Monday, September 25, 2017

Tools for LANs hanging off the WAN

Like all of you, I have an office and a home network. My office network is hopelessly complicated which is fine since we have dedicated professionals managing it.

My home network is trickier since I let my wife organize it and I've long since lost track of how it works and what we got. Yet, sometimes, I get interested in understanding it.

We get internet (and cable and phone) from Comcast across a cable modem.

What's our home address?
www.ipchicken.com will give me the WANn address

What ports are open?
I can use canyouseeme.org to test the ports that I need such as 80 10554 and 8000?

Why does that monitor now show what it's suppose to show?
Maybe it rebooted from the wrong source. Change the source on the side.

How does our cable modem branch out into a LAN, wired and wireless, along with the switch for better connectivity? No idea any more...

First we need to figure out what type of modem so we can login to it.
10.0.0.1

Then we went into modem and advanced, turning on three ways.

To browse and see it on a browser. . . .

Cable modem enters the house: Then there's a wireless adapter in the modem...and then two wireless router another connected thru a LAN port. There three three Unify Access Points connected by wires. One in office, One to a 8 port switch in closet which connects to two wireless access points: Living room and kids hallway. (Switch is simply a wired connection that multiplex: routers are smart, they route and assign IP addresses)

Friday, September 01, 2017

Marketing to Moms, Professional Level

I run a company with almost 100 people on staff. We market 95% of our services to women, about 80% of that is directly to Moms (the rest is to elementary teachers,  into elementary schools, and school districts). We have millions of customers at this point and they almost all seem to have two X chromosomes. And our products all have to do with the education of their children  and so early on, I decided to become a sophisticated marketer to women and moms.

BTW, as a side note. Much of our business has to do with homeschooling. The largest buyer group for us is mothers. The second largest segment is grandmothers! Fathers are in third place....

My early guru was Maria Bailey of BlueSuitMom. She had written some articles and a book about marketing to moms which I used as guidance as I built my business from nothing (the first three years I was in my living room).  I became hyper conscious of how I or my marketing sounded to women and to moms and became more aware of the tone and the speaker to them and tried to tone down by instinctive ways of talking and communicating.

I still monitor marketing to moms and so I read with interest this mediapost article about marketing to moms.  Reaching Beyond 'Bad Mom' and 'Super Mom' Stereotypes by Stacey Wynia , Columnist. The gist is that:

...brands seem to put us into two categories: “super moms” and “bad moms.” Brands do this as a way to break through the clutter. They show us what we aspire to be on our best day — super mom — and what we succumb to on our worst — bad mom.... can brands can tap into...without having to resort to one of these two extremes?...maybe JOYFUL MOM. 

Clever idea and I think she's onto something. Backing up, I feel and have observed that most marketing to moms latches onto their anxieties. Most moms seem reachable by playing on their anxieties and offering a product or service as a way to address them. (BTW, my company does not take this approach and I resist efforts to play on people's anxieties, just not my style).

And of course, all moms aspire to be joyful mom, to be happy and in the moment and enjoying the beautiful ride that is parenting.

Is "Joyful Mom" really an approach that can be used? In some ways, of course. Selling photography services to capture the joy of the moment. Selling vacations that lead to a lifetime of happy memories. But can a vision of joyful mom be used to sell food? Educational services? And so on? I think it can, I'll think more about it.... BTW, note to self. Start reading this Mediapost column and have marketing staff read it too.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

SEO for Google - August 2017

Here's my understanding. For all the talk of "links are dead", I believe that search engine position is determined by:

  1. Quality and quantity and relevance of incoming links from websites. I believe that these are still slightly over 50% of the battle.
  2. Sites are also lifted by social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn, perhaps Pinterest. I believe the Google bot is still banned from Facebook which would also include Instagram. I'd guess that this is 25% of the battle. 
  3. Engagement. I believe Google spends a lot of effort to measure whether people leave Google and engage with the site or whether they go to the site and stick.  Another 25%.
Of course, this is a bold statement to actually quantify how I think the engine works. I'll keep postulating. 

