Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Do I Say on Blogs and Social Media?

You know you need to be on Facebook and have a blog. You have a website and you're updating it with news and announcements. But you're stuck. You're running out of ideas on how to keep that content flowing. 

"What should I be saying?" you ask. "Should I just delegate the updates to my team?"

To solve this riddle, we must go all the way back to the beginning. What is the purpose of a blog? Why are you on social media? Why do you have a website? What is the goal of news and announcements?

So we must consider seriously the objective of online content. Once we fully understand the reason for web content, everything else falls into place naturally.Your content strategy will invent itself.

Here is the secret.

Sharing and Caring -- the core values of social media. These twin principles should guide what you say in your blog, social media, website, email marketing, and other promotions. If you really care about your customers or audience, you'll share valuable information with them. 

Prove you care -- by what you share. Share information that shows you care about your fans.

Let's break this down into a quick list of some ideas for your content development:

(1) Share your personal expertise: insights, analysis, experiences, anecdotes, opinions, knowledge, training, tips.

(2) Share solutions to common problems.

(3) Share remedies to specific issues your audience has expressed.

(4) Share answers to questions your fans have asked.

(5) Show photos of your organization having fun, helping others, doing presentations, displaying products, engaged in events, meeting famous people, involved with the community.

(6) Show photos of your offices and people working hard to serve the customers.

(7) Show photos of the outside of your building, to help people find it when they want to drop by for a visit or a meeting.

(8) Display videos of events, presentations, products in use solving a problem for a customer.

(9) Display video tutorials and how to tips.

(10) Describe a meeting you just had and the topics that came up, which may benefit others who were not at the meeting.

(11) Answer questions from a meeting you recently had with someone, since others may have the same questions.

(12) Keep announcing new things that occur in your organization -- make it look like your organization is alive, active, by God getting things done! -- and not languishing, drifting, slipping into oblivion.

(13) Read the blogs, websites, and social media updates of competitors and colleagues. What are they talking about? Perhaps you'll find some great ideas for your own content and conversations.

(14) Tie in with current news events that everybody's already talking about. This is a good idea for SEO (search engine optimization) -- riding on the coat tails of hot news stories by connecting them with some aspect of your products, organizations, or opinions.

These are just a few of the many possibilities to consider when devising a content marketing strategy.

You, as CEO, owner, or manager, should have tons of things to say, all the time, or else there's something wrong.

If you're not excited about something every day, something in your industry or company, maybe you're in the wrong field. Surely you are able to speak authoritatively about your company in various speeches, meetings, conferences, media interviews, and press releases.

On the other hand, if you have staff members who are articulate, enthusiastic, and eager to engage in conversations with customers, you may certainly delegate the content duties to them. This will work, as long as you speak in your own authentic voice periodically.

Think of it like the Editor's page in a magazine, introducing a theme, sharing some news, or making a broad statement on the state of the industry.

Let altruism, a warm, human friendliness, be your guide. Think of things to say that will help, inspire, motivate, and delight your audience, fans, customers, and allies.

Provide value. Share your wisdom. Tell a funny story. Explain how you got started. Describe your vision for the future and how you plan to accomplish it.

Give out valuable and interesting content -- and your fans will promote you with Likes, Shares, Comments, and Re-postings. 

You won't go viral unless you're infected -- with a dynamic zeal for your business -- and a genuine love for the problems your products solve for customers who you sincerely care about.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Skittles Pox and Viral TV Commercial Videos

The candy brand Skittles is using TV commercials and YouTube in a strategically correct manner that I heartily endorse. Could your business or non-profit organization come up with a comical way to promote itself?

THIS IS A HUGE opportunity for product differentiation, competitive advantage, marketing reach, and revenue generation.

Every organization should make all its TV commercials viewable on their website -- and provide embed code so fans can act as a free sales force by displaying the videos on their blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

If your videos are really weird, funny, helpful, interesting, unique, or artistic, they could go viral and greatly increase sales.

IF YOU NEED HELP producing effective videos, contact me.

