Build “Near Me” Search

Smartphones link to all kinds of local information. Terms like “near me” “closest” and “nearby” are rapidly growing into the most popular search terms

Source: Build Your Business with “Near Me” Search

Not all of us have a brick and mortar business to apply a physical address to for this “near me” search idea. However, it can still work for you and your site.

Consider your content as a resource. First, the topic. It may be a physical object like electronics, fashion, etc. Or, an idea, hobby, like collecting stamps, help for hoarders, etc. The “near me” plan will still work for your site, and you.

Think about the resource you can build for readers who want local content and resources. Not just location but topic too. What other relevant or related topics could people be searching for in your niche?

If your site is about an idea or hobby find all the local resources and list them. Local to you is the easiest and most relevant list you can make. Not only can you find resources via Google search but you can talk to people in the community and find resources Google hasn’t found or not available online.

If you are writing about fashion, electronics or another niche topic you can also build up a list of resources for local search/ readers. Promote your resource as location based. Even if you just make it a page on your site, or a post, rather than turning your site into a local resource – you can still catch the “near me” searchers – and give them what they are looking for.

Miscommunication?

I don’t think this is sending the message they really want the public to receive.

It almost made me laugh. I come from a background of small business owners, often working on call seven days a week. I myself have mainly been in customer service or freelancing which has few days off, lots of being on call and I only get paid if I show up and keep working. So, I was surprised and then almost laughed out loud when I saw this come up on a website for a union. unionjobSource: The Media Union of BC

Since 2000… Can you Tell

This is a screen capture from a therapy clinic in Ontario. I’ve never seen anyone put a happy couple photo up like this. I think it’s a great idea for a small business, especially something intimate like a therapist. I’m posting about it for the people who work in web publishing and for the writers…

since2000

What story could you tell about this couple from their photos? Are they a happy couple? What does the body language look like to you? How have the years since 2000 been for them? What hardships and great events have they come through, together still?
Source: Newmarket Massage Therapy Clinic – Newmarket

Saving the Open Web?

Source: Can we save the open web? | Dries Buytaert

My comment:

I remember pre-Google. The Internet began shrinking when business became involved. Personal and hobby sites, especially those on Blogger or GeoCities were sneered at. Web mail for email became a reason to block or ban people. Funny how that attitude never seemed to touch GMail.

AOL began the filtered Internet. If AOL was your ISP you didn’t get on the Internet and see everything as everyone else did. AOL blocked and filtered the user experience to suit themselves. Now AOL is seldom heard of. I assume they were swallowed up by some other company.

I miss the Internet before social media. Though I do like Twitter, most of the rest are clutter, popularity contests and marketing extravaganzas where no one is really listening any more. Fifteen years ago we had blocks for pop up ads and frames. Now pop ups are back and almost no one gets into a ranting fit about them. Ironically, I wasn’t bothered much by them the first time around. But they really do bug me now. Especially those which descend as soon as you move your mouse to your browser bar.

There are far less personal or hobby sites now. People want to use information to make a buck. That’s not terrible but it does make everything less trustworthy. I review sites with dmoz, still. I see a lot of garbage. The interesting thing is noting how the garbage has changed over the years. There are always new schemes cropping up. Some good sites get drowned out just because they are personal sites, don’t look sleek and professional.

Marketing, content selling and so on isn’t a bad thing, so much. I think it’s more an issue of intentions. Too many sites are focused on SEO, keywords, marketing and they have forgotten people. Not so different with business, retail, commercial offline. Customer service is something they promote but don’t really care about. (I worked as a department store cashier, I heard all the pep talks in between being told how to sell/ market and smile). Meanwhile customer service people are paid minimum wage, like a lot of sales people. The Internet could hardly avoid this same phoniness.

I hope they can find a balance, but I don’t think we will ever get there. Twenty years ago people came online for different reasons. It really was social then. The Internet was about communication with IRC, BBS, etc. How many of those are still active – spam doesn’t count as activity. Now we have social media but it is flooded with marketing. Facebook is full of meaningless games built to scam people in small cash amounts over time, addicting, like gambling but legal.

I don’t think we can get back what the Internet was, it doesn’t even have the atmosphere of being friendly any more. It’s a business, impersonal but with a smile.

The Best Contact Page

As an editor/ site reviewer at dmoz I’ve seen a lot of sites. Today I found what may be my favourite ever contact page on a site. Here is the screenshot. Notice how simple it is to know where they are located. I like the city name as a header before each physical address too. Even if there were only one location, it sets it off very nicely. I like the map, big and easily read. Plain, simple and tidy – really nice.

Above this is the header with the company name, phone number and navbar.

If you have a business site, consider this a great template for your contact page.
best contact page
Source: Celco

Making your Site Work Globally

The best way to make your site international is to have access to a translation application visible. I don’t do this myself because I keep a translator from Google in my Chrome web browser. A simple solution. People who only know one or few languages should be prepared to encounter other languages. It is then their choice to translate, run away or ignore them. Of course, it depends on how interesting and well put together the site looks, that first impression.

Trying to cater to multiculturalism, global protocols, and international readers is a good thing, in moderation. But, you can’t possibly include everyone.

