January 31, 2008

"The problem with the internet is that it makes us think we are all experts."

Have you ever done a search on Google for how to do something, how to fix a problem, or just for information on a topic to learn about?

If you are like most internet users, you have.

And, while the fountain of knowledge that the internet has become is plentiful and extremely rewarding, it creates a big problem - especially with, but not limited to, today's youth. The problem with the internet is that it makes us think we are all experts, when we're not.

Just because Google knows everything, doesn't mean you do too.

Google, today's leading search engine, has indexed and recorded more than 25 billion web pages and 1.3 billion images (source: Wikipedia), and massive online encyclopedias like Wikipedia have index almost as many topics as Google.

Whether you are looking to find a cure for the common cold, or how to build an A-Bomb, the internet is the place to look.

But that is where the problem begins. Once people start to look up this-and-that, they begin to think a bit more highly of themselves and their own knowledge.

Instead of taking the time to solve a mathematical problem, someone can simply type it into Google and get the answer. Just like that. And if you want to be a doctor, you don't really have to attend medical school for eight years; you can just learn everything you need to learn online.

Automobile problems? Do a quick search on Yahoo Answers. Want to be your own at-home vet? Google's got you covered. Need help with your taxes? Do I really need to keep going?

The internet is full of resources for everything and anything anyone could ever possibly need. But reading articles about a topic, watching DIY videos, and learning a little bit about something does not make you an expert. You cannot become a professional stock broker just by reading about it on Wikipedia.

And people need to start realizing this.

There is no doubt in my mind that we can learn a lot from the internet; we can become knowledgeable about things we otherwise never would have even dreamed about. But we tend to walk away feeling like professionals, like experts, when we're not really. To become an expert in something it requires time and trial-and-error and a lot more than just a video on YouTube and an article found on Google.

Do you agree?

January 29, 2008

Comments are now enabled on Internet Hunger!

I am currently in the process of updating Internet Hunger to finally allow comments. So be sure to leave a quick comment (you don't have to register, you can simply post comments immediately) letting me know what you've thought of the blog so far!

January 28, 2008

"You should stop blogging right now if..."

There are millions of dead blogs floating around the internet. And every minute you spend reading this blog, another blog joins the blog graveyard as the blogger decides it just wasn't right for him or her.

What about you and your blog? Is blogging right for you? Maybe, and maybe not. Here are a few signs that you weren't made for blogging. That's right, you should stop blogging right now if...

1. 99% your traffic comes from searches for unrelated terms.
2. Every post on your blog starts with: "Before you click away...".
3. All of your blog posts are nothing more than efforts to get traffic.
4. The ratio of actual content to advertisements is 1/20.
5. Your last name rhymes with "Pow".
6. Most of your blog posts have nothing to do with a similar topic.
7. Even though you know you need to use spell check, you never do.
8. Your idea of marketing involves dinner at your parents house.
9. You don't keep up with the latest buzz in your niche.
10. Stepping away from the computer is a chore.
11. You apologize after each break you take from posting.
12. Your blog posts are just reiterations of other blog posts.
13. Blogging is your way of coping with stress.
14. You blog just to be "popular".
15. Blogging has become a chore.
16. You have animated buttons on your website.
17. Each blog post is like an essay, and less like a blog post.
18. You think the internet is a series of tubes.
19. You don't practice what you preach on your blog.
20. The content on your blog is useless to everyone, especially your future self.

Rather than looking at this list as a few things to fuel you - or someone you know - to stop blogging, look at it as a list for improvement. If you match any of the things listed, take action now to improve your blogging.

There are already enough dead blogs out there, not enough remarkable ones.

January 22, 2008

"Three goals webmasters make, and why you should not make them yourself."

Maintaining a website or blog means you have to set goals from time to time. Whether it's goals with the amount of traffic you are - or are not - receiving, goals with the amount of content you provide, or even goals with the amount of goals you want to achieve, having goals for your site can mean growth for you.

Not surprisingly, webmasters tend to make goals for their website or blogs that are very similar. But what is surprising is that a lot of the goals webmasters tend to make aren't beneficial to them or their sites. So, to help you in your site goal process: here are three goals webmasters make, and why you should not make them yourself.

Get a specific number of visitors/subscribers.

Setting a goal to get a set number of visitors or subscribers isn't necessarily a horrible goal to make, but it does have a problem: you don't have much control over the outcome.

Sure, you can do everything in your power to get people to visit your website, but ultimately the amount of people who visit your website or subscribe to your blog is not up to you, and there is not much you can do about it.

Instead of setting a goal based on other people and variables that are out of your control, focus on a goal that you CAN control; like getting a certain amount of links (you can actively search out and get links to your site easily), or spending a certain amount of advertising dollars.

Don't set goals that you can't completely control the outcome of, you'll end up wasting more time and resources than if you set a goal that you can take complete action on.

Post new content every [insert random number] days.

