Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Crowdsourcing" Continues To Be a Hotly Debated Topic

Some of you may have read a hotly debated topic on "crowdsourcing" or also referred to as "spec work" where designers bid for a design job online with the likes of "crowdSpring" and "99designs". It has created quite a controversy to the point a group called No!Spec (Twitter account @nospec) was created.

Recently I stumbled upon an article written by Jeremiah Owyang entitled "Designers: Why Spec Work Is Not Going Away – How You Should Respond". Jeremiah's article was simply stating a social media trend. He actually started off his career as a UI designer. However, it wasn't so much his article that had taken me aback, but what had gotten my attention was the lively discussion that ensued at the end of the article. So of course, being a professional interactive manager/designer (one of many hats), I commented the following:

"What’s not reflected in the conversation is the value Experienced Designers bring to the table. It’s not just about a design that’s aesthetically pleasing, but how strategic design can enhance a brand campaign and product positioning, as well as heighten a brand’s perception. Experienced designers are also strategic creative business partners for the brand and their products.

Spec work may be a venue/channel for a new designer just starting out in the field. I believe there are other options out there, but it takes time to build. I think they need to consider the time they spent vying after spec work vs. creating and building up their personal brand from scratch, i.e., portfolio sites, WOM marketing, etc."

This whole topic spurred me to ask a question on LinkedIn in the 2 design groups I belong to, AIGA and ADCNJ. I wrote 'Do you think "crowdsourcing" devalues designers and design in general?' I wrote a brief description then added, 'I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this issue and what you would recommend as other alternatives for designers.'

The intent of the post was to draw out recommendations and alternatives from other designers. Besides committing to not follow this trend, we all need to find a solution and become proactive in our own personal branding. Here are some ideas that were listed:
  • Non-profit organizations for designers just getting their foot in the door
  • Get involved with your city's Chamber of Commerce
  • Cold calls
  • Referrals (this should include friends, family, colleagues and old acquaintances)
  • I haven't heard of too many people having luck with these, but it's possible: Elance, Guru, Odesk, iFreelance, RentaCoder, etc.
  • "The Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market" (book listings)
  • Craigslist
  • Branding/Identity/Marketing yourself
  • Advertise
  • Find design firms that have overflow work that can use your assistance
  • Join communities like No!Spec (Twitter account @nospec)

Then a fellow designer posted just a link with no comments to this video, which I have to say, really made my day. (Thanks @kenlange! :D)

I'll continue to follow this hotly debated topic and may update the list above from comments provided. What could we do collectively and what could we do for our own personal branding and WOM marketing?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

A Woman's Story: Growing Up To Be a "Winner"

Melinda WinnerI would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to an amazingly determined woman, Melinda Winner. She is about to embark on a journey across the United States to raise awareness about the crippling effects of arthritis to children and adults alike. Melinda herself suffers from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), osteoarthritis, and degenerative disk disease. The National Arthritis Foundation Western PA chapter, Creeky Joints, and Melinda's Web site will also be following and posting photos and stories about Melinda’s journey across the United States. While on her journey Melinda will be speaking at events, hosting cooking demonstrations for the physically challenged, speaking with the media in the form of television, print and radio. Melinda has recently completed her first radio/podcast spot that will air on Monday, July 27, 2009. You can listen by clicking here or download from iTunes by going to arthritis radio. She is also a featured guest blogger for Arthritis Foundation Western PA chapter.

Melinda's Story
Melinda came into this world 47 years ago not breathing. When revived, it was quickly realized she had a serious birth injury that could not be repaired. Being born to a diabetic mother, Melinda weighed in at 12.6 at birth. She had extensive nerve damage and deformity to her right arm. At age 26, she began experiencing traveling pain. Melinda was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It did not stop there. A few years passed and she was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. She faught a personal battle gaining then losing over 100 pounds and keeping it off, all the while enduring pain that is unbearable and still embracing life. She continues her life mission to help others not only survive this disease but live a productive life filled with hope, happiness and joy! Melinda believes in her plight so much that she has branded herself. She had a tattoo placed on her back at the jean line that states she is “On A Mission”. When asked about the reason for the placement of her tattoo, she laughs, “Men are always looking at my backside when they shouldn’t be, so what better place to get my message across? When people ask me what “on a mission” means, I tell my story of hope for others.”

