Sunday, April 19, 2015

Str8 Sounds at Gracie's Grill - Saturday, April 25, 2015


https://soundcloud.com/str8sounds/str8-sounds-live-at-gracies-grille

If you can believe your eyes and ears,
it's Str8 Sounds live, on stage,
in performance -- electronic music
with techno floppings around
and some synthesizer noise din.

Saturday
April 25, 2015
7 PM - 8 PM

Gracie's Grill
1021 Cummings Lane,
Washington, IL.

Matt Andrews Benefit Concert








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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Key to Modern Marketing is Content



The key to modern marketing is Content. 


Content will make Google decide your website is authoritative and up to date. Frequent original content will make your website climb higher in search results pages.

But content is not king. Content is slave to the needs and interests of customers. Content can never be "just tell people what we do and what we sell." That's 1950s advertising mentality.

Today you must be a Teacher if you want to sell a product or promote an agenda. Teach information. About why you got into this field. About how your industry has evolved. About unique features of your product. About what differentiates you from competing vendors.

But mostly -- About experiences of customers and how to best solve their problems.

When I stumble into a client who really "gets" Content, I know the business will be wildly successful and we're both going to be raking in the cash. Why? Because 98% of businesses, your competitors, don't have a single clue.

Most of your competitors still think Content is something a web design team dreams up for your website, the goal being to aggressively push products on docile consumers.

No. A thousand times No. Content must be you talking with your customers about what they're going through. And how you have the answer, solution, fix.

Correct Content. Content that meets actual current needs. That's 80% of SEO.

Search engine optimizing means having webpages that answer typical questions customers are asking in online searches.

Thus, you must know what those questions. You need to personally mingle and engage in conversations with customers in the real world, on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, wherever your customers are having discussions about the problems your product solves.

When a client is fanatic about Customer Education, and is already an avid Teacher, you're in a win-win situation of guaranteed victory. Sales and brand loyalty are on their way.
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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cell Phone Dementia - test yourself



Cell Phone Dementia, a new and debilitating mental illness. 

These kids are NOT "looking at the mobile tour app," I am quite sure of that. Unless their teacher demanded that they do so.
They're on Snapchat or Tumbler or Facebook or texting the person sitting next to them. Neck surgeons love this behavior. I predict that in the next 20 years or so, most of these kids will be getting neck surgery from all that hunching over.

Test yourself for Cell Phone Dementia:


* uncontrollable and increasing addiction to cell phone use
* using cell phones in inappropriate situations (constantly talking or texting when driving, walking, dining, on the bus, visiting with others, getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, etc.)
* fiddling with your cell phone whenever you have downtime (even when you're not on the phone or you only have a very few minutes to kill)
* compulsively finding someone to call as soon as you leave the office or land in a plane
* feeling uncomfortably "untethered" and fidgety when not on cell phone
* being oblivious to environment while on cell phone
* taking "cell phone breaks" (like the old "cigarette breaks") at work or play
* sleeping with cell phone under pillow or next to bed
* hallucinating a "phantom cell phone ring" when it's not actually ringing
* experiencing unbearable anxiety when unable to be connected 24 hours a day
* phobia about missing text messages and not responding to them immediately, no matter how unimportant they may be
* obsessing over trivial Facebook updates.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

SEO makes your website more productive


A web designer builds you a website. It looks okay to you. You feel good about it. You shouldn't.

A website without SEO (search engine optimization) is a website that has very little traffic coming to it. It won't generate sales. It just sits there. You think you've got a web presence -- but all you have is an inert piece of internet real estate that's not productive. It's close to being no web presence at all.

You fire employees who aren't productive. Your website needs to be effective in attaining business goals, too. There are methods for evaluating the effectiveness of a website.

If your website is not resulting in people calling your business (via a phone number exclusive to the website alone, so you can track them), people submitting contact forms, signing up for your newsletter, watching your videos, etc. -- that website is a dud. You wasted your money.

SEO can solve this problem. SEO includes proper implementation of HTML meta tags, H tags, robots.txt, XML site maps, Schema.org, Google Hummingbird semantic search requirements, conversational content, and much more.

I give clients monthly SEO reports that show how SEO is causing their website to shoot higher and higher in search results for various keywords. These reports can be verified independently, so you know the SEO results are real.

Super-charge your website. Transform it into a high powered sales tool, with SEO values that your competitors, I guarantee, are clueless about.

Since almost no websites are properly implementing SEO, you'll have a huge competitive advantage.


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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dangers of free, low cost, automated, and DIY websites


Don't be tricked by the ads that make you think you can get a website at no cost or very cheap.

Here are 15 things that can go terribly wrong with free, low cost, automated, and do-it-yourself websites.

(1) Many times the websites are unattractive, poorly designed, or generic looking.

(2) Mission critical functionality, like contact forms, donation buttons, and email subscription widgets, could be extremely slow, or might stop working.

(3) They tend to be slack regarding security, breach detection and malware removal. This means porn, racism, or other bad things might take over your website. It may take them a long time to fix it.

(4) Being vulnerable to hackers means your customer data could be stolen and your customers could be victims of scams and identity theft -- and customers may perceive these attacks as coming from you! You will probably be legally liable for any damages incurred.

