Ken Morico https://kenmorico.com Marketing, Dev, Blogging, & Consulting Thu, 02 Jul 2020 16:45:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://kenmorico.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-ken-head-medium-32x32.jpg Ken Morico https://kenmorico.com 32 32 130146058 Use iPad as a Phone – Tools, Tips, and Tricks https://kenmorico.com/use-ipad-as-phone https://kenmorico.com/use-ipad-as-phone#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2020 08:33:00 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1390 Want to buy a new iPad Air and pay nothing for it? Kill your voice service. It's possible -- right now. I show you the tools and tricks to make it happen and fatten your wallet.

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Want to buy a new iPad Air / iPad Pro and pay nothing for it? Kill your voice service. It’s possible — right now.

Are you wondering how much more you could accomplish on the road if you just used an iPad instead of just a phone or bulky computer? Are you a digital nomad and just want the most lightweight solution with flexible calling features offered by Google Voice?

Phone plans can be expensive, especially post paid plans that tie you to a new device to reduce the cost. Like most things, data service plans are cheaper if you can pre-pay with cash upfront.

Using an iPad as a phone will vary in cost. The cheapest method involves just using any available WiFi connection and using Google Voice or FaceTime Audio. If you have a post-paid phone plan, you can spend more for the convenience of using your cell phone plan with your iPad. I’ll explain in more detail below.

Next year, I’m thinking of ditching the iPhone and just carrying an iPad. The iPad Airs and Pros are much smaller and lighter than they used to be. Plus, if you do carry a laptop as well, you can now use the iPad as a second display (using Apple’s Sidecar feature)! Here’s how I plan to accomplish using an iPad as a phone / primary device:

NEW! Hear my audio commentary about using an iPad as a phone:

New! The iPhone (8 Plus / XR / iPhone 11) has a 5.5-inch screen and some landscape User Interface views not available on the smaller / older iPhones. If you are looking into getting an iPad it might be a viable alternative.

iPads Can Now Make / Receive Regular Phone Calls (with an iPhone Nearby OR Post-paid phone plan)

With the introduction of iOS 8 iPads (and Macs) can make and receive calls through an available iPhone connection. If you want to keep your iPhone and just want calling features on the iPad, this is now available. It works great too. When you get a call on your iPhone, your iPad will also ring. You can talk through the mic on the iPad. You can also make calls using the Contacts app on the iPad. Pretty handy. You MUST be using Wifi for this to work.

If you have a post-paid phone plan you can use the “Add WiFi Calling For Other Devices” setting (under Cellular – > WiFi Calling setting in the iPhone settings app) to receive calls on your iPad without the phone being nearby.

The iPad Vertical Messenger Bag Matters

What's in my bag - iPad, Apple Earbuds, small messenger bag

Mid-size messenger bag… not great for everyday use… pretty bulky

I purchased a light vertical messenger bag and it’s perfect for carrying an iPad plus a few other things like business cards, earbuds, and a phone. You can see how much smaller it is compared to a normal / mid-size bag. The light vertical messenger bag has a nice durable canvas material (kind of like outdoor tent material) and in gray it’s really stylish with black accents. It also comes in black. Plus, it’s only $22.

Small vertical messenger bag for iPad
V7 Small vertical messenger bag for iPad is great for everyday use – light, not bulky

Remove Voice Plan – Mobile Phones

Removing the regular voice service should save me around $50 / month. This will pay for a new iPad Air just in the first year. Plus, the audio quality will be better using FaceTime Audio / Google Voice / Hangouts instead of cellular voice. Plus, iPads have much better battery life than iPhones.

Google Voice App – use to make free calls

Google Voice App – use to make free calls
Facetime Audio

Google Voice has some handy features like voicemail transcription and call & text message forwarding. It can send received text messages through email as well.

Disadvantages of Using iPad as iPhone

There are a few thing you lose, but I am willing to make some sacrifices.

  • Portability
  • Better camera present in iPhone (the iPad camera isn’t bad – but certain models don’t have a Flash or multiple lenses)
  • No vibration feature (used for some games as well as receiving calls)
  • True 911 services (I’m looking into alternatives)
  • Can’t work with an Apple Watch (at least not yet)

What To Do With an Old iPhone?

IPhones have wifi built-in, so you can still make and receive calls using the Google Voice app. Also, you can activate the hotspot functionality on the iPad and take the iPhone with you when you go places. It should work within 30 feet or so of the iPad.

If you don’t want that old iPhone you could sell it on eBay, give it to a family member, or trade it in at a department store like Walmart, Target, or even the Apple store. I think retailers are getting smarter in their thinking that users want the latest tech and the old tech needs to be unloaded in a way that gives some value to existing customers.

The camera on the iPhone 7/8/X/11 is usually better than an iPad, so you may want to keep it around just as a camera. Plus, iPhones make pretty good iPods for night-time listening.

People have mentioned that you can make emergency calls with deactivated iPhones. You may want to see if this is the case and keep that old iPhone for 911 service.

Still Not Sure You Want to Use Your iPad as a Phone? New Options From AT&T

If all this seems like too much for you, AT&T is making it cheaper to keep your existing iPhone after your contract expires. Stiff competition is lowering costs a bit. Verizon also offers cheaper prepaid plans, as long as you own your device outright or pay for it in full. Prepaid service plans are the way to go in my opinion.

FAQs

Can I use the iPad as a phone?

Yes, you can use the iPad as a phone to make calls while connected to Wifi with a third-party service like Google Voice or with a post-paid phone plan and “Add WiFi Calling For Other Devices” setting enabled on iPhone.

How do I use iPad as phone?

Simply open the Google Voice app and dial the number or use the built-in iOS Contacts App and click the phone icon for the contact you want to call.

How much does it cost to use an iPad as a phone?

Using FaceTime audio for iOS devices is free. To call numbers in the U.S. is also free using Google Voice. Getting calls to your iPad from a number you share with your iPhone requires a post-paid phone plan when you are using your iPad away from your iPhone (for example, you go on vacation and decide not to take your iPhone).

How is the audio quality when using the iPad as a phone?

Since the calls go over data networks, if you have good stable internet connection the calls will sound excellent.

Can I use my iPad as phone with my phone SIM card?

No.

Does the built-in iPad SIM card allow me to make calls?

No. It only allows data on the cellular network.

Can I text from my iPad [iPad (WiFi + Cellular)]?

You can receive texts using third party apps like Google Voice. If your friends mostly use iMessage you can use that as your texting platform and use your email address as your ID / sent from Phone number. Also, if you have a post-paid phone plan you can use that to forward messages to your iPad.

Can I make an iPad a primary device / phone?

I think so. It takes a little work, but I think going minimal will help clear your mind and may help you focus.

Do you have any tricks for using an iPad?

To save the most money simply use WiFi and make calls to other contacts using FaceTime audio, as long as your contact also has a Mac / iOS device. That is the simplest and cheapest way. For regular calls, use Google Voice.

Want to Use an iPad as a Phone but Don’t Care About Cost?

If you have an iPhone and voice plan already and want to use the iPad as a phone, you can. Newer iPads can be configured to link to your phone number. So when someone calls your iPhone voice number, it will ring your iPad wherever you are. Not just on the same network. If cost is not an issue for you, this is the best option. Note that you won’t get voicemails – you need to call your voice number and use the keypad to get your voice messages. You can’t use this method on prepaid plans. It must be a post-paid plan.

If you have a post-paid phone plan you can use the “Add WiFi Calling For Other Devices” setting (under Cellular – > WiFi Calling setting in the iPhone settings app) to receive calls on your iPad without the phone being nearby.

Share Your Experience

Using you iPad as a phone? Share your experience in the comments below and help others make the transition.

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Maximize Storytelling for Online Profit: History, Examples, & Tools https://kenmorico.com/maximize-storytelling-for-online-profit https://kenmorico.com/maximize-storytelling-for-online-profit#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2020 15:48:10 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=6122 Is your audience dropping off? Do they read a few sentences of your post / content and BOUNCE? You haven't adjusted to the new rules of storytelling. Let me show you how.

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Is your audience dropping off? Do they read a few sentences of your post / content and BOUNCE? You haven’t adjusted to the new rules of storytelling. Let me show you how.

Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. If websites don’t load in as little as 3 seconds, chances are high users will bounce. TV dramas and YouTube Videos are filmed with multiple camera angles and cuts to keep our attention. How can we adjust the long story we need to tell to this new era of quick bites?

When I was young corporate professional I had a supervisor who was just amazing at telling stories in person. Everyone would gather around his desk to listen to him speak. There was a rhythm to his stories… an animation to his hand gestures and he projected explosive facial expressions. Everyone stayed until the end of his stories. All agreed he was a sublime storyteller.

How can we translate an incredible in-person storytelling experience to online? I’ll introduce some background, modern storytelling examples, ways to market your story in real time, and tools to help tell your story.

  • Dramatic Arc / Classic Storytelling
  • Realtime Storytelling in History (Journaling / Freestyle)
  • 21st Century “On the Road” Storytelling Example
  • Realtime Marketing
  • Storytelling Tools

Dramatic Arc / Classic Storytelling

The Story Arc or 3-act format presents a story where a character or a situation moves from one state to another.

  1. You present a scene and / or a character (who/what/where/when). The scene has some early elements of problems / conflict.
  2. Your character changes in response to challenges. Tension rises to a climax.
  3. Situation resolves and story concludes.

We’ve seen these stories over and over – rags to riches, guy gets the girl, etc. Your goal should be to use the elements of storytelling to tell your story in a modern way, using modern tools. Cut through the noise and content firehose of social media.

  1. State your customer’s problem.
  2. Explain what they are missing out on by not addressing the situation. Explain how competitors are addressing the problem and how they are falling behind.
  3. Offer a solution. Your solution which addresses their problems. Provide a call to action to relieve their tension.

You must practice extreme editing. Remove any words that are not essential to communicate your story. There is too much competition to expect users to stay and read long exposition.

Now that we have core story elements and trimmed-down content, let’s think about ways we develop our character of hero product / service.

Character Development

When I think about what keeps me interested in a blog, it seems like it’s the same qualities that keep me interested in books and TV dramas. Plot and character development. (If you are brand and aren’t a “character,” it could be your product that you can focus on and the challenge it faces for market dominance. I think people can route for products and services if they have a good reason to.)

Having an interest in the topic is a given, but often we listen to people who tell the best stories, and tell them with vigor and theatrics.

Mad Men – Don Draper

Be Interesting

Be interesting. Share experiences that are different from the everyday experience. I like watching the show Mad Men – a TV series about the life of a creative director in 1960s New York advertising. As the show progresses you see life through this womanizing man who leads very different lives. In fact, he is not the person he says he is, and the series shows flashbacks that give the viewer glimpses of his past. Viewers want to see how the character develops. In a sense this is what The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald does. It’s what a lot of great literary works and scripts do. How can the average person be interesting?

Have a Backstory

Once you establish quality content on a blog or Web site, people interested in your content often go to the about page. Why? They want to connect with you. As a Web analyst for several large companies, I can tell you the about page is very important for individuals and companies. We all want to connect with people we admire, people we find interesting… people like us… or people we want to be.

Create your backstory:

  • How did you get interested in your blog topic? Explain personal stories… I was fishing with my grandfather when I was a boy…
  • Why do you continue to explore the topic? I find it interesting because these past experiences led me to…
  • What’s your experience? People want to get information from experts. If you’re not an expert, you can still create a great site by explaining that you are learning and documenting your experiences and learnings.

State Your Trajectory

Once people connect with you or your brand, they want to “follow” you. Online this is easy to do with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But people are selfish too. We often friend people because they can DO something for us. In a sense online we can ride the coattails of people. If we follow people we think are on an upward trajectory we are likely to write comments and engage.

Everyone wants to get in early on a rising star and “discover” someone. In literature, we route for “heroes.” We also sympathize with them when things get tough. Let people know where you’re going and why they should ride along with you.

Find Your Voice and Tackle Your Challenges

Every good character needs challenges. In blogging, it’s interesting topics and ways of exploring the topic that haven’t been done before. Like photographers say, you can take 50 pictures of the same door, but different lighting conditions can make each photo unique.

The blogs I find most interesting right now are the ones including a mix of text, audio, video, and photos. What better way to document a challenge than with video and text? You get the visuals and the meat with the benefits of search engine optimization. Video increases shares as well. With text, it’s hard to relate to a person behind the words because you get see facial expressions, body language and voice tones. This is where showmanship comes in…

Showmanship

Showmanship can come in many forms. Especially online. When exploring a topic you can demonstrate showmanship through images, video, and audio. Like birdwatching? Maybe create a video of you walking through the jungle to get to the best spot. A lot of times it’s about the journey. Seeing experiences through a character gives perspective. Perspective invites conversation.

Character Development Examples (TV / Print / Blog)

In the past, stories were only passed down through word-of-mouth and books. We now have so many ways to communicate our story. But before delving into realtime marketing and storytelling tools, let’s examine the freestyle method of storytelling. Why is the freestyle method important when the story arc can be effective at telling your story? Creativity. Creativity and variety. It draws people into an adventure and communicates realism. Something that bland corporate brands of yesteryear lack.

Realtime Storytelling in History (Journaling / Freestyle)

The Original On the Road

Jack Kerouac – Photo Credit

People who know me know I’m a big Jack Kerouac fan. I’ve read several of his novels and loved the idea of improvisational storytelling. In the 1940s, it was quite a new method of storytelling. Kerouac popularized it, but the idea came from letters written on-the-go by his friend Neal Cassidy. It was these letters that got me interested in Kerouac and the style of writing.

The freestyle writing was a flow-like state of writing with no editing. It’s as-it-happens writing. In fact, Kerouac used a scroll to type on… there were no individual sheets of paper. I tried my hand at this style using a camera phone and Twitter.

Armed with an iPhone and Twitter, I had the tools to bring Kerouac’s true vision of improvisational storytelling to life – in real time.

Where Kerouac and his motley crew of writers and adventurers only used words, Twitter empowers people today to use words, photos, audio, and even video in real time. And so, my evening started with just that – words and photos.

Modern / FreeStyle “On the Road” Storytelling Example

“Old” ways of storytelling are new again. Living in the city of Houston for several years, it occurred to me that I’ve never taken a city bus to go anywhere. I had this great idea of going “On the Road” with my buddy and ad man, Hal Werner. Well, for a short trip anyway. I planned to take the city bus into downtown Houston. My co-workers were perplexed that I would want to take a city bus, but I told them it would be awesome and agreed to document the short trip via Twitter.

Dispatches

I dashed out Tweets from my Twitter account @KenMorico. Since the iPhone has a built-in microphone, it makes an excellent digital voice recorder, and I was able to capture the city sounds from our bus stop along with our unedited, off-the-cuff commentary. Have a listen:

On Location at the Bus Stop:

As the night progressed, I took more photos and wrote more Tweets. The iPhone 4 made a great travel camera… I was able to take photos without drawing too much attention to myself, and at 5 megapixels the photos came out fairly crisp. Using FourSquare (now Swarm App), I was able to check in to places and let people know exactly where I was… creating history in effect.

The Scene and Observations

The bus was a fun time. I thought the bus stop closest to where I lived would be what I needed. Hal explained different. Buses have certain routes, so even though one is closer, it may not take you exactly where you think it might go. Hal used the wonderful Google Maps with embedded bus routes to find our way. The Houston METRO Bus Schedules were horrible and confusing. METRO should really hire a company like Ken Morico to redesign their site. Anyways, the people on the bus were interesting. Old, one mentally handicapped, a few pimps, and some fairly normal people. You really notice your surroundings on the bus. With the slow speed of the bus, you see things that you would never notice on familiar routes driving in a fast car.

A man’s night on the town, we visited eateries and bars on a beautiful Friday night in springtime Houston. Downtown has a lot of unique bars and restaurants, like historic La Carafe, Flying Saucer, and Frank’s Pizza.

Kerouac may be dead, and the improvisational style forgotten by many, but I see a new generation of inspired “writers.” Improv is back!

Real-time Marketing

The concept of real-time marketing really blows my mind. It’s what happens when you combine the fast-indexing Googlebot with breaking news and large online audiences. Getting noticed with paid advertising only gets you so far. Injecting your company or yourself in the news in real-time gives you tremendous leverage. It gives you a chance to tell your story. But to play with the big boys and get noticed there’s a problem. You need to rank well in search.

Some large companies can do this because their Websites have been around for a long time and are usually updated by people in the organization who get paid to do it full-time. Successful individual bloggers with good page-rank will almost certainly outrank any small business. New blogs, even with some search engine optimization, will usually drop to the lower ranks in search pages.

Here’s a great video explaining real-time marketing and how it can be done featuring David Meerman Scott:

David Meerman Scott from National Speakers Bureau.

I do have some ideas about how to increase your chances for a higher news ranking. Subscribe to the blog and stay tuned. In the meantime, see this reader-favorite post on juicing your site performance for the new Google.

Having Trouble Coming up with New Story Ideas? Look to Your Past

Content Curation / Ideas

There’s a lot of chatter about content curation versus content creation. Some people say if you’re not good at content creation you should curate content and be active on social media. Content curation has its place — it’s what you should do when you’re not promoting your own content. Don’t be lazy – anyone can create / repurpose content. You might have a content chest you can tear open right now and get a jumpstart.

Be a Content Hoarder

Many people don’t realize they have content hidden away. Oftentimes if there was a presentation of piece of writing I was particularly proud of at work I would save it on my computer. I didn’t have a reason other that I thought at some point it might be useful to me in some way – not in the way it was used for work, but just a different way.

Have you ever written anything down and saved it? Have video, audio, or old school papers? There’s content right there. There’s opportunity to make money off of old content. Even if it doesn’t seem relevant right away. For example, I had a pizza recipe with a story that tied into my hometown and grandmother. It doesn’t directly relate to my blog, but it relates to me as a person, and sometimes people want to know who they are interacting with.

So take the time to archive content you think you have and, going forward, take every opportunity to archive content you create in any form. Curate softly and carry big content!

Learn How to Repurpose Content

There are many ways to repurpose content, but the easiest way would be to take existing textual content and edit it for the the Web and your particular audience. Once you have edited content, you can create a podcast based on that content, YouTube video, SlideShare, etc.

Photos are super easy to repurpose. Who doesn’t have old photos that can spark discussions? Just post and see what happens.

Distribute Your Content Infrequently – Don’t be Obnoxious

I think too many people aren’t social enough when using social media (including me). Instead of sharing links and over-promoting your own work, try setting up a tab in HootSuite to listen to chatter going on in your industry. It’s easy to filter through social media noise when you have power tools like HootSuite. Answer questions. (You can separate your personal and business endeavors on Facebook and use HootSuite.)

It’s easier to promote your own work when you help people. I follow some industry leaders that provide very little value on social media. It’s fine to be random at times on social media, but if you’re always off-topic you’ll lose followers… well at least in my book. Some people can get away with it…

Generally 5-15% of the time on social media you should promote your own content according to social media experts like Guy Kawasaki. Seems fair to me.

Help People with Problems – Let Them See Your Content is their Answer

Everyone is happy when there is a win-win. A great goal to set is to create really useful content and convince others that your content can solve their problem. In a sense this is advertising, but with really developed content it’s not advertising — it’s content marketing. I don’t feel sleazy promoting really developed content to anyone and you shouldn’t either. Listen to industry chatter with HootSuite or similar tool and offer to solve problems with your content. When people trust you, you can sell them things. Sell yourself first, then products.

Storytelling Tools

Content Creation on the Go – My Tools from 2013

Here are my tools from 2013… yes, that was a while ago, but the tools are mostly the same today. I plan to share an updated toolset soon. If you’re not creating content on the road, don’t expect to get picked up. With content generation happening at ludicrous speed, you must make time to keep up. Since I bought my iPad last year I have found it more and more useful for generating content on-the-run. My MacBook Pro was feeling heavier and bulkier than ever. It seemed a chore to lug around. Recently, two huge things happened to lighten up my life – i bought an iPad and the content creation software improved drastically.  My big criticism of the first iPad was that the software wasn’t very good, if it existed at all. Now that’s changed a lot. You can create content on the tablet, manage social media, execute complex stock strategies, and even write some code.

whats in my bag - macbook bose AE2 headphones iPad Swiss Gear Backpack
What’s in my bag – MacBook Pro, Bose AE2 headphones, iPad, Swiss Gear Backpack

My Digital Road Warrior Gear

  • iPad (4th Generation 32GB)
  • Small messenger bag OR Swiss Gear Backpack OR V7 Vertical messenger bag for iPad
  • iPhone 5 with tethering / hotspot to create a wireless network for the iPad
  • iPhone 5 EarPod headphones or Bose AE2 headphones (white)
What's in my bag - iPad, Apple Earbuds, small messenger bag
What’s in my bag – iPad, Apple Earbuds, small messenger bag
Small vertical messenger bag for iPad
V7 Small vertical messenger bag for iPad is great for everyday use – light, not bulky

iPad Productivity Apps for the Digital Road Warrior

  • WordPress Official App
  • Apple Pages
  • Textastic (for coding)
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Calendar
  • Gmail App
  • HootSuite

If I need to do some heavy photo editing or coding I’ll take my 15″ MacBook Pro. Blogging during the SES conference was certainly doable, but for live tweeting an event a MacBook Air or new Retina 13″ would be a better choice because of the multiple windows OSX gives you. The light messenger bag is useful for quick runs – it’s much smaller than a typical laptop-style messenger bag and much thinner. I guess you could call it a man purse 🙁

Conclusion

Storytelling is key to getting your message heard. Don’t ignore key storytelling tactics and core structures of storytelling. Tell the story no one walks swipes out on.

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5 Simple Strategies for Thriving During Covid19 https://kenmorico.com/5-strategies-thriving-covid19 https://kenmorico.com/5-strategies-thriving-covid19#respond Tue, 26 May 2020 18:29:03 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=6095 Has your life gotten hammered by a job loss, general uncertainty & anxiety, or disrupted daily routines? 5 strategies for thriving!

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Has your life gotten hammered by a job loss, general uncertainty & anxiety, or disrupted daily routines? Do you feel like your sail has been ripped off your boat and now you are floating aimlessly in a sea of uncertainty?

With more than 36 million Americans unemployed in recent months, many economists are projecting even if there is a pickup in activity, many jobs will be lost permanently. Many people will have fixed expenses like car payments and mortgage payments coming due. Add to financial stress the disruption in daily activities and you may be wondering if we can ever return to normal times. How can we not only project a position of strength, but actually BE in a position of strength to restore our sense of self worth and control?

Preparation

Like you, I’ve been affected by the Covid19 virus. However, preparations I’ve made in the past have made this pandemic a virtual non-event and I’d like to share what I’ve done to stay resilient during these uncertain times. I’d like to explain 5 actionable steps you can take to handle the current crisis and prepare yourself for the next one. Don’t sweat it! This is a time of learning and self-improvement for all of us. Be humble.

  1. Have multiple streams of income
  2. Diversify investments
  3. Live small
  4. Practice extreme focus
  5. Work harder than ever

1. Have multiple streams of income

If you’ve lost your job recently, side income from freelance businesses or online stores could help cushion the blow. Also, if you’ve managed to save and have dividend-paying stocks or interest-bearing accounts like Certificates of Deposit, the income will keep coming. If you haven’t done these things, you can start now. 

If you already set up passive income streams & work hard now, the difficult times like now actually won’t matter because your future income will rise more than it normally would have because you put in more effort now. Something to put in perspective. Multiple income streams take time to play out. A lot of time. Passive income can compound just like interest. Be patient. (Explore my posts on Financial Independence, Retire Early

2. Diversify investments

If your retirement account or brokerage account took a large hit during this downtown, ask yourself, “is my portfolio REALLY diversified?” In my most diversified account, I am up over the past year. I would classify asset diversification as stock ETFs like SPY, bonds, oil & commodities, and gold.

3. Live small

If you keep your expenses way below your income, you never need to worry. If you pay off your mortgage, you don’t have a mortgage payment. If you pay off your car, you don’t have a car payment. If you live in a city, you don’t even need a car probably. Personally, I hate driving and like to use a bicycle / public transportation when I can. Imagine how much you could live on if you had no debt, and try to eliminate all debt in your life. You will be shocked how little you could live on. Also, with fewer bills comes less stress. During a pandemic the last thing you want is more stress. (Explore my thoughts on this in-depth)

If you are saddled with car or home debt, don’t think it’s the end. You can sell the vehicle or a home. Look into geo-arbitrage and consider getting paid in U.S. dollars and living in a cheaper state or different country entirely. It can be a new adventure.

4. Practice extreme focus

I think this pandemic has forced our hand. We are focusing on what’s most important in our lives. We are focusing on our health, our work, and our families. Plan a set of tasks that will set you up for a routine to knock out work as fast as possible. Repetition will create skill. Skillful repetition will increase your productivity. Research YouTube videos and see if there is someone accomplishing tasks you want to accomplish but maybe is doing it in a different or more efficient way. Tony Robbins likes to say, “where focus goes, energy flows.” I agree. 

Use timer apps to help you focus and complete tasks on time.

5. Work harder than ever

A lot people say the fastest way to reach your goals is to work more / harder. I get it. Your hours don’t cost money. You know a certain number of hours are required to reach a goal. From my experience there are only two things you can do: increase your energy levels to get more done during the day and acquire tools to accomplish tasks faster. For energy, I exercise and eat healthily (smoothies w/supplements / low-carb). For tools, I use Web apps like Buffer and browser extensions and Mac apps like IA Writer to speed content creation. 

Macro Trends in Place Before and After Covid19

A lot of the trends to survive Covid19 have already been in place. Working from home and entrepreneurship were already strong trends. Finance tools to manage your money were already in place. Web Apps and phone apps were already available to take our productivity to the next level. All new technologies and trends have been accelerated. Many people are now forced to accept them. Don’t delay. Embrace new technologies, time savers like working from home, and lifestyle choices like drinking coffee and exercising from home. The more time you can make available, the closer you get to achieving your goals and true stability in any environment. 

Conclusion

The 5 steps outlined have helped me continue to be able to thrive. Me and my business are rock solid. I haven’t needed to resort to any government bailouts. My mind is alert and focused. I’ve accomplished more recently than in recent months because the pandemic forced my hand. These times could be the best medicine. You just need to open your eyes and be consider changing your lifestyle. Be the vulture, not the meat. 

P.S. If you need advice on this topic feel free to contact me. Maybe I can help you make a life-changing decision.

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Freemium is the Future of Business Post Coronavirus https://kenmorico.com/freemium-is-the-future-of-business-post-coronavirus https://kenmorico.com/freemium-is-the-future-of-business-post-coronavirus#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 17:55:15 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=6041 Freemium means offering a basic digital product / service for free while offering a premium product/service for some monetary amount.

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With Coronavirus and the economic damage it’s caused very severe, people are going to be cautious with how they spend their money. Old ways of revenue generation won’t work as well. With the advent of the Internet, information is ubiquitous and the available workforce is infinite and global. Competition is extreme, and so are your competitors. Customers will need absolute certainty that what they purchase with their money will offer value to them. So, what is a viable solution to grow a business in 2020 where uncertainty is rampant and household budgets are tight? Enter freemium.

Lessons were learned during the dot com bust of 2000. You don’t sell things for less than they cost and you don’t give things away for free. Twenty years later, we’ve learned quite a bit. Monetizing any content on the Web has been a challenge. A small tweak to the dot com business model and we get “freemium.”

Freemium means offering a basic digital product / service for free while offering a premium product/service for some monetary amount. 

Freemium can apply to all sorts of products: information, software, and even perfume. Offer 80% of the functionality of a service for free, and make users pay the rest of the 20%. I like freemium services that let users grow into a premium or business version of a product. For example, Mail Chimp lets you email 2,000 people on your list for free. Above that, and you pay — as you should… you’ve probably grown into a real business with real revenues. Social media tools like Buffer offer free social posting, but with only a few social accounts. If you need more accounts, you’ll need to pay. If you need advanced scheduling, you’ll need to pay. And pay you should if it saves you time, and that time saves you money. When it comes time to pay for a premium version of a freemium product, you’ll immediately recognize the value.

Chris Anderson wrote a lauded and criticized book on the subject and the accompanying economic model called Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Asking people to pay for anything online can seem very challenging. Web surfers are used to getting things for free. Web surfers think advertising should pay for content. Most Web sites / blogs / podcasts simply don’t have a large enough audience to monetize using traditional advertising. Even if they did, it won’t solve the problem of overhead costs – just look at online newspapers. Fred Wilson, New York Venture Capitalist, disagrees somewhat in this post:

Lambasting file sharers and entrepreneurs who rightly recognize that free is the right way to build market share on the Internet might be fun and make certain people feel good. But it’s ignorance of a fundamental fact. And that fact is that free, ad supported media works best on the Internet. We have seen it again and again. I’m not going to even give examples. Once you have built that audience, you can deliver upsells via freemium models, you can monetize it via advertising and you can branch out into other services which are easier to monetize.

There is a caveat worth mentioning when it comes to podcasting and the freemium model, however. The freemium economic model based on digital distribution relies on distribution costs that amount to near zero dollars. For normal Web content like text and images, this is true. But not for popular podcasts. Podcasts need bandwidth, and bandwidth costs money. This explains YouTube’s popularity –  and its early monetary losses.  So how can a small Web site / blog / podcast make money using the dichotomy of freemium?

Free: The Future of a Radical Price

At the Revenue Bootcamp Conference in Mountain View, Calif., Chris Anderson, author of “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” discusses how different companies use the free-to-premium, or freemium model, to not only make money, but often keep customers at a higher rate than fully-paid services. There are many economies–ones of status, time, information and more–and the trick is to get people to trade their money for one of them.

You need to give people what they want. They want free. To put it in perspective, you need to be an online drug dealer. Give them a free sample, get them hooked, and then once they are hooked they will realize that they can’t live without your product or service. Then they will pay. This only works however, when you have something unique to offer online. In real life, you get drugs from your local drug dealer. Online, you can get drug dealers all over the world in an instant using Google. So, your product needs to unique and focused.

For example, I started The Ken Morico Podcast because there weren’t any good Web sites that covered the topic of podcasting and audience building strategies. With my Web and journalism background, I thought I would be well suited to fill this online void. Not only that, but podcasting is a topic people really love and are passionate about. Online, you need to fill voids with your product or service. You need to build an audience. Having blogged for a few years, I can say that you can get a lot of traffic with random keywords in your blogs, but that traffic bounces once they get their “quick fix.” When you build an audience and fill a niche, users don’t bounce. Good drugs make sure of that.

Podcast Promo Codes and Freemium

Here’s a podcast episode where I discuss promo codes and freemium:

Another Freemium Approach: Free with a Service Model

Another option for freemium is offer a totally free product or content, with a paid service option. Red Hat Linux does this by offering a free Linux server product with paid service. I offer free content on my blog and offer paid consulting services to those who need it. Popular collaboration tools like Skype and Zoom offer an easy way to provide services remotely, while free, open-source e-commerce solutions like WordPress w/Woocommerce make setting up a shop relatively easy.

The Greatest Time – Covid19

I think we are the greatest time of business during Covid19 because assets and business services are not inflated anymore and we have the full power of advanced Internet tools. Make a freemium product. Be premium.

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Marketing Tools & Tactics for Fluid Budgets https://kenmorico.com/marketing-tools-tactics-for-fluid-budgets https://kenmorico.com/marketing-tools-tactics-for-fluid-budgets#respond Wed, 13 May 2020 16:37:20 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=5996 Want to expand your reach with a limited budget or you already have tons of cash and want to effectively scale up? Impacted by Coronavirus and looking for creative ways replace people with software processes? Ken Morico and Ty Weaver have some ideas...

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Want to expand your reach with a limited budget or you already have tons of cash and want to effectively scale up? Impacted by Coronavirus and looking for creative ways replace people with software processes? Ken Morico and Ty Weaver have some ideas on this episode of the Ken Morico Podcast.

We discuss:

  • Useful tools for small budgets / free
  • Buffer, Mailchimp, IFTTT, Zapier, etc.
  • Tools for larger budgets – which ones are most effective (Eloqua, Marketo, CRM, etc)
  • Funnels & Marketing automation – replace salespeople
  • Can free tools leveraged with effort get same results?
  • Expanding globally, are the tactics different? Global marketing tools?

Video

Audio-only Podcast Episode

Guest – Ty Weaver | Global Marketing Manager.

Ty Weaver

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Coronavirus and the Widening Motivation Gap https://kenmorico.com/coronavirus-widening-motivation-gap https://kenmorico.com/coronavirus-widening-motivation-gap#respond Sat, 18 Apr 2020 15:26:51 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=5842 Motivation, time and energy. Under the coronavirus quarantine, do you have more of these things or less?

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Motivation, time and energy. Under the coronavirus quarantine, do you have more of these things or less? In this episode, we examine two very different perspectives on motivation, and how quarantine has widened the gap between them.

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Ken’s Blue Crab Italian American Christmas Pasta https://kenmorico.com/kens-blue-crab-italian-american-christmas-pasta https://kenmorico.com/kens-blue-crab-italian-american-christmas-pasta#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 21:08:28 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=5139 Growing up, my mother and Grandmother made a special pasta dish just for Christmas Eve dinner. Being young, I didn’t realize what made this pasta special, but I knew it was reserved for a special occasion…

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Growing up, my mother and Grandmother made a special pasta dish just for Christmas Eve dinner. Being young, I didn’t realize what made this pasta special, but I knew it was reserved for a special occasion… an intimate gathering of family members.

Now that I’m older and have my own family I decided to give it a shot. But why is this pasta special and Italian? Well, some say the recipe should have 7 types of seafood. I use four. The reason for seven is because of the seven hills of Rome. Also, Italians are very much connected to the sea… Italy is surrounded by water on three sides. In fact, my great grand father was a sea captain and recently on several cruises I took the captains and crew were all Italian. A popular Italian sauce, Marinara Sauce, is a reference to the way Mariner’s liked their sauce.

Grandma Cooking

An ingredients list: – Maryland Blue Crab ( or just blue crab if you can’t get it from Maryland — I live in Texas… I couldn’t get it.) – Scallops – Lobster Tails – Shrimp – Tuscan extra virgin olive oil – Garlic / garlic cloves – Diced onions – Mediterranean sea salt – 2 28oz. Cans of San Marzano Tomatoes – Small cans of tomato paste (optional) – Fresh basil leaves – 1 pound linguine pasta (more if needed for a large group)

Blue Crab Pasta Ingredients

Start the sauce

Empty 2 28oz cans in a sauce pan. Crush the whole tomatoes. Heat on low heat. Add in the diced onions, whole basil leaves, and garlic powder / cloves. Add two tablespoons Mediterranean sea salt.

Prepare the Seafood

Scrub and clean the crabs, lobster tails, and scallops. The sea can be dirty and you want to remove any grime. Put olive oil in a pan and heat the oil with the crushed garlic / garlic cloves. Sauté the blue crabs, lobster, scallops, and shrimp.

Add the Seafood to the Sauce

Dump the sautéed seafood into the sauce and stir. You may notice that after cooking on low heat for a few hours the sauce may become a bit watery. If that is the case, add a small can of tomato paste to thicken up the sauce.

Cook the Linguine

This part is very simple. Boil some water and place the linguine in for about 8 minutes (read the package for specific timing).

Combine and Enjoy

Strain the linguine, place it in a plate or bowl, and then enjoy!

I hope you can make this recipe a part of your Christmas dinners or special events.

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The Client Relationships You Always Wanted https://kenmorico.com/the-client-relationships-you-always-wanted https://kenmorico.com/the-client-relationships-you-always-wanted#respond Sat, 30 Nov 2019 05:42:41 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=4996 When you're a consultant, direction for clients is never unclear. Learn how I keep my clients happy and why confidence is key.

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For about 6 years of my career I was client-facing. I still am and although my primary job is not 100% client servicing I’ve learned some important lessons.

1. Let Them Know Everything Will Be OK

For me, letting the client know everything will be ok is the biggest lesson. As a consultant or solution provider you must solve a problem the client can’t solve on their own. They may not know what it will take to complete a project because they do not have the same area of expertise as you, so they are at a disadvantage when communicating with you. They don’t truly understand the project status and level of effort to accomplish tasks. Ease their project pain.

Clients have many concerns that they won’t fully disclose to you, but they are significant. They might be thinking, “If this project you are working on fails, I might get fired / lose money / lose reputation.” Clients need confidence from you. It’s your responsibility to deliver for them. Trust is not a commodity.

2. Respect Their Budget

As a vendor you are trusted with funds. Some clients will fully trust you with their budget.

Taking a hit to your income to do the right thing for their business means A LOT to clients. There is nothing more genuine than NOT taking the money. Money tends to come to its rightful owner over time.

Your patience and reputation will circulate.

3. Communicate

As clients tend to be busy people, they may not have time to check in on you. Make it easy for them by providing status updates regularly or at key stopping points in the projects you are working on.

4. Use Video Chat When You Are Unable to Meet In-Person

Since part of the role of a client relations manager is human communication you want to use the best communication methods. There is no better communication than face-to-face, but a VERY close second is video chat. It is said people can tell when someone is lying by looking them in the eye. By using video chat you will gain more trust than by using more common, less personal tools like email and phone.

4. Produce a List of Tasks To Do & Completed

When you produce a detailed task list after meeting with a client it demonstrates 2 things to the client: 1. You listened to them. 2. They know exactly what you will do. There is a peace of mind when there is agreement on a successful delivery.