No, the story does not end here. About four years ago, Melinda was watching the constant news reports about Hurricane Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast. Everyone she spoke with had well wishes for the victims of the storm but not many actually got involved. Melinda did. Not only did she give up her holiday to visit the ravished coast, she moved her entire family there to help with the rebuilding the only way she knew how…through food. She prepared gourmet meals for the out of town workers complete with an entrĂ©e, fresh baked breads or rolls, cakes, pies and strudels made from scratch and a drink or two, then delivered to their job sites. Melinda also helped in the rebuilding of a playground, cleaned streets, volunteered at the Red Cross in the shelter, and attended the public speaker workshop at Camp Mash in Alabama. She became an Ambassador for the National Arthritis Foundation for her Congressional District. Melinda befriended strangers in need, helped with painting, paperwork, cooking and was a much needed friend to those in need. She allowed a homeless man to move in with her family until he could get back on his feet. To the residents Melinda proudly earned the name “The Cake Lady”. She not only cooked for neighbors, but baked daily and shared. All this with pain levels exceeding level 8 each and everyday.

Food Network '2008 Ultimate Recipe Showdown'Where she is today
Melinda has followed her dreams all the way to the Food Network. She competed on the Ultimate Recipe Showdown in 2008. She has also authored two books: The first, Yankee Cooking with Southern Charm was released in 2008.

Cooking With ArthritisThe Second, A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking with Arthritis*, is scheduled to be released in September of this year. The second book is the first of its kind. This book was designed to help the physically challenged regain their independence in the kitchen. The color step by step photos and delectable recipes take the reader on a culinary journey around the world pain free and fearless. The target market for her latest release is suffers of chronic pain, arthritis (all 100 + forms), people with injuries (may it be temporary or permanent), disabled and people who simply enjoy food and cooking. Melinda will take her book on her journey across the US, in hopes of offering a bright beacon of light to the sufferers of disability, young and old alike.

*Book is being offered at $22.99. Mention the CODE: 2CRE8 and receive a 10% discount.

Melinda WinnerMelinda on the web:
Melinda’s contact information:
On Twitter: @mobilegourmet47
Cell on the road: 228-265-2928

Thank you Melinda for sharing your inspirational story with me. I'm humbled and deeply honored. Despite it all, you've truly grown up to be a "winner!"

I hope this story inspires you as it has for me. Comment below and tell me one thing you'll do to overcome a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle or a challenge you're going to try and face head on.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

July 2009 "Best Tweets" List: Small Business/Marketing/Social Media/Mobile, etc

And the winners for July 2009 are:

Keep checking back as this list will be expanding until the end of July.

Do you have additional articles you'd like me to add? Comment below or let me know at Enjoy!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rethinking: Banner Ads and Ad Delivery Systems recently conducted a poll and asked "Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention?" 66% respondents answered "a small minority of them", 25% none of them, 5% many of them and 1% most of them. Majority of the comments specific to web media banner ads say they're typically ignored. I agree...if it's not relevant, however creative, it will get a 1/2 a second glance. So it begs the question—should we continue to put our advertising dollars towards this media?

Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention?

Innovative advertising systems recently published an article about how big brands are fearful of placing ads on social sites that will appear next to offensive and inappropriate content. Facebook, using a novel ad delivery systems called RockYou, assured giant marketers such as General Motors, VW and The Gap that this would not happen and has seemingly squelched that fear.

