Monday, December 14, 2009

Quality Content Is Money Well Spent

It is hard being a content dude these days. Fortunately, I have a foundational client that is a web design firm that recognizes the need to provide quality to their clients, and that keeps me on reasonably solid footing. To try to expand my business I am a member of some freelance sites, and there is a good bit of work available. But, it all goes back to the same lament that I had back when I first started this blog. People don't really care about quality, so they immediately look for the lowest bids and discard the rest. I won't work for nothing because I am educated, experienced, and dare I say somewhat talented at what I do...so I get very little of the business that's out there. Yet, those who do select me are always happy with my work.

I respect the right that people have to spend their money as they see fit, but as a reasonably savvy web businessperson in my own right, I sincerely think that they are being penny wise and pound foolish. It is like starting a restaurant and looking for the cheapest chairs and the lowest quality ground beef you can find because after all, you are a "start up" and you're on a "tight budget." True, perhaps...but when your first customers stop by and they are uncomfortable in their seats and not enjoying the greasy burgers, how long will that money that you "saved" by scrimping on your infrastructure keep you afloat? I'm thinking maybe a week..?

The content on your site is the voice of your business, and you need to put your best foot forward and gain the trust of your visitors with well written, compelling, and convincing content. People are very stuck on keywords, and I used to be too because that's what I was told was important. But you don't need to try to fit your content around a slew of awkward key terms. Yes, you do have to let the bots know what you sell (and where you sell it), but that is going to happen naturally. Good content writers need to keep the keywords in the back of their minds, but the true goal is to simply write honest, straightforward, and convincing content and the rest will take care of itself.

In the end, if the site in question has something people want to buy at a price they are willing to pay, a good content writer will be able to get their message across without keyword stuffing, and the business will prosper. If the client is not offering value to their customers, guess what? You can try, but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and they will ultimately fail no matter how good the content is.

Many folks simply don't know the difference between truly good content and mediocre
copy written by a pretender. But I do. The solution is as simple as it is obvious. What you need to do is contract me to get your message across for you and kick back and tipple a White Russian (or Caucasian, if you prefer), secure in the knowledge that the Content Dude is at the helm with a steady if relaxed hand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top Ten Reasons To Use Quality Content

10.) The same reason you don't drink Milwaukee's Best.

9.) You get what you pay for.

8.) Good content creates return visitors.

7.) Well conceived, balanced content enables the Google bots to find you.

6.) Your content is the personality of your web presence.

5.) If your content is of mediocre quality, what can potential customers expect from your product or service?

4.) Use of quality content will allow you to outshine your competitors effortlessly.

3.) Compelling content entices conversions.

2.) Good content ensure that your site is being built on a solid foundation.

1.) Quality, well written content generates that all important commodity called consumer confidence.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Internet Content Providers #1 In Google Serps

When I created this blog, I picked the name based on a personal SEO observation. It has always made sense to me that the purpose of keyword research is to find terms that get a significant number of searches that do not have much competition.

InternetContentProviders.net fit that description. The purpose of this post is to celebrate the fact that today the blog is #1 for the targeted search term. But there is another factor I would like to highlight.

I recently contended that PageRank really doesn't matter at all these days, and here is Internet Content Providers at #1 for the term with PR 0. There is a page from Hoovers.com that has held the first position since I started the blog that we just passed that has a PR of 4. This may be circumstantial evidence, but I think that the SERPs and PR are mutually exclusive entities and there is no reason to aspire to Google PR--what you want to do is stay on point, choose a relevant URL, and add quality content on a consistent basis.

Another note on PagePank that I recently recognized. This blog is pretty new, and because I am always writing content for clients I don't post here as much as I should. But, I have put much, much, much more time and effort into this blog than my Twitter identity, which is QualityContent. My Twitter home URL has a Google PageRank of 4, but this blog, which is about a few days (or hours, I don't remember) older, has a zero. It's all sophistry when it comes to PR.

I read recently that Google has dropped the Page Rank section from Webmaster Tools, so what we have been saying for some time seems to have become common knowledge. PageRank is meaningless, and Internet Content Providers is #1!

Note: Take this post with a grain of salt. It is just cool to get to the top spot.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Content For Websites

I have always approached writing content for websites in the same manner that I approach my creative writing: I aim for perfection. Writing articles and blog posts is somewhat different, but the writer in me just won't settle for anything less than the very best I can do...but I'm beginning to realize that the quality that I routinely provide exceeds what is truly necessary.

To bid for contracts competitively, I have to try to go as low as possible knowing that there are many others out there who are still going to be bidding lower. So, I win a very small percentage of the contracts I have been bidding on. But I know for sure that the value that I would provide via the quality of my work would exceeds the value that these potential clients are getting for their money when they give the work to someone else.

When you are writing content for websites you are creating the voice of the company on the Internet. There is a huge element of marketing savvy involved, and search engine optimization is a large part of it as well. This is going to be your identity on the web, the place where your customers can find you and learn about your offerings. Your on-page content needs to be sparkling, compelling, impeccable, and convincing.

You can't look at the prices that people are paying for bulk articles that are largely for SEO purposes and expect top notch, professionally written website content for the same amount. And if you settle for less to save a few bucks, I can guarantee you that the shoddy content will cost you infinitely more money in business lost than the amount of money you "saved" by contracting an inferior content provider.

Here at Internet Content Providers we deliver content for multiple purposes, including blog posts, article marketing pieces, eBooks, and of course on-page content for websites. We place an emphasis on quality, and if you really want your web presence to be effective, you should too. Give us a call at 706-354-0781 or simply drop us an email and we will work with you to make sure that you get the content you need at a price that is fair to us, and fair to you as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Written Content vs. Other Media

I recognize the reality that there is such a thing as audio and video that some people consider to be "content," but to me, this is another attempt to sidestep the necessity for education and integrity while trying to squeeze a buck from the Internet.

Let me tell you straight off: I'm a musician. I love music of all kinds, and I listen to music all day while I'm working, and I play music when I'm done. Nobody respects the audio medium more than me. But I don't go to websites to hear music (except the occasional MySpace or YouTube), and I certainly don't want to hear audio when I'm searching the web for a product or service. I don't want to see video either, because it will be accompanied by audio, and I don't want my music interrupted. I can read quite well, thank you.

I respect a social media site like YouTube that allows the sharing of so much music. But that has nothing to do with website content. If you take their code and drop it into your blog to amplify some point, that's totally cool. But if you do that for someone else's site, you really can't call yourself a "content provider."

If you are a professional videographer and you create videos that become useful web content, then yes, you are playing the role of content provider, and the people in this field do amazing work. But very few videographers would describe themselves as "web content providers." My point is that the field of web content is almost exclusively the domain of the written word. There is valid content, like some podcasts and videos, that is not written, but the primary use of the Internet for commerce revolves around the written word.

The word "commerce" is operative here. The net contains mad quantities of audio and video that could be described as entertainment or art. But when I get home from the emergency room after having my leg broken in an auto accident, I'm looking for the phone number of a good lawyer in writing, not a movie or podcast of a lawyer talking. When I need a plumber because my pipe is broken, I don't want to watch a 13 minute short film about the history of copper pipes. I want to know how to get in touch with a local plumber, now, in writing.

