Share The Wins

We live in a crazy time. Apathy, confusion of focus, overwhelm, and an abiding sense of hollow abound.

It’s weird. We are being pulled a million different directions. And as Harry Nilsson says in his script The Point “A point in every direction is a point is no direction at all.”

Social networking sites give us points of “contact.” But, often the contacts are unsatisfying or a bit hollow. This is were sharing a win comes in.

Any time you can contact someone that participated in a project (on any level) and tell them about a “win” for the project you are giving a bit of focus and helping point the way to some value in their work.

“Hey, thanks for giving me that lead the other day it looks like I’ll  be sitting down with them for some serious conversation.” This shows you to be a winner. This shows the person you are contacting that you appreciate their help. This shows that person that what they do matters. And, encourages them. Everyone can benefit from a little encouragement.

So share those wins.

It Takes Passion

I was speaking with two new clients this evening. A very pleasant couple, both artists with a background in several old school marketing. They know what they are getting into and are well prepared for it.

That’s not what this blog is about. At least not directly. As I was speaking with the couple, asking questions, poking and prodding into their situation and hopes for their website I realized what it was I looking for — I was looking for their passion. Before taking them on as clients I needed to uncover the degree of passion they had for their business.

It is clear to me that passion is the one thing that will help see one through the road ahead of each website owner. Need does not do it. Trying to get from here to there with “need” as your fuel is not the way to go.

Need can be a powerful motivator. But, working from need can be such a struggle.

I’ll give you an example. We all know that social media is an excellent place to make contacts and create buzz about your website. And, we know that if your need is profound enough you can keep your nose to the grindstone without fail. However, if you have a passion then you don’t have to worry about keeping your nose to a grindstone — there is no grind.

If you are passionate about ceramics creating blogs, tweets, and writing on facebook walls about ceramics is no chore — it is your passion. It comes easy AND the process is your reward. Using a need to drive you is so different. A need for sales is not satisfied in the present. The connection between writing yet another blog about ceramics and making a sale is tenuous at best. There is correlation. But it is hardly absolute. Hence, writing  blogs, tweets, and facebook prods will not translate into immediate satisfaction.

Need is good. A need for sales will turn a hobbyist into a pro. But the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine (of day to day work) go down is passion.

When trying to satisfy a need (such as income generation) I believe it is crucial to find a way that allows for the expression of your passion at the same time. This will give you the juice to make it through the humps and hurdles that are sure to come your way in this business.

Why I Do This

I had a great meeting today with an old friend that I haven’t seen for about a decade.

He is preparing for retirement from a very successful dental laboratory service company that he built from the ground up. Now that he is getting closer to that magical day, he has begun in earnest the process of building a set of websites that will be enjoyable for him to run, exercise his penchant for creative activities, and provide a handy income to supplement his current portfolio.

For his purposes it looks like he will need seven websites. All of the websites involve hobbies or passions he has nurtured over the years. But, he just wasn’t able to make the leap from thinking about doing it to doing it.

What was holding him back? A handful of progress blocking speed bumps — a few web issues beyond his skill set. To him they were monstrous complexities. To me, because of my background in programming and website design, they were interesting challenges to be processed through rather quickly.

It was like a cork screw salesman stumbling upon a group of friends gathered in the park for an outdoor wine tasting event — to which no one had thought to bring a bottle opener.

Through my geekitude and background, I was able to remove a road block that was keeping him from creative expression of his passions.

I didn’t create his passion, I can’t take any credit for the hard work ahead of him. But, I can feel good about helping him get started — and perhaps lending a hand from time to time at need.

To me this is leverage of the best variety.

Through The Indulgence Of Strangers

Your business and productive life is not something you want to trust to the indulgence of strangers.

Unfortunately that is the situation that many of us find ourselves in. This came to me in sharp, unavoidable clarity after my iMac hard drive was toasted this past week.

I purchased my iMac because I needed a system that would provide a hospitable environment for both OS X and for WinXP. The iMac as advertised as doing this. That is not quite true. Sorta true, but not really true.

The iMac is very hospitable to the OS X, but it only tolerates (marginally) the WinXP. Windows is treated like an unwelcome but tolerated guest on the machine. Some Mac users will take exemption to this statements. Most Mac users will wonder what kind of idiot would bother putting WinXP on a Mac when they have a perfectly (and superior) operating system already installed OS X.