But we need to go beyond that. Take it a step further and allow consumers an option of what type of ads they want to see and how many. Keep it open-ended so they can change their selections at any time. Let your consumers choose if they want to see ads even down to a local level. It's all about empowering your audience and giving them choices.

Creative engagement

Beside strategic ad placement—content and how content is delivered is key. Flash banners are only as good as the design and content. But where's the creativity and interactivity? Create something wildly different. Pose an interesting question with a fun, interactive component. Challenge them, pique their curiosity. Allow users to vote, comment or share the ad. Include a random drawing to engage your audience even further. Just create a unique feature that stands out from the traditional banner ads. Pringles created a small, square banner ad that makes you want to consistently click on it...where it goes, I don't know. But it's definitely unique.

Post engagement
Now that you've converted your audience to followers, don't stop there. Several companies are rewarding their followers like Klymit, who rewards their Facebook followers with special discounts and early access to products. Starbucks recently offered Facebook fans 280,000 pints of ice cream where users can redeem a coupon or send one to anyone in their network. Crate & Barrel sent out a Crate & Barrel Product Review "A penny for your thoughts could win $1000 for your home" e-mail to current registrants for a chance to win a randomly-selected $1,000 shopping spree by posting comments on previously purchased items.

Take away
The opportunities are endless. Remember, it's all about your customers. Think creatively. Think interactively. Once you build traction, don't forget to empower and reward your loyal followers. And for social sites developing an ad delivery system, it's not just about contextually relevant placement, but also about empowering your audience and giving them choices.

Please feel free to share and add your own comments about this topic. Are there other examples you can think of?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blogger AM Radio: Turn Up The Volume!

I've been reading some of the most informative and well-written blogs aimed to truly motivate and educate the mass population out there in the blogsphere. Having an affinity for social media trends, technology and marketing, it dawned on me that it would be truly monumental to actually hear these wonderful and informative bloggers live on AM radio. Sure there's the SIRIUS Blog Radio, but not all of us have (or want) to pay for satellite radio. There's also the popular site with an average of 680K+ unique visitors every month. No, I'm talking about a syndicated broadcast on AM radio where I can listen without having to search online or wait for a podcast.

Imagine being able to hear "subject matter experts (sme)" such as Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang, Seth Godin, the G-man or Guy Kawasaki? They could invite opinion or thought leaders in various industries, celebrity Twitterers, reporters and other sme's as guest speakers. Imagine the sponsorships that would line up to support this new radio venue covering everything from social media, future marketing and technology trends, and more.

I know I would definitely be tuned in! What's your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

40+ Terrific Articles/Resources for June 2009

And the winners for June 2009 are:

And last, but not least...another extensive list: 50 Top Noise-free Twitter Tips & Links in Marketing, SEO, Design & Writing @AlVinKoay @amerkawar

Do you have additional articles you'd like me to add? Comment below or let me know at Enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Social Media Communities: Rules of Engagement

Balance of design, function and engagement
As an active social media advocate, I've found some sites are so much more intuitive to navigate and engaging than others. I'm a firm believer that the quality of engagement is sometimes a lot more important than quantity. I would encourage social media and community networks to "listen" to your audience and apply some basic user-experience fundamentals:

Why ask for everything upfront? You risk losing a potential customer and avid follower.
  • Implement an Open ID platform instead...just the basics...e-mail address as the user name and a password that has already been established with other community/social sites. You've made it so simple to register and that much faster to now engage a new follower.

  • Facebook and LinkedIn allows you to complete your full profile at your leisure. Sites that require a birth date upfront really is annoying. Sites that make it optional, even partially filled, is much more empowering to the user. Even better is choosing what information I want made public. MySpace offered that option but it was very difficult to find.

