Monday, March 31, 2008



I really like these icons from the better business bureau online. I see them online alot I see them on many websites. I borrowed these from WildTangent. BUT, whenever I contact the BBBonline people, they tell me that they're being phased out and that despite my annual paid membership (and compliance) to both my locall BBB and the national BBBonline, I can't have them.
I'm confused. It would be great for the BBB to do some COPPA compliance monitoring and other save kids stuff. Why did they start such a good thing and then drop it? Anbody from BBBOnline want to comment?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Second Grade - 2nd Grade Leading Website Analysis

I thought I'd pick a term and analyse the top results in Google. I'm interested in the quality and nature of the results, who is competing effectively, what their business model is, and other questions that emerge.

  1. - They are a free directory site with pages on most grade levels. The links cover learning games and resources for each major subject. Compiled by two teachers in TennCopyright (Susan Brooks and Bill Byles). they link to other sites games & resources. Very minor banner advertising. The ad network might change with each refesh. I noticed afy and doubleclick in the URLs. It appears to be tightly maintained with a note on each page that the links were verified 3/18 (11 dyas ago) and that it is protected from scraping by copyscape. They direct link to other sites flash files. They have a major commentary about HotChalk on the front page so they might be related.
  2. - This site also has a page on each grade level, it's run by John Banfill of New Mexico, he has google ads throughout the site. The content is all on the site. It's very simple examples of a very large number of math lessons. The main business focus seems to be selling the math CD.
  3. This ia very slick corporate site with a range of newsletters, resources, cross promotional and revenue related ads in content management system. I quote: Family Education Network is built on a strong foundation of assets from the international media company, Pearson plc (NYSE:PSO). Their are menu items for every interest (parents, teachers, kids) and every subject and every age range.
  4. This is a teacher's great website. Resources and resources and whatnot, obviously accumulated over the years. She's done a great job, it's a totally organic site. Note that it's a geocities (ie free) site that has gotten to the top from a long history and lots of links and quality. Nothing SEOish about it. Congratulations to: Ms. Jacoby's Second Grade at Peirce School ~ Arlington, Massachusetts. There is no revenue model, it's just a school classroom site done with a geocities template. Note that the title tag is "Window on our World".
  5. This is another teacher's great website hosted on the school systems site. The title is Mrs Gray's Second Grade Class. It's got great resources and a clean design. Congratulations to Mrs Gray.
  6. Mrs Hicks second grade class. She's hosted on the school systems ".US" domain. This is another home-grown template driven sweet teacher's site that has great personality and resources. Title tag: Mrs Hicks Second Grade Classroom
  7. A federal government archived site with 100 PDFs of some use to teachers. The title tag reads: "Archived: archived: School-Home Links Reading Kit: Second Grade Reading Activities Table of Content"
  8. A collection of select resources, just 20, collected by LearnNC. LEARN NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education, finds the most innovative and successful practices in K–12 education and makes them available to teachers and students . At first, the site appears to be only linking to non-commercial sites (Read Write Think) but it also goes to regular sites such as (cool site)
  9. A site describing the curriculum of Time4Learning - home education - for second graders. Nicely done.

Note - NONE of the teacher or resource sites listed - This needs to be remedied.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Why isn't BBat50 taking class?

I'll spare you a photo of my foot but basically, I'm no longer symmetrical. One foot, the one that has been sore for half a year, is now much smaller than my newly injured right foot. It has swollen. And there's also a broken toenail.

Gout? No, just a sprain. The good doctor (Dr Fingado by name. He also trains with us) supervised the xrays and review. His prognosis is:

Recently injured right foot. No real problem. A month of not pushing off my toes or any other movement in the foot should fix it. Stay off it. And then don't hurt it again.

Nagging soreness in the left foot. More serious. Arthritis in all three joints in my foot. Arthritis is (per Wikipedia) a joint disease as a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. The good doctor explained it to me that the cartilage, which lines the bones inside the joints and allows them to move against each other without friction, is worn away and now the porous bones will start to have friction. Ouch! Arthritis. Probably a result of many decades of intense soccer playing and repeated injury to the left foot and ankle.

