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Optimize your website for search engines to find

I was recently flying in from Boston when I noticed my native West Pubnico from the air, clearly distinctive because of its 17 power-generating windmills, and I remarked how it reminded me of looking at Google Earth on my computer.

Then, it occurred to me how strange a thought this was: that reality was reminding me of a virtual image rather than the other way around. It was life imitating illustration, if you will.

That’s pretty much the way it is. Our sense of reality is becoming viewed more and more through the lens of the Internet, and this is something you need to take seriously if you’re depending on your website to carry your message.

Many people think that all you need to do is create a website and people will find it. That’s akin to printing stacks of marketing brochures and putting them in a warehouse, hoping someone will stumble upon them.

Others think that registering their website with search engines will do the trick. That would be like putting an ad in a few newspapers telling people where they can go to get your brochures.

Still others feel that if you put in enough keywords, then that will make your website popular. It will definitely help, but it’s far from the full story.

If not done correctly, it will hurt more than help. Why? Because search engines don’t like to be tricked. If the keywords don’t match the content and follow search engine rules, then the search engines may downgrade the site in their listings.

But help is available. There is a whole industry around making sure your website gets found by the right people via search engines, a process called search engine optimization. Here are some of the important facets of search engine optimization:

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Aging

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and although I wouldn’t necessarily say that ‘I am old’…. the aging process I am not liking. Wait, no, this is not going to be one of those female rampages. I can live with getting older, even though I don’t like it. I really can. There are other people out there older than me… But, what to do with your aging hardware?

The Apple Blog Forum, at http://forums.theappleblog.com/general-banter/484-what-do-you-do-old-technology/, actually had quite an interesting discussion about it. Everything from reselling to analyzing radio telescope data (SETI). Very interesting.

Why not donate them to the South West Vintage Television Museum? Maybe your own local museum will take them in. Technology does age faster than humans.

What’s in a Name

Names are as important to products, including software, as they are to people. Think of the stereotypes that names, such as Eugene, Debbie, Mario, Louise, Scott, and even Mary, bring to mind. What about a girl with the name Barbie? Bimbo? What about a guy with the name Mel? Bully? They’re not always favourable (although some are) and they’re not always accurate (although it has been said that your name defines who you are). We associate names with public figures and fictitious characters, and our perception of them influences our initial reaction.

Particularly in technology, good strong names are always desired. Not silly, but strong ones that will be remembered, and easy to say. They have to look profound, and stand well in capital letters, visually.

Apple     Sprint     Mustang     Google     Nikon     BMW     Ferrari     Pentium     Intel     Kodak     Amazon

APPLE     SPRINT     MUSTANG     GOOGLE     NIKON     BMW     FERRARI     PENTIUM     INTEL     KODAK     AMAZON

They must be intense names in that you like saying them. Technology, the field, is characterized as being progressive with new ideas, innovative, powerful, eliminating obstacles in the way, like time. Strength. Power. Grrrrr.

Apple works well for the company. The fruit is characterized as being a dietary staple, and there are many varieties for people to choose from. Apple computers promotes itself as being for everyone. Good stable computers that will last for years, and they’re designed to be attractive so you do want people knowing you pack one in your bag or have one sitting on your desk. They’re a must-have; an office and a home staple.

What’s in a name are memories. You and I may have had no negative experiences with ‘the name,’ but others may. Then again, we can’t necessarily predict someone’s fantastic experience with another name. The firefly, for eample, is a small bettle that glows. We wonder how it regulates its glow. It intrigues us. The Pontiac Firefly is a sub-compact automobile. We wonder how it can work on a 1.0-1.3 L engine. When my aunt was looking to buy a used car, one of her friends talked her against buying a Firefly. He obviously had had a bad experience. So much for the name doing the vehicle justice. He’d much rather crush the Pontiac Firefly just like some do bugs…well, you know. For me, the name ‘Louise’ isn’t a geeky girl with glasses and a massive head of brown curls piled high atop her head in a bun, as she is often portrayed in children’s stories. To me, Louise is a family friend who will go out of her way to make you feel at home. She will drive you to the airport and back. She will come see you when you’re ill and bring you soup. She’ll pick up your mail when you are out of town. And she has this incredible sense of humour, and the biggest heart on earth.

Now, can anyone tell me why SocietyMuster wouldn’t be a good name for software catering to membership-based organizations? It’s available. It hasn’t been chosen.

Analogies

Not understanding is like having a thorn stuck in your thumb that just won’t come out. You don’t know why, and it’s painful.

Ketchup makes a hotdog taste better. It’s like putting a dab of perfume on.

