Internet advertising spending was a measly 6.5% of all advertising spending in the year 2006. That's 37% less than television advertising, and 14% less than magazine advertising.*
While internet advertising is still a fairly new advertising media, it's quickly becoming the next billboard market of advertising. Do yourself a favor and don't worry about online advertising.
Billboards were first spotted in 1835 to advertise for the traveling circus.** In the 1900s billboards gained popularity among advertisers and were often used for war support advertisements. Now, in the year 2007, billboards are literally everywhere. You can't even drive across the desert without seeing several billboards advertising services you will most likely never use.
Despite the fact that billboards are scattered everywhere, their rate of usefulness is dramatically declining. Only three-million dollars was spent on outdoor billboard advertising in 2006.* Three million dollars is chump change in the world of advertising.
Internet advertising is quickly following in the steps of billboard advertising. While it was popular in the early years of 2000, online advertising is becoming more of a nuisance than a successful way to advertise products or services.
So what does this all have to do with you?
Well, if you're an advertiser: it's time to start thinking of different ways to advertise online. The typical pop-up and banner ad are going to lose focus within a few years. Reviews on blogs and news sites are going to become the new online advertising. Selling your services through third-parties is going to guarantee you a lot of sales.
If you're not an advertiser, but are looking into online advertising: take your time. Buying ad space or online links is only going to make your wallet smaller and your website traffic even smaller. Again, reviews on blogs and posts on news sites are what's going to make you money. Not banner ads.
If you're not an advertiser at all: watch out for online advertisements. There are a lot of ways to avoid advertising (the browser Firefox has a plug-in to remove all advertisements on a webpage) and you are fully entitled to ignore online advertisements through plug-ins and such - we all ignore billboards while driving to and from work, admit it.
Everyone can make money with the future of online advertising. As it is now: popups and banner ads are on their way out. Blog posts, news reports, and social media sites such as Digg, are the online advertising of the future. Advertisers can advertise through great product reviews, and bloggers and webmasters can make money by offering to review products.
The future of online advertising through blogs and news sites is a win-win for everybody. But only if you get started right now. Avoid cheesy banner ads and other internet advertising campaigns. Make real money through the future of online advertising: the network.
August 31, 2007
Internet advertising spending was a measly 6.5% of all advertising spending in the year 2006. That's 37% less than television advertising, and 14% less than magazine advertising.*
August 30, 2007
The success of a website consists of 20% design and 80% content. If you don't have great, well written content on your website, you shouldn't have a website.
But how do you write great content for your website or blog?
First you need to define what great content is in regards to your website visitors. If your website is about cooking, for example, your visitors will most likely define great content as new recipes, a twist on old recipes, and reviews of foods that aren't normally reviewed. What would your visitors expect to find when they come to your website?
Once you know what visitors would expect from your website you can begin to write truly great content. Start writing.
When writing your content, view it as if you were not the webmaster, but as if you were a visitor viewing the content for the first time. Ask yourself these questions to evaluate your content:
• Is the content easy to read?
• Is the content what you were hoping to find when you searched or the website?
• If you visited the website every day would the content get boring, or would it still peak your interest at times?
• Does the content sound artificial - does it sound fake when you read it aloud?
Remember to answer these questions as if you were a visitor to your website as you write your content. By evaluating your visitors expectations and then viewing your content from your eyes, you are well on your way to writing great content.
Still need advice on how to make unbelievably great content for your website? Check out these other articles by yours truly, guaranteed to help you in your quest for turning your website from just another website into a revolutionary, superb website:
"What makes up a good man, is what will make your website great."
"Websites like SEOmoz and LifeHack don't focus on giving their visitors a good experience - you shouldn't either."
"The top five ways to grab attention and make a good first impression with your homepage."
And if you really want to get the most out of your website and the internet, subscribe right now to Internet Hunger so you can get advice and news every single day.
August 29, 2007
Do you have a blog? If not, you need one.
If you do have a blog, do you realize the impact it has on your life?
The surprising truth is that your blog not only affects your online life, it also affects your life outside of the internet. Having a blog can dramatically change your life for the better.
You can use a blog instead of a website. When looking for a job your blog can help employers learn more about you. You can have more control over what is said about you on the internet. And your friends and family can easily keep track of you.
Using a blog instead of a website.
If you are wanting to start your own website - for whatever reason - you can use a simple blog as a website, rather than having to design and program a big, daunting website. The benefits of doing so are incredible. Kyle Pero of Lumedia Design did just that. Kyle uses WordPress to run his entire design portfolio.
Because of the simplicity of blogging software, and the availability of services such as Blogger, there should be no excuse as to why you shouldn't have a blog website of your own. It can affect your life for the better, here's how...
Employers search online. What will they find about you?
More and more businesses are using online search engines to research potential employees. If you have a blog of your own, chances are that's one of the first places an employer will find. And you can definitely count on them to read what you have to say.
If your blog is devoted to a subject and you update often, employers will get a feeling that you can be devoted to the workplace. If you write quality articles about subjects that you really care about, employers can get a better understanding of the way you think, and they can also find out more ways you could be a benefit to their company.
People are talking about you online. Will you let them get away with it?
If you have ever posted to an online forum, commented on a blog, run your own website, upload a picture or video, or done any other type of interaction online, chance are somebody is talking about it. Depending on whether or not the things that are online about you are positive or negative, you may want to have a say in what is said about you online.
