Thursday, December 10, 2009
BLANK.com December 2009/January2010 Educational Newsletter
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all you participants! BLANK.com has NO FEES. This site offers 2500 pages of interactive word puzzle activities that focus on learning Latin/Greek roots. XXXX and YYYY appreciate your sharing information about its content with colleagues and friends. YYYY[at]BLANK.com will send copies of the newsletter directly to them if you provide their email address. Participants may also use the Monthly Newsletter button (green box on the left side of the home page) to sign up. Thanks for clicking on ads as your efforts help defray some of the expenses of this voluntary effort.-----------------------------
Did you catch them?
1. A CAN-SPAM violation in which they solicity third party names and say that they will email them!
2. Asking people to click on ads. If anyone at Google gets wind of that, you forfeit your adsense account and lose your position in their search engine.
A third possible problem is that they say that the site is run by volunteers. My estimate is that the couple running it pull in a nice six figure income.
Should I tell them?
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I read the business advice given to you recently by Time magazine and Wired. Don't be dumb, don't listen to them, listen to me.
My guidance is good, my insights profound, and I'm a sage business advisor. Here we go. A corporate strategy for your success in a few hundred words. Here's the summary:
2. Provide me for a fee a digital archive or vault service. I'd happily pay.
3. Allow me to use Facebook as my single place for discussions, groups, clubs, and forums. Right now, I use way too many phpbbs, yahoo groups, ning groups, and so on and so forth, It's only because your groups and discussions are so weak.
Monday, August 24, 2009
There are so many different types of SEO tools. Learning about them and stayin gcurrent on them is an endless exercise. Many of the most useful and insightful tools that dominated have become unavailable over the last decade. Here's a quick glance at the current SEO tools that I use, organized by what they do.
Long gone are the detailed kayword data that Google Analytics use to provide. Overture, which gave the volume of searches by keyword, also gone. The Cool SEO Tool was one of my long term SEO Tool favorites. It's gone. sight.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
But now, these durn social media things. I"m tweeting to twitter and posting to facebook. I'm retweeting my friends and following many more. I'm friending many people and inviting them to fan our fan page.
Should I be forming facebook groups or are they lame? Should I have identical posts and tweets or handcraft each one? Why do I have 500 fans on Facebook but only 150 followers on Twitter. Do I tweet to much? Not enough? Do I not tweet so well?
Does all this social stuff mean I can drop those confusing technorati , digg, and delicious tags that someone made appear on each post of this blog? Can I forget everything that I learned in that old blogwritingcourse and ignore the parent chat forums? Do emailed newsletters still get read or do tweets only matter?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
In his book Brain Train: Studying for Success (London: E & FN Spon, 1996), 164, Richard Palmer offers great insights on how to study... and enjoy it. One example of the information he delivers is this memorable list of Rules of Grammar for Report Writing:
- Remember to never split an infinitive.
- The passive voice should never be used.
- Punctuate run-on sentences properly they are hard to read otherwise.
- Don't use no double negatives.
- Use the semi-colon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
- Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
- Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
- No sentence fragments.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
- If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a lot of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Give slang the elbow.
- Conversely, it is incumbent upon us to avoid archaisms.
- Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!!
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 onwards or more, to their antecedents.
- Hyphenate between sy-llables; avoid un-necessary hyphens.
- Write all adverbial forms correct.
- Writing carefully: dangling participles must be avoided.
- Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
- Take the bull by the hand: always pick on the correct idiom and avoid mixed metaphors.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
- If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
- Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
- Don't string together too many prepositional phrases unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
- ""Avoid overuse of quotation marks.""""
- For Christ's sake don't offend your readers' sensibilities.
- Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
They seem to be focusing on the enormous amount of nonsense and expense that SEO firms spout and cost when they drag their clients through all sorts of ineffective exercises.
I agree with a lot of the article, particularly that people are spending endless time and money on techniques that are old fashioned and mostly ineffective: listing in directories and posting press releases. These are tired old techniques that google knows for what they are. Thin attempts to get links rather than natural attempts.