So now I'm like the other parents, driving two kids two and from, watching from the sidelines. Hoping to get wireless installed so I can use the time efficiently. durnnabit. grrrr.

All in all, I've had a good run. Injuries are part of the game. I've been very lucky and should be back fully speed in late April


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Vocabulary GRE - finally making $$$s

I have messed around and experimented with affiliate programs for years. I've never made any money. Specifically, I've never broken a $100. There were several that paid me $25 or $50 at the start but they all either stopped paying or converting. I fear that they are still getting referrals from me, I really need to go clean up my sites.

But now success, a vocabulary product is making me $$$s. I'm thru the $100 and $300 mark. There are a few versions of this vocabulary product but the best one for me is about GRE vocabulary games. Check it out.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

V7N SEO suggestion comment

John Scott of V7N hosting has a great post on his own forum about SEO. At one point he says:

Ask your customers, politely, for a link. It doesn’t have to be web related, either. Even if you sell lumber, you can ask your contractor/customers to link back to your website from theirs.

I've had great success with a modified version. I do it slightly differently. I send some of my vendors a great comment about themselves and suggest that they put it up on their site as a web testimonial.

As part of that, I suggest it would be more effective for them if they included a link back to me to make it look more credible. I also say that I would appreciate it since I like the recognition. Sometimes, I have to answer emails from people who want the details of my experiences with a vendor. But it's worked well and been worth it for my site about homeschooling curriculum.


Saturday, March 15, 2008 & Warriors Collide

Why not get an A on every spelling test?
Check out
This is more than spelling help, it makes the weekly spelling test too easy.

And while I'm busy promoting my sites, I'd like to mention an article that I just wrote about Warriors Collide, Ft Lauderdale. This is a little bit like news. Last time I blogged about news (the little Margo Foster article), I moved from dozens to about a hundred visitors a day for a week or so. Maybe this weeks Warriors Collide fight night in Ft Lauderdale will do the same.

A third topic, related in the sense that I'm doing tests to see what makes sites and blogs do well in the search engines, is my collection of resources on Vocabulary Learning Fun.

Vocabulary Resources :
Ultimate Vocabulary - A software package designed to vocabulary
Expand Vocabulary - This will teach you how to expand your vocab.
GRE Vocabulary - This will teach you how to expand your vocab.
Improve Vocabulary - A series of cheesy educationally-invalid ways
Increase Vocabulary - How does your vocabulary tell everyone about your personality problems?
Power Words - For people with little minds. Use big words to compensate and highlight your lack of brainpower.
Vocabulary Builder - This approach is interesting: it focuses on word roots et al.
Vocabulary Software - To feed the hungry machine, we need to keep pushing software.
Ultimate Vocabulary Review - This stuff is great. Very popular
Word Smart Review - A review of Word Smart.

Lastly, the most popular article and post that I've written in awhile:
Why do I blog?


Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Writing course on blogging

I just took a course on writing blogs. Unlike most of the literature on the web, this did not focus on how to make money. The course taught how to define your persona, find your voice, write an interesting blog,get it up on the web, and to begin to attract and interact with an audience. it also covered other beginner topics like netiquette and safety.

The feedback from the people in the course was "it was awesome". As one woman (it was seven women and me in the course) said: "Thanks for course about the blog. I was definitely a reluctant "blogger" from the get-go, but the class has got me plum excited about the whole idea. ".

The class was entirely online. It's not expensive ($99). I made a set of friends (virtual friends). I got personalized feedback from the teacher and lots of feedback from classmates. And it's probably the best course that I've ever taken as an adult. Logistically, there were online class meetings once-a-week which I missed a lot of but really would have liked to attend. The assignments and feedback was all online. Technically, not difficult. The woman who taught was great and was fun to deal with.

I'm recommending the class. Try it: Best Blog Writing Class.

I'm also signing my Mom (age 75) up for the class since I think she'll like it and it makes a great present.

I think it's amazing how many really great blogs emerged from the class. Here they are:
Family in Shape
Everyday BBW
The Daily Grind -
The Renovators
Black Belt at 50