One of the reasons I like reading things on the Internet is because it enables me to multitask. I killed my TV a long time ago, but if you are so inclined you can listen to music, watch a game on television with the volume down, and devour unlimited written information on the web all at the same time.

Try as they might, the dumb-us-down crowd is never going to get rid of the written word, and from my perspective, if you are not a professional writer, you are not a content provider.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Case Studies: Compelling Content?

Case studies have emerged as a content staple, and why not? What could be a better endorsement for a company than a narrative testimony of their success in providing a viable solution to a particular client? It's like, hey, if they were able to do that for Joe's Widgets, they can certainly do the same for me, right?

Okay, so I just opened this piece with three, count 'em three, consecutive questions. What's up with that? Do'h! There goes another one, what's going on here? Oh no!

I digress. Let me get to the point about case studies. I have a friend in the industry who was contracted by a client to write the content for their website. They wanted a case study on the site, and it so happens that a content person who had previously worked for them in-house composed a case study some time ago that never appeared. It was passed along to my friend, who says it was in fact very well written. But when she evaluated it as an SEO/SEM person who runs SEO tools in her browser, she could immediately tell that it was nothing but blatant shilling...in other words, pure bullshit.

This client of hers is a web design firm that offers SEO/SEM services. So the case study was intended to prove that their design and subsequent optimization and marketing provided value to their client. The fact is, however, that the website of the company around which the case study revolved was not doing well at all. The site had an Alexa rank of 13 million, and it was registering zero traffic according to Compete.com. Plus, when she read the case study, the "successes" therein were very vague, like "they are now placing in the top three positions of page one for several of their targeted terms." Really? Which ones? How about a screen shot? And how much traffic do these terms get?

The bottom line is that case studies are very easy to manipulate. Everyone has a friend who will publicly toot their buddy's horn (hey--don't go there) in return for a favor. If you are going to use case studies, you have to be very diligent and make sure that you are communicating verifiable information. You also need to highlight a genuinely successful case. If you are like this client that my friend had, and the best you can do is keep your fingers crossed hoping that nobody actually puts the subject of your case study under the microscope, you're better off not using case studies at all.

But, if you really do provide positive ROI, case studies are golden. If you successfully partner with your clients and deliver solutions that make (or save) them money, it will be plainly evident, and your case studies will be numerous and compelling. But if you are just jumping on the bandwagon expecting your content provider to make a silk case out of a sow's study, you are selling snake oil, baby. And you don't want to do that, do you?

(D'oh, there I go with the damned questions again!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nofollow Links

I am always trying to learn more about SEO as a content provider, and I think that things are always changing, so you need to be open minded and willing to absorb new knowledge if you are going to be successful. With this in mind, I'm going to share some thoughts on nofollow links and why building them is necessary for SEO.

Nobody knows Google's algorithms in totality, but it is commonly accepted that Page Rank is derived from quantity and quality of backlinks. The bots can only measure links that they can follow, so when the "nofollow" attribute is added to a hyperlink, it's not going to "count" toward Page Rank. And of course, people assume that Page Rank is what dictates where your page will rank for your targeted terms. So, many people automatically assume that nofollow links are worthless for SEO.

Since I don't work for Google, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I disagree with the notion that nofollow links have no value. One thing I do know about Google is that they have a lot of employees, and they have the resources to hire smart people to implement their objectives. Their objective in this case is to identify valid "authorities" on any given subject that is being searched for and rank them accordingly. It seems to me that everyday users don't care about nofollows--they just link to pages that they find to be relevant. Presumably, SEOs wouldn't try to accrue nofollow links, so they appear to be totally legitimate "votes" to the search engines. I think that Google is smart enough to recognize this, and I think that a site's "trust ranking" is impacted by nofollow links pointing toward it.

If you think that Page Rand determines SERPs, end of story, then you won't agree with this nofollow assessment. I don't think that Page Rank matters in most cases, and if I'm right, there is no reason not to try to accumulate nofollow links.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Internet Content Providers Launches New Site

I created this blog in an effort to generate some business a few months ago after staying busy through responding to ads and word of mouth referrals for a couple of years. It was pleasantly surprising to see the immediate response I got, and I've done quite well since I started the blog. This has sometimes made it hard for me to find the time to post as often as I'd like to, and it has also delayed my plans for putting up a proper web site to promote my services.

That having been said, I've been feeling the need to take Internet Content Providers to another level and expand our offerings. I will still do most of the writing myself, and all of the content that leaves our offices will be edited by yours truly, but we no longer want to put any limit on the number of clients we can serve.

I petitioned the Atlanta Web Design Group to see if anyone was willing to barter site design and hosting in exchange for content, and I had several people show interest. But nothing solidified, and I understand that serving the needs of your paying clients comes first. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I found a resource that has enabled me to design the site myself, and the basic foundation is already in place.

The new site is located at http://QualityContentProviders.com. If you have a moment, check it out and let me know if you have any feedback. It's been fun working on it so far and it will be a long process of ongoing optimization and marketing, but I'm glad to have been able to take this next step. Thanks to my clients and readers for your support, and I look forward to building Internet Content Providers into the writing resource juggernaut that we all know it is destined to become.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why The Content Dude?

I got interested in the business of SEO and Internet content by chance as I have explained in a recent post. It is one of those things that found me, and I'm glad that it did because it suits my talents perfectly. It also helps me around my "weaknesses." Let me tell you what I think my "weaknesses" are, and why I put the word in quotes.

I think that corporate culture values mediocrity over excellence, and before long, the goal of the management becomes to cover their own asses over their failures because they have run the bus into a muddy ditch from which they can never emerge. That is, unless they were to admit their mistakes, perhaps let some of their own go, and restructure with a different focus and intent. But that never happens. If you want to see a very poignant model depicting what I'm trying to convey, take a look at the last presidential administration. (And then take a look at the present one in about three years.) My weakness is that I can't accept the above, and I won't take pharmaceuticals so that I can.

I have never really been given the opportunity to be in a position of leadership, but I have always organically recognized failed processes around me when I have worked within a corporate structure. This is a recipe for disaster, and it's why it became necessary for me to somehow manifest a way to make a living outside of that type of structure.

So SEO work and content writing found me, and I have been able to build on my SEO knowledge and utilize my education and experience as a writer to make a living outside of the "Office Space" parody that many of us call our places of employment.

Now, the reason why I created the "Content Dude" persona here on the blog is to push the buttons of potential clients who understand and empathize with the absurdity of corporate culture. I'm not looking for a job. I'm looking for clients who need quality content delivered in a timely manner. And I'm not going to conform here and pretend I'm some sort of branded, faceless, boring but "dependable" purveyor of bland, safe product. I am indeed much more dependable and efficient than any content source of which I am aware, because I do the work myself, I'm actually a talented writer, and I have a well developed work ethic.

So you may visit this blog, and you might think...why would anyone try to present themselves as the "Content Dude" and take on the Big Lebowski as their alter ego when they are trying to attract business...? You can find the answer on a bumper sticker: If I have to explain it to you, you'll never understand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Does Google PageRank Matter?