When you produce a list of completed items it shows you worked on items the client had a say in and that it is obvious to see progress had been made since the last meeting / check in.

5. Sprinkle Visions Of Wild Success And Plan In Secret

Communicating current projects and goals are fine, but teasing what COULD be possible in the future will keep clients engaged.
Big thinking that is integral to your approach will make it apparent to your clients that they have a friend in their corner.

6. Give Them Something To Boast About

When you incorporate big thinking into your planning and you execute some cutting-edge technology or technique for your client they will naturally be delighted to share the accomplishment with their c-suite or promote it through their PR / social media channels. After all, only a genius client could extract execution perfection out of their vendors…

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Being Nomadic While Living Locally – A Digital Entrepreneur’s Journey https://kenmorico.com/local-digital-nomad https://kenmorico.com/local-digital-nomad#respond Thu, 02 May 2019 23:35:53 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=4015 Working nomadically is a challenge -- a challenge to create multiple streams of income, a challenge to direct your life in a way that will enable freedom. I outline to to do it - LOCALLY.

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I’ve been fully self-employed for a year now with no stop to challenges encountered or topics yet to be learned. Working at home is great, but I wanted to make my routine more exciting, more adventurous, and more Instagramable! Once I figured out the local nomadic recipe, I am now compelled to share it with you, because I believe anyone can replicate my adventures and dramatically improve their work / life mix without any tricks or games.

I’ve discovered the freedom of movement is incredible. However, I’ve been more mobile in the past working remotely in places as far away as Indonesia. For family reasons I can’t be living a truly nomadic lifestyle living in other countries at the moment, so I’ve found innovative ways to feel like I’m moving around while working — locally.

What’s great about being nomadic locally is that it is something anyone who lives in a city can do. Being in a city is key. You can’t easily hop from place-to-place in a rural or suburban setting. And if you could, you would need a car to get around and need to worry about parking and the stress of driving.

The Main Ingredients for Going Nomadic, Locally

So what’s my recipe for going nomadic… locally and cheaply?

  1. Find a large city library with a quiet reading room
  2. Find co-working spaces that offer day passes with no expirations.
  3. Find a public transportation app and use the Google Maps app to schedule your trips to and from your working spaces.
  4. Plan things to do when you are out and do things that are on your route to the working space or on your way home.
  5. Get some good mobile gear and backpack for working remotely
  6. Spend a lot of money on your home office – you’ll be working here most of the time and you want to be productive.

How Do I Prepare to Work Nomadically, Locally?

You must be ready for change, and feel confident that you can make a major change in your life. Your success must be visualized before you achieve it. And realize if you fail, at least the attempt was a success in your life.

Working nomadically in a local setting is the same as working in other countries, with the exception that it is easier because you have options to work for companies in your local area that will pay you a standard salary, if you want that. Many large corporations are letting their workers work remotely 1 or more days a week. If you have any leverage, you should be able to ask for this. While I once worked for a corporation that allowed work from home days when I first joined the company, they were eventually taken away with changes in management. Keep that in mind and focus on working for yourself so you have many options.

I’ll tell you that when it is springtime and sunny outside the last place you want to be is an office. Give yourself options to enjoy life. Carpe diem, before there are no more diem.

What Skills Do I Need to Live Nomadic, Locally?

Nearly any office job can be performed remotely. Some popular ones are drop shipping, development, digital marketing, and trading. Whatever your profession, see if the company you currently work for hires remote consultants to aide in-house workers. Chances are, they do have additional consultants and might already have a plan to replace you with cheaper workers.

How Can Local Nomading Enable Self-employment?

Well, I can’t say local nomading can enable self-employment, but if you enjoy traveling and being in new spaces, you WILL find a way to make it happen and thus you will make yourself self-employed.

Is Local Nomading Exciting?

Hell yeah. Living life in a routine isn’t really living at all.

How is Local Nomading Easier / Different Than Ordinary Digital Nomading?

  • Don’t have to leave family and friends
  • Won’t get sick traveling
  • No new languages to learn
  • No new leases or mortgages
  • Less life disruption
  • Since many nomads eventually settle in a place, the skills you learn being a local nomad will stay with you your entire life and go with you wherever you settle in the world

Work on Your Productivity / Do the work of 10 Humans

You might be wondering if you are going to work for yourself and live a free lifestyle working anywhere locally what skills will I need? No skills really, you need to get busy – there is much to do to kick off a self-employed lifestyle. I’ve read that in an 8-hour workday workers will only actually get 2 hours of work done.

According to Ray Dalio, hedge fund manager of Bridgewater, the best way to improve your financial situation without any trickery is to increase your productivity. Luckily I feel we have so many products and services to assist with productivity. For example, I used to go to Chipotle for lunch and wait in line and slowly go through the long process of telling the staff what I wanted on my tacos. Now I order online using the Chipotle app, pay for my order with Apple Pay built into the app, and when I arrive my order is on a shelf waiting for pickup. Plus I get points so I’ll get free meals over time.

Batching is another technique that Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Workweek, and pioneer of digital nomading, mentions to increase your productivity. Basically, you do tasks in a focused session to limit your distractions doing other tasks. For example, I like to batch cook on Sunday and then I have meals for the rest of the week. Since cooking takes a long time if you were to do it each day or even just a few days a week it saves hours per week.

Are You Up for a Challenge?

One of the benefits of working nomadically is the challenge — the challenge to create multiple streams of income, the challenge to direct your life in a way that will enable total freedom.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so American as I do now and maybe even something bigger than just being American… a global citizen. Keeping a global mindset or even an expanded view of where you are right now will improve your mood and freedom.

To get started, have a plan to enable your flexibility and income. Stick to it. Be flexible. Stay disciplined, have goals, and get out and nomad.

Resources

A few nomads I follow and find inspiration from:

Nomad Capitalist

Johnny FD

Chris the Freelancer – Digital Nomad

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Need a Home Office Dog? https://kenmorico.com/home-office-dog https://kenmorico.com/home-office-dog#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2019 20:10:20 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3902 Working in a home office and need some company but not sure if a dog will be a good fit?

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I was not a dog person. I’ve been told when I was two years old I was mauled by a family dog. Perhaps I’ve had a subconscious fear of dogs for a long time. As I grew older, I came to think dogs were much like kids – an entertaining responsibility… a responsibility that never ends. Dogs need a lot of things – constant walks, vet appointments, boarding appointments, medicines. When my wife brought home several dogs to watch over the course of several months my position didn’t change much. Then, one dog, Wobbit was house trained and could relieve herself on blue pads. Suddenly this seemed like a panacea. The dog, however, was not easy to care for and had separation anxiety. After much stress in my wife’s life in recent weeks, I decided to cave on getting a dog. She lived with dogs her whole life and my siblings had some well-behaved dogs, so I became warmed to the idea of caring for a small furry animal.

Working with a Dog in the Home Office

While Wobbit was an ill-behaved dog, I noticed she did behave when I was working at my computer or, surprisingly, on the phone talking to clients. What I came to learn is that dogs love being around people. In fact, they get stressed when they can’t see you and when you leave for the day. But if they can see you and are in the same room with you, they are super relaxed and content.

Picking the Right Dog for the Home Office

I am not a dog expert, but I do believe certain dogs are best for “working” with you in your home office. For me, I now have a Shih Tzu mix named Waffle. Shih Tzus are perfect home office companions. They are relaxed and while they do need you around, they don’t bark a lot like terriers. Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean it would be a good fit for working at home. I would expect large dogs to get in your face more and possibly knock things over in your office. Ask a friend or look online for breed characteristics. Dogs, just like people, are individuals so they may have more extreme or subdued characteristics.

The key is having a dog that is calm and can let you just work.

I’m currently have an unexpected problem with Waffle… he’s peeing under my desk. I don’t have the heart to lock him up in his crate, so I’ll need to explore some options.

Not Convinced a Dog is Right for your Home Office?

Cats – cats are great home office companions. They pretty much keep to themselves and only meow when they need food. They love to lounge.

If you still want a dog but are not entirely sure if it’s a good fit, you can split the difference and work in a co-working space for part of the day if you need to get away from your dog. Some co-working spaces like Local Office in Houston have a “community dog” that roams mostly unnoticed in common areas of an office building.

Dogs are Business Partners

If you have a home office, chances are you will get lonely. Dogs make excellent “silent” partners. I think you can be more productive when you don’t feel so lonely.

Network with Ease When Walking Your Dog

Here in Houston, I walk a lot. People rarely if ever speak to me when walking. I figured it was mostly because I’m a little on the larger side at 6 feet, weigh close to 200 pounds, and have facial hair. Turns out people LOVE to talk to me when I walk my dog. It’s an opener. Every good salesperson knows icebreakers are a must. Most people have good associations with dogs, and through what psychiatrists call transference, those good associations can be transferred to YOU.

Since people will easily talk to you when walking the dog, maybe you can try to network and make some deals. Perhaps they will “throw you a bone” … (pun absolutely intended).

Give a Home Office Dog a Try

Actually, it’s pretty easy to release a dog to new owners if you find your home office dog isn’t a fit. I’ve found that as long as the dog is fairly young and cute someone will make a new home for the dog right away. So try getting a home office dog now!!

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Simple Conversion Optimization https://kenmorico.com/simple-conversion-optimization https://kenmorico.com/simple-conversion-optimization#respond Wed, 20 Mar 2019 18:25:14 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3839 Video Tips for Conversion Optimization, Video strategy, & retargeting. SEO tips for blog content conversion. Convert like a champ!

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Here’s a stream of points I’ve picked up along the years. I hope you have a bag to collect all these conversion optimization nuggets.

  • How compelling are your meta descriptions?
  • Optimize your organic snippets like a paid ad.
  • Rich snippets boost CTR 20-30%
  • Use ratings and reviews | breadcrumbs rich snippets
  • Explainer videos (show how something works) boost conversion 20%
  • Caption images
  • Gather testimonials and proof
  • Google rich snippets can pull out of context information, perhaps to your benefit
  • One page, one purpose for user queries
  • Optimize font sizes for age – point size half your target’s age
  • Plan a clear path for goal completion
  • Prove you are the best solution for a problem

Video Tips for Conversion Optimization

  • 4x engagement for video over text for brands
  • 33% of marketers feel their videos are hindered because they lack strategy
  • How to videos increased 37% since 2012
  • Industry commentary video blogs
  • The shorter the video the less production value needed

Video strategy

  • Corporate overview
  • Executive interview series
  • Corporate culture video
  • Product launch video
  • Comedy gets 530% more views per video than videos that are only about the products
  • Keep videos short
  • CTAs after video finishes
  • Landing pages with video had 257% increase in conversions

Remarketing for Conversion Optimization

  • Consumers have higher expectations for relevancy
  • 7 vs 4 convert out of 100 with re marketing
  • You should tag all parts of your website
  • Focus lists with remarketing. Target homepage viewers, shop abandoners, past converters, etc.
  • Pair remarketing with conversion optimizer
  • Use all display ad sizes and formats
  • Use dynamic remarketing – 2x conversion rate – use an ad related to the offer they saw
  • Move from conversion optimizer to return on ad spend eventually ROAS
  • Let algorithm optimize by itself – don’t use frequency caps
  • Expand to similar audiences – lookalike – increases conversions 40%

A/b test everything

And there you have it!

Need to Talk One-on-One?

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Link Building for SEO – Free Advertising with Just a Little Hustle https://kenmorico.com/link-building-for-seo https://kenmorico.com/link-building-for-seo#respond Sun, 13 Jan 2019 01:09:18 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3586 Many people will hear that organic SEO is free. That’s true – it’s just time. So what’s the best use of time if you have great content prepared and published? Link building. Why link building? Dumb and smart search engines like to see other sites link to your site as part of a voting process […]

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Many people will hear that organic SEO is free. That’s true – it’s just time. So what’s the best use of time if you have great content prepared and published? Link building.

Why link building?

  • Dumb and smart search engines like to see other sites link to your site as part of a voting process
  • If authoritative sites link to you, users assume your site has high-quality content
  • If your site name is sprinkled throughout industry sites, users will begin to trust your site and assume it is a site they must visit

Talk to Journalists

Famous SEO Matt Cutts once said that instead of spending so much time focusing on technical SEO, site owners “should be talking to journalists.”

Talking to journalists is a form of link building. If you can offer something newsworthy, chances are good a hungry journalist looking for stories will write about you and link to your site. I’ve seen a client of mine get mentioned in the New Yorker, but the journalist didn’t add a hyperlink to his site. I urged him to get the link, because it helps build page rank.

If your organization is large enough, you can have a dedicated link-building team. If you have a PR consultant, urge them to get links to your site placed in news articles.

Want to handle PR on your own? Become a source for reporters. Sign up for free at HARO [Help a Reporter Out].

Guest Blogging / Prospecting

While I don’t guest blog at this time, I can tell you it is very powerful. I read an article on a popular photography blog in 2010 that was written by a guest blogger and have been following the guest blogger’s own blog for 9 years. Pretty powerful. You can do the same. Here’s how you can reach out to publications that accept guest bloggers:

  1. Use the Google search operator intitle:
  2. Combine the search operator with your industry, for example say you were looking to write guest posts for SEO: SEO + intitle:”write for us”
  3. Contact the publication. Google should take you directly to the page with information on how to contact the publication.

Where Are You At?

See where you are currently at. Use Google’s Search Console to see sites pointing to your site.

Tools

I don’t recommend tools to check backlinks for competitors because they are expensive. Also, chances are you are starting with a low rank and you might get discouraged seeing others ahead of you. It’s best to spend your time link building on your own or enhancing the existing content on your site.

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Resending Email Campaigns – Second Time is the Charm! https://kenmorico.com/resending-email-campaigns https://kenmorico.com/resending-email-campaigns#respond Sun, 02 Dec 2018 04:18:28 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3400 My brother exposed me to a newer feature in MailChimp that allows you to resend an email campaign to people who didn’t open the first campaign you sent. At first I was skeptical.

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My brother exposed me to a newer feature in MailChimp that allows you to resend an email campaign to people who didn’t open the first campaign you sent. At first I was skeptical. Isn’t this a spammy tactic? To my surprise, it worked. No one complained and many people who didn’t open the first email did in fact open the second. Now, I did change the subject of the email on the second blast, so it might have appeared as a totally separate email but the content was exactly the same. So, what are people’s habits when reading email? My guess is they just ignore email, unsubscribe from lists, or read the email. I think we get so much email now that we tend to ignore emails, even if they annoy us. We just don’t have the time. But maybe if you ignore an email originally and maybe wanted to open it but didn’t, maybe now with the second email you are ready to read. It’s like life in a way… if you persist, eventually you get your way.

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Walking, Winter, and Houston https://kenmorico.com/walking-winter-houston https://kenmorico.com/walking-winter-houston#respond Sun, 18 Nov 2018 14:53:39 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3379 So yeah, I look like a NUT. It was November 14th in Houston and it was 30 degrees. I had already walked 3 miles and went to a Tai Chi class. After class it was dark and I started to walk home. A few things I noticed about this night that stood out.

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So yeah, I look like a NUT. It was November 14th in Houston and it was 30 degrees. I had already walked 3 miles and went to a Tai Chi class. After class it was dark and I started to walk home. A few things I noticed about this night that stood out. First, it was really cold… it’s almost never that I dress in layers and am completely covered to stay warm. I’ve been living in Houston for 15 years and have been acclimated to the heat… I’ve totally lost my Connecticut hardiness. The air smelled great… the scent of smoke and firewood permeated the weightless air. The Apple AirPods are my best friends when walking… they keep moving but they do look a little weird. I’m not really shaved, mostly because I prefer not to be and somehow I feel it fits the weather. I love my winter hat I got in London… it’s very bold and just fun to wear… I got smiles from strangers and a “great hat” comment from my local priest in his late 70s. Ok… so I’m walking at night in Houston in 30 degree weather in a very affluent neighborhood that is close to downtown… cars are speeding by on the main artery I’m walking on… but fewer than usual. Cars are moving slower than usual… I’ve walked this route many times before but it feels different. I’m searching for people but no one is walking on the streets. NO ONE. I’m in an area with maybe 250,000 people. No one on the streets. NO ONE. My mind starts to drift. Cars are still going by and in the darkness in the back of my mind I think about how my great grandfather was killed when he was struck by a car in the 1930s. Need to focus. If I get hit no one will find me for a while probably because most drivers in Houston don’t stop when they run someone over. So I try to keep alert even when I am baffled I still haven’t seen anyone walking after already traveling 1.5 miles in a dense urban area. Only the brave walk in Houston, but certainly I’m not the bravest today? Am I? There’s a part in my walk home where the busier route transitions to a more residential walk. It’s at this point I see a man with a long black coat dressed very preppy walking his dog in the cold. The dog shivered and hastily did his business… it was way too cold for the Houston dog. But in passing the preppy dog walker and I made eye contact with a telepathic communication announcing that we were both shocked to see another person out. But our unspoken respect for each other continued to the very day you are reading this. I thought about times centuries ago when you could just meet people in the cold and maybe cook up a conversation. The large empty city suddenly seemed very small and warm. As I continued on I crossed a large pedestrian bridge that crosses Buffalo Bayou, one of the Bayous that flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Stopping in the middle of the bridge I could see the Downtown Houston skyline to my East. The night is especially clear. The water is flowing 60 feet below me. Further beyond the bayou bank shrubs lie a Jewish cemetery. In my moment of reflection I decided to take this photo… realizing I had changed the environment and the environment stayed blissfully still. But no one cares really, because who’s around to notice, besides me, a nut.

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Optimize Your Instagram Because Everyone is Now Watching https://kenmorico.com/optimize-instagram https://kenmorico.com/optimize-instagram#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 02:54:48 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3371 People are more interested in learning about you through your Instagram feed than via Facebook or Twitter. This is a recent change and you, as someone with a business or presence on the Web, should take care to build an expressive Instagram profile. Take action NOW!

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Something struck me as I was checking out my Web stats. People are more interested in learning about you through your Instagram feed than via Facebook or Twitter. This is a recent change and you, as someone with a business or presence on the Web, should take care to build an expressive Instagram profile.

The Case for Producing Instagram Content

Why are people so interested in Instagram and why is it now at a tipping point? I think there are several reasons:

  • People are frustrated with the noise and abuse on Facebook and Twitter
  • Instagram is simple to use and many of the photos are high quality
  • Hashtag functionality works well and it’s easy to find public photos on any topic
  • Instagram can give you an “insider’s view” of peoples’ lives
  • It’s easy to follow celebrities and they tend to post a lot on Instagram
  • Instagram filters and Instagram TV (IGTV)

Instagram gives you the opportunity to express yourself — visually and only visually. And I think that’s what makes it so fun and also so challenging. It’s not easy to come up with great photos. It’s much easier to type 140 characters on Twitter and not worry about framing, composition, lighting, and color saturation. But great photos are what people WANT. If you care about your audience, make it happen.

Content Reuse

Like content for other social media networks, Instagram content can be remixed for use on other social platforms. This saves you time. The trick is finding the right social network for the content. Since Twitter is a very public network and because Instagram is public via hashtags, they make sense for cross-posting content. Facebook can also be a candidate for cross-posting.

You’ll want vertical video for Instagram, so cross-posting will be a bit harder for video, but you can set up a “session” or plan a day of “episodes” and create content for all platforms at the same time while you have the setting and lighting right for your message.

Think you need to be genuine in your use of Instagram with instant pictures taken by you? “I’d assumed two things about the beautiful people of Instagram. First, I figured they used the service the way Instagram suggests—that is, snapping pics and immediately sharing them with friends. Second, I assumed they took the photos themselves. Neither was true.” Max Chafkin wrote in his experience turning from a regular guy to Instagram influencer with the help of an influencer agency.

Here’s my Instagram photo that my friend took of me on a Bird scooter.

Instagram Ken on Scooter

Yes, I was on a scooter having fun, but I wanted you to see it too, so it was partially staged.

Show Me the MONEY!

Show me the money. Show ME the MOney. SHOW. ME. THE MONNNNEEEEY! Instagram is about getting your Jerry Maguire on and getting a little crazy, but ultimately, it’s probably about the money. Why? Instagram is also considered a public relations tool. It’s a representation of YOU to the PUBLIC. Chances are, you make money in part by how you act, look, or present yourself. If you sell something for a living, people might want to know more about you before they are comfortable with you. In fact, it’s been said that people do business with those they “know, like and trust.” What better way to achieve familiarity than through Instagram posts? Images can be so powerful and convey so much in a short amount of time, as well as communicate to people of all income, status, or education level… as well as those who speak any language in any country.

So what makes for interesting photos that might make me want to do business with you or just generally like you? For me, it would be new and different photos of food, travel destinations, aspirational photos, and photos that show you are just living life and having a great time. For other people, it might be that they want to see artistic photos or photos that show you volunteering or participating in a political rally or protest. Everyone is different, but chances are, someone will feel very strongly about one of your posts. Once someone feels comfortable with you and likes you anything is possible in sales, business, life… heck, even free beer or hugs.

Resources

BuzzFeed Instagram Famous

Here’s an interesting video from BuzzFeed that shows the Instagram fame journey.

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The After-hours Trade Life https://kenmorico.com/after-hours-trade-life https://kenmorico.com/after-hours-trade-life#respond Sun, 22 Jul 2018 21:42:45 +0000 https://vigortrader.com/?p=71 Trading is stressful, but the hours can be short. Find out the best ways to occupy your days!

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Trading is stressful, so you’ll need to manage the stress. Supplements keep your mind sharp and body healthy. Multivitamins, Vitamin D, and Ginseng are worthwhile investments. Ginseng will keep you alert and very focused. It keeps you alert like caffeine but gives you more brainpower. Speaking of caffeine, I love K-cups, and the Keriug brewer. For a while I thought it would only make weak coffee, but certain brands like Peet’s changed my mind. Also, the newer brewers allow you to brew stronger cups through strength settings.

Chances are you’ll spend a lot of time at home since you live in your office. I use Bowflex free weights to work out at home. You can do so many exercises with them and they are compact and well designed.

I will say there is some amount of luck in trading, but more so than luck I would suggest having some kind of spirituality. There is an uncanny rhythm to the market that suggest something supernatural is in place. Having some prayer / mediation / mindfulness time will help you focus and look at your positions from a distance you wouldn’t normally see.

Since trading gives you so much flexibility with time, it’s a good idea to create a side business that is also flexible. The reason you want a flexible side business is that markets can change quickly and you need to be able to react if you need to. Since you will have a lot of money tied up in your investments and trades your trading business must take priority. Many times I have lost tens of thousands of dollars simply because I was doing something else while markets moved. I delayed making necessary adjustments. Don’t delay!

So what kind of side business is best? Whatever you are interested in. Whatever your interests are, I’m sure you could create a blog about that interest. Blogging is a great side business and is the perfect compliment to trading. Flexibility is key.

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Grow Your Retirement Account WITHOUT Adding Funds https://kenmorico.com/grow-your-retirement-account-without-adding-funds https://kenmorico.com/grow-your-retirement-account-without-adding-funds#respond Sun, 22 Jul 2018 01:25:09 +0000 https://vigortrader.com/?p=69 So, how do you juice your IRA account while staying conservative? Sell call options on your stock positions.

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Being a professional trader means you will need to fund your own IRA. Hopefully, you have some money to fund your IRA already. The great thing about IRA accounts is that you purchase nearly any stock product and sell options against your stock positions.

What’s great to buy for an IRA account? SPY. It’s what Warren Buffett recommends and for good reason. It’s a set it and forget type of stock, as it represents the S&P 500. Over the long term the S&P 500 has never lost money, and in fast averages around 8%/year.

Your retirement account can grow on its own without any transfers.

@KenMorico

So, how do you juice your IRA account while staying conservative? Sell call options on your stock positions. Sell them every 30-45 days. What can this do you for you? It should generate additional retirement income to the tune of about an extra 20% of your entire portfolio amount. What does this mean? It means if you have an IRA account size that is significant, you’ll never need to transfer money into the account. It can grow on its own. Plus, with SPY, you’ll get a 2% dividend.

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Living on 25% of the Income That You Think You Need https://kenmorico.com/living-on-25-percent-income https://kenmorico.com/living-on-25-percent-income#respond Sun, 22 Jul 2018 01:09:20 +0000 https://vigortrader.com/?p=66 When you have a flexible schedule, many of life’s essentials are actually half the cost. Here are some things I’ve found.

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When I transitioned to trading full-time I always suspected, but came to realize that you don’t need nearly the amount of money you think you do make a living.

When you have a flexible schedule, many of life’s essentials are actually half the cost.@KenMorico

Here are some things I’ve found:

  • Airline tickets are half when you are flexible and particular dates don’t matter.
  • When you work at home you don’t go out to restaurants as much – you can eat healthier, pay half, and save money on gas (without the stress of driving).
  • Health insurance is a big cost, but the Affordable Care Act subsidizes the cost of health insurance – I have a comparable HMO plan to my previous employer subsidized plan for half the cost of the full PPO plan. You just need to be ok with using an HMO plan. In all honesty, even my best employer-subsidized plans didn’t pay for a lot and I still had to plan a lot out of my own pocket for the plan. As health care grows more expensive, employers are paying less.
  • Do you need a car? If you work at home and live not too far from a downtown area you use Uber and public transportation and get rid of a car. Average car ownership costs are over $8,000/year. Even if you decide to keep your car, with gas rising quite a bit you will save a lot on commuting costs. Plus, you can lower your insurance premiums by reducing coverage. Personally, I much prefer taking an Uber or even public transportation compared to driving.
  • Have you checked your mailbox? Quality restaurants are sending direct mail coupons. The deal? Usually 50% off. Say you save $40/month, compounded over 10 years is $5300.
  • Costco! Buying in bulk from Costco lowers the cost for most household supplies. I would say you can save 50-70% off in most cases. Costco is great for single people too. I would estimate I save $2,000 -$3,000 buying from Costco. Get their credit card and join their higher-tier Executive membership.
  • Do you like to use Amazon.com? Add essentials to your wishlist and check it throughout the day. Items will randomly go on sale for up to 50% off. You just need to be available to purchase at the right time.
  • eBay – sell some items around the house. If you’re like me, you have a lot of items around the house you no longer use. eBay is a large marketplace where you can get fair prices for your items. Aside from the extra money you’ll make selling items, it feels great to clear your space. Also, you’ll feel good knowing your items will find a good home. Many people on eBay need discounted items and will be grateful to receive them.

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Trade for a Living, Trade for a Life – BELIEVE it CAN be Done https://kenmorico.com/trading-living https://kenmorico.com/trading-living#respond Sat, 07 Jul 2018 22:36:56 +0000 https://vigortrader.com/?p=45 Can you trade for a living? Don’t you need a lot of money? Isn’t it dangerous? Listen to your gut — yes, you can do it. Like taking on any other new business, as an entrepreneur you need to make the decision to commit to it as a career and lifestyle choice.

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Can you trade for a living? Don’t you need a lot of money? Isn’t it dangerous? Listen to your gut — yes, you can do it.

Like taking on any other new business, as an entrepreneur you need to make the decision to commit to it as a career and lifestyle choice. If you’re working now, realize that you can’t be truly successful in trading without making it your full-time job. Markets move too fast for you to be doing something else at another job or in a meeting. While you are at lunch, your portfolio could drop $10,000. Attending a company training session with no smartphone access? A terrorist incident happens and you just lost 15% of your portfolio. What’s your strategy?

When I was working full time as a developer I often made poor trading decisions because I didn’t research enough or I panicked because I didn’t have time for formulate strategies for capital recovery.


Full-time Trading Life Overview

I have created a list of must haves / tips for full-time trading that I personally have needed and used:

The Transition to Full-time Trading

  • Prep your finances for the exciting journey
  • Living on 25% of the Income That You Think You Need
  • Get trading income goals

The Trade Setup

  • A set aside amount of capital for trading that can be completely lost – minimum $50,000 USD
  • Savings for 6 months of living expenses while learning trading and get your sea-legs for trading in the groove
  • Figure out a bare-bones budget and use Mint.com to see where your money is going and where you can make large cuts.
  • A brokerage account with margin and futures trading privileges
  • An IRA with margin / option and spread trading (for retirement income — you won’t have a 401k plan with employer matching)

Making the Trades

  • A full understanding of major technical trading indicators
  • A trade overview page with watch lists for major indices
  • An alert system to notify you of extreme market conditions or your price targets

Early Morning / After Hours Life

  • Tools to get you mentally fit for the stress of trading – supplements, exercise equipment, coffee, spiritual nourishment
  • Some kind of side business to occupy you during trading down time and provide extra income

Weekly Trading Tasks

  • Alerts, trading income spreadsheets

The Transition to Full-time Trading

If you’re like me, you’re thinking of trading full-time but wondering if you should leave your job and jump to a profession many would consider extremely risky. I would say that you need to get yourself financially prepared before you make the transition. If you can, pay off your house, pay off your cars, and have no debt. It will make it much easier to live off of trading income because your expenses will be low to start with.

Realize that when you have no commute, virtually no office expenses, and virtually no overhead, living off of trading income is VERY possible. In fact, I’ll say it’s the best job anyone can have. Think of the freedom that comes with trading full-time:

  • Hours are very flexible – in many cases markets are open 24/5.
  • You can be location independent – you can trade from anywhere in the world.
  • You have no supervisor. You literally call the shots.
  • In some cases all you need is a smartphone.
  • You can estimate weekly income (but realize there will be large fluctuations).
  • Work as little as 8 hours a month.
  • Have the opportunity to have additional side businesses for the security of multiple streams of income.
  • Possibly lower tax rates (1256 contracts – Any gain or loss from a 1256 Contract is treated for tax purposes as 40% short-term gain and 60% long-term gain.), Long Term Capital Gains, and Dividend income all get special, potentially lower tax treatment.
  • Pay no social security tax on passive investment income (You should have some social security funds from your previous positions when the time comes for you to retire).
  • Have massive amounts of time to spend with your kids, spouse, or significant other.
  • THERE IS NO CAP ON HOW MUCH MONEY YOU CAN MAKE.

I don’t know many jobs where you can have truly unlimited income. And also realize you can trade smaller amounts and take less risk. If your expenses are low there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t need to knock it out of the park. Just make a living, right? But living on your own terms and doing whatever you want is knocking it out of the park, no matter the income.

Living on 25% of the Income That You Think You Need

When I transitioned to trading full-time I always suspected, but came to realize that you don’t need nearly the amount of money you think you do make a living.

When you have a flexible schedule, many of life’s essentials are actually half the cost.

Here are some things I’ve found:

  • Airline tickets are half when you are flexible and particular dates don’t matter.
  • When you work at home you don’t go out to restaurants as much – you can eat healthier, pay half, and save money on gas (without the stress of driving).
  • Health insurance is a big cost, but the Affordable Care Act subsidizes the cost of health insurance – I have a comparable HMO plan to my previous employer subsidized plan for half the cost of the full PPO plan. You just need to be ok with using an HMO plan. In all honesty, even my best employer-subsidized plans didn’t pay for a lot and I still had to plan a lot out of my own pocket for the plan. As health care grows more expensive, employers are paying less.
  • Do you need a car? If you work at home and live not too far from a downtown area you use Uber and public transportation and get rid of a car. Average car ownership costs are over $8,000/year. Even if you decide to keep your car, with gas rising quite a bit you will save a lot on commuting costs. Plus, you can lower your insurance premiums by reducing coverage. Personally, I much prefer taking an Uber or even public transportation compared to driving.
  • Have you checked your mailbox? Quality restaurants are sending direct mail coupons. The deal? Usually 50% off. Say you save $40/month, compounded over 10 years is $5300.
  • Costco! Buying in bulk from Costco lowers the cost for most household supplies. I would say you can save 50-70% off in most cases. Costco is great for single people too. I would estimate I save $2,000 -$3,000 buying from Costco. Get their credit card and join their higher-tier Executive membership.
  • Do you like to use Amazon.com? Add essentials to your wishlist and check it throughout the day. Items will randomly go on sale for up to 50% off. You just need to be available to purchase at the right time.
  • eBay – sell some items around the house. If you’re like me, you have a lot of items around the the house you no longer use. eBay is a large marketplace where you can get fair prices for your items. Aside from the extra money you’ll make selling items, it feels great to clear your space. Also, you’ll feel good knowing your items will find a good home. Many people on eBay need discounted items and will be grateful to receive them.

Trading Income Goals

When starting out, what are some trading income goals to shoot for? What about some key areas:
– U.S. minimum wage: $15,080/year ($1,257/month)
– U.S. average individual wage: $44,564/year ($3,714/month)
– U.S. household average: $59,055/year ($4,921/month)


The Trade Setup

Before you can start trading full time, you need capital. How much? My recommendation is $50,000. If your income goals are low, like U.S. minimum wage or thereabouts, $25,000 might do. You’ll need to set aside living expenses while you learn to trade professionally. 6 months is ideal. If your expenses are really low, 3 months might be ok. The last thing you want on your mind when trading professionally is to think about living expenses when trading can place tremendous stress on you.

Before you can know where you want to be with trading, you need to know where you are. Know your net worth and figure the kinds of losses you can sustain. The best tool for net worth calculation is use Mint.com. You can link your brokerage accounts and keep track of trading progress, but I’ll explain how to create your own trading income spreadsheet later.

Brokerage Account Privileges

What really catapulted me to making real income from trading was three things: futures, options on futures, and option rolling strategies. Futures provide great liquidity in the marketplace so you get fair pricing. Trading stocks usually carries higher commission fees because you’ll need to trade more stock and stock options because the product size is a little too small for professional trading.

What to trade? As a beginner trader you want to trade products that won’t scare the daylights out of you. What products are those? Major stock indexes, bonds, and possibly REITs. Individual stocks CAN GO TO ZERO. Remember, bad things can happen to companies. Their products could poison people. A car company could have a defect that suddenly comes up and brakes no longer function. Self driving features can steer people into concrete barriers. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. With stock indexes, you completely take that risk off the table. Volatility is much lower with stock indexes. You won’t find 10% moves in a single day. You’ll often have time to adjust trades that go against you.

To trade large products like futures, you’ll need margin, option, and futures privileges. Apply for these privileges with your broker. They may want to see that you have a net worth that can sustain some losses.

What About My Retirement Account?

Being a professional trader means you will need to fund your own IRA. Hopefully, you have some money to fund your IRA already. The great thing about IRA accounts is that you purchase nearly any stock product and sell options against your stock positions.

What’s great to buy for an IRA account? SPY. It’s what Warren Buffett recommends and for good reason. It’s a set it and forget type of stock, as it represents the S&P 500. Over the long term the S&P 500 has never lost money, and in fast averages around 8%/year.

Your retirement account can grow on its own without any transfers.

So, how do you juice your IRA account while staying conservative? Sell call options on your stock positions. Sell them every 30-45 days. What can this do you for you? It should generate additional retirement income to the tune of about an extra 20% of your entire portfolio amount. What does this mean? It means if you have an IRA account size that is significant, you’ll never need to transfer money into the account. It can grow on its own. Plus, with SPY, you’ll get a 2% dividend.


Making the Trades

What does a trader need to make educated trades? A few technical tools available from trading software is a great start.

  • MACD (Moving average convergence divergence) is an important one. It lets you know if prices have generally been trending up or down over a period of time. It’s a slow indicator that gives you sentiment and price action. When the indicator moves from red to green, prices are trending higher and probably likely to stay that way. Conversely, if the indicator moves from green to red prices are moving down and will probably stay that way for a while.
  • MFI (Money Flow Index) – an oscillator that moves between 0 and 100. Above 50 and money is flowing into a stock. Lower than 50 money is flowing out. 20 and 80 and key points, with 10 and 90 having real weight for imminent change.

What’s the market doing?

You’ll need some watch lists to see where the market is going. What’s on the watchlist? Major stock indices, oil, bonds. Most trading software platforms allow you to create a watchlist. Some recommendations: SPY, IWM, QQQ, USO, IEF, TLT.

Everyone Needs Alerts

Since most of your days probably won’t be trading because your positions won’t need 24 hour maintenance, you’ll want some piece of mind. How? Alerts. Set alerts to notify you of key price points for levels of support and resistance for stocks. When they break, have the trading platform send the alert to your phone so you can take action. Markets move fast, so you want alerts. Realize that a lot of trading is done by computers are stocks can quickly move up or down. Make sure to have a strategy when the alert fires, but be suspicious in case it is just algorithm trading. Volume can be a good indicator to see if moves are real. If it’s summer or a holiday week have healthy skepticism.

Early Morning / After Hours Life

Trading is stressful, so you’ll need to manage the stress. Supplements keep your mind sharp and body healthy. Multivitamins, Vitamin D, and Ginseng are worthwhile investments. Ginseng will keep you alert and very focused. It keeps you alert like caffeine but gives you more brainpower. Speaking of caffeine, I love K-cups, and the Keriug brewer. For a while I thought it would only make weak coffee, but certain brands like Peet’s changed my mind. Also, the newer brewers allow you to brew stronger cups through strength settings.

Chances are you’ll spend a lot of time at home since you live in your office. I use Bowflex free weights to work out at home. You can do so many exercises with them and they are compact and well designed.

I will say there is some amount of luck in trading, but more so than luck I would suggest having some kind of spirituality. There is an uncanny rhythm to the market that suggest something supernatural is in place. Having some prayer / mediation / mindfulness time will help you focus and look at your positions from a distance you wouldn’t normally see.