Increasing Value of Major Authority Sites.  I think that big authority sites used to count a few times more than minor authority sites which counted more than routine sites which counted more than small sites with some history (lets say some respectable links and more than a year of history).  A decade ago, the links from each level up might have been worth 3 times more at each level of authority. I'd now say that it's a full order of magnitude more important.  So today, the value of links from each of these level is worth 10x more than links from the level below. Or maybe it's 100x. My point is that real authority is much more valuable than it use to be:
  • new blog and sites with no real traffic, less than a year, and just a few links: hardly count at al.
  • established sites with some traffic, more than a year of history, and lots of ongoing incoming links
  • small authority sites.
  • Major authority sites.
So many open questions....
  • Do Youtube links count in the web links category or the website category? Or do these distinctions not mean anything at all?
  • Do youtube links from videos with 10x more views count 10x more?  Do Youtube links' value count more based on total views or recent views or comments?
  • Do Twitter links increase in significance based on number of followers of the tweeter? Or by engagement with the tweet?
  • Are the percent of front page "local" info known for each set of searches? Does it change over time?
  • Does Google consider all the blogger blogs to be sort of the same IP address so there's a decreasing value for each blog that links to a site?

Sunday, February 05, 2017

SEO 2017

What are the shocking new realities in SEI?

1. Alexa & Home & other voice activated search are now returning one result. Forget getting on the first page, if you are not number one you are not in the game.

2. Schema are vital. Google wants structured data so they can feature and analyse.  If you are not implementing and updating schema, you are not in the game.

3. Local is now around half of the search results.  Search on many terms, like homeschooling, and over half of the first page are local results. And long gone are the days when you could build pages with regional info or be "nationwide" with clever tricks like fake addresses or PO boxes. Google with their manual reviewers, local post cards, and street view are finding fakers and delisting them.  Be there or not, don't fake it.

4.  There are less results. Now that Google is folding the ads into the same column as the organic results, the first page is a lot shorter.  Number 8 is just barely staying on the second page! Tough on many of us.

5. Mobile is big. Be mobile first or totally responsive. Did I mention blindingly fast? For us who care about elegant technology solutions, it's a vindication.

6. Semantics, not word matching or counting. There was a time when the site with "sex sex sex sex sex" would rate higher for the site that said "sex sex sex." I think that was over in its various forms by 2005. Optimal word density reigned for a half decade after that but still, around 2008-2010, I could see that Google would return different results for "3rd grade math lessons" than for "third grade math lessons."  By 2010, these results were converging.  But now it's 2017, Google has hired about a third of the graduates in computational linguistics, natural language processing, and semantic process engineering and they more often than not, have figured out what pages and queries are about and are matching much more intelligently.

7. Engagement. I'm pretty sure that Google is calculating the bounce rate on sites for different types of queries and using that as a significant input in the algorithm.

8. Unsure about social. Google still isn't clear to me on how they are taking social media input. Does a youtube video with a link to a site (in the description? in the video?) have any impact? What about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I've lost track as to which of these have blocked the Google spiders these days.

What are the other megatrends that you see?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Snippets in Google Search Results

It's always a challenge to figure out how Google picks the snippets it puts into search results.  Of course, this isn't an academic exercise, the purpose is to build your pages and content and code so that the most user friendly snippets are chosen not in general, but for each specific search.

The reason that I'm interested in this right now is that I do NOT like seeing results which mess up a trademark.  The name of the site, a registered and valuable trademark, is "VocabularySpellingCity" Registered Trademark.  Why is Google often providing: "Spelling City" as a result? Where the heck are they getting this from?