I got into the business of SEO and content in a rather magical way. I have never done well with corporate jobs, and the biggest problem that I ran into was that the organizations that I worked for all seemed to value mediocrity. The old school bullshit about how if you show up every day and work hard you will be rewarded is not the way it goes down. If you are especially sharp and hard working, you are invariably seen as a threat. So I found myself out of work in the summer of 2006, and I was looking really hard for a job.

I would scour Craig's List rather obsessively, and I sent out dozens of resumes without success. Things were getting scary for me financially, and I was feeling rather helpless and frustrated. I noticed that people who had jobs that included the responsibility of writing help wanted ads for their companies couldn't spell or use proper syntax. These were the same people who were, presumably, trashing my resume without consideration. The absurdity of it all led me to write a post (inappropriately) in the Help Wanted section of CL stating that employers actually valued mediocrity over excellence. It was apparently flagged and taken down in a matter of a couple of hours.

I essentially forgot about it, but a couple of weeks later I got an email from a guy who said he read that post, he liked it, and he had an open position. We connected over the phone and he hired me.

What his company did was sell backlinks. I didn't know anything about SEO, or about backlinks, previous to this. He had a network of a couple of thousand bloggers who would blog about his clients' products and link to them. My job was to review their work and make sure that they followed the guidelines. Through doing this, I gained a pretty thorough basic to intermediate understanding of blogging and some elements of SEO. As you might expect, I created my own blogs and made some money blogging in this manner as well. I had no idea that it was in any way unethical.

I learned about Google PageRank and the supposed fact that a link from a higher ranked site was more valuable, and that PR determined position in the SERPs. I really lusted after PageRank, because you could make more money with your blogs if they had higher PR. I just assumed that it was indeed true that PageRank determined SERP position.

Every quarter when PageRank would change, I read a lot of the comments that people were making concerning their sites and blogs. Many of them would say that their sites got the same or even more traffic after losing PageRank, so it really doesn't matter. I believed that they were telling the truth, but to me, it did indeed matter because of the perception. My posts were worth more if my PR was higher.

Since then, we all know that Google "declared war" on paid links and wiped away tons of PR. I have never thought that was fair, and all it really did was punish the little guy or woman in my estimation. But, it is what it is, and you have to adjust and move on.

I recently read a little "course" by an SEO named Christoph Cemper, and he repeatedly emphasized his belief that PageRank means nothing when it comes to SERPs. What matters is where you place for your terms, period, and you may find that it has nothing to do with PR. Your customers are probably not going to be running SEO tools displaying your PR or even know what PageRank is. If you show up near the top of the first page for your targeted terms, you are achieving your goal.

Cemper arrived at his conclusion by testing and real life experience, and he is very well endorsed, so I take his observations to heart. But this blog is a good example as well. I chose the URL "InternetContentProviders.net" because I wanted to place for that term. And though at the moment the blog has a PR of zero, it does place at #1 in Yahoo and Bing and #5 in Google for my top term, and it has an Alexa rank under 800,000 though it is just a few months old. And yes, Alexa is slanted toward SEO industry types, but...I sell web content. So my very solid Alexa ranking indicates that a high percentage of my traffic is coming from SEO/SEM savvy users running the Alexa toolbar.

The answer to the question of whether or not Google PageRank matters is probably yes and no. In the realm of perception it matters, and some sites with high PR do very well in the SERPs. But apparently, it is very possible to do well for your terms even if you don't have much PR. And Cemper contends that links from pages that place well for relevant terms are highly valued even if they don't have a lot of green in that bar.

So there's a little food for thought from the Content Dude. If you need a reliable content resource who has a sense of humor, give me a call at (706) 424-3450

Monday, September 14, 2009

Optimum Keyword Density

I had a reason to poke around the web today looking for what SEOs have to say about optimal keyword density. I saw a variety of different opinions, and the one that resonated with me the most is the right brained perspective. As you might expect, most people are looking for a number, and I would say that the consensus that I saw was around 2%-7%. This makes sense to me as a general rule of thumb, but the answer that I was feelin' was something along the lines of, "It varies, go with what works."

It seems to me that the operative word here is "relevancy" in general. If you have a site or a blog that stays on a particular topic, or at least stays in touch with the general theme while extending outward, the content will naturally have an appropriate keyword density. When I write on this blog, I never think about using the words that I'm targeting. But, because the blog is about Internet content and SEO, the bots have no problem identifying it as a source of information relevant to the providing of Internet content. (Of course the URL doesn't hurt either, but that's another post.)

One SEO said that if you are concerned that you may have too many keywords on a page, you probably do, and that rings true. Yet, people report having success with up to 35% keyword density, which sounds like a lot, but it is working for their page, so why "fix" it? It's all about results, and I think that the left brain tendency of many people in technical fields leaves them looking for a numerical absolute where there really is none.

The place where I differ from many is that I am not going to clear it all up for you here in one fell swoop. Those who insist that they know for sure what is best in every instance are either lying, or deluded. However, what I am saying with a degree of certainty is that if you stay on point with your content without trying too hard, your keyword density will probably be just fine. If you do this and you are not seeing results, it may not be the content that's the problem. But it may be. And that's the way it goes.

This is not to say that intelligent, earnest, informed effort is of no value. The Content Dude is just about facing reality when it comes to SEO. I know that most people who read this blog won't take me seriously because I always say that there are no absolutes (and I drink too many White Russians). But I'm going to continue to be myself, state my case, and serve clients who respect honesty and the uncertain nature of predicting exactly how Google bots will see each individual page on the web.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Web Content: Frequency Is Key

Many savvy SEOs have been saying for years that Google Page Rank is really not important anymore. I have always felt as though this may be true in a real sense, but we all deal with perception, and the perception may be that high PR is a measure of success. But, this is a perception that needs to be altered, because indeed, PR means nothing. All that matters is how your page places in the SERPs for the terms you are targeting.

I've had a number of different blogs over the years, and without question, the frequent addition of fresh, original content is the most important element to building your feed. When you add content often, the bots recognize your location as a consistent source of new information. I remember reading John Chow stating that he updated his blog every single day, and that this was the early key to his success.

I'm a writer, not a techie, but I think that general logic is applicable to understanding SEO. The bots are going to be drawn toward fresh information and find static sources to be less relevant and trustworthy (unless they are often linked to as an authority on a specific topic). So the feed that is constantly being updated with relevant content is going to be indexed quickly and seen as a trusted source of dynamic information.

Updating your content often is not just a good way to get noticed by Google; it also increases your chances of writing something that goes viral, and/or developing a regular readership. If someone finds your site or blog and likes what you do, they may very well return if you keep posting regularly so that they have some reason to keep coming back.

With all of this being said, I have to mention that I have not been following my own advice with this blog. This is because I have been busy writing for others so that I can pay my bills, buy White Russians, and go bowling. But I need to make the time so that I can be sure that I optimize my viability going forward.

If this makes as much sense to you as it does to me, get in touch and we will be glad to provide you with consistent, fresh content specific to your niche at a price you can afford.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Phish and Internet Content

I always liked the Grateful Dead, and I saw around a hundred Dead shows back in the day. As a writer, you had to respect the Dead's content a great deal. Robert Hunter is the best lyricist that I have ever heard, and Barlow is pretty good himself. However, toward the end of Garcia's life, I found that the music was lacking in energy and focus, and I became bored by it. At the last show that I ever attended, At the Oakland coliseum in 1993 (I think that was the year), Garcia was flubbing lyrics and missing licks, and I was leaning back in my chair lamenting the time and money I had wasted planning my vacation around this trip to Oakland.