Actually I agree that OS X is a superior operating system. I like it. But alas, several key programs that I require for my work are not available in any flavor on the Mac side of bootcamp. Bootcamp is the program that allows me to switch back and forth between the two operating systems. I think of them as two sides of the computer — the mac side and the windows side. But really there is not windows side.

Near as I can figure it, bootcamp works with a huge file area that is set aside for use by the Windows OS and software. So Windows is a guest of the OS X.

Now that my WinXP install is toasted as a result of a hard drive crash I have zero access to my files. If the system was a PC desktop, it would have been easy to remove the hard drive and put it into an external drive case and salvage parts of the file system using any number of software tools.

But since the file system is not really a hard drive file system (it is a pseudo file system) these third-party programs are not capable of accessing the information. Thus I am unable to salvage even bits and pieces of my previous data.

Fortunately most of my data was backed up. I think I may have lost a week of work. Some of which can be redone, some of which is beyond reclamation.

But this got me to thinking about guest systems, or systems that rely upon layers upon layers of drivers and interface.

There was a time when a word document was only readable in the Word program. Many years ago a client sent me a proposal that was in word format — rather than the request rtf interchangeable format. It took me quite some time to find a means to read that file. I finally had to write a program of my own to dump the text data so that I could at least read the ascii portion of the letter. This may sound strange, now that we have so many programs that are capable of importing Word documents. But at the time there was not a competing program that could import the new word format I was sent.

Yes, that is ancient news. But, today there are many examples of similar situations. Try to get access to a 3DS Max model if you do not have the program. Deep Exploration can import and export dozens and dozens of model formats — no problem. But, they are not allowed to import and export Maya or 3DS Max models. Not because they are incapable of writing the plugins. They are not allowed by the manufacturer.

This means that any model saved in a maya or max format requires access to a working copy of the program. If the program stops working — or they upgrade program without allowing for compatibility with older versions — you are sunk. But, they would not do that. That is true. But, they could.

I really like Maya. It is a great program. I would continue to use my copy of Maya forever — even if the company went out of business. But, I can’t use Maya if the company goes out of business. If they go out of business how am I going to get an activation code when it comes time to re-install Maya because yet another hard drive was toasted.

Any program you have that requires internet or phone activation also requires that the mother company continue to do business. We saw recently major financial institutions go belly up. How is it impossible to consider the folks supporting Maya to not go under? Admittedly, they are big enough I don’t worry about them. But what about the folks in Finale that put out PrintMusic. They are not so huge. They could easily call it a day. Then my software, for which I purchased a perpetual license, would not install because there would be no on available to activate it.

Something the hardware and software manufacturers are discovering (much to their chagrin) is the fact that some of us like to keep our working (and expensive) software.

All of this is beside the point. It is germane, but not on direct target. The issue is, we are functioning at the indulgence of strangers. I suggest making audits to make sure you have data backed up on ways that will allow access — should anything go wrong.

The easier it is for me to get my grubby little fingers on the data the better I feel about it. Take this blog for example, if one uses the export feature of blogger the data can be saved in an open xml format. I can totally access to my words. Meaning that if google had a hiccup and wiped my blog clean, I have a backup. AND, that backup can be accessed directly by me — not just by an import filter proprietary to google.

Unfortunately, that is not true of everything. So I am auditing my involvements to see where I am at most risk and see what I can do about minimizing those risks.

Before You Promote — Provoke.

Before we look at who (or what) you should be provoking, let’s be clear about which usage of provoke we are intending.

Below are a few definitions for provoke that can be found at

  1. to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex.
  2. to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity)
  3. to incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action.
  4. to give rise to, induce, or bring about.

The form of provoke that is intended in the expression “Before  you promote — provoke” is all of the above except for #1 — stir up, arouse, call forth, incite, stimulate to action, give rise to, induce, or bring about.

And who should you be provoking. First yourself, then a few friends, then hopefully your target audience.

Before you promote a website — or web page — you need to incite yourself to really, really look at the site and make sure it does one very important thing. If your website does not do this one very important thing, then you should not be spending money to promote it.