User Interface
This is a critical factor. Even more so when you have a complex architecture with lots of features. Simplicity is the key word here. There are some community sites whose pages are sooo busy and confusing, I rarely go back to visit. Here are other issues that come immediately to mind:
  • Branding - Do you really need a massive logo or header that explains the site on every single page? Once a value proposition was explained in the pre-registration process, the meat of your site should be all about engaging your users with your brand. The design, functions and features should also resonate your brand hallmarks. If your brand claim is innovation, then show some feature, content or functionality that's innovate. Remember...the "user experience" also equates to the "brand experience" as well.

  • Ad Space - Is it starting to get in the way of important content? Some ad placements are so huge that it pushes down the content or feeds on the page thus having to scroll down. Some sites need to revisit and restructure their ad placement.

  • Navigation - A good user interface implements a standard global navigation and visual cues so the users know where they are at all times. Regardless of a new section within your site, keep the navigation consistently placed. Imposing a new set of navigational elements on a new section without a consistent global navigation will confuse your users.

  • Load times - When experiencing long load times, I immediately exit the site. Especially if it holds up everything and makes my computer inoperable. Are your graphics, Flash components and ads optimized? Where are your videos streaming from? Check all your add-ons. Are too many widgets part of the problem? Long load times are indicators that elements on the page are not fully optimized or there are just too many add-ons or widgets. Be selective.

It's hard to believe in this day and age that e-commerce sites are not implementing good practices:
  • Purchasing an item should be intuitive and trackable. I just went online to order parts for a grill. After going through the online purchasing process, there was no confirmation page or e-mail confirmation of my purchase. Again, this should be a standard practice so users are assured their order went through and a means by which to track it.

  • If you need to include a :60 video on how to purchase an item on your site, then maybe you should revisit the design flow and function of the purchasing process.

  • Include a "back to search results" or "continue shopping" function after a user stores an item in their shopping cart or wish list. And take the user back to the search result list or category they were previously in. A lot of stock photo sites implement this feature quite well.

  • On the top of my wish list is for social commerce sites to create an incentive program for repeat buyers. And don't tease me with free shipping only good for a period of time. I may not be in the market at that moment, so inevitably the e-mail gets deleted. Incentivising your users will surely win you repeat customers.

Again, these should be standard best practices:
  • Just listing who posted a commented doesn't prompt me to visit the site. Include the comment within the e-mail with a link to view or respond.

  • Via CAN-SPAM laws, if someone unsubscribes from your site, you should honor their request at least 10 days after they've opted out.

  • On your unsubscribe confirmation page, allow the user to describe why they're leaving. Advise them you'll use this valuable information to assist and drive new practices and tactics when revamping the site.

Companies that require you to provide a W-9 form in order to receive a prize you've won is another big turn off. Why would I want to give away personally identifiable information, especially a Tax ID...come on! After validating who you are, a full name and mailing address should be all that's required. (It's true...a company actually asked for a W-9 form!)

I've visited some sites where the community group's message never changes. I urge you to enlighten me with something new and interesting. You've given the message prime real estate on your site, so here's an opportunity to motivate and compel your audience with a reason to come back.

Another missed opportunity is commenting back on some of the community posts...not just moderating them. It reinforces that you're really "listening" and value their input. Perceived perception is extremely important.

Here are other articles that will impart some knowledge of the "do's and dont's" when establishing an online presence:

In closing, there's a huge opportunity to enhance your brand relationship with your customers. Through simplicity in design, function and information architecture, you create positive experiences. Through innovative and compelling tactics, you build traction. If you decide to implement any changes, be transparent about it and continually encourage feedback. And don't forget to really "listen." You'll gain loyal followers who, by word-of-mouth (WOM), will inevitably market the site for you.