The guy sitting next to me leaned over and said into my ear, "You should go see Phish." I took his advice and went to a Phish show at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. It was a pretty small venue, and it was nowhere near full. They played all of what I know now to be Gamehendge. I was in awe.

I went on to see quite a few shows after that, and must say that I have always loved Phish. Some would say that their lyrical content is lacking at times, and that may well be true, but all in all their lyrics are solid and interesting. The reason I am mentioning all of this here is that when I went to see Phish, most of the people seemed very real and not easily fooled. They were forward thinking. And now, many of the people who I was dancing with back in 1993 are people who are in a position to contract someone to write their content.

I don't wear a tie, and though I know how to do it, I avoid "corporate-speak" when ordinary English will do. I sometimes wonder why so many people are so idealistic though jaded and perhaps hopeful when they are young, but then, when they are in a position to make change, they don't have the courage to do so. I keep it real here knowing that I may be alienated potential clients because I feel in my heart that I will eventually win over the "right" clients and develop meaningful relationships that help to usher in a more genuine landscape here on the 'net.

Of course, like I always remind everyone (especially myself) this may not happen. And that's fine, the difference between bounty and the bare necessities can be boiled down to Popov or the Goose. And that isn't much at all in the big picture.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Content Conveying Individuality

I have been writing a good bit of on-page content for a web design firm, and because I am contracted by them to write for their clients' sites, I haven't been getting the opportunity to speak with the companies that I'm writing about. I feel as though I have done a good job of conveying the rather stock message of "we provide quality goods or services at great prices, and our customer service is stellar." But, I think that truly good on-page content should answer a simple question: what sets your company apart from the many others who are offering the same thing?

I realize that larger corporations really don't have a soul, so there is no unique individuality that can be honestly conveyed. But the companies that I have been writing in behalf of are all small or relatively small businesses (mostly service companies) that are targeting a local demographic. I think that prospective customers would like to hear who you are, why you do what you do, and why they should choose you. If I as a content provider can make a compelling case in your behalf, your site should have a better than average conversion rate.

Many companies are sold on web design and SEO/SEM in a couple of meetings, and they trust that the "gurus" will provide content that will provide results. It's true that I can and do conduct keyword research and deploy content with the correct keywords in the proper density, and this does indeed help the site do well in the SERPs. But conversions are another matter. I'm not saying that stock "marketingspeak" is completely ineffective. I do however feel as though the best on-page content will let your customers know who you are, why you're good at what you do, and why you think that you deserve their business.

Here's where I am unique from others in the field. All of the above makes sense to me. But, I have no way of knowing if it's true, and I know for sure that it's not totally true. There may be some people who feel that content that is not stock is lacking in "professionalism." That's cool, because the whole concept of "professionalism" is laughable much of the time. It is often synonymous with disingenuous bullshit manifest in various different forms.

Anyway, it's almost time to go out for a few White Russians, followed by a couple of slices of pizza with garlic, anchovies and jalapenos. So, in closing, let me say that I am a content dude who believes that keeping it real will always yield the best results. But, I may be wrong.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Content Dude: Last Days In Vegas

These are my last few days in Las Vegas before I head back to Athens, Georgia. I originally moved from Athens to Sedona in Arizona about ten years ago, but economic opportunity brought me here to Las Vegas. I learned most of what I know about e-commerce, search engine optimization, and web content while I was here, and the overall experience has been good for me in many ways.

When you have never lived in Las Vegas, but you have visited here like many if not most people have, you may get a skewed idea of what it's like. My typical day consists of getting up, writing content and doing some marketing when I have time, and then doing yoga and walking a few miles before I eat my main meal. Then it's back to providing quality web content for my clients, and when I'm done for the day I'll play some guitar, read, and then go to bed. Once in a while I go out after working for a few White Russians, and there is the occasional show or road trip, but that's life in Vegas for me.

Most people that I know here, of all ages, lead similar lives. Going to the strip is not something that you want to do unless you are going to a concert or show. I have walked around on the strip once in eight years, when a friend was visiting.

As for gambling, I rarely indulge. When I am drinking White Russians in a bar I may play five or ten dollars in a poker machine just for shits and giggles. But gambling is a losing proposition, and the content dude is not about losing. Not that I haven't considered every possible way to apply my formidable intellect to the task of winning mad stacks of easy cash, but I have come up empty and simply lost interest in gambling. I became a good enough live or Internet poker player to have a shot any time I play, but I just got sick of it. In the end, even if you're successful, all you get is money, and what good is that? I'm back to playing guitar all the time instead, and maybe that's part of why I got into the vibe of moving back to Athens.

So if you are reading this, you're thinking, what does all of this have to do with Internet content? I found this site looking for sage advice or some sales pitch trying to convince me to get my content here. But all I'm getting is a regular person keeping it real and writing about his own life. What's up with that?

I'm not sure. All I can say is that this is what I felt like writing. I could have kept quiet entirely, but this came out instead. However, since I provide content for a living, you need to know if I can write well enough to populate your pages with readable material. So...here you have it, it's your call. And speaking of calls, there is no last call here in Vegas...I guess I'll miss that...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Writing Content To Your Demographic

I see a lot of web content that is not written with the intended audience in mind, and because of this, I feel that I should always have unlimited work and people should be trying to outbid one another for my services. I should be very highly paid and in extraordinary demand because I am not so smart that I'm a dumb ass. (I'm actually fortunate enough to have some awesome clients who understand my unique form of genius and keep me pretty busy, but I have to feign indignation to make my point.)

We have all seen straight-up poorly written content, or content that was clearly written by someone who does not have a firm command of the English language. For that reason alone I should be swimming in work, but I'm not even trying to go there right now. I'm talking about content that is written as though it was a white paper on a technical matter. End users don't need too much information. They just want to know what the thing that you are trying to sell will do for them and why they should buy your version of it. Making them feel as though you must be really smart because they don't know what the hell you're saying is not the most effective approach to writing content.

I understand that many people who spend their lives immersed in the technical side of computing are not trying to flex their knowledge when they try to explain an application. They just see things from behind the scenes as it were, and that's understandable. This is why writers should compose web content, not designers. Let me research the product and understand what it does, and I'll explain it in a way that the average end user can understand.

Now you may say that the demographic for many products are techies in their own right. I would counter by saying yes and no. There are countless small businesses that don't have an IT department--but they may have a hell of a need for killer apps that make their lives simpler. Plus, you have decision makers who are not in IT who can be sold on a product and inform IT of the fact that the company will be using this solution. That is, if they can understand what it is by reading the content that describes it.

My premise is that you should write to the audience you are trying to reach. Aside from potential customers, your content should be telling the Google bots what you do and what you sell. I am not a designer, but when I use SEO tools to analyze keyword density I notice that a lot of expensive looking sites don't have any keyword focus. The bots are not even reading the written content, they are seeing code that apparently tells them nothing about the purpose of the site (For instance, "Adobe" as the top keyword on a site that has nothing to do with Adobe). I would hold out the possibility that there is something at play here that I just don't understand, but the sites I'm talking about are not doing well.