Check out the Skittles channel on YouTube. They have a separate Skittles Pox channel for the 4 videos in this particular series:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Streight Christmas 2012

Old Santa candle at my mom's house.

Salsa Sombrero, a gift for my wife.

 Have a Cool Christmas ornament,
purchased around 1974 at Bergners
for my mom.

Christmas tree at mom's house.

Christmas knick knacks in mom's
louver front door side windows.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

How To Get a Job Interview VIDEO


My old comedy video Vaspers the Grate "How To Get A Job Interview". 

Vaspers the Grate is my original, now abandoned blog name. I did this video around 2008 and it got over 5,000 views. A controversy ensued, and I deleted it. Then, mysteriously, it re-appeared in my Video Manager list. That's why it shows only a few views.

"I don't scrub toilets. I have at jobs in the past, but a fellow has to draw the line somewhere...I'm just interested in the job interview, and not the job itself. I'll pay you $50..."

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Alternatives to LOL

LOL is too extreme for most cases. I mean, how many times have you actually, literally Laughed Out Loud when you posted LOL as a reply to something?

Isn't it time you made a serious assessment of your use of standard chat room and social media comment acronyms? 

Don't you think the Post Mayan Apocalypse would be a great time to get real and be more honest and accurate in your communications online?

Here are some alternatives that will help you be more authentic and truthful:

ALAT = Almost Laughed At This

GFHAS = Grinned For Half A Second

SBTMOTOT = Smirked, But Then Moved On To Other Things

SFISMC --So Funny I Spewed My Coffee

SMHUIFO -- Shaking My Head Until It Falls Off

CIALB = Chuckled Inside A Little Bit

SALTS = Smiled A Little, Then Stopped

TTWMF = Thought That Was Mildly Funny

AWSABOMF = A Wry Smirk Appeared Briefly On My Face

SCBNL = Slightly Comical But Not Laughable

RMEIPTG = Rolled My Eyes In Partial Transient Gaiety

GHLAMRN Guffawing Hysterically Like A Maniac Right Now
LSHIAPMP -- Laughed So Hard I Almost Peed My Pants

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The World Ended -- But You Missed It

You just can't trust those Mayan child sacrificers, can you? Sorry, but while the world ended hours ago, life goes on. You still have bills to pay. You still have to get up  and go to work.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Submit to Safe Social Media

Prepare yourself for Safe Social Media, stripped of all political views and controversial topics, a communication zone limited to cat photos and gossip about trivial matters, but no more linking to independent thought or criticism of the powers that be.

Sandy Hook marks the Death of Social Media as a means of questioning and protesting. No more criticism. No more dissent. No more non-conformity.

Anything other than the official story will be labeled "misinformation", a public nuisance, an impediment to the  pursuit of compliance with the Monster.

To be on the safe side, I advise you to NOT use social media to question the official story (whatever that happens to be at any given moment) on any tragic events. What law enforcement deems to be "misinformation" could prompt them to investigate, arrest, and prosecute you.

You'll have a good time now. You won't need to express anything but personal data, medical records, and favorite products. Your goal will be total "privacy is dead" transparency, blabbering about things that won't offend anybody.

Welcome to the new world that you let happen.

Obey midget. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Customer Centric Product Names

Products whose names are what the customer says when they need the product. This is customer-centric in a unique manner. Your marketing should also be based entirely on customer needs, and not on your theoretical vision. 

This "Help. I Have a Headache" product has gone from "Describe your product and its benefits in words your customers use" to "Name your product with words your customers use."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Outgoing Exuberance vs Effective Consulting

"Outgoing Exuberance", a valuable Buddhist concept, really is one of the main sources of misery and trouble in this world.

It basically means being too enthusiastic about something, so that you do or say stupid things that can be harmful or inappropriate, making you look foolish.

I still struggle with this.

As a marketing consultant, sometimes I am a bit too eager to share my insights and solutions with a client who may not be ready to understand and implement them. 