Instead, identify your own location. Show where you are from and who you are. Some of your readers will be happy to find they have something in common with you (at least geographically) and others will be interested to know more about your culture, history, traditions and point of view.

The advice given with this post (link below) is mainly cosmetic. Design and colours can make your site have more international or global appeal but I don’t think keeping it neutral is really in your best interest. Boldness, drama and colour will do more for your site than becoming neutral or bland.

Source: Think Global: 3 Tips to make your websites Internationalized • Inspired Magazine

Modern Blogging is too Limited

Modern bloggers are limited by caring too much about other stuff – Google, SEO, readers who might or might not come back, advertising, and so many other business and marketing related things. Since blogging became a business and a marketing scheme, it has limited itself. Blogging stopped being really creative, innovative and inventive. It lost that loving feeling.

When did you last feel excited about your site? The day you started it? Over the holidays when you added some Christmas images? When you took that week off and came back to it?

We should be feeling excited, happy or at least interested in our sites all the time. Modern blogging has taken that away. If you blog to make Google happy, to make your readers happy, or to perform marketing tricks, when do you blog to make yourself happy? Don’t start telling me you blog to make money – it’s your business. If you really believe that why are you here? Go away. Yes, go, leave… now.

Creative blogging is about doing something you can love, enjoy, value beyond dollars and cents.

What do you really want from a blog? When you got the idea did you visualize something fabulous, in full colour, a showcase for yourself, your ideas and your path to fame and popularity as a celebrity of your own making!

Sure you did. I don’t know anyone who didn’t start a blog with the idea of becoming a web celebrity, even if they didn’t (and would never) tell anyone else or admit it to even their best friend and most trusted brother or sister. At one time people were calling themselves a web or Internet personality. It was a way of saying they were someone other people knew online. Setting yourself up as a celebrity tempts people to pop your bubble. So, the best way to be a web personality is to just do it and not talk about how famous, well connected and popular you are. Just be and let the chips fall where they will.

These days the blogging celebrities seem to be people who tell us they are celebrities – they tell us how to make money and market our blogs/ sites. Most of them, if you do the fact checking, have not had a site for a full year. Maybe they have an attitude, a way of writing, which people listen to. That does not mean they know what they are talking about. It does not mean you should listen to them and believe all they say or do anything they tell you to do.

Blog your own way. Be creative. Be inventive. Discover your own way to blog and be happy with it. Have fun. Creative something you really like rather than something you feel obligated to work towards.

You can be a happy blogger. Just stop caring about what what everyone else is doing.

Ad Blocking May Change the Way the Web Works

The open web was around before advertising and SEO and the commercially focused web. The open web was not based on making a buck by turning the web into a spam pool.

If advertisers want my attention they can find a better way to get it than aggravating me to the point where I block their ads!

But, it’s so much easier for them to keep on spamming. Using sneaky, under-handed and aggressive tactics treats people like robots. No one wants unavoidable advertising, running on bloated software, forced on them over and over and over. Why do you think people go ad blind? Part desensitization and part self preservation, ad blindness keeps people from getting spam overload.

Capture

PageFair chief executive and co-founder Sean Blanchfield, said: “With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse.”

Source: The impact of ad blocking set to hit $41bn | The Drum

Why Have a Membership Site?

I’ve been thinking of ways to keep my domains active, other than using them as blogs. Keeping a blog is time consuming, every day. I’d like to have a few sites active as blogs (those I can sustain reasonably) and find some other use for the rest. A complimentary use would be smarter than spinning off in another direction.

So, membership sites came up as an idea. Not only could I find another way to use the domains/ sites but they could manage to pull in some money which would make the whole thing a little self sufficient.

However, what sort of membership content would work for me and what would people find useful? This is where I am in my planning. I did find a post which had me thinking…

I’m going to share two different ideas for members only content. The first, value content, appeals to your audience from a learning and business perspective, while the second, insider content, appeals to your audience from a more curious angle. Either approach can be effective. Ideally you find a way to use them both.

Value content is content that will help your readers make money or do something they’re really interested in. It’s especially useful and relevant to your readers.

Insider content gives your audience some insight into you and your work routine or life. Humans are naturally curious and interested in people we admire. Entire TV shows and magazines are dedicated to documenting celebrity life.

Source: 3 membership site ideas

I’m not sold on Members only content. Yes, it likely works for many people. But, it also makes more to keep track of and organize for the site owner. I’d need to schedule more content. Content in addition to my regular posts. Likely, longer posts which would take more time to write. Considering I want to work my way back to daily posting, this type of content is not sustainable for me.

Instead a membership could be for use of a discussion forum which the site owner moderates or live content/ chats. The live chat, podcasts and etc. could be kept available as archives (when the content is a month old, not so fresh that a membership has no real value) for your site readers. But, members get the time spent with you to ask questions, get feedback, etc.

There is also the ebook or newsletter. I’d consider an ebook, but keeping it fairly short. I’m not at all keen on the newsletter idea. I really don’t think anyone still reads those. I don’t.

Of these ideas the discussion forum seems the most sustainable for me. But, is it useful enough for people to want a membership?