Alternatives to Google for Searching the Internet

One source for Google search alternatives is alternativeTo. The listings come from people on the Internet, using sites, services, and software and deciding which they like to use best. (Of course, software developers, businesses, and marketers are also free to post on the site too). Overall, the alternativeTo site is not so popular that marketers have flooded it with junk. So, the site is a really good source for software reviews and alternatives to try.

A few to get you started: 

Google Knows Where you Live and They Want to Tell Everyone

Did you know Google keeps track of everything you do online, with any Google products, software, etc. You can’t make them stop, not really. (You would have to eliminate Google from your life). Also, if you do want to control how much they know and share about you, the most you can do it pause it. There is no stopping Google.

Google is not the only option for web searches. Even if you are only looking for your own site to see where it comes up in a search – why are you only looking at Google?!

The following screen captures are a mess due to problems with software I was using. Right now I don’t want to fix them. But, they tell the story, as messy as it is.

News Posts Need Dates

I wanted to read about a building project ongoing locally. I found a post about it on the website for the local newspaper. But, the post did not have a date. So, I could not tell how relevant the information was. The post mentioned the years the project had been going and how much time it was expected to continue. Without a date to reference however, the information was not useful.

Not only news posts need dates. Anything which relies on being current should have a date (when it was written about) for reference. Software comes to mind. I’ve started looking for software reviews or information with the current year added to my search terms. It helps eliminate the older posts and those without dates, which may or may not be older.

News needs a point of reference. Any post providing information should really have a date. Information becomes dated. Readers need to know the information they are reading is still valid.

Digital Content Skills

Have you looked at any of the jobs/ careers mentioned below? Even fiction writers have gotten to work in non-fiction if they run their own sites, social media and anything else online. Consider putting some of your energy and skills into a different kind of paying job. 
People who know how to write well for digital media — websites, intranets, social media, blogs, e-newsletters, search engines — have amazing career opportunities.
Many jobs now demand digital content skills: corporate communications, technical communications, web writing, journalism, advertising, publishing, marketing, content marketing, public relations, content management, content strategy, digital strategy, service design and government roles. 

Nine digital content skills: can you tick them all?

People who write for work must know how to:
  1. attract online readers

  2. improve search rankings

  3. use metadata and keywords

  4. follow web accessibility standards

  5. use a content management system properly

  6. write for mobile devices

  7. write plain English

  8. write for Google Translate

  9. publish on multiple channels.

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.

Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory on My Own Site

The old blog was formatted with posts by date, that was when the freshness of the post mattered. The most recent data was most important. It still works for some sites, like a news feed.

Now, more sites are about content, content curation specifically. The date is still part of that, but not the focus. (Note: I’m not for removing dates from posts because I want to know the post I’m reading isn’t years old or no longer relevant).

It’s time sites were content focused, not date focused.

Put your content first and show your posts in the format of an article directory. Sort them by topic and subtopic. Show them that way on your main site. Save people from searching your site for relevant content, bring it to the top for them instead.

Not every site still adds search and this is a mistake if your posts are organized by date first and category in the sidebar, maybe. You are leaving people to find information from your site in a hit and miss way. Why? Isn’t the point of your site to provide information and resources? Every site should have a claim to fame, tell people who you are and why you are a resource in your niche or topic. Then comes the actual information, or the product you are selling. Make it easy for people to get there. Article directories were on the right track but it’s not about syndicating your content to other sites or bringing in other people to speak for you. Speak up for yourself.

Source: Article Marketing: Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory . . . and You Should Too | Inkwell Editorial : Inkwell Editorial

There are good points in here, things I have been thinking myself. But, not for an article directory of content from other people but my own.

The best two points from this post (link above) are controlling your own content and how it is shown (if it is shown at all) and showcasing your content to build your own authority in the topic.

Of the two I think building your own authority in your niche is the most important. Share links but stop giving your content away for free.

Make your site content focused by curating your own content.

Content Curation Makes a Better Web Directory

The first two points are the best, I think.

A niche has a better chance these days. Think content curation. Actually, think content curation for the second point too. You should build more than a bundle of links. Content curation is about showcasing great links and adding more to them. Create a whole package presentation around the niche. Don’t stop at listing sites.

Write about the niche. This could be interviews with the very people who run the sites you want to list in the directory. How smart is that? Not only are you building your authority, learning more about the niche but you are far more likely to sell links (or make money from ads) if you have something people actually want and can’t find elsewhere.