I think the problem is that in grabbing text, there is a statement relating to a site wide logo which reads this way:

<div class='site-logo'><a href='/title='Vocabulary Spelling Cityrel='home'>

Somehow, Google grabs this code and uses it. And since the word "Spelling" appears separated from "VocabularySpellingCity", this opens the door to them grabbing it. BTW, I can't really seem to think through the logic that would have them grabbing that but since this is the only place where I can see that they can find: "Spelling City" written like that, it seems the easiest way forward is to fix this random poor use of our name and see if that ends the problem with the snippet that so annoys me.

BTW, I'm going to use figurative language as a test case.  This seems appropriate since we're looking for a needle in a haystack, it's like one of Hercules tasks. It's an endless battle to keep our site managed in a way that supports Google protocols for being a good white hat site.  Was that enough figurative language for you?

Example:

Search on "vocabulary spellingcity"
Result:

VocabularySpellingCity | Build Literacy Skills with Vocabulary and ...

https://www.spellingcity.com/

build vocabulary, literacy, phonics, & spelling skills with VocabularySpellingCity. Improve vocabulary, a core reading skill, with gamified context-rich.

The homepage result is now 2nd but it appears to the user like this:

Spelling City

https://www.spellingcity.com/

build vocabulary, literacy, phonics, & spelling skills with VocabularySpellingCity. Improve vocabulary, a core reading skill, with gamified context-rich.

A search on "figurative language spellingcity" produces:

Figurative Language - Spelling City

https://www.spellingcity.com/figurative-language.html

Figurative language can be part of reading, writing, comprehension, and vocabulary instruction. Grade-level teachers include similes, metaphors, personification, idioms, and hyperbole in their lesson plans.

A search on "figurative language" produces:

Figurative Language Overview | VocabularySpellingCity

https://www.spellingcity.com/figurative-language.html

A student who blurts out “I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse!” right before lunch may not realize he or she is using figurative languageFigurative language ...

Monday, June 06, 2016

Online subscription pricing and management

I write a lot so I really like to read books about writing, especially writing style guides. I like them because they need to be "self-exemplifying" - they need to demonstrate the principles that they expound otherwise they have no credibility. For instance, one of the most effective self-exemplifying edicts is: "Avoid unnecessary words!"  

Another might be (and this one is original): "Some repetition for effect is acceptable. Some."

I am far from the first to cite writing style guides as delightfully self-exemplifying.  Steven Pinker's book on writing talks about this in a wonderful way. However, I might be the first to write about whether online marketing service firms are effective at demonstrating the use of effective marketing for their own services. And I'm most likely the first to pursue this into the niche of online marketing firms specialized in pricing of subscription services.  So here goes some original content on subscription pricing services.

Why do I care? I care because  I run an online subscription service that charges $19.95 per month for the first child. The second child is discounted. It's only $14.95. Same for third or fourth or fifth children, their subscriptions are only $15.95 each per child.

We did some analysis. We found that we have a disproportionate number of single child families. Or at least, we don't have the statistically representative number of families with lots of kids. So now we are studying subscription pricing. Here's some potential help that we've discovered:


  1. Zuroa
  2. ConversionXL
  3. slides
  4. White paper on subscription pricing
  5. Google "subscription pricing strategy" for a gold mine of ideas...
  6. Price bee or something 

I Pop Up in Peace
I Pop Up in Peace

As best I can tell,, Zuroa has a subscription middleware platform that supports companies with subscription business models. It's a billing platform, an A:B multivariate testing technology, an integrated credit card processor, and a bunch of other things too...

Zuora is a subscription management platform that spans across commerce, billing, and finance. - See more at: http://info.zuora.com/two-minute-overview-of-zuora.html#sthash.p6CIgjsY.dpuf

 Zuora has been enabling the Subscription Economy by building the next generation commerce platform. Zuora’s subscription management software has enabled 21st century businesses around the world from startups to enterprises in any industry to launch and monetize any subscription products and services.