Sometimes I must be in a mentoring mode and not an advisory mode. My passion for imparting my expertise must be curtailed and subdued by exercising self-restraint. In other words: "shut up and listen". LOL

Buddhist philosophy teaches that the way to stop this "outgoing exuberance" is by calming the mind, fixing attention on breathing, contemplating death and decomposition, deconstructing your cravings, manifesting compassion, cultivating inner joy and stillness, clearly seeing the transient nature of all things and thoughts, etc.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists, all people can learn much from Buddhist psychology (as I call it). It is really not necessarily tied to Buddhist "religion" or rituals, but is more like Deconstruction or Cognitive Science.


"Outgoing exuberance" of the heart has been the enemy of all beings for countless ages, and a person who wants to subdue the outgoing exuberance of his own heart will need to compel his heart to take the MEDICINE which is the KAMMATTHANA.

Taking the medicine means training ones heart in Dhamma (truth, psychological reality) and not allowing it to go its own way, for the heart always likes to have outgoing exuberance as a companion. In other words, taking the medicine means that the heart brings Dhamma into itself as its guardian.

All types of Kammatthana - dhamma are for controlling the "outgoing exuberance" of the heart. The heart which is not controlled by a Kammathana is liable to the arising of outgoing exuberance throughout life.

This is so from infancy to old age, it is so with the rich and the poor, with the clever and the stupid, with those in high and low position in life, with the blind, deaf, paralysed, maimed, deformed, and so on endlessly.

The baneful effect of the outgoing exuberance of a heart which does not have Dhamma as its guardian, is that it never finds true happiness...

...and even if happiness does arise due to the outgoing exuberance of the heart searching for it and finding it, it will be happiness of the type in which one is (like an actor) playing a part, which increases the outgoing exuberance, making the heart go increasingly in the wrong direction, and not the type of happiness which is truly satisfying.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hair Codes to Protect Society...from What?

Hair is controversial. Still. I thought we got past ignorant hair code standards in the 70s.

Can hair harm society? Is hair a dangerous thing that we must strictly control?

Chaos and dangerous behavior is bad. Rules help society keep bad things from happening. 

But when authorities enforce silly rules that make no sense, it motivates younger people to rebel against them and their institutions and belief systems as being ridiculous, arbitrary, disconnected from rationality, and needlessly domineering.

Submission to stupid rules paves the way for totalitarianism.

Check out this Peoria Journal Star report "The Long and Short of a Central Coach's Suspension". It's about  a high school coach that allegedly harassed a student about his dreadlocks and wouldn't let him play a sport because the coach didn't like long hair.

Are we justified in teaching kids to all look the same, like a 1950s person, and not to be "different" or express themselves in a way that some stuffy old authority figure doesn't approve of?

This has nothing to do with "professionalism". Pro athletes have dreadlocks and other wild hair styles. What does hair style have to do with academics or athletics? Nothing.

Some say we should force students to not look like hoodlums. Dreadlocks is not "hoodlum hair". It's a style imported from Jamaica and has religious connotations.

According to Wikipedia entry on dreadlocks:


"Dreadlocks are associated most closely with the Rastafari movement, but people from many ethnic groups in history before them have worn dreadlocks, including many ancient Semitic and Indo-Aryan peoples of the Near East and Asia Minor, Hamitic peoples of East Africa, Sadhus of Nepal, India and the Sufi Rafaees, the Māori people of New Zealand, the Maasai and the Oromo of Ethiopia, and the Sufi malangs and fakirs of Pakistan, ancient Spartan warriors of Greece, and medieval Irish Warriors."


Hair police fanatics are ignoring the fact that the coach is accused of violating District 150's prohibition of coaches imposing appearance standards on student athletes.

Those who support hair codes say "look presentable or stay home", meaning if you don't look like some adult wants you to look like, you can't play a sport. This is pushing a very superficial and nonsensical standard upon students, young people who like to experiment with dress, hair, music, art, and other tastes in harmless, non-destructive ways. That's what youth is all about: having fun and forming a personal identity.

Why does the "adult world" continue to feel threatened by hair? Why do authority figures like high school coaches and principals fear something as innocent as hair? Has hair ever hurt them?

I oppose regimentation and enforced conformity on such trivial and irrelevant matters. When I was in high school, I got sent to the principal's office constantly. Why? Because my hair touched my ears. This is stupid to force all students to look like their parents, or soldiers, or yuppies.