Since trading gives you so much flexibility with time, it’s a good idea to create a side business that is also flexible. The reason you want a flexible side business is that markets can change quickly and you need to be able to react if you need to. Since you will have a lot of money tied up in your investments and trades your trading business must take priority. Many times I have lost tens of thousands of dollars simply because I was doing something else while markets moved. I delayed making necessary adjustments. Don’t delay!

So what kind of side business is best? Whatever you are interested in. Whatever your interests are, I’m sure you could create a blog about that interest. Blogging is a great side business and is the perfect compliment to trading. Flexibility is key.

Weekly Trading Tasks

You’ll need some preparation for the week ahead. I usually do my trading tasks on Friday afternoon.

Alerts

Like I mentioned before, alerts are key. If an alert doesn’t fire, everything is going smoothly. Just relax. Since your alerts are likely to fire during the week, you can recreate them when they fire, or recreate them during your Friday strategy session.

Weekly Strategy Session

I like to plan a weekly strategy session on Fridays where I can review charts and get ideas for the week ahead. I read news and deeper articles about indices and stocks. I gauge sentiment on social networks and forums.

Trading Income Spreadsheet

You need to measure how you’re doing. That’s where spreadsheets come in handy. For my spreadsheet, I measure each week – where I started, where I ended, any deposits, and any withdrawals.

As the weeks go by, you’ll see that you are making money or losing it, but having some organization will make you feel more comfortable with the risks you are taking.

It’s important to look at your trading income over several weeks, not each week at a time.

Some weeks will be huge – up or down, but when you look at the average income you’ll start to feel that trading for a living is possible. It just takes belief in yourself and trading discipline!

Go forth and trade!


Bookmark this page and revisit as new content will get added soon!

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Going Grayscale with iPhone https://kenmorico.com/going-grayscale-iphone https://kenmorico.com/going-grayscale-iphone#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 02:56:02 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3124 I think we live in a world where we want fewer distractions and more focus -- for several good reasons. Go grayscale with an iPhone or black out a second monitor.

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Color has long been known to be a stimulant. In fact, the color yellow in particular has been shown to entice children (Legos, for example). I think we live in a world where we want fewer distractions and more focus — for several good reasons.

  1. Our time on this earth is limited, we need to make the most of it.
  2. We can be more productive if we are forced to focus.  Recently, I have totally blacked out the second monitor on my desktop computer so I am forced to focus on one task, but realize that the other monitor is there if I need it. So many apps now have “focus” mode or “Zen” mode or “fullscreen” mode. Take advantage of it. If you’re not too distracted you might thank me… #GrayPhone

 

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Snapchat Going Silent? https://kenmorico.com/snapchat-going-silent https://kenmorico.com/snapchat-going-silent#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:01:20 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3110 Hal Werner and I discuss the viability of Snapchat as a social media platform.

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Hal Werner and I discuss the viability of Snapchat as a social media platform. Note: Ken and Hal are not financial analysts / professionals and have no long or short position in Snapchat shares.

Audio Only

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#Dev Conference Diary https://kenmorico.com/dev-conference-diary https://kenmorico.com/dev-conference-diary#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:59:09 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3089 It's the conference journey, not the destination.

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I recently attended the O’Reilly Fluent Conference in San Jose, California. Of course I learned about current Web development trends , but what stood out most to me was the frantic pace of change I felt others felt as well. Conferences in a way confirm your impressions of what is going on in an industry. In a sense it makes you feel good to know that your peers across the country also have the same challenges as you.

Social events at conferences can be therapeutic as you disclose your most troubling tasks and look for nods of agreement when you plot your way forward.

Being in a new or different city places your mind in a more meditative state, though that state is tempered by a busy conference schedule. A lot of knowledge must be crammed into just a few days along with networking events and tasks like registration and exhibit hall wandering.

Leaving the conference was bittersweet. I left the conference learning about great new technologies that will make the Web better, but at a cost. A cost of many hours learning new skills. A cost of modifying exciting new code to work with Web browsers that are old and will stay old for years. A cost of creating feeble Web apps in comparison to native apps on appstores… and knowing that they will always be lesser apps and any attempt to create a native app using Web technologies will just require more time and more time for something “just okay.”

But learning and challenges are what I love, for without them what would life be? If everyday is the same as the last, where is the progress that moves the mind and the spirit?

So find your coffee of life and caffeinate your mind and spirit. Leave the day better than when you started it and your head just a little heavier from the bingeing of knowledge.

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Is Ecosia the Search Engine You’ve Been Looking For? https://kenmorico.com/foraging-search-engine-change https://kenmorico.com/foraging-search-engine-change#comments Thu, 08 Jun 2017 04:02:51 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3060 In '99 when kenmorico.com first launched in my college dorm, 'Net surfers found my site from about 10 large and popular search engines. Contrast that with Google's 85% market share today. In '99 search engines were unique and fun to use-- edgy even. What happened?

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I currently have a 9% bounce rate for kenmorico.com from a search engine called “ecosia.org.” It’s a newer search engine that donates ad revenue from searches to tree planting efforts. It’s a search engine with an ethos.

Foraging for a Search Engine Change

Does an ethos matter in something so utilitarian as Internet searches? Well, a 9% bounce rate from ecosia.org is half the bounce rate I’m currently getting from Google and significantly less than other search engines. Could it’s users be a different breed? Is it time for different search? Or at least options?

Ecosia.org

In 1999 when kenmorico.com first launched in my college dorm, ‘Net surfers found my site from about 10 large and popular search engines. Contrast that with Google’s 85% market share today. In 1999 search engines were unique and fun to use– edgy even.

They say when you graduate college and move into the “real world” that you still have fun like you did in college, but it’s a “different” fun… more reserved and fully lucid. Google does seem like our “real world” option for the present and certainly the last 13 years. However, could the current search zeitgeist be shifting? Is now the time for our search habits to get diversified? Fun again? Even do good for the whole world? Only Internet time will tell…

#seo #marketing

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Remote Server Backups to a Mac Using Rsync and Crontab https://kenmorico.com/remote-backups-mac-rsync-crontab https://kenmorico.com/remote-backups-mac-rsync-crontab#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 14:48:54 +0000 https://kenmorico.com/?p=3016 If you're using a mac you might have come across a lot of different methods and commands to backup a remote server to your local mac. I do the heavy lifting to help you find a simple method.

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If you’re using a mac you might have come across a lot of different methods and commands to backup a remote server to your local mac. You can do this for nightly backups and what’s great is that you can also have your Time Machine drive backup your backups.

I have setup a 14-day incremental backup to a remote server. You’ll need need to save the following code as backup.sh and execute it nightly using crontab. You’ll also need to give the file execute permissions and run it as the root user so the permissions match up. You’ll need to setup crontab to run with the root account, not your own user account.

Shell Script

#!/bin/bash

#Website Backup Script

#Backup Container Folder
BACKUPFOLDER="/Volumes/Huge\ Space/Server\ Backups/VPS/"

#Todays date in ISO-8601 format:
DAY0=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d")

#Yesterdays date in ISO-8601 format:
DAY1=$(date -v "-1d" +"%Y-%m-%d")

#The source directory:
SRC="'ssh' remotebackupuser@mydomain.com:/"

#The target directory:
TRG="${BACKUPFOLDER}${DAY0}"

#The link destination directory:
LNK="${BACKUPFOLDER}${DAY1}"

#The rsync options:
OPT="-azHP --rsync-path='sudo rsync' -e"
MOREOPT="--delete --link-dest=$LNK --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev --exclude=/tmp"

#Execute the backup
eval caffeinate rsync $OPT $SRC $TRG $MOREOPT

#14 days ago in ISO-8601 format
DAY14=$(date -v "-14d" +"%Y-%m-%d")

#don't escape spaces for expired dir
EXPIREDDIR="/Volumes/Huge Space/Server Backups/VPS/${DAY14}" 

#Delete the backup from 14 days ago, if it exists
if  [ -d "$EXPIREDDIR" ]
then
rm -Rf "$EXPIREDDIR"
fi

crontab

You’ll need to make sure your mac is awake everyday at the same time. This is is easy to do in System Preferences. Click Energy Saver and then the Schedule button.

crontab Command

12:02am everyday

2 0 * * * cd ‘/Users/ME/Shell Scripts’ && ./backup.sh

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HOW TO: Separate Personal and Business with Facebook Pages https://kenmorico.com/how-to-separate-personal-and-business-with-facebook-pages https://kenmorico.com/how-to-separate-personal-and-business-with-facebook-pages#comments Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:57:37 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=391 The complete guide to separating your personal and business Facebook world with strategies and tools.

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Think Facebook is just for friends? I did too until Facebook  rolled out a massive structural change to Facebook Pages. Now businesses that setup “Pages” have more options to use Facebook like a regular user. How does this benefit a small business or professional person like a blogger?

Use Facebook as Page
use facebook as

Facebook Page and the Facebook Profile

With a few simple steps I’m going to outline how it’s easy to separate Facebook “friends” into two distinct groups – your personal friends with your regular Facebook profile, and business fans and people you would like your page to be a fan of. Now, Facebook pages have the ability to like other pages. This comes in handy in four ways.

  • You can get other pages to notice your page when you like them.
  • You can keep updated on the news feed of other pages – and not see the feed in your personal account.
  • By liking other pages you are now in the group of people with similar interests.
  • You can comment on other pages as a page and get people to view your profile with your business pitch or any content you want.

I’ve heard of people using Facebook to network before with their personal profile. To me, it just doesn’t make sense. I think people live in two worlds – a business world and a personal world. In my case, my name is my brand. Since my business / professional name is the same as my real name, it causes an obvious problem on Facebook. I used to think that there were better tools to use for networking like Twitter and LinkedIn. But these new Facebook Page capabilities make networking on Facebook easy. Plus, Facebook opens your personal brand / business to nearly a billion people.

NEW! eBook & 1-on-1 Sessions

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You don’t want your messages exposed to people who are not interested in receiving them. That’s why it’s important to have a separate Facebook Page. We all know people who send business-related messages on their personal accounts. Nobody likes that! If you don’t have a Facebook Page, creating one is easy. Once you have it set up, you can take control of it with the powerful Use Facebook as Page option.

Facebook now has a Follow Button to enable anyone to subscribe to your public updates. This may make sense for a personal brand, as long as your friends don’t mind seeing your topic-specific posts. You can create filters in Facebook for your posts, but this is kind of a hassle. Separate pages can make more sense. In all, it’s not easy to separate business and personal in Facebook without some work.

The Follow button language is inline with Twitter and Google+, so users are familiar with its functionality.

Use Facebook as Page

Use Facebook as PageThe new feature that changes everything is the Use Facebook as:” section in the settings (Gear icon) menu at the top right of Facebook when you are logged in. Facebook updated their user interface so there is now a triangle icon drop-down in the top-right corner. You will see an organized menu of “Your Pages” and, if you setup a Facebook Business, your Facebook Businesses listed under “Business Manager.” A Facebook Business is sort of an alias for a real business. You can organize pages, people, and ad accounts under an umbrella business. This is mainly for larger businesses. Soloprenuers may want to stick with just setting up a page. Of course Facebook pushes business advertising hard to make money, so they will prompt you to create a Business and ad account. Facebook pages let you engage with people on Facebook while offering analytics tools to help you manage and track user engagement — personal profiles give you no analytics. Truth be told, you will probably need to spend money on Facebook to get people to see your posts because of the newsfeed algorithm.

Once you are logged into your page you now take on your alter ego. Step out of your Clark Kent suit and post, like pages, comment, and see a custom news feed – just like a Facebook superuser. And of course you can use the page to syndicate your content automatically as before using RSS from a Web site or blog.

use facebook as

Another great use of the Use Facebook as Page option is that you can aggregate news from pages you “like” in your industry. When you see a story that catches your attention you can comment on it. It’s much easier to see relevant news stories when you’re not seeing updates of your baby cousin’s new halloween costume. Since making comments in Facebook is easy and fast, you can really get your name out there. Also, I noticed some blogs I followed got more comments from Facebook than on the actual blog site. Interesting. I think more technically-oriented people sometimes forget that regular Internet users use Facebook most of the time. It’s how they “make the rounds” in the digital space. Plus PR people NEED to be on Facebook all the time, so you need a professional presence on Facebook to get noticed and interact.

FaceBook Page Tab  and the IFrame

facebook-coca-cola-pageYou’ll notice a big design difference with regular Facebook user profile and business Facebook Pages because of what’s called the tab feature of the Facebook Page. Facebook pages can have a design (if the owner chooses) that look like mini Web pages. They are even easier to create now that Facebook has migrated to what’s called the iFrame to display tab content.

facebook-iframe

iFrames are literally Web pages within Web pages, so regular Web designers can easily create pages and host them on another server outside of the Facebook domain. When users visit your page for the first time, your welcome tab can appear with your logo, fonts, videos, and any other marketing material. The sizes are small though, only 520 pixels or roughly 5 inches wide on a standard computer monitor. Facebook Pages don’t automatically come setup with the iFrame component, so you’ll need to install an iFrame app to get it to work. I’ve investigated a few iFrame apps and this one has the best reviews.

Simple pages aren’t all that you can do. Having developed Facebook Applications professionally, I can tell you there is so much you can customize to make your page fun and viral. Pages give you access to limitless creative possibilities – you just need a skilled programmer familiar with the Facebook platform. Wanna add a game to your page? No problem! Want to use their friends list or gain access to useful personal data to build your database? Yep, you can do that too.

Small Businesses Spending More on Facebook Marketing in 2011

Did you know small businesses are stepping up spending on Facebook marketing this year? According to an Inc Magazine survey, in 2011 businesses will spend more this year on Facebook than Twitter. Interesting. Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn made the other top spots. What does this tell me? 1 billion Facebook users can’t be ignored. If you’re a small business or professional you need to respect the size of Facebook and its growing importance in the business community. With the increased features for separating personal accounts and business accounts, you can be sure Facebook has more in store for businesses. The place check-ins are already evidence of that. Think you can’t know what’s happening next? Developers usually know through a page Facebook has called Platform Migrations. It helps them prepare their code for services changes and major upcoming shifts. You may want to check it out as you get deeper into Facebook marketing since Facebook changes can derail your marketing if they remove features.

Separate Accounts for Facebook Business and Facebook Personal Accounts

People often wonder if you can have two fully separate Facebook accounts – the quick answer is sort of. Facebook Pages should be connected to a Facebook personal account. While you can create a new Facebook login (not profile) for a business page, why would you? It’s another login to have — everyone has a Facebook profile, and there aren’t any downsides to connecting a business page to your personal Facebook profile. Remember, someone has to make updates to the page.

When you create a new Facebook Page with a personal profile that account becomes an “administrator” of the page. You can also appoint others to administer your Facebook Page – useful for large companies or busy business people. Users must “Like” a page before they can become an administrator. You can also walk away from your Facebook Page and let others manage it completely. You can create as many pages as you want with your personal account.

Don’t bother trying to create a personal account with a business name. There’s a Facebook algorithm that checks names. It the name doesn’t look like a real name it won’t let you create the profile.

Can I Convert My Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Business Page?
How Do I Convert My Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Business Page?

Yes, you can, but this isn’t a great option. If you want to convert a personal profile to a business page it’s probably because it wasn’t setup properly. Business pages are for businesses. Before Facebook Pages, many business setup personal profiles for their businesses because that was the only option available to them. Now, you can convert the personal profile to a business page, but would your personal friends appreciate it? Do you want to lose your personal friends? I suggest creating a new, separate Facebook Page and let your friends know about it by posts in your personal feed and through page invitations.
Here is the official word from Facebook:

“When you convert your personal account to a Facebook Page, a business account will be created to manage your Page. We’ll transfer your current profile picture and add all your friends and followers as people who like your Page. Your account’s username will become the username for your Page, and the name associated with your personal account will become your Page’s name. If you want your Page to have a different name, consider creating a new one.
No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning the conversion”

Read more on Facebook.com

What Benefits / Features do Facebook Pages Have Versus Facebook Profiles?

Facebook business pages are more capable than personal profiles. Useful Page features:

  • Tabs
  • Advertising
  • Like boxes
  • Multiple administrators
  • Categories – useful for the new Graph Search Facebook introduced
  • Instant followers – no one needs to accept the fan / follower request
  • Facebook Insights (analytics) – get useful information about your audience and posts. Personal profiles have NO analytics.
  • Peace of mind – know that with a page everything you post will be public – no need to worry about privacy or audience like with a personal profile

Like me, many people have a personal brand. I created a Facebook business page that included my real name, plus what I do. So, for example “Ken Morico Digital Consultant.” I have a Like box on my Web site that people can click. It helps my separate my family and my professional contacts on Facebook and helps me target my status updates.

When building your personal brand, you’ll also want to build up your authorship profile to establish your credibility throughout the Web.

Here’s what Facebook analytics look like:

fb-insights

I Want To Convert My Facebook Profile To A Facebook Page. What Do I  Lose / Need To Watch Out For?

Some people report that you lose the ability to comment in Facebook Groups once you convert your Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page. If you want to participate in groups, you can instead comment as your page on the walls of other pages and get conversations going that way. Also, Google+ and LinkedIn have strong communities and groups, so you may want to check out those as well.

When you convert your personal profile your friends will become your fans/followers. Do they want to? My guess is no. Be careful.

I am a Consultant / Advertising Agency, How Can I Manage Many Facebook Business Accounts?

When I worked for an agency, I setup a new, dummy Facebook profile to connect all the Facebook Pages to that separate account. It’s a good way to fully separate many business accounts from your own personal account. You might name that separate Facebook profile “Ken at Work” or make up a name. Then you can create pages using that account. For most small business users and entrepreneurs with only a few pages, I would recommend just using your own personal Facebook profile to connect your pages.

Facebook Timeline for Pages

Facebook Pages fully support the Timeline option just like personal profiles. Timelines are a great way to tell your brand’s story. Add milestones to fill your page and showcase your long brand history. Adding milestones is great because if you didn’t post anything to your page in the past or you are late to social media, users will have something to read as they scroll through your page.

facebook page timetime milestone
Add milestones with the timeline. They display large and help tell your brand story.

Manage Accounts with HootSuite

HootSuite Tabs for business and personal separation

HootSuite can help you manage your social media accounts and help you separate your personal and professional social media lives. Basically, it uses tabs for each stream in a social media account. You can create custom tabs, for instance called “Personal” and “Professional” and keep track of feeds and special search feeds. For instance, I have a tab called “Monitoring” where I keep up to date on what people are saying in the blogging world, allowing me to enter the conversation at any time. With HootSuite’s posting abilities, you can choose which accounts you want to post from and schedule them in the future. Very handy. I’ve found monitoring works better with Twitter than Facebook primarily because I think people are better with hashtagging on Twitter.

I also created a “Me” tab where I gather mentions and searches for my name so I can monitor my personal brand. I suggest you do the same.

What about Google+?

Google+ is a new DEFUNCT social media service from Google.[ The great thing about it right now is that you can keep personal and business separated from the start with their “circles” feature. Any posts you create can be set to private – shared with groups you create, or using pre-built groups Google provides. Or, for maximum exposure, they can be set to public. I like using Google services since I feel they give me an edge in SEO. Google rolled out brand pages for businesses, so if you have a brand that is separate from yourself you’ll want to check that out. [UPDATE – Google+ shutdown April 1, 2019 due to security issues. This is good news, since you can now focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.] 

Do You “Like” Me?

If you have found this helpful please “Like” Ken Morico on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@KenMorico). I’ll be posting more articles on Facebook strategies and learnings as I go, so please subscribe to my blog to stay notified. Also, I periodically update this page with new information, so bookmark it for reference.

Resources

Social Media Power Tools It's Good to be the King of Klout Get Real with Twitter - the Benefits of Using your Real Name

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Content Marketing with Video https://kenmorico.com/content-marketing-video https://kenmorico.com/content-marketing-video#respond Sun, 24 Apr 2016 16:42:34 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=2764 Web site users expect video when they are searching for information. You need to stay competitive but don't have time to create video. Solution? "Steal" it.

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Some things in life are free, and so is this SEO gift from YouTube. Recently, just adding a YouTube video to your Web site or blog via the new iFrame embed code available on YouTube.com can get you a thumbnail in search.

Embed Box on YouTube.com

Google Search

Here’s what it looks like:

It even displays the time length… You used to need complex video sitemaps and schema.org markup to get this.

How Can YouTube Videos Be Helpful to My Web site?

YouTube videos are great because they can help out your site in a few ways:

  • Enhances page display on search engine pages
  • Exposes your video to the second largest search engine (YouTube)
  • You can make money with YouTube videos via AdSense and tie that to your main AdSense account
  • Users spend more time on a page
  • Users can more easily bond with a person in a video

Since it’s so easy it’s definetly worth adding a video to your content.

Produce (or Steal) Web Video and Juice SEO

It’s 2020 and you need to live in a world where users expect video when they are searching for information. The bad news — you need video to help rank your page or site. The good news — you can “steal” it.

With the explosion of YouTube, social media, and smart mobile devices, users often don’t have patience to read through a lot of text sometimes. They want simple answers and a real person to deliver it to them. I’m not discounting text and images, but what’s the attention span of people now that thousands of tweets are blasting out in a second? Exactly.

Increase Your Odds for Ranking on the SERPs

Your chances of ranking for a video on YouTube versus text content are significantly higher. Domain age, authority, inbound links, and other common SEO practices don’t necessarily have to apply to video for Google to rank a video highly. There are 319,000,000 results in Google for “Video SEO.” How many video only results? 31,300. Your chances of ranking are 10,191x better. I like those odds much better. Plus, if your text content includes a video you’re likely to get boost in ranking. I did with my blog posts Google Knocked Me Down – How I Fattened Content and Won and Mobile Web Apps or Native Mobile Apps? Plus, users tend to stay on your site longer because online videos are usually around 5 minutes. That’s 5 minutes they could be looking at ads, your Twitter handle, related posts, or anything you want them to see.

You can embed video from YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing sites. Smart video producers brand their videos with the producers name, Web address, and Twitter handle. Since YouTube embedded videos are served from Google servers, your site bandwidth isn’t affected and videos typically load in a snappy fashion.

Producing Web Video is a Lot of Work – “Steal” for Inbound Marketing

Producing good Web video is time consuming. That’s why your odds of ranking are 10,191x better. It’s not easy. People are picky when it comes to online video. They have no patience for cheap-sounding audio. Not everyone can afford expensive non-linear editing software. Not everyone has the editorial skills to make a fun and informative video. If you can produce a snazzy Web video, brand it with lower third information, and blast it out to the world using third-party video hosting services, you’ll make your site and content much more appealing to a broader audience.

Since many people don’t have the tools or skills to produce their own quality Web video, I recommend “stealing” quality, relevant, videos to sex up your site.

Produce Your Own Video – Get Extroverted or Get Irrelevant

Besides embedding third-party videos from YouTube, try creating your own videos relevant to your audience that can be shared on social media and other blogs. Embedded videos on blogs are very powerful because blog posts have staying power… social media shares are transient.

Say something. We all have unique perspectives. Today’s marketing and blogging is an extrovert’s game. People need to improve their public speaking, public writing, and video production skills while not caring if it’s perfect. The game is changing everyday. Attention is shifting so fast. Even blogging sites right now are just becoming essentially an SEO tactic due to the many conversations happening on social media. You can now even convert customers using just Facebook alone. But despite all the channels, you still need to show up. And show yourself.

Showing your personality and style through up-close video where you look directly at the camera can be very impactful. Having a basic script and outline for the video is great, but ultimately the video must offer value and be entertaining in some regard.

The Apple TV Gamechanger

YouTube videos are no longer just for the Web. They are living room entertainment now! You need to start thinking of

I held off on getting a streaming device like Apple TV or a Roku for a long time. I mostly watch movies on my Playstation 3, and used it to watch Netflix using the built-in app. A few things dawned on me.

  • The amount of material on Netflix is fine, but limited.
  • There is a lot to watch on YouTube if you know where to look.
  • Streaming media devices use very little power.
  • The idea of watching “TV” has changed.

Thinking Green with Streaming Media Device Power Consumption

Thinking about how much power my Playstation 3 kind of blew my mind. It uses 350 watts. Compare that with the third generation 1080P Apple TV I bought at 9 watts. The Roku 2 uses even less. Given a couple of years, the Apple TV will pay for itself. I paired it with a new smart powerstrip and I’m using even less power by keeping my AV receiver and subwoofer fully off when I turn off my TV.

YouTube Growing in Importance

Apple TV is limited in the sense that it only has a few built-in apps and content choices. That’s why I’ve spent some time curating channels on my YouTube account. I didn’t find YouTube very useful in the last few years, but now it seems companies are paying more attention. It’s the #2 search engine behind Google. It seems that alone would coerce some to put content on the service.

YouTube isn’t just entertainment videos anymore. Google’s channels are very high quality and you see the progression of their videos over the last few years. Now they use studios and high-end cameras. When I look at some of the more popular bloggers out there, they tend to use YouTube and use it well. Also, for those like Seth Godin, Mitch Joel, and Avinash Kausik that don’t have their own channels, Google algorithmically creates a channel based on existing videos.

YouTube now has excellent video quality and 1080P resolution, which some media streaming servers support. It’s also more social with a newsfeed and icons for activity. The user interface has been cleaned up nicely. Like almost all Google products, eventually they get around to cleaning up the user interface.

IPhone, iPad Remotes

Apple TV shows its real potential when paired with an iPad or iPhone. Using Airplay I can send any video content that my phone plays to the Apple TV. So if there is content not in the built-in apps or YouTube, I can usually find what I want to watch on a network’s Web site and just send it to the Apple TV. It works very well and makes for a great get-content-send-to-tv experience.

Thinking Beyond Regular TV

The idea of YouTube Streaming to devices connected to TVs really is a dramatic shift from traditional push content to pull content. The variety of content opens up tremendously. It seems strange to think a few years ago that you could be able to pull up videos of pop-tart hamsters on your 42 inch TV whenever you want. Or watch videos lectures from Yale professors on your TV thousands of miles away. Smart people are adjusting to this new shift, and those that don’t will get annihilated by competitors.

I still think there’s still an opportunity to get a jump on your competitors by creating videos. Every business can benefit in some way by posting videos. I like tutorial type videos where you have a picture in picture setup with the main content in large screen and the person explaining the video in a small window. How do you use online video in your business?

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Time Constrained? Pick a Social Media Side https://kenmorico.com/pick-a-social-media-side https://kenmorico.com/pick-a-social-media-side#respond Mon, 01 Feb 2016 00:36:44 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=2599 Splitting your time between social networks, mastering none?

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Splitting your time between social networks, mastering none? Or… do you prefer to think you’re Fonzie with different social media networks for different days of the week? Or are you monogamous and send all your love to just one network? Hal Werner and I talk pros and cons.

Picking social media sides

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes at KenMorico.com/itunes.

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Automatic Marketing can be the Enemy https://kenmorico.com/automatic-marketing-enemy https://kenmorico.com/automatic-marketing-enemy#respond Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:46:46 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=2544 Are you trying to scale your marketing too much?

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Are you automating your marketing too much? Using marketing automation as a crutch and not delivering creativity to your users / audience? Hal Werner and I discuss segmentation and other strategies to grab attention.

Automatic Marketing Can be the Enemy

Mentioned in the Podcast:

Nimble (9:06)

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes at KenMorico.com/itunes.

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Fix and Speed Up El Capitan / Yosemite on an Old Mac https://kenmorico.com/fix-and-speed-up-yosemite-on-an-old-mac https://kenmorico.com/fix-and-speed-up-yosemite-on-an-old-mac#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 18:29:51 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=2502 Yosemite on the Mac included some great usability features, however bugs and slow performance can ruin your day. I've got fixes!

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I love my mac and I’m eager to upgrade whenever there is new version. I never had major problems upgrading other versions but Yosemite has been very, very difficult. For my 2010 MacBook Pro I had a lot of graphics distortions that came up that led me to a full cleaning of everything on the machine. I’ve heard “Old operating systems should stay with old computers.” Well, let’s tweak some things and see if we can’t get some harmony.

Before we start, you need to get into the habit of thinking think like a developer. When a machine is new, what programs are installed? What are the default user settings? What is the expected page layout of various apps like Mail? If you deviate from a stock machine you might run into problems. If you deviate from expected hardware you might run into problems.

Reset Hardware

If you have a time machine or router, now might be a good time to reset it’s settings. You might want to use an additional disk for a backup and format a time capsule drive. If any other hardware has firmware updates, update those too. Eliminate as many variables before the core system re-install.

Non-Apple Hardware Firmware Updates

Sometimes, if you install a non-Apple provided piece of hardware, like a hard drive or SSD Drive, there is internal software called firmware that might need an update. Check the manufacturer’s website for updates to firmware. It could be that an update could cause a performance improvement or even fix some bugs you might encounter in Yosemite. Oftentimes, hard rives and SSD drives will have firmware updates after you purchase / install them in your Mac.

Yosemite Mac Pre-Install Procedure

Let’s get the internal chips cleared before we reinstall a system.

Special SMC and PRAM Reset Order

Luis Mercado discovered this great sequence to get your mac hardware in harmony. Let’s try these steps first.

First step: disconnect any external or secondary monitors, if any is present. The video memory allocation leak can also happen if you have a system with an integrated card, like Intel, with no external monitors attached.

Second step: Shut down your machine and enter Safe Mode (press shift once you turn on your computer again, more info below). Once you’re there, fix your disk permissions.

Guide of how to access Safe Mode: OS X: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?

Third step: From Safe Mode turn off your machine again and reset your System Management Controller (SMC). There are different methods, depending on machine, to do this. To know what method applies to yours read the following guide.

Intel-based Macs: Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

Fourth step: Once your machine completes a full boot after resetting the SMC turn it off again and reset your PRAM (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP, BUT THE PREVIOUS ONES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR THIS ONE TO WORK). The PRAM stores small bits of data that indicate our Apple computer how to interact with the devices connected to it, including monitors and video cards. It also affects software.

To reset it you should hold the OPTION, COMMAND, P and R keys in your keyboard immediately after turning on your machine again.You’ll hear the start up chime, continue pressing the keys until the machine boots and the chime starts A SECOND TIME, then release. IF YOUR YOSEMITE INSTALLATION LOCKS UP AT A BLACK SCREEN AFTER THIS, DONT PANIC! It’s normal, just turn off your computer and let it boot again.

More info about PRAM: OS X Mavericks: Reset your computer’s PRAM

Voila, reconnect your external displays and enjoy your system.

Clean Install and Rebuilding of Your User Folder

You can’t really get everything perfect without a clean install. First, backup your files using Time Machine. You should also have another disk with a copy of your user folder just in case as a second backup.

  • Create a boot disk using an external drive
  • Boot to the boot disk
  • Run disk utility
  • Format your primary drive. Standard name for disk volumes is “Macintosh HD”
  • Install Yosemite
  • Create a new account with the same as your old account e.g. “Ken”
  • When Yosemite boots for the first time, copy all your documents from Time Machine manually (you’ll need to dig into the “data” folder and find your machine name – e.g. “Kens’ MacBook Pro”, and then double-click it to mount it in your Finder window. Once you do that, you can access all the files individually) to your documents folder. (I’ve been using iCloud Drive as my main documents folder.)
  • Migrate any other files to their appropriate locations in your users folder
  • Manually open apps and adjust their settings and preferences. You want to start fresh and not carry over old settings files.

Remove non-App Store Apps and Find Replacements for Old Apps

You might have some old apps from macs past. I find using only or mostly App Store apps provides a smoother experience and are generally more efficient with you computer’s resources. For example, Adobe Photoshop is a massive program and requires numerous ancillary software during install. Pixelmatr, on the App Store, runs with much less memory and uses native mac software enhancements. You might need to spend more money to get new software, but luckily Mac Apps don’t cost very much and it’s super-easy to bring them back when you re-install or upgrade.

Fix and Improve Video Performance in Yosemite

I had a lot of video problems with Yosemite. I think it was a combination of buggy code and an older graphics card. To speed up Yosemite graphics and the whole feel of the operating system, tone down some graphics settings. In essence, we want to make Yosemite work a little more like the old operating systems.

  • Remove Photos from desktop background and select a solid color (I picked a solid gray background)
  • In the Accessibility menu in System Preferences, place a check in the “Reduce transparency” option
  • Restart your computer

Yosemite Graphics corruption on a 2010 MacBook Pro
Yosemite Graphics corruption on a 2010 MacBook Pro

Let Your Mac Sleep

I checked some entries in the console application and noticed a lot of activity and errors when the computer was in sleep mode. In System Preferences, click Energy Saver and uncheck “Wake for network access.” Unless you are using your mac as a general server or media server or need remote access you probably don’t need network access during sleep. [UPDATE – with a clean install this seems ok now. You might want to leave this enabled because it allows you to find your mac if it is ever stolen using the Find My Mac feature.]

Additional Tips

If all these steps didn’t help much, try disabling Dark Mode if you turned it on and try reseting the SMC and PRAM again (see instructions above).

Apple wanted to charge me $500 to replace the logic board on my mac which they knew was part of recall. They wouldn’t replace it for free so I had to get resourceful with looking for other solutions.

[Update 2/2016 My MacBook started crashing more and more recently, and I found a permanent fix. Turns out some hardware fixes were also in order, but I was able to fix these myself for $20 and some of my time. My motherboard needed a “reflow” to re-establish the graphics chip connection to the motherboard. The fix? Placing the entire motherboard in the oven. After that, I added some new thermal paste, since the old paste was worn and caused the laptop to overheat. The older processors in macs are not efficient, so perhaps some simple hardware fixes like thermal paste and new RAM chips might be in order.

The problem with hardware issues is that a message doesn’t pop-up telling you that you need new RAM chips or thermal paste or a hard drive. Weird things happen with the computer and it could be any number of problems. I once built a computer from scratch and had an issue with it. I replaced just about every part before I realized it was just a defective mouse that costs $10.]

One thing to keep in mind is that Macs are expensive machines, but hold their value very well. I paid $1800 for my MacBook 6 years ago, and it’s worth $600 today. That’s pretty amazing. I think it’s worth the time to fix the machine from the software side and possibly the hardware side.

I hope my experiences help you with your mac problems. I found these tips all over the Internet and through trial and error came up with the best tips for me.

My mac is moving right along now… have any comments or solutions? Explain in the comments section.

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Go All-in with iCloud or Go Google https://kenmorico.com/go-all-in-with-icloud https://kenmorico.com/go-all-in-with-icloud#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 00:51:48 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=2419 I moved all my data to iCloud. Here's why I did it, what I learned, and why I think you should go all-in with iCloud.

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With the release of iCloud Drive I decided to move all of my data to iCloud. I spend $36 a year on 200 GB of iCloud storage. I moved all of my documents from my local hard drive to the iCloud drive. In the process of moving my files over to iCloud drive I also bought a few iOS and Mac applications to use with iCloud drive. I decided if I was going to go all in on iCloud and iCloud Drive I need to have the proper applications so that I can seamlessly move between my iPhone iPad and Mac.

When moving to iCloud and iCloud enabled applications I stopped using all of my other apps that don’t have iCloud integration. This cost a bit of money but in the end I found it’s very worth it. The good news is that apps on the App Store offer a lot of functionality for very little money. Plus, they are optimized for iPhone iPad and Mac, so they’ll run much faster than other types of apps designed for different platforms that bring a lot of baggage.

Migrate Files to iCloud

I found the easiest way to migrate files to iCloud enabled applications was to use my old applications and create brand-new files in the iCloud applications. So, for example, I had a bunch of Microsoft Word Files in a folder on my hard drive that were a decade old. I’m now using Apple Pages which supports iCloud Drive. I copied the content of the Word Documents manually, copying the text to a fresh new Pages file (using paste and match style command) so none of the old gunk from the Word document came into the new file. I did this Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel files and other files. I feel like if you are moving all your files to a new platform the files should be created just like they are brand new. They should be formatted in a new way as well, using the tools and colors offered in the new applications.

iCloud-Drive

For files that have no iCloud application I just left them in regular folders in my iCloud Drive on my Mac. You need OS X Yosemite to view iCloud Drive on a Mac . You can upgrade to many storage plans for iCloud Drive. I’m staying with 20GB for now until the new iCloud Photos app arrives on the Mac. I have 80 GB of photos and videos and I’m not moving them until the app that supports them is ready (spring 2015). The new Photos App is available and I moved my photos and videos there where they can be synced across all my devices. VERY convenient. All edits to photos I make also sync, as well as deleted photos.

Calendar and Mail in iCloud

I moved all my calendar and Mail data from Google to iCloud. So far they have worked well and offer push notifications which means they get updates and messages get delivered instantly and don’t use much battery power. I find the server-side mail rules for Apple Mail are weak, however, and the mail rules don’t sync within the iOS apps because there is no way to access mail rules. So, I have to setup rules on iCloud.com. Another problem I found is that I can’t turn off junk mail filtering on the iCloud server, so about 1 email a week ends up in the junk folder. Sometimes I don’t notice them for a while. Luckily, it’s never been an important email. But do check the junk folder.

I used the Mac Mail app to copy emails from my Gmail account to my iCloud account via copy / paste. It uploads the Gmail messages to iCloud that way. That’s a one-time process once you get everything synced. It took awhile for my messages to sync on my iOS devices and I have to continually pull down the message list to get all the emails to download and show up in the proper order. I still use Gmail as my main email address and have it archive incoming messages and then forward them to my iCloud account. That way I have a record of all mail as well as a backup.

