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.


Cloud Computing Journal
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.

Technorati Profile

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.