  1. Start with a Niche – Find a topic you’re seriously passionate about, from birds to routers to online clothing merchants.
  2. Don’t Just Make a Directory – Put great content about your subject on the site: blog posts, articles, tools, resource lists, charts, diagrams, investigative journalism, etc.
  3. Offer to Review Sites in Your Niche – But, for goodness sake, only include them if you’d really, honestly endorse them.
  4. Provide a Reason Why They’re Listed – Imagine a fellow hobbyist or researcher in your topic of interest in real life – if you couldn’t sit down with that person at a table and show them on your laptop why you included a particular site, DON’T include it.
  5. Don’t Offer Gimmicks or Link Juice – Offer listings on a site that real people who are really interested in your topic read and use and enjoy. If you start down the path of selling links for search engine value, you’ve lost your way. It can always be a secret side benefit, and plenty of folks who’ll come to you for links will be thinking about it, but if you want to be truly immune to any future penalties or devaluations, you can’t make it a focus.

Source: What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones – Moz

Gopher Proxy

Gopher was a competitor of the early World Wide Web, differing in its simpler, more structured interface. The flexibility of HTML led to the World Wide Web eclipsing Gopher, and today few people are aware that Gopher even existed. Gopher has not, however, entirely vanished, and over one hundred Gopher servers still provide access to more than a million content items. Unfortunately the number of modern web browsers with support for Gopher is dwindling, potentially rendering all of this content inaccessible.

Gopher Proxy allows Gopher content to be viewed in any web browser, by converting Gopher content into web pages as you request it. With Gopher Proxy you can browse Gopher exactly as you would browse the World Wide Web. To start, enter an address in the address bar and click on the green arrow, or enter some words in the search bar and click on the magnifying glass.

gopher proxy

via Gopher Proxy – browse Gopher content through your web browser.

It’s been a long time since I came across something using Gopher. Good that it can still be viewed/ adapted for viewing. A lot of Internet history would be found in older Gopher content.

Discover Your Personality Type & Write Better

The INFP Writing Personality: Elegant Persuasion

INFPs have a natural aptitude for writing. In exploring this solitary pursuit, you can communicate your deeply held values and experiment with elegant, inventive uses of language. INFPs write best when their imagination is unfettered.

Writing Process of the INFP

INFP Writers:

Work best in a quiet environment where they won’t be interrupted. They like autonomy so they can perfect their writing according to their own high standards.

Prefer writing about personal topics. You may lose your creative drive if the subject isn’t meaningful to you. If so, try taking an angle that allows you to write about your feelings on the topic. Look for ways to connect with readers by anticipating and meeting their needs.

Have a keen insight into the nature of things. Their prose often conveys startling images of mood or atmosphere rather than objects. They enjoy complexity and can patiently unravel dense material. They are able to see many sides of an argument and so may have difficulty reaching a conclusion. During the writing process, they may often pause to consider alternatives or to seek connections between seemingly disparate things.

Potential Blind Spots of the INFP

INFPs may:

Strive for elegance in language and may want to polish the work too soon. INFPs tend to write long, meandering first drafts, so you’ll likely need to synthesize and cut material later. Save the search for that perfect metaphor until the revision stage.

Write in purely abstract terms. INFPs communicate their values and personal vision through their writing. They search for the meaning behind the facts, and so may consider the facts themselves to be of marginal importance. This is not true, however, for most of your readers. During revision, add concrete details. Appeal to the five senses. Include statistics. Incorporate other points of view for balance. Make sure your research backs up your conclusions.

Tend to be sensitive to criticism. Nevertheless, consider showing your work to a trusted friend or colleague before you begin the final draft. This feedback may be especially helpful in focusing your work and ensuring that it includes enough facts to sway your audience to your position.

via Discover Your Personality Type & Write Better Content For Your Website.

If you’ve read this site awhile do you think this describes the way I write?

I do. However, there is the danger of perception. Reading horoscopes/ predictions should be a communications science.

Use caution when reading predictions and forecasts. I think you need to read them as a skeptic not a full believer, especially when you want to believe what you read.

Individual Bloggers Need Their Own Niche

Top 5 Ways to Master Online Content

1. Optimize, Not Compromise

Content farms are so obsessed with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that they prioritize search terms within content over logical narrative. Worry less about how Google indexes, and focus on delivering great information about potential keywords.

5. Find Your Niche

Being an expert at one thing is better than being knowledgeable on many things. Do research on a specific area of interest. Find what is under-represented and fill the void.

via Too long. Didn’t read. – The Writer.

I think finding your niche (actually, creating your niche) is the real way for individual writers online these days. We can’t compete with the amount of general content on the content farm sites. Even as a writer on one of the content farm sites we seldom stand out enough to make enough money. So, the key is to stand out on your own in some way. Find your niche, something you can sustain, and then get into promoting it so people will begin to find you out here in the vast online wilderness.