Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving" by Natalia Vetrova (2011)

Be thankful that you don't have to spend Thanksgiving
with relatives who are celebrities.

"No need to post photos of your Thanksgiving meal.
We're all eating the same stuff."

"You got here just in time.
Have a sliver of turkey!"

Buddy the minpin loves turkey.

That and green beans are the only
Thanksgiving items that are good
for him to eat.

Remember the folks in Ferguson, Missouri
whose businesses were burned down
without police or National Guard
to protect them, as they promised they would.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Early Morning Yelling

A few nights ago, at 4 AM actually, I was walking down the street. As I passed a gas station, intending to cross a highway, some guy starts yelling "Hey! ..... HEY!!!" at me, like a lunatic. He said "hey" a few times, each time he sounded more hostile. I ignored him, then looked back at him after he gave up trying to get my attention.

He was standing off to the side of the gas station mini-mart's front entrance, a shifty presence in the shadows, wearing a snorkel coat and holding a plastic bag.

My name is not "Hey" and I don't respond well to a stranger, looking losery, yelling at me, that early in the morning. I lost count of all the strikes against him.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

SEO to the rescue: increasing website productivity

A website can look nice, have professional design, say the right things, show the right images -- and still be a dud.

One way to track website productivity is to have a dedicated phone number used only on the website. If the phone's not ringing, something's wrong.

An SEO audit will discover the problems, which are typically easy to fix, but up to date, Google-compliant SEO expertise is rare.

The secrets of SEO revolve around correct HTML tags (title, metadescription, H, img alt attributes), properly formatted content, and new content based on trending topics. The entire foundation is user-centric, not focusing on transient gimmicks, but customer behavior and search query terms.

Ready to test your website's SEO power?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Howard Alston Streight, speed painter

One of my ancestors, Howard Alston Streight, eccentric speed painter did lightning fast portraits and landscapes accompanied by a music box. (1836-1912).

The New York Times called him "America's greatest landscape painter," but now he's obscure. Became a "social recluse" at the end of his life.

PAINTING ABOVE: "Forest Fire at Night".

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Link Velocity and SEO

Getting lots of backlinks suddenly to your website could harm your SEO.

Is it a good idea to invest in link acceleration? Should you want to increase your backlink velocity (the rate at which other websites link to yours)?

Generally NO. Be suspicious of any claim to get you tons of links quickly. These tend to be low quality, or even spammy or malicious, links that will hurt your SEO due to both poor link quality and speed of link acquisition.

This is interpreted by Google as an attempt to manipulate your search engine rankings for your website, to trick Google into thinking, "Wow. With all these links going to XYZ website, it must be an authority on a topic, or a source of news about a trending topic." But Google is hip to such black hat gimmicks.

Goodroi gives a good explanation of Link Velocity in Webmaster World thread.


I would guess that the more links you have the more links you can gain. The New York Times gaining a thousand links overnight is not a big thing. A brand new 20 page site gaining a thousand links overnight is a big potential red flag.

I would also suggest that not all links are equal. I suspect some links are high quality and other links are very poisonous. If you gain a small number of very poisonous links from websites that obviously exploiting Google, I would expect you will have ranking trouble sooner than later.

I value links by the odds that the link will send me real traffic that converts. The more chance the link will perform, the more effort I exert in developing that link. My focus is building up external traffic sources so I am not dependent on Google. The more I do this, the more traffic Google sends me. People that tend to target low quality links that don't send any traffic tend to have more ranking issues IMHO.


In a Google forum, this was the Best Answer (by RainboRick) to a question about link velocity.


Google employees have occasionally indicated that when a site suddenly gets a burst of links, it can be taken as a sign of attempts to manipulate the rankings. But this is in the context of a manual review or a situation that might trigger a manual review.

Since a page about a hot topic might well see a sudden surge of links, it isn't automatically going to damage a site's rankings in and of itself. But if the links look like they're artificial in some way, they could become a problem.