Then there are the sites with quality writing (but way too much jargon) that do not consistently remind the bots that the purpose of the site is to sell widgets in Chicago. Proving that you know all the business school lingo is cool...at the job interview (maybe). But if you find yourself writing content, serve your client and don't be too uppity to sell his frickin' widgets in plain English. And by the way, I invite you to check the keyword density of this blog.

Of course all of the successful sites on the web were done by amazing designers who understand good design with SEO focus, and they contain content that sells. I'm talking about the rest of them here.

I purport to be a content dude. I am humble, and I know I have a lot to learn, but I also know that my content work would be an improvement on the majority of the sites I've seen. Let good writers who are focused and detail oriented enough to consider keyword density write your content, and let the designers design.



Disclaimer: I do sound kind of pissed off when I read this back to myself, but I'm not really. I don't get pissed off. This is a persona I adopted to make a point. I will always be an iconoclast no matter what I do so this is just that coming to the surface. I am actually drinking White Russians and listening to Radiohead as I write this and smiling rather dumbly...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Internet Content Providers: Just Content, No B/S

When you are an Internet bullshit artist, perception is everything. But when you are a quality Internet content provider, the thing that matters is how well you write, your understanding of SEO, and your ability to provide your clients with quick turnaround times. The Content Dude enjoys his White Russians, and he does indeed place an emphasis on bowling, womanizing, and the occasional Cuban cigar, but in the end, the cat lives for content.

There is something to be learned from the Content Dude's approach to writing. He doesn't write to please his clients at all. He doesn't write things that are "just good enough," either. The Dude writes to please himself. Whether he is writing about radiator repair materials or the feasibility of teleportation, the Dude simply shapes and fine tunes the material until it is to his liking. The fact is that Internet Content Providers' clients are always more than satisfied with the Content Dude's work, which is why he has money for Stoli, Kahlua, Milk, and bowling. But that is simply a symptom of his personal artistic integrity.

If you do what you're good at it, and you do your very best, and you do it just because, good things happen to you. The perception that I'm referring to here is related to the fact that it's been over a week since I posted on our blog. It may look like the Content Dude is not on top of things. Allow your mind to wander, it's okay...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Athens, GA Web Content

When you are in the business of web content and search engine optimization, you are supposed to post very relevant and useful information on your blog in the hope that people will link to it. Then, you will look like an authority in your field. However, true revelatory insight that everyone hasn't heard before is rare. But if you are linked to a lot, you get mucho Google juice, and everyone wants some of that, so you develop an insouciant following that may have nothing to do with your unique brand of genius.

But that's the way that the 'net rolls, and it's cool. I don't have any information for you today that is going to make you $48,000 this month. (If I did, why would I tell you for $49.95?) But I want my clients and potential clients to get to know me, so I am going to write about the fact that I'm moving to Athens, GA on the 12th of August.

I grew up in New Jersey, so Athens is not a true homecoming, but I lived there about ten years ago and it really felt good. I'm a musician as well as a writer and I went there to try to get noticed musically. I achieved that, and was made an offer that I found to be insulting at the time, but I was just plain wrong. So, I am coming full circle and going back to Athens in an effort to contribute to the artistic culture and see if anybody is interested in the music that I play. I'm also going to do what I can to get content clients local to me in Athens. Writing content is a "day job" that you don't have to do during the day, and starving artists have to eat, right?

I like writing content and look forward to balancing my content business with my musical aspirations. That is, until I am a very rich and famous celebrity. I will then be unavailable to write content for you. But, you will be able to say that you used to buy content from the Content Dude before he was an international superstar. That is, if you contract my services while they are still available to the general public.

Wouldn't it sadden you to think that you passed on an opportunity to own content that was written by a jet-setting international Grammy winning A-List mega-ultra musical demigod of epic proportions? Don't take that chance. Act now and get in touch so we can take care of your content needs while we still can.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Corporate Content Sucks

I have always been an unconventional thinker, and I have never trusted cookie-cutter "normalcy." I like interesting people who keep it real. I feel the same way about businesses. Unfortunately, the business landscape is dominated by corporations who have no personality or tangible substance. They are not people who happen to sell a product or service. They are soulless entities with only one aim: profit for their shareholders. This shows in their content.

As a potential customer, I can get just about anything from many different sources. What would convince me to buy from you would be the value you were offering me of course, but then I would consider whether you seemed cool to me. I would also try to get a feel for how you treated your employees. I like to support peeps who are nice, smart, positive, aware, and trying to be part of the solution, as it were, rather than contributing to the problem. What is the "problem?" Being fake, phony, shallow, disingenuous, greedy, and willing to do or say anything for a buck.

It seems to me as though people could have a lot of fun and allow their own unique personalities to shine while they are earning a living. Being yourself, however, is not "professional." The idiocy that is the necktie tells the story here. Why would anyone choose to wear a tight collar around their neck and then wrap this ridiculous piece of fabric around it? It seems like this custom is telling you that in order to "look professional," you have to feel uncomfortable. Clearly, when it comes to work and doing business, we are conditioned to believe that we must become some sort of amalgam of what "officialdom" expects from us. But who started all of this convention, and who put them in charge?

I think that the wave of the future is transparency and genuine communication (and no neckties). Lying and twisting the truth in an effort to make a sale is lame. None of that works on me. What would get my attention is a human voice of intelligence, wit, and good humor that honestly explained what was being offered and why I should buy it from that source.

Corporations are not real people. The people who work for corporations are not real people either (while they are working)--they become a projection of the corporation's expectations. So even though the corporate voice is not real, it has become the standard that the rest of us tend to mimic.

What would get my attention is a site that has content that is speaking to me like a real person (like this one). But the opposite is true for most people. They "trust" slickness and corporate jargon. So the Content Dude will continue to wait patiently, and in due time, the tie-less shall inherit the earth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cheesy Twittering

I know that there are people who (apparently) make a lot of money by using bots on Twitter for spam marketing, but to me, that sucks. The whole practice of spam-botting in general sucks, but I am going to stick to Twitter here.

Let me state this disclaimer: this is a vent. Nobody will care that I wrote this, and nothing well change because I wrote it. But the Dude of Content needs to keep it real, and he swims below the surface (a surface that is often times muddled with Kahlua, but I digress).

People who are shamelessly always trying to make a buck on every Twitter post are almost as bad as those who use the bots. It shows such a lack of real integrity and class that it is amazing, but here is the rub, and it permeates our entire culture: C.R.E.A.M., as the great Wu Tang Clan recognized so many years ago. Regardless of what you do to make money, be it violent, ruthless, unfair, unethical, illegal, or just sadly cheesy like the Twitter spammers, it doesn't matter. You have succeeded. That is our culture.

You can ruin formerly good things, and nobody cares, as long as you emerge with money (and power)--like Twitter--and you can just call yourself an "Internet entrepreneur" and people will not only not think you're wack, they will climb under your capstone. (There are bigger things that conform to this same principle, like governments, corporations, religions, and professional sports teams, but this is about Twitter dammit : > )

So when you choose to not be a dick and ruin things, you don't get any of the money. But if you join in the wackness, you lose your soul, either on a pretty deep level because you consciously chose to do so, or to a lesser extent because you were too shallow to have much or any soul in the first place.