Employers aren't the only ones who like to use search engines to find things online about you. Friends, family, boyfriends and girlfriends, all are likely to open up Google on a boring Sunday and type in your name. Having a blog allows you to take control of some of the things that are said about you online. You can respond to negative comments made about you, you can post why you would make a great boyfriend/girlfriend, or just write about your personal life.
Having a blog means that people who search for you online have a place to go first, and find out information straight from the horses mouth.
Your online lifestyle affects your offline lifestyle.
People are more likely to trust what they read in a blog than what they hear in the local sandwich shop. Blogging is a type of personal journal, that is often made public. There's a comfort aspect involved with reading a blog - especially one that is well written.
If your employer or family wants to learn more about you, a blog would definitely be the first place they go. If you wanted to announce something to all of your friends and family, a blog would be an ideal place to do so. Want to plan a party with all of your friends? Just post it to your personal blog. Looking for a new job? Your blog is a great place to write about job opportunities and why you would be ideal for them.
If you have a blog, understanding the importance it has on your every-day life can dramatically improve your blogs potential. If you don't have a blog, you need to get one right now and start writing.
August 28, 2007
I am constantly getting e-mails about search engine optimization and how someone who doesn't know much about search engines can get more information on optimizing their website.
The benefits of optimizing your website for search engines can be a dramatic increase in traffic, an increase in sales, an increase in reputation, and more. If you're not optimizing your website, you need to start now.
To get you on your way, I would like to share a list of some great resources for search engine optimization beginners that you probably weren't aware of.
The Beginners Guide to SEO by SEOmoz. Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz writes up a great, 9 page starting resource. This is a definite read for both new and veteran SEOs. If you haven't read this, and you're interested in optimization, you better take a lunch break to read it all.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by Bruceclay.com. This guide is extremely valuable for anyone getting started with SEO. Not only offering information and advice, but also tools to help you along the way.
SEO Tutorial by Abakus Internet Marketing. A superb tutorial for anyone who is looking to get started in SEO. States a lot of facts about SEO with no fluff or lies.
Search Engine Optimization for Blogs by Copyblogger. Renown blogger Darren Rowse explains his strategies for optimizing a blog, based on experience and with a lot of extremely useful information.
Search Engine Marketing 101 by Pandia. A good starting point for people just starting out on the web and who are looking for a way to optimize their website. If you are not only new to SEO, but new to web design/marketing, this is a great resource for you.
SEO. What is it? Why do you need it? by SEOaware is a very useful article on what SEO is and how you can optimize your website to reap all of the benefits of local search.
Search Engine Forums is a great online community where you can discuss and get help on all things SEO. If you have any further questions, need advice, or would like to share advice, sign up for free today.
If you're not optimizing your websites for search engines, you need to start right now. If you are already optimizing your websites, now would be a good time to review what you've learned by going over the resources I've listed here.
Search engines are growing at a rapid pace. And as the internet grows search will have a more prominent place in the web experience. Making sure your website is at the top of a search list - let alone in a search database - could make the difference between success and failure for your website.
August 27, 2007
Do you have a personal website? Be honest. How about a blog? Does the company you work for have a website or a blog?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you need to know something very valuable. You need to know that websites are not about making an easy sale or quick buck. Websites are about expanding. Expanding through the web can be extremely important to you and/or your business, if done right.
Too many people are online wondering "how can I make money overnight?" or, "how can I make more money through my website?" and - while these questions have even crossed my mind at times - this is frame of mind webmasters and bloggers should avoid.
Websites have never been about financial growth.
The internet was made so that people could easily network, research, and communicate. As technology advanced and the internet grew people started to realize that they could make money through selling products or services online. Yet, even as online sales began to grow, people were more interested in the networking, researching, and communication aspects of the web.
Websites like Amazon.com - where money seems to be a priority - have implemented networking, social features into the website. Why? Because that's what appeals to people more than anything else.
Websites that focus on community and networking - like YouTube and Myspace - practically sprung up in the night and now are getting more traffic than major online websites such as Google. Websites have never been about financial growth, they have always been about networking, socialization, communication, research, and expanding one's own network.
Why it's important to realize websites are about expanding.
Your website, your company's website, or your blog, is important to you for one reason: it allows you or your business to expand. Websites allow you to reach a massive audience, billions of people have access to you and whatever you want to say. If you understand this, you can take advantage of it.
Instead of writing great copy on your blog or website to convince a handful of people to buy your service or product, write about how why your website is different than any other (even if it's not) and convince your site visitors to frequently visit. The payoff will be much higher, and you'll find yourself in a situation where your personal network expands beyond expectations.
By expanding yourself or your company through the internet you are reaching an audience that is larger than any other in the world. You are opening millions of doors everyday by communicating with your site visitors. If you focus on a sale, you risk scaring your site visitors away. But understanding the expanding aspects of the web, and working to network with your visitors, will give you major advantages over other websites.
August 24, 2007
Are you making the most of marketing through online social interaction?
Online forums are one marketing method used by many. It's a method that you should be doing for your website or company - if you aren't already. Here are a few tips for how to reap the most benefits from online forums.