What I can’t easily do is send email from a non-iCloud account. If I want to send email from kenmorico.com, I find it’s easiest to use the Gmail app and send from there. It seems be better from a workflow standpoint and get me in “business mode.”

With family sharing on iCloud, I share a family calendar so I can add and modify events for my whole family that get updated in real-time.

iCloud Photos

When you create a family sharing plan you also get photo sharing between family members. This is pretty convenient and makes sharing photos easy with just the touch of a button. When you activate iCloud photo sharing, all your photos are synced via the cloud and get stored in their original file format and size. This is great since if there is ever a fire in your house all your photos are stored remotely in the cloud and on all your devices. I’ll pay a few dollars a month for the extra storage space for the peace of mind.

About the Ecosystem

One of Steve Jobs’ favorite sayings about the mac and iOS was “it just works.” Because Apple has a lot of control over the hardware and software, it can make great experiences. For me, choosing software for mac and iOS that is updated frequently and leverages the new technologies of the new operating systems like OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 provide me with a smooth work and entertainment experience. More and more, choosing apps that play well with the Apple ecosystem is so important. Why? Because when developers code programs, they will expect users to have the software that they think they should. So, when you use unpopular tools and apps, weird things can happen. And you don’t want to spend time debugging weird things.

A Word About iCloud and Office Firewalls

One thing to note about using iCloud at work: it may not work at all. iCloud is considered a personal storage platform, and many workplaces block access to all things iCloud – iCloud.com, app downloads, mail, etc. The way around this is to use your own iPhone or iPad data network. This is a major bummer, but as long as you have a decent data plan, it’s not much a problem.

How’s My New iCloud Home?

I’ve been critical of the iPad since it’s release for having lousy software. Almost 5 years later the software is ready and iCloud Drive and sync has been working great for me. It simplifies my life. Time is the new currency and iCloud gives you gold bars.

How’s your experience with iCloud been? Please comment below…

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Ignite Your Mac Home Office Productivity https://kenmorico.com/ignite-your-home-office-productivity-mac-hardware-and-software https://kenmorico.com/ignite-your-home-office-productivity-mac-hardware-and-software#respond Sun, 03 Aug 2014 01:02:38 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1757 Are you being productive on your mac when at home? With just a little bit of money find out how to get more done and feel healthier.

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When I started spending more time at my computer I noticed I wasn’t being very productive. I wasn’t using the organizational features of the Mac like I should have been. I was only using 1 screen. My back started to hurt from my chair. Getting some computer work done at home was literally a chore – I thought there must be a better way… some best practices if you will. Behold! There was. Let me review and illuminate…

Mac Hardware for Office Productivity

  • External Monitor – at work I used two monitors, but I wasn’t at home. Nowadays, external monitors are cheap. Since I have a Mac I like to stay within the Apple family for hardware, but an external monitor for the Mac is $1,000 – and the technology is old. I bought a Samsung S24D590L – it’s 24″, Full HD, and provides an excellent picture (when calibrated). It’s very stylish – it matches the color scheme of my MacBook Pro laptop exactly. University studies have proven that dual monitors increases productivity dramatically and reduces errors. [Update: I bought an additional Samsung S24D590L and am now using 2 24″ monitors with a new Mac mini. The large second display does make some items like mail appear easier to read than viewing on the 15″ screen, however the laptop was a fine choice with the mStand.]
  • Laptop Stand –  a laptop stand raises the laptop to eye level, so when working with an external display everything lines up. No eye fatigue and searching for application windows. I bought the mStand Laptop Stand.
  • Full-size keyboard with number pad – I use a wired Apple keyboard. I find it works well and gives my extra function buttons so I can assign complex keyboard shortcuts and access them with just one button press. Having the extra room for a number pad helps with calculations. And it never needs batteries or misses a keystroke.
  • External Trackpad – I use this as my mouse. The gestures make accomplishing application navigation a breeze. Saving a second here and there in simple matters like application navigation really adds up over time. I have the Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad

Home Office Gear for Productivity

Everyone has standard gear like an office chair and desk, but what’s real gold are items that keep you comfortable when at your desk and alert. If you can stay at your desk longer without hurting your back, you can accomplish so much more. And the great news is that these items are very affordable.

  • Memory Foam Seat Cushion – memory foam is super comfortable. If you don’t have a memory foam mattress I suggest you get one. Memory foam is both soft and supportive. It doesn’t flatten out like other foam, cloth or spring combo. Most office chairs come with very little padding. The extra padding and contours help reduce strain on your back and keep you comfortable for much longer. Remember: if you’re not comfortable you’re not working. I use the Cushina memory foam seat cushion. [Update: I have spent considerable money on a Herman Miller Embody chair. It’s a chair specifically designed for computer use and long hours sitting. It pretty much removed all the back pain I was having.]
  • Foot Rest – You wouldn’t think a footrest would help your back, but it does. In my experience there are two kinds of footrests – hard plastic ones and cushy foam ones. The foam ones are better. Especially in the home, you are more likely to be barefoot or using socks on the footrest. I use the Safco Half-Cylinder Foot Cushion.

Mac Software to Increase Productivity

  • Mission Control – Mission Control is built into OS X. This comes in handy when you have dual monitors. It allows you to logically break out applications to different desktops based on theme or task. For example, I have a “communications” desktop on my secondary laptop screen. I put my mail, and instant messages on that screen and have it active most of the time. I my main external monitor, I have a “tasks” desktop where I place my calendar, reminder, and notes app together. You can create as many desktops as you need and a swipe of the trackpad moves you between them instantly without any keyboard presses.
  • System Preferences / Keyboard Shortcuts – The mac makes it really easy to assign custom keyboard shortcuts for individual apps or all apps. For example, with my full-size keyboard I use the F19 button to show and hide sidebars in apps. I use the F15 button to enter and exit full-screen mode. The possibilities are endless. Just think about what tasks you do regularly with an app and assign a custom keyboard shortcut.

Mission Control on a Dual Screen Setup
Mission Control on a Dual Screen Setup

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How Disciplined Blogging Obliterates Social Posting https://kenmorico.com/disciplined-blogging https://kenmorico.com/disciplined-blogging#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:45:23 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1749 Discover why blogging beats creating social media posts. Your time is valuable and best spent creating blog posts. Leverage social media to amplify your core content.

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How Disciplined Blogging Obliterates Social Media Posting

Discover how blogging beats creating social media posts. Hal Werner and I discuss tools and techniques to make the most of your time. Social media is just the aroma; Blogging is the steak!

Your time is valuable and best spent creating blog posts. Leverage social media to amplify your core blog content. Learn the tricks from seasoned veterans.

Mentioned in the podcast: ConvoFIRE [formally SIFTist] – social media follower tool.

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PHP Twitter Caching Like a Champ https://kenmorico.com/php-twitter-caching-like-a-champ https://kenmorico.com/php-twitter-caching-like-a-champ#respond Sun, 06 Jul 2014 01:57:21 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1744 I needed a way to cache multiple pages of JSON responses from the Twitter API. I found a partial solution on StackOverflow but it only enabled caching for 1 page. I wanted caching for multiple pages (e.g. 1,2,3,4 etc.). See how I did it.

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When I started working on SIFTist.com I needed a way to cache multiple pages of JSON responses from the Twitter API. I found a partial solution on StackOverflow but it only enabled caching for 1 page. I wanted caching for multiple pages (e.g. 1,2,3,4 etc.).

I setup essentially 3 PHP pages.

  • A JSON PHP page echoes the JSON that I handle via a jQuery front-end page with AJAX.
  • A cache function page that checks and handles the caching.
  • A twitter_connection page that handles the authentication and Twitter API connection (I didn’t code that).

The cache lasts for 50 minutes. It gets written to disk and for each page gets added to an array that eventually get serialized. If there have been no requests in the last hour, the entire cache gets removed and starts fresh with the latest page request. This keeps the file size small.

I setup a cache folder at the root of my site.

PHP JSON Generation Page

$apiURL = "https://api.twitter.com/1.1/users/search.json?q=".$q."&count=".$numtweets."&page=".$page."&include_entities=false";
			$tweets = cacheCheck($apiURL,"twitter_users");

Cache.php page

function cacheCheck($apiURL,$type) {
	
$cacheFile = dirname(__DIR__).'/cache/'.$type.'.data';

	if (file_exists($cacheFile)) {
		$data = unserialize(file_get_contents($cacheFile));
		if ($data[$apiURL.'_timestamp'] > time() - 50 * 60) {
			$twitter_result = $data[$apiURL];
		}
	}

if (!$twitter_result) { // cache doesn't exist or is older than 50 mins
	require_once("twitter_connection.php");

	// gather other data to append
	if (file_exists($cacheFile)) {
		$otherData = unserialize(file_get_contents($cacheFile));
		if($otherData['cache_updated'] < time() - 60 * 60) unset($otherData); // clear whole cache after 1 hour		 	} 	$twitter_result = $connection->get($apiURL);

	$data = array ($apiURL => $twitter_result, $apiURL.'_timestamp' => time()); // each page gets its own key / value

	if(isset($otherData)) $data = array_merge($data,$otherData);
	
	$data['cache_updated'] = time();

	try {
	$numChars = file_put_contents($cacheFile, serialize($data));
	if(!$numChars)die("file put failed : ". $cacheFile);
}
	catch (Exception $e) {
	    die('Caught exception: '.$e->getMessage());
	}

}

return $twitter_result;

}

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Twitterstalk Your Way to Influence https://kenmorico.com/expand-your-network-twitterstalking https://kenmorico.com/expand-your-network-twitterstalking#respond Tue, 13 May 2014 20:30:36 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1725 Want to get more influence on Twitter? Get organized and use lists! I talk with Hal Werner about tactics and tools.

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Expand Your Network - Twitterstalk Your Way to Influence

Want to get more influence on Twitter? Get organized and use lists!

Mentioned in the Podcast: FollowerWonk TweetDeck

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Create Memorial Pages Using Facebook Groups https://kenmorico.com/create-memorial-pages-using-facebook-groups https://kenmorico.com/create-memorial-pages-using-facebook-groups#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:28:41 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1527 When my uncle passed away recently I decided to setup a memorial Facebook Group for him. A combination of media elements in Facebook Groups lets you build a full picture of the person you are memorializing. See what I built.

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Do you want to honor a loved one that has passed but are confused by the different options and media types on Facebook? Do I need a page? A group? Just a memorialized account? Like you, I found all the options confusing. Let me explain the options.

When my uncle passed away recently I decided to setup a memorial Facebook Group for him. Facebook groups are different from public pages in that they are not public like regular Facebook pages (though you can set them up to be public). I created a “secret” group which enables me to keep the group private to just a few people that I invite. I think for most people looking to create a Facebook presence for a family member, this is the best way. A Facebook page instead of a group might be preferable for a public person who has passed like a famous musician or politician.

Facebook groups do many things Facebook pages do that I thought would be good for the memorial page. Cover photo, links, text, photos, and videos can all be added. The combination of these elements lets you build a full picture of the person you are memorializing.Facebook Feed - Memorial Group

Setting up the memorial group is the same process as setting up any other group —

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How do I setup a memorial group?

  1. Get to the Groups Area Within Facebook

    From the Facebook homepage, click on the groups icon (looks like a group of people) – if you don’t see the icon, click three horizontal lines icon aka hamburger menu to reveal the groups area.

  2. Create the Group

    Click on the “+ Create New Group” button.

  3. Provide Group Description and Privacy Options

    Fill out the information and select a privacy setting. For family members, I recommend keeping the group private and invite-only.

With the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic upon us, many people are looking for ways to honor loved ones. Are you looking to create a memorial page due to Coronavirus? Let me know in the comments and share your ideas with others.

Some people refer to memorial group pages as tribute pages. Realize that a memorialized account is different than a group page. A memorialized account is person’s Facebook account that is frozen after they pass. A group is a collaborative effort and page and a separate media type within the Facebook ecosystem.

You don’t need to take the full burden of creating the group. The way the group works is that anyone can post and upload photos, the eulogy, scrapbook items, family tree, etc. You can also assign administrators.

A co-worker of mine was murdered in 2009. Friends built him a Facebook Group page, and my company asked my to build a custom blog where employees could share stories. On the blog I linked to the Facebook group, and the Facebook group linked to blog I created. Friends also created a Facebook Group to help track down the murderer.

I encourage you to create a Facebook Group or similar site for passed loved ones. Harness the evergreen capabilities of the Web to honor people you care about and create a lasting impression of someone’s life.

I plan on building out more groups for other family members. Why don’t you create one today?

More Background on Digital Death

The Digital Cemetery

When two people I know died and I witnessed the online support of friends and family that followed, I realized that social media can create a sort of digital cemetery. In real life, visiting a cemetery can be a social activity. With social media Web sites like Facebook, activities like visiting a cemetery can be mimicked.

When you create a Facebook Group, you enable family and friends to share stories, photos, and discuss the deceased person with others. With the United States being so large and people spread out in cities all over the world, it can be challenging to visit a cemetery. Like other tasks with social media, visiting a digital cemetery is very fast. Where else can you visit a cemetery 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Certainly visiting a digital cemetery isn’t scary at night.

While the permanency of Web sites can be debated, there’s no reason to assume a digital cemetery should be any less permanent than a real one. Gravestones in real cemeteries wear out and the text can become illegible. Placed flowers will wilt and die. Digital flowers and text never get blown away, discolored or vandalized. All digital cemeteries need are a Web host and a miniscule amount of storage space for photos and text.

Social media sites enable you to have so much more than a gravestone. You can present a photo of the deceased person as they looked in their prime. You can support causes the deceased person supported in life, like the Red Cross. You can post video, literally bringing the person back to life.

Prepare for Death Using Social Media

Do you know the major social media sites have policies regarding death? Do you know what to do with the online profiles of family members and close friends that pass away? After one of my blog readers responded to my “touching” blog post it seemed the digital death topic needed a second look after some social media death policies surfaced.

In the case of Facebook, profiles of the deceased drop out of search. The profile can be memorialized, but if you want to leave a legacy you are going to need plans to keep a website operational after death. In fact, a lot of planning will need to be done if you want to exist online after death. Just like when planning your own funeral, you need to leave someone in charge of caring for your digital life after death.

Social Media Death Polices

Facebook Death Policies

Facebook offers to close or memorialize the profile of a departed user upon proof of death, depending on what the user wanted, or what the family decides.

Proof of death includes a copy of the death certificate, and proof that you are the executor, or representative of the deceased estate. When a Facebook member is memorialized, only current ‘friends’ can leave condolence messages and the profile cannot be found via search.

Facebook will not allow you access to the users profile, only for memorialization.
Further details can be found here: Facebook Death Policy

Twitter Death Policies

Twitter allows a family or the executor to close the account, and they receive an archive of all the deceased’s tweets.

Twitter requirements:

  • Your full name, email address, and your relationship to the deceased.
  • The username of the account holder.
  • A copy or link to a published obituary.

Further information: Twitter deceased user policy.

LinkedIn Death Policies

LinkedIn allows you to close a users account by filling out their verification of death form. However, this form requires an email address registered to the deceased member’s account. Without this important piece of information, they will not be able to address your request.

Further information and link to online form: “Verification of Death.”

Death policies of email providers

Years of messages are left on email servers. They should not go abandoned. In fact, some of my favorite reads include Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters Volume 1 and Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters Volume 2 edited by my University of Connecticut Professor Ann Charters. There’s something dreamy about reading someone’s interactions and correspondence with others. Especially when it was written long ago.

Gmail: Gmail will allow a family member an archive of all your email with the following information:

  • Family member or executor’s complete name
  • The deceased’s mailing address
  • Deceased’s email address
  • A copy of the deceased drivers license or other ID
  • A death certificate.

Gmail won’t delete the user’s account, but allows family to do so after access is granted. For more info: Google’s Decedents’ Accounts page

Hotmail: Hotmail will send you a disc that contains all of the deceased’s contacts, emails, etc. However, they will absolutely not give you access to the account. They will close the account if the family member requests it be closed.

They require the following:

  • Family member’s email address.
  • An address to send data.
  • A ‘power of attorney’ or proof of executorship, and proof of relation.
  • A copy of the deceased’s driver’s license or other ID.
  • A copy of the death certificate.
  • Full name, address and date of birth of the deceased.
  • The estimated date of account conception.
  • The last estimated sign in date.

NOTE: the Hotmail / Microsoft death policy is not able to be found online anymore. Some online discussion boards posit that inactivity will automatically delete the account.

Yahoo: Yahoo is the strictest in its death policies.

No access will be granted, no exceptions. But, if the deceased left their login information with you – you’re in! Or they will refer you to their strict death policy:

“No Right of Survivorship and Non-Transferability. You agree that your Yahoo! Account is non-transferable and any rights to your Yahoo! ID or contents within your account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate, your account may be terminated and all contents therein permanently deleted.”

Thanks to William Eve and his blogazine team at Life Insurance Finder for researching the policies. Some interesting articles and infographics on digital death can be found on their blogazine.

Live Forever Online?

Can you live forever online without lifting a finger from the grave? There are some artificial intelligence tools that can make it happen.

That Can be My Next Tweet is a service which allows your Twitter profile to go on tweeting after you’re dead. It analyses the DNA of your past tweets, to create short sentences and updates which, even if they don’t make a lot of sense, still sound a lot like you.

Hunch is a program which can access your Facebook and Twitter accounts to predict how you will answer a series of questions. Currently Hunch has an accuracy rating of 83% in the US, and 75% outside of the US. With an 83% accuracy rating in 2011. NOTE: Hunch seems to have disappeared! There are probably similar tools.

Staying in the Game – Steve Jobs Style

With more and more businesses going online the notion of a physical sign on a building like Ford Motors memorializing a person and his/her creation seems distant. After all, everything online ceases to exist when the electricity goes out. That’s why I am really intrigued by Steve Jobs and his creation of Apple University. According to the Los Angeles Times article by Jessica Guynn, Steve Jobs’ virtual DNA to be fostered in Apple University:

…an executive training program called Apple University that Jobs considered vital to the company’s future: Teaching Apple executives to think like him.

“Steve was looking to his legacy. The idea was to take what is unique about Apple and create a forum that can impart that DNA to future generations of Apple employees,” said a former Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationship with the company. “No other company has a university charged with probing so deeply into the roots of what makes the company so successful.”

Steve Jobs, no stranger to preparation, created the program years before his death. “People familiar with the project say Jobs personally recruited the dean of Yale’s Business School in 2008 to run it.”

So what can mere mortals do to prepare for digital death? A few things I can think of:

  • Appoint a digital executor
  • Pass down learnings to children
  • Record videos to be released online later
  • Write, write, write
  • Test out the artificial intelligence tools
  • Invest now to prepare for your digital afterlife – poor people are often forgotten
  • Be a good person so that people will WANT to remember you and keep your thoughts and beliefs alive

Here’s a fun video with some interesting facts…

States Creating Laws Regarding Online Access After Death

Five states have laws governing some degree of online access after death and there are several proponents pushing for a nation-wide standard governing use of your online properties after you pass.

Conclusion

I hope this post gives you some ideas for creating a presence for a loved one. How are you going to customize your group? Let me know in the comments. Good luck and let’s never forget.

Resources

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Conference-jacking – Attend & Participate for Free https://kenmorico.com/conferencejacking-attend-participate-for-free https://kenmorico.com/conferencejacking-attend-participate-for-free#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 17:27:32 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1480 Ever wanted to attend a conference in any city for free? Bummed you didn't get the perks associated with attending a live conference? Hal Werner and I discuss conferencejacking.

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Conferencejacking - Attend & Participate for Free

Ever wanted to attend a conference in any city for free? Bummed you didn’t get the perks associated with attending a live conference? Hal Werner and I discuss conferencejacking – thrust yourself into the live conference from the comfort of your cushy office chair. Reap the benefits of thought amplification. You just need something worth saying and a little help from an angel on the inside.

 

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Content Creation On-The-Go: What’s In My Bag https://kenmorico.com/whats-in-my-bag https://kenmorico.com/whats-in-my-bag#respond Fri, 29 Nov 2013 18:42:11 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1378 With content generation happening at ludicrous speed, you must make time to keep up. Since I bought my iPad last year I have found it more and more useful for generating content on-the-run. Find out what's in my bag and how I operate.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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If you’re not creating content on the road, don’t expect to get picked up. With content generation happening at ludicrous speed, you must make time to keep up. Since I bought my iPad last year I have found it more and more useful for generating content on-the-run.

My MacBook Pro was feeling heavier and bulkier than ever. It seemed a chore to lug around. Recently, two huge things happened to lighten up my life – i bought an iPad and the content creation software improved drastically.  My big criticism of the first iPad was that the software wasn’t very good, if it existed at all. Now that’s changed a lot. You can create content on the tablet, manage social media, execute complex stock strategies, and even write some code.

whats in my bag - macbook bose AE2 headphones iPad Swiss Gear Backpack
What’s in my bag – MacBook Pro, Bose AE2 headphones, iPad, Swiss Gear Backpack

My Digital Road Warrior Gear

  • iPad (4th Generation 32GB)
  • Small messenger bag OR Swiss Gear Backpack OR V7 Vertical messenger bag for iPad
  • iPhone 5 with tethering / hotspot to create a wireless network for the iPad
  • iPhone 5 EarPod headphones or Bose AE2 headphones (white)

What's in my bag - iPad, Apple Earbuds, small messenger bag
What’s in my bag – iPad, Apple Earbuds, small messenger bag

Small vertical messenger bag for iPad
V7 Small vertical messenger bag for iPad is great for everyday use – light, not bulky

iPad Productivity Apps for the Digital Road Warrior

  • WordPress Official App
  • Apple Pages
  • Textastic (for coding)
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Calendar
  • Gmail App
  • HootSuite

If I need to do some heavy photo editing or coding I’ll take my 15″ MacBook Pro. Blogging during the SES conference was certainly doable, but for live tweeting an event a MacBook Air or new Retina 13″ would be a better choice because of the multiple windows OSX gives you. The light messenger bag is useful for quick runs – it’s much smaller than a typical laptop-style messenger bag and much thinner. I guess you could call it a man purse 🙁

Use iPad as a Phone – the Road Warrior Future

Next year, I’m thinking of ditching the iPhone and just carrying an iPad. The iPad Air is much smaller and lighter. Here’s how I plan to accomplish this:

  • Buy iPad Air with Cellular Data capability
  • Port my current mobile phone number to Google Voice
  • Have a 4GB data plan for the iPad
  • Make phone calls using the new FaceTime Audio in iOS 7 for friends using iPhones / iPads
  • Use the Google Hangouts App to make and receive regular phone calls for people not using iPads / iPhones
  • Use iMessage and FaceTime like I do now, but using my email address as my caller ID instead of my phone number (everything works the same)
  • Use Apple Earbuds / Bluetooth earpiece when making calls / talking
  • Keep local police numbers handy (without regular phone service you lose 911 / emergency service)
  • Carry my V7 light messenger bag everywhere

Removing the regular voice service should save me around $50 / month. This will pay for a new iPad Air just in the first year. Plus, the audio quality will be better using FaceTime Audio / Google Voice instead of cellular voice. More details for using the iPad as a phone.

Good Tunes – Writing With Music

I’ve got to have music going when I’m writing / coding. The Bose AE2 headphones are amazing and light. With larger headphones they can get heavy on your head and ears can get steamy inside or worse – hurt. This doesn’t really happen with the Bose AE2 headphones. When working many hours you need comfy headphones. For quick trips I love the Apple EarPods. They are also comfy and sound great. Lots of base for just in-ear headphones.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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SES Chicago Rundown (2013) https://kenmorico.com/ses-chicago-knowledge-gained https://kenmorico.com/ses-chicago-knowledge-gained#respond Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:44:10 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1361 I share some of my learnings and key take-aways from the SES Chicago conference (#SESchi). SEO, authorship, SEM / Paid search, B2B social media.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago
Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago

Here I share some of my learnings and key take-aways from the SES Chicago conference (#SESchi). I tried to capture the most interesting tidbits for the sessions I attended. SEO, authorship, SEM / Paid search, B2B social media were some of my key interests for this conference.

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Marketing and The Age of Participation [keynote]

Diana Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics

  • Consumer is participant
    • Brands should inspire participation
    • Dialogues for brands feel scary
    • Marketing through participation– mobile, real time actions are important
    • The participation way– discover (human desire for knowledge) – empower – connect with others = increased participation
    • Ads for content– this is a fair trade
    • “Nurturist” Marketer– your work starts when the campaign launches
      • Is your company nurturist friendly? What percent is test and learn? Do managers champion innovation?
      • If you see something that works, scale it
      • 30% of budget is testing and learning for progressive companies right now
      • Embrace failures in the pursuit of results
      • Innovate, don’t perfect– big mentality shift from past marketing tactics
      • We (marketers) are no longer the great persuaders
      • Persuasion marketing in its purest form is dead
      • Substitute word participant for consumer (to change the thinking)

Next Generation Paid Search: Reaching the Consumer in an Omni-Channel World

Mark Canabou, Vice President, Global Search Business, Yahoo!

  • Seen huge increase in mobile traffic
  • Search is cool again – lots of innovation based on where the users are going
  • Future of search is mobile – will be as big as PC display
  • Shopping activity is fragmenting and are more complicated
  • Super Bowl was only 20% content – ads, halftime show, and other  content made up the rest
  • Yahoo saw mobile and PC traffic spike during the superbowl
  • You must have integrated marketing
  • Review sites matter when users research purchasing decisions
  • Search still most important to complete a shopping transaction
  • Rise of native ads is important – integrated Facebook ads
  • Integrated ads perform better – 38% vs 28% for regular display ads (like on yahoo.com)
  • In-feed ads noticed as much as content
  • Will be difficult to measure ROI
  • Actions
    • Good ad copy matters – be fun, bold, up-to-date, entertaining, interactive
    • Ad extensions greatly increase engagement “super huge gains”
    • Site link extensions, call extensions, location extensions
    • Combine extensions to gain performance
    • Marriage of old and new tactics

Bill Mungoven, Director of Product Strategy, Advertising Solutions, Adobe

  • What drives search?
  • New trends
    • Infinite scroll ads (yahoo.com)
    • Convergence of paid owned, earned
    • The new super channel
    • Unified data repository – get all your data from online and offline
    • Make Analytics work for you
    • Capture device with URL parameters
    • Report on mobile vs. non mobile
    • Shopping ads– Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
      • PLAs Spike during holidays
      • PLAs perform well
      • Participate in PLAs
      • Bid at most granular level for best performance
      • Include good promotional text / ad copy
      • Email still works great as a channel
      • Last click attribution will go away – we will get smarter

SEO in the Boardroom: Leveraging Relevant Metrics

Alan K’necht, Partner, Digital Always Media, Inc.

  • Know your audience
  • Consider their needs- understand their motivations, bonuses etc.
  • Don’t throw out technical acronyms – “reduce cost per acquisition” increases their bonus
  • Keep talks simple
  • Use a treasure map – major milestones on the map, where we are, what is the goal – ROI?
  • Talk to financial department to get real ROI numbers for company investments to make comparisons. Also, the HR department can get cost per employee.
  • Be concise. Set realistic expectations. Why should they care?
  • C-suite might be skeptical. You might need data to back up your claims / presentation.

Ryan Jones, SEO Manager, SapientNitro

  • Some metrics are best left to yourself
  • C-suite does not care about technical metrics
  • Simplify reporting
  • Boss: Am I spending my money effectively?
  • Find out what your boss’s bonus metric is
  • Your job is to get to your boss promoted. Secretly they are thinking, “will this come back to bite me in the ass?”
  • Reporting: what’s the number? Analytics: what should I do?
  • Use storytelling when talking to c-suite
  • Read the room- expand on what’s catching their attention

Conversion Optimization Tricks That’ll Leave You Singing, “Danke Schoen!”

Angie Schottmuller, Director of Interactive Strategic Planning & Optimization, Three Deep Marketing

  • For every $92 spent on acquiring only $1 spent on conversions
  • How compelling are your meta descriptions?
  • Optimize your organic snippets like a paid ad.
  • Rich snippets boost CTR 20-30%
  • Use ratings and reviews | breadcrumbs rich snippets
  • Explainer videos (show how something works) boost conversion 20%
  • Caption images
  • Gather testimonials and proof
  • Google rich snippets can pull out of context information, perhaps to your benefit
  • One page, one purpose for user queries
  • Optimize font sizes for age – point size should be equal to half your target’s age
  • Plan a clear path for goal completion
  • Prove you are the best solution for a problem

Search Marketing Power Tools Set: SEO & PPC

Bob Tripathi, Founder, Instant E-Training

SEO Tools:

Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster

SEM Tools:

  • AdWords and Bing (Ads Intelligence) have great tools that improve over time
  • AdGooroo – competitive tool
  • Acquisio – bid and budget management algorithms
  • Ad Guardian – saves money when site goes down
  • AdAlysis – notifies you of statistical significance changes in AdWords

Creating Campaigns That Count: The Impact of Converged Media [keynote]

Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit | Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics | Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate, Google

  • K- consumers influence, not clients
  • D- illusion of control
  • A- technology is not an excuse for bad creative
  • A- brand is becoming performance
  • D- today’s marketing environment is like gardening – must nurture
  • A- example – convert first, then market – get your processes right then generate demand
  • A- diversify sources of traffic – be safe
  • A- it’s easy to measure when you know your users – Google Universal Analytics – move from client side tracking to server side
  • A- stitch sessions together from mobile and desktop
  • A- I think social is better for B2B than B2C because of the nurturing process
  • D- you can’t go into marketing now without math skills
  • A- you need data analysis skills to be in marketing
  • A- ads are useful – the future of ads? They are invisible to the user.

Big Data Uncovered: How to Gather, Analyze, and React to New Customer Behavior

Thad Kahlow, CEO, BusinessOnline | Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit

Thad:

  • Enterprise value paradigm
  • Greatest company asset – customer relationship
  • Comparison between GM and Facebook – fortunes rise and fall in short times
  • Every marketing dollar must be shown to offer value – this is the future
  • Because barriers to entry are low, customer relationships are paramount
  • Data framework
    • Close sales and marketing loop
    • Attribute success
    • Drive business outcomes
    • If you understand the buyers journey you can see 15-20% lift in sales – Forrester
    • Attribution model type – single touch / rules-based
    • Single touch assigns too much weight
    • Rules based is arbitrary
    • Setup click to chat only for high lead score / interested prospects. On average, $7 a chat
    • Company-level attribution
    • Use Demandbase to get company info via IP address
    • Predictive modeling – use to predict inventories, etc.

Kevin:

  • Many faces of big data
  • Big data helps to move the odds in your favor
  • Increase conversions / larger purchase / etc.
  • Google search network with display select
  • Google hummingbird is an example of Google using big data
  • Use big data to create inbound links
  • My current mantra is audience
  • Bid more based on market – higher basket amount, I can bid more. Knowing your audience gives you the edge
  • Google using personalized search – should you change your site based on this? Device, location, etc.
  • Google using structured data for paid ads: sometimes more relevant than organic results
  • Facebook graph – people volunteer data you can leverage

Rethink B2B Marketing / How to Turn B2B Social into a Lead Gen Machine

Michelle Killebrew, Program Director, Strategy & Solutions, Social Business, IBM | John Lee, Manager, Brand & Social Marketing, Webtrends

Michelle:

  • Personas help
  • Focus your content – meet their needs
  • Show not tell – video webinars, interactivity, sharing
  • Use pre-populated tweets to share – make it easy for your users
  • Hash tags for campaign names

John:

  • Only 5% of brands are happy with their social
  • 6,000 tweets / second. Your content can get buried
  • Too much self-promotion – users will tune you out
  • It’s not about you
  • Plan all your steps after the first click
  • Twitter can work for lead gen
  • Twitter Lead Gen Cards
    • Tweets with photos get 3-4x clicks
    • Tweets with CTAs get 13% more clicks
    • Auto lead capture – no leaving Twitter
    • Slight problem – users don’t use corporate email address with twitter
    • Raw leads increased 996%
    • CPL decreased 500%
    • 3x ROI vs. Facebook and LinkedIn with same content
    • Put tips in the content – not “here is a new white paper”
    • Encourage immediacy
    • Be clear about how users will get their information / asset
    • 200% higher open rates on twitter lead gen cards emails to leads
    • 4x improvement in CTRs

Social Media and the C-Suite: Building a Compelling Business Case

Michelle Stinson-Ross, Director of Social Marketing, Digital Always Media | Jasmine Sandler, CEO, Agent-cy

Michelle:

  • Get your CEO involved in the brand voice
  • What can we do to make their life easier
  • Audience of one -CEO
  • Is your CEO concerned about maintaining the company’s reputation?
  • Demonstrate how social media can cut costs with customer service

Jasmine:

  • Why lack of c-suite buy-in?
    • No clear ROI
    • Identify the social media team
    • Social can build brand lift
    • Measure sales from social
    • When you have leads, you can sell social media to your CEO
    • Analyze what your competitors are doing
    • $100-200k /year – social media is a real investment
    • 60% of online corporate buying decisions are influenced by the CEO brand. CEO must be involved – branding themselves helps the company

Reaching More Customers, Higher in the Search Funnel

Jordan Koene, Head of SEO & Content Development, eBay

  • Users consider 3-5 brands during the purchase process
  • How do you find users in the research phase?
  • Customers love reviews. Amazon has reviews- eBay needed to compete with them and their high rank
  • What did eBay do?
    • Create long-form content
    • eBay Guides – new creation to build content
      • Asking users to write 250 words. Big investment ask from people.
      • eBay incentivizes users to write guides
      • Internal links do make a difference for traffic
      • Reducing bounce rate will cause a rise in search ranking pages
      • Use SearchMetrics tool to gauge performance
      • Iterate on your experience – constantly change
      • Think mobile, get links

Joining the Dots: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World [KeyNote]

Nick Burcher, Head of Social Media, EMEA, MediaCom

  • The world is getting less bored
  • Google searches triggered from TV watching
  • Two types of audiences- passive and active
  • Original communication model needs updating sender -> receiver
  • Feedback loop is expanding
  • APIs enabling personalization
  • Use social listening to listen to consumers
  • Patterns in the social data can help planning – “shopping” spikes on Sunday
  • Listening goals:  what – where – which – who – when- worth
  • Paid owned and earned coming together – paid boosts owned and earned
  • Super Bowl TV ad can supercharge owned and earned
  • Use paid when the time is right – but have the pump primed
  • Use hashtags and link call to action
  • Content acts as social fuel
  • Why would they care and why would they share it?
    • Bring value to others
    • Define ourselves to others
    • Grow and nourish relationships
    • Self-fulfillment
    • Get the word out about causes or brands
    • See NY Times “psychology of sharing”
    • Tell the story in different ways – use the strengths of the channel
    • Create the content calendar
      • Top-line – lists all significant POE marketing activities
      • Rolling content calendar site underneath- more detailed and more responsive
      • Create a social brand voice – be human / approachable
      • Tap into cultural moments – coke capitalizing on royal baby
      • Product placement in content – Avicii music video / Sony / Ralph Lauren
      • The challenge is getting noticed
      • Little chains pass content now – not one huge network anymore
      • Native advertising – non-interruptive – relevant – visually integrated
        • Enables quick response
        • Social and data is now in everything – always on
        • See the big picture
        • The more connected your business, the better

Author Rank: Getting the Credit You Deserve

Eric Enge, CEO, Stone Temple Consulting | Shari Thurow, Founder & SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive

Eric:

  • You can use email address as validation for author linking with Google+ in addition to standard methods
  • Use structured data testing tool
  • Only use authorship markup for articles
  • Can increase CTR 38% – take with grain of salt
  • Google in-depth articles section will move around in the SERP
  • In-depth articles seems to be driven by PublisherRank
  • Build your authority with humans on the web
  • The company you keep matters – authority of the publisher matters to you and your article
  • Authoritative people sharing your content gives it juice

Shari:

  • No authorship unless you’re not connecting to Google+ – some authors don’t care to be on Google+
  • Keywords are most important and snippet – not perceived link attractiveness
  • Keep a clear and consistent labeling system
  • Easy access
  • Validation – authoritative people connected to the content
  • Title, URL, and headings should support each other
  • Spell out your abbreviations
  • Accessibility: shortest URL, no funky characters
  • Don’t restrict access to content
  • Link to related content – like academic articles
  • You add more links to an article when you have more content
  • Huffington post archives a good model for archiving content – pagination, snippets
  • Link development still best vs. social signals
  • Authorship can negatively affect rankings – it’s markup and at this time does not factor into the Google search algorithm
  • Be the expert – people can sniff out fakers

Mobile Targeting: Using the Right Aggregate Data to Reach Your Target Audience

Lauren Moores, VP of Analytics, Dstillery | Ambrish Verma, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft

Lauren:

  • Mobile is like display for search
  • 59% of smartphone users made at least 1 purchase
  • Location can create context
  • Creative – audience segmentation
  • Segmentation
    • People who travel to airports
    • Time of day, etc.
    • Use location for intent
    • Local search
    • Change content and messaging based on location
    • Find a segmentation and scale it – use cross-channel
    • Visualization – create heat maps to better understand the data

Verma:

  • Mobile is driving discovery and decisions
  • 84% of mobile users use phone in store to make decisions
  • Categories drive mobile searches – some more, some less
  • Mobile users looking to save time money and hassle– but the users offer more
  • Device targeting – segment devices – they are different
  • Click-to-call drives higher engagement
  • Site link extensions provide ease of task completion
    • Shorten conversion funnel

Using Social PPC Content Distribution to Dominate

Marty Weintraub, Founder & Evangelist, aimClear

  • Targeting is not the problem anymore
  • Psychographic targeting / human life cycles for deeper funnel entry
  • Want: insulation from harsh SEO updates
  • Content is many things – Facebook post / Twitter post / Etc. – you can link build for these because they have public URLs for the content
  • Content and distribution are two different things
  • Conversion, SEO, friendship – what we want from content
  • Paid organic amplification
    • Amplify what works organically
  • Facebook ads can be very effective when highly targeted with good content
  • Psychographic – interests, cultural, tech, heart & soul
  • Drive traffic to Google+ page to get SEO benefit from friends of your target

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Social Smithing – How to Find Your Social Media Voice https://kenmorico.com/social-smithing-how-to-find-your-social-media-voice https://kenmorico.com/social-smithing-how-to-find-your-social-media-voice#respond Mon, 21 Oct 2013 01:46:00 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1354 Struggling to get your social media posts unique? Fret not! Hal Werner and I discuss the craft of social media writing and "comfy spaces" to get you to social media nirvana.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Social Smithing – How to Find Your Social Media Voice

Struggling to get your social media posts unique? Fret not! Hal Werner and I discuss the craft of social media writing and “comfy spaces” to get you to social media nirvana.