Generally speaking, this shouldn't concern most webmasters. Sites go through peaks and valleys of link building, especially when they're new.

As long as you're not out there buying links or getting a lot of site-wide links from unusual or unrelated sources, it shouldn't be a problem.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

How To Improve Your Reading Skills

You Can Improve Your Reading Skills - in 5 Easy Steps

Someone on Facebook said he wanted to quit his job bagging groceries, and get a better job. He knew this meant he must increase his skills, which requires reading, but he's not that good at it. 

This inspired me to make this list:

(1) Read things that you're really into, from rap lyrics to books on basketball and football, written by players, coaches, fans, news reporters.

(2) Keep a good dictionary at your side and look up every word you don't know as you read.

(3) Realize the subversive nature of this activity. Reading and writing were feared by ancient kings. In the old days, people memorized large texts. Word of mouth ruled. Writing and printing words was considered revolutionary, anarchist, threatening.

(4) Once in a while, read something way too hard to understand, and try to force yourself to learn a little something. Stretch the mind -- and see reading as fun and needed to increase income.

(5) Read your favorite books and blogs in a comfortable place, where you feel happy, safe and private. Concentrate your mind and enter the magical world of literature. Keep rising higher and higher in difficulty, which is making you smarter.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jump To the Top of Search Results with SEO

Drive more qualified customer traffic
to your website.

Your website will rise to the top of search results,
with Search Engine Optimization.

SEO = tweaking HTML code and content enhancements
based on new Google Hummingbird requirements.

Prompt web visitors to take
actions immediately.

Get other websites to link to yours.

Empower your website
to achieve business goals.

Make your website more productive.

Cash register rings.

Phone calls for
appointments flood in.

Registrations skyrocket.


Organic SEO
and Linkbuilding.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Website Without SEO is Dead

Empower Your Website with SEO

A website without SEO is like a sports car without an engine. It's dead, Jim. It just sits there, debunking "If We Build It, They Will Come." Not productive. Phones aren't ringing. Sales aren't happening. Registrations for our event -- where are they? 

Empower your website with SEO (search engine optimization). Google-compliant SEO will give you a big competitive advantage, because few companies do it correctly, ethically, and effectively.

Let's get started. Drive more qualified customers to your website. 


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Avoid Mediocre Under Achievers

No matter how you spin it...
Minds, like vinyl
come in two sizes:
mediocre & expansive.

Avoid mediocre

Be sure to teach your kids
how to tell the difference.

In the adult world, the mediocres tend to
be selling seminars of fluff.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unbreakable Pocket Comb

At Central Junior High in East Peoria, boys got in trouble for combing our hair during study hall. Teacher would make you come up, hand over the offensive implement, then she'd break your comb in half and throw it in the garbage.

I bought an unbreakable comb at a candy store. 

Next day, you should have seen me primping energetically with that comb, combing, combing, combing, as vigorously and defiantly as I could. 

My how the class laughed when the teacher kept bending that super comb and getting nowhere with it. It simply would not break, not for her, not for an 800 pound gorilla. I got swatted extra for that one.

Of course, I padded my slacks, stuffing handkerchiefs into the back pockets. This strategy only worked once. When the paddles with holes (for velocity acceleration) bounced off the cotton lumps, you were, once again, in more trouble. 

Funny how trouble could accumulate.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No stupid questions, just people who don't use Google

"There is no such thing as a stupid question.
Just lazy people who refuse to Google it."

One of my Demotivational type posters for your
increased office productivity needs.

You're velcro.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Brogrammer Trolls vs. Female Gamers

Is ignoring trolls the most effective policy when a female gamer is abused online by insecure and domineering  males?

This article "With Gamergate, It's Not Enough To Ignore the Trolls" suggests that "The law isn't always able to protect victims of online harassment, but a culture that shames the perpetrators instead of merely acknowledging their existence can help wipe it out."

A female newsreader says humiliation is the best response to sexist remarks. Hurt their male ego, that vaporware they try to wield as a weapon.