The first step to marketing yourself on a forum is becoming a valuable part of the community. Thanks to Google, becoming a valuable part of any community is extremely easy. A valuable person in any community has a lot to offer; they provide helpful advice, friendly opinions, and try to boost the overall feel of the community.
August 22, 2007
Managing content on a website is important. Making sure your website is updated regularly to keep your visitors coming back is vital to your website's success.
You could spend money on a content management system for your website, or you could take a revolutionary - yet debatable - approach to content management, use Twitter.
If you don't know, Twitter is a "global community of friends and strangers" that allows users to post small, 140 character updates to a personalized account (eg. twitter.com/yourname). Updates can be made via the web, cellphone, or from an instant messaging service.
How can you use Twitter to your personal website's advantage? It's extremely simple. Here's how:
You'll need a Twitter account. If you don't have one yet, sign-up for an account. It's free, easy, and doesn't require a handful of information. I would recommend signing up with a username and information related directly to your website. While the Twitter page you get won't be very important to your content management, it is important in case your site visitors find your account randomly.
Once you've got your account, you should take a few minutes to look around. Figure out how to update, how to enable your cell phone and IM services, and how to customize your Twitter page.
If you don't have any HTML or CSS knowledge, Twitter makes it easy to customize your badge. Simply setup the badge to resemble your website (colors, titles, fonts, etc.) and then copy the code Twitter gives you.
Place the code you copied from Twitter onto your personal website elsewhere and viola! You have an easy to use, easy to update from anywhere, content system for your website!
You can update your website's content by logging into your Twitter account and posting an update. The information you post onto Twitter will automatically transfer over to your website. It's that easy!
An obvious downside to this system is that your updates will only be a maximum of 140 characters. Not so great for news, but great for a small tidbit update for your visitors.
So there you have it. A revolutionary, easy to use, completely free, way to update content on your website.
Did you find this article helpful? Interesting? A good waste of a few minutes? Go ahead and subscribe to Internet Hunger to get updates every single weekday. I promise it will be rewarding.
August 21, 2007
It's one of the biggest kept secrets in the world. Yet you have problem heard it before. It is the answer to a lot of problems, and anyone can do it. It doesn't cost a penny and yet, it can help you make millions. Are you ready for this incredible secret? Because I'm going to tell you - right now - what it is. The secret is to stop.
Right now. Whatever major project you're worrying about, whatever big presentation you have due, whatever it is that you are working on: just stop. If you stop working, and focus on anything but work, you'll get more done. Really. Here's how:
When your mind becomes focused on one task - or one project - it begins to only see things from one perspective. While working on one website, or one aspect of a website, your mind will only see things from that perspective. You'll be, in a way, bias in your own thinking. It happens to everyone, it's human nature.
Try to remember a time when you were focusing on something - a homework assignment, a strategy for your business, a homepage for a website, etc. - and after a while your brain felt completely drained. No unique ideas would flow into your project. You became stuck. No matter how hard you thought, no matter how many cups of coffee you drank, and no matter how many times you doodled that same cartoon face on a napkin, you couldn't get anything done. You may be experiencing that right now with a project.
This is where the big secret comes into play. You need to just stop. If only for five minutes, stop. Don't worry about the impending deadlines or final grade. Stop, step back, and think about something else. Play a game, talk to co-workers, go outside (or if you're already outside, go inside). It's a way to reboot your thinking process and will be more beneficial to you than if you sit and stare at a blank computer screen.
When your mind starts doing different things than what it has been doing, it begins to process activity different. If you were working on a website for a consulting agency, but couldn't find any ideas for a website header, go for a drive. Perhaps you'll see a street sign and realize how perfect a street sign would be for a header on a consulting agency website. Or maybe you have to think up unique link bait ideas for your business. Stop thinking about it and go throw a frisbee around. Maybe you'll think of how to incorporate a digital frisbee that bloggers can "throw" back and forth.
When they say "inspiration is everywhere" they mean it. It just takes you stopping whatever it is your focusing on to realize all of the potential ideas you need are right in front of you.
August 20, 2007
Is your website pathetic? Chances are, your website is just like every other one. Boring and unoriginal. Here's how to change that.
The internet is full of websites that are just like yours. What makes yours original? What makes you think your website is going to stand out in the crowd? What makes your website memorable?
Too often we get caught up with the changing tide of the internet. What is popular at the time is what we decide we should follow.
Major businesses become obsessed with the idea that they need to maintain that "professional" appeal to their online visitors if they want to make a sale. Bloggers feel obligated to follow a strict layout or content form in order to get readers. Designers focus on looking modern and accessible.
And, while these tactics are useful at times, they're not breaking the mold. They're boring and unoriginal. They're the reason your website is pathetic.
So how do you change your website from being a pathetic clone into an innovative, trend setter? You get silly.
Being goofy or just fun - even when trying to maintain a strict professional appearance - is what sets businesses, blogs, and websites apart. Companies like Connected Ventures are breaking the mold and revolutionizing the internet.
Don't make your website boring and unoriginal. It's ok to break out of the norm and get a little goofy.
The best ways to come up with great, silly ideas for your website is to do the complete opposite of what's expected. Instead of making your blog look like a blog, make it look like a fast food franchise website. Instead of focusing on what your business has done in the past (a portfolio) predict the future through out the entire website.
If you're hard up for silly ideas, look out your window and the first thing that captures your attention, incorporate it into your website. Don't ask me how, just do it. Go crazy.