Knowing where your container is at all times with a tracking system is relief in knowing the day will go well. Importers will not be bugging you for tracking information, you won’t be constantly interrupted, and you can get home on time and in a good mood.

They say you need to dress for success. A website is the first appearance you make to clients online. A professional web designer styles your site, so it will make people stop, comment, and say, ‘you have it together.’

E-commerce is just like having another cash register.

Think, no more playing around with Excel spreadsheets and papers. A custom developed piece of software is like a maid. It does all the work that you really don’t want to do, automatically. Plus, you own it and nobody else does, so there’s bragging rights.

Analogies can help make an abstract idea, or an idea that seems unrelated to an area of discussion, clear. They create similarities and play a role in

  • problem solving—Do I really need this?
  • decision making—Which option is better? Who can I rely on?
  • perception—Smoking makes me look sexy and sophisticated versus Smoking makes me stink, and my teeth and fingers yellow.
  • memory—What was it that the salesperson said it was like? Oh yes, ‘as soft as a baby’s bottom.’
  • creativity—Just think, all the time I could save if I didn’t have to…
  • emotion—I love tomatoes. They’re so plump, bright and round. They make me happy versus Ah, tomato soup! It looks like blood!
  • explanation—I could get to work on time if I had a car. I wouldn’t need to wait forever for the bus. and,
  • communication—When you translate something, what are you doing? You are moving something over from one language to another. It doesn’t change, it’s just being shifted. It’s the same thing in math. You’re moving the shape around. It stays the same. You’re not changing it at all. You’re just moving it.

A marketing professional with several more years experience than myself, recently reaffirmed my belief that being able to relate a service or product to a client is invaluable. The client, then, is better able to understand your service or product because it relates to his or her world. If you can empathize with the client, understand the need, the want, precautions, and thinking process of that client, then a much deeper discussion and relationship can be built – rather than just a selling engagement. The 30-second elevator sales pitch is a good starting point; it’s a good way to get a prospective client’s attention and introduce yourself. But to keep that conversation going, beyond the 30-seconds and the ‘Nice to meet you,’ a familiarity with the industry, lingo, and lifestyle, can go a long way to establishing a positive business relationship and friendship. (Because we all know people like buying from people they like.) It’s drawing attention to similarities.

Doctors, in particular, use analogies to help their patients (their clients) understand ailing conditions. It’s important because they deal with human lives, and it’s important we understand. My dentist says that ‘teeth are like a car. If you don’t take care of it, it doesn’t function properly and breaks down. The same with your teeth.’ I have to agree with him. It makes sense.

The marketing professional that I was speaking with, says that marketers and salespeople that can relate to their clients’ lives are worth their weight in gold.

More medical analogies can be found at .http://www.altoonafp.org/analogies.htm.

The Price of Technology

What got me thinking about the price of technology was a coworker who bought her son an mp3 player from Walmart for $20. Two months later, she finally opened the box and began using it herself. This tiny little device that stores music and pictures, which I recall being all the rage not that long ago, can now be bought for next to nothing. A quick search on the Internet prices mp3 players anywhere between $18 and $300.

Technology evolves very fast. It is rare to see the economic life of a technology—the period of greatest profitability and of greatest value to consumers—exceeding 10 years. Think of the quick evolution of the television set within these past couple of years. It used to be a big clunky thing. Now it can be mounted on a wall like a picture frame, or it’s so large that it has the grandest presence in a room than ever before. The back-and-white television? What happened to that? I remember being given one several years back when my colour television had broken. There was nothing wrong with it. It just wasn’t colour. When I finally bought a new colour television, I enjoyed the added luxury of knowing the shade of an actor’s sweater and the hue of the leaves on the trees in the background.

Technology becomes obsolete due to market competition. There are so many companies out there today that watch what their competitors are doing, and either have the capability to improve and come out with their own versions, or simply copy what is available and offer it at a cheaper price. However, when you choose the cheaper price, you forgo the ‘extras’ which make a device exciting.

Higher prices on technological goods often last for a select period of time, and only as long as the technology is considered new with better computing capability; so the story of the mp3 player and the black-and-white television set. Just this morning the news was reporting that soon enough we will be able to plug our cellphones into our television sets, so we can see the images and screens larger. They’ve been saying this about the Internet, as well. These are the innovative luxuries that will cost much as soon as they become readily available.

But, do you really have to be the early adopter? If you wait awhile, a year or two or maybe three, something else newer, faster, sleeker, and better will come out, making prices come down. You can have the technology. It’s becoming common.