Trying to get a specific number of site visitors or feed subscribers is slightly out of your control, so picking a goal that is more of a direct result of your actions is a must; unfortunately, setting a goal to put up a set amount of new content per [number].

It's great that you want to have new content on a scheduled basis, but setting such requirements for yourself can dramatically decrease the value of the content you are providing.

What happens if you wake up one morning and are too busy to write up some great and valuable content? What if there is a personal emergency and you never get around to perusing your content goal?

Setting a goal for when to add new content - as well as how much to add - is setting yourself up for failure, and definitely de-valuing your website or blog.

Instead, set a broader goal that won't hinder your creativity, and that won't restrict you to avoiding personal issues. Setting a goal like "Have 100 articles online within four months" is broad enough to give you creative space, but still requires you to put effort into it.

Set [blank number] goals.

Regardless of the number and types of goals you may - or may not - have already been setting for your site, they won't mean anything if they aren't for your growth.

A lot of webmasters set goals and then get discouraged when they don't achieve those goals, so they make another goal to set more goals and reach them. Then, when they don't reach their new goals, the webmasters will either set even more unachievable goals, or give up on their website altogether.

You are not suppose to be creating goals that will be the fuel behind your site or marketing efforts; instead, you should be creating goals at times that you see fit. If you are not seeing much traffic coming into your blog, set a goal to buy more advertising and try to influence more traffic.

Ultimately settings goals for your website or blog are for YOU, nobody else and for no other reason.

Goals should be set with growth in mind - and not just in a traffic kind of way. You should be able to learn what makes your website great, and what doesn't work. You should be focusing on ways that YOU can learn to be a better webmaster or provide better content, not what you can do to make yourself temporarily happy.

January 21, 2008

"If you've got nothing else to blog, use blogging as a bookmarking tool."

If you have ever thought about starting a blog, only to end up telling yourself "I have nothing to write about", or if you have a blog now but have ever sat down and told yourself the same thing, you aren't the only one. Even some of the best bloggers in the world have found themselves in a "what's the point?" state of mind.

And if that is where you are now, I'm here to tell you: there is hope. If you've got nothing else to blog, use blogging as a bookmarking tool.

A lot of the time bloggers get writing cramps, or decide against starting a new blog because of they feel like there isn't an audience for what they would have to say - or because they can't think of anything unique to say. That's where transforming a blog into an online bookmarking tool comes in.

Basically all you need to do is blog about any website, photo, online tool, games, etc. that you discover while going about your daily business. But you don't blog to tell other people about your findings online, you blog to remind yourself in the future; blogging specific things can be used as a powerful online bookmarking tool this way.

Not only will you find your blogging becomes extremely valuable to yourself, a lot of other people browsing around will become interested in the sites and photos and web-games and other online content that you find.

By using screenshots, photos, detailed descriptions, or just your own voice for each blog post - or bookmark - you are creating valuable content for other readers as well as yourself.

And the best part is: you don't have to try.

Simply find something you're interested in - whether it's vintage computers, unique cuisine, search engine optimization, travel destinations, or ANYTHING else - and start browsing sites about that topic. You can use sites like Flickr to find pictures you can blog about, BuzzFeed to find gossip to blog about, or just using Google to search for anything interesting on a topic that interests you. Then, once you find something that really peeks your interest, simply write about it. Link to the website. Show off pictures you find. Just write down whatever you feel or think about that specific thing.

If you find yourself not stumbling across anything particularly interesting - or worth blogging/bookmarking - then you don't have to blog that day. That's right: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BLOG IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY. No one will hold it against you. Your readership will not abandon you. Your blog will not lose popularity. If you don't have anything to bookmark on your blog, don't sweat it; something else will come up sooner or later that you WILL want to blog.

Just be sure not to skip too many days, people may think you have died.

So don't ever tell yourself that you have nothing to write about. Don't feel that there is nobody who would be interested in reading what you have to say, because that's not true. If you find something interesting, chances are pretty great that someone else will find what you've found interesting as well!

Quit worrying about what you're writing, just keep track of cool things you find or think through-out the day.

January 18, 2008

"Three incredibly simple marketing tactics you can learn from the movie Cloverfield."

I've got my tickets. I have seen ever trailer, every preview clip, and every "leaked" photo there is to see. I even convinced my long-time girlfriend to go with me. That's right, tonight I will be sitting on a cheap plastic chair, eating cheap popcorn (that is about as plastic as the chairs) and watching the monster from Cloverfield rip apart New York City like the millions of monsters before it.

If you haven't heard of Cloverfield yet - or of it's "code name": 1-18-08 - then you surely are missing out on a revolutionary marketing campaign for what, one would hope, is a masterpiece monster movie.

Take a minute to do a quick search for "Cloverfield" on Google, and then come back here and finish reading the article.

But if you have heard of Cloverfield, read on right now. Because, despite the fact that I'm a huge fan and you may not be - here are three incredibly simple marketing tactics you can learn from the movie Cloverfield.

Don't give away the whole show, until people pay for it.

