger and abnormality of it.

People who drove down to the Statue of Liberty fireworks celebration did not enjoy the ride home. As they drove back north through the East Village, where I lived, they were greeted with garbage can cannons placed in the middle of the street and shooting off an incredible payload. Mischievously, a wide assortment of ballistics and explosives were hurled at their windshields -- an all out war on the streets.

No matter where you went in Manhattan, somebody would be tossing an M80, Solar Punch roman candle, Sidewinder missile, Black Arrow bottle rocket, or Super Hellcat firecracker in your general or specific direction.

Ask the cops what they think about Independence Day. They'll tell you it's the best day to shoot somebody and not get your gunshot sound reported. You know you have neighbors who are firing off illegally large amounts of powder blastings. But nobody cares. It's like Halloween without the candy and costumes. Anything goes, as long as nobody gets hurt too badly...

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Usability Analysis of Soccer the Unwatchable Sport



I do usability testing of websites, but why not usability test the sport of soccer? Let's make this quick, because it's very messy. Soccer is the most unwatchable spectacle in sport.

10 Things That Make Soccer Stupid:

1. Can't use hands.

2. Ball is kicked with poor precision.

3. Flopping.

4. Clock is never stopped, but nobody knows how much time is left.

5. So boring, nobody can watch the same game twice, since nothing actually happens except for the super rare scoring.

6. Games can end 0 - 0 and that's called a "tie." No, that's called Nothing Happened...or Nobody Tried Hard Enough.

7. No Substitutions rule.

8. Penalty kicks...just to end the game and let the fans go home.

9. Losing a game enables your team to advance, instead of being eliminated.

10. Butting the ball with your head makes you look like a moron.

Americans, to erase our individuality and make one homogenous world citizenry, are encouraged to "get into soccer." Those who watched some of the World Cup are probably more against soccer than ever. I think I'd rather by waterboarded by Dick Cheney than watch a soccer game.

I actually tried to watch World Cup Soccer yesterday. I made it to the 10 minute mark. I had to stop, due to total and complete boredom, ennui, jejune -- MISERY.

Nothing happened. A ball rolled around. A guy kicked the ball. Other guys tried to block it. Team members seemed to mostly have nothing to do. The ball rolled around some more, occasionally getting kicked.

Suddenly, the ball is kicked into the air. That's an interesting development. Another guy butted the ball WITH HIS HEAD. That's when I had to change the channel and watch something, anything, else. This "sport" looked more like the 3 stooges clowning around with a bunch of other dudes who didn't know what was going on.

In soccer, everyone looks confused and bored. I don't blame them. I've heard that you can go 90 minutes into watching a soccer game, and nothing happens, nobody scores.

Randall L Emert Sr. said recently, if you want to watch a bunch of guys trying (but failing) to score for 90 minutes, go to any local bar.

There is no strategy or teamwork. There is nothing but a human pinball machine. The ball is more exciting than the team players, but even the ball itself is lacklustre.

Soccer is the world's most popular sport -- but that convinces me, as usual, that the world is wrong and I'm right. Alcohol is the world's most popular drug -- but that doesn't make me sign up to be an alcoholic.

Soccer: a lot of disorganized fussing around with no reward.

“Soccer is like a war where two countries are fighting each other, yet neither of them has enough ammunition to actually do any damage.”

Soccer is not athletic and is not a sport. It's a recreational activity, like beach volleyball (which is far more vigorous) or shuffleboard.

I find a lot more excitement in golf or ping pong. At least baseball, as slow as it is, makes sense.

If you want a sport to watch, you have kurling, parkour, and lawn mower racing.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Facebook Personality Quiz and Narcissist Delusions



Facebook personality quizes are yet another proof that narcissism, voyeurism and exhibitionism are the main drivers of Facebook activity. "I jabber incessantly about me, I look at photos of you doing stupid things, I post photos of me."

Proverbs 18:2

"A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself." - KJV

Self-discovery, gazing adoringly into the mirror, then getting excited about finding out what sandwich you are. The depths of introspection are avoided by substituting a silly superficial non-answer to the question "Who am I?", the echoic chant. 

Full of zeal to promote this new prize, this luscious pearl of inward-looking, propped up by  a shallow make-shift pop psychology, the grandiose feelings converge and merge into conversation, incessant and ephemeral. On to the next stepping stone to recovery, I mean, self-discovery. On to another quiz and surprise results.

Alex Rodriguez, on a GooglePlus post by Robert Scoble describes Facebook:

"Facebook went from stale -- to a completely bottom feeding content company.

'What color is your Aura?'

'What city should you live in?'

'Check out this video...it's going to absolutely change your life!!!'

I suddenly feel like I am stuck in a supermarket store line, forced to read the front page of Cosmopolitan Magazine. It's becoming unbearable."

-----------------------------------------

But Alex!!!!!

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Which state should you be living in?

Who is your celebrity twin?

What video game do you belong in?

What Frozen character are you?

What US president are you?

Would you be a good dog?

How long would you last in a Zombie Apocalypse?

What automatic weapon are you?

What food are you?

Are you a good kisser?

What song matches your personality?

------------------


http://nypost.com/2014/02/24/why-online-quizzes-are-taking-over-your-facebook-feed/







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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Facebook Top Stories vs. Most Recent




I knew something was horribly wrong when I kept seeing the same old posts. 

Oh, now I see -- Facebook has once again forced me back into News Feed >Top Stories, which ruins your experience. I had to revert back to my preference of News Feed > Most Recent.

This reverting back to what I do NOT prefer, forcing me to see the same old posts over and over again (and making me think nobody's posting anything all day long) -- is Anti User. When a user configures a setting, it should stay that way, not keep reverting back to what you don't want.

How many Facebook users are not savvy enough to even know that the reason they keep seeing the same old posts is because they've been switched to Top Stories? Some people may think there's something wrong with Facebook, or nobody's posting anything -- and then conclude that Facebook is boring and it's time to move on to something more dynamic.

Now that Facebook is coercing users into what they hate (Top Stories), we shall see how this impacts ad revenues, user engagement, and popularity of platform.


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