No wonder kids rebel and go to extremes. They see the stupidity and hypocrisy of meaningless adult "rules". Wear your hair the way I do, or you can't play this sport. Submit to my authority so I'll feel like a big important domineering power.

I think people who insist on "correct" vs. "incorrect" hair styles are missing the main point. It's good to have structure and protocols to avoid anarchy, instability, and criminal behavior. But arbitrary rules enforced by an authority figure, just because it's the authority figure's preference, and have nothing to do with the sport or education, are unnecessary, trivial, and bullying, in my opinion.

I think you will regret imposing silly rules on students, when there are far more important rules and issues to be concerned with. I remember getting in "trouble" for having hair touching my ears, not "long hair" as we see it today, but just slightly longer than the military style crewcut and conformist short hair stylings of the uptight and hypocritical establishment.

Slightly longer hair was considered by some as being "war protest", "revolutionary", "anti-establishment", or "non-conformist". Thus, it had to be persecuted and shorn. If your hair was extremely short, certain adults felt safer, happier, confirmed in their superficiality.

Calling a hair style "ghetto" or "gangbanging" is ridiculous and verges into racism.

Look like your teacher, look like the coach, look like the cops, look like the soldiers -- or stay home? Is that the message we really want to enforce? Did you hair police ever have wild hair styles when you were in high school or college?

And this boy just admires his father and wants to have his father's hair style. Which is dreadlocks.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Website About and News Pages for Competitive Advantage

Productive Websites Require Effective Page Strategy

Two areas of website design and content strategy that are often neglected are the About page and the News page.

Nearly every website has these pages, but they're typically sparse or abandoned. This neglect results in fewer qualified customers visiting your website. In other words, it's bad for SEO (search engine optimization).

Your website is not just a billboard occupying space on the internet.

Your website should be productive, working hard to tell your story, communicate your message, display your products, share your expertise, provide customer service, and increase your sales.

Take a look at your website and ask yourself:

Is this the best we can do?

Is it going to get a potential customer excited about our products and the problems they solve?

Does it present our company history, legacy, and vision for the future in an accurate, complete, and compelling manner?

What would a new visitor to our website come away thinking about us?

Will we be Top of Mind Choice?

Or will they rush off to check out our competitors?

Building Your About Page

A good place to start improving your website is the About page.

Your About page is where you can communicate your company's mission, goals, vision, greatest achievements, and history. Companies evolve. Many were started by interesting, hard working founders. Some begin in obscurity, go through heartbreaking setbacks and difficult struggles, then eventually rise to the top of their industry.

Why not brag a bit? Why not tell the glorious story of humble beginnings that resulted in triumphant success? Let potential recruits know what your firm has gone through to get to where it is today. Motivate and encourage your employees with tales of perseverance.

An About page should not be some emaciated couple of paragraphs that briefly describe your business. A sparse About page communicates mediocrity. Why rush through it? Why just throw a few sentences on it and move on? Is that how enthusiastic you are about your organization?

If I asked you to tell me a little bit about yourself, we could sit in a coffee shop for hours and hours. You'd go on and on, regaling me with narratives about your past and how you toiled to be the best in your field. Why treat your company like a footnote? Why be stingy with your About page?

Yet you'll see it everywhere. About pages that are wimpy. Weak. Boring. Quick little summaries full of fluff and nonsense.

Think about your About page. This page is your website's first contact with a lot of visitors. Many people will look at it first. Your About page needs to make a good impression.

Make it thrilling. Compelling. Comprehensive. Be sure to break up the text into small, bite-sized paragraphs so people can easily breeze through it without getting bogged down.

About pages are a good opportunity to enrich your website with relevant, naturally occurring keywords. As you discuss and explain your company, you can't help but use words that potential customers and recruits will be using in search engines.

Take advantage of this perfect occasion to give the search engine spiders what they hunger for -- words and phrases associated with your expertise and product categories.