The very first trailer that ever appeared for the movie Cloverfield showed a few kids in an apartment complex, followed by flickering lights, lots of screaming, and the head of the Statue of Liberty flying through the city streets of New York. What the trailer didn't show, however, was the name of the movie... or what it was really going to be about... or anything at all, really.

And that drove people - including myself - insane.

People literally jumped onto Google.com and searched for "1-18-08" in a desperate attempt to find ANYTHING on the movie. If they did find anything through their online search, it was a few random images, the trailer leaked onto YouTube, or some other obscure bit of information.

The first trailer, was a huge marketing success, and a great example of what internet marketers can do to drive their audience insane (in a good way) too.

Instead of giving away all of your web products or information, give out little tidbits - and make them look as interesting as possible - and people will slowly, but surely, do their best to find out more.

Before you know it thing will spread and your marketing campaign will explode with the force of a man-eating monster stomping through the remains of New York. ...or something.

Give out just enough information to peek people's interest, and nothing more until they pay - whether by subscribing to your feed, purchasing your service, or buying tickets for your movie.

Use reputations to build interest.

If you don't know who J.J. Abrams is then you probably have never seen the hit television show "Lost". Not only was J.J.'s name one of the tidbits of information that was shown during the first trailer, it is also plastered on everything related to his new movie Cloverfield.

And for good reason too; J.J. has created a fan base for himself based on the type of mysterious, mind-bending work he has done. And he knows that, because of what he has done in the past, he can use his name to get attention for his latest movie.

Even if a movie popped up and was titled "Barbie Goes to Vegas: A Documentary of Plastic in Las Vegas" and then showed the name "J.J. Abrams", millions of people would flock to the theater.

And you can do the same for your marketing campaign as well. If you're working for a big company or have done some recognizable work in the past, put the name on your latest campaign and people will become thoroughly interested... simply because of the name on the project.

If you're going to make it big, make it REALLY big.

While the marketing campaign was cleverly put together to peek interest of anyone who stumbled across it, and while it was slapped with a popular name, the real mojo comes from the actual campaign it's self; in this scenario: the movie.

And what a movie it is turning out to be - even the critics agree that it's a "must see" movie (just don't expect to go away thinking that it was life changing). The reason? It's about a giant monster, that we get to experience from a realistic, personal perspective.

J.J. Abrams knows that there have been hundreds of thousands of monster movies (don't get me started on Boa vs Python) in the past, but what none of them have managed to do was become realistic, frightening, and personal. So he made the movie big... REALLY big.

The director knew that people would be interested in his new perspective of a monster film and so he flaunted it in every aspect of the marketing.

Web marketing campaigns should be no different.

If you've got something new, revolutionary, and big, don't mess around with the little details. Market it as being MASSIVE - even if you're not planning on making it that big.

When people are told that this movie is going to be BIG and that the monster is going to be HUGE and that the ideas of the movie are MASSIVE, they are going to believe it.

Do the same thing for your online marketing campaign and you will quickly find that people will believe you, merely for the fact that you've made it seem so big.

And that's that. Whether the marketing campaign shows a snippet of what it's really about, it's branded with a memorable name, or it's made to look HUGE, these strategies will definitely help you and your next online campaign.

After I watch Cloverfield at the theater tonight I will be out of town for the rest of the weekend, so no new updates this Saturday and Sunday.

But you still should consider subscribing to Internet Hunger and getting awesome posts like this one almost daily.

January 16, 2008

"Confessions of an internet trouble marketer."

As an internet expert, it's my job to stay on top of the best ways to design, manage, and market websites, as well as online brands and identities. Over the past few years I have come to learn that, sometimes there are design or marketing tactics that don't fall within the boundaries of "moral standards" that get the job done better than any other tactic.

These tactics involve programming hacks, tricks with graphics, spamming a network, and more. No internet marketer is free of these tactics, because they all end up benefiting someone - and they are a lot of fun to play around with (just ask Neil Patel).

Sure, the tactics hurt others in the industry who are trying to use REAL strategies to build brands. And sure, the tactics are a type of "cheat", but that doesn't mean they're not fun to mess with and research results.

So, because this is the 100th post for Internet Hunger, I would like to dedicate this post to some of the "darker" tactics I have used in the past. That's right, these are confessions of an internet trouble marketer.

Before you go on to read my confessions, please note that these tactics have been used solely for research purposes and never for actual work. Using "dark hat", immoral, or cheap marketing tactics are not recommended for anything other than studying the effects they cause, and these examples do not demonstrate the quality or type of work I do on a regular basis.

Real marketers stick to real marketing.

I don't really have THAT many friends. - While working on a few different approaches to gaining popularity on Digg.com, I discovered a way to get a fairly large amount of friends (both fans and mutual) in a short amount of time. While I am not a very active member of the site, I have manged to gain quite a few fans with a minimal amount of effort.