Your website is pathetic, but by getting a little silly, not being afraid to break the mold, and getting out there, you can change that.
August 17, 2007
If you're like most webmasters or bloggers you are not writing correctly on your site. And this monstrous mistake in your writing is costing you visitors, clients, money, and even friends.
There's an easy solution to this mistake, and I want you to take charge of it today.
The mistake in your writing that I'm talking about is, simply, calling your audience into action. It doesn't matter if you use great grammar, and all of your punctuation marks are right in place, and the layout of your text is appealing. If you're not willing to make your site visitors take and use the information you write then you are wasting your time.
It doesn't matter if you're a blogger, a business site owner, or run a personal website of your own. Even if you're just blogging about your personal life, having your visitors take action on something is going to change the way people think about your website.
When you simply write, for the sake of writing - or informing others, you're not doing anyone a favor. I don't even care if you're Tom Chandler, writing without calling your audience to take action is like riding a bike with no wheels.
Get your audience involved. Challenge them. Make them feel as if they have to do something different when they leave your website. My goal at Internet Hunger is to make visitors want to change their approach to thinking about the internet after they read my posts, or when they leave the site.
You need to do the same in order to make your visitors keep coming back for more. Not only will your visitors keep returning, but they'll often want more from you - including work. By giving your audience a feeling of connectivity with your website you're making them feel as though your website is a valuable part of their lives.
And it doesn't end there!
Keep writing, constantly update sections of your site and keep convincing your audience that they should do something, you will not regret it.
So, even though you can write well, and even though you have interesting things to write about, it won't mean much if you don't actively tell your audience to do something about it.
That's it for today, it's Friday which means the weekend is here. Tomorrow is my birthday, so be sure to wish me a happy birthday if you see me around.
And if you liked this article, why not subscribe to Internet Hunger and get unique articles every day? Go ahead, it will be worth it.
August 16, 2007
Are you tired of reading the same old boring article about how to get more traffic to your blog? All of the articles about getting more visitors for your blog provide the same information over and over again. They aren't offering anything new.
Well, I am tired of reading the same old articles, and you should be too. So I decided to create a list of my own, the top five and a half ways to decrease traffic to your blog.
By using these methods you are certain to not only lose traffic to your blog, but also destroy any chance at all of your blog going anywhere in a market.
1. Use boring, random titles and tags for your posts.
If you don't want a lot of traffic coming to your blog, a great start is by using boring and random titles and tags for each of your posts.
By making your titles bland and boring, visitors won't be intrigued and will most likely not read any of your articles. Titles such as "A list about blog stuff," or "I like summer," are sure to not interest many visitors. You are practically guaranteed to lose traffic with boring titles alone.
Add in random tags for your posts and your visitors will be so confused they may never come back. Adding a tag about giraffes to a post about search engine optimization, for example, is a great way to make your readers think you have no idea what you're talking about.
2. Don't participate in forums or other blogs related to your blog topic.
By completely isolating yourself and your opinions to your blog, you will dramatically decrease the amount of attention drawn towards your blog. This is one of the best methods you can use to avoid traffic coming into your blog.
It's easy and fun! Don't go to websites like Technorati and look up related blogs to network with. The less you participate in other forums and on other blogs, the less traffic you will get.
3. Focus on making money with your blog, and place ads to fill up space.
You've got a blog, why not make money from it? Use Google AdSense to place banner ads from Google everywhere on your blog. Cover the top, the bottom, both the left and right sides of the page, and in between each post.
By focusing on ads and revenue, your visitors will assume that you don't really care about the topic you're writing about, and they will leave your blog to find other blogs that actually provide easy-to-find information.
4. Write about things everyone else in your niche has already covered.
This one is a given: if you want less traffic to your blog, simply write about what everybody else has already written about. Visitors that do find your blog will likely have already read everything you have written about, so they will leave. And if every post on your blog is about already-covered topics, visitors won't be coming back anytime in the near future.
5. Use poor language skills.
Another easy way to decrease the amount of traffic your blog receives is to use poor language skills. Instead of using proper grammar, make your blog posts one giant sentence with absolutely no punctuation at all.
Even if readers stick around to read your inept posts, they will surely be confused by your message and are less likely to try to read future posts.
5 1/2. Just don't blog.
Along the same lines as writing poorly - and the ultimate way to decrease traffic to your blog - just don't write anything. At all. Write one or two articles when you first start your blog, and then don't write anymore.
By using boring titles and tags on your posts, not socializing with other bloggers and networks, focusing on making money rather than a niche, using poor language skills, and just not updating your blog at all, you are guaranteed to lose traffic to your blog.
So there you have it. The top five and a half ways to decrease traffic to your blog. Take it for what it's worth.
August 15, 2007
When it comes to great website design, the cliché of what a woman wants in a man comes to mind.
It's ironic how the idealistic attributes of a good man are similar to those of a great website. You could even say that, what makes up a good man, is what will make your website great. I discovered that these points don't only pertain to designing a website for women, they should be considered whenever creating a website in general. This is definitely a valuable resource you won't want to miss.
If you follow these points, your website design will not fail.
Women like their men to be mysterious, but not in a "I'm a spy, can't say a word" type of way.