Funky hats stoke creativity.
Funky hats stoke creativity.

Follow Hal on Twitter @HalWerner or visit his Web site www.halwerner.com.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes at KenMorico.com/itunes.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Shock Tweets – Get Outrageous Twitter Results https://kenmorico.com/shock-tweets https://kenmorico.com/shock-tweets#comments Mon, 02 Sep 2013 19:49:39 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1349 I talk with Hal Werner about the success of "Shock Tweets." What makes a "Shock Tweet" and how can we make it work for us? We debunk the myth that tweets need links to gain traction.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Shock Tweets – Get Outrageous Twitter Results

In this podcast I talk with Hal Werner about the success of “Shock Tweets.” What makes a “Shock Tweet” and how can we make it work for us?

We debunk the myth that tweets need links to gain traction.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes at KenMorico.com/itunes.

Reach Hal Werner on Twitter and HalWerner.com

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Professional Opt-in | A WordPress Plugin https://kenmorico.com/professional-opt-in https://kenmorico.com/professional-opt-in#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 02:32:41 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1310 Drive users to your opt-in landing page without driving them crazy. Professional Opt-in is for the new slow-sell economy. Get it now.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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wordpress opt-in plugin imageDrive users to your opt-in landing page without driving them crazy. Professional Opt-in gently floats in from the bottom of the page without angering your users – causing them to bounce. Users can read your content and not get bombarded with obtrusive pop-ups asking for an email address before reading anything you have to offer. Professional Opt-in is for the new slow-sell economy.

Features

  • Free and quick! Get it working in just 1 minute.
  • Customizable promo text and Call-to-Action button text.
  • Appears when users scroll down the page – after they are interested.
  • For short pages, call to action appears after 30 seconds.
  • Works on mobile and desktop browsers – looks exactly the same.
  • Uses the powerful and proven promo text – call-to-action combination.
  • Triggers special call-to-action events in Google Analytics (if available).
  • Use on all pages or a combination of homepage, posts, pages, or archive / categories.

screenshot-2How Do I Use the Opt-in Plugin?

Using the plugin is easy. Write your promo text, write your short call-to-action, provide a landing page URL, make it active, and go!

FAQs

Where can I see analytics?

In Google Analytics, go to Standard Reports -> Content -> Events.

Why am I not seeing it work?

Perhaps the page does not scroll or does not scroll very much. For short pages, call to action appears after 30 seconds. If it’s a bug, please report it in the comments below.

How can I get the plugin?

You can easily add it right from within WordPress under the “Plugins” menu of the Admin area. Go to Add New Plugin and search for “professional opt-in”.

For the official WordPress Plugin page, visit:
Professional Opt-in plugin page on WordPress.org.
If you want to manually install or tweak the code for another CMS or Web site you can download the latest version:
professional-opt-in.zip (latest version)

Donate

Found this plugin useful? Consider donating to support improvements and future versions.

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4 Things My Grandfather Taught Me About Entrepreneurship https://kenmorico.com/4-things-my-grandfather-taught-me-about-entrepreneurship https://kenmorico.com/4-things-my-grandfather-taught-me-about-entrepreneurship#respond Fri, 07 Jun 2013 02:06:32 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1155 Parallels exist between the great depression and recent years. How my grandfather worked through it and what we can learn.

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Scared and excited to be an entrepreneur during these bi-polar times? This is nothing new, and I look to my grandfather for how he survived and prospered during the Great Depression.

My grandfather, Dominic, grew up during the Great Depression. Like me in the 2000s, he just missed the boom years that happened in the 1920s (see Roaring Twenties) when he was an adult.

Grandpa
Dominic with my father on the right and uncle on the left. (circa 1944)

Dominic was the son of an Italian immigrant factory worker. His father immigrated in the 1900s after poor economic conditions in Italy caused a flood of immigrants to enter the U.S. through Ellis Island. No doubt, Dominic longed for a better life than that provided by his father.

Corporate downsizing and explosion of the Internet / mobile revolution casts a bittersweet coating in today’s environment. High unemployment marred the 30s and early 40s, like today, but new technologies like the mass-produced automobile combined with an increasing population created opportunities. Tough times called for creativity, like they do today.

Create Something People Need

When times are tough, you need to offer something people need. When times are good, you’ll still be around. Dominic owned a barber shop with several employees. If you had a job or wanted one during the Great Depression you needed be clean shaven and kempt (unlike me today!). Barriers to opening a physical business were lower then, but today Internet businesses can have very low overhead.

Always Keep Cash Handy

Dominic had cash money along with other forms of money, but it was real cash or liquid. Tough lending practices by banks like today prevented a frenzy. Cash is what keeps a business operating today and tomorrow. You can’t weather storms without cash. It’s also easy to acquire great real estate if you have cash.

You Need Multiple Streams of Income

Dominic had many different types of assets. In fact, the same assets we see today. He had dividend stocks, bonds, the barbershop, and a large multi-family house that he rented out. Even in the worst of times, assets like these will produce. It’s easy to sleep at night knowing all your eggs are NOT in one basket.

You Can Never Be Fired

When you create your own job, you can never be fired. Dominic was never fired. Who could fire him? He owned the place, literally. He had a nice retirement and lived into his 80s.

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Win Back Friends that Didn’t Like Your Facebook Page https://kenmorico.com/facebook-friends-dont-like-your-page https://kenmorico.com/facebook-friends-dont-like-your-page#comments Sun, 02 Jun 2013 15:13:07 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1142 Downhearted that your friends don't like your Facebook page? Take action!

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What happened when I asked a few friends and blog readers to like my professional Facebook page? Crickets. 1 like after about 50 invites. I didn’t send requests to all my friends, but a few that I thought would be interested. I wasn’t disheartened, but I’m now starting to change my strategy.

There are two things to consider when getting people to like a Facebook page: understanding the psychological reasons people want to subscribe to a page and mastering the mechanics helping people to click the Like button.

Psychological Reasons Why People Like Facebook Pages

I lot of times we feel that we build a great page, site, or multimedia content and no one is paying attention. We feel there must be something with us. Is our content not good enough? Are we not likable? Did we show up too late and there are giants in the land?

You need to spend some time and think like a user – see the other person’s point of view. Why should they care? We are all bombarded with messages. We need to respect our fan’s time and make our messaging important and useful.

Why People “like” a Facebook Page:

  • Join a tribe
  • Stay up-to-date — fear of being irrelevant in an industry
  • Want to be first to know news
  • Group think: their friends liked the page so they like the page
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Want to be entertained

Facebook has an entertainment bias, so posts need to be fun or presented in a fun way. Just about every post should have a photo or video. If you’re not good at creating graphics you can use Canva to make graphics with ease.

Mechanical Ways to Help Users Like Your Facebook Page

Build a Facebook Audience By Inviting Users – I Have an Email Address List

Facebook invite email contacts

I used the Build Audience tool in the Facebook Page administration area and imported some email addresses. Pages with fewer than 5,000 likes can have email addresses imported to jumpstart the audience. The import process was simple. If you have an existing list to send to, there’s not really any harm in asking people to like the page as long your expectations are low. I think a better idea is to create an email marketing campaign and ask your real fans to like the page with a link in the email.

Permission Marketing – Filter Your True Fans

There are two ways to get people to like your Facebook Page – hound them, or make them want to like. There’s a form of marketing called permission marketing where users take actions to receive marketing. This is different from interruption marketing where people get messages they didn’t ask to receive or are totally irrelevant. A few ways to get Facebook Page likes: use the like plugin on your blog/website, ask for a like in an email campaign, or spread links on business cards, email signatures, and anywhere your name appears. Facebook Page posts are great, but I’m starting to see real benefits in outbound marketing – Email campaigns.

Email Campaign Difficulties

When I recently started my email campaigns there were some difficulties I didn’t expect:

  • It took me 6 hours to gather and organize my email lists
  • It took 3 hours to investigate the right email campaign provider for my needs
  • High bounce rates can disable your account
  • It took me 4 hours to create a campaign and create the right graphics

I’ve done email campaigns in the past for clients without difficulty, but spam laws have gotten tougher in recent years and email campaign providers are not taking any risks. They don’t want ISPs to block their emails from other users. Remember, you are on a shared server, so the bad practices of user can affect all users of the service.

MailChimp – Free Email Marketing

I’m using MailChimp and have been very impressed with the service. It’s free for basic emailing and reasonable amounts of subscribers (less than 2,000). The one important feature that requires a paid account is autoresponders, but that’s about it. Their drag-and-drop tools are great for non-technical users and the site is fun to use. Plus, there is an iOS app for management on the go.

Converting a Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page a Good Idea?

Many people that visit my viral post HOW TO: Separate Personal and Business with Facebook Pages want information on converting their personal Facebook profile to a business page. This is a bad idea. As you can see, the people that want to be your friend and the people that want to follow you are different. Forcing them to follow you through a profile conversion would leave a bad taste. The feature was a good idea when brands could only create Facebook profiles and pages didn’t exist. Now people should know better.

Resources

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Custom Google Analytics Reports Explained https://kenmorico.com/free-google-analytics-reports https://kenmorico.com/free-google-analytics-reports#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 13:54:42 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1078 Custom Google Analytics reports for Mobile, Desktop, Keyword, Page Efficiency and more!

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Google Analytics comes with a lots of great stock reports, but oftentimes you need to create custom reports to answer more questions. I usually create custom reports for clients like Verizon, Chivas Regal, and Sonic Drive-in to determine customer paths, conversions, and best traffic sources. I highly recommend getting Google Analytics certified if you can. I am, and it has helped tremendously in my job as both a Web Developer and Web Analyst.

Google Analytics Custom Reports

Mobile Browser User Experience Report

Are my users getting the same site experience?  Are mobile users bouncing more than desktop / laptop users? Are mobile users spending more time on the site? I explain this report below.
Download Report

Desktop Browser User Experience Report

Are my users getting the same site experience?  Are mobile users bouncing more than desktop / laptop users? Are mobile users spending more time on the site? I explain this report below.
Download Report

Social Interactions By Page

Social-Interactions-by-Page-Google-Analytics

This report conveniently shows your pages that have some social interaction – a Facebook Like, Tweet, Google+ circle, Google+ +1, etc. It starts by listing the pages and then you can drill-down to see the details. You won’t get social plugin data without proper analytics code like the one generated by my Professional Share WordPress Plugin.

Download Report

Search Keyword Report

search-custom-analytics-report

In this search report I focus on keywords. Keywords give you great insight into the flow of traffic into your site. When you write content, you have an idea of the keywords YOU THINK people are searching for. This report shows how people actually arrive at your site. I explain this report below.

Download Report

Visitor Acquisition Efficiency Report

This report I converted for use in the new version of Google Analytics. I created this report based on Avinash Kaushik’s post 3 Awesome, Downloadable, Custom Web Analytics Reports. This is one of my favorite reports right now. It focuses on traffic quality by source. Visit Avinash’s blog for report details.

Download Report

Page Efficiency Report

This report I converted for use in the new version of Google Analytics. I created this report based on Avinash Kaushik’s post 3 Awesome, Downloadable, Custom Web Analytics Reports. This report breaks down your pages and helps you spot problems. Visit Avinash’s blog for report details.

Download Report

 

Search Report Explained

Custom reports in Google Analytics save the day. What good is disorganized data? Any Web analytics tools can spew metrics and stock reports at you. Each business is different with its own KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). The beauty of Google Analytics custom reports is that you can build a focused report from the massive pool of information Google stores in their databases from your Web site traffic. I’m going to focus on a report that all companies and individuals can use – a search report. [NOTE: Google has removed some keywords for this report due to secure search – the dreaded “Not Provided” keyword. However, if you have enough traffic some keywords will display from other sources. This should be enough data make key decisions.]

Search Cred

Nearly all companies and individuals with an online presence need to focus on search. The reasons are many – a large portion of traffic can come from search, high rankings establish site quality and trust, and Google’s new +1 button can give you a credibility jolt. If you haven’t check out the new beta version of Google Analytics v5 be sure to play around with it.

google-analytics-custom-reports-gui

In this search report I focus on keywords. Keywords give you great insight into the flow of traffic into your site. When you write content, you have an idea of the keywords YOU THINK people are searching for. This report shows how people actually arrive at your site. I am always surprised with the keywords I find in my report. Oftentimes I change my content based on good ideas I receive from searchers.

This report starts with a view of keywords – keywords from all search engines. I don’t care what search engine they come from (at least at this point). The bounces and bounce rate fields tell me if the searchers found what they were looking for and were interested enough in other content in the site to continue reading. Most times, people find the content they want on your site and leave. That’s common. The art of making a great site means marketing content, products, or services to users, or in this case searchers. The more you tweak your content and market your other content, products, or services, the lower the bounce rates and higher the traffic.

search-custom-analytics-report

Clicking through on the hyperlinked keywords will take you to the landing pages for the keywords. Did users reach only one page? Or do multiple pages rank for certain keywords? A trend in search right now is that users are typing in long-tail keywords – full phrases other than generic keywords. As phrases gain in popularity with the autocomplete algorithm, your site can match for the full phrase. That’s gold.

Desktop and Mobile Browser Reports Explained

There’s a problem with myopia on the Web. Site owners make the assumption that everyone sees their Web site the same way they do. There are thousands of device and browser combinations. How do you solve for the differences in configurations that contribute to higher bounce rates and dissatisfied users?

Google Analytics gives you the tools to see what’s going on, but oftentimes data needs to be arranged to come to conclusions and actions to take. Now more than ever with desktop AND mobile browsers, you need a way to sift through user experiences because usually they won’t tell you they had a bad experience – they just go somewhere else.

I created some free Google Analytics reports below that you can download to help you segment and make sense of the many user experiences. Google Analytics gives you some generic reports by default, but it doesn’t always provide clear reports for answers to questions like: “Are my users getting the same site experience?  Are mobile users bouncing more than desktop / laptop users? Are mobile users spending more time on the site?”

Desktop Browser Report


Download Report
Using this report you can see how users experience your site with different browsers. With many rushed sites these days there often isn’t time to optimize experiences for all browsers. With this report, you can clearly see which browsers have higher than usual bounce rates and time on site.
Thankfully, this is not 1999 or 2005. Most browsers can reliably keep true to a design layout if the site is programmed and validated to WC3 standards. Javascript libraries like jQuery help keep interactions consistent across browsers.

Using a newer HTML5 WordPress theme and custom HTML5 code on my site, I am able to get a fairly normal variance in my bounce rates. Since most of my content is blog related and most of traffic organic search traffic, my bounce rates are a little high, but content ranks well in Google search engine results pages because my click-through rate (CTR) is good. Internet Explorer, in general, isn’t standards-compliant, so some design elements might break or look clunky resulting in a higher bounce rate.

Mobile Browser Report


Download Report
When I segment site visitors by mobile browser, things look a little weirder. Bounce rates peak and trough a bit. Mobile browsers are very different from regular browsers in that the screen is a lot smaller. My site and blog are optimized for mobile, so my bounce rates aren’t in the 90s. But even so, some users seem to be having a better experience. I’d need to do more testing to find out what’s going on.

The weird thing about Google Analytics is that it groups tablets as mobile devices. To me, tablets function more like desktops because their screen resolution often meets or exceeds them. Using a standard HTML5 site, a Web site should look the same on a tablet as it does on a desktop. Mobile browsers are almost always fully HTML5 compliant.

Using either the desktop or mobile report I created you can drill down to see specific browser versions. For example, there is a huge difference between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 8.

If everything checks out on the browser side, it’s time to look at other areas of optimization like search [see keyword search report explanation above].

Responsive Design

Remember that Web sites should be responsive, that is to say they adjust from large 27″ iMacs to mobile browsers. The kenmorico.com site is a good example of this. I find that since implementing the responsive design on my site my analytics numbers smooth out and everyone seems to have a good experience. Bounce rate, time on site, and other metrics seem to equalize.

Resources

Save Time With Custom Reports

Custom reports can save you a lot of time digging through all the data in separate standard reports in Google Analytics. Sometimes you can’t even create a custom report using the standard Web interface. In that case, you’ll need to write some software using the Google Analytics API. (Not a do-it-yourself job.) To really save time without digging through any reports, check out Google Analytics Intelligence Events. It’s like having a full-time data scientist on staff!

Power Tools: Goals, Funnels, and Custom Reports

Custom reports should answer questions. In the end you should either be learning about your users and their behaviors to improve content, or analyzing conversions and paths. In particular I like the stock Funnel Visualization report. Funnels and goals are a great complement to custom reports because they are so useful. Every business should try to have multiple streams of income, and funnel visualizations can help to easily see where users are coming from and where your site needs conversion improvement.

If you have your own reports worth sharing let me know and I can add them to the list. I hope you find these reports useful. Let me know of any problems accessing / using the reports.

 

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Professional Share – A WP Social Media Plugin https://kenmorico.com/professional-share https://kenmorico.com/professional-share#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 13:44:16 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1075 Professional Share is a free WordPress plugin that is optimized for the social media buttons that professionals and B2B companies need most. It's optimized for speed with proper placements for posts and pages.

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Professional Share is a free WordPress plugin that is optimized for the social media buttons that professionals and B2B companies need most. It’s optimized for speed with proper placements for posts and pages.

Social Media Plugin Features

  • Core buttons applicable to professionals and B2B – focus is on LinkedIn and Facebook action verb “recommend”. Drive quality traffic to your site while simplifying the user experience.
  • Full Google Analytics Social Tracking. Google Analytics reports successful shares only. Tracks shares, recommends, AND unlikes.
  • Official button code from LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
  • Schema.org and OpenGraph meta tags for more precise sharing.
  • Allows Twitter username entry so Tweets can be attributed to you – (the AddThis plugin does not!).
  • Plugin buttons can load once in the page speeding up the user experience.
  • Buttons have flexible placements – above posts, below posts, above pages, below pages, and custom with shortcodes and the do_action function.
  • Widgets for easy placement.
  • Works on mobile, respsonsive designs and themes.
  • Allows custom Facebook AppID and administrator IDs for deeper Facebook integration.

See it in action below.

Tips for Share Optimization

This plugin can optimize and automate as much as possible for you, but there are some things you need to to to ensure your users see the best snippets when they share. First, write a concise and unique excerpt for your post in the excerpt field. Pages in WordPress don’t have excerpt fields, so make sure the top of your page / post is descriptive and gives the reader an idea about what they can find if they keep reading. Second, add an image to the page. Set an image as the “Featured Image” for the post. This will tell the plugin and social media sites that that image is the one you want to highlight. If you don’t fill out an excerpt field or set a featured image, things may still work out ok. The first few sentences of your post/page will be the description and the first image in the post will be the featured image. If you care about sharing and the best possible experience for your users, I highly recommend writing the excerpt and setting the featured image. The excerpt will also improve your SEO.

Professional Share WordPress Settings Screen

Plugin Settings Screen
Professional Share WordPress Settings Screen

Where Can I See My Social Reports in Google Analytics?

Professional Share enables social media plugin reporting in Google Analytics. Here is where you can find this report: Social-Plugins-Google-Analytics
I also created an easier Google Analytics report to track social interactions on my Free Google Analytics Custom Reports page. You’ll find some other useful reports there as well.

Download Professional Share

The easiest way to download and install Professional Share is to search for it in the plugins section of your WordPress installation. For more details on the plugin or to download, you can visit the official Professional Share plugin page on WordPress.org. professional-share.zip (latest version)

Also Available as a Drupal Module

You can download the work-in-progress Professional Share Drupal module on Drupal.org. Professional Share is a work in progress and will be updated. Check back soon. Please leave feedback / bugs below.

Installation Instructions

Once activated, click on the Professional Share menu item in the settings section. Type in your Twitter username (without the @ symbol) and your Facebook UserID and AppID if you have them. The plugin works without any setup as well.

Customization

  • Use [[professional_share]] shortcode to render buttons anywhere in a post / page.
  • Hook to render buttons in themes – do_action(‘professional_share’) – use for Homepage, category pages, etc.
  • Use the short code [[professional_share]] to render buttons anywhere in a post or page. Use [[professional_share show=”false”]] to hide the buttons on a per-page/post basis.

Donate

Found this plugin useful? Consider donating to support improvements and future versions.

FAQs / Known Issues

I upgraded from version 1.0,1.1,1.2 to 1.3+ and cannot see my buttons?

Go to the plugin settings page and check the boxes for button position.

WordPress Plugin Changelog

= 1.5.1 =
* Bug fixes
* Fixed Facebook comment box width for some WordPress themes
* Removed extraneous Tweet word from share descriptions
* Increased priority so CSS and JS are inside html head tag

= 1.5 =
* Added widgets
* Facebook button has absolute URL to comply with July 2013 requirements

= 1.4 =
* Added new shortcode attribute to disable the buttons on a per-page basis – [[professional_share show=”false”]]
* Added featured image support (post thumbnail) for OpenGraph and Schema.org sharing
* Added settings quicklink on main WordPress Plugins page
* Settings page layout improvements

= 1.3 =
* Added ability to adjust position of buttons – options are top of post, bottom of post, top of page, bottom of page
* Added blog language to HTML root for SEO
* Improved CSS layout

= 1.2 =
* Replaced Google+ Share button with Google+1 button that includes share capability
* Added HTML5 compliant Google+1 code
* Improved CSS layout

= 1.1 =
* Replaced Google+1 button with new Google+ Share button
* Added schema.org and open graph meta tags for sharing
* Added short code [[professional_share]] to render buttons anywhere in a post
* Added hook to render buttons in themes – do_action(‘professional_share’)
* Added CSS class for button area(s) – ProfessionalShareBox

= 1.0 =
* First Version

Social Plugin Resources

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Online Advertising, AdSense, and Beer Money https://kenmorico.com/online-advertising-adsense-and-beer-money https://kenmorico.com/online-advertising-adsense-and-beer-money#respond Sat, 06 Apr 2013 14:58:13 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1038 I talk with Hal Werner about online advertising, what's working, the value in testing, and making beer money with Google Adsense.

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In this podcast I talk with Hal Werner about online advertising, what’s working, the value in testing, and making beer money with Google Adsense.

This content appeared first on KenMorico.com.

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Social Media Power Tools https://kenmorico.com/social-media-power-tools https://kenmorico.com/social-media-power-tools#respond Sat, 30 Mar 2013 02:16:37 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=1024 I sit down with Hal Werner to discuss pros and cons of the leading social media power tools for professionals – HootSuite and Tweetdeck.

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In this podcast, I sit down with Hal Werner to discuss pros and cons of the leading social media power tools for professionals – HootSuite and Tweetdeck.

Special Fedora session.
Special Fedora session.

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Denver in Pictures – Outside Beauty, Inside Grit and Glory https://kenmorico.com/denver-in-pictures-outside-beauty-inside-grit-and-glory https://kenmorico.com/denver-in-pictures-outside-beauty-inside-grit-and-glory#respond Sat, 16 Mar 2013 02:13:30 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=999 I went to Denver for the first time in late 2011 and it was everything I expected: beautiful landscapes with inner-city counter-culture edginess. Armed with my Canon T2i and Canon Powershot SD790IS, I took to the streets and hills.

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I went to Denver for the first time in late 2011 and it was everything I expected: beautiful landscapes with inner-city counter-culture edginess. Armed with my Canon T2i and Canon Powershot SD790IS, I took to the streets and hills.

Have you ever seen a line of people waiting for a library to open? Notice the backpackers. Hippies gotta read, man.

I think a lot of people don’t realize that Red Rocks Amphitheater is actually part of a park. It also has great views of downtown Denver.
IMG_2112
Denver Skyline
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Denver Skyline
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An unusually nice building for a newspaper… (The Denver Post 2011)
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Merton of YouTube fame played on one of these.
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Chess anyone? And I mean anyone…
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Lots of hipsters with tech.
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Street performers
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Ken’s New Haven-Style Pizza Recipe https://kenmorico.com/new-haven-pizza https://kenmorico.com/new-haven-pizza#comments Tue, 12 Mar 2013 16:08:51 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=994 Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, there were so many great pizza restaurants around. At the time, I didn’t realize how special they really were, and how difficult it is to create a great pizza. The secret, I found out, is in the spicy sauce and thin crust.

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When I was a kid, I loved pizza. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, there were so many great pizza restaurants around. At the time, I didn’t realize how special they really were, and how difficult it is to create a great pizza. The secret, I found out, is in the spicy sauce and thin, crispy crust. New Haven pizza requires more time and expensive ingredients in my opinion. For instance, you can taste the sauce and actually SEE it in the pizza. In fact, the sauce is often so good that a popular New Haven Pizza is plain – no toppings – just the sauce. In cheap pizzas you’ll often see just gobs of cheese covering a little bit of sauce. Maybe New Yorkers care more about speed and money… for me, I’ll take a New Haven pizza. New Haven pizza also often has a little bit of charring… the ovens make it delicious. For the home baker, it probably won’t be possible to achieve the charring because home ovens don’t get very hot, but we can get a little close.

My deceased grandmother loved to make sauce. My family would grow fresh basil in the backyard and use it in the sauce. Oftentimes sauce is what makes for good Italian food. Fresh ingredients and strong spices make it stellar. Since I moved to Texas a few years ago, I haven’t been happy with the local pizza. I decided to put on my oven gloves and take it to the kitchen, making my own pizza – the way I remember it from my childhood.

I don’t own a New Haven pizza restaurant and clearly different restaurants will have their own take on what is New Haven Pizza, but through my years and years of making pizza this recipe is the closest I’ve come to replicating the regional taste at home.

Ingredients

Dough

Special order ingredients (best quality):

OR common grocery store ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups bread flour (this gives extra elasticity to the dough mix.) I use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour and Bob’s Red Mill bread flour
  • 1 package yeast (regular, rapid-rise, or pizza-specific yeast) Red Star Yeast Preferred
  • 1 tablespoon Mediterranean sea salt
  • 1 large tablespoon malt (or 2 teaspoons sugar)
  • 1.5 cups slightly warm purified water
  • 3.5 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

Other Ingredients

  • Medium grind corn meal
  • Optional – mozzarella cheese (whole milk – not skim. In block form.)
  • Optional – Pepperoni (I like Boar’s Head pepperoni from the butcher section of organic grocery stores or common Hormel’s Original Pepperoni in a package if you can’t get to the butcher’s section.)
  • Basil leaves (for the top after baking – optional)
  • Crushed red pepper on top (optional after baking)

Kitchen Items Needed

  • stainless steel bowl
  • pizza peel
  • pizza cutter
  • pizza stone
  • wood or coal-fired oven imported from Naples (not really, but if you have too much money and lots of space… why not?)

Pizza Preparation

Gimme the Dough

Use non-stick spray in a large stainless steel bowl to keep flour from sticking to the bowl. Heat 3/4 cup of water to 120 degrees. For me, 3/4 cup of water in a 1400 watt microwave for 20 seconds at full-power works. You DON’T want the water too warm or it will kill the yeast. Mix warm water, yeast and malt (or sugar) in the cup of warm water. I use a measuring cup to mix the yeast with the sugar/malt. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes. You should see about a .5 inch foam top form due to the yeast. If no foam starts to generate after a few minutes you either killed the yeast with hot water or the yeast is no good (they do expire – check the package). Mix flour with olive oil and salt. Add the warm water / yeast mix to the large bowl. Stir with a large spoon. Add another 3/4 cup warm water to the mix. When the mix starts to congeal, rub it into a ball. Knead the dough until it has a nice consistency – not too dry, not too wet, but I do prefer it a little on the moist side to help the yeast rise. Cover the ball of dough in the mixing bowl and let the dough rise for 1-24 hours. I like to use a glass plate to cover the mixing bowl so I can see the dough rise.

Follow the ingredient amounts exactly. If you do, no adjustments will need to be made. If the dough is too dry, add some more water. It may also need a little more olive oil. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. This type of pizza is very hard to make. You’ll need to try many times before you get it right. The fun part of this process is that once you get the pizza right you can experiment with different toppings, ingredients, temperatures, literally everything so each pizza can be a new and different experience while still under the delicious New Haven Pizza umbrella.

Setup the Special Sauce

Smash the whole tomatoes with a dusting of oregano and garlic powder in a sauce pan. Place stove on medium heat. Also the wood or coal-fired oven found in the restaurants give it a really unique taste. Some restaurants will use a lot of oregano — so much so that you can see it everywhere in the sauce. You can use a little garlic but beware –garlic is very potent and just a little too much can ruin all the sauce. After 10 minutes on medium heat, adjust heat to low setting, and cook for 1 hour. Stir constantly and taste.

I knead a Pizza

Use a wooden cutting board to knead the dough. There will be enough dough for 4 small pizzas. New Haven style pizza is very, very thin. It can be difficult to get dough very thin. Just keep kneading and flipping the dough. Press with your fingers in an outward motion to stretch the dough on the cutting board or pizza peel. If you can start to see through the dough you’ve stretched it too thin.

Place some cornmeal on a pizza peel. This will help it slide off the peel (and adds a bit of flavor). When the dough is thin enough and in a pizza shape, place it on the spatula.

New Haven APizza
Ken’s Plain Sauce Apizza

Use a large spoon to put the sauce on the dough, spreading it evenly.Like I mentioned before, sauce is important in New Haven. Add as much as you can, but be careful not to weigh down the pizza too much or you won’t be able to slide it off the pizza peel. You can add toppings; however the sauce is the star of the show and the San Marzano tomatoes give it that sweet taste that goes perfect with a charred crust.

Rip chunks off of the block of whole-milk mozzarella cheese. Space cheese chunks evenly on the pizza. They don’t need to look perfect as the cheese will melt and spread. Add pepperoni if desired. Place the pizza on a pizza stone. Pizza screens are more durable than cheap pizza stones and help the heat flow through for a crispier crust. Pricer pizza stones are great but need to be thick to be durable and need more time to to preheat in the oven to get hot.

New Haven style pizza crust is a little crispier than average pizza with char, and the thin crust will also make it crispier. Preheat oven. Place the pizza in the oven for 13 minutes at 500 degrees. Rack position may affect crispiness. If adding cheese be careful not to place it on a high rack otherwise the cheese will burn. Keep an eye on the pizza in the final minutes of baking. Add basil leaves and crushed red pepper after the pizza is done if desired.

Sally’s Apizza – New Haven

Some of favorite pizza restaurants in New Haven include Frank Pepe’s and Modern Apizza and Tolli’s Apizza. Also, wash the pizza down with some unique soda from the area Foxon Park – my favorite is White Birch. Be sure to stop there when you in town. Traditionally, we would need a coal-fired oven to make these pizzas. You’ll notice that most pizza restaurants add just a little bit of sauce and smother the pizza with cheese. Not the best way to go in my opinion.

New Haven is renowned for its pizza, and it is also a favorite of President Clinton and other famous people. I hope you will enjoy this recipe and make this pizza from a small city in Connecticut a big part of your family life.

Ken’s New Haven Pizza (2019) – Slightly burned with yellow bell peppers, Boar’s Head Pepperoni, Mozzarella cheese

Resources

New Haven Pizza Experience

Frank Pinello discovers New Haven pizza or “Apizza” in this documentary.

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Don’t Be Shy Online – Lights, Camera, Author Up https://kenmorico.com/dont-be-shy-online-author-up https://kenmorico.com/dont-be-shy-online-author-up#respond Sun, 30 Dec 2012 04:33:15 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=958 In this podcast episode I talk about authorship markup and author rank. Why it's important, how to do it, and some words of encouragement.

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In this podcast episode I talk about authorship markup and author rank. Why it’s important, how to do it, and some words of encouragement.

Here’s my tutorial page: Authorship Markup How-To

 

Resources

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Don’t Bleed Traffic – GA Intelligence Events https://kenmorico.com/google-analytics-intelligence-events https://kenmorico.com/google-analytics-intelligence-events#respond Sun, 02 Dec 2012 17:22:32 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=938 The Intelligence Events section in Google Analytics can give you an overview of major events happening on your site that you may not be aware of.

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Just a reminder… Google Analytics is not just a reporting and analytics tool. It can also monitor your website and provide detection for site anomalies.

When I changed the URL structure of my site I didn’t migrate the links using 301 redirects because I didn’t have the time. As the weeks slipped by, my traffic dropped significantly. The Intelligence Events section in Google Analytics can give you an overview of major events happening on your site that you may not be aware of. The details link also provides great insight and really shows perspective. Here’s an example from my site:

 

Here’s a great video from Google that explains how you can customize the Intelligence Events. The customization can be very advanced or simple. Nice!

Resources

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Proven Online Business Ideas https://kenmorico.com/proven-online-business-ideas https://kenmorico.com/proven-online-business-ideas#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2012 13:11:34 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=925 Often, Internet businesses are not easy to monetize like an ice cream shop. Investor Warren Buffet loves ice cream shops because they are easy-to-understand businesses with a simple business model. I want ice cream.

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Ever since the Web became popular in the 90s people have been struggling with how to make money using the Internet. Even today, angry investors of Facebook clamor to see results. For a company with a billion users, you’d think they would make more money or could easily monetize their base. Often, Internet businesses are not easy to monetize like an ice cream shop. Investor Warren Buffet loves ice cream shops because they are easy-to-understand businesses with a simple business model. I want ice cream. I have cash. I give it to the ice cream shop. They give me ice cream. Getting people to part with their money online is much harder.

What Works as an Online Business?

Few universal shopping carts exist. Online advertising rates are going up and proving less effective. Where do you go to find out what really works as a business idea? Enter Flippa. With Flippa you can browse a list of websites and businesses for sale and see their ways of making money along with their traffic. Website sellers post their Google analytics reports as well as other documents to showcase their business model. The Google analytics reports demonstrate actual numbers for the business. You can see if the business has legs and what the potential opportunities are for that niche. I was amazed to see how many popular topics niche businesses gained Facebook likes. A very basic coffee website gathered 8000 likes with no curation of content or activity on the Facebook page. The site made some money selling ads next to articles about coffee. Another website made money posting jobs online. Simple businesses that Warren Buffett would approve of.

20121110-074027.jpg
Flippa.com

The “Forever Recession”

I love Seth Godin and his advice. I enjoy watching his videos on YouTube. He really gets the new economy. The safest thing to do now is be risky and start an online business.

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Use SEO to Own Your Good Name, Brand, and Competition https://kenmorico.com/use-seo-to-own-your-good-name-brand-and-competition https://kenmorico.com/use-seo-to-own-your-good-name-brand-and-competition#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2012 21:49:56 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=847 What comes up in search engines when people type in your name or company? Good results? Bad results? Truth? Lies? What if you could control it with SEO? Reputation management... you can do it!

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What comes up in search engines when people type in your name or company? Good results? Bad results? Truth? Lies? What if you could control it with SEO? Reputation management… you can do it!

Google Sitelinks

Google improved the sitelinks functionality for top results in a query. Up to twelve indented results under the main result with snippets. Gold! You can command nearly half a page of Google search results by building traffic to your site and creating quality content. As my traffic started to build I noticed one day that the sitelinks just magically appeared. I had gotten sitelinks for my clients before. Having traffic helps, and having certain pages in demand helps Google determine which pages are important and should be included.

Google writes on their blog:

It turns out that sitelinks are quite useful because they can help predict which sections of the site you want to visit. Even if you didn’t specify your task in the query, sitelinks help you quickly navigate to the most relevant part of the site, which is particularly handy for large and complex websites. Sitelinks can also give you a good overview of a website’s content, and let webmasters expose areas of the site that visitors may not know about.

Online Reputation

If you are thinking of applying for jobs, it’s a known fact that recruiters are Googling your name. I’m amazed at how many people have no online reputation… even people in the digital space. How can you say you are an expert in anything and not get found online? Alas, some offline people can still get away without an online reputation… for now. But all it takes is for one disgruntled person to damage your online reputation before it even starts. This is really easy to do if you don’t have an online trail. No one can do this to me. Why? Because I own my name in the online space.

My content on the Web that I’ve developed for years…. in fact since 1999, gives me credibility with Google. When people type in my name in Google, I own half a page of content. Sites with lower credibility get buried, and with a little optimization I can bury even credibile sites that seek to defame me. That’s power. And you can have it too.