Whether it involved voting up articles and requesting friendship in return, spamming a network of mutual friends to gain quick adds, or randomly voting up material for one category, I cheated my way to being "popular" on Digg - not that I care for being popular on Digg.

The result of befriending hundreds of other users? I found that my submissions to the site began to get a lot more attention than they had before. Even if I didn't shout a story, its odds of being voted to the home page increased dramatically. Instead of getting four or five votes for a story, I could now expect a minimum of 20 or more in a matter of minutes.

It's fun to see other people's articles go hot because of my faux relationships on the social website. And I have a lot of things planned to mess with the community a bit more.

Don't hate me for it, something good will come of my research on Digg.com... someday.

I am obsessed with links. - One of the most crucial aspects of internet marketing is links. Getting links, giving links, links, links, links, links, links. And I am unlike most internet marketers because I am literally obsessed with links.

Whether it's a best friend, a family member, a co-worker, a random blogger, or anyone at all... I will ask for a link from their website.

Unlike most "link obsessed", I try to avoid coming across as a complete idiot. But I still get antsy every time I hear the word "Page Rank" and if anyone ever mentions a possible link to my site I quickly try to find a way to repay them.

I love links and I'm not afraid to admit that I'm addicted to getting them.

Speaking of which: if you would like to point a link from your website my direction right about now, I would be forever thankful and would most likely link back... several times over the next few months.

I dropped a Google bomb. Or two. - While we're on the topic of links, I have to confess that I am absolutely fascinated by Google bombs, and have participated in several over the past few months. Not only do they work, but they last (and often bring in some nice traffic).

A Google bomb (for those who aren't aware) is when you bring up specific results in a search engine for a keyword. For example: instead of finding his person blog, when doing a search for "Matt Cutts", the results for the search would be "bombed" to present a website for the upcoming presidential elections.

Google bombs are not only a horribly sad way to change rankings in search engines, they're often considered to be illegal. But when you're changing the rankings for small keywords - like "Tanner knows his SEO" - there is more fun and insight to be had than damages.

But I've done it, and I will continue to be fascinated by the fact that such a thing is possible.

I blog to share, not to discuss. - The last confession I want to make today is all about Internet Hunger. If you hadn't noticed yet: there are no comments on Internet Hunger. You would imagine that an internet-related blog such as this one would adore comments and opinions from others, but you would be wrong.

Internet Hunger is not a place for discussion. It's a place for ideas and thoughts, nothing more. If you don't like what you read here, disagree on your own blog and never come back. However, if you like what you read, come back often and I'll do my best to provide you with some entertaining or valuable content.

That's it for my confessions. What would you confess?

January 15, 2008

"Having trouble finding purpose in your daily internet usage?"

According to Internet World Stats, 70% of everyone in North America accesses the internet.* That means that you are one out of roughly 334,659,631 people who are accessing the internet on a regular basis. And the amount of people getting online is growing by over 100% every day in North America alone.

With so many people online every single day, I can't help but wonder what you are all doing.

It's easy to get online and waste your time watching videos, reading news and articles, or playing games. But are you really doing anything productive with your time online? Or are you having trouble finding purpose in your daily internet usage?

While you may not be suffering from Internet addiction, you may be... are you ready for this? ...wasting your time.

Sure, it doesn't sound like a major problem now, but when you could be ending world hunger, making easy money, starting your own business, publishing a book, buying movie tickets, learning about sleepdisorders, paying your bills, or even winning a free cake, you will start to realize the many different way that your time online could be spent on more productive things.

The problem, as I see it, is that you don't have goals. You wake up in the morning, you log onto your favorite websites and let the ball roll. And, while there may be some purpose and goals made through-out the day, you are missing out on some great opportunities.

I'll give you a challenge: make a quick write-up of things you NEED to do online, and things you WANT to do online, over the next couple of days. And do them. If everything on your list gets crossed out for that day, get off the internet. Go for a walk, go socialize with people face-to-face, go do something that doesn't require YOU to be a robot.

End rant.

*Source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

January 14, 2008

"Fact: search engines ultimately hinder creativity."

As you know, search engines are all about content. Paragraphs need to be related to subject matter, images need to be titled and given a description, and there needs to be text - the more text, the better.

If the search engines can't find readable content on your website, your site won't show up (or it will, but on an obscure page - like page 1043 of 1,000,000). And if your site doesn't show up in search engines you are missing out on valuable traffic.

The problem here is that search engines limit the way a webpage can be designed. In fact: search engines ultimately hinder creativity.

Search engines make everything rightside up.

Recently I was redesigning a website and wanted to create a design that would really standout from other websites; I wanted to make the website completely upside down. While this may seem like a silly idea, the content of the website would not only allow for all of the content to be flipped, visitors to the website wouldn't be missing out on anything because of the upside down website.

The entire website would be turned upside down using a few tricks, one method was to use different key characters to flip the content. Somewhat like this: ˙ɹoɟ ƃuıʇıɐʍ uǝǝq llɐ ǝʌ,ǝʍ ʇɐɥʍ ʇsnɾ 'ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpıspdn ˙lnɟɹǝpuoʍ 'ɥo. For the entire website.