I disagree where they start listing techniques that have no value when in fact, the jury is still out on them. How much can link sculpting let you concentrate juice in some place? Can switching to user-friendly URLs make a big difference (I'm betting it can)?
What I like best is that he encourages the use of common sense and testing. And admits how much BS there is in the SEO industry. I've heard way too many of the people in the industry defend their approach as "Industry-standard best practices" which is a clever way of saying, everyone else does it, so it must be right.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Are they good domains? Should I look at them?
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
I'm sure Google discounts or ignores these pages. If content is widely copied throughout the web, I would suspect that Google awards the original source with some special points since everyone appears to be copying and citing the original source.
To illustrate what I believe, assume:
- an article first appears on site A
- the article then appears all over with the web with same outgoing links in it to site B, but also with links back to the original site A
Then, Google will:
- highly count all the links back to site A since it appears to be content that is widely cited evidenced both by the links back and the copying of content
- will not heavily count the links to site B since it's basically the same link all over the place
- will neither reward or punish all the copycat sites
I started thinking about duplicate content since there is a major article on sphinn which deals with detecting duplicate content within a website. And it mostly seems concerned with duplicated page titles and meta descriptions. This is a sloppy error that I'm sure my sites have a lot of. sigh sigh sigh. The article is by Shimon Sandler: Finding Duplicate Content with Free Tools
1. Trying to optimize a site that doesn't stand a chance since it's got the wrong name, wrong structure, wrong content. If it's not going to do well in the search engines, don't bother playing with links. Start again. Maybe keep the old AND start with a fresh domain that feeds traffic to the old one.
2. Paying attention to what matters. The domain name matters A LOT. Learn this. Don't jsut be catchy, pick a name with the keywords that matter. You'll learn that your url gets mentioned a lot, including on your pages and incoming link anchor text.
3. Paying attention to what matters. The page title matters a lot. The other meta data, the content, the H tags, title tags, and alt tags also matter but don't screw them up weird just to impress the search engines. Present them as they are.
4. Content should be findable. Simple text. Not buried deep in code. Build with CSS. The content on each page should focus on a few concepts which relate to a few related keywords. The search engines understand and reward focus on a page.
5. Site structure. Build sections that relate to each other. Interlink among those sections. Put them in a common folder. The search engines like tidy and organized.
PS - did you notice that I know the difference know between A LOT (Correct) and alot (incorrect)? Thanks to the vocabulary lessons online.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
- Get help from the online forum community, the forum chats can be very educational
- Give back help to others via an internet discussion forum
- Find contacts. It's easy to tell from their posts on the forum whether they are knowledgeable, good spirits, or total jerks
- Marketing through discrete signature references and appropriate not-too-intrusive inclusion of key features and brand names within the flow of the discussion on the forum
- Get instant support directly from other users.
Beware, many forum managers are really zealous in banning people for being commercial. Forum managers know about "forum puppet shows" and other such tricks. A "forum puppet show" is when a person, under one ID, asks a question. Then the same person, under a different name, answers the question. The forum software often sorts posts, with just a click, by IP address or part of the country which makes it simple to detect a person switching identifies. Even if there are really two different people with different IP addresses and parts of the country, forum moderators still seem able to distinguish made-up discussions from real ones. Mostly, they know the real players and a vigorous conversation between a bunch of newbies...probably a "puppet show".
And there are forums on every topics:
Parenting homeschool forums , Non religious homeschooling forums martial arts blog and forum, etc etc
BTW, if you are thinking of how to create a forum, here's a few thoughts.
If you have a community already, it's likely to be an easier task to create a forum. You still need to decide whether to use a Facebook page, Facebook private groups, Facebook secret Group, LinkedIn Group,, Google group, Facebook page, Ning group, Twitter Hashtag or chats, classic online forum (vbulletin or phpforum), or, if you are using Wordpress, maybe Buddypress.
If you don't already have a community and you are both looking to create a community and the mechanism for their communication, you're likely to have a harder task creating the forum.