News Pages

How many times have you visited a website and wanted to know what was currently happening with a company? When you clicked on the News page, were you informed about the latest ventures and activities? Or was the News page stale and out of date?

A News page that is updated only once a month, or every two months, makes your company look like it's dying. Or plodding along with no growth, no development, no innovation, no fun.

Is that the image you want to project?

Surely you can think of something to say about your company, your staff, your products, your customers every day. Are articles being published that mention your firm? Are you helping a local charity? Are you participating in a hometown event or contributing to a non-profit organization? Do you have testimonials coming in regularly?

What is going on? What is happening? Say something.

Treat your News page as a type of blog. 

It's another opportunity for keywords that will drive search engine traffic to your website. Make a statement. Announce something new. Introduce a new employee. Talk about a company picnic. Create the impression that your organization is alive, vibrant, on the move, not stagnating or falling asleep.

Get your About page and News page in shape, and you'll be leaping ahead of your competitors, without requiring a big investment of time, money, or other resources.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kicking Someone Off Facebook: Cyberstalking

You can have someone kicked off Facebook, if they are troubling you in certain ways. Did you know that? And they may also be guilty of the crime of cyber-stalking.

WOMEN in particular -- LISTEN UP.

[NOTE: I posted the links and info in this article on someone's FB page who was having this kind of trouble, and some dumbass male started arguing that FB legal rules of use are not "real law". He doesn't want to face the fact that certain behavior on FB is criminal and can bring you serious legal trouble. -- When I checked out his profile, I saw he was using a Nazi image for his cover photo.]

Have you ever received a comment that was racist, filthy mouthed, cruel, hostile, personally insulting, creepy, domineering, lewd, or otherwise disturbing in a psychopathic sense?

It happens a lot, unfortunately, and I've received some comments of the vulgar variety myself. But it's not allowed. That's a violation of Facebook's user safety rules.

I should have reported the person to Facebook, with a direct link to the comment. I encourage you to do so if it happens to you.

There are laws on stalking (lurking, following or tracking) a person, which includes social media stalking, which falls into the legal category of CYBER-STALKING. If someone's online contacts with you would cause a reasonable (not paranoid, but rational) person DISTRESS, it's criminal cyber-stalking.

Cyber-stalking includes:

* False accusations
* Gathering information about you
* Monitoring your online activities
* Encouraging others to harass you
* Falsely claiming that you are stalking or distressing them
* Sending viruses and malware to your computer
* Ordering merchandise in your name
* Pestering you to meet with them in the real world

See Wikipedia entry on "Cyberstalking".

To have someone kicked off Facebook is easy. You just need to be familiar with Facebook's terms of service or "

See points #6 and #7 -- and keep these rules in mind at all times:

6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.

7. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Read the Facebook use policy.

See also the Findlaw article "Facebook Can Legally Terminate Users"

Such sites need to have a stated, legitimate reason for user termination. If such sites act on a whim, or in an arbitrary fashion, they risk violating the implied contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing.

See also "Cyberstalking and Cyber Harassment Laws by State".


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BodyForm Video Response to a Complainer

BodyForm Responds.

Here's a really funny video response from a company to a person who criticized the company's advertising. Not appropriate for every business, this tongue-in-cheek sarcasm is refreshing to see.

The male's complaint on the BodyForm Facebook page:


Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years .

As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn't I get to enjoy this time of joy and 'blue water' and wings !! 

.... Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn't wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen lied !! 

There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. 

Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. 

Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger



After a comedic rant on Bodyform Maxi Pads' Facebook page went viral on Oct. 8, the sanitary napkins company has responded with a YouTube video.

The company created a fictional CEO who apologized to the poster, Richard Neill, after reading his rant against the company's "deceptive" sanitary napkin commercials.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

White Castle Coffee and Website Content

White Castle Coffee now available at Schnucks grocery store. 

Do you think there is any mention of White Castle Coffee on the White Castle website? Of course not. Can you purchase their coffee on their website? Of course not. Is it listed under Food or News or Promotions? Of course not.

 Check out the White Castle website.

I think the art of web design and web content strategy has been completely lost.