When women say mysterious, they really mean quiet for most of the time. Like your website visitors, women don't want to sit and listen to you go on and on about your pet goldfish (unless, of course, your website is all about your goldfish). Your website should be mysterious by limiting the use of words and, instead, showing more action.
Don't go on and on about how great you - or your business - are. Instead, keep it short and sweet. Leave something to be questioned, be somewhat mysterious. Let examples of your work or testimonials do the talking.
Unless you're a consultant, a copy writer, or a journalist, keep the amount of copy on your website to the bare essentials. If you have a lot to say, maintain a blog - but even then, keep some things a mystery to add to the appeal.
Tall, dark, and handsome.
Handsome is a definite winner here. According to Dictionary.com, handsome means "having pleasing proportions, relationships, or arrangements, as of shapes, forms, or colors."
If you're not a professional web designer, ask one what makes up a good website layout. Proportions, and the arrangement of shapes, forms, and colors, are going to be on his or her list.
Look around the web, find out what proportions appeal to people and which ones don't. Find out what the best practices for arranging a website layout are, and use them on your own site.
As for tall and dark, this depends on the type of website you're building. More and more women are finding short men to be attractive these days.
Tall should not be considered for a portfolio or simple business website where content will be limited, but a blog or a big corporate website should be fairly tall and informative. The reason you want to avoid being tall for smaller websites goes back to being mysterious, you shouldn't cover everything in the known universe.
As for dark, it depends on the contrast you can present with your website. Having too much dark content could scare visitors away, or make them feel unwelcome.
Apple uses a tall (to fit all of their information), dark (with a lot of contrast), and handsome (simple design, great proportions) layout for their Mac OS X pages, and it looks great.
Strong and confident.
Like a man to a woman, the most appealing thing about a website is when they are confident in their own goals.
If the goal of your website is to sell your services, blatantly state that you are confident in what you do. If your goal is to change the world into using hybrid cars, make it obvious that you think it can happen. Be confident in every word put on your site.
And be strong. Whenever you receive criticism or things aren't going so great, stick with it. Visitors will see that you're struggling, and if you come out swinging you'll get 10x more visitors.
Don't just make a website, make a great website.
By making your website mysterious and not overloading visitors with words, you can create tension and appeal to a lot of people - most of which will then contact you to learn more.
If you follow these points, your website will be great. If you want your website to be better than great, read some other Internet Hunger articles, such as:
"The days of typical websites are no more, say hello to the digital experience."
"Websites like SEOmoz and LifeHack don't focus on giving their visitors a good experience - you shouldn't either."
August 14, 2007
Do you have a Facebook account? What about a Myspace page? A Twitter profile? A personal blog? Do you enjoy telling your family and friends what you're doing through online media? If you socialize through the internet you're putting your life, and your possessions, at risk.
Users of social services like Twitter and Pownce are telling friends and family what they're doing as they are doing it. Blog owners write about travel arrangements and vacation plans. People are sharing information seamlessly through the internet for family and friends.
But they're also sharing private information with complete strangers. Strangers who could easily take advantage of the knowledge the internet gives to them, robbing a web user blind, or worse.
Twitter users are often posting about their daily schedules - that's what Twitter is for. Friends like to know when friends are getting off work. Family wants to know when other family members are heading over for a game of cards. If a thieve, however, was to find a Twitter page of a resident whose home they were aware of, all they would have to do is monitor Twitter updates to find out when that person will not be home, and then rob them.
Getting updates on Twitter is as easy as clicking a button. You can even have other people's Twitter updates sent directly to your cell phone. Now imagine how useful that could be for a would-be thief. All they have to do is subscribe to a neighbors Twitter updates, wait until an update saying "Going on vacation," or "Off to work" and then break into their home while the person is away.
The same goes for bloggers who post about vacationing plans. If a thief knows you're not going to be home (via blog) what's to stop them from attempting to burglarize your home? Even worse, if somebody knows that you're going to be at the grocery store, local car repair shop, etc., what's to stop them from finding you and causing you harm?
Socializing online is a dangerous game, but not a complete waste. Don't be afraid to blog or update your Twitter or social site profiles. Just stay away from getting too personal with the internet. After-all, not everyone on the internet is here to help others. A lot of people are online to help themselves.
Protect yourself, keep personal things personal.
August 10, 2007
Have you heard of web 2.0? It came suddenly in the middle of the night, and even web professionals aren't quite sure what it is. You should know exactly what it is, because it can turn your website from a simple website, into something much, much more.
Web 2.0 means that typical websites are becoming obsolete.
Websites are now more than just online shops, forums, and digital hubs. Websites that create emotions, capture attention, and activate senses in the mind, are creating an experience for visitors. The days of typical websites are no more, say hello to the digital experience.
Good writing creates emotions through words.
Never has the ability to write well had an impact on such a wide population. Having the ability to write well on your website, blog, forum posts, or even your Twitter account, is crucial to your website's success. Your choice of words and your use of proper grammar affects your readers experience when they visit your website.
When you use confident words on your website (such as "achievement," "success," and "strength") you give your visitors a confident, trusting feeling. Whenever visitors return to your website, the same feelings will arise in them. If you used proper grammar and detailed words on your website, you've created an experience for your visitors.
Interactions capture attention and keep it.