Are there any further insights you would recommend?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Journey Into The Social Experience

Being a small start-up business just entering the market, I realized I needed to step up my game and get actively involved in communities and the social media arena. I've also discovered there's a wealth of online information for start-ups — business development, intellectual property, business plans, best business practices and so on. I've immersed myself thoroughly in the past few months. To say the least, it's been an overwhelming experience with a bombardment of information overload. I'm now at the stage where I can discern what's valuable information vs. hype and clear out the noise and clutter. My take away thusfar:

The playing field is flat
Whether you're new to communities and the social media world or recently started blogging/microblogging, the playing field is flat. You may not be the Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang, Seth Godin, Gerald Weber or Guy Kawasaki's of the blogsphere (who I all highly recommend you follow), but you do have a "voice." You'll also discover there's a boat load of people willing to help...just be smart about it and use common sense.

Where do I begin?
Whether your goal is to market yourself, a product, service or company (in other words, what's your underlying objective?) — it helps to follow subject-matter experts. They provide invaluable information that can save you precious time and unnecessary headaches. So how do you find them?
  • Join groups, communities and affiliations: For me, is an absolute must since it gives you an opportunity to connect with people within your industry and outside your industry. LinkedIn not only allows you to link up with colleagues, but it also extends your reach by joining groups where you'd otherwise never have the opportunity. Here are a couple of useful links that will guide you through LinkedIn: CEO of gives you tips on how to use LinkedIn - CNN Video and my favorite LinkedIn Best Practices For Business.

    Rule of thumb: Conduct all your communications in a professional manner. Remember, this is a business community. Build your credibility by your postings and even your comments. If people are intrigued or enlightened, believe me...they will check your profile. Some beneficial connection may even result from it.

  • Open a Twitter account: You may ask, "Why do I need to bother?" or "What's the value for me?" As more and more companies are realizing the value of Twitter, it's being utilized as channel for customer relationship management, recruitment, marketing and advertising. It also helps you to find subject-matter experts. I highly recommend reading The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter. It also includes best practices on Twitter which is extremely helpful for those new to Twitter.

    Rule of thumb: Always be professional, it's also okay to be personable, be selective who you follow...remember the same goes for the online world as in real life, you are the company you keep. Post things you feel would interest and help your followers. And lastly, be real.

  • Facebook: I still have my reservations utilizing Facebook as a way to establish business connections or leads. I prefer keeping my personal connections exactly as it states...personal. I limit it to friends, family and a few colleagues. However, with that said, it is beneficial for businesses and companies to build brand awareness, create traction and really engage an audience within Facebook. Here's a great example on how Adobe engaged an elusive target audience with an innovative social media experience, "Case study: A Facebook campaign that connected."

    Rule of thumb: It's really up to you and your comfort level on how you want to engage within Facebook. Depending on your business, you may want to utilize a widget that posts to all your social sites and blogs or you may want to keep Facebook as just a personal tool. You may want to have 2 personal and one for business. There's really no "one size fits all" answer. Just be cognoscente of who your audience are within each given network and be very selective who you let in. Again, just be smart about it and use common sense.

Okay, so now what?
So you've done everything – joined LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even other communities within your industry. So now what? You've got a few more followers but no real connections.

Personally for me, I felt like that after a few months. I started feeling the whole social media stuff was really (un)social. Once I mistakenly reposted the same tweet a handful of times, then realized I should take a different approach. I even met up with some questionable characters who I won't mention (or really not worth mentioning). It's amazing how varied the responses you get depending on what community or social media channel you use. Only recently I've started to feel like I'm actually seeing results. Some of my connections actually came from recommendations I read on postings and various blogs. Ableit not a direct connection, but helpful nonetheless. And a handful have introduced me to some business partnerships. My advice to you is to be patient and your persistency will pay off! Celebrate every baby step you make...don't underestimate yourself!!

Helpful resources
Now for all you up and coming success stories, I've listed below other helpful resources that I hope you find useful and refer back to from time to time. I'll update this list periodically as I find other gems to share:

The Smart Way to Tap Social Media
Social Media Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid
The Top 50 Blogs for Startups In 2009
100 Terrific Twitter Feeds for Young Entrepreneurs
65 Indispensable Websites for Business Owners

Bottom line: What's your objective? Develop a strategy. Research, research research. Then just do it! Experiment and see what works and doesn't work. We're always learning. And remember, "The quality of engagement is equally, if not sometimes more, as important than quantity."