It's like we've reverted back to the bad old days when companies proudly proclaimed "We've got a website" or "Check us out online" , but had very little information, no real guide to how to select the right model of product for your needs, no data that differentiated the company from competitors, no strong reasons to buy now.

Knocking out a mediocre website is child's play.

Creating a highly productive, hard working, fully equipped website that looks good, has all the information you need, and has good usability -- rarely happens anymore.

I"m a web content developer. If you need help with your website, if you want better results in your ecommerce, contact me today.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mayan Calendar and Human Sacrifice

Mayan Calendar?

Mayans may have been good astronomers, but they were pretty deficient on social justice and human rights. Human sacrifice (often children) by rich, old, ruling elites.

Some might say this tradition continues in modern civilization. It's called war. Sacrifices to the god of death.

Some human victims were painted blue when offered to the rain god. Is this where the movie Avatar got the idea of blue natives?

Could the paranoid hysteria of Mayan Calendar End of the World be a hoax perpetuated by the ancient Mayans to offer future humans as sacrifices to the gods of technology, politics, and media?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

GIF is American Word of the Year 2012

Language is getting creepy. "To podium" and "to medal" are just going too far in mangled misconstruals of nouns into verbs of intentionality.

Social media acronymic nonsense like YOLO (you only live once), FOMO (fear of missing out), TLTL:DR (too long to load, didn't read) are nuts.

GIF (graphics interchange format) has been proclaimed the "American Word of the Year 2012" by the Oxford University Press, with "omnishambles" (cluster mess) as the UK winner.

According to Wikipedia:

GIFs are suitable for sharp-edged line art (such as logos) with a limited number of colors. This takes advantage of the format's lossless compression, which favors flat areas of uniform color with well defined edges.

GIFs can be used to store low-color sprite data for games.

GIFs can be used for small animations and low-resolution film clips.

In view of the general limitation on the GIF image palette to 256 colors, it is not usually used as a format for digital photography

Digital photographers use image file formats capable of reproducing a greater range of colors, such as TIFF, RAW or JPEG.

More new words and wordings 
to watch out for:

chipmunking = playing university lectures at 2x speed

selfie = photo taken by aiming camera at yourself because you have no friends

generation XL = obese kids

bacon wrap = boost something already good into new levels of excellence

grown-ups = supervisors at work (who tend to be older)

struggle bus = difficult situation

debate smile = fake facial expression in reaction to tough accusation

ambush TV = showing an unpleasant image without warning

photobomb = photo ruined by unexpected intrusion or facial expression

subway salmon = person going wrong way, against the crowd flow

WFIO = we're f'd, it's over

3ullet = "bullet", someone with extreme skills who owns a game or debate

venthole = someone who threadjacks a serious social conversation with personal trivia

leftover crack = something that doesn't exist

bees!!! = something bad or big unexpectedly occurs that you cannot express in words

ironic mustache = mustache grown as a joke that lingers way too long

hobo beard = unkempt unstyled beard that results from just not shaving

wag1 = what's up?

tummy blender = eating things that don't mix well in your stomach, like hot wings and chocolate

fridgety = opening refrigerator door due to boredom, not hunger

ThND = Thursday night drinking because you are unemployed and don't have to go to work on Friday

And the worst of all...

nomming = eating food loudly and enjoyably, with "nom nom" sounds

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Google User Interface Drop Down Menu FAIL

The new Google search page sucks. The trend to removing tool links and hiding them in a drop down menu is ridiculous. All you have is a lot of empty white space. You have to hunt for the familiar search parameters that were once in the left sidebar.

[Click image above for LARGER VIEW to see what I mean.]

Now the Search Tools, in a drop down menu, is located in the top navigation bar, after Web | Images | Maps | Shopping | More.

To make matters worse, the links are not labeled correctly.

When you click on Search Tools, a horizontal navigation bar appears. To configure search results by recency, you have to click on Past Week, which then triggers another drop down menu with the options Anytime, Past Hour, Past 24 Hours, Past Week, Past Month, Past Year, and Custom Range. Instead of Past Week, it should say Recency or Date Parameters or similar.

At first, I looked for the Search Tools in the drop down menu of the gear icon at the top far right.