Blog, Blog, Blog

The single best thing I can think of to get credibility with Google is to create great content. The best way to do this is to blog. Social media, to me, can be a real waste of time. The shelf life of postings tends to be around 20 minutes. When I write a blog post, that post is working for me 24/7 365 days a year. It’s an investment. Because I care about writing and helping people, I should get some credit. Right? When I wrote for print publications like The Los Angeles Times it was the byline that I cared about. Now, it’s the Google Authorship display. The authorship display gives you credibility. Especially now, since not everyone is doing it. I explain the Google Authorship Markup in this post.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords can be sneaky. Your competition can trigger ads to display when users search for your company name. They can lure them with discounts and special offers, as well as write lies about your products or service. That’s why it’s so important to get the top spot for your name in organic search. You also might have to outbid your competition in Google Adwords to control your reputation. Paid search is a shortcut. Remember that. A great example of this was BP buying search terms during their oil spill. They took ownership of their name and the event. They had the money to do so.

Like other parts of SEO, optimization goes very deep. How do you control your brand and good name? Please comment below.

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Google Overhauls Local Search – Go Local https://kenmorico.com/google-improving-local-search-get-your-site-local https://kenmorico.com/google-improving-local-search-get-your-site-local#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 14:12:02 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=862 With mobile getting more and more important you can't miss the opportunity to use all the new SEO techniques to embed location information in your pages.

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Google has been improving their search algorithm to send local results to users. With mobile getting more and more important you can’t miss the opportunity to use all the new SEO techniques to embed location information in your pages.

Google continues to make note of the local updates in their Inside Search Blog. Some highlights for February 2012:

More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. [project codename “Suggest”] We’ve improved the ranking for predictions in YouTube to provide more locally relevant queries. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].

Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.

 

Using rich snippets and location information with schema.org markup is a great way to make your pages stand out in local searches. Sometimes, all you need for local search could just be the city name in your page title or content e.g. “Houston Web Developer.” Also note the continued improvements to rich snippets by Google:

International launch of shopping rich snippets. [project codename “rich snippets”]Shopping rich snippets help you more quickly identify which sites are likely to have the most relevant product for your needs, highlighting product prices, availability, ratings and review counts. This month we expanded shopping rich snippets globally (they were previously only available in the US, Japan and Germany).

Local search optimization is a deep topic, but sometimes just doing the simple things like using schema.org markup, tagging pages with city information, and setting up a Google Places page can really do a lot.

Resources

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No-cache Files with WordPress Multisite https://kenmorico.com/no-cache-files-with-wordpress-multisite https://kenmorico.com/no-cache-files-with-wordpress-multisite#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2012 23:19:50 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=853 Creating a WordPress Multisite for a client I came across an issue when trying to prevent flash files (.swfs) from being cached (stored by the browser).

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Creating a WordPress Multisite for a client I came across an issue when trying to prevent flash files (.swfs) from being cached (stored by the browser).

You can’t use normal Apache .htaccess files when serving files from within WordPress multisite because they get funneled through a PHP file, located in wp-includes/ms-files.php. You can check for any filetype, I checked for .swf files. Here’s my modified code:

$last_modified = gmdate( 'D, d M Y H:i:s', filemtime( $file ) );
$etag = '"' . md5( $last_modified ) . '"';
header( "Last-Modified: $last_modified GMT" );
header( 'ETag: ' . $etag ); /* no cache swf files - K.Mo/
if(preg_match("/.
.swf/i", $file)) {
header( 'Expires: Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT');
header( 'Cache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate');
header( 'Pragma: no-cache');
}
else {
header( 'Expires: ' . gmdate( 'D, d M Y H:i:s', time() + 100000000 ) . ' GMT' );
}

You’ll need to check if WordPress gets updated because this file is part of the core WordPress insall and will liekly be overwritten when there’s an update. I’ll keep this page updated if there’s a better way to accomplish this task.

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HTML5 Video – Updated Stats and Workarounds https://kenmorico.com/html5-video-updated-stats-and-workarounds https://kenmorico.com/html5-video-updated-stats-and-workarounds#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2012 19:00:01 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=826 HTML5 video is still a mess. 3, possibly 2 video formats, incomplete browser support, and bad UI for Android devices. Not all is lost.

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HTML5 video is still a mess. 3, possibly 2 video formats, incomplete browser support, and bad UI for Android devices. Not all is lost. If you’re brave enough to create your own HTML5 videos on your site or blog, check out LongTail Video’s HTML5 Reference Guide.

YouTube as HTML5 Video Helper

As I mention in the podcast, YouTube is one way to go to save yourself the encoding hassles. It also exposes your video to the huge YouTube audience and you get optimized video for all devices. KenMorico.com was one of the first Web sites that featured HTML5 video back in June 2010 and I learned a lot of lessons.

More Info:

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Blogging is Dead. Again? https://kenmorico.com/dead-again https://kenmorico.com/dead-again#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 21:44:53 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=791 If you keep up with the social media crowd there's a lot of linkbait posts describing the end of blogging. They say status updates and new services like Google+ have killed long-form content and traditional blogs. What hyperbole!

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Does anyone remember the day blogs died? If you keep up with the social media crowd there’s a lot of linkbait posts describing the end of blogging. They say status updates and new services like Google+ have killed long-form content and traditional blogs. What hyperbole!

Yes, there are new services. Faster services. Services that feed the ego and spin content. I believe short-form content has its place. But after awhile short-form content makes me feel like I’ve been in Vegas for a week listening to the ringing of slot machines non-stop. Twitter never stops. Good content, bad content — it’s just too much and the pressure to Tweet is great because you feel you will be left behind. In fact, if you Tweet or post status updates your Klout score stagnates or reverses. That’s just wrong.

No Filters, No Credibility

That fact that someone even has a blog immediately gives them more credit in my eyes. It shows some commitment and competence – like getting a suit for an interview or certification. Anyone can setup a Twitter or Tumblr account. Great. The double-edged sword is that anyone can create content without filters. With the death of professional journalism we’ve lost our filters. That’s a shame.

Shortform Content, Twitter, and a Harmonic Future?

Can you explain your thoughts in 140 characters? Unless everyone is a Haiku master, I don’t think so. The drivel that permeates the short-form content sites makes me think society has regressed 10,000 years. Blogs enable quotes, research, photo essays, multiple videos, attribution, trackbacks, hundreds of comments, the list goes on. Sure short form is great for events and live reporting like I described in my post The New Digital Storytelling – On the Road with Twitter where I documented a night of public transportation in Houston. I think Jack Kerouac would have loved to see Twitter, but disappointed in its impermanence and superficiality. I think integrating Twitter statuses in a blog post for some event might have some kind of future… letting users experience the best of both.

News Organizations are Not Blogs

Jeremiah Owyang created a blog post titled, “End of an Era: The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Over.” In it he describes how corporate acquisitions have stymied innovation. To me, to have “corporate” and “blogging” together is an oxymoron in itself. I believe corporations should have a place for content, but I wouldn’t compare it to “blogging.” The same with news organizations that mask as blogs. Mashable and Techcrunch are not blogs. They are news organizations that exist now – a breed of company that can survive in the new economy. Congrats to them. I’ll find interesting content to read / watch / listen to produced by individuals in real blogs.

I’ve seen as blogs get larger, oftentimes the original blogger hires less qualified writers just to feed the Google beast. This is a shame. I lose respect for bloggers that do this. If you build up trust with your audience, treat them well. If you want to see an action movie, you don’t want Sylvester Stallone’s brother instead of Sylvester Stallone… you probably want a comparable like Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis. Blogs have hired hacks and I think people should let them know. Talent is what gets people in the door and keeps them there.

The I’m Not Dead Yet Chart

Bloggers Struggling

Bloggers are reportedly making less money this year… must be the end of blogging! Oh no! What business isn’t struggling? The S&P 500 was flat for 2011. I think people will look for new ways to tell stories in 2012 and blogging will evolve. I know I am looking for new ways of storytelling. I’m ok with change. I guess that’s why my blog is still here.

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What to Know Before Flying in the iCloud https://kenmorico.com/what-to-know-before-flying-in-the-icloud https://kenmorico.com/what-to-know-before-flying-in-the-icloud#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 01:45:19 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=653 There are quite a few gotchas with the new iCloud service and iPhone / iPad. Know what's broken and get some configuration tips.

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apple-icloudWith the launch of the new iOS for iPhone and iPad along with Apple’s new iCloud it seemed a great time to organize my digital life. Emails, filters, calendars, and photos were all targets for a fall cleaning.

Typical with new Apple products and services, they are often ahead of their time but leave some core features missing. After installing iOS 5+ and iCloud, things were a bit confusing. Were my emails in the iCloud? Notes? Everything on my iPhone in the iCloud? Short answer is no. With only 5GB of free storage and with server technology behind what Google uses, they simply can’t store everything on the iCloud. Here are a few things to note when moving over:

iCloud Creates a New icloud.com Email Address

When you create a new iCloud account it requires that you create a new @me.com @iCloud.com email address so you can use email and notes. I use it just for notes. Did you know Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google all support push email which saves iPhone battery power and data usage?

Google and Hotmail need to be setup as Exchange servers in your email settings. Instructions for setting up Gmail with push technology can be found here. iCloud mail has improved greatly over the years, but advanced mail features can still only be found in Gmail. Google will be more reliable and you can use all the other Google services.

I especially like the simple filters in Gmail that let me filter junk out of my inbox and into subfolders that don’t increment the counts in my mailbox icons. Also it will stop the banner notifications so you won’t be so distracted during the day.

Notes in iCloud Don’t Sync Until You Move them to iCloud

[UPDATE: With Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion there is now a separate mac app for notes. Setup your icloud account and copy / paste notes from other places into the notes app. The notes should upload to iCloud. It’s difficult to restore notes using iCloud, so it’s a good idea to create a local backup folder in the new Notes app and copy / paste your notes there for safekeeping. This area is called “On My Mac.”]

You may be wondering where notes are in the iCloud.com Web interface. Notes are hidden under the mail section of iCloud. Notes in iCloud are nothing more than an IMAP email folder. When you move your data to iCloud any previous notes created on your Mac or iPhone are left in separate account folders than the new iCloud notes folder. You need to copy over the notes using Mac Mail to get them to the iCloud server. Not for the novice computer user. Why should they have to do this? Seems silly and confusing. Migration should be seamless.

[UPDATE: Apple engineers have read my blog post and updated the Web interface to make finding notes easy.] The new iCloud Web interface:

iCloud Web Interface
iCloud Web Interface

 

Notes Application on iOS and Mac Works Well

That being said I do like how simple the notes app is on the iPhone and I like using it. Once I started using the iCloud account for notes the syncing became automatic with my Mac.

I’ve discovered the best way to manage notes on your iOS devices. Pick an account you want to be your primary notes account – iCloud or Gmail. I use only iCloud for notes. Copy notes from all your accounts to one account. You can do this using the “Accounts” menu item in the top left on iPhone. Paste all your notes to the primary account you want to use. Delete all other accounts and notes – including the account called “On my iPhone” — that’s the local notes that are stored only on your iPhone. Pick a default Notes account in your settings on iPhone / iPad — again, I use iCloud. When you only have one account and all your notes are consolidated the Accounts button in the top left disappears. Now it’s all easy peasy. Use Mac Mail with your iCloud account and all your notes should sync.

For further detail, see the official iCloud Notes help page.

Contacts are Best Left in iCloud

I tried moving contacts on my mac to my Google account to give contacts in Google a try. It just doesn’t work as well as using contacts in iCloud. Not all the fields match properly. Contacts should stay in iCloud until there are better migration tools from Google.

Use Google Calendar for your Calendar

If you create a Google email address you can also configure it use the Google Calendar associated with the account. This is handy when you log in to Gmail. Calendars are pretty universal so moving events you already created between different accounts won’t be a problem. iCloud calendars work great too, but Google exposes their API to more developers so there are more Web apps that integrate with your Google calendar.

iCloud Account for Reminders

Reminders, which are new to iOS5, are a new app. They appear in iCal on the Mac, and for Outlook they are tasks. You need an account to sync reminders. I use the iCloud account because Google doesn’t support reminders at this time. Make sure you have iCloud setup as your reminder account in iCal settings or in your PC setup.

I’d like to see tools from Google that will sync all the iCloud data with Google apps so when I use Google or iCloud everything will really “just work.”

Microsoft Office for iCloud & iOS

Microsoft Office is available for iOS, IF you need it. I haven’t needed Microsoft Office for years. You can buy the iOS suite of apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) and also buy them for your Mac. iCloud syncs the documents. It’s handy for basic documents and the apps work very well and fast on the Apple platforms.

iCloud Photo Stream

You can stream photos from the Photos App, Aperture and all your iOS devices. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but it’s a little limited unless you buy extra storage from Apple and have a fast Internet connection at home to download and upload gigabytes of photo files. You only get a limited number of photos to upload for free, and working with RAW images is difficult.

Office Firewalls May Block iCloud Services

Know that some offices block some of the iCloud services, so you may have to fall back to using Google services, OR use you own cellular network for iCloud services. If one of the iCloud services gets blocked by a firewall you iPhone might act strange and you won’t know why — all because there is no message that pops up telling you services are blocked.

Services to Complement iCloud

BYOC people, Build Your Own Cloud. It seems there are quite a few features I use regularly that aren’t included in Apple’s iCloud or should be. Apple’s software is not always user friendly or cheap. Here’s how I fixed it and made one big fluffy happy Bob Ross cloud tethered to the iCloud.

iDisk, iCloud Drive, DropBox?

I was disappointed that iCloud initially dropped support for iDisk. iDisk would let you move files between computers and they would sync automatically over the air. Is there an iDisk replacement? Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) does exactly the same thing. It works flawlessly. It’s fast, free up to 2GB, and you can access your files on their Web site. It has become my iDisk replacement. If you refer friends you can get up to 8GB of storage free. My co-worker even created a Google AdWords campaign just to get the extra free storage. You can also buy more storage if you want…. good for syncing raw photos or even your whole music collection. Other options for file storage include Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.

UPDATE – with the release of iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite, Apple resurrected the iDisk as “iCloud Drive.” It will only offer 5GB of space combined with all your other iOS backup data. Not enough. You’ll need to purchase more storage from Apple. At least the storage prices are reasonable though. For anything that requires a version control or file history, I still like DropBox.

Sync Podcasts with Feedly, Not iTunes

I’ve never really like iTunes’ support for podcasts. The reason is probably because Apple can’t make money off of them because most of them are free and they have no way to monetize them. So development for podcast features has taken a backseat to music syncing. Fear not, feed friends! The same Feedly account you use for your regular RSS feed subscriptions can be used to store podcast feeds. I created a “Podcasts” folder in my Feedly and added all the podcast feeds I had in iTunes. Now I can listen to podcasts on my computer and iPhone. Also, there’s no waiting to download. Press the play button in Feedly and it starts playing right away. Get useful  features like:

  • Favorite using the “save for later” button
  • Share to social media sites
  • Organize podcasts into folders
  • Save space on your local disk
  • Automatic updates

The new Podcasts App from Apple can sync your podcasts along with your OS X desktop / Laptop podcasts. The user interface leaves a lot to be desired however and queuing episodes isn’t easy. Also, like I mention, Feedly offers a lot of flexibility. I use both the Podcasts app and Feedly. The TuneIn Radio app can also sync podcast subscriptions as well as play radio stations from all over the world … it also features a car mode!

Google Music / Amazon Music Can Sync Your Music, or Use a Service Like Pandora

Google Music is a new service that can store your music in the cloud, but you need to install software to upload the music. With regular compressed files this is fine. With uncompressed music in your library this can take forever. Google gives you some free music as well, which I was very impressed with. Amazon Music is currently my favorite music app because it’s free with Amazon Prime memberships. It’s similar to Apple Music subscription streaming. Another route to go is a free music service like Pandora. You can create your own stations and the music ad-supported, though not in an annoying way. You can even create a Dashboard Widget using Safari to have quick access to your Pandora music. They also offer a premium service that offers better quality music and no ads for only $36/year. I’m satisfied with the regular Pandora audio quality. Thank you, sponsors. Update: I got a free 30-day Pandora One subscription by clicking on an ad. Definitely worth doing. I’m really liking Pandora One. The audio quality really is a lot better. Fewer interruptions and no ads helps a lot. Plus the music library is almost infinite. There are several ways to get Pandora in your car, so it can make for a cheaper satellite radio alternative. Check out http://www.pandora.com/#!/go/auto for auto options. This Bloomberg BusinessWeek article discusses Pandora’s auto plans in detail. I’ve also used AOL Radio powered by Slacker. There’s an iOS App for AOL Radio and also for Slacker. I find there are fewer commercials and better audio quality. Resources

How are you adjusting to the new iCloud features? Find some apps that work better than the stock ones from Apple? Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get updates. Thanks!

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HOW TO: Google Authorship Markup the Easy Way https://kenmorico.com/how-to-google-authorship-markup-the-easy-way https://kenmorico.com/how-to-google-authorship-markup-the-easy-way#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2011 18:38:47 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=636 Get highlighted in Google search results with an author image. Bolster all your online content written by you. Claim your rightful glory!

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With the introduction of Google+, Google has introduced a way for authors, both high and low profile, to stand out in search results. Why? What’s wrong with current search results? Well, it turns out people trust certain sources of information more than others. The markup allows users to see the name and profile picture of a link source. So if you’re a well-known author, it lets Google searchers see that authors name and profile picture, enabling them to quickly make a decision as to the quality of the link. Google wins because it gets authors to use their new Google+ service, plus it requires the author to link back to Google. There is a lot of misinformation on the Web about how to set up the links and establish the relationships, so I am outlining a process with some tips to get you started quickly.

Create Your Author Link for Single Author Blogs and Traditional Web Sites

Each page of content needs tagging to establish the link to an “author” page on the domain.

What do I need?

1. Google+ Profile (In particular you need the About section on the profile. e.g. https://plus.google.com/114225641633808295282/about)

2. A content page with a link to an about page on the same domain. Link relationship is established with the rel=”author” attribute. (<a href=”https://kenmorico.com/about” rel=”author”>About Ken</a>)

3. An about page on your domain with a link to the Google+ profile WITH a deeplink to the about section. This link needs to have a rel=”me” attribute. (<a href=”https://plus.google.com/114225641633808295282/about” rel=”me”>Ken on Google+</a>)

4. A link in your Google+ profile in the About section to your About page on your domain.

Google organized the Google+ profile wire up, so now links to publications and blogs can appear under a “contributor to” heading. Great for authors that have content on multiple sites / blogs.
Google provides some buttons that you can use to link to your profile. Here’s an example of one:

Google’s Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson discuss how to connect authors with their content using authorship markup in this video:

There’s also a shorter way if you don’t have full control over your web page. It uses just a regular hyperlink. Only recommended if this is your only option. I personally haven’t had great luck with this method as of yet.

The short version looks like this:
<a href=”http://profiles.google.com/114225641633808295282/about?rel=author”>+Ken Morico</a>

Verify the Link Relationships

You’ll need to verify link relationships after you’ve set up the Google+ profile and the buttons on your site or blog. Luckily Google makes this easy with their Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Just enter your URL and you’re good to go.

Configure WordPress for Google Authorship Markup for Multiple Users

If you have multiple authors writing for a blog you need to tweak WordPress for Google authorship markup. Also, I tweaked my blog to show my bio after each post, so I need this tweak as well.

To configure WordPress for multiple users and get it to work with Google authorship markup you need to perform the above steps for a single author blog and do these two things in addition:

  1. Install the “Allow REL and HTML in Author Bios” WordPress plugin (search for it in your WordPress plugins section and install it from there)
  2. Create a page in WordPress that is a custom author page.
  3. Wire up the WordPress author with the custom about page using this WordPress filter: add_filter( ‘author_link’…
  4. Link the custom author page to the author’s Google Profile with rel=”me” attribute.
  5. Add a link from the Google+ Profile to the custom about page using the “contributor to” section or “other profiles” section.
  6. Optionally add a link from the Google+ Profile to the site homepage under the “contributor to” section.

When you check the Rich Snippets Testing Tool you might get this error:

Error: Author profile page does not have a rel=me link to a Google Profile

It’s important to have rel=”me” because WordPress creates an author page for each user and having this extra page creates a problem with the standard rel=”author” markup. See steps above to create a custom about page.

Get a Professional Photo

Since profile photos are going to appear next to content links on Google search results pages, it makes sense to get a professional of yourself. Nowadays almost everyone knows someone with a DSLR camera, so you can probably get a session with a friend of yours. That will allow for more creative options and more time getting the right shot. You and your content will be competing with the big boys, so be prepared.

How Long Does it Take to Get My Picture Associated with Content?

Google is slowly rolling out the picture and profile hookup. According to research I’ve done, even if you implement everything correctly, there’s no guarantee that Google will associate your picture and author profile with your content. I have been noticing more and more pieces of content with author profiles, however. Googlebot works at Googlebot’s pace. You can’t get Googlebot to index your site faster, or get it to index all pages on a site. It would seem to me Google would only highlight relevant authors and low-quality authors would be treated like low-quality content. Kind of cold, but dem der da facts.

What Does the Search Results Page Look Like?

Here’s a live example of a real-world search with my own result using methods outlined in this post:

As you can see, the listing with the author image really stands out with next to the other listings. What’s great about the authorship markup is that it could be used for any content – images, video, etc.

See How Powerful Google+ Really Is

Here’s a video from Rand Fishkin explaining how Google+ integrates with the entire search experience. It’s all about getting influential people to +1 / share your content for powerful amplification…

Google+ Posts Authorship

Google+ posts seem to have author information visible in search results. That’s an incentive to post to your Google+ account. When you post in Google+, you can link to your own Website and drive traffic that way. With personalized search, this gives you an edge you wouldn’t otherwise have. Use it to your advantage.

Get on it and get promoted!

Related Posts

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Self-Promotional Strategies That Deliver Online https://kenmorico.com/self-promotional-strategies-that-deliver-online https://kenmorico.com/self-promotional-strategies-that-deliver-online#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:13:11 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=613 There's talk about what works and what really works when it comes to promoting yourself online. Hal Werner and I talk about SEO, Twitter, and resume strategies that get you noticed and stuff your wallet.

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There’s talk about what works and what really works when it comes to promoting yourself online. Hal Werner and I talk about SEO, Twitter, and resume strategies that get you noticed and stuff your wallet.

You can follow Hal on Twitter or visit his Web site, www.HalWerner.com.

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It’s Good to be the King of Klout https://kenmorico.com/its-good-to-be-the-king-of-klout https://kenmorico.com/its-good-to-be-the-king-of-klout#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:00:33 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=605 What's Klout, how does it work, and real-world examples of manipulating it to your advantage. Hal Werner and I talk about how it works with Twitter and other services. We explore how complex this one-number metric can be.

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What’s Klout, how does it work, and real-world examples of manipulating it to your advantage. Hal Werner and I talk about how it works with Twitter and other services. We explore how complex this one-number metric can be.

This is the second podcast in a series that will be released with venerable Hal. Check back next week for another episode.

You can follow Hal on Twitter or visit his Web site, www.HalWerner.com.

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Get Real with Twitter – Benefits of Using your Given Name https://kenmorico.com/get-real-with-twitter-benefits-of-your-given-name https://kenmorico.com/get-real-with-twitter-benefits-of-your-given-name#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2011 20:00:51 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=597 I sit down with Hal Werner as we discuss some of the benefits of using your real name as your Twitter handle.

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I sit down with Hal Werner as we discuss some of the benefits of using your real name as your Twitter handle. This is the first podcast in a series that will be released with venerable Hal. Check back next week for another episode.

You can follow Hal on Twitter or visit his Web site, www.HalWerner.com.

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Google Panda Updates in the Wild: Erratic Traffic https://kenmorico.com/google-panda-2-2-in-the-wild-traffic-down-and-up https://kenmorico.com/google-panda-2-2-in-the-wild-traffic-down-and-up#respond Sat, 25 Jun 2011 14:21:46 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=497 What can we learn from large and small Google algorithm updates? Even if you follow the rules you might get hit by shrapnel.

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Google gave official word that it updated the Panda Algorithm last week. I noticed a hit to my traffic and search impressions. This comes after algorithm updates in February and May. What can we learn from these large and small algorithm updates? Even if you follow the rules you might get hit by shrapnel.

This Panda 2.2 update is supposed to improve one of the original goals of the Panda algorithm – make sites with original content rank higher than the imposters and scrapers. I don’t have scraped content on my site, but it seems it doesn’t matter – I was hit anyway. After I outlined a post describing how my blog ranked higher after Google Panda, my traffic increased. Now, my traffic died down a bit… almost by half but it’s creeping back up again. Of course it’s silly to rely only on Google search traffic, and I don’t, but many businesses do. Be prepared.

Search Traffic After Google Panda 2.2 Update

Here’s a Google Webmaster Tools chart of my search volume after the Panda 2.2 update:

Google Panda 2.2 Search Traffic ChartHopefully this will right itself. Many webmasters note corrections after algorithm updates and their traffic returns. This has gone on for years now. Even if you’re right, you can be wrong. But it’s still an important lesson to learn.

Keep Up with your Web Stats

Contrary to many advice sites that say not to track your Web stats daily or often, you can clearly see keeping up with what’s going on with your site IS important. What if you were selling Books online and had $600/day in income? If you didn’t pay attention to your stats you would have lost $2100/ week if you didn’t figure out what was going on and how to fix it.

Save Time Checking Web Stats with Bookmark Folders and Dashboards

I’ll share a tip with you that has helped me keep up with all my Web stats: I created bookmarks to my custom Google Analytics dashboard, Feedburner Weekly Stats page, and Google Webmaster Tools dashboard and combined them into a folder in my Safari Bookmarks Bar. With one click they all open to the right place. No hunting around for right information. Custom dashboards in Google Analytics are very powerful and great time savers. Use them.

The changes I made to my site that I mentioned in Google Knocked Me Down – How I Fattened Content and Won still are working for me in the bigger picture and I continue to gain subscribers.

Update Your Content on the Go with a WordPress Mobile App

One of the best ways to increase search traffic, I’ve found, is to add and refresh existing content to make it deeper. But we aren’t always connected to a computer all the time. If you have a WordPress blog you can download a mobile app to update all your posts and even add new ones. This is handy if you’re waiting in line somewhere or have a stroke of genius when you’re walking somewhere. Check out WordPress for iOS. It works on iPad too.

Have you noticed a change in your traffic? Found anything odd or have tips? Please comment.

Resources

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The Google Algorithm & How You Can Stay On Top https://kenmorico.com/google-knocked-me-down-how-i-fattened-content-and-won https://kenmorico.com/google-knocked-me-down-how-i-fattened-content-and-won#comments Mon, 16 May 2011 04:36:36 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=429 When I looked at weak areas of my content, I found a few things I could do to improve the content of my posts. Here's what I did that helped me.

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How to Fatten Content and Get Ranked High in Google Search Engine Reporting Pages (SERPs)

When I looked at weak areas of my content, I found a few things I could do to improve the content of my posts. Here’s what I did that helped me:

  • Focused on being original – in ideas, content, and presentation
  • Added header tags to break up content (H3, H2, etc.) and fix incorrect header tags – for example the site title was an H1
  • Increased content word count from around 350 words to 800-1100 words
  • I added additional images
  • Added more bulleted lists
  • Incorporated ideas based on comments I received on my posts
  • Reached out to people via social media to gain some traction
  • Encouraged people to visit my Google+ profile
  • Linked up my content with Google author markup
  • Added more descriptive ALT tags to images
  • Added ALT tags to images that had no ALT tags
  • Read this post from Google about what THEY said they want from sites
  • Added <strong> tags to highlight important terms in my post (bold)
  • Added additional content to the post. I used my Google Analytics to help determine what users were searching for, what they weren’t finding on my pages, and came up with a plan to address problems people had
  • I cross-linked some posts and came up with bulleted “related posts”
  • I added more references and links where I could to substantiate my claims
  • I removed superficial posts
  • I updated the content I updated even more
  • I removed unnecessary links (hyperlinked post titles that pointed to the page users were on)
  • I removed links to weak pages / pages with superficial content
  • Blocked files and pages in my robots.txt file (I had 3 resume files and an HTML resume page – only needed the HTML resume page that linked to the files)
  • I improved the content-to-ad ratio
  • I tried to genuinely write about problems users were having, but doing so in an entertaining and personal way that was different from other major sites
  • I edited my content again – improving the writing while keeping core keywords in mind
  • Thought about what would make my content shareable
  • Removed the “www” from my domain name (doesn’t really add value and makes your URL harder to read in search results)
  • I crossed every T and dotted every i

Did your site / blog get blasted lower in the rankings with the latest Google Algorithm updates – named “Panda”? Mine did, along with many others. I did a lot of research into why many sites fell – what I found made sense. Content. Content matters to Google more now. Common SEO practice used to be to produce short posts or content, but do it frequently to improve your rankings because somehow “fresh” content, even though it was sparse, was somehow better than longer, stale content.

When I took a look at my content, much of it was medium length (350 words). But some of it lacked polish. Polish from all sides really. My content should have been longer. It should have included more resources. It should have been easier to read with more headlines, bullets, and boldfaced text. I left superficial content about minor news on the site.

Google Makes Content a Priority — Don’t Fight the Trend

The Google algorithm finds the best content and presents it to users. To be effective, the algorithm must think like a human editor. Sometimes it gets fooled by content owners who try to trick the algorithm. That’s when the algorithm writers tweak the algorithm to shake out the scammers and let the best content rise to the top. A lot of people online were angry that their sites, which they thought were quality, were knocked out of the rankings.

I stand by this Google Panda rolling update. The algorithm thinks more like a human. Writing quality is valued. Length and production time are valued. Research is valued. Original thought and ideas are valued. This is good for the Web. It’s the reason The New York Times is frequently quoted more than a local newspaper. But when the algorithm is out of whack, a local newspaper could outrank The New York Times. It shouldn’t be.

LISTEN to Blog Commenters

Chances are, if someone takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, and that comment is a question, you probably haven’t covered the topic well enough. I’m amazed at the repetition of some of the comments. Did I explain the topic clearly enough? That might be a clue I didn’t. If you are missing pieces, too vague, or just wrong, commenters will point it out. Incorporate their feedback. I did and it paid off greatly.

Google Panda Optimization Results

As you can see, I’m still in the process of SEO optimization, but the results are clear. Basically, I’ve seen a 600%+ overall increase in search impressions and clicks according to Google Webmaster tools. I suspect this will go even higher as I continue to add content to existing posts – including this one. As far as the drop off when panda started, the Google Webmaster Tools won’t let you see further than a month back, but I can tell you my site and key blog posts were at higher levels.

Site Speed & Content Length

Along with higher rankings, I noticed my return visitors really took off. What was the secret? Longer posts kept users coming back because they couldn’t read the whole post as they were surfing. This is something I do myself, often bookmarking articles in Feedly for content I would like to come back to at a later time.

In this video I explain why longer content works and what you can do specifically within WordPress to help with SEO and visitor retention.

What good are visitors that come to your site and bounce? Exactly. Beef up that content, skinny lovers!

Killer Adsense Ads or Kill the Adsense Ads?

Ads can play a big part in SEO now. We have learned how we can gauge how many ads are too many.
Affiliate Marketer Andrew Hansen posted a canned Google response he received:

“The site must have user value other than providing ads. For example, Google provides web search, news sites provide regularly updated original content, and other services. To check that your website complies with our arbitrage policy:

1. Open the site in a new browser.

2. Expand the browser to a minimum of a 1024 x 768 pixel display.

3. Make sure you have minimal browser menus and your font is set to medium or normal.

4. Scroll to the very top of the page, as evaluation is based on what appears above the fold.

5. The site is considered compliant if the area of ads is less than or equal to the area of content.

“Please use the instructions above to evaluate your entire website and, if necessary, bring it into compliance with our arbitrage policy. If you’re not in compliance, you may receive a low landing page quality score, which can negatively affect your Quality Scores, cost-per-clicks, and ad positions.”

Let’s also not forget ads slow down a page, and Google’s inclusion of a Site Speed section in the new Google Analytics shows site speed is an increasingly important ranking. You definitely want some ads on your site, but just be sure you provide more value than ads.

Semantic Markup for SEO — It’s Part of Google Panda Optimization

I think people forget that HTML tags like <strong> (bold) and H3 (header) MEAN something to Google. They don’t just help layout. They tell it what is important on the page. It knows bulleted lists help users comprehend what they are reading better than straight copy sometimes. HTML5 is all about semantic markup – not just generic tags. It gives Google a clue as to what is the meaning of this content within certain tags.

Clean / Fix Sitemaps for SEO

If you use Google’s Webmaster tools, one thing to look out for is the number of links Google has indexed from your sitemap and how many are left out. You want this to be 100%. All links in your sitemap should be indexed. Remove all superficial and wasteful pages! Instead of posting more, spend your energy improving existing posts / making them longer. You will get more hits and linkbacks with strong content that WILL push you higher in the rankings. CMS engines like WordPress add useless tag pages and some category pages that generate duplicate content / superficial content. Block them with a Robots.txt file.

Beyond Google – There is Microsoft Bing

It should be noted that what’s good for Google can also be good for Bing. I’ve never ranked well on Bing. I hope that will change. From what I’ve researched, Bing takes into account content length as a significant factor. So by increasing content length, you cover both major search engines. I believe Bing to be “dumber” algorithm that relies more on external links to sites. It’s harder for the little guy to rank well that way. Google gives rank based on about 200 variables and lets the best content rise to the top on its merit. With search such a significant source of traffic – quality traffic usually, you can’t ignore optimizing your site for Google. But remember that longer content is always more shareable – so spending more time creating each post or page helps get a viral lift.

Original Content, Original Me

Google’s Matt Cutts said that the best way to do SEO on a small budget is to use a small niche to your advantage. As you get well-known in that space, you can gain rank and build out to more broad topics. Focused sites are better sites. There are plenty of small sites that turn a profit because niche marketing usually targets enthusiastic people. I’m not into diving or cupcake making, but I know people who love it. Usually niches evoke strong feelings from people – those people subscribe and buy.

Usually when you search for a small topic the search results are so bad that it’s easy to come up on top. A well marked-up site with proper meta tags will be well presented in the results page. Bing in particular presents well marked-up pages beautifully in the results pages.

Most of all I learned the importance of being original. I learned I can never compete with larger organizations head-on. And that’s fine. I know they can’t compete with me because they don’t have my original ideas. I don’t think faceless corporations care about people the way I do. I’ll let the people decide about my content. Now run and tell that, Google.

Photo courtesy fortherock

Resources

Have you tried SEO that worked for you after Panda? Please share and let the community know.

Get the Complete SEO Book!

Google’s Matt Cutts discusses Alt Attributes for Image SEO

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WordPress Permalink Migration: Windows to Linux https://kenmorico.com/wordpress-permalink-migration-windows-to-linux https://kenmorico.com/wordpress-permalink-migration-windows-to-linux#comments Wed, 04 May 2011 02:57:17 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=393 Moving a WordPress blog from a Windows server to a Linux server? Hold on chief, there might be issues!

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WordPress Permalink Migration - Dashboard
When I migrated my WordPress blog from a Microsoft Windows server to a GoDaddy Linux server, everything seemed to work better – with the exception of permalinks. Some of the permalinks on sites other than mine, for example https://kenmorico.com/index.php/2009/07/recognize-passed-loved-ones-using-social-media/ still had the index.php portion in the url. When users clicked the link on the new server they got a “No input file specified.” message. Permalink redirects should have been handled by WordPress. The standard  .htaccess file that WordPress creates doesn’t solve for this.

The stock install writes an .htaccess file like this (assuming a “blog” subfolder):

BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /blog/
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /blog/index.php [L]

# END WordPress

{REQUEST_FILENAME}

The {REQUEST_FILENAME} seemed to blow up when it saw /index.php/ with the trailing slash and erred with the “No input file specified.” message. I determined that I needed to write a redirect rule BEFORE the {REQUEST_FILENAME} code took effect. Basically I needed the server to read the incoming url and see if it had the trailing slash after the index.php. If it did, redirect the url to a normal WordPress url on my existing site. The 301 tells Web servers that the redirect is permanent and all PageRank should be applied to the new location. 301 status messages also pass along the referrer – important for your web stats.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /blog/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^./index.php/. [NC]
RewriteRule ^index.php/(.*)$ https://kenmorico.com/$1 [R=301,L]

.htaccess files can really jack up your site, so be sure to make a backup before you mess with this file. Also, check out the mod_rewrite documentation on the Apache Website. To sum up, you only need this adjustment if there are links on the web pointing to the old “PATHINFO” version of your url. WordPress handles all the links within the blog just fine.

Benefits of Linux Hosting and Mod-Rewrite

One of the main benefits to migrating WordPress on Linux was being able to use the “pretty” permalinks with Apache’s mod-rewrite. With links getting longer and longer, you need mod-rewrite to shorten the links. In my experience, blog posts need the title of the post in the url for better search engine ranking. Saving 9 characters from the URL by removing “index.php” helps a lot and is much easier for people to read. Mod-rewrite rules are everywhere on the Internet (see above) and there’s always a post describing to redirect or rewrite with flair. Windows redirects are cumbersome and might require special software installations. The rewrite rules are NOT seamlessly transferable.