There's also ConversionXL. They have articles like this: When it comes to subscription product pricing, you’re not just guessing…are you? A while ago, an HBR study famously claimed that a 1% improvement in price would increase operating profit by 11%, making it the most effective thing you can tweak for increased business performance. Pricing is important. It’s also one of the most difficult Ps of marketing for folks to wrap their heads around. It can be one of the more technical aspects of marketing. Then, when you bring subscription pricing models into the mix, things get even more complex. First Thing’s First: How Do You Determine Value and Price?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Prefer to Suck at Optimization?

Digg! del.icio.us
I thought this was a hysterical choice. Get free book to master the essentials. Or to suck at it.


Master the Essentials of Conversion Optimization

Learn how the pros do it. 
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I prefer to Suck at Optimization

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Relevant Selling

I had a small disagreement with my wife this morning which is why I'm doing something that I know will not be productive. I'm trying to
cull some books from my bookshelves. At least it's unlikely to be productive in the ways that she thinks it will be.

This is why I'm sitting on a bright Sunday morning on a stool in the corner browsing through Relevant Selling by Jaynie L. Smith. The inscription page has a handwritten note: "To John, Best Wishes, Jayne L. Smith."  I went to the back cover and stared at a picture hoping for a flash of recognition or remembrance.  But, my memory is now pretty reliable about dishing up...nothing. At least she is (are memories feminine?) when I'm trying to remember something.

Relevant Selling  makes the point that must of us in business sell somewhat blindly with little to no real understanding of what matters most to our customers. In fact, she states that most companies don't even have an internal consensus on what matters most to their target audience never mind having an internal hierarchy of customer concerns that aligns with customer reality.

This Relevant Selling book seems to me to be dead-on.  

There's one chapter that points out that prospects and customers have different criteria which I would also agree with. In our business where we sell  annual subscriptions to our website and app to elementary schools to help their students build vital vocabulary skills, the keys to retention are clearly different than the keys to acquiring customers.  

I guess my wife is going to get some success from this exercise after all. I'm going to take Relevant Selling to the office and pass it around. 

Bottom line: One book culled from the home library for my wife, one more post on one of my many blogs for me, and a new set of ideas to inject into the already overwhelmed set of priorities of my staff.  And since I'm so pleased with this little post, I'll probably now spend a few minutes giving it some social media attention.

Jaynie, you out there?  BTW, I have a 70 person company right here in Ft Lauderdale.

Perhaps she was the speaker who talked one evening at a alumni event about sales (and then management skills and personal issues) simplifying down all the four quadrant stuff down to a simple continuum which was was so powerful and relevant that about a third of the business audience had quivering voices as they gave personal testimonials about the insight that it was giving them on their own sales and professional persona?  If not, who was that speaker? I've been looking to find here and bring her into my office.


Or what she the Big Breakfast speaker who talked so effectively about getting us to get serious about understanding our customers. I suspect the latter.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SEO 2016: What's Hot?

These six points are worth remembering as we write for SEO on our resource and game pages:
http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29906/six-top-seo-factors-in-2016

I'll summarize;

1. Be thorough, write a lot. 1900 words is the average page winning on Google. Put lots of paragraphs on SEO pages, perhaps folded into open/closing paragraphs.

2. Links are key. Keep getting them.  I think anchor text pointing to the page matters a lot.

3.  Schema: minor, don't worry about it.

4.  Don't stuff. I'm adding: DO write with content vocabulary.

Bad description: "While sometimes confusing, figurative language can often be powerful and illustrative" - Google won't find much here to go on.

Good meta description: "Figurative language, such as metaphors and similes and personifications, can make your writing more powerful"  - Lots of contet vocabulary there and it starts with the keyword!