All of this is what makes a man become a Dude, which to me means that you recognize that life in this culture we call modern America is a parody that makes no sense. Time for a White Russian...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Internet Marketing, Google and Ethics

As an Internet content provider, I write what my clients ask me to write. If I am directly writing on their web site or blog, of course I know where the content will appear and I know what they are doing with it. There are other instances, however, when they ask me to send them some articles in a .doc file, and once I do this I have no idea what they are going to do with the content. I have done my job and violated none of Google's guidelines in writing it, so in a very real sense it is none of my business how they use content that they have purchased from me.

I recently had the experience of getting a pretty big, time sensitive article writing project for a client. I had done similar work for him, and I just submitted the articles, got paid, and that was it. One day when I was in the middle of this assignment I got an email from the client with the heading "Google caught us." He told me to stop writing the pieces, saying that "Google isn't running the stories anymore." I don't know exactly what he meant by that or where he was trying to post the articles, which were perfectly well written and not even stuffed with keywords. There was just a little call to action at the end of the pieces suggesting that people visit his site.

He then asked me to write a couple of articles per day for his site. At this point I didn't really want to work with him, but I didn't want it to seem like I was judging him, so I did it.

Then, yesterday, he told me that he had more work for me. He said he had come up with a "truly original idea" that involved spamming Craigslist. As he was talking I knew I wouldn't do it, but once again, I didn't want to offend him. I told him that I was a registered Craigslist user and that I can't post more than three legitimate ads per day. He said he had many different Craigslist accounts. I told him Craigslist will recognize the same IP address. He said he has an IP scrambler, and then kind of trailed off into how he'll get another person to post, but he would ask me to write the content. He changed the subject before I could respond.

I wrote him earlier today and told him that I couldn't work with him any longer. I won't even write for his site. I told him I was too busy because I didn't want to preach to him, but I would guess that he understands the real reason. He had also recommended me to a friend, and I assume that I won't be hearing from him, but that's fine.

Turning away customers is difficult, because as I learned in college, customers are good for business. But I'm in this for the long haul and I am going to stay within Google's guidelines, remain true to my own ethics and make the 'net a little bit better by providing content that doesn't suck. The Content Dude won't abide spammers, and hopefully, you won't either.

(I am adding this a month or so later: dude stiffed me for the money he owed me to boot!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Search Engine Karma & Collectivity

Most of us would like to find a quick path to success, and our financiers certainly want to see rapid returns on their investments, so this is built into the system. Finding a way to make money fast is not just unrealistic thinking or personal greed--it can the a means of economic survival. I am an honest and ethical Content Dude at heart, but I have to eat like everyone else, and I can't change the world (though God knows I have looked foolish at times trying). Mostly out of naivete, I have implemented SEO content techniques that are not grossly unethical, but just kind of annoying, over the last few years. Link building was taught to me by someone who had a lot of temporary monetary success with shill blogs. Those efforts did not yield the fruit that I would have liked, but all was not lost: I learned something.

Do think that there is such a thing as "search engine karma?" I do. Perhaps the intentions of the content writer impact the success of the content in capturing readers' attention and moving up the SERPs. If things are always evolving, even by the millisecond, it would seem to me that algorithmic functions that contain significant density could morph in ways that cannot be measured because they would change by the time you took the measurement. This is true even if you had the means to measure a rather abstract set of probabilities.

But that's not all. I posited the notion on the Terence McKenna message boards back around 1997 that the Internet is an external manifestation of Jung's collective unconscious. Further, it has become a vehicle of synchronicity.

In other words, when you have an intention and put it out on the Internet, which is what search engines capture, you get a series of results or possible "next steps." I am suggesting that this computing process is intertwined with the human consciousness now, and all of the same principles that the mystics have contemplated and recognized since the dawn of humanity are present when someone submits their consciousness to the Internet.

It is ego vs. transcendence to collective cooperation (Oneness). If you are in ego, you see the Internet and Google as entities that you can trick and spam for money. If you are in transcendence to collective cooperation, you see the Interent as a way to express yourself and your intentions and place them into the "cloud," as it were. If you are free of mental/intentional "blockages" (firewalls?) you will receive results that will lead you to the next step along the path of realizing your intentions.

Anyway, that's how I experience the Internet and life in general, and the Content Dude is all about keeping it real, so we have laid out some food for thought. In so doing we have risked our reputation as sane, middle of the road, safe thinkers, but what the hell, we want to work with people we like. Our Internet Content Providers SEO content tip of the day: keep you search engine karma clean, and good things will happen for you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cloud Computing and Google Apps

When you work on the Internet, part of your job is to keep yourself up-to-date about what is going on in the field of computing. You invariably catch concepts on the periphery of your attention, and before long, they get all of your attention, and you spend some time learning about them. Cloud computing is one of those things that has elbowed its way onto my plate as something I need to know about. The tipping point for me was reading about a round B of financing for Hadoop start-up Cloudera on Cloud Computing Journal, and that led me to some research and now I know a little bit about what is relevant to me about cloud computing.

Users don't need to know how cloud computing works. We only need to know what it does for us. This is seems to be the approach to explaining it that the industry itself is taking, and that is all well and good to me. I am a writer by trade, and I chose that path because I am not a very technical person.



The simplest solution is the best one says Occam's Razor. If someone asked you what an iPod was it would be best to just show them yours. Cloud computing is similar. If you have ever used Google Apps, like Google Maps or Google Docs, you are using cloud computing. PayPal, Facebook, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services are also examples of cloud computing. Cloud computing allows access to "software as a service" that exists on the Internet, rather than being unique to your computer. If you need something other than your computer or mobile computing device to access an application, it is not using cloud computing.

A big buzzword in the field of cloud computing is "scalability." This means that computing resources exist in the cloud that can meet your needs as they scale up or down and you pay for them accordingly. You won't find yourself waiting around for financing to buy additional servers when you need the space, and if things slow down, you won't be stuck with hardware you aren't using. So cloud computing is relevant to you if you need to know how to get to the dentist across town or if you need to process unlimited quantities of information quickly and efficiently.

So that's a little bit about cloud computing. I am still thinking about it, but it is very elegant in its efficiency, and rather inclusive in that it provides pay-as-you-go scalability that levels the playing field to some degree in terms of access to resources. This is true for research as well as for commercial applications. Personally, the Content Dude has always had his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds, so cloud computing just kind of feels right if you know what I mean.

References:

Cloud Computing Journal
Wikipedia
Salesforce
Google Apps Software as a Service

Horizon Report

Monday, June 29, 2009

Links to 34 Social Networking Sites

We recently posted about the value of social networking for Internet marketing and search engine optimization. User generated content is a beautiful thing, and social networking communities are quite elegant in the way that they populate themselves.

There is no shortage of social networking sites, and they are all interesting and useful in their own right. We have compiled a list of 34 links to some of the top social networking sites to share with you. There is a Wikipedia page that has these and more listed without links, but here is a nice compilation of the most popular social networking sites in one place.