What is this very important thing? In a minute, I’ll tell ya in a minute. 

But first, let’s look at this issue of provoking a few friends. What is that all about? Simple, before you spend money to promote your website you must provoke a few friends into looking at the site, really looking at it. Not saying they will look at it later, then watching some youtube clips. They really need to look at it. Will all the friends you ask actually look at your site? No. But, you must get at least a few people to look at your site and give you a little feedback.

What is the feedback you want from these few friends you have provoked into looking at your website? You want to know if your website accomplishes that “very important thing” mentioned above. Can your friends tell you this? No, probably not. But they can jabber on for awhile; and, if you listen carefully you might be able to glean from their feedback whether or not the said “very important thing” is being accomplished.

So what is this “very important thing?” Here it is. Does your website provoke readers to any action? Does it incite them? Does it stir them up, arouse them, stimulate, or call forth any action? If it does not do this, do not waste your money on promotion. There is no reason to promote a website that does not provoke some action.

That action can be contacting you for more information. That action can be making a purchase. Or that action can be clicking on a link that takes the reader to an affiliate program. But it needs to be something.

By the way. You may have noticed a lack of provocation to action in this blog. This blog is not designed to provoke an action. The information brought forth in these pages is for the benefit of my clients. When I get a question from a client, and I feel the answer to that question would benefit others, I post my response here. Admittedly some things fall into the category of “products of work in progress” and can’t be shared. But for those things that can be shared, this is my way of handing out homework.


Yearn, long, hanker, pine all mean to feel a powerful desire for something.

Yearn stresses the depth and passionateness of a desire: to yearn to get away and begin a new life; to yearn desperately for recognition.

Long implies a wholehearted desire for something that is or seems unattainable: to long to relive one’s childhood; to long for the warmth of summer.

Hanker suggests a restless or incessant craving to fulfill some urge or desire: to hanker for a promotion; to hanker after fame and fortune.

Pine adds the notion of physical or emotional suffering as a result of the real or apparent hopelessness of one’s desire: to pine for one’s native land; to pine for a lost love.

Desire, craving, longing, yearning suggest feelings that impel one to the attainment or possession of something.

Desire is a strong feeling, worthy or unworthy, that impels to the attainment or possession of something that is (in reality or imagination) within reach: a desire for success.

Craving implies a deep and imperative wish for something, based on a sense of need and hunger: a craving for food, companionship.

A longing is an intense wish, generally repeated or enduring, for something that is at the moment beyond reach but may be attainable at some future time: a longing to visit Europe.

Yearning suggests persistent, uneasy, and sometimes wistful or tender longing: a yearning for one’s native land.

New Blog Started

Based on some of the feedback from yesterday’s blog about sprouts I decided to start a sprouting blog. It is up and running on Kitchen Counter Gardening.

In case you are wondering, “why put the blog on WordPress when you already have your other blogs on blogspot?” Several of my web design clients have been asking me for help with their WordPress sites. It is true that one can learn quite a bit about a CMS using a local server installation such as WAMP. I have a windows apache mysql php install on my desktop so that I can test Joomla, wordpress, and other CMS systems. All part of my php programming adventure.

However, to really stumble upon the little tricks and traps of a CMS (content management system) one really needs to use it in earnest. Nothing like really wanting to accomplish something to run you smack dab into pot holes and speed bumps. For example, every time I want to monkey with the settings for the front page it takes me forever to remember that the front page settings are under Appearance/Reading. When I find it, it makes sense. But when I am poking around in the menu system it just doesn’t jump out at me saying click here.

In any case, I needed a real-life project to get into the nuts and bolts of WordPress so that is why the Kitchen Counter Gardening blog is on

Sprouts — The Miracle Poverty Food

I’m not much of a sprouting expert. Can’t sprout a zillion different seeds and beans. Basically I sprout a few items that I have found over the years to be easy and reliable to work with — mung beans for example.

Even so, I am a total advocate of sprouting. I wish it could break away from the reputation of hippie new age kitchen practices and enter into the main stream. Mostly because I believe sprouting can easily improve the quality of life for many individuals living on a budget.