Once you have a forum, you need to moderate it by banning the forum trolls and other miscreants and spammers. This requires judgement and some technical sophistication with forum tools and programs.
In this day and age (updated Nov 2014), many people want to login to forums with a single sign on such as Google ID, wordpress ID, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Discus, and others. This can require a little technical sophistication since while it's easy to set up registration with Google ID, most forums still require the user to add a username somehow and you need to be careful not to expose anyone's actual email address. Any wisdom on this forum strategy question from the readers in the form of comments would be much appreciated.
Here's another post on the blog where you can read more about online discussion forums for education.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Gov. Schwarzenegger told a joint session of the state legislature Tuesday that if the $24 billion budget deficit isn't closed, the state won't have enough money to pay its bills next month. Because the budget has to be cut more, L.A. Unified School District has canceled most of summer school.
Actually, I care a lot more about links but that's another question.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Homeschooling in Alabama
Hi, my name is JoAnn, and I am the Alabama state representative for Time4Learning!
I am 46 years old and I am married to Perry and we have 3 children and 1 grandchild. I homeschool our youngest while Perry's work takes him away from home throughout the week. I keep a busy schedule and never have a dull moment!
How We Homeschool in Alabama
We belong to North Alabama Christian School out of Valley Head. We meet once a week for PE, weather permitting. We also schedule several field trips throughout the year. As far as an average homeschool day for us, I don't have a strict schedule that I go by. I incorporate everything as a learning skill or experience. Breakfast by 9:00 and reading is always after. With dyslexia, reading is our most difficult subject, so I get it done early. We generally do Bible study next, along with music. By 2:00, my son is ready for Time 4 Learning, where we do more reading and language arts, math, science and social studies. By 4:00 we are done and usually out the door to the park!
Monday, April 27, 2009
We were interested initially (the course has evolved) as teaching blogging as a type of creative writing. For us, it was related to the diary, journal, or confessional but had an episodic or serial structure and most importantly, the writing included elements of audience participation, promotion, and an involvement in the world around us. Our approach to explaining blogs was to create categories saying that there are personal blogs; there are hybrids of personal blogs with either business, advocacy, or non-profit purposes; and there are sites which use blog software as a CMS (content management system) but which aren't blogs at all.
Edward De Leau has a post in his blog Why the whole world is wrong about weblogs in which he makes the distinction between weblogs as a media format and weblogs as the technology or CMS behind a website. He belabors it at some length but his definitions are tight and his cartoons are nice.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Vocabulary Flash Cards -
Vocabulary flash cards have traditionally been a key vocabulary teaching tool. Today, vocabulary flash games online are preferred vocabulary teaching tools to traditional vocabulary flash cards. Note that vocabulary went from nowhere on the search engines to number 13 last week by adding this discussion of flash cards versus flash games!
Expand Your Vocabulary
Word Power:-Developing your Vocabulary
GRE Verbal Tips
Improve Through Active Learning
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Hello im a college student and have great communication skills computer skills.. i would love for this position.. if you can please contact me nicole (sic).
Pretty nice demonstration of her great communication skills, huh?
Watch me direct google towards a certain image of John Edelson. from this post about john edelson.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Parents' Choice Award
The Parents' Choice Foundation, the nation's leading experts on quality childrens' media and toys, recently selected the SpellingCity.com website as a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award.
Golden Lamp Awards Finalist
The Golden Lamp Awards are one of educational publishing's longest-running and most prestigious traditions. SpellingCity has been recognized as one of the four finalists in the Technology Innovations category.
Homeschool.com - Top 100 site
Homeschool.com is the number one site for homeschooling. In January, Homeschool.com announced their top 100 websites for homeschooling in 2009. Eleven websites were selected in the language arts area among them, SpellingCity.com!
Larry Ferlazzo - Top 5 Choice for Best Online Learning Games
Larry Ferlazzo picks SpellingCity as one of the Best Online Learning Games on the web. Larry Ferlazzo is a well-known language teacher and blogger about language arts and ESL websites. He provides two rankings of the best sites: one he ranks sites himself and the other ranking is based on his readers votes. On both rankings, SpellingCity.com was selected as the second most useful learning games website on the web!