Having the ability to interact with a website means a lasting memory of that experience. Websites like Flickr and Get the Glass have created a unique way for someone sitting at home, or at the airport, or at work (shhhh) to have a unique, attention capturing experience.
They distract, in a way, from day-to-day things. If you can create a small game, a chat room, an picture trading form, or something similar for your website - something to capture attention of your visitors - they will be drawn back again and again. Even if it's something as little as an online puzzle, capturing attention for a short while is creating an unforgettable experience.
Activating human senses easily creates experiences.
By using detailed words and images, senses in the human mind will be subtlety activated, helping mold the experience of a website. Websites that use detailed, crisp writing are allowing visitors to create an experience by themselves. Instead of saying "this website is devoted to cookies," try saying "this website is devoted to the warm, fresh, invigorating smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven."
Activating the senses is a great, easy way to create lasting memories for visitors of your website.
Typical, old fashioned, boring websites are diminishing. New websites that make experiences by creating emotions through writing, capturing attention through online interaction, and activate the human senses, are changing the way we see the internet.
If you can do these things for your website, you're well on your way to having a more successful website.
It's Friday once again, which means I won't be back until next Monday with new articles. Thank you for stopping by, come back next week and I'll have some big news for you. Have a great weekend.
August 9, 2007
"Google isn't just a search engine, it's a business. If you forget that, you're setting yourself up."
64% of all searches done on the internet are through Google.* That's more than half of all searches online, making Google a colossal search engine. But Google isn't just a search engine, it's a business. If you forget that, you're setting yourself up.
A corporation that is not only viewed as one of the greatest search engines, but also as one of the most significant, well-run, outgoing businesses in the world. How many times have you used Google to search for something online? My guess is, a lot.
Because of Google's success and exemplary reputation, they released some guidelines for webmasters to follow.
And this is where trouble for you begins.
In the webmaster guidelines, Google states: "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking [in the search engine result pages] or PageRank." To extend on the webmaster guidelines about avoiding link schemes, Google software engineer Matt Cutts made a post on his personal blog about reporting paid links (scroll down to the May 12th update), where he states his personal opinion of why paid links should be avoided.
Simply put: paid links potentially corrupt search engine results.
Then, on August 8th, respectable search engine optimizer Aaron Wall of SEO Book called Google out for selling high quality links themselves.
Yes, it does look like Google is selling spots on a Google blog in order to benefit the companies they work with - money passes from one company to another. But all that is really happening is people are assuming the worst of a great company.
Google is making a legitimate product marketing post in their blog regarding a service that worked well with their software. The link exchange is mutual and is legitimate.
Other than the use of keywords (eg. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls) there is no reason to assume that Associate Product Marketing Manager of Google Checkout, Alyssa England, was passed any green to make the post.
Any evidence otherwise is purely speculation and unjustified in my, personal, opinion. Google is a model company. We've seen the way they treat their employees, the way they have changed the world, and other reasons why they are such a great company.
But you still can't forget: they are a company. Just like the coffee shop or toy store down the street. They have PR pitches, they sell inside scoops, and they need to make money in order to sustain themselves.
So, firstly, don't assume that, because they made a legitimate product post, they are selling their power to smaller businesses. And even if they are: they are a business. Not just a huge search engine, not just a powerful authority in web marketing, not just a group of individuals who want the best for the world.
Google will be foremost, and lastly, a business.
*Source: Hitwise.com August 9th, 2007 (http://www.hitwise.com/datacenter/searchengineanalysis.php)
August 8, 2007
Do you like to be up-to-date on the latest happenings? How about being informed of the latest in technological advancements? Do you like to know what's going on around the world? If you like news, say goodbye to CNN and FOX News. It's time for a better news source: you.
As the internet expands and you and I start to network ourselves across the web through websites like Myspace, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc. a unique thing is happening: we're reducing the worth of traditional news media like CNN and Fox News. Major newspapers are slowly, but surely, becoming obsolete.
Professional journalists and reporters are losing their jobs, or scrambling to get a decent story. But the problem with the old news networks is still around, and it will be their downfall within the next few years.
I'm talking about bias and useless news.
How many times have you turned on the television or opened the local newspaper to find reports on practically nothing? Do you know of a TV news station that has an entire ten minute block just for cooking? Cooking? In the news? And what about political debates, the war on Iraq, and terrorist activities? When was the last time you heard a consecutive report on any of those?
Traditional news media networks have lost their touch. And now, you and I are becoming the reporters, the journalists, the big news makers. Through websites like Digg, YouTube, Netscape, Myspace, blogs and other sites, we are creating the news that matters.
Because you and I know what we want to read or watch when it comes to the latest world events. Because you and I aren't sharing news to make money or network ourselves. We're sharing, and discovering, news as it happens because we're curious people. Our opinions won't be biased and we won't hide any part of a good news story.
Instead of reporting on the latest town carnival - as fun and exciting as it may be - we are hearing about deaths in Africa due to violence. We're hearing about the war in Iraq from actual soldiers. We are watching cloning happen. The internet is expanding and the news that is spreading because of bloggers and Diggers and other posters is rapidly becoming the actual source of news for you and me.
News will soon become reported by anyone, for everyone. Obviously there are a lot of problems with that, and sure, a lot of people could try to gain power through online news, but in the end the masses (you and I) will control the media. We will become the media. We are the new journalists. We are the new reporters. And we are the audience.