WordPress Hosting Differences Between Windows and Linux

When I had WordPress on the windows server at CrystalTech, I could never get email notifications from the WordPress blog. The server setup had a hard time communicating with the PHP mail function. WordPress on Linux works fine using the standard PHP mail function, like you would expect with a Linux / PHP / MySQL setup for WordPress. Truth be told, I haven’t had real problems with custom PHP code I wrote hosted on Windows servers using the PHP mail function, but communicating with Microsoft exchange using PHP can be a problem. Like most sites, you should go on one platform or the other and save headaches. You’ll also find that Linux hosting is cheaper than Windows hosting.

404 Pages

A final tip: make sure you check your Google Webmaster Tools for 404 pages. It finds broken links on sites that are not your own. Fixing 404 pages brings more traffic to your site and helps other webmasters look good when their links function.

Resources

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Make Your Podcast Audio Content Part of an Interactive Experience https://kenmorico.com/make-your-podcast-audio-content-part-of-an-interactive-experience https://kenmorico.com/make-your-podcast-audio-content-part-of-an-interactive-experience#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2011 04:02:47 +0000 http://savagepodcaster.com/?p=169 The KCET Departures Web site highlights the history of various Los Angeles neighborhoods. The site is wonderfully art directed and deep. It uses “murals” to tell the history of neighborhoods. It combines audio, video, photos and text in an interactive experience.

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The KCET Departures Web site highlights the history of various Los Angeles neighborhoods. The site is wonderfully art directed and deep. It uses “murals” to tell the history of neighborhoods. It combines audio, video, photos and text in an interactive experience.

The Art and Beats section highlights the arts scene in Venice Beach’s past, while putting map locations in context.

The reason I mention the site is to demonstrate that audio podcasts can be more than just radio-like audio feeds. They can be combined into greater interactive experiences – as well as radio-like feeds.

Podcasts live a dual life – they live in an iTunes-like feed away from the Web browser, and embedded in Web content like blogs and interactive experiences. Find a way to make your audio content work overtime.

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Blubrry Releases New WordPress HTML5 Podcasting Plugin https://kenmorico.com/blubrry-releases-new-wordpress-html5-podcasting-plugin https://kenmorico.com/blubrry-releases-new-wordpress-html5-podcasting-plugin#respond Sun, 17 Apr 2011 02:00:09 +0000 http://kenmorico.com/?p=375 When your visitors come to your site and view your post, they will see either a Flash-based audio / video player OR the native HTML5 browser player. This future-proofs your podcast.

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Blubrry PowerPress HTML5 - Logo

Blubrry recently released a new version of their PowerPress Plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites. The plugin makes it really easy to put together a podcast and make it work with browsers that support HTML5. When you post podcasts on your blog, they appear just like regular posts, but with attachments. When your visitors come to your site and view your post, they will see either a Flash-based audio / video player OR the native HTML5 browser player. This future-proofs your podcast. Also, the plugin makes it easy to syndicate your podcast to iTunes. iTunes syndication is complex and requires a lot of code without the use of an easy-to-use plugin. It supports audio and video podcasts.

You can see the plugin in action with HTML5 on my post / podcast about the freemium model and promo codes.

Here is a video from Blubrry explaining how to set up the plugin:

https://youtu.be/cCG8e6SN67s

Podcasting is a lot of fun. If you are interested in podcasting, join my LinkedIn group, Podcast Producers.

Related

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Web Employment Heating Up – HTML5 Top Job Trend https://kenmorico.com/web-employment-heating-up-html5-top-job-trend https://kenmorico.com/web-employment-heating-up-html5-top-job-trend#respond Sat, 05 Mar 2011 23:26:18 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=332 HTML5 is the top job trend right now on Indeed.com. Are you ready for HTML5 switch happening now?

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It’s good to be in the Web space right now. My filtered inbox of jobs is stuffed with positions from all over the country. I received requests for 37 positions this past January vs. 3 in January 2010. Previous months during the last 6 years averaged 8.3 / month (with my resume in inactive states for a few years). This February was very strong as well, and the quality of jobs has improved significantly. There is a liquidity in the job market that just didn’t exist a few months ago.

html5 job trend graph - Indeed

Healthcare and tech are the top industries now. According to job site indeed.com, HTML5 is the number one job trend right now.  Just look at this graph. Of course, I saw this trend coming in early 2010 and made KenMorico.com fully HTML5. I anticipated the meteoric rise in job postings and skill demand and prepped myself. It seems to be paying off.

You can see job trends and hiring conditions on this wonderful government site, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor. There’s an important monthly jobs report the tells you the number of jobs created or lost along with other data. You can see useful industry-specific job trends in the private space on Indeed.com/jobtrends.

Recent years have been quite soft in demand due to the recession and “jobless recovery” in the earlier part of the 2000s. After the dotcom bust and 9/11, tech was hit hard. The maturing of the industry and boost from social media and mobile have re-energized the space, along with a now slow, but moving jobs recovery.

I remember when my career was just getting started in 1999/2000. I was receiving over 20 positions a day in my inbox. Many positions in no way was I qualified for. But recruiters needed bodies. I feel like this will happen again.

I often think what would have happened if I had taken a job in New York I heard about through a recruiter in 2000. At the time I was living in Connecticut near New York. The job was at the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was a massive space. 50,000 people worked there. I moved to Los Angeles in early 2001. Sometimes you need to follow your gut when it comes to jobs. This time my gut tells me things are getting better and good times are back.

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Effective Twitter Bios – Know Thyself (and the competition) https://kenmorico.com/effective-twitter-bios-know-thyself-and-the-competition https://kenmorico.com/effective-twitter-bios-know-thyself-and-the-competition#respond Sun, 14 Nov 2010 18:24:12 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=307 There is a LOT of competition for peoples' time. Social media forces you to think small. It FORCES distillation.

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I was browsing the Web a few days ago and click on an ad for the Nissan LEAF. The Leaf has been getting some buzz because it’s an electric car that is totally electric. No gas tank. It’s not a hybrid. You need to install a special “filling station” in your garage (assuming you have a garage). When I went to mention the Leaf in Twitter, I also wanted to mention the Chevy Volt – Chevy’s electric car with a gas generator. It also requires a “filling station,” but it can generate some of its electricity using the onboard gas generator. The onboard gas generator can generate electricity to allow you drive much farther if you need to.

chevrolet volt | nissan leaf | Twitter

When I read the bio sections for both, I was amazed how on target both Chevy and Nissan were with their product positioning. The Nissan LEAF’s Twitter bio reads “The Nissan LEAF is a 100% electric, zero emissions vehicle.” Contrast that with Chevy’s Volt Twitter Bio – “Official page for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range – the only EV you can drive electrically wherever you want, whenever you want.” Clearly in one sentence the marketing teams got it right. If you care about emissions, Nissan LEAF is the car for you. If you care about driving more than 100 miles before filling up, the Chevy Volt is for you. I think this demonstrates how on target companies need to be in the age of social media. People are busy. There is a LOT of competition for peoples’ time. Social media forces you to think small. It FORCES distillation. I recommend companies do this for all their social media pages for their products. Think about the competition and highlight the differences. Do it in 140 characters or less. Make it retweet worthy.

Your Twitter Bio is Important

Companies aren’t the only ones that need to differentiate themselves and their products. YOU are a brand. You need to highlight differences and speak to your audience. For example, my Twitter bio reads “Web guru, scribe (kenmorico.com) Distinguished Twitter bum.” So in a short sentence you can figure out what I’m about. I’m a Web guy, I write, I’ve told you where you can find more, and hopefully demonstrated that I have some personality. On Twitter, personality counts. It’s hard to be funny in only 140 characters per tweet, so you’ve got to be good and offer some kind of value. Are you a value adding person? Check out the Twitter bios of influential people on Klout. Klout ranks Twitter users using an algorithm. You can see who is REALLY influential and who’s a faker. Twitter is susceptible to computerized robots, so always check out people on Klout.

So which Twitter account wins the most respect? At this time, NissanLeaf has a Klout score of  35 with an amplification rating  of 12. The amplification rating is the likelihood that content will be acted upon. The ChevyVolt has a Klout score of 32 with an amplification rating of 11. The NissanLeaf account has more followers and  is listed more times. Both Twitter accounts seem actively engaged with the Twitter community. I would have to give the edge to the NissanLeaf account, but really its a tight race. From a marketing perspective, the idea of a fully electric car without a gastank seems to be more unique and newsworthy. But really the winners here are the community because both Nissan and GM see the value in talking to their consumers. Both companies are focused and focused companies don’t go bankrupt. They build respect equity and loyal followers.

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Mobile Web Apps or Native Mobile Apps? https://kenmorico.com/mobile-web-apps-or-native-mobile-apps https://kenmorico.com/mobile-web-apps-or-native-mobile-apps#respond Sun, 22 Aug 2010 19:49:03 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=269 When it comes to developing an application for mobile users, there are two routes to reach users. Which one makes the most sense?

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Native Mobile App - HTML5 Mobile Site ComparisonWhen it comes to developing an application for mobile users, there are two routes to reach users. A dedicated mobile software application like the ones you find in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (Android Apps) is one route, or an HTML Web site optimized for mobile devices like Google.com, latimes.com, or one of many popular blogs.

Both routes have advantages and disadvantages. Mobile software applications run fast. They are compiled and use all the hardware acceleration features built into the phone. 3D games, for instance, run very fast on native apps. WebGL does offer a glimmer of hope for Web-based games, but that is years away. I also contend that software programmers are better programmers than HTML / Web front-end programmers. More experienced programmers write better code which results in faster applications. For example, there is a much higher learning curve when writing Objective C and Java code compared with HTML and Javascript. They don’t use the browser chrome (or frame) so apps can display full screen. One of the biggest advantages is the tie-in with hardware components. Programmers can access a compass, accelerometers, GPS with location information, cameras, pictures, address book, video camera to enable video chat, and more.

Chrome-less Native App- Digitally Imported iPhone App
Chrome-less Native App

Some of my favorite native apps for the iPhone include the Digitally Imported Radio app and Dungeon Hunter 3D game can’t be created on a mobile Web app. The radio app streams audio while detecting if a user is on WiFi or 3G, and allows multitasking (streaming radio while browsing Web or e-mail). The 3D game uses complex graphics APIs not possible on the Web right now. These hardware services simply aren’t available to Web developers. That is changing, however.

The Case for HTML5 Web Apps

Multi-touch gestures and location information is available on the iPhone, and possibly for Android phones as well. Carl Sjogreen of Nextstop, a location service based that was recently acquired by Facebook, talks about why his team decided to use HTML5 instead of a native iPhone app:
https://youtu.be/Jks-idxVrCs
Other companies are also stepping up development of HTML5-enabled mobile sites. YouTube just overhauled its mobile site and uses HTML5 video tags to power its video delivery along with a better designed user interface. Here’s what Alex Nicolaou, Engineering Manager, Google Mobile says on this Google Code Blog post

Enter HTML5. We’re very excited about the evolving HTML5 standard because it enables mobile and desktop website designers to deliver the advantages of client-side and server side development to their users simultaneously! New APIs let web applications start offline and store data on the client. The canvas API lets you draw complex user interfaces, or you can use advanced CSS tricks to get the browser to render a rich UI. In addition, the W3C Geolocation API is being adopted and implemented by browser developers, enabling entire new categories of web applications to be built. The benefits are clear: you can develop fantastic new applications, benefit from server-side analytics and iteration to deliver features that your users want, and know that offline functionality keeps things running as the user moves in and out of coverage. Your users can enjoy fast, capable web apps that they can access from any device, without the need to copy their data from place to place or worry about installing software or being online.

iPhone HTML5 mobile site
KenMorico.com Mobile Site

There are many reasons why I prefer a straight HTML Web app. I’ve built a mobile version of my own site, KenMorico.com, so I can tell you from experience the many benefits of using a mobile HTML5 Web app. First, the code can be integrated with the code for your main Web site or Web application. All you are doing is checking which device users are coming from and disabling site features using Javascript. I tailor features on my site for desktop, iPad, and iPhone / Android phones. My full site uses HTML5 video as part of the page background. Currently, iPhones can’t render the video without displaying it fullscreen in its built-in video player. Fine. I just don’t show the videos at all to iPhone users. I also have a slideshow I show to users on desktops / laptops. Phone users won’t be able to see it, but iPad users will because the iPad is slightly more capable than the iPhone.

Note too that to test native apps you need to BUY THE HARDWARE. There are thousands of combinations of hardware – especially Android phones. Most people I know only have one smartphone. With HTML5, you are targeting a screen resolution, not different operating systems or hardware features. Setting up a testing center for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry will be a nightmare.

Rapid Mobile Development with HTML5

HTML5 Web apps take far less time to develop, test, and launch. You don’t need to go through an App store to get it approved. You don’t need to learn multiple languages to develop a separate app. You don’t have to worry about wasting your time, because it’s more likely HTML5 Web apps will replace native apps versus the other way around. However, native apps allow for a lot of cool features and a consistent visual appearance. HTML5 Web apps will mostly look the same on all browsers, but there could be variances here and there. This is because there are hundreds of browsers, versus two major phone operating systems – Apple iPhone iOs and Google Android. This still is one of the major benefits of the now controversial Adobe Flash technologies. Consistent layout design across computers.

It’s Always About the Money, Right?

Michael Calore wrote a nice comparison table of native app vs Web app development considerations in this webmonkey article. He points out the way you can advertise on the platforms differ. With much higher success rates for online advertising using Apple’s new iAd advertising platform – developers may be persuaded to develop native apps only simply for the monetary factor. This LATimes blog post highlights Nissan’s experience with iAds:

Nissan, which created a multilayer interactive ad for its electric LEAF car, said customers spent an average of 90 seconds with the ad — 10 times longer than interaction times for comparable online ads. Moreover, people chose to “tap” on the Leaf iAd five times more frequently than they clicked on regular online display ads for the Leaf.

Also consider it is much easier for developers to monetize native apps because users can purchase the apps immediately.

For now, I expect many of you to surf my HTML5 mobile site while listening to music from a multi-tasking enabled native app. That’s the world now. And it works.

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Being an HTML5 Hero and Nunchucking Browser Quirks https://kenmorico.com/being-an-html5-hero-and-nunchucking-browser-quirks https://kenmorico.com/being-an-html5-hero-and-nunchucking-browser-quirks#respond Sat, 26 Jun 2010 17:59:36 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=258 It felt like 2000 all over again. Some browser features work here, some work there, and nothing consistent. Throw in the mix iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices and your head starts spinning.

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Firefox html5Nunchucks in your face Firefox! Nunchucks from above Apple! With the launch of my new HTML5 site KenMorico.com I felt I had to really bring out some skills to create the kind of site I wanted… a creative, HTML5, cross-platform site with search engine optimization (SEO). It felt like 2000 all over again. Some browser features work here, some work there, and nothing consistent. Throw in the mix iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices and your head starts spinning faster than a BP CEO.

HTML5 – Smart Choice for the Long Haul, Not the Short

Since Web sites take a long time to build, but stay live for years, I decided it was worth the effort to make it work. HTML5 is the future. A few challenges with my site: getting video to play onload, loop, and get manipulated via javascript commands.

Did you know that Firefox supports the HTML5 video tag, but not the loop attribute? So you can’t just make videos loop. You need to write out code to make it unload and load videos. Safari and other browsers support this. But not this so-called “advanced” browser.

What About Apple?

What about Apple products? iPhones don’t support video on page load. Only full-screen video when a user clicks on a video image. Of course, Apple says this is by design, because of bandwidth issues on the phone. With AT&T’s new stingy data plans, this is understandable. iPad supports video on load, but when I was in line for the new iPhone 4 a person loaded my site and the video displayed but wouldn’t play. I suppose it was because he was on a 3G connection.

HTML5 video isn’t all the same either. Apple and Microsoft browsers use H.264 encoded videos. Firefox uses OGG encoded videos. That means for every video you post, you need to encode two videos to make sure it reaches the widest audience.

Just when you thought iPhone targeting was simple, the new iPhone 4 has quadruple the resolution of the original iPhone. Targeting a browser by resolution gets fuzzy when a mobile display has the capabilities approaching a desktop display. Viewport meta tags get confusing and stylesheet setup complex.

In all, the new site was challenging, and I continue to tweak it for mobile displays, but worth the effort. I feel like an HTML5 hero. My nunchucks are prepped for more HTML5 projects.

[UPDATE 5/7/2011: many popular Web plugins like the JWPlayer video player and the Blubrry PodPress now support HTML5 fallbacks for browsers (or flash fallbacks if you choose). Research your web plugins and software to see if there is an update.]

Additional Reading

Mobile Web Apps or Native Mobile Apps?

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Podcast Using Other Peoples’ Content Using Creative Commons https://kenmorico.com/podcast-using-other-peoples-content-using-creative-commons https://kenmorico.com/podcast-using-other-peoples-content-using-creative-commons#respond Mon, 29 Mar 2010 02:47:25 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=136 Ever think your own content, while good, isn't as interesting as watching a newscast with multiple angles and footage and editing that makes it gripping? Fret no more my friends. The Creative Commons Web site allows you to search for images, video, and more using multiple sources.

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Ever think your own content, while good, isn’t as interesting as watching a newscast with multiple angles and footage and editing that makes it gripping? Fret no more my friends. The Creative Commons Web site allows you to search for images, video, and more using multiple sources. You can then find content other sources have granted for commercial reuse, and add it to your audio or video podcast. You can even submit content of your own to get more exposure. Most content requires you to attribute the source, but this okay since good content providers should attribute sources for material that is not original.

People familiar with open source software will understand the concept of Creative Commons. They are very similar. For example, if you were doing a podcast commentary on Google Buzz, and you found a Creative Commons video of a professor speaking on the subject, you could edit the raw MPEG video file and include clips in your own podcast as reference material. This will certainly make your own podcast more interesting as well as more trustworthy. You could even find images that relate to the topic to include in your podcast cover or video thumbnail. Just find content that allows for commercial use and attribute. Try searching from their homepage and see what you find for your topic.

Of course, there are many levels of license restrictions, so pay attention to the icons for anything Creative Commons. I was explaining to a co-worker about open source software I used to enhance my custom built CRM software. She asked, “Why would anyone give out software for free?” A valid question. Why would anyone blog or podcast for free? To share and get exposure. Good things go around and come back. Besides, not sharing is very 80s.

If you have other suggestions for free content sites, please leave a comment.

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Podcast Promo Codes and Freemium https://kenmorico.com/podcast-promo-codes-and-freemium https://kenmorico.com/podcast-promo-codes-and-freemium#respond Sat, 06 Mar 2010 17:56:47 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=124 A discussion with Hal Werner about trends with podcast promo codes, freemium, and the "theater of the mind."

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A discussion with Hal Werner about trends with podcast promo codes, freemium, and the “theater of the mind.”

You can follow Hal on Twitter or visit his Web site, www.HalWerner.com.

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Speak Your Soul – Why I NEED You to Podcast https://kenmorico.com/speak-your-soul-why-i-need-you-to-podcast https://kenmorico.com/speak-your-soul-why-i-need-you-to-podcast#respond Wed, 17 Feb 2010 03:47:41 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=109 Podcasting can be a confessional for you. Studies often show that people feel better when they speak about what's on their mind. You are more likely to build a podcast audience when you are honest about what's on your mind. People form a relationship with people they trust. There's nothing more intimate than just a voice and someone's attention.

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Speak your soul with a podcast and save yourself!

Everyone has opinions, and podcasting gives you a channel to express them. In fact, I argue that you are doing the world a disservice by NOT podcasting. The reason? People need great content, great opinions, facts,  and personality. Content doesn’t reach anyone when it’s not public. You have something to say, right? You can say it better than others, right? Yeah, that’s right.

Podcasting can be a confessional for you.  Studies often show that people feel better when they speak about what’s on their mind. You are more likely to build a podcast audience when you are honest about what’s on your mind. People form a relationship with people they trust. There’s nothing more intimate than just a voice and someone’s attention.

Did your mother ever tell you to eat vegetables because it was good for you? What if you ate vegetables and it was good for other people too? In a sense, when you podcast you are helping people in some way. They want to be informed, entertained, or enlightened. Provide that to your fellow man.

As a writer, I find many parallels between podcasting and blogging. Essentially they achieve the same effect – reaching an audience using a medium. Like writers, podcasters become famous because they have something interesting to say, and it’s the way they say it or presents themselves that gains them an audience. Many podcasters are radio personalities that just transitioned to podcasting. Same rules apply. Podcasting IS a form of radio.

Did you ever want to run your own show? Yeah, it’s possible with podcasting. In fact, as I writer, I was always frustrated with copyeditors. I had a great title for an article, but they always came up with something boring, inappropriate, or simply unrelated to the article content. My articles succeeded in spite of this, and were syndicated anyway because of their content. With podcasting, you can name your episodes anything you want. You decide the intro and outro music, your guests, and topics. That’s powerful. Oh, and NO ONE CAN CANCEL YOU OR YOUR SHOW.

Speak your soul and make your podcast happen. We’re all waiting to hear from you.

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Don’t Change that Podcast Business Model! https://kenmorico.com/dont-change-that-podcast-business-model https://kenmorico.com/dont-change-that-podcast-business-model#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2010 02:45:46 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=105 A discussion about switching from a free, ad-supported podcast model, to a paid subscription based model.

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A discussion about switching from a free, ad-supported podcast model, to a paid subscription based model. In particular, I highlight Bloomberg’s “On the Economy” hosted by Tom Keene. People are angry, my friends. People are angry.

UPDATE: All Bloomberg podcasts are now free! It seems they listened to my suggestions…

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iPad – Apple’s Greatest Underachievement https://kenmorico.com/ipad-apples-greatest-underachievement https://kenmorico.com/ipad-apples-greatest-underachievement#respond Tue, 02 Feb 2010 21:00:44 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=74 The first iPad is great for eBook reading, but nothing more. Podcasters can rejoice it's yet another device that plays podcasts, but the audience for the device appears small.

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On August 28th, 2008, Bloomberg News accidentally published Steve Jobs’ obituary. Rumors resurfaced of his death in early 2009.  In April 2009 he had an emergency liver transplant. With this latest iPad product announced on January 27th, one has to wonder if we really did lose Steve.

Watching Jobs’ keynote address, I felt I was looking at a ghost. His presentation was slow, he lost the connection he usually has with his audience. When describing the features of the iPad, the audience wasn’t “ooing” and “ahhing” like with other products. The reason? Apple is known for innovation. Where was the innovative beef?

Intellectual capital is what Apple stockpiles. Investors often have a hard time valuing a company like Apple, because you can’t measure the value of ideas, but you can measure factory equipment, inventory, contracts. The iPad looks and operates like a large iPod or iPhone. It doesn’t run a real computer operating system like the full Mac OS X. It doesn’t appear its web browser runs Flash Web sites. It’s an incomplete Web browser. It’s video screen doesn’t stand upright, so it won’t be good for watching movies.  It won’t fit in your pocket, so it’s not really portable. It doesn’t have a real keyboard or powerful processor, so it won’t be able to be a machine you can work on. The only problem it solves for consumers is the problem of reading online. I don’t think that’s enough. I think the product will fail without something more.

The advertising copy for the iPad even sounds liberal, if not blatantly false. “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. Starting at $499” You can tell the copywriters really had to stretch it with this product. It’s kind of like selling home landline service now. Who really needs it, and people that need it probably already have it.

With a nice color screen, it will be an excellent eBook reader for sure, but it will be the most expensive eBook reader on the market. The hope for podcasters? Enough people who aren’t computer users will buy the iPad for its reading abilities, and then discover audiobooks and podcasts using the device. If, as a co-worker mentioned to me, it makes its way into vehicles as part of a media center, it will be another way to broaden the podcast audience. More devices that can play podcasts is clearly a good thing. But did the ecosystem of laptops and iPods/ iPhones need to be disturbed with the iPad? Let’s hope Steve Jobs can come back to life with better ideas.

UPDATE 1/7/2012 – I am writing this update from a borrowed iPad. A lot of things have changed. Steve Jobs is now dead. Apple is now on its 5th version of iOS. The iPad Safari browser is still buggy on iPad, but improving nicely. I am seeing more possibilities for the iPad as HTML 5 progresses and Web developers improve sites with responsive design. The battery life does seem impressive compared to my MacBook. With a retina display it might be worth a purchase.

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Publishers Monetizing Podcasts – Can Spoken Word Save an Industry? https://kenmorico.com/publishers-monetizing-podcasts-can-spoken-word-save-an-industry https://kenmorico.com/publishers-monetizing-podcasts-can-spoken-word-save-an-industry#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 00:35:55 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=42 Unlike text, audio can be played on almost any electronic device nowadays. You can play an mp3 file on your tiny iPod when at the gym, listen to it on your laptop at a coffeeshop, listen to it in your car on your way to work, or even play it when in the shower from your desktop computer speakers.

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Starting this year, popular finance podcasts from Bloomberg.com, hosted by Tom Keene, are paid subscription-based podcasts. Having listened to the podcasts for years, I always thought to myself that they should charge for the content. According to highlights from this recent Forrester Survey, I am in a minority. Only 20% of Internet users would pay for news content. The findings also point to users accessing paid content through different channels – computer, mobile phones, and eReaders. What is the perfect medium for a multitude of electronic channels? Audio podcasts.

Audio podcasts are a perfect candidate for news monetization. Unlike text, audio can be played on almost any electronic device nowadays. You can play an mp3 file on your tiny iPod when at the gym, listen to it on your laptop at a coffeeshop, listen to it in your car on your way to work, or even play it when in the shower from your desktop computer speakers. It’s just more comfortable and convenient to consume information when in audio format. Plus, audio transmits tones and emotions in voices you just can’t replicate in text. When Tom Keene interviews economists for his On the Economy podcast, you get much more of the zietgeist when you hear the economists speak in their own voices.

It’s been noted in surveys that people are more likely to pay for finance news or sports news than other content. It makes sense. Finance news directly affects peoples’ wallets, and many people are fervent about sports. So it would seem monetizing content has a lot to do with the category of the content.

So how do you get people to subscribe and pay for content? Give them a free sample. Give them a free sample and make it the best sample they ever tasted. I knew the Keene podcast was worth paying for because I listened to the free podcasts. (Bloomberg is using iamplify.com to monetize their podcasts.) People need to know or perceive value in order to pay for news.  As I mentioned in an article on Facebook Connect, the Web needs more universal logins to facilitate purchasing of content. Buying things on the Web should be fast and the checkout process needs to be streamlined. This explains the success of the Apple iTunes store. Given the chance, I think consumers wouldn’t be so tight-fisted when it came to news subscriptions if they could order them in a few seconds.

So can audio podcasts save the news industry? Probably not, but it can help add additional revenue to at least keep them in business –  and that would be good news for us all.

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Reflections from a Radio Man https://kenmorico.com/reflections-from-a-radio-man https://kenmorico.com/reflections-from-a-radio-man#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2009 02:44:50 +0000 http://www.savagepodcaster.com/?p=38 Within Bill Rock Productions lies a part of broadcasting history. The racks of video and audiotapes consume walls. Pictures of Dick Clark, Don Imus, senators, and other famous personalities hang on the walls. In back, vintage audio equipment juxtaposes to digital audio equipment and a digital video editing station. This studio bridges the gap between the radio of the past and our ubiquitous digital future.

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Note: this article was originally written on 5/8/2000. This was before podcasting, before satellite radio made it big, and before social media. His quote about using the computer (or “box” as he calls it) as just a tool and not the product is so relevant today given how easy it is for anyone to publish their own content.

Within Bill Rock Productions lies a part of broadcasting history. The racks of video and audiotapes consume walls. Pictures of Dick Clark, Don Imus, senators, and other famous personalities hang on the walls. In back, vintage audio equipment juxtaposes to digital audio equipment and a digital video editing station. This studio bridges the gap between the radio of the past and our ubiquitous digital future.

Bill Rock of Bill Rock Productions

The heart and soul of this equipment is its operator, Bill Rock, an announcer and video producer 35 years in the business. Rock lives in Stratford, Conn. and runs his business from his home. You can hear Rock’s voice during interludes of NBC’s Nightly News weekends and Meet the Press, MS-NBC, CNBC, NBC Radio Shack Network, Sirius Satellite Radio, News 12 New Jersey. Rock recently narrated Discovery’s Summer of the Shark.

As a “voice” Rock works in the background of broadcasts aired every day.

Rock said that his business is a “young person’s business,” and many who enter leave by their 30s and 40s. Some go into management, and even fewer survive in the talent arena.

Rock has a truly distinctive voice. It’s deep, authoritative, and recognizable. He projects his voice to “print” (i.e. he can superimpose his voice like type over a photo) on the background sounds during promos. Many recognize his voice from radio and TV.

An audience hears Rock’s voice, but they have no idea what he looks like. When speaking with him, one gets a sense that they know him from somewhere, but because he’s never an NBC visual presence, he goes unnoticed walking around town. If he were on TV, you’d see a 6’2 dark-haired man, with round facial features, glasses, and groomed facial hair.

Starting out, he first got into the talent side of radio, and then stayed in management for a larger portion. He spent a lot of time as a program director, where his communications degree from Seton Hall University came into play. He learned a lot about business, which later gave him the background to start Bill Rock Productions.

Rock says he has an average voice, but by imitating and practicing, it has kept him in the business for 35 years. During the course of his career, Rock adopts a variety of styles to fit the format he works in. He drew part of his styles from some of his influences like Don Pardo of Saturday Night Live and Don Imus. Two of his greatest network announcing influences include Les Marshak of NBC and the late Ernie Anderson of ABC. Today, Rock borrows elements from Don LaFontaine, who announces most movie trailers and three major networks. By blending the affections of other announcers and his own, he has created a unique style that in all likelihood will also be imitated.

There is a market for a voice.

Rock is the only announcer in New York he knows of without an agent, and he prefers it that way. “I do my own negotiating and selling. Some salesmen are so good because they believe in what they are selling. I can sell myself because I believe in it [my work]. I can’t sell anything but myself.”

Rock is one of eight announcers NBC counts on, but he knows this can be a very good thing. “I’m a cog in a wheel, but in a way it’s nice because [NBC] is the largest wheel.”

Rock started his interest in radio when he was 17 at a 500-watt station (WERA – 1590 on the dial) doing Sunday morning news in Plainfield, New Jersey making $1 an hour. In college, he diversified with reading news and then becoming a station manager. “It was personal drive; wanting to expand. Not knowing it would come into play later. It made me valuable. I was a musician. I know how music works. All these interrelated hobbies turned into businesses.”

Rock worked his way up from reading the news to management. Rock was an operations manager at WELI in New Haven, but he felt unsatisfied. “I wasn’t making anything.” Rock admitted that the real reason for joining WELI was his hobby — boating. “They had a boat and I wanted to use it. That was reason enough.”

Rock’s changing roles kept him competitive. Rock moved from small, to medium, to large markets like from Albany, to Boston, to New York. He also made plenty of contacts that helped him early and later in his career. “Contacts are everything in this business. I still even have some from 35 years ago.”

Rock has seen many career changes, each of which has increased his skill set and contributed to making Bill Rock Productions work. Today, Rock is all business, but this wasn’t always the case. “When I was back in college, I wanted to have fun; I wanted to enjoy what I was doing. Like anything anybody does, if they enjoy doing it, it is self rewarding.”

Rock loves owning his own business. He sets his own hours and it gives him time to enjoy his hobbies during business hours. “I would never want to work for someone again. There’s nothing like being my own boss and creating your own world,” he said.

Starting his own business has given him a laboratory to diversify. Rock says he’s never bored. He works as a cameraman, video producer, writer, editor, announcer, on-air bit comedian, narrator, and more. Rock needs to have several skills to operate his business. Just some of them include audio mixing, lighting, editing, and more. With all the jobs Rock does, and the numerous skills he possesses, Bill Rock Productions remains “a one man show.”

Rock has won several awards for his video presentations, including Telly awards, Communicator awards, and he has even been inducted into the Seton Hall University hall of fame.

What gives Rock his distinctive edge is his talent and creativity. “It’s what I do with the [computer] box that sells me,” he said.

Rock reflected on his days in radio with fond memories. “Being on the radio is you; you’re a personality. I had more fun in radio than anything I ever did in my life.” But for now, announcing for NBC, Rock admits, “My voice is a product. I just manufacture something.”

Rock loved the spontaneity of radio and the promotions he was often involved in. The program manager at the time suggested Rock change his on-air name to Sean Grabowski, a Polish name, to appeal to the working-class population in Pittsburgh.

“We had this prize where I would come to a person’s house and cook a whole dinner for them, but I couldn’t cook so we had the promotions lady in back bringing in the food pre-cooked from her car to the kitchen as if I was making it. I thought somebody would catch me, but it went the whole night,” he said. “And these people had invited their neighbors, and they were saying, ‘Sean is cooking for us’ and I’m explaining that this is an old recipe from my grandmother. And this guy had Cuban cigars and he said, ‘Sean, I’ve been saving these for a very special occasion.’”

Another job in Boston found him bugging Watergate. “We sent a Volkswagen Bug to a cheesy motel called the Watergate in New Jersey.”

Rock now DJs the 60s Vibration Channel noon to six, Monday through Friday on the Excelsior Radio Network.

Update: Bill Rock now hosts “Elvis Goes Hollywood” on Sirius Radio as well as running his production company and keeping up with his NBC gigs.

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How I Created a Podcast Studio for Less Than $150 https://kenmorico.com/how-i-created-a-podcast-studio-for-less-than-150 https://kenmorico.com/how-i-created-a-podcast-studio-for-less-than-150#respond Sun, 18 Oct 2009 21:48:47 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=224 With some cheap hardware and a mac, you can create a podcast studio with phone hookups. This post shows you how to interview from your studio to remote locations.

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So you want to reach an unlimited audience, have complete control of a broadcast, and get free promotion? Time to Podcast! Podcasts are a natural extension of blogs. They are just another medium to spout your commentary, music, and interviews. If you’re interested in podcasting, I’ll explain why now is the best time to get started.

Hardware has never been cheaper and software has never been more intuitive. Studio-quality microphones are now just about $100. Apple has refined audio making software to the point where mere novices can produce professional-quality results via their GarageBand software. It’s even designed to create podcasts (Apple recently removed some podcast-specific functionality, but podcasts can still be easily created in Garageband).

How I Created My Podcast Studio

Mac Mini Podcast Studio
Mac Mini Podcast Studio

Other items I already had included Sony MDR-V700 Studio Headphones [ These Bose Bose® AE2 headphones are comparable and more comfortable.]
and a Mac with Garageband. The Samson G Track microphone gives me the studio-quality recording sound, and the Griffin SmartTalk extension enables me to use my podcast studio to make interviews possible in really high-quality. That’s because cellphones now are digital, and routing the audio through the built-in mixer of the G Track allows very little noise to enter the audio via its USB interface. Tom Keene uses this method a lot for interviewing faraway economists on his Bloomberg Radio shows. I remember being awestruck when I interviewed Bill Rock in his studio space in his home. Bill Rock is an announcer and video producer. He announced for NBC and now for Sirius XM. His studio is crammed with mixers and video/audio equipment. I just have a desk.

Comparable to the Samson microphone, the Blue Yeti USB Microphone is more flexible – allowing for omni-direction and bi-directional pickup – meaning you can record several people in the room with great quality. It doesn’t have the audio input interface like the Samson, but with Skype and free audio routing software you could mimic a real audio input jack. I do wish the Yeti was available when I started podcasting.

The Podcast Audio Upgrade

If you want to spend a little more money on a full mobile solution with excellent audio quality you can look at a portable recorder like a Zoom H4n and newer models (which I also own). Recorders like the Zoom H4n have built-in high quality microphones and microphone pre-amps which record with low noise… much lower noise than the USB interfaces. They record to the same SD cards that cameras use. You can then move the audio file to your computer using the card. They also have USB interfaces, but I found they weren’t as clean as actually moving the file.

The portable recorders are great for the road and have XLR inputs so you can record from studio mixers and microphones when you are ready. Just realize that you need to be close to the microphone to capture the high quality audio since they are omni mics and will pick up room sounds if you are not close.

Budget Audio for Video Production

iPhone: the Hidden Digital Audio Recorder for Video

For the longest time, I never really knew how useful a clapperboard was in movie scenes. Turns out, it’s used to mark where audio and video should be synced in post editing. Audio and video are recorded separately for movie and TV production. If you’re an electronics consumer like me, you might have used a camcorder that records audio and video together. I thought syncing audio and video would be difficult and something only professionals could do. Not so.

In my video on street photography, I recorded my audio separately from the video in the opening scene. I used the SmartTalk Headphone Adapter, Control, and Microphone for iPhone as a lavaliere microphone, made a clap noise with my hands (low-rent, I know!) and made sure the camera captured me clapping my hands. It’s important to have a visual so you know where to sync the audio and video.

I suggest trying this method with your iPhone. Be sure to use the built-in Voice Memos app, click the record button, and lock the phone so you don’t accidentally stop the recording.

[UPDATE 8/2013] The Griffin SmartTalk is no longer in production, but you can re-create my setup with:
Peterson Phone Accessories iPhone/iPad/iPod touch Musical Instrument Adapter Straight Cable and Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone. The audio quality will be better with this setup.

Ken Morico's Podcast Studio - Samson G2 microphone, Sony headphones, Mac Mini
Podcast Resources

There are a lot of resources on the Web to help get you started with podcasting. Apple shows you how to make a podcast here. Of course, with all the help and easy-to-install hardware, there’s gotta be a rub. Here it is: posting a podcast is not easy. You need your own Web host, you need to edit XML files, which will be unfamiliar to many, and there is a lot of work that goes into producing a podcast. [UPDATE 5/14/2011 – New podcasting plugins for WordPress blogs make it really easy to create an XML podcast feed compatible with iTunes. Check out my post Blubrry Releases New HTML5 Podcasting Plugin for WordPress.]