I've developed a variety of troll-smashing techniques, some of which are successful in causing a troll to be so humiliated, they voluntarily leave the discussion.

Of course, the most common advice you hear is "don't feed the trolls" which means "pay no attention to them and don't engage in any arguments with them -- act like they don't exist."

This is good advice, but sometimes I think you may need to use more drastic measures to make them go into meltdown mode or to get the other comment posters to laugh at them.

A troll has no debate skills and he has no intention of "winning" an argument or discovering truth. He just wants to disrupt a conversation and try to hurt the feelings of others.

When a brogrammer (sexist male coder geek) starts attacking a woman because he doesn't like her gender being involved in gaming, we must condemn the death threats and rape talk. There are many ways to denounce such misogynist activity. 

For example, hit the creep with comments like this:

"Real big man, beating up on girls."

"Hey brogrammer, your mommy said it's time to change your diaper."

"It must be miserable being 13 years old and not being able to fly on a broom like your hero Harry Potter. But don't take it out on our womenfolk, dude."

These impotent males are infantile, lacking self-esteem, and feeling threatened by an intelligent, assertive woman. Or any woman at all. 

They must be thinking she's intruding in their "guy space," invading their virtual man cave.

Knowing they can't argue effectively against the superior intellect of the woman, they resort to psychological violence. If they could just punch the lady, and get away with it, they'd use physical force to subdue her.

Women, who are often less combative than men, can sometimes be rather flummoxed by such childish but frightening behavior. Being perplexed and startled by a sudden and extremely hateful personal attack, they may be unnecessarily intimidated. 

Men, who tend to have more experience in verbal jousting, can be a bit more composed in such situations.

Tonight, I was in a conversation thread on a certain topic involving a political leader.

I posted a comment, a quote of something that leader said that was incriminating and destructive to the praise they were heaping on that leaders. Someone replied to me with "stfu" -- a crass language command to "be silent." 

When someone can't refute your statement, but they are angry at what you posted, they can resort to demanding that you quit expressing your viewpoint. I just thanked the foul mouthed person for supporting democratic values and then I permanently left the thread.

Guys are prone to enjoy arguing and psychological combat, but women may not feel comfortable with online battles against abusive trolls. Some people play the sexism card when they're losing a debate or when they disagree with your viewpoint ("If a man had done this, you would not be so critical", etc.)

But many times, there is a brogrammer type indifference to gender inequality and a distinct lack of gentlemanly politeness. I try to never engage in online debate with a woman, it just seems too patriarchal.

There is such an abundance of male domination barbarism in this world and online discussions are not immune from this pathetic nonsense.

I'm on YOUR side, you wonderful ladies online and she-bloggers!

Read my many blog posts on trolls and blogocombat, then go out there and kick some serious buttocks, ladies!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hidden Text in Spam Emails

Do you know why spammers and con artists use hidden text at the end of an email message?

Hidden text occurs in emails and websites. They use white type on white background. They want search engines or spam filters to read the text, but not humans.

Hidden email message text can be seen if you highlight the large empty space at the end of the message. 

You may also see it if you click Reply, then click on Show Trimmed Content (in Gmail).

It will be full of nonsensical sentences and random wording.

Here's an explanation of this black hat email marketing technique from my pals at Hoax Slayer.


I often receive emails that ask why random text is sometimes hidden within HTML spam messages. You may not even see these hidden messages unless you view the source code of the email. Depending on the configuration of your email client, the hidden text may be rendered visible when you reply or forward the message. Sometimes, highlighting empty space in the spam message will reveal the hidden text.

This hidden text is a common component of spam messages. Spammers include hidden text in their HTML emails in order to try to trick spam filters. A lot of spam filters are configured to detect messages that contain certain words, phrases or ways of structuring sentences that are commonly indicative of spam. If these indicators add up to a significant percentage of the message, the filter will block the message as spam.

The hidden text can effectively dilute the overall "count" of these spam indicators, so that the message can sneak through the filter. Many recipients would not see the hidden text, or even know it existed, but it is easily "seen" by the spam filtering software.