So, the next time you're interested in hearing the latest happenings around the world, don't turn on your TV. Don't log on to CNN.com. Do a search on Google or YouTube. Find the real story.
August 7, 2007
A lot of webmasters and search engine optimizers don't realize the full power of social media websites. If you're like a lot of online users, you figure social media sites like Digg and Netscape are a great place to get exposure and a some great traffic. Let me tell you what social media sites can offer you - other than links - that you might be overlooking.
Back in July a new social media website called Sphinn was released. Sphinn is a social site for search engine optimizers and marketers, with a huge focus on search engine related news and articles. There hasn't been any big SEO and online marketing community driven sites like Sphinn, so a lot of big names were quick to jump on board. If you haven't already, take a look around and register over at Sphinn.
On July 17th I wrote a post about how "Sphinn.com is basically a popularity contest", which made it to the front page of Sphinn and is currently residing in the "Greatest Hits" archive of the site.
The purpose of the article was not to put Sphinn in a negative light, but rather do something a lot of blogs should be doing, but don't. The purpose was to call readers into action, stir things up, and get the community going at full speed. I understood that by directly targeting the community of Sphinn, I would be fully utilizing the power of social media.
Because Internet Hunger was a fairly new blog, it's hard to determine the exact affect Sphinn had on overall traffic. But traffic isn't what is important here. What's important is what a lot of webmasters are missing about social media sites: the ability to network.
My article created such a stir that subscribers for Internet Hunger increased 4x. My Technorati authority increased to 24 (from one). And a quick search reveals multiple links from fellow Sphinn goers to Internet Hunger.
The result of posting an article to a social media site that called the community into action? The thing that a lot of webmasters are looking over when working with social websites? Unbelievably easy networking. I can now open up my e-mail inbox and write to a dozen other bloggers who would be more than happy to collaborate with me, or help Internet Hunger further by linking.
The article has drawn a lot of attention to Internet Hunger, and has created an identity for me in the field almost instantly. By calling the community to action, I've created a great start for Internet Hunger in the SEO and marketing world. With a little hard work, a great stance, and a way to call a community to get up and go, you can begin a network that will benefit you more than just a few traffic hits from a media site.
Social media websites can offer you the ability to create a sturdy, powerful network of people almost instantly - something that webmasters need as community sites are becoming the playground of the internet.
August 6, 2007
You need to get the best out of your website or blog. Let's be honest, it's not easy. However, I have found some great online tools for webmasters and bloggers that aren't widely known, but are so useful that you'd be making a mistake if you didn't check them out. Resources so valuable, your website will never be the same.
Crazyegg - Visualization of your site visitors.
Crazyegg is an unbelievably great resource for webmasters. Crazyegg allows you to visually see stats on your website. You can see where your visitors are clicking - or not clicking - as well as where hits are coming from, search phrases, what browsers your visitors are using, and more.
Serph - Track buzz around the web.
Serph is a search engine that lets you find what people are saying about a specific topic (you, your business, your blog) on the web. Great for looking up the latest buzz around the internet, brought to you by the same people who made Crazyegg.
McDar Keyword Analysis Tool - Google keyword ranking analysis.
The McDar Keyword Tool is a good tool for finding where your website ranks on Google for a specific keyword. A lot of fun to use, and for SEOs a valuable resource to see how your SEO efforts are paying off.
Pingoat - Free automatic blog pinging.
Pingoat is a free pinging service for bloggers - it allows you to send pings to a wide variety of networks in a few easy clicks. Instead of having to tell networks that you've updated your blog manually, Pingoat will do it automatically for you.
August 3, 2007
"Rand Fishkin speaks out about himself, the future of search engine optimization, Seattle, and ice cream."
Search engine optimization king and devourer of good ice cream, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, was kind enough to take five minutes out of his hectic work life last week to answer some questions with Internet Hunger. Here, Rand Fishkin speaks out about himself, the future of search engine optimization, Seattle, and ice cream.
Rand is the CEO and co-founder of Seattle based SEOmoz. Proclaimed as "the major authority on SEO, Social Media, Humor, and tips on running an SEO agency" by Search Engine Journal, SEOmoz is one of the leading online optimization and marketing firms in the world. Here's what Mr. Fishkin had to say:
Internet Hunger: To start things off, really quickly, who are you?
Rand: Who am I? I assume you mean in the professional sense rather than the philosophical one. I'm the head of a small company, focused on providing services and community to people in the search marketing field. I've been a consultant on everything from web design to usability to information architecture with a heavy focus on organic SEO.
Internet Hunger: Would you consider yourself to be a prominent leader in the search engine optimization field?
Rand: I probably would have said "no, I don't consider myself a prominent leader" six months ago, but today, I think it's becoming more and more self-denial to use that line.
I know that there are a lot of people in this industry and outside it who view me as a leader in the field, and that's both an honor and a burden - it's certainly made me much more conscious of my actions and more careful about what I do, say and blog about, which has both positive and negative effects.
Internet Hunger: What would you say is the most appealing thing to you in SEO?
Rand: I love the dynamic environment - particularly how the rise of social media and blogs have made this an industry that has news 24/7. Even missing a summer weekend worth of search news means there will be a lot of catching up to do come Monday morning.
Internet Hunger: What really gets you excited everytime you get a new optimization project or while you're browsing around the web for SEO related news?