(5) They can put ads on your website, which will make it look extremely amateur, spammy, and untrustworthy. Is that how you want your business to be perceived?

(6) They may not have Google-compliant SEO values built into them. In fact, they tend to violate lots of SEO requirements. That means you won't get very many qualified customers visiting your website.

(7) You may not be able to upload and arrange photos, video, audio files or widgets in the way you desire. You will be stuck with limitations on where you place them and how they appear.

(8) They tend to use a proprietary content management system (CMS). If you try to leave the service and hire a new web designer, that designer may have a lot of trouble working with the CMS.

(9) It may not be mobile optimized or have cross-browser compatibility. So your website might look okay on an iPad, but terrible on an iPhone. It might render well on Internet Explorer, but look lousy on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

(10) They tend to have poorly written HTML code that's not compliant with web standards.

(11) You may not own the domain name -- and that can be a disaster. If they go out of business, your entire web presence could vanish.

(12) They don't implement Schema.org structured microdata markup.

(13) They are often used by local "web design" companies, who then charge you a lot of money, without telling you they used a free service.

(14) They use generic templates which are difficult to implement custom branding in. Thus, your website looks very similar to thousands of other websites, won't stand out, and won't accurately communicate your marketing message.

(15) Keyword research and internet savvy marketing strategy are not incorporated.

Beth Lee Browning on LinkedIn Pulse states the case well.

QUOTE

When people think about starting a business in the brick and mortar world, they spend hours of time researching and learning about things like location, staffing, marketing, and the optimal way to set up the inside of the store.

There's no expectation of a free building, supplies at no cost, and most of us wouldn't even consider installing the plumbing or electricity.

In fact we'd probably be very dubious about setting up shop in a "free" location.

For some reason this same mentality isn't always applied when it comes to building a website and all too often there's a misconception that it should be free and easy.

END QUOTE



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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Large Hadron Collider: Searching for Unexpected Subatomic Phenomena



Large Hadron Collider is getting ready to go where no particle physics has ever gone before.

The CERN physicists want to push the energy so hard, elevate the heat and luminosity of the plasma soup so extremely, that unpredictable events occur.

That's the word they use. “Unpredictable.”

Do we really want to hear particle physicists say, “Wow. I didn't think THAT was going to happen. Oh noooooooooo!!!!!!!”– ????

What if you could tamper with the fabric of existence, the ground of reality, the space-time continuum itself? Many think this is the new big thing in science. 

Whether you think it's reckless, spooky, or wonderful, this is where we're heading: into new dimensions and new energies that are unimaginable. Whatever happens, this LHC restart is something to keep an eye on, for sure.

READ MORE

Enjoy this new article by Steven Streight at The Peorian.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Alternatives to Watermarking Photos for Copyright Protection



Watermarks for photo copyright protection? Upload crappy resolutions if you fear people may steal your photos. Or don't post the photos online. Watermarks are easy to hack or crop out.

Are we afraid someone's going to steal our photo and make a ton of money off it? Fat chance.  

Have you ever known anyone this happened to, someone ripped off their photo and got rich? Really, you'll be lucky if anybody pays any attention at all to your photos. There are trillions of photos online now.

PHOTO ABOVE: Kim Johnson, photographer for Art & Society magazine.

On PhotoForum, Josh 66 said: "As far as protecting your work, the best thing you can do is not post it online if you're that worried about other people downloading your stuff. No watermark will stop someone from downloading your picture, and if it's too big it will just make the picture look like crap.

Either deal with the fact that people are going to download your pictures, or don't put anything online.

A nice compromise would be to only put crappy resolution pictures online. That way, when people steal them, their prints will suck."

Studio 101 Imageworks said: "Copyright is Federal Law and to secure all your legal rights, you have to register your copyright ownership with the US Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress. www.copyright.org

So, the only sure way to keep your images from being stolen from the Internet is, don't put them there in the first place."

http://www.thephotoforum.com/threads/do-you-really-need-to-watermark-alternatives.187770/

When I see a photographer or studio name on a photo, I automatically think of it not as a stand alone image but as an ad. I hate to say this, but it typically detracts from the aesthetic experience of the image. I feel the same about certain painters who sign their name really big on every painting.

Here's an article with reasons why you should not use watermarks.

QUOTE

While they make you feel more professional, poorly conceived or designed watermarks can make you look like a total amateur. (Make sure you choose a classy font and not Comic Sans.)

One thing’s for sure: Watermarks insert an extra layer of the commercial into your work, and it can be hard to know how people will react to that. If you’re comfortable with that, then you probably have no qualms about plastering your photos with watermarks.

But how many people have you met who actually make money this way? More often than not, successful photographers find clients by referral, not by random searches on the Internet.

That said, there’s no denying watermarks offer a way for you to brand your work if that’s important. But keep in mind that the most renowned photographers don’t seem to need watermarks; their style often speaks for itself.

It may sound depressing to hear it, but that beautiful photo of the sunset at the beach you took last summer is crowded out by about 134 million similar photos in Google Search. Unless you’re running a commercial stock photo agency, your images are lucky to be found, much less stolen.

END QUOTE

http://blog.pixlr.com/post/53343679858/why-you-shouldnt-watermark-your-photos-plus-a

What is your opinion on this topic?



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