Even if you only feel as though you have the time to participate in a limited number of networks, it is good to visit all of these if you are interested in e-commerce and Internet marketing so that you understand what's out there. And of course you always learn something whenever you seek, right?

http://amiestreet.com (music)
http://www.anobii.com (books)
http://www.athlinks.com (endurance athletics)
http://www.avatarsunited.com ("..Facebook for your virtual personas")
http://www.bebo.com (general social networking)
http://www.buzznet.com (music/culture)
http://www.cafemom.com (moms)
http://www.care2.com (healthy and green living)
http://www.thequad.com (college life)
http://www.deviantart.com (art)
http://www.eons.com (baby Boomers)
http://www.exploroo.com (travel social networking)
http://www.facebook.com (general social networking)
http://www.flickr.com (photo sharing)
http://www.fubar.com (online bar-happy hour)
http://www.gather.com (article, video, picture sharing)
http://www.geni.com (genealogy)
http://www.imeem.com (music, video)
http://www.kiwibox.com (general social networking for teens)
http://www.linkedin.com (business networking)
http://www.livejournal.com (blogging)
http://www.meettheboss.com (business networking)
http://www.MySpace (general social networking)
http://www.ning.com (general social networking)
http://www.opendiary.com (blogging)
http://www.plaxo.com (aggregator)
http://www.plurk.com (micro-blogging)
http://www.ryze.com (business networking)
http://www.tagged.com (general social networking)
http://www.talkbiznow.com (business networking)
http://www.taltopia.com (artistic community)
http://www.tumblr.com (mico-blogging)
http://www.twitter.com (mico-blogging)
http://www.xanga.com (blogging)


SearchPlacementPros.com will use the latest search engine optimization strategies to get your site to the top.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SEO Tip: Working Improves Productivity

When you are building an SEO content business, or any search engine optimization or Internet marketing enterprise, you need to look for every edge that is available to you. Most of us have our ears to the ground, doing a lot of social networking and invariably picking up all sorts of SEO tips and trends, and that is how it should be. Web 2.0 is about interactivity and information sharing, and being open and receptive to new concepts as they take shape and subsequently evolve is all part of the experience.

With that in mind, I have been engrossed in a compelling study concerning productivity in the workplace. Here at Internet Content Providers we are of course in the the business of web content and search engine optimization, but this study is relevant to all businesses. The Department of Labor has made a truly stunning discovery, and we would all do well to take heed: working at work actually increases productivity.

"Our findings are astounding: By simply sitting down and doing work, employees can dramatically increase their output of goods and services. In fact, 'working' may revolutionize the way people work." said Charlotte Ponticelli, spokesperson for the Department of Labor.

Apparently, when control groups applied their focus and concentration on a task for which they were receiving monetary compensation, their productivity exceeded that of other groups who were tasked with the responsibility of doing nothing.

This is certainly food for thought. Here at Internet Content Providers, we are always looking for any competitive edge that we can find, and we will most certainly consider the possibility that work may indeed enhance output.

What Is Social Networking? (And Why Does My Business Need It?)

"Social networking" is a product of what is called "Web 2.0." Social networking has become a huge component of Internet marketing strategies, and it will only get bigger. By participating in social networking on the Internet, you are humanizing your brand and developing relationships with others who are relevant to your niche. This of course includes potential customers, so "targeted social networking" involves identifying your desired demographic and positioning yourself among them "socially" on the net. Social networking is something like a big networking cocktail party where you are being friendly and socializing...but where you also have your business cards at the ready.

"Keeping it real" is one of the aims of effective social networking. The whole thing is evolving, but I think our Content Dude understands the perfect balance. You want to further your business aims through relationship building without coming across like a pitchman.

How do you do all of this? To network at a cocktail party, you have to show up...you have to be "present." So to participate in social networking on the web, you need "presences" within popular social networking sites. You build a presence and animate it with content that is borne of participation in ongoing discussions. This ongoing interactive content becomes the persona or voice of your company as it exists in the social network.

Which social networks a particular business should participate in can vary depending on the niche of the business and their desired demographic.

Having a company blog is square one, because unlike most e-commerce websites, which are marketing vehicles, a blog contains dynamic content with a human voice behind it. You can comment on other blogs, get your blog listed in relevant directories, and use it to build relationships.

Twitter is huge. Twitter is what it is, but it is also going to be used more and more as a search engine. Rumors abound that Google is trying to buy Twitter. Cultivating a Twitter presence and gaining authority in your niche is a must, sooner rather than later.

Businesses can have a Facebook page. They can also have a MySpace page and use it for networking. Linked In groups are great targeted social networking vehicles. YouTube provides another extremely valuable social networking channel.

Squidoo is a blogging platform and social network
of sorts that is very useful and well conceived.

Internet Content Providers offer our clients a suite of social networking services tailored to their particular niche with a primary focus on the ones that I touched on above. We would love to help you get the word out about the incredibly fantastic stuff that you have to offer the world!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Internet Content Providers Hard at Work

The most important thing you need to know about Internet Content Providers is whether or not we can provide you with good content. If you feel confident that we can do the job, you will be wondering about our prices for quality SEO content for your website or blog, and I am quite certain that our fees are more than competitive. We actually charge way too little, but that's just the way we roll.

It is tough to spend your days painstakingly preparing top quality content for your clients, and it can be exhausting. We thought we would share some video of a typical day at the job here at the Internet Content Providers campus. It is a difficult gig indeed, but somebody has to do it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quality Web Content: 10 Writing Tips

10.) Don't rely on spellchecker features.

Most of us have been bitten by this and probably don't need the reminder, but when you type "that dog over there id cute" instead of "that dog over there is cute" you are not providing quality content. (Unless perhaps you are on some kind of canine psychology tip.)

9.) Be very humble.

The more you think that you know it all and you make no mistakes, the less you will learn and the more mistakes you will make.

8.) Listen to music when you are writing. Preferably music without words, like jazz.


Why? Because music makes us happy and good words come to happy people. I recommend instrumental tunes because music with words can conflict with trying to find your own.

7.) Look back at your writing with a critical eye.

You may notice an error...but better than that, you may notice that you are pretty damned good. You can't get far without confidence (and talent).

6.) Look up everything obsessively.

Never guess about correct grammar or citing of fact. If you aren't sure about something, look it up. Not just because it is the professional thing to do, but perhaps more importantly, because looking stuff up is how you learn and get better.

5.) Don't write content if you don't like doing it.

If you don't enjoy writing, and you do it for some other reason...do yourself a favor and find something that you like doing.

4.) Recognize that using key terms elegantly takes time and care.

Don't throw in the towel and write junk in order to use your terms.

3.) If you can't write, don't.

Don't try to write professionally in a language you don't understand completely. And that goes double if you are a native English speaker who doesn't write very well.

2.) Pay painstaking attention to detail.

Providing error-free content is huge. To err is human...but unacceptable.

1.) Take pride in your work.

If you take a lot of pride in your work, people will surely notice!