Quickly, though, I realized that this idea was not going to work out for the website, simply because the search engines wouldn't allow it.

Not only would search engines not be able to understand the purpose of the website (because all of the text would be upside down, the search engine robots wouldn't be able to read it), but the creativity behind the site would end up being controlled heavily by the limitations of search engines.

It's not just upside down websites that are hurting.

Flipping websites upside down is not the only creative idea that is not possible because of search engines... graphic-heavy websites, dynamic websites using content that is pulled in from places like Twitter or even Blogger, and other creative ideas are all limited because of the limitations of search engines.

It's understandable: if content cannot be read by a robot, the website can't be indexed and ranked. It's even fair to say that this isn't a problem for the search engine companies, and it really fuels web designers to get REALLY creative with their websites; that or just ignore search engine ranking.

But ignoring search engine ranking, as stated before, means a big chunk of potential visitors will go missing.

So what do we, as designers, do about this?

If we are limited in creativity because of the limitations by search engines, and because we can't ignore developing websites for search engines, is there nothing we can do?

Perhaps, but it's time for search engine optimization experts to help web designers and developers find a way to optimize ANY website to show up on search engines. It's time for search engine companies to develop other ways to find, index, and rank websites on their results. It's time for designers to get REALLY creative with their techniques.

It's time that you realize how search engines hinder creativity.

January 9, 2008

"Subscribe to get Internet Hunger updates and win a free cake!"

Win cake! How would you like to win a free cake? How about if I told you that you could win a free cake merely by clicking? Well, this is me telling you that you can win a free cake simply by clicking your mouse.

That's right. Not only could you win a free search engine optimization consultation for your website or blog, now you can win a free cake too!

All you have to do is subscribe to get Internet Hunger updates and win a free cake, shipped to your front door (or office) at no cost to you!

Internet Hunger is dedicated to feeding your need for internet goodness, whether it's the latest internet news and trends, internet marketing articles, or web design content. And now Internet Hunger is going to help you feed your need for cake too!

There is no cost, and absolutely anyone can enter. Just subscribe to Internet Hunger and enter for your chance to win a free cake.

The winner will be picked at random and announced on January 31st, the cake will be shipped once contact has been made with the winner.

*Image by Delightful Deliveries

January 8, 2008

"Five undeniable facts about internet marketing and how it relates to politics."

So you want to know what politics and internet marketing have in common? Some may think of internet marketing and politics as necessary evils, while others understand the importance and value of one or the other, or both. No matter how you look at internet marketing, and no matter how political you are, here are five undeniable facts about internet marketing and how it relates to politics.

Both are built on social relations.

Politics rely heavily on relationships between politicians and the general public, while internet marketing relies on relationships between the marketers and online socialites.

Because their success relies heavily on social relationships, internet marketers, similar to politicians, who don't know how to be extremely social with the people they are working with are doomed from the start. There is no way a political or online marketing campaign will be successful without the support of the people.

I wouldn't be able to market this blog without the help of my readers and subscribers, similarly: the United States could not have a President without the help of the citizens.

Both require strategic planning.

In order to get people on your their side, internet marketers and politicians have to spend a lot of money - and even more time - researching and planning (and occasionally lying).

There is a lot of time and often money that must be invested in order to build relationships, find a niche, address issues, find solutions, etc. etc.

Not once has anyone ever decided to run an online marketing, or political, campaign and instantly found success. Some people got lucky with an idea, and some people may have known how to interact with people, but nobody has ever found instant success in a political or internet marketing campaign.

Both can be approached differently.

Another reason both political campaigns and internet marketing campaigns require so much planning and research is because there are multiple ways each could be approached.

For example: some people believe that a successful internet marketing campaign should be built solely on link exchanges between one website and another, while others believe that linking should be automated through quality content. Some people believe that politics should be controlled by one individual or group, while others believe it should be powered by people.

There are so many ways to run a political campaign or an internet marketing campaign, that both are often widely debated throughout the world. Which leads us to our next point...

Both could be used for good or evil.

Internet marketers have the power and ability to alter news and search engines, valuable resources of information for more than 90% of all internet users. Similarly, politicians have the power and ability to fuel wars, change laws, and destroy the world as we know it.

As a society (both online and as citizens) it's our job to make sure the politicians aren't using their power for evil, and that internet marketers aren't' spamming the system.

Both make for horrible conversations at the dinner table.

No matter how much power politicians and internet marketers have, they still are the topic of great debate when it comes to conversations at the dinner table. There is almost no way to have a decent, argument-free, conversation about politics, or internet marketing.

If you liked this article, you should subscribe to Internet Hunger and get updates daily!

January 7, 2008

"Be prepared with this loss of internet preparedness kit."

Almost everything these days is powered by computers and controlled through networks across the internet. From traffic lights to powerplants, entire businesses to satellites, and news networks and blogs. If you're reading this right now: chances are a big chunk of your life is dependent on internet access and networking.