I'll continue to touch base and share my discoveries along the way. Please feel free to comment, share additional resources or drop me a line! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

American Express Online Experience

I'm kindly requesting American Express to please revisit your online user requirements and interface for registering or forgetting a password.

Your registration process was painful. Then when I was prompted to call, the line was dropped as I was holding. I went through the whole process probably 6 times having to re-enter my corporate card number. Very bad user experience both offline and online. So I respectfully ask you to restructure your registration and make it more intuitive and user-friendly.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Your Opinion on a Retail Social Networking Site

This poll is to solicit feedback on a retail social media domain name coming in early 2010. Your opinion will help shape the development of the branding of the site.

You're getting an opportunity to get in from the ground up! This poll will be discontinued in August 2009. Thank you for your participation!

If you're interested in being part of our beta user group, feel free to send an e-mail at

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How people really use the iPhone

Bill Westerman, Create with Context

We frequently see that interaction and visual designs from one flagship product - such as the iPhone - have an influence throughout design for the web, desktop, mobile, and consumer electronics platforms. As a strategic design firm, Create with Context finds it important to stay on top of emerging design trends. We recently published "How people really use the iPhone", an interesting readout of design issues and recommendations for people designing for the iPhone and beyond. Our presentation on this topic at the iPhone Developer's Summit was called the "best presentation of the conference" by several attendees. Give us a shout if you're looking for strategic design and/or research for web, mobile, desktop, or consumer electronics. We're Silicon Valley-based, and work globally. We're at

Bill Westerman is a Principal with Create with Context, a strategic design and research firm focused on helping clients invent and reinvigorate digital products. He works with companies ranging from early-stage startups to global brands like Adobe, Panasonic, and Yahoo! to help translate customer needs into compelling products.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Favorite Resources - May 2009

As promised, here's my ever growing resource list and good reads for May 2009:

Please feel free to comment to add your own resource links that I may have missed! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Google's mobile product chief on mobile productivity

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Robert Scoble (FastCompany.TV Managing Director)
The iPhone, despite all the attention, is only a small part of how mobile is changing our work lives. Google's mobile team has some ideas of their own. Sumit Agarwal, product manager, will demonstrate to us all sorts of fun ways to improve our lives with mobile phones, and how Google is involved.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Favorite Resources - April 2009

Here are my favorite resources that I hope you'll find invaluable. I will start compiling a list together each month. Check 2cre8's blog for my monthly favorite articles. Feel free to comment if you find additional ones to include.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

7 Things Beginners Should Know About Creating a Website

7 Things Beginners Should Know About Creating a Website by Travis Garner
Google, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and every large website started with a simple idea. You may have the next million dollar idea, but you'll still need to know the basics...

A Few Tips to Help You Get Your New Website Off of the Ground
I have built a number of websites, as well as worked technical support for an international domain name registrar and hosting company. Throughout these experiences, I have acquired a bit of experience with the basics. If you are new to building websites, or are just kicking the idea of starting one up around, here are 7 tips you should know about creating a website.

7. Your website will not show up within Google for at least six months.

Every single webmaster out there wants to be number one on Google for their desired keyword. Unfortunately we can't all be number one. It will take roughly 3-6 months for your website to be indexed by Google. Indexing is the term used when a search engines spider crawls your website and then adds it to their database of websites, or their index. MSN and Yahoo seem to be a bit faster with indexing new sites. Do not fret if you're website is not indexed after six months, it takes time.

