Sunday, November 12, 2017

Joystick Nation: 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago, I was living in London and running a company called Argonaut Games. It was a wild time, they were an amazing collection of talent and a totally screwed up business. But that business story and the games that we produced (Croc, Legend of the Gobbos), well that's another story.   It was also 1997 which was an exciting time in the tech industry.

One night, I was home reading an email on my Mac and an email - I was on Compuserve for home use back then -  talked about a book about video games. A book called Joystick Nation. So I clicked on a link and had my first big experience with the World Wide Web. I clicked through to Amazon to read a review of the book.  And then on Amazon, I found that I could order the book.  It was written by a lady name J.C. Herz.

I then found that I could actually listen to an interview with the author. I think I needed to download Real Audio or something else that from that era but it worked!  I read an email, clicked thru to find out more about a reference to a book. Read a full review, listened to an interview of the author, and then ordered it online.

Incredible. I even read the book and I think I might have emailed the author. Her email was included in the book. It was the true start of the digital era for me.  Never mind that I had used email since 1988 at SGI, was deeply involved in the 3D synthetic imagery revolution, spoke in the 80s on VR, and was immersed in the video game world. Things actually first connected for me over JC Herz's book.  I think it was Memorial Day weekend back then.

And for those of us that are struggling with FutureShock, check out some vintage education technology from the 20th Century such as filmstrips, record players, and mimeograph machines.

Monday, November 06, 2017

SEO Strategies that the Tool People Don't Tell You

There are many spectacular SEO tools such as SEOMoz, Spyfu, Constructor, BrightEdge and so on and so on. They all treat keywords as commodities that they throw at you sorted by volume or cost or some other area. What they never tell you is how to work with these keywords in an efficient logical way to product valuable content that can be produced cost effectively.

If you are in the K12 education business, you might get a keyword list that is like this:

  • nouns
  • 2nd grade
  • fourth grade worksheets
  • learning games
  • printable worksheets
  • grading systems
  • dyslexia challenges
  • writing practice
  • spelling
  • spelling words
  • word games
  • vocabulary words
  • math facts
  • five paragraph essay
  • reading comprehension
  • compound words
  • 3rd grade arithmetic
  • writing practice
  • geography
  • test prep
  • literacy activities
  • etc etc

I know, I've looked at lists like this for decades. They are not efficient to work with but many SEO workers will try to work with this random data and product chaotic results.

A more efficient way to work is to stare at the data and create some patterns.  Then create content in a systematic organized fashion.  Staring at the above list of keywords, I might decide to write pages as follows:

  • Grade pages:  Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, etc
  • Subject pages:  Language arts (including grammar, vocabulary, writing, spelling, reading etc), Math etc. These can be divided ever more finely into say, vocabulary types such as parts of speech, 
  • Learning materials: games, worksheets, activities
  • Blog: The mayor of VocabularySpellingCity blogs!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Coolest SEO & Marketing automation tools: 2017!

I use to give a talk where I would act out like the google spider.

 "What have we here? Heh where's the title? "Welcome to the Home Page". Great, another site that doesn't know its own topic. 

Where's the meta stuff? What's with all this code? Where's the content, I can't find the content? Yikes, I'm late.

 Does that look like content down there? Is that a typo of an English word or some other language. It's set for English but that word is new to me and I know a LOT of words. 

 Oh, here's some content, Nope, that's.... Never mind, no time, 

 Where to go next? No site map? Here's a link... back to the same page?...durn... java script. I hate java script.... gotta go...wait here's a link... great, a dead link.... really love this site.... NOT...

 -   -  -

 In my little company, I started looking at some software programs that we use in the company and wondered if we should move from players choice to more of a centralized decision.

Take MAS (marketing automation systems) for instance. One large part of the company uses Pardot but only for the B2B part of the company.  I'm not sure what they use for email marketing or lead nurturing into the B2C portion.

The other side of the company uses Drip MAS for presales and has not yet implemented a software system for current customers emails triggered by usage of different sorts. I'm not sure there is a benefit of using a system.

In terms of CRM, the first part of the company uses Salesforce paired with the company Gmail system and DESK for the support function.  The other part of the company has an inhouse home grown system which while finely suited to our tasks, does not have some basic functions that should be added like call tracking, call statistics, and so on.

Should all of these decisions be centralized?

SEO software: Should we use Conductor? "It’s not great content if it’s not getting found. Great content gets lost when you don’t put your customers first."
Or has it been eclipsed by Bright Edge: "Discover what customers want. Optimize the visibility of existing content. Prioritize content creation by forecasting impact on revenue. Create and publish highly optimized content that delights customers. Activate content across every marketing channel."Discover what customers want. Optimize the visibility of existing content. Prioritize content creation by forecasting impact on revenue. Create and publish highly optimized content that delights customers. Activate content across every marketing channel."

This reminds me of a post that I made just about a decade ago:

Use the Right Tool for the Right Job
My dad always would say: "Use the right tool for the right job". It would drive him nuts when he caught me using a screw driver to dig a small hole in the wood - "Use a chisel". Or sometimes when I'd use the wrench to hit something instead of getting up and getting a hammer. I particularly remember his delight in taking out a pair of 18" clamps to hold some glued parts together until they dried properly. My instinct would have been to hold the parts until my hands grew tired and hope that was long enough for it to stick (it rarely was). 

So, I was thinking of Dad in yesterdays product planning meeting....(post from Jan 2008)