So what happens when the internet fails us and we cannot access any of our networks or news or tools or email? What happens when we lose the internet?

This morning I awoke to find myself in that exact situation: the internet in my apartment complex was down, and it looked like it wouldn't be up and running for a while. I was stuck without access to world news, without access to my email, I was - simply put, in trouble. But I wasn't completely out of luck, thanks to a bit of planning and preparation I was alright without access to the internet.

You can prepare yourself for this catastrophe by reading and using this Internet Hunger exclusive: because you never know when you could lose access to the internet, it's best to be prepared with this loss of internet preparedness kit.

Accessing Important News Headlines.

Because you will not have access to websites like CNN, FOX, and Digg, you'll need another way to access important news. If your internet is down because it's armageddon, how will you know that your internet isn't going to be turned back on?

The best way to access important news headlines when your internet is down is to own a working radio or television set. Even if you buy a radio or TV simply for this purpose, you need access to world news and this is the best way to get it without internet access.

If you want to be completely assured that you can stay up-to-date on the latest news, CNN.com offers a way for you to receive news directly to your cell phone. Which leads to the next part of the loss of internet preparedness kit...

Communicating with colleagues, friends and family.

If you have a cellphone you can use it for more than just accessing news and information from cellular stations, you can use it to keep in touch with your co-workers, friends, and family members.

It's best to prepare for this part of the kit by requesting phone numbers whenever communicating with someone via e-mail, that way, when your internet does go down, you can call to request work off, or find out what your friends are up to, or let your family know how horrible your life has become without internet access.

Because you won't have access to your email or instant messaging (or Myspace or FaceBook or LinkedIn profiles) you will have to rely on your cellular phone - or a landline phone, where available - to keep in touch with your contacts. Plan for this part of the kit now by asking your friends, family, and co-workers for the phone numbers.

Managing your schedule.

News and contacts are only a small part of internet life, if you use web-based applications to manage your schedule or events in your life, you'll need a backup plan for when you lose access to the internet.

The best way to do this is to sync any web calendars with computer or hardcopy calendars. Most computers now come with built in calendars that you can use, but if you don't have one now you can use these links to find one for your computer: Windows users can click here, Mac users click here.

By using hardcopy calendars, or calendars on your computer that don't use the internet, you can keep track of your appointments and all of those birthdays you always forget, despite your internet being down.

Expect the worst.

You can only plan ahead so much when it comes to disasters like losing internet access, so prepare as much as you can using the methods described here, and then do what you do best: expect the worst. Chances are you won't be able to access the internet again for a few days, your website or blog will lose traffic because you can't update, your parents will worry because they can no longer reach you via email, and all of your instant message buddies will disown you.

Plan ahead and don't let a loss of internet destroy your online life.

Or you can just check your internet cable connections and then try access the internet again.

January 4, 2008

"The best SEM campaign is the one that helps webmasters help themselves."

The father of Taoism and revered philosopher, Lao Tzu, has said something you have most likely heard before today, he once stated: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Lao's message is about helping others to help themselves, and not necessary about fishing; something that can be taken into many different areas of life, including search engine marketing. On that note, I feel the best way to conduct search engine marketing is not to simply go through the motions for a website, but provide the website with the method and means to help themselves.

After all, the best search engine marketing campaign is the one that helps webmasters help themselves.

If you give a website a link, you empower it for a day...

One of the major aspects of search engine marketing is linking between websites. If you have owned a website for longer than a month you will have probably received an email from someone you have never met before, requesting to get a link on your website pointing to their website; especially if you are a search engine marketer.

While any sane person would often shun dumbasses that request ridiculous links randomly, there are a few webmasters who gladly accept link exchanges. But there is a problem with both those webmasters who decide to shun people who request links and those who accept them without much action: they're not teaching the person who requested the link how to help themselves.

Search engine marketers need to be extremely weary of linking through requests. Instead of just searching for links - or handing out links to valuable websites - if you're a search engine marketer, you should be constructing relationships with websites you link with, or doing what you can to teach other webmasters what they can do (other than linking) to benefit their website; like how to build content that will create links automatically.

If you're running a SEM campaign for a website, make sure you're not just empowering it for a day. Find ways to help the website learn to create links on it's own through valuable content and other link building strategies.

Don't just write copy, create an understanding of what works.

Link building is not the only aspect of a search engine marketing campaign, copywriting is another aspect of any successful SEM campaign. But, like link building, there is no benefit to writing great copy for a website and leaving it at that. If you're a marketer you should be explaining to the webmaster why certain copy is beneficial to a website, how including specific keywords over and over again can increase authority for that keyword or keyphrase, and you should help webmasters understand how using keywords in links affects search engines.

It's easy to write up some great copy for a website, but the value there is limited; you're not teaching the webmaster(s) to write copy on their own, you're giving them copy to use for a day.

Educate and be educated.