6. Stay away from annoying 1990s trends.

Even in 2008, people are still using hit counters. Do NOT use HTML, visible, hit counters. Period. Day in and day out I see people adding hit counters to their websites. You know what the average surfer thinks about your hit counter? It's out-dated and tacky. You may be asking yourself, "Self, what am I going to do about stats if I can't use a hit counter?" That's next on the list, don't get ahead of me. Other annoying 1990s trends that you should avoid are animated GIFs, standard Times New Roman font, extremely contrasting colors (such as white on hot pink), and visible table borders.

5. Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free, amazing traffic statistics program. It delivers more information about your website than most people want or need to know. It shows what browser, operating system, resolution and sexual preference of your users. It shows how they reached your website. It will also show you how long people stayed on your website, how they navigated your site, and what pages they were on and how long. It'll also let you know the city/country that your hits are coming from.

4. Use your statistical information to refine your website.

All of the information that Google Analytics provides is useful for the designing, optimizing, and marketing of your website. For example, I have a website that does absolutely horrible in the U.S., but it gets about 8,000 hits a day from Russia. Knowing this, I have
been working to translate my website into Russian to help satisfy those crazy Russians. If you notice that a lot of people are viewing your website on an extremely low resolution, change your resolution to theirs and see how your website looks. Chances are it looks horrible, so re-examine your code. You may notice that you get a lot of users that use Opera. Download it, and see how your website looks it in. Every browser parses HTML in a slightly different manner, so what your website looks like in Internet Explorer may be different from what you'll see in Firefox.

3. You are not going to be 'the next' anything.

If your website idea or plan is to 'be the next ', then you will probably fail. I hear people talk about wanting to be the next YouTube, the next MySpace, the next Google, the next anything. These websites already exist, they're already doing successful, and they aren't going anywhere any time soon. You may be able to make a little money by emulating another website, but if you want to have a truly great website you will need to do something original. Look for a void, and fill it. This is how all the above sites got popular; by being original and filling voids. No idea is too radical or too stupid. Popular websites show up all the time, and if you're like me when you see them you think 'Why didn't I think of that!?'

2. Add content often.

Regardless of what your website is about, you can attach a blog to it. Blogs are handy because they allow for an easy and viable source of new content. Search engines, and especially Google, love content. If they notice that every time your website is crawled there is another chunk of content for them to index, then your website will receive traffic from the keywords from that article. If you are making a website, chances are it's about something that you're passionate about. Throw a blog up and write a little somethin' somethin' once a day. It doesn't have to be a fully fledged article, just a blurb about what's new in the industry, what people can get out of your product, or whatever you want to write about.

1. Use social bookmarking websites.

Look up to my dashingly handsome picture at the top of this page. Below and to the right of that mug shot you will see 'Share' with scrolling icons. Hover over that. Everything that this menu links you to is a social bookmarking website or a tool that you can use to promote your website.

I use all of those tools to promote every article I write, including this one, and for any blog entries or any website that I create. If people like your content, they might bookmark you as well. This helps you get even more traffic; it's like a snowball. Make sure you're website and content are quality, and you should get a reasonable amount of traffic from these sources.

Think of your website as a tree; it starts as a seed, or an idea. This idea is then planted in your code to grow into a baby tree. The baby tree is then transplanted to a wild untamed forest, the Internet. Your job is now to nurture and grow this baby tree. With patience, time, constantly updated content, and social bookmarking, your tree will grow in to a mighty oak!

My Review of Edu Science Microscope 600X

Toys R Us

600x Total Magnification; 15/30/60x Objective Lens Magnification; Dual Slide Capability; Plastic Body; Battery Operated; Entry Level Microscope.

Very Unhappy with Edu Science Microscope

2cre8 New Jersey 4/5/2009


1 5

Describe Yourself: Working Parent

This was the number one gift my son wanted for his birthday. It's see a light with a dark circle on anything you put under the microscope.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Doctors Use Wii To Treat Seizures

Doctors at Cook Children's Medical Center are now using Nintendo's Wii console to research and treat seizures.

Credit: NBC Universal
Copyright: kxas