You need intro music, outro music, topics to talk about, guests (or music), editing time, and you need to promote it. Apple does help you out here though. If your podcast is interesting and good enough, they will feature your podcast on iTunes – for FREE. This is how I found a lot of great podcasts including the DJ Cruze Podcast and Adam Carolla Podcast.

Don’t forget that iPhones and other smartphones have built-in audio recorders. It’s great for podcasting on-the-go like I did here in my post on digital storytelling with Twitter.

Create Audio Content for more than Podcasts

Audio equipment isn’t just for podcasts. Use audio in personal and business Web sites. I recently used audio in my new Web site KenMorico.com after reading in the Mediapedia book how powerful slideshows can be. Audio really does add another dimension to a traditional Web site. It certainly makes a “personal” site more personal. The Web is getting a little more personal than it used to. People are now using their real names and photos on Facebook. Many are using their real names on Twitter. (I am one – I highly recommend it.)  Some of the most successful social media personalities use their real name and photo. We are more likely to trust them – giving them instant credibility. Audio allows web designers to take this extra leap in personalization.

So why should this be a big deal now? HTML5 has been moving forward – allowing many devices to play audio from HTML pages without plugins. Mobile phones like iPhones can play audio from a Web page with one click. iPads can as well. With an HTML5 standard, it makes it worthwhile to place audio on a Web page.

Summing Up

Podcast and video production is a lot of work, but it’s an exciting hobby and doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive. With some time and creativity you can produce the type of show you always wanted to hear – your own. You can listen to The Ken Morico Podcast on iTunes to see how my setup sounds.

Audio Commentary

Click the play button below to listen…


Download MP3

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More Users, More Money, More Facebook https://kenmorico.com/more-users-more-money-more-facebook https://kenmorico.com/more-users-more-money-more-facebook#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2009 02:53:50 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=210 With Facebook reaching 300 million users and now making money, is Web 2.0 saved?

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It’s a milestone for Web, Web 2.0, and the digital revolution. Facebook is now cashflow positive. Some people might think with Facebook now reporting 300 million users, it would seem impossible not to make money given the size of the user base. It might seem cheap to host a Web site, but given the infrastructure need to operate a site with 300 million users, it seems a feat to now be cashflow positive after five and a half years.

Digital Overhead

So you might think, “Hey, I’ve got a Web site, it’s not expensive to run one of those.” To run something like Facebook you need hundreds of servers, backup servers, networking equipment, engineers, lawyers, media people, PR people, a warehouse for servers, backup generators, and the list goes on. As Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, mentions, “the ratio of Facebook users to Facebook engineers makes it so that every engineer here is responsible for more than one million users. It’s hard to have an impact like that anywhere else.” I attribute the efficiency to the PHP language and open source databases like MySQL that Facebook utilizes.

Micro$oft

Facebook is NOT using Microsoft tools or software. However, Microsoft owns a significant portion of Facebook. In fact, owning a portion of Facebook, I believe, will be their best business decision yet. Why? Growing competition from Apple, a downturn in the economy, the threat of the upcoming Google Chrome operating system, and the growing popularity of open source software.

Web 2.0 and the Unified Login

Okay, so Facebook is running smoothly and bringing in money, what’s in store for us now and why is it important that Facebook makes money? Facebook is Web 2.0. It represents everything Web 2.0 does well. It connects people via the Web in a social way, it easily enables sharing of information, photos, videos, and ideas. Facebook pioneers new technologies like the Facebook iPhone Application, Facebook Applications, Facebook Login, iPhoto integration, and software code to handle 300 million users and do so with speed. With Facebook staying in business, we are likely to see their vision of a unified login come to the Web – something Microsoft tried and failed at implementing. With a unified login, everything on the Web gets easier, including posting comments on this blog, shopping carts, digital IDs, and the like. The Web needs pioneers, and they need a reason to keep innovating. Finally, Web 2.0 can represent the age where the Web makes money.

[UPDATE: Facebook now has over 1.3 billion users.]

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The Rebirth of Print: New latimes.com Design Looks Familiar https://kenmorico.com/the-rebirth-of-print-new-latimes-com-design-looks-familiar https://kenmorico.com/the-rebirth-of-print-new-latimes-com-design-looks-familiar#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2009 19:03:05 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=202 On August 12th, 2009 the Los Angeles Times became a newspaper again. They did something I always thought should happen for years – make a news site that looks like an easy-to-read print newspaper.

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On August 12th, 2009 the Los Angeles Times became a newspaper again. They did something I always thought should happen for years – make a news site that looks like an easy-to-read  print newspaper.

Have you ever been to a news site and wondered what’s  the top story? You never had to guess in print editions. They always had large, bold type and a large photo. I’m glad to see this change. News must be prioritized. For years, newspaper Web sites tried to look like Web sites instead of online newspapers. For hundreds of years, printers and publishers fine-tuned fonts and colors and typfaces for maximum readibility. It seemed that when newspapers first went online all of that knowledge escaped into the digital ether.

Design Elements

There are many stand-out features of the new site. The large, classic typeface of the masthead in black gives the site a sense of authority. It’s fairly unobstructed and the technology of the Web doesn’t seem to impede the news. The date is large and easy-to-read. Something new to me – the time stamp. On the Web, time matters because news changes constantly. Photos are especially crisp and detailed. Ads are well-placed. Navigation and section headers are black and white. The footer contains quick links that are nicely organized.  I like the font buttons that allow you increase or decrease the font. That’s not a  new feature on the Web, but a lot of news sites don’t include it or they don’t place the buttons well. This LA Times blog post by editors further describes the major changes.

The new latimes.com site also features the Web 2.0 tools necessary for promotion – social boomarking / linking, send to a friend, article comments, etc. Via comments, letters to the editor are now instant. Others can comment on your comments in real time. URLs contain story titles and keywords to make them easy to index by search engines. And while these are not “new” features, it’s usually the implementation of technology that separates good products from stellar products.

Information Hierarchy

At first glance of other news sites like nytimes.com and chron.com, you seem lost. Where is the information hierarchy? In fact, the Houston Chronicle doesn’t even go by the name Houston Chronicle on their own Web site. It’s called chron.com. The masthead and fonts are different. The colors lack authority. It seems like there’s no brand. What the Houston Chronicle does get right, however, is recognizing their audience.

Lack of Audience Insight

Looking at the Los Angeles Times Web site, would you think LA County contains a 47% Hispanic population? The Houston Chronicle has articles in Spanish and English. Even a Hispanic blogger. To be fair, I haven’t read all Los Angeles Times’ online articles over the years, but looking around the site it didn’t seem apparent there are any or a portion of the articles about Hispanic culture that reflect the demographics. As a white person who works in Hispanic marketing, I can tell you companies are eager to market to Hispanics and recognize their buying power and influence on American culture. Companies know they are behind in marketing to Hispanics, and it seems time newspapers do the same. Of course, given the that Tribune Company is on its financial knees, I understand the business decisions for this choice.

The New and Familiar

With so many competitors in the online news space, I can’t see one that competes with latimes.com. The designers and editors seem to have implemented everything that makes the Web powerful as a medium while harnessing the visual and hierarchical qualities that make print editions appealing. Which leads me to write something I never thought I would: long live print.

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A Lot of Voices – My First Impressions Using Twitter https://kenmorico.com/a-lot-of-voices-my-first-impressions-using-twitter https://kenmorico.com/a-lot-of-voices-my-first-impressions-using-twitter#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2009 22:03:06 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=164 First impressions using Twitter - how it's different than Facebook status, and why it appeals to the voyeur in all of us.

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Conversations here, conversations there. Where am I? I’m late to the Twitter party. A lot of people have written about Twitter, the micro-blogging platform that connects people all over the world. I was hesitant to join Twitter because I didn’t see it much different than posting your status on Facebook. And while my first impression was a bit superficial, there are some differences worth tweeting about.

First, Twitter is more like a slow online chat session than a blogging platform. That’s because while the posts are instant, not everyone who will respond will be online at the same time as the person making the first post, or tweet. Ah, but many strangers are online and can respond fairly quickly. The public nature of Twitter is what I find most fascinating. Typically, online chat sessions and email are private conversations. Twitter, if you let it, will make all of your posts and status updates available to the entire world. Complete strangers can comment on what you’re eating for lunch. If they find what you’re eating for lunch is super-special, they can “follow” you. When you get followed, people basically subscribe to receive all your posts.

Twitter becomes like a Grand Central Station, you overhear conversations of thousands of people in a short amount of time. It’s this voyeuristic quality that makes Twitter interesting and have such broad appeal. Facebook, by design is a closed network. You often need to be invited to participate with friends. Twitter is public, and you can search for any topic using the service to pull up reactions for that topic. For example, I searched tweets to determine if Slumdog Millionaire was worth seeing. Many people posted that the movie was amazing. I saw it based on what people said about the movie. It was amazing.

Web 2.0 and public relations professionals love Twitter because news stories and Web sites can go viral when posted to the service if there are enough followers tracking the poster. Darren Rowse, a prominent blogger, credits Twitter with generating a lot of traffic to his site.

Want to know what celebrities are up to? You can follow Britney Spears and Al Gore on Twitter if you like.  If someone of importance tweets about a news article or video, it’s easy to see how it can generate a lot of traffic. It’s like having a podium available to you 24/7. What celebrity wouldn’t like that? Another application:  imagine a modern-day evangelist with “followers” on Twitter. Interesting.

Twitter is an open platform, so there are many applications and ways you can post tweets. You can SMS them on your phone, use one of the many iPhone applications, or use the Web. You can syndicate your tweets and post them on your Web site or blog.

Wanna find out what’s going on with me? Go ahead, I’m an open Twitterer.

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Resume and Job Search Tips https://kenmorico.com/resume-job-search-tips https://kenmorico.com/resume-job-search-tips#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2009 02:07:57 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=152 Times have changed, and so has the way recruiters have been getting resumes. Job search sites cost lots of money for recruiters and companies. When companies cut costs, search memberships get kicked. How can you adapt your resume for the new way recruiters will find you?

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Times have changed, and so has the way recruiters have been getting resumes. Job search sites cost lots of money for recruiters and companies. When companies cut costs, search memberships get kicked. How can you adapt your resume for the new way recruiters will find you?

CareerBuilder is the job search leader, so I’ll use it for examples.  Currently, CareerBuilder charges $469.00 for 1 job posting with a company logo. One year of enterprise-level resume searches will cost a company $9,553. Twenty jobs with logo gets you a discount – $6,800. Want a microsite to go with your postings? $2,160. If you’re a CFO and someone tells you could save $18,513 this year, would you listen?

So what’s the solution for companies looking to cut recruiting costs? Google searches. Using specific syntax in Google searches, companies can find qualified candidates. So how do you prep your resume for recruiter Web searches? Can’t you just post your Microsoft Word resume and be done? NO! Resumes need optimization tweaks just like real Web pages.

Where Are You?

I’ve noticed a steady increase in the number of searches for my resume using Google. Many times recruiters look for candidates in certain area codes or cities. Make sure your location is at the top of your resume. You don’t have to post your address, but your city / state name and phone number should be at the top. Information at the top of pages is given more relevance in search results, so put it there.

Place a bulleted profile list highlighting popular phrases it the top of your resume above jobs and job descriptions. Google will give these more weight and it will make your resume more attractive to recruiters as well since it will save them from having to read your whole resume to get a feel for your skills and experience. For example, “Certified project manager for Fortune 500 companies.”

Where Have You Been?

Based on the fact that location based searches are popular, make sure you list cities and states for past jobs. If you are willing to relocate, that will help you because your resumes will probably come up for searches of several locations. For me, my cell phone has a California area code, but I live in Texas. So I get contacted for positions in both states.

Besides states, recruiters search for companies you might have worked for before, or are already working at so as to snag you for a competitor. Help them find you. List all the company names you worked for, including subdivisions and conglomerate owners. Here’s an example of a recruiter search for me that got them to my site:

filetype:doc resume and nissan and software and michigan

So what do we make of it? This recuiter was looking for software resumes online in Microsoft Word format, with experience at Nissan and experience in Michigan. My resume came up because I did work for Nissan at one point in my career, I did work in software, and my resume has some relation to Michigan because I designed a Web site for the University of Michigan Business School. So it wasn’t an exact fit, but you see the possibilities with the right keywords and places in your resume.

What Do You Do?

Like a regular print resume, you need to put your skills and software skills on your online resume. Be specific. Recruiters are looking for very specific skills and software packages. Take this recruiter search that landed them on my resume:

(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:cv OR inurl:cv OR intitle:vitae OR inurl:vitae OR intitle:homepage OR inurl:homepage) “web developer” (ca OR california) (sql and EKTRON and c# and .net)

This is a very specific search. Look at what’s defined. A position, a location, and specific software skills. If you knew how to use content management systems (CMS) for updating Web pages and you put that on your resume this search  would have missed you. That’s because EKTRON is a specific type of CMS. So ideally you should put broad terms that define your skills and software as well as very narrow terms. If you were a project manager, you would have the phrase “project manger” on your resume with all types of specific project management software such as Microsoft Project, Visio, and others.

Are You on the Map of the Web?

Your resume and the Web site it’s hosted on need to have good content to give it credibility with search engines. Given two equal resumes online, the one listed higher will be the one with more credibility with Google. I posted some SEO resources to help you with this task. If a recruiter typed in keywords to find your resume, do you come up in search results? Try it. And if you don’t, tweak your resume and Web site until you do.

Use a professional networking service like LinkedIn to steer recruiters and companies to your professional profile and resume. You can post links in your LinkedIn profile, so be sure to do so and mention in your profile you have an online resume. Make sure you post a photo to help you get noticed. You are a real person, right?

Over here!

Tough times call for a solid resume. They call for a Web 2.0 resume posted on your own Web site or blog. Your resume doesn’t necessarily need to be tech related, it just needs Web 2.0 marketing behind it to highlight you. Show them who’s the boss.

Web Resumes and Filetypes

Google Docs - Resume FiletypesThere are dozens of file formats to save your resume in, so which one should you choose? There are three filetypes I recommend people save their resumes in and send off to recruiters. First, because there are literally thousands of hardware and software combinations, not every machine will display the same filtetype the same way. That’s why I first recommend you should create a PDF document of your resume so that recruiters can see what you think your resume should look like. It’s the only way to almost gaurantee that your resume layout format, fonts, and typfaces will be preserved. This way, when comparing the PDF resume to other filetype, layout issues can be discovered and resolved by recruiters.

PDF resumes should only be used for presentation purposes. Recruiters like to mark up resumes in Microsoft Word, so a PDF resume shouldn’t be your sole resume for the fact that it’s difficult to edit and you need special software to do it. Several free programs allow you to create PDF documents without buying the expensive Adobe Acrobat software. You can export PDFs from OpenOffice and Google Docs for free.

Microsoft Word is the next recommendation. Word has been around for over 15 years. It’s the format most resumes are typically stored in. Be careful with compatibility. Unlike PDF, Word is not easily transferred between computers. Within Microsoft Office products, you are mostly safe, but formatting is almost never completely preserved when migrating the file to Google Docs, OpenOffice, or resume import software. The old file extension for Word files is .doc. Most programs will read this format. Some will not read the newer .docx format. Also, you would need a newer version of Microsoft Office to create a .docx file. Always save your Word files as .doc. You want to guarantee compatibility. The last thing you want is your resume to be a “problem resume” for a recruiter. They shouldn’t have to work to view your resume.

Word files can be created from any number of programs now. Google Docs and OpenOffice can create them for free without the need to purchase Microsoft Office.

Finally, I recommend the OpenDocument format. This could be the future format of documents. It’s supported by OpenOffice, Google Docs, and Word 2007 with Service Pack 2. Most likely newer versions of Word will support it as well. The reason I like this format so much is that the files are small, and you don’t need to purchase any software to view or create them. They run on Mac, Linux, and Windows computers. OpenOffice is free, as well as Google Docs.

So when you send out your resume, make sure to send a PDF version, .doc version, and a .odt version. The recruiter should be able to view at least one of them.

Recruiter Boolean Searches and Your Resume

Sometimes when you want to people to find you you need to leave a trail for them. Your resume posted online is one way for recruiters and hiring managers to find you on the world’s largest resume database – the Internet. When most people think of resume databases, they think of an individual companies’ database of resumes. It’s common sense to think competing agencies won’t share their databases of resumes. So what’s a smart recruiter / hiring manager to do to get a large pool of resumes without cost and featuring exactly the skills they are looking for? Boolean search.

I’ve posted my resume online now for 11 years. Recruiters have found my resume using Boolean searches and regular searches. If you’re not Web savvy like I am, it’s unlikely you’ll appear in a regular search, but a Boolean search is more likely. So how can someone find your resume online using the right techniques?

Boolean Operators

AND – Finds resumes or pages that contain all terms. resume AND (HTML AND Facebook)

OR – Finds resumes or pages that contain one or the other terms. resume AND (HTML OR Facebook)

[NOT / – ] – Google describes NOT search with a minus sign prepended to a search word. Finds resumes or pages that contain a term but filters out a particular keyword. For example, resume AND project manager  -senior would filter out resumes that contain project managers that are not senior level.

NEAR – Finds resumes or pages that contain both terms in close proximity to each other. resume AND (skills NEAR HTML)

( ) Parentheses – Allows you to group terms together to create a complex search query. Also makes it easier to read your own queries. resume AND (project manager AND microsoft) AND (consultant AND freelance)

* Wildcard – Allows you to replace a whole word. resume Adobe * experience would find resumes with adobe software experience like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator or any of the other Adobe software packages.

Not all search engines support these operators, but these are some of the basics that most do. See the help pages your particular search engine. Google is a very intelligent search engine. Here is link to their search help page.

You can easily see how powerful and exact these queries can be. When you are searching millions of resumes, these techniques become invaluable. Remember, managers want to hire perfect candidates, not good enough candidates.

So what does this mean for job seekers looking to get found? Have the right keywords in your resume. Have your location in your resume – city, state, phone area code. On the flip side, if you get too many queries on your resume like I do, think about removing some keywords that don’t apply.

…what if resumes didn’t even really matter at all???

Quit Looking for a Job – How to Use Web 2.0 to Get Found

Quit looking for a job - get foundTired of looking for work? Don’t look! With the advent of Web 2.0 and social media, headhunters can find you using new methods. Even if you are the type of person needed to fill their position, can they reach you online? If you are online, are you easy to find?

In the past, I’ve always had luck getting freelance opportunities and jobs because of my online portfolio. But was it just luck? In 1999 a project manager for Learnlots.com contacted me about writing tutorials for AOL version 4.0. I had no idea who this person was and they were several states away. Clearly he didn’t hear about me through networking because I was in college at the time. How did he find me? A search engine. My Web site always did well at search engine ranking.  Having a higher ranking gives you authority. Authority gets you jobs.

Build Your Online House

Ever since 1999, headhunters and corporations have found my Web site. How do I stand out? How can you stand out? First thing to do is get a Web site. Your own yourname.com site. You are your brand. Differentiation makes one person get hired over another. Research other people in your field you want to emulate. What do their Web sites look like? How do they present themselves on their Web site? What makes them stand out? Remember that it’s not easy to gain trust over the Web. The Web is becoming more personal, but by design it is an impersonal technology. Having your own domain name lends a sense of trust. Anyone can setup a fake Yahoo! account. Putting your name online says you’re serious.

Post a photo. So many people online don’t post a photo in their online profiles and Web sites. I don’t get it. You can’t be “sticky” in the minds of headhunters if you’re just a name. A photo can convey a bit of your personality and make you seem real. Seeming real on the Web matters to people who make hiring decisions.

Make Your House Presentable

Once you have a Web site address, you’ll need to build content for your site. This depends on your industry, but why not first start out with a description of yourself? When I analyze Web site statistics for the sites I manage, some of the top pages are always bios of the people behind the company. People want to know who you are and what you’re about. Write a short and substantial bio about yourself. Get friends (ideally a writer friend) to review your bio and make sure it sounds professional. Next, you’ll need content on your site. Maybe this is a portfolio of art, music, Web designs, or if it’s something that isn’t visual, just go into detail about projects you worked on and post some visuals that represent your projects. You won’t believe how many Web developers I know who don’t have Web sites, much less blogs. Whatever industry you are in, you should be online.

Post Signs to Your House

Okay, you built your online house with fancy shutters and Spanish tile roof. How are people going to find it? Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’m sure you’ve heard the term before. The reason it’s mentioned a lot is because it’s so important. You must understand that without good SEO, you’ll never be found. Google is blind, literally. Google reads text on a Web site like braille; it can’t see visuals on Web sites. So no matter how pretty your Web site looks, it will never compete against a site with excellent textual content.

SEO items in your site are like signs that point Google to your site instead of another’s. I do everything to make sure each all of my pages have all the details search engines need – descriptive titles, meta descriptions, content with keywords, and all-original content. My resume is posted in both Word and PDF formats. My resume describes what I do and the specific software I use to get my projects done. Since my site has been around for over 10 years, search engines give it some authority over sites that have been up for just a few weeks. You need to be around for a long time, too.

If you’ve ever used Google, you know that oftentimes the results on the first page of your search are very, very good. It’s almost like Google can read your mind. Headhunters know this, and when they find resumes at the top of the online search pile, they are pre-conditioned to have some trust in the site and its owner. I have an online resource page that can help you with marketing your site and connect with decision-makers.

Meet Your Neighbors

Search engines, Web site, yadda yadda yadda. What about Web 2.0? Haven’t things changed? Yes, in fact you’re in a whole new neighborhood now. Headhunters can reach you in more places now.

Build a profile on LinkedIn. Fill out every field with accurate, descriptive information. Post a photo. Post links to your new Web site. You may even have a blog. Post a link to that too. Headhunters are watching you on LinkedIn. Give them a show.

Start a blog. If you’re an authority in your field, you should have one. Headhunters will read it and place you in a different realm if they think you’re an expert and have a following.

Get on Facebook. While Facebook is primarily a social networking tool, you can get job offers and freelance projects from people in your network. Make sure you post links to your Web site and blog on Facebook. Headhunters and business owners are on Facebook too.

Spruce Up the Neighborhood

With Web 2.0, contribution and sharing are in style. Voice your opinion on forums in LinkedIn and Facebook. Write answers to questions people have that you can answer. Improve your online neighborhood. Networking is more important now than ever. People want you to reach out to them if you have something intelligent to say and can help them in some way. They will return the favor. You might have heard the term “be sticky” when it comes to job seeking. Send follow-up emails, forward links, present yourself in a memorable way. The same goes in the social media / Web 2.0 world. You need to be unique and everywhere headhunters and business owners congregate.

Own Your House

By using these tips you can control your career. And you don’t even have to be in the news or have written a book to be found.

Don’t search for jobs. Be sought-after.

(Photo courtesy tibchris)

Applying for a Job? Background Check the Company Using These Web Sleuth Tips

You’ve often heard that companies perform background checks on potential hires. But shouldn’t you do your own background check on them? There are many reasons you HAVE TO do this.

Can They REALLY Support You?

You need to make sure the department you are hired in is growing. Human resource managers may need you right away because someone quit. You want to be part of a department that is growing — a company that is growing. There are a number of ways to check this, and luckily with so much information on the  Internet this is easy. First, check the general news about the company using Google News. Then, try looking up the company using ZoomInfo. ZoomInfo will give you the company revenue, number of employees, and relevant news stories, as well contact information. LinkedIn is another popular service that companies themselves often provide. Beware any information a company tells you about itself. Using these services, you should look for keywords about the particular department you are planning to work in.

ZoomInfo will even tell you competitor names. Would you be working for the lesser company? For example, if you were applying to work at General Motors, but found out Ford was a competitor and closer to a turn-around, shouldn’t you work there instead? Interestingly, if you are good at what you do competitors will reach out to you and offer you more money. Do your homework. A temporary boost in pay at a weaker company may backfire.

When you search news sites and search engines, be sure to put the company name in quotes “” with the location next to it. For example, large companies often have multiple divisions and many different companies have the same name. So if you wanted to work at DownTown Disney in Anaheim, CA, you would search “Downtown Disney” Anaheim, CA. The quotes tell the search engine to look specifically for that phrase, while the keywords Anaheim, CA can appear separately in the article or page.

Articles about scoring new business, the company pioneering new research, or winning awards are all great things. Healthy companies should have year-over-year growth in revenues and profits. Make sure there is no government regulation coming that could jeopardize company profits or jobs. For instance, if you are looking to work on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and environmental regulation is coming that could eliminate drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, you would be in the unemployment line.

Bigger Companies Generate More News

When you are applying to work at a small company, realize there may not be a lot of information present. Small companies may not even have a PR department. Large companies, however, generate lots of news. For instance, when the iPhone was first released, there were thousands of news articles, blog posts, and research papers written. A great place to find blog posts on publicly traded companies is Yahoo! Finance. While you are there, research the company financials. Stay away from companies with large amounts of debt. Bondholders want their money, and when they want to collect it may be your job!

What Are People Saying?

If you’ve ever used social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you probably know some people can’t keep their opinions to themselves. While this may not be desirable for general posts, it’s fantastic for Web sleuths! Harnessing the opinions of loudmouths can give you the company zeitgeist. Twitter is a better tool for searching public opinion because people are more liberal on Twitter. The connections are more superficial and the search system is real-time and powerful. Just like other ratings on the Web, people tend to be more vocal about negative impressions than positive. So what you want to look for is the volume of relative negative opinions. On the flip side, good companies should have people mentioning positive things. For example, a co-worker of mine tweeted that he was thankful to our company for sending him on a conference. On a negative side, using LinkedIn, one of my co-workers mentioned that  he was laid off before Thanksgiving and that wasn’t how you should treat a member of the corporate family. People get laid off all the time, but the timing certainly is interesting. It made me think. It should make you think.

Have more suggestions for Web sleuth tools and methods? Feel free to comment. (Photo courtesy Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer)

Resources

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Hailing Web, Downsizing Print at the Los Angeles Times https://kenmorico.com/hailing-web-downsizing-print-at-the-los-angeles-times https://kenmorico.com/hailing-web-downsizing-print-at-the-los-angeles-times#respond Sun, 01 Feb 2009 21:15:01 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=110 The shift to online news, that has been in process in the past decade, will continue. The layoffs are evidence that the shift continues.

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Hailing Web, Downsizing Print at the Los Angeles TimesIt seems the Los Angeles Times have written themselves into a paradox. News is bad. News is good. The Los Angeles Times recently announced plans to lay off 300 workers on January 30th. The cuts are aimed at the California section in the print edition. Nielsen Online reports online traffic to the Los Angeles Times Web site is up an eye-popping 73% for 2008. What’s going on?

While the print news industry has been in decline for some time, and the Los Angeles Times have already cut back staff several times in the past year, online versions of newspapers are doing much better. Readers have shifted to online versions of newspapers as the total number of users online grows. Like I mentioned in my first blog post, the Web makes it easy for consumers to get information when they want. With the multitude of media competing for our attention along with new ways to get on-demand content, time shifting has occurred.

Blogs, radio, and TV might seem to divert readers away from online editions of newspapers… but that hasn’t been the case. Why?  I theorize that part of what makes news “worthy” of our attention is location. News that is local has more relevance to us than national or international news. Many bloggers and alternative newspapers are not local. You need men on the street to gather news in many cases. Another reason for online newspaper success is authority. People for most part trust large newspapers. They have research departments. They verify facts. Blogs and some online news channels can’t afford these luxuries. I think it also says something important to readers when the Los Angeles Times prints that they themselves are in serious trouble. From a journalism standpoint, they must report this. But would a blogger or independent news source report they were doing poorly?

So even if a shift has occurred from print to online, they principles of what makes great news articles still apply. Veracity. Authority. And what about style? Yes, style. Newspapers hire professionals. Writing is their job. Storytelling is their job. Bloggers oftentimes aren’t skilled writers. Anyone can comment on articles, but it takes skill to present information in ways readers enjoy.

In the stock market trading, they say the “trend is your friend” and “don’t fight the trend.” I see parallels here. The shift to online news, that has been in process in the past decade, will continue. The layoffs are evidence that the shift continues. They say stocks bottom when all the bad news has been factored in and everyone who wants to get out of stock has moved on to other investments. At some point in the future, falling print edition subscribers will level off. I expect once that happens, we will reach another point where print editions will stop all together because there will be too few people that will want a printed newspaper.

Newspapers won’t die. They’ll reincarnate.

[UPDATE 5/7/2011: I was right! Newspapers have reincarnated. The iPad seems to have saved the industry. I didn’t think the iPad would be as popular as it is when it first came out. This is great news for writers and publishers. ]

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Show Thyself! Authenticity in Web Comments https://kenmorico.com/show-thyself-authenticity-in-web-comments https://kenmorico.com/show-thyself-authenticity-in-web-comments#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2009 01:48:38 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=16 Blog post about Web comments and the new Facebook Connect authentication.

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There’s an exciting trend afoot with blog or Web site comments. Facebook has developed a new login procedure bloggers can implement on their Web sites. It’s called Facebook Login. Essentially, it allows a quick login to a bloggers commenting system using a pre-existing Facebook login. This allows the majority of Web surfers the speedy option of bypassing a blog-specific login. Also, first time users wouldn’t need to register on a blog. Furthermore, real names and photos could be used on the comments, increasing the legitimacy of the comment.

One of the criticisms of blog comments has been that anyone can post any comment and usually do so anonymously. While I think there are some benefits to anonymous comments and should be an option, I believe the Facebook Connect option gives blogs a chance at becoming a more serious news and entertainment source. Many people have seen Godwin’s law in effect throughout the Web. A system like Facebook Login could help mitigate the law that states as online discussions grow longer the likelihood increases of a comparison to Hitler or Nazis. I’ve seen the law in effect in Yahoo! message boards.

mask

Many blogging platforms have indicated they are working on developing the necessary code to implement the feature. Since there is a bit of code involved I don’t think it will happen in the next few weeks, but I would expect it in the coming months. TechCrunch has noted that 20% of their commenters are logging in via Facebook Connect.

This whole notion of a unified login system brings me back several years to Microsoft’s failed Passport account. Microsoft tried to create a unified login system with your credit card information so you could go from shopping site to shopping site and use only one login for quick access to checkout. What a great idea! It failed, however. With the widespread acceptance of Facebook and no credit card information involved (at least not yet), I see this unified login system working.

What the Web really needs is fewer logins. With so many users on the Web now it seems inevitable using the Web will get easier. One fewer steps means one less discouraged Web user in my opinion.

With more veracity in blogging comments, should you believe the phrase, “don’t believe everything you read”? With a real name and photo, I’d think about it before invoking Godwin’s law…

Commenter Motives

The more I blog, the more I suspect. Jumping into the blogging world I’m learning more about the motives of bloggers. They range from just recording personal memos to full blown businesses. That’s fine. But what about regular people reading blogs for the insights and discussions? Several articles on blogging like this one encourage bloggers to post comments on other blogs. In fact, even my friend Hal who blogs says his blog traffic spikes when he posts comments on other blogs.

It got me wondering. What about the people visiting blogs looking for entertainment, news, or professional development? Part of the fun of reading blogs is reading discussions under the posts. Could the discussions really just be professional bloggers just killing time trying to drive traffic to their sites? If not generate much traffic, just to get their name out on the Internet to seem like some kind of expert or just get noticed?

It would seem silly if we compared blog discussions to real life, right? If someone was publicly speaking and after the speech a mob showed up to comment in the hope that they would receive some benefit of money or fame / recognition. For example, if Barack Obama just finished a speech on the benefits average Americans will get from a stimulus package and in the mob of people some teachers are discussing with their students the ramifications and some construction company owners showed up, talking loud, “Well, I think we all know XYZ Construction has the best methods and superior tools. We could best use the construction spending. Before I go, please visit visit XYZ Construction on the Web. My name is JOE CORPORATE in case you weren’t listening. You can find me on these social networking sites. You’ll also find me commenting after other speeches in other public locations because that’s how I roll.”

beverly_hills
Like I mentioned before, you can’t believe everything you read on the Web, especially without real names and validated profiles. There were 141 responses in less than 24 hours to one article I read about blogging. It was a fine article, but not the kind of topic where you would get 141 people to take a few minutes out of their day to tell other people it was great too. Maybe the blogger is just fantastic at building a public forum?

Writer Pat Hacket wrote in the New York Times Bestseller, The Andy Warhol Diaries:

It was the magazine more than anything else that kept Andy from passing into sixties history … he knew that people only come to you if they think you have something to offer them. In the mid-sixties when he was cranking out his early, cheap, “underground” films at the rate practically, of one a week, it was the possibility of getting into Andy’s movies that drew people to the Factory [Andy’s art studio]. By the 1970s, however, with the price of making commercially exhibitable movies becoming prohibitive, Andy had few roles to offer people and not even the certainty that the movie being discussed would ever actually get made. Interview magazine more than filled the void.

The same is true today. Offer people a chance for the public spotlight and they will come.  Warhol I’m not, but I’ve got a famous idea that there’s an art to popularizing a blog.

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Birthing a Blog: Why I Started Blogging https://kenmorico.com/birthing-a-blog-why-i-started-blogging https://kenmorico.com/birthing-a-blog-why-i-started-blogging#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2009 01:03:23 +0000 http://www.kenmorico.com/?p=5 Commentary about the importance of blogging and how it will supplant traditional media in terms of speed, user accessibility, and engagement of dialog.

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I didn’t pay much attention to blogging before because I thought it was a fad. It’s not. I’ve heard comparisons to a diary. It’s different than a diary. Blogs are timely, they can be syndicated, and can include images and videos. Wow. I realize physical newspapers and magazines have been dying for a long time. I know because I used to write for them. They just don’t make sense in these times. Asking people to pay for magazines or newspapers seems a stretch nowadays. On NBC’s New Year’s broadcast someone mentioned they were dropping their magazine subscription as part of their new year’s resolution.

With so many entertainment options available now, people aren’t held captive to print newspapers as their news source. The same goes for television. How many people rush home to see the 6 o’clock news? How many people get home at 6 o’clock anymore? We can get news from so many channels now. I’m sure new channels are being invented as I write this. We’ve got Internet news sites from major newspapers, blogs, Television, streaming on demand video, radio, satellite radio, Internet radio, and of course as my old journalism professor used to say, “the dead tree edition.” Not to mention trying to pry people away from the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3. This New York Times article discusses how the flow of traditional media has broken and how companies need to adapt in this new environment.

keyboard

Part of the growth of blogs is due to the improvements in rich text editors on the Web. Traditionally, only Web developers could program the style markup necessary to make a Web page interesting. Same goes for adding graphics. Forget about video. The new breed of rich text editors from sites like WordPress.org and Yahoo! make styling text and adding images easy. You don’t need any special software to get the posts to the Web. The editors work just like Microsoft Word and other Word processors. I’ve just finished integrating a rich text editor into my employer’s Intranet site to allow our editor to post and edit articles for the external company newsletter. They used to print full-color editions every quarter. By the time the newsletter got into the hands of the clients the articles were not timely anymore. Posting a newsletter or Blog online allows fast and cheap production of content. This is great because more resources can be allocated to producing fascinating and timely content.

Blogging can be more lucrative for writers. Many people think equate the term “writer” or phrase “freelance writer” with being broke. In the recent past you be right. Professional writers working for a newspaper make around $35k. Plus they live in fear wondering if their newspaper will still be around or merged with a media conglomerate. Ah, but bloggers can make money on advertisements, merchandise, and speaking engagements. Probably the most famous blogger is Perez Hilton. His blog landed him on MTV. My friend Adam Bernard who operates a blog called “Adam’s World” made him an expert in a niche – Hip Hop journalism. He’s a full-time blogger / writer and doing very well. Of course like anything, you must be good at writing. With so much clutter on the Web, I would say you have to be unique and witty to stand out.

Web searchers are usually searching for something via Google when they arrive at a blog. That’s why niche blogging is so significant. Newspapers, while usually having a local slant, are general. They have many sections – world news, business, weather, entertainment, etc. When Web surfers Google a search phrase, it’s narrow, not broad. Like “how to make pizza dough.” Try finding that information in your local paper. Try finding it in .02 seconds. Thought so. Google’s a bit faster than your newspaper search. Once you arrive at an appropriate blog, you’ll usually find other articles about the same topic. AHHH, now a blog becomes an information resource.

I found an article about blogging that describes the general setup of a blog and how to start. While anyone can start a blog, not everyone has something to say or can say it well or with “sizzle.” Blogs can be for friends and family, however. They don’t all have to be for public viewing. In fact, blogging software allows posts you choose to be private.

Another thing that separates blogs from traditional media like newspapers is the ability to post comments. Blogs enable two-way conversations. Newspapers have letters to the editor sections. You’ll notice those section are very small, reference items several days old, and are very filtered to about two or three letters. Blogs can have unlimited comments and are rarely filtered. You get a more accurate read as to how people feel about a topic or article in a blog. The comments are usually posted immediately as well. Plus, commenter’s comments sometimes appear right under the blog post, making commenters /contributers mini-celebrities in their own way.

So with the birth of this new year comes this new blog. Now, isn’t that timely?

[UPDATE 5/7/2011: I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now. Amazing. It’s been a lot of fun. Best of all, it’s a great feeling to know you can pass along information that helps people develop themselves professionally. ]

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