While it is true that I have had the good fortune to make a nice piece of change with programming, it is also true that I have spent a good part of my life living on the financial edge. When buying food on a budget, fresh vegetables are the first causalities.

This is unfortunate. Fresh living food is important to attitude and sense of well-being. Poverty is not the time to let your attitude go.

Faced with the prospect of not enough money for fresh vegetables, I would resort to rice and beans — good foods but lacking in the things that fresh living foods can provide.

Sprouting to the rescue. One day I discovered (actually re-discovered) that if I put those beans into a jar I could convert those dried high-starch nuggets into living vibrant fresh vegetables.

It takes some planning. It takes some discipline. It takes some grunt work. But with not too much extra effort one can get started on the path of kitchen counter gardening and really stretch your budget.

Things You Would Not Expect

While working on an SEO posting for my other blog it became necessary to find a search expression that would return only a few results. I wanted to find a search phrase for which there would only be a few pages that matched.

Silly me, for some reason I figured “tattooing pigs” would yield few, if any, results. Did you know that tattooing pigs is a huge endeavor on this planet. Artists all over the world are using our swine buddies as canvases for their art. Go to google, type in “tattooing pigs” and press the search button. You will find somewhere in the neighborhood of 723,000 pages on the topic of tattooing pigs. That’s almost a million pages on the topic. I would have lost that bet. Tattooed Poultry is even worse — 3,730,000 results.

A “left-handed monkey wrench” has only 12,000 search results. Turns out that this is an unusually low number.

When I started this hunt for search terms with low results I had no idea how truly weird the situation had become. Alas, I need to find a nice corner and go catatonic for a while.

At least good ol’ “morphotony” still only had 64 results.

p.s. If you want to see the end of this hunt check out “Walk In Traffic” on my SEO blog

Walk In Traffic

A Walk In is either a customer that happens to travel past your store and decide on the spur of the moment to drop in or they are a person whose original soul has departed his or her body and has been replaced with a new soul, either temporarily or permanently.

In this blog we are referring to customers. So please put your marketing thinking cap on.

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a land far far away a website would receive a far bit of walk in or drop by traffic. These are people that just happened to locate and visit your website through the vagaries of the internet.

Those days appear to be long gone. Unless you do something to deliberately promote traffic to your website it is most likely that you will receive zero traffic.

Let’s look at some numbers to see why this might be.

If you expect to get traffic from a walk in they will need to see your page in the search engine results page. To see your page in they search engine results page, they need to have done a search. So what is the average number of searches performed per day?

  • Google    91 million per day
  • Yahoo    60 million per day
  • MSN    28 million per day
  • AOL    16 million per day
  • Ask    13 million per day
  • Others    6 million per day
  • Total    213 million per day

Thus your total potential exposure is 213 million per day. That is if all of the above searches are for your keyword combinations. How many searches are there for your keyword combination? Great question. So far I have found no answers. Google is extremely protective of actual numbers. They will give you graphs depicting trends and hot searches. But they do not give actual numbers on these charts.

For example, if you look up the search trend on “obama birthday” you will find a dramatic increase in August. But there are no numbers shown. Just the percentage increase.

This is an unfortunate gap in our ability to get a handle on what is happening. Deliberate I’m sure. But unfortunate.

So let’s just make up some numbers to illustrate the process. Let’s assume that out of the 213 million searches per day 1% are on your exact keyword combination. This is an absurdly high number. That would mean 2.13 million people a day could potentially see your page in the search engine results. But what page are you on? And how many pages into the results can you reasonably expect people to dig?

On rare occasions I will dig three pages into the search results. How many pages will you dig? Two? Three? Ten? If you are not on page 1, 2, or 3 you can pretty much drop any expectation of being found in the search results.

This is the situation for most people. Most folks do not show up in the top of the search results. This means that either they receive zero traffic or they promote.

But, wait a minute I thought the holy grail of SEO was going to get me on the front page of google search results. Check out a short discussion on my take concerning what SEO is.

Now that the internet is a vast wasteland filling with trillions of web pages the accidental visitorship of days gone by are long gone.

Today there is little or no accidental visitorship. Count on promotion. Don’t even dream you can bait a hook, drop it in the water and hope for a bite. It could happen, but it’s not very likely.