Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

MSNBC/BusinessWeek recently published Gene Marks’ Tech ‘Solutions’ Your Small Biz Can’t Use where he seems to dismiss “all things internet” and debunks “highfalutin software and gadgets aim to help you run your company.” The comments shred the article, and are very interesting to read.


Promises, Promises

A great website cannot save a poor/ordinary/boring product or idea. And great SEO/SEM cannot save a poorly done website. If you have an ordinary commodity product, stop.


Vacation Auto Replies Are Evil (and can make you look like a Dweeb)

If I email you and don’t get a response on December 24th, I’m not going to sit around wondering why and think you’re a lazy son-of-a-bitch. Autoreplies are evil, and serve little purpose except in mission-critical solve-it-now roles like doctors, lawyers involved in litigation, and IT professionals running high TOS systems. Not you. Turn it off :-)


My Best Office Investments of 2007

Amazon Prime – This returned probably 500%+ ROI. Worth every dime. EndPCNoise Workstation – the sweetest Windows XP machine I’ve owned. Spooky quiet. Fujitsu ScanSnap – This was the year I went digital on just about everything. This was the reason. Simulscribe – My voice mails, transcribed, and emailed to me. (I don’t know why…


5 Methods to Track Offline Conversions – and Plug Huge Marketing Budget Leaks.

One of the most difficult challenges is tracking paid search performance via telephone calls for the small business. While a few will spring for a new 800 number or IVR system to get some of that information and train phone staff in its use, many cannot due to the workaday reality. Often the busy office environment means metrics go out the window in favor of just getting the order out, so the company continues to guess.


Meta Data in Online Manuals Matters!

I dislike Volusion for many reasons, but this one stands out. Searching their owners manual gives results, but you must bang through each to find anything. So far, everything in Volusion takes 5x more steps than I think it should. Anyhow, no time to write that book… here’s an example of a useless SERP typical…


Lazy Form Programming

From Amazon’s Askville:

This crap drives me nuts.

Amazon, here’s some Javascript code, for free:

var strAddress2use = strAddressFromForm.replace(“http:////”, “”);

It’s a little more work in Ruby and PHP, but .. you get the picture.

The Amazing World of Navigational Searches

In the past few months’ time I’ve spent more than my usual amount of time watching others surf the web. I am always astonished by how poor people are at knowing where to type searches, or web addresses, or login information. When I ask someone to go to a website, there is genuine confusion about where or how. It’s no surprise to me that a thriving sub-economy exists based on navigational searches – which I define loosely as “typing a web site URL into a search box because you want to visit it.”

Most of the time it’s user issues that causes navigational searches IMO:

The toolbars have been dragged out of whack.
I don’t even think about, I just type.
Ambiguity between “search”, “find”, and “address bar” in browsers such as IE7.
Alcohol or Drugs, Senility, or perhaps Loud Children.

Some people have real reasons for it. Here are a few:

I don’t have to worry as much about typos.
I sometimes want to look at the cache
I get a quick glance at other sites referring to it (talk about ad-hoc reputation management!)
I’m a rebel, damnit, and you ain’t gonna change me.

A terrific article on navigational searches prompted me to begin a list of good resources on this matter. I also found this terrific write up by Jeremy Crane over at compete’s blog. It was also eye-opening.



I thought I’d look at buying some shelves.  But when I looked at how many pages this site had, I was suddenly feeling pretty exhausted.    By page 16, I think I’ll need a nap. Oh, in case you’re wondering, searching didn’t help, you had to know the SKU. Advice: You should improve your server…


Auditions Today! A Fluid, Simple Way to Narrow Blogs

We are all busy, but most of us love blogs. Finding, filtering, and selecting blogs is something that must be done by hand. because it requires that we personally evaluate an author’s efforts and give them enough time to show their stuff. It’s my blog audition, borne from necessity.

At one point I had 1400 blogs in Google Reader, haphazardly picked. Even with nicely developed folders, filters, and so on, I found myself wasting far too much time. So one day I got fed up. I did the equivalent of “touch bloglist.opml” and started over.

And, what evolved afterward was a very simple and effective method for narrowing down the thousands of blogs without impacting your daily flow.


Mix up Blogs or Break Them Down?

My blog has a mix of topics, all generally related to web business consulting. But I also put a few humorous topics as well as a few relevant (business web) posts about Lexington, KY. I receive casual comments all the time about people saying they like it, but my subscriber counts are stuck and often…


SMX Local / Mobile – Wrap Up Session – High Points

A terrific brain trust of folks answered great questions that I’ve tried to aggregate into an organized list you may find very helpful. Enjoy! The Q/A was especially helpful and added a lot to the session.

Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence

TIP: See the end of this post for other coverage on the conference too.



SMX Local / Mobile Mobile Search: Beyond 10 Blue Links

Mobile Search: Beyond 10 Blue Links
Fascinating presentation at SMX Local Mobile.
Mobile searchers don’t want lists of web pages – they want answers or fast ways to take action. Mobile search providers are increasingly experimenting with alternative interfaces, such as location-aware browsing, voice recognition, text messaging and other innovative approaches. Learn about these new efforts and how they potentially impact mobile search marketing efforts.

(room sparse, but excellent presentation!)


SMX Local / Mobile – Show me the money!

Show Me the Money!

So there are Billions out there. But who’s making money now. How will SEMs place bets now to ensure their success? Show me the money!

Greg Sterling


Ian White, CEO, Urban Mapping
Shawn Riegsecker, Chairman & CEO, Centro
Justin Sanger, CEO, LocalLaunch
Alfred Chow, Head, Yellowbook

Lots of energy in the room for this one. Big variety on the panel. PACKED ROOM.
Live Blogging after the jump


SMX Local / Mobile – The Ultimate Local Ad Model

Local businesses want leads and customers, not clicks. Although pay-per-click and pay-per-call are the two prevalent ad models to reach local searchers, will other models like CPA/PPA ultimately be more effective?

(Partial Liveblogging – other presenters not blogged… couldn’t get a coherant flow going :-P)

Steven Chuck, Director of Strategic Alliances, Yahoo!


SMX Local / Mobile – Putting Local Search on the Map

This is a liveblogging entry from SMX Local/Mobile – a conference I’m attending in Denver, CO.

This was the best session I’ve attended yet at the conference. Lots of great information and engaging speakers. Good questions from the room and highly relevant content. Bravo!

Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land

Alex Porter, Vice President, Location3 Media
Alan Beiagi, Director and GM, Mapquest
Michael Jones Google – replaced Microsoft who didn’t show


SMX Local Search SEO Best Practices – SMXLoMo – Denver

A really good session covering some tips and tricks related to local search. I picked up on some things I’d not known before, and it sounds like I should get kicking on some hcard and address tagging of some clients. After Chris Sherman did introductions, these are the folks who did presentations. The presentations went fast, but I did my best :-)


Focusing Outward

I found this on, and it resonated. Some people thrive on the energy of a constant battle. On how badly they can take those around them. Not me. It kills me. And, at least for me, I discovered there is a much better way to launch and grow your small business or reinvigorate your…