Rand: The things that make me truly excited are almost always when new opportunities for people to measure and improve come along. I love stats and tracking and data - if it were up to me, the search engine algorithms would have even more transparency.
Internet Hunger: What do you see as the future for SEO? Nobody knows what the major search engines have in store, but a lot of companies are being bought and a lot of changes are constantly on the rise. Do you see any predictible things happening in the future for search engine optimizers and marketers?
Rand: Obviously, with Google Universal and Ask's 3D results, I think we should be expecting more and more searches to be "answered" rather than directed to URLs.
Beyond that, I expect that new social communities will emerge and leverage the power of users to an even greater degree. One day, we might even see something like Naver in South Korea - where human answers and opinions precede algorithmic results.
Internet Hunger: How is Seattle? In a lot of the posts on SEOmoz Seattle is a fun topic, would you ever consider moving locations?
Rand: It's a great town, and it's home. I travel an exceptional amount, but whenever I return to Seattle, it's easy to remind myself why this little corner of the US is home. Great people, always a lot of activities, fantastic summer weather (though even I admit that December-April can get a bit rough), great food, great hiking, a solid arts scene - and, probably most of all, an unmatched landscape.
Internet Hunger: Finally, I want to say thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with me for a bit. I know you've been a great inspiration in a lot of lives and you will continue to do so for many years. The last question I have for you is: what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rand: I've got an empty pint of Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream behind me, so I'll have to go with that.
Thanks to Rand over at SEOmoz for the interview. It's the weekend again, which means I won't be back until next week. I've got some great interviews, articles, and news for you next Monday, so come back and find out what's in store. See you next week.
August 2, 2007
Google announced last Friday that they have created a new meta tag for webmasters to use with the Google bots. The tag is properly named "Unavailable_After" and it allows web masters to set a date and time when a specific web page will no longer appear in the Google search results. There has been quite a bit of talk among SEOs regarding the tag and I'm surprised it has gotten such attention.
The typical response from both SEOs and webmasters is that the new meta tag is practically useless.
To anybody who thinks they have an idea of what the "unavailable_after" tag is, or isn't, I say: phooey. Nobody seems to realize that the "Unavailable_After" tag is the new sliced bread.
When Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicing machine back in 1912, bakers told him it was useless. They told him that the sliced bread would go stale too quickly and that the bread slicing machine basically served no purpose.
Here we are, 95 years later, and you can't walk into a gas station, a grocery store, or even a bakery, without finding a loaf of sliced bread for sale. Bakers all over the world own a bread slicing machine. You can buy a bread slicing machine for your own home. Imagine how all of those bakers that shunned the seemingly useless invention would feel if they walked down the bread aisle of a local Wal-Mart today.
The point isn't that the "unavailable_after" tag is going to be so popular that we will see it on every website. The point is that you don't know how useful, or useless, something will be until you give it time. Until we realize whether or not the tag is going to be very useful, we can't accurately state anything about it. Likewise, you don't know if - someday down the road - you'll have a great need to use the tag.
For everyone who is still stuck on the idea that the tag was a waste of time, or is indeed the next best thing since sliced bread, good for you. If you have no use for the tag now, don't use it. It was created for people who will need it. It wasn't created to please everyone.
Besides the point, you never know when the unavailable_tag might come in handy for you.
August 1, 2007
Have you ever seen an advertisement for a hamburger or similar food product and thought to yourself "That looks good, I think I'll get that"? Have you gone and bought the hamburger after looking at the advertisement? Have you then realized that, despite what you originally believed, the actual hamburger looks nothing like the hamburger being advertised? Hamburger advertisements are a major reason why the internet appeals to you and me.
Let me explain.
Advertisers know that, in order to sell their product, they have to make their product appeal to the masses. For the example of a hamburger: advertisers hire professional photographers, who use professional lighting to take shots from special angles. The advertisers spend hours putting together a simple hamburger - though, in the real world, it would take 35 seconds to slop together. They create the perfect product to be advertised.
It's not cheating, but it's not quite the truth. The surprising thing is that you and I don't care. We see the ads, we buy the products, we only complain for a short period of time, and then we buy the products again and again.
The internet allows people to become their own advertisers. Teenagers are setting up Myspace accounts, web masters build personal websites, and businesses build corporate websites, to advertise themselves. But, in a way, they are misleading those who come across their web pages - just like a hamburger advertiser. They're advertising the perfect, almost artificial, version of themselves, when the actual product may be nothing like what is being advertised.
That's not to say that everybody and every company is advertising false information. It's just that, they have the ability to advertise whatever they want about themselves - to make themselves look great. The ability to make others perceive you however you want is why teenagers have jumped on the web in the last five years. They can sell themselves however they want. There's nothing wrong with it, you can't walk down the street without seeing businesses advertising themselves in the best way they can.
But that's what draws a lot of attention to the internet. It's the appeal of advertising yourself or your business however you want. Understanding that fact can lead to huge changes in the web, as we've seen with sites such as Myspace and YouTube.
So remember, the next time you're walking down the street and pass a McDonalds or BurgerKing and you see that big poster of a juicy hamburger, you're advertising yourself on the web every time you post to your blog or update your website. Are you advertising yourself as you really are? Or are you advertising yourself to be the best that you want to be?