Amazing Content Twix To Gain Traffic

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If you’ve got a web page, or a blog, or an AOL site for your collection of Fonzie memorabilia — you’d like to have more traffic.  Here are three simple Twix to improve your content and make those traffic stats shoot right off the charts.

twixIf you’re wondering whether or not I can properly spell “tricks” — fear not.  I’m headed for a meeting of the Social Media Club in Greenville, SC tomorrow morning.  And I’ll be handing out business cards with a little “Twix” bar attached, as I tell people about this post.

Clever, huh?  An amazing play on words (being as I’m a “content guy”) that gets all those people to go and read my blog, because of the guilt they’ll feel after eating that free candy.  Just consider this an “Extwa Twix” for you to use — at no charge.

Twix #1:  Bribe Them
Offer your readers something they actually want — the answer to a question, the solution to a problem, or a way to solve pain.  Don’t just give them a link to an interesting site and some quotes from it, explain clearly why it will make their life better.  Tell them how they’ll lose weight the moment they get there — or how their sex life will improve just from spending time there.

Twix #2:  Speak Their Language
Make sure that you’re using words that the audience might enter in a search tool to find information.  You’ll get more hits from a headline that says “How To Escape A Shark” than one that says “Current Research On Techniques Of Decampment From The Vicinity Of Large Hungry Ocean Dwellers”.  (Headline #2 is perfectly appropriate if writing for an audience of Ph.D. candidates or Nigerian Finance Ministers.)

Twix #3:  Use Key Words In Your Links
If you’re linking to other web sites (a good thing) be sure that your actual hot links contain the key words that people search for:

BAD: …and you can find how to tie your shoes right here.

GOOD: …and you can find how to tie your shoes right here.

Search engines give you additional points for links that contain “hot” words.

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OK — ready to get that content into shape?  Leave me a comment, and I’ll send you an empty wrapper from a Twix bar that I ate in your name.

Using WordPress As A Content Management System

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I’m a happy WordPress user for several blogs, but one of the best-kept secrets about this software is that it does so much more than just blogging. I ran across a great article on how you can also use it as a Content Management System (CMS) that opens up a whole new world of ideas:

WordPress is often thought of as little more than a blogging platform. But it’s capable of so much more. Through a little customization and the use of plugins, WordPress can easily be transformed into a full-featured content management system. Here are more than 25 sites who have done just that (and done it well).

This is the second article in the four-part series, “The Comprehensive Guide for a Powerful CMS using WordPress“.


UGSMAG

UGSMAG is a Canadian hip hop magazine. The home page is laid out in a grid, with featured articles along the left two columns and news on the right. The color scheme and design choices reflect the young, independent audience they attract. The lack of a category list (other than the top nav, which simply lists “News,” “Features,” and “Interviews”) and archives lend the page to looking more like a traditional news or magazine website than a blog.

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Subtle changes to individual article pages, such as removing the category labels, the use of a drop cap initial character, and moving the date from it’s usual blog-centric location under the title to the upper-right hand corner of the page all also contribute to the site looking more like a magazine and less like your standard blog.

Read more…

Post Office Idol — Voting For The Stars!

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Fox Television has just announced a new reality show called “Post Office Idol” where customers at every post office in America will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite employee each week.  For a low fee of $5 per call, fox_realitythey can choose which employee was the most helpful, gave the best service, or got the line moving the fastest.  Multiple votes are allowed by the same customer, as long as each vote is accompanied by the $5 payment.

At the end of each week, the employee with the highest score gets 50% of the total cash take, with the balance going to Federal Defecit.  The employee with the lowest score is immediately terminated, and the first job applicant in line is hired to take their place.  The game begins again on Monday morning.

Other shows already in the planning stages are “DMV Hero”, “Funeral Home Hero”, and “That Place You Have To Go To Get Your Insurance Physical Hero”.  Advertising is selling at well over $1 million dollars per minute.

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OK — I’m fibbing, just a little.  Fox doesn’t have this show on the fall schedule, yet.  And I’m not really recommending that we terminate employees of the Post Office just because they have a bad day — except for the one that was waiting on me today.

But I’m wondering what your learning and training products might look like if the consumers of your service actually had to call in and vote in front of God and everybody on what they thought.  If three celebrity judges listened to you talk about your content on stage in front of millions, live — and then made jokes about what they saw.  Would you make the grade?  I know that I’d have damp armpits.

But hopefully, some of us would make customers look like this:

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Click to see video

How To Make A Basic How-To Video

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If you want to share out what you know, there’s no better way than to create a little video. I often show people how to do this when I talk about social media at shows, and thought it might be good to share it out as a video.

Experienced video production folks, before you send me email:

  • Yes, I know you could put in video. I’m using still photos because it’s easier for beginners
  • Yes, I know you could use titles in the video software. I think the hand-made whiteboards are easier.
  • Yes, I know using my cell phone to shoot pictures of the whiteboards is amateur. I think it’s easier for rookies.
  • Yes, I know some of the pictures may be copyrighted. Bite me.
  • Yes, I know there are better video tools (and audio tools available). Bite mex2.

Ready to design one yourself?  Take a look at the storyboard for this video.