"My recent find is SpellingCity.com. I love straightforward sites like this. The site is focused; it does one thing - and it does it VERY well. I did not have to join to use this FREE site, but I chose to create an account so SpellingCity would save my word lists, making it easier and faster to use the site for daily visits or weekly/monthly reviews. The site has various Spelling uses, like testing or teaching words; it also offers 8 Spelling and Vocabulary games."
Friday, April 10, 2009
People need information on homeschooling in Florida. Time4Learning has a page of information to help.
People need to study to pass the vocabulary portion of the FCAT. The vocabulary education site has that need nailed.
For all your spelling needs, there is a page to help you find Florida schools on SpellingCity. Is this a page that Google will be able to use?
And while there is not yet a discussion about Florida, there is a great discussion forum for homeschooling parents.
Monday, April 06, 2009
I think the future is ours to make. Here's my two cents for the media people to think about.
1. Education is a very very profitable industry.
2. Journalism as supported by advertising and subscriptions is failing.
Think about it.
I'll add a third point of departure for my suggestion.
3. The classic concept of education, running from K-12 followed often by college, sometimes by advanced degrees, is pretty out-dated. There's huge opportunities for new models of education.
Rather than proceed with a macro-industry meta-discipline analysis, I'll switch to the mode of some personal advice.
If you are a journalist or blogger with a good following but a shakey business model, pay me $700 and in a three hour one-on-one seminar, I'll teach you how to keep doing what you love (assuming that's journalism or blogging), build your following, and make it into a solidly renumerative business with control in your own hands.
Sound impossible, keep reading.
Actually, I'm kidding about the $700 and the seminar. I'm too busy to do that. Although, now that I've opened up the question, it might make a good business. Here's what I'd teach you in that seminar.
1. You have an audience that admires you. They listen to you and they read from you. They think you know more than they do about something of interest to them. They read you not because they want to click on ads, they read you because of your expertise and writing skills.
2. In your fans eyes and hearts, you are a celebrity.
3. If they had a chance to learn directly from you, to take a course, many of them would like to. Not all would but many would.
4. My point is that while your routine blogging and journalism might not make enough for you to live on, you can supplement it by selling your expertise in courses to your following. This will deepen your relationship with your audience and allow you to repurpose your expertise as courseware. Frankly, writing and teaching are very closely related. Not identical but they are close.
5. Todays tools for pulling together courses using public domain or cheap learning management system and online community sessions makes the creation of these mini courses practically available to anyone. It's not quite as simple as blogging yet but within maybe 12 months, with a little effort from the right groups, it could be made that easy.
6. Depending on your following and their level of involvement with you, you should structure an online or in-person course in which you charge them a significant amount of money and they get to interact directly with you. How about:
A three week $199 course for groups of twenty with two one hour sessions each week each plus email etc. This could gross $4K each time it runs and could run 12 times per year. That's $48K of revenue. Or, how about charging $499 per student? Or $999? Selling courses at these prices in the abstract sounds very hard. But, if you have a following who already admires, respects, and follows you, I think that it's likely that there is a significant demand from your audience for more than just your regular writing.
A friend of mine (kenny) had asked me a few days ago to write up something about how journalists should get into training. I had intended to write this but then forgot until I looked at my email today. From a group who "gets it", the search engine marketing group, I got an invite to have them train people at their next show. Are they expecting people to pay up? Check out these rates: Workshops $1,345/$745 Cost 8:00-5:00pm. If I had more time, I'd write up about the seminars and conventions that the NYT and Economist seem to run sometimes. And how colleges are beginning to wonder if the future of education is not so much a four year involvement but a lifetime opportunity to sell education to someone.
Journalists and bloggers should think of their writing efforts as the media and rather than accept lots of other advertisers selling things that your audience doesn't care about, sell them what they want. More from you. Cut out the middleman. Journalists should be educators with education being the profit center.
just a thought.....john