SEO Quake: Free SEO Tool With Firefox AND Internet Explorer Versions

I have been using SEO for Firefox for quite a while, and I definitely recommend the tool. It is kind of hard to write about free SEO tools, because some people will yawn like, yeah dude, tell me something I don't know. But others might find these tips to be useful, so...if you are not familiar with SEO for Firefox, check out the YouTube vid below:



I came across another tool the other day called SEO Quake, and it does for the most part what SEO for Firefox does, like tell you how many backlinks sites that you visit have, their Google Page Rank, SERPs, etc. One thing about SEO Quake that definitely makes it worth putting out there is the fact that there is an Internet Explorer version as well as a Firefox version.

When you can see all of these parameters when you visit a web site it is like seeing another dimension behind the scenes. I don't usually dig as deeply as you can as a matter of course with every site I visit, but when you are analyzing sites from an SEO perspective these free tools are invaluable.

By the way, you have to respect the fact that I am recommending free SEO tools that will show you that this blog is very new. But, perhaps unfortunately, the content dude is not very new at all, so you can trust that my content has the polish and SEO understanding that comes with a good bit of experience.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Content by a Native English Speaker

The root cause of the American economic collapse is globalization, which takes jobs from Americans and leaves us competing with people from other countries who can live well on $100 a week (or in many cases much less). I want to keep it real, and if I lose a client or two by speaking my mind here, well, so be it. I think that we should make a point of giving work to people who live here in America, even if it costs a little bit more to do so. It is the socially responsible thing to do, but there is another factor at play that many people never consider.

When you make "money saving" decisions that put people out of work, your own business will suffer in the long run. Why? Because unemployed people can't buy your product or service. That is why layoffs as a response to an economic downturn are asinine. If a centralized government was to bail out anyone at all it should be the rank and file, not the top executives. The workers spend. The top execs invest outside of the United States.

If a business is going to make money in America, a plurality of Americans need to have money to buy your goods or services. Either that, or you can incur incredible amounts of corporate debt, pay yourself a huge salary and bonuses with that borrowed money, and then get free money from your cronies in the government to stay afloat when your company goes belly up. Of course, your personal compensation is "yours to keep" regardless of the company's failure. That's great work if you can get it, but most of us cannot.

So when you buy content from a company in India, you are helping to sink the American economy. But you also hurt yourself, because I can't buy your stuff if you don't buy mine.

There is another reason why you should buy your content from native English speakers. Consumers care about quality content. When you can't see the people running the store, and you don't even know where the store is located, you might be reluctant to take the plunge and buy something online. The content on your site is your voice, your online persona. If it sounds like the person who wrote your content doesn't understand the English language very well, what signal are you sending to your visitors? If you don't care about quality content, why would you be expected to care about quality products, services, or best practices when handling sensitive customer information?

I have nothing against people from other countries. I just feel as though I would like to support my own here in the country where I was born. The uneven playing field in terms of what a dollar will buy here versus India or many other countries makes it impossible for an American to compete in terms of price, so it is up to all of us to do the right things and support one another. The politicians only have plans for publicly held corporations who lose hundreds of billions of dollars. They impose no tariffs or disincentives on foreign companies who have unfair advantages, and they have no free millions or billions for you or me.

I encourage everyone to patronize other independent American businesses and recognize that we all have a responsibility to one another. By all means look for quality goods or services at a fair price...but recognize the realities of the cost of living here in our homeland versus that of China or India.

If you feel as though what I am saying makes sense, and you need some quality content written by a native English speaker, please drop me an email. We'll be more than glad to provide your site with a voice of clarity and integrity and treat you the way that we like to be treated when we are the customer.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SEO Content: Keep It Real

The best web content is genuine, sincere, and either entertaining, informative, or both. Sometimes we engage in wishful thinking and imagine that other people are somehow easily fooled by marketing copy when we are not, and this is a mistake. Of course quality web content is going to make a case for the product it is promoting, but if you sound like the "Sham-Wow guy" in print, visitors to the site won't take any of the content seriously because it will sound so partisan and condescending. Content providers need to strike a balance between providing enticing product descriptions, features, and benefits without coming across like a disingenuous carnival barker that nobody could really trust.

Quality Internet content is going to, in the long run, speak for itself. Visitors to sites that are populated with good content are going to notice, and the sites will earn a modicum of respect for the content alone. Think of website content as analogous to the atmosphere in a restaurant. Indeed, the food is at the core of an eatery, and for a website, the products or services that are being offered are our menu. Web designers are the architects who create the overall layout of the restaurant space, leaving it sturdy, functional, attractive, and ready to decorate.

The content is the interior design, the mood of the place, the details that give you an idea of where the ownership is coming from. The more professional, real and sincere the content is, the more the visitor to the site can feel a personal connection and get the idea that these are the people that he or she would really like to do business with. It's like going to a locally owned Italian bistro that is built on age-old family recipes and genuine heartfelt hospitality as opposed to a cloned chain franchise in a strip mall.

There are virtually no businesses that have zero competition (there is mad collusion in some industries, like big oil, but work with me here). So, in the end, you have to set yourself apart from your competitors in some way if you are going to be successful. To use the restaurant analogy, the food is obviously important, but atmosphere, character, and friendly service can keep you coming back to a place because you also have an enjoyable consummate experience every time you go there.

If the people who are writing content for your website are strictly marketers, not writers, or if they have no ability to get a feel for what you are trying to convey as a company, your web presence will be sterile and stock. The best content involves developing a voice that you feel comfortable with as the expression of your business presence on the web. The way that you get that is to work with real people like us. Let us know what your philosophy is and how you would like to come across to your customers. If it has something to do with the Golden Rule, as it were, we'll be able to convey that message in a professional but down-to-earth manner and provide you with quality content that your visitors will respect.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Top Ten Reasons To Partner With Us For Content

10.) We are the content providers with the best turnaround time.

9.) Intelligent, well written content engenders consumer confidence.

8.) We understand your demographic and tailor our content accordingly.

7.) We can provide content on any subject.

6.) We are real people who actually live off the profit we make from our business rather than VC. This is what we do, and we are here to stay.

5.) Our content is crafted with care and attention to detail.

4.) We like what we do, and we're good at it.

3.) Our prices for top quality web content are a great value.

2.) We use your keywords smoothly and in the natural flow of the content.

1.) Because you want your site or blog to have better content than your competitors!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Partnering, Not Pandering

I want to have long term success, and I feel that the best way to build lasting relationships is by being honest. In business, people often use a surface facade when they are communicating, telling people who can help them exactly what they want to hear. I am a nice person and I keep it real so that a genuine relationship can develop. This is not to say that I have no understanding of decorum, but there is a difference between being professional and being fake.

One of the nice things about working on the web is that things tend to speak for themselves. In most cases, when you see a well designed web site, you recognize it, and when you read quality content, it is self evident.

Ideally, I would like to work with individual clients and web marketing and design people who are cool, smart, down-to-earth, and laid back. I want to partner beyond the ego and work together like different aspects of the same whole. In other words, you think it and I provide it.

The Internet is about efficiency and getting things done rather than talking about them so we have lots of time to do other things. That is where my head is, and I am all about building relationships with creative people who feel the same way.

One last thing is that I write well. Some things never change, and quality always matters, regardless of the medium. Don't settle for passable content written by someone who isn't really a writer. In the long run, people will notice that you have built on a flawed foundation; you will hit the wall, and entropy will set in.