Friday, July 25, 2014

Why Generic Web Content is a Bad Idea

Your website must differentiate you from your competitors. Generic website content is not going to show your competitive superiority.

When website content is mediocre, your customers will not be impressed. Your content must be fresh, distinctive, original, and compelling. It should engage customers like a friend or a trusted adviser.

For website content to be effective, specific information about a business must be included. A content writer can't just make up copy. It can't be magically spun out of the thin air.

If you have a client that needs content for their website, here's how I operate.

I will need, from you, information about the client's business, brochures, lists of events, product specs, organizational history, whatever I deem relevant to the web content and cannot acquire on my own. Clients have printed material and specifications that need to be delivered to me in some form.

I will provide you with a list of data that I need from the client. I will not contact the client.

The client is not "writing the content" -- they are providing me with the information they already possess and use in mailings, office handouts, fliers, print ads, etc. I then tweak it, put it in user-centric language, build SEO values into it, and format it for web display.

I don't write generic web content that doesn't require any information from the client.

I don't just make up content based on nothing.

I don't have standard, pre-written content that is targeted toward various industries, which just needs changes in the business name and product titles.

Generic template web copy from remote content-grinders is typically duplicate content with slight modifications that is sent out to all websites in a given field and often relies on keyword stuffing and we-oriented fluff.

Web content that satisfies search engines and meets customer needs in a friendly and authoritative manner must be completely unique, sufficient to achieve "Best Page on Topic" status, and written in a FAQ format, mirroring the actual queries that customers use in searches.

Yoast, a Wordpress plug-in, is a poor SEO analyzer, which encourages using the same keyphrase in multiple locations within content and meta tags. Synonyms, variants, and substitute phrases must be used, rather than the exact same phrase over and over. Yoast can give some helpful suggestions, but slavish conformance to the "green button" activation will result in content that violates Google Webmaster guidelines. 

I provide marketing-savvy, personalized, user-centric SEO website content writing that is based on Google Hummingbird compliance and keeps pace with changes in the search algorithms, keyword usage, and customer interests.

Your website project will receive high quality expertise that will result in a good ROI.

Here's a report on buying a generic Android tablet:

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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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.


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.”


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)."

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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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