Link building, copywriting, advertising, as well as identifying and creating value are all aspects of a search engine marketing campaign. Whether you're a webmaster who is looking to hire a business to run a SEM campaign, or you're a company that specializes in SEM, make sure you're getting and giving more than just a fish - more than just something that is simply provided to/from you.

If you're a search engine marketer: don't just go through the actions for your clients. Help teach them how they can help themselves.

If you're a webmaster: don't accept work that is not explained - in detail - to you. You can get more bang for your buck if you know what exactly is going on, and if you take just a few moments to educate yourself on it.

You won't loose business, you'll gain it.

As a search engine marketer you may be asking something along the lines of: "If I teach webmasters to do what I do for them, won't I loose business?"

The answer is: no.

The real value any marketer can provide to a client is how that customer can help him or herself in the future. A customer that has learned to help themselves through your efforts, like a man that has learned to fish, will be successful for a lifetime. And if you're helping other websites to be successful for life, you are providing an unbeatable service. In-fact, I would recommend increasing your rates and providing more of a value to your customers.

You may find that, instead of loosing business, you'll gain more.

That concludes today's post. It's Friday and because I don't post over the weekends that means I won't be posting until next Monday, but you don't have to sit and wait around for new posts, you can subscribe to Internet Hunger and get updates automatically through your favorite news aggregator or directly to your e-mail address, spam free.

January 3, 2008

"Part of the free SEO consultation you could win from Internet Hunger is keyword marketing."

Have you subscribed to Internet Hunger by e-mail and entered to win one of three free SEO consultations for your website or blog? If you haven't yet, subscribe by e-mail right now and you could win a free, complete, and professional search engine optimization consultation for the website of your choice.

An SEO consultation for your website or blog means an increase in traffic, an increase in online authority, and a possible increase in sales, as well as many more benefits that will drastically improve your website or blog. It doesn't matter how long you've had your website or blog, and it doesn't matter if you're a professional or not, a search engine optimization consultation can help your website grow.

One aspect of a consultation to optimize any website for search engines, and part of the free SEO consultation you could win from Internet Hunger, is keyword marketing. If you aren't already aware: keywords are the words that people typically type into a search engine when searching for something specific.

There are two types of keywords - or keyphrases - that search engine optimizers and marketers work with, known as "long tail" and "short tail" keywords - or keyphrases. Long tail keywords and keyphrases are extremely specific, whereas short tail keywords and keyphrases are very broad. For example: "King Salmon fishing in Kenai, Alaska" would be considered long tail, while "Salmon fishing" would be considered short tail.

Any great webmaster needs to optimize their website so that people searching for both long tail and short tail keywords or keyphrases will find their site.

The trick to keywords and phrases is that there are millions of websites that might already have a short tail keyword or phrase (a quick search on Google for the keyword "internet" returns 2,640,000,000 web pages), but only a few websites will have a specific long tail keyword or phrase (searching for "internet marketing, seo, and web design blog" on Google only returns 357,000 webpages). So marketing your website for long tail keywords is a great way to boost your website or blog's ranking and traffic - if only slightly.

Instead of optimizing and marketing your website for a variety of broad keywords, optimizing it for more-precise keywords and phrases can really benefit your website and how people find it through search engines.

But how, exactly, do you find what keywords and keyphrases to optimize your website for? And once you find the right keywords and phrases to use, how do you optimize your website for them?

Instead of trying to figure it out - and do it all - on your own, you can enter the Internet Hunger free SEO consultation contest!

Or if you would like more insight into search engine optimization, web design, internet marketing, and internet news you can simply subscribe to Internet Hunger and get updates - not spam - regularly.

January 2, 2008

"Your free premium guide to internet buzz." Plus a FREE download!

Staying on top of the latest internet news and buzz is like digging for gold. You have to sort through a lot of dirt, but once you find a tiny nugget of gold it can be extremely rewarding.

Whether you're a blogger looking for the latest hot topics to write about, an entrepreneur in search of ideas for your next business venture, or a marketer trying to find marketing ideas, staying on top of the latest and greatest in internet news and information can mean gold for you - literally.

But, just like digging for gold, finding and tracking internet buzz can be difficult and time consuming. Unless, of course, you have resources to help you out.

That's why, in order to help you stay on top of the latest buzz around the internet, and to help you find gold, Internet Hunger is providing you with this guide to internet buzz. That's right, here is your free premium guide to internet buzz. And to make things even easier for you, you can download this guide in PDF format simply by clicking here.

Where to find gold buzz.

In order to find buzz that is valuable online, you need to know where to look first. But looking for buzz can be the hardest part of staying on top of the latest internet news. Luckily for you, here are some of the absolute best resources of internet buzz for you to bookmark and use in your search for gold news and information.

Quickly browse around each website first - if you haven't already - and get a feel for where to spot the hottest buzz. And don't rely on simply one of the resources here to find quality buzz; instead, use two or three (or all) of the resources to find the biggest, and best buzz on the internet.