Your Brand Is Your Google Results

If you’re still struggling to explain to the “suits” upstairs why your company needs to be involved in social media, I think you can do it in four minutes and thirty-two seconds.  Point them to this wonderful video from Jackie Huba from CreatingCustomerEvangelists.com.

“Your brand is your Google results.  It’s the sum of what people are saying about what you do.”

Will You Be My WP.GURU?

My friend Havi Brooks found her perfect house by writing a personal ad in her blog, describing exactly what she needed.

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES …

Loving, caring, urban couple with adorable toy duck seeking sweet home in Portland — not the one on the east coast — to cherish and adore for long-term rental relationship … (and more?)

Us? We’ll scrub you clean every single Friday morning and generally treat you like the goddess you are.

You: about 1000 square feet with wood floors and lots of light. A porch would be nice too … and maybe a basement?

Ideally you’re located in NE Portland, near Alberta or Killingsworth, but if you’re the one for us we’ll go pretty much anywhere, as long as you’re in walking distance to groceries and such.

The most important thing for us in this relationship is the kitchen. We want it to be big enough for us to eat in there, and inviting enough for us to hang out in.

We both work from home, so we’ll be around a lot, and Richard will cook something that smells amazing every single night except Tuesday.

Havi will bake bread at least once a week. You’ll love it.

We only use natural ingredients (lemon, vinegar, soap, borax) to clean, so you’ll be well taken care of with no chemicals in sight. And we never leave dishes in the sink!

It worked so well for her, that I’m going to give it a try.  I really, really need a WordPress guru who can help fix all the user errors that keep cropping up in my blogs.

LOOKING FOR LOVING, CARING PHP WONK WHO WON’T TELL ME I’M AN IDIOT…

You’re an amazing coder, WordPress guru, technical savant and detail lover.  I’m the type of user that makes you roll your eyes and tell stories to your friends about clueless users.  We’re a match made in heaven.

I create amazing WordPress sites, add themes, install plugins, edit CSS files — and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.  I mean well, and try hard, but sooner or later things go ker-flooey. (Don’t bother looking that up in your WordPress dictionary.)  Things disappear, widgets become whatdjits, and it starts looking like some kind of fool put the whole thing together.

You need to keep people from finding out the truth.  Help me maintain the sham that I actually know what I’m doing, and I promise to never touch the admin panel again.  To never install a plugin without your permission.  And never edit anything above a post or a page.

Will you be my WP.GURU?

Your E-Learning Competes With This

If you’re still building online learning that has bullet points and a nice little “next” button on the bottom, you should probably just hang it up and get a job greeting customers at WalMart.  Because the audience is going to be bored in minutes, and won’t bother staying around to see if you’re using the “Jeopardy” game show template this time for the rote memorization section.

Here’s what they’re watching on other sites.  It’s the “Mistabishi ‘Printer Jam” and it’s from RadarMusicVideos. Radar is a network of most of the best online music video directors on the world.

So — can your learning compete with that?

Podcasts — Hez Duin It Rite!*

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Last week, I was in Orlando at the Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT) show teaching a workshop on social media — and the hot topic was podcasting.  The participants were very interested in looking at how to use podcasting in their learning and training efforts, and we had great fun actually building a little podcast in the room — and then uploading it to the the web and listening to it live.

I showed them some examples online of different podcasts, but I completely forgot one of my favorite podcasters, Scott Hanselman.  Scott is an amazing technical guru — he teaches, presents, consults, writes — on lots of different types of business issues related to technology and software and coding and such.  His blog, HanselMinutes.com, is a hub of information for technical folks.

Here’s a screen shot of what you get when you go there to listen to his regular podcast.  You’ll notice you can stream it live, download it in different forms, get the RSS feed, even set it to end up directly on your i-Pod for listening on the go.  It’s a perfect demonstration of how to use the medium to share out content with the world.

And even more impressive, this is edition #150 of the podcast.

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*This headline is with apologies to the LOL cats and their Cheezburgers.

You Can Be A Blogging Case Study

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Most of the events I go to about social media are a lot of speechifying and people telling me how successful they are.  So I was a little intrigued when I ran across  the SOBCon09 event that Liz Strauss is putting on.  It appears that you’ll have a chance to bring your company there and actually have experts sit down and focus their skills on developing an action plan to make things happen.

“Using a unique Presentation/Workshop model, we’ll push theory into practice – the conference is designed to build solid action plans tailored to attendee’s individual needs.

On the main day, each speaker will present a 40-minute talk with a direct business application. Then attendee “mastermind” teams will work together for an additional 40 minutes to establish action steps for that part of their business. Through this process, attendees will compile and build a complete Business Action Plan by the end of the day.”

I had a chance to talk with Liz on the phone today, and she tells me that this evolved over several years from an initial “online chat” session that she set up one day — and it’s now several days in Chicago with lots of big names (and their big brains).

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Most impressive to me, as an education wonk, is the idea that you’ll actually have the chance to walk away with something actionable that is tailored to your specific problem.

And the fact that @Naomi from IttyBiz is a sponsor means that there will be lots of fun.

A Woordle Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

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What’s a Woordle?

Woordle is a tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Here’s what a Woordle of my resume looks like. Seems like they got it right.

dickcarlsondotcom_woordle

View larger at Woordle.com

Can you guess what these are?

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Tell Me!

sample2

Tell Me!