Hiding familiar tools in drop down menus is very poor usability, especially when these tools are not numerous and cluttering the page.

As usability expert Jakob Nielsen states, in "Drop Down Menus: Use Sparingly", scrolling menus reduce usability when they prevent users from seeing all their options in a single glance. Nielsen also states that in his studies, drop down menus annoy users.

A web page that hides everything in drop down menus achieves nothing except an empty look and a user interface that is no longer intuitive.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Blogger Scam

Avoid the "sponsored guest post" or "guest blogger" scam.

Some stranger emails you, flatters you, praises your blog, and asks if you allow guest bloggers to submit articles to your blog.

They may even suggest an article title, often without much relevance to your blog topic area. Other times, they'll tell you they will write a post on any topic you choose.

DO NOT fall for this. 

They are typically mediocre writers, crafting short posts, and embedding in their articles links to dubious web objects: their own crappy blog or websites involved with spamming, malware, identity theft phishing, and other exploits.

Why let a bad content creator, with a potentially criminal agenda, use your blog to to add incoming links or traffic to their blog?

These con artist "guest bloggers" will dilute the content quality of your own blog and may endanger your readers with malicious links.

Google will also penalize your blog for bad content and bad links.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Business Succeeds by Being Altruistic

Business is about being kind, nice, friendly. You develop an expertise in a field, then offer products and services that help customers solve problems, meet a need, or enhance a lifestyle. 

People are more important than profits, because the source of profits is people, who become satisfied, enthusiastic, loyal customers.

A very wise slogan is "Be sure to lose a little in every transaction".

This is the opposite of avarice, greed, and con artists. If you "under-promise, over-deliver", you'll gain a reputation of being the best in the business. Top of Mind Choice is the goal and you get there by going overboard, doing more for your customers than your competitors do.

It's all about altruism, providing real benefits to people, in a cheerful presentation, at a fair price, then giving them more than what they paid for.

Sincerely care about the problems your products solve for customers. If you genuinely love each customer who walks into your office or store, and give them superior customer service, you'll weather almost any economic storm.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

How to Ruin a Customer Rewards Program

Customer Rewards Programs were started to show appreciation to loyal customers and to retain them as customers. It's a good competitive strategy.

On Seinfeld, there's an episode where Elaine Bennis kept buying a sandwich at a particular shop because she wanted the free one, once she bought 10 sandwiches. Did she like the sandwiches? Not really. What she liked was getting something for free.

Once the idea of giving customers free stuff or discount coupons started to become popular, mediocre businesses tried to get in on the act. You know, businesses that just imitate successful companies, but only go half way. They wanted to appear to be generous, without giving much value.

So, here's how to destroy a customer loyalty program.

Provide two or more rewards coupons that are stupid....

* "free breadsticks to celebrate Mothers Day"

* "free lube job when you buy 4 tires and a new transmission"

* "free refills on sodas and unlimited salad bar for parties of 10 or more"

* "save 3% on day old donuts this Wednesday 2 PM - 4 PM".

Do something like that and most recipients will stop paying attention to your Rewards Program. They won't open the emails, won't print out the coupons, and won't visit your store or restaurant. 

You'll accomplish the exact opposite of what you intended. Your shabby Customer Rewards Program will drive customers to your competition.

Miserly discounts in Rewards Programs will communicate to customers: "We value your business...very slightly."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Does Your Website ABOUT Page Suck?

Wikipedia Entry vs. About Page

As a web content developer, I pay close attention to what is included, and what is missing, from websites.

The vast majority of websites fail to update their News pages, fail to effectively use a blog, and fail to fully tell the story of a company's founding and progress through time.

Is the Wikipedia entry for your company more extensive and complete than your corporate website's About, History, or Company Background page?

If you don't do a good job describing the origins and evolution of your business, you're missing opportunities to:

(1) increase staff morale and pride in belonging

(2) preserve an honorable legacy

(3) inspire employees to be more loyal and productive

(4) present a good case to potential recruits

(5) connect with your community

(6) provide details for your local historical society and various researchers

(7) attract more visits to your website (expansive About pages are good for SEO) -- which can turn into increased sales and more qualified job seekers.