I'm also adding: each page gets a unique meta description and meta keywords

5. Site speed matters!!!!

6.  Reduce your bounce rate, increase time on site.

I'm adding:
- responsive matters
- local addresses matter
- social media matters
- grouping of pages into a cluster on a common topic matters. And google can think in n dimensions. A figurative language page can be part of multiple clusters by both linking and content such as:
    - literary writing: similes, metaphors, reading, writing, personification
     - education and standards, classes, schools, students, teachers, grades, educational standards, CCSS etc
   - grade level 
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Facebook Shares: Strategically Done

Like many, I have sites cluttered up by social media icons. They don't give very impressive results.
I have long dreamed of doing this well.
Is this a good example of a well designed Facebook share following registration for an EventBrite event?

awesome Facebook Share
awesome Facebook Share

Monday, April 18, 2016

Surviving Termination

All provisions of this Agreement which, by their nature, should survive termination, shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, and limitations of liability.

The above is an actual provision in the T&Cs (terms and conditions) of a Silicon Valley venture-backed company. Our experience with their customer support, their technology, and their communication is that they are all screwed up.  Noticing the details of their contract further confirms this view. As in, who is to decide if the nature of a provision is that it should survive termination. For example, does the  indemnity that they required of us survive termination? Of course, it doesn't, I think.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Regions Bank SEO

Really funny typo by the Regions Bank. Notice that it's important to pay attention to the Little. Sic.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Adwords Haiku

Many of in school learned about a type of poetry that comes out of Japan which is short and highly defined by number of syllables and lines.

The format of haiku is strict:

  1. Only three lines
  2. The first line is 5 syllables 
  3. The second line is 7 syllables 
  4. The third line is 5 syllables
And those are all the rules. Capitalization and rhyming are not required and are at the poet's discretion.

In the modern world, I think of writing Google Adwords copy as Haiku.

The format of Google Adwords text ads is strict:


  1. Only three lines of content plus one with a URL
  2. The first line has 25 characters (character count includes spaces)
  3. The second and third lines have 35 characters
  4. The URL line can be 35 visible characters. It doesn't need to exactly match the URL but does need to have the right domain name.  So it could be: Blorum.info/HaikuAdwords whereas the underlying URL could be Blorum.info/haikuadwords27.html
For more info:
Haiku

PS. Writing successful Adwords poetry is probably a lot more lucrative than writing great Haikus but in both cases, it's all about the user reaction, right?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

WordPress Site Traffic Statistics

I just looked at the stats on one of my WordPress blogs and I saw these unbelievable numbers. 

To be honest, I just don't believe them. There is just no way that I had 67K visits yesterday!  Anybody have any idea what might be causing these aberrant numbers? 

Also in the realm of unbelievable, there  seem to be seven thousand comments all  of which appear to be spam, all blocked by Anti-Spam by CleanTalk.

Traffic Statistics for one of my WordPress Blogs
The WordPress Site Statistics on one of my blogs, Unbelievable!
I got curious about this blog and decided to check out my Google Analytics which have also been set up for this blog. They're  a much more reasonable number. This is for the same period. What the heck is wrong then with the wordpress statistics? I would guess from the fact that some bots are spamming the site and the high Wordpress visitor traffic that the WordPress stats counts the spam bots as visitors whereas Google Analytics does not. This is only a guess, I have no idea how to research this.

Google Analytics for the WordPress Blog
Google Analytics for the WordPress Blog


BTW, I thought that I would peek at the statistics on this blog (ie Blorum.ifo, the blog that you are now reading). . It's of course a Google Blogger blog. Here's the Google blogger stats.

Blogger Blog Statistics
Blogger Blog Statistics


Monday, November 02, 2015

Hey SEOs, what do you bench(mark)? Great marketing writing

Hey SEOs, what do you bench(mark)?

I thought this was just a great example of a well used clever metaphor in marketing.

Here's why it works for me:

 It's clear, clever, and thoroughly worked.  The punchline at the bottom "Don't sweat the decision - listen to the webinar now!" made me smile. Well done.

I could also list some emails in which metaphors are used and the result is confusion, distraction, and a general annoyance at the use of cliches and at poor writing.

BTW, we are NOT looking for help with SEO. Thanks anyway.