Upcoming blog posts on Technorati provides some interesting blog topics that are rising up in the rankings on Technorati - a major blog search engine. The topics you find popular here are typically small topics, little nuggets of gold, that you can use to easily, and quickly expand upon, it's a great place to start when looking for gold buzz..

The latest tech buzz from BuzzFeed is a great place to find some specific buzz from around the internet on the topic of technology. BuzzFeed is clean of spam and clutter, which makes it a great resource to find interesting buzz instantly and painlessly.

Popular URLs to the latest buzz at Popurls is fairly self explanatory. Popurls provides some of the most popular links from all around the internet. You are guaranteed to not only find interesting buzz at Popurls, but you can also, almost always, find the biggest buzz from all over the internet.

Top news of the day by Tailrank is just that: some of the top news for the day on blogs around the internet. Not only does Tailrank provide useful, valuable buzz, but they also link to thousands of blogs who are writing about the topic as well - so you can determine what has already been covered, what hasn't, and how popular a specific topic is on any set day.

Google Trends is most useful for search engine optimizers and marketers, but can also be a great resource for everyone else as well. Using statistics directly from their search engine, Google shows some of the hottest trends - or search terms - for the day.

Digging through the dirt.

Now that you have some of the best resources for online buzz you can begin to dig through the dirt and useless buzz to find the real gold news and information.

The easiest way to do this is to first take a look at how heavily a topic is being covered. If you read about something on BuzzFeed and then see it again on Tailrank and Popurls, you'll know that the topic is extremely popular.

While buzz and information that is already extremely popular is tough to transform into gold, it's definitely possible. Just browse through the coverage of the buzz and keep track of what is being said. The last thing you want to do with internet buzz is repeat what has already been said. Instead, find a unique approach to the topic, or try to find a piece of the buzz that has yet to be covered elsewhere.

The buzz is already popular, so unless you can create a unique approach, or unless you can add some useful insight into the topic, chances are the popular buzz won't turn into gold for you.

Yet, the popular buzz isn't all you can find using internet buzz resources.

You can find out about upcoming topics - buzz that has yet to be completely popular - and be one of the first to write or market that topic.

Simply monitor topics that flow across the resource sites listed above over a few days, after a while you'll begin to see trends. Maybe internet marketing is being featured on each of the websites, start focusing on internet marketing. Or perhaps a certain celebrity is being mentioned over and over again, jump on the train and focus on that celebrity to create a strong buzz yourself.

Don't give up.

The biggest thing you need to remember when monitoring and tracking internet buzz is this: it changes almost everyday. You have the resources now to easily manage the best buzz online, all you need to do now is take the time to sort through it everyday and track it however you can, and you'll be well on your way to writing the next big blog post, or solving a business problem, or marketing the next big thing.

You can also subscribe to Internet Hunger to get more resources and helpful guides. And don't forget to download the premium guide to internet buzz.

So what are you waiting for? Start digging for gold now!

January 1, 2008

"The biggest, best, and most important social networking moments of 2007."

That's it.

The year 2007 is officially nomore, but that doesn't mean we can't look back at some of the biggest, best, and most important social networking moments of 2007 and learn a thing or two.

So, for your entertainment - and education - here are just a few moments from 2007 that will go down in social networking, and all things internet, history.

Originally created for use as a linking network for close college students, Facebook turns into a $1 billion dollar service. Sure, millions and millions college students are the primary audience of Facebook, but after only a few months Facebook has become the network for professionals and students alike. Click here to read more about Facebook making it big.

Facebook may be making students and lots of professionals happy, but this year internet marketers and search engine optimizers got a taste of the good life as well, with the launch of the social network for internet marketers: Sphinn. You can click here to read more about how Sphinn made 2007 the year for internet marketing.

While new social networks like Sphinn began popping up in 2007, one of the most popular social networks of all time, Digg.com gets a price tag of $300 million dollars. What's that mean for the founders of Digg? A potential profit of millions. What's that mean for you? Absolutely nothing. But it still makes for a great read, so click here and learn more about Digg.com's million dollar pricetag.

Sure, $300 million dollars may seem like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things only one social network really kicked every other one in the year 2007. Of course we're talking about YouTube. This year, YouTube - king of all video content, ever - honored they're top celebrities, goofballs, and family videos in the 2007 YouTube Video Awards. Go ahead and click here to read more about The 2007 YouTube Video Awards.

If video content isn't your thing, but browsing random website on the internet is, you'll surely remember when eBay purchased StumbleUpon. Click here to read more about how eBay stormed the StumbleUpon HQ.

2007 was a pretty exciting year for internet users everywhere, and 2008 is already showing a lot of exciting potential for social networking, internet marketing, and online advertising. What better way to stay up-to-date on all things internet-related than to subscribe to Internet Hunger for the year? You won't be disappointed. And if you register right now to receive updates via e-mail (using the form to the right) you will automatically be entered to win a free SEO consultation for your website or blog!