If you want to improve your website in this area, or other content, usability, or SEO aspects, contact me.

Online History Conservatory

But there's something even grander, and better, than an enhanced About page.

Are you interested in a prestigious, large-scale, multi-media, interactive Online History Conservatory for your corporation or organization -- featuring historical research, photo galleries, video galleries, TV commercial archives, and crowd-sourcing/interactive functionalities?

The Peoria Historical Society is developing such projects for local businesses, using state-of-the-art digitization tools and advanced curatorial capabilities.

Contact Walter Ruppman or Robert Killion for more information.

PHONE 309-674-1921

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crazy Definition of Insanity?

You know what is really crazy?

How people keep saying over and over again that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Actually, this is NOT "the definition of insanity" but is the definition of FUTILITY or STUPIDITY or OBSESSIVE.

But everybody keeps repeating this phrase, over and over again, so that everybody is now convinced that as long as they are spontaneous and try different things, they are sane.

A better definition of insanity is: expecting everything to go your way all the time (i.e., being pampered by permissiveness and "unconditional love", which is actually not love, but laziness.)

Insanity always includes lack of accountability, due to neglect of self-scrutiny. Acting on mistaken beliefs, like "I'm entitled to this, even if I haven't earned it" or "I won't get caught" or "I can do this, since other people are doing it".

True love sets boundaries and punishes violations. True love always has conditions, like "if you verbally abuse me, continue to cheat on me, or punch me in the face one more time, I'm leaving you" or "if you refuse to do your chores, and curse your mother one more time, I'm giving all your iPads and game consoles to Goodwill".

Monday, October 29, 2012

Your Goal in Social Media

What is your goal in posting thoughts, links, and photos on Facebook and other social networks?

If you're posting things as an individual, you may seek to connect with old classmates, co-workers, and family members. You want to keep them up to date on your life and thoughts. You want to stay informed about their adventures and ideas. You like to share what you think may interest them (movies, books, music, events).

If you're a business, you hopefully want to share your expertise, give people advice related to your field, provide timely information about your industry, and connect with potential customers in a warm and human manner. People prefer to do business with companies they know, like, and trust.

Some people like to express their political, philosophical, or spiritual ideas and beliefs in social media. If they post material that is confrontational, inflammatory, or provocative, it's often because they hope to persuade, influence, or convince those who have an opposing view.

Big mistake.

You should feel free to express yourself as boldly as you wish. But you should get rid of your hope to convert anyone to your point of view, especially if you are a bit strident, combative, or aggressive.

What commonly happens is you get attacked, mocked, or abused. People may use filthy language against you. They may try to hurt your feelings, make you look bad, or twist your words around, jump to unwarranted conclusions, and make invalid assumptions.

I've seen people act shocked when this happens. They wanted a friendly debate, but there are some topics that are very difficult to discuss and explore without arousing strong reactions, hostility, and infantile outbursts.

You must learn how to express your beliefs and opinions firmly and confidently, without caring about how anybody responds to them. If you get agreement, it must not delight you. If you get disagreement, it must not discourage you. You have to maintain a strong indifference to how others react to you.

Above all, you must renounce the vain, egotistic desire to change anybody. Nobody changes their core values or ideologies due to a Facebook wall post, a political cartoon, or a link to a source that they don't consider credible due to its bias against their ideology.

People change their faith, philosophy, or political orientation very slowly. Often this change is due to reading a lot of books, coming under the influence of a charismatic mentor, being betrayed by a trusted leader, or experiencing a personal tragedy.

Post whatever you want to post. But keep your expectations realistic and humble. Be satisfied with giving good advice, linking to good information, cheering up your friends, staying in touch with family, sharing your photos and ideas, and encouraging others.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Steven Streight ArtsPartners ad

ArtsPartners "All About the Arts" ad of Steven Streight: "The Arts articulate our spiritual  visions."

I helped with marketing this campaign which is being run during October 2012 in association with the National  Arts and Humanities month and the grand opening of the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

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