The buried messages usually consist of random words or phrases that have nothing to do with the visible content of the email. Sometimes, it is tempting to attach some intrinsic significance to the hidden messages. However, I believe that they are just unconnected words, letters and numbers tacked together by the spammer. The messages have no meaning of their own and are added only to fool spam filters.


ghastly climatology astigmatism
Go Web in 1898 stars battle
driving at? Forget it!
Everything to our topic Health world OFFBEAT
whats going on engine
Family Hold on in 1951 The thing is
Snowboarding Miss World
in 1814 in 1871 I am on a Spice Girls
don't feel well in 1979
Absent Without Leave Red Herring


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#1 Mistake in Web Content is We Oriented Copy

Egotism instead of customer-centrism is the primary, fatal mistake in website copywriting.

You'll ruin your website by saying "We" and Our" all the time. Yet many websites do this. Hammering away at what you do and what you sell is the wrong way to reach customers. You need to use "you-oriented" language to speak to customers.

You'll destroy your website's productivity in achieving business goals by not using "You" and "Your" as much as possible.Telling your company's story from your corporate point of view is a guaranteed way to alienate your customers.

"We provide blah blah blah."

"We have blah blah blah services."

"We've been in business for X number of years."

"We offer the best products at the lowest prices with incredible service."

"Our staff has blah blah blah."

"Our products will blah blah blah."


You must write website content from the point of view of the customer, not the company.

You do this by forcing yourself to start most sentences with "You...." and "Your...."

It's not that hard to convert corporate boasting and generic fluff into customer-centric text.

NOT: "Our company provides you with a team of specialists and customized programs to make your disease easier to manage."

RATHER: "Your disease will be much easier to manage with customized programs and your own team of specialists assisting and guiding you."

Imagine yourself as the customer. Look at that wimpy "we-oriented" copy and ask, "What's that mean for me specifically?"

People don't give a damn about you or your company or its products.

People care about their personal problem, need, or desire.

If you show your customers that you care about them, by addressing them directly, then they might start caring about how your products solve their problems. Once they're convinced your products might meet their needs...

...THEN, at that point, they might even be curious to learn more about your company, its history and achievements.

They won't care what you know (or are selling) until they know that you care.

To the untrained, non-marketing person, this may seem like a subtle difference, but actually it's as different as night and day.

You'll gain a huge competitive advantage by using the customer-centric style of web content writing.

Most of your competitors will think "I want our website to tell people what we do."

You'll buck that dopey trend by thinking "I want our website to tell people how we understand their problem and aim to fix it."

You convey that understanding of the customer and their needs by start most sentences with "You" and "Your."

Remember this tip and you'll greatly increase your success in internet marketing.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

12 Tips on Self Promotion at Tech Conferences

My latest article at The Peorian: "Advice for the Conference Attendee"


Having recently attended a tech conference dealing with cyber security, data storage, and other IT issues, I thought about some of the things I typically do at these events. I decided to prepare a list of things that can make your attendance more productive.

These tips are designed especially for job seekers, career ladder climbers, and consultants wanting more clients.

(1) Sit up front. This makes it better when Q&A time comes along. Or sit way in the back, even stand in the back, so you can bop around taking photos and getting more coffee without disturbing anybody.

(2) Have plenty of business cards, with your LinkedIn, blog, or website url, to exchange with presenters or attendees. Obtain business cards from others and send them relevant news stories, articles praising their company, your own advice, etc., as appropriate. Nobody does this kind of follow-up. Don't pester or act needy. Just keep presenting yourself as someone with expertise, authentically and honestly. It's easy to impress when most people are not self-promotional.

(3) Bop around taking photos of audience and speaker, from a variety of angles, with a fancy camera (never a cell phone camera) and people may think you're with the local media. Explain "I'm a citizen journalist. These photos will be on Facebook and GooglePlus."

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE to see all 12 tips.

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