About Me

My photo

I'm a digital marketer, programmer and entrepreneur based in Dexter, MI.  I've worked in the digital marketing and web development field for close to a decade.  Over the course of my career, I've become adept at areas of digital marketing such as programmatic advertising, SEO, email marketing, inbound marketing,  promoting businesses through social media.


I currently serve as Director of Marketing for Rankings.io, an SEO agency based in Southern Illinois.  We help attorneys, medical professionals, and small businesses rank their websites on the first page of Google.  Our core services include onsite and offsite SEO as well as website design and programming.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Google Cannot Track If Java Is Disabled

I'm perplexed by the fact that Google Analytics cannot track visitors to websites that have disabled first-party cookies and/or java script on their browsers. Are there any figures on how many visitors may do this at any one time? Obviously this is an element of a browser that a user would actually have to put effort forth to manipulate so it doesn't seem that it could be that widespread. It does make sense though that the greater the amount of traffic coming to a site, the greater the likely hood that the data could be skewed based on people's java being disabled.

The workaround for this factor is tracking users with the mobile version of the code. The drawback here is that you don't get the same tracking accuracy with things like location or aspects of a visitors presence on your site.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Social media and switching windows wasting company time? Say it ain't so! This article on Mashable claims that a study conducted by an email software provider called harmon.ie shows millions of company dollars are being wasted by digital over-indulgence in the work place. Among some of the time wasters are switching between browser windows and spending time on social media sites. Sifting through emails was also at the top of the list. In my opinion if people weren't wasting company time online they would be wasting it somewhere else.

wasting time in internetville

Successful Meeting With Dream Catchers For Abused Children

Patrick Damm and I just finished our phone interview with Angela at Dream Catchers For Abused Children. She was very informative and shed some light on a micro-goal that we can focus on for the NPO. She said that generating more donations for the organization would be a big plus. She also mentioned that the overall goal of the site is to be an information hub for people looking to get educated about child abuse as well as a source for news and other information concerning child abuse.

We are super excited to help Angela and the organization out with these goals and we will be sharing our weekly progress reports with her.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm reading through Google Analytics by Justin Cutroni and I have stumbled upon my first question. On page 16 there is a warning about configuration and historical data. It states "Once Google Analytics has processed the data and stored it in the database, it can never be be changed. This means historical data can never be altered or reprocessed." Does this mean that copies of data processing configurations are also bad if they were set up improperly?

Dream Catchers For Abused Children NPO Meeting

Just scheduled a phone meeting with our NPO representative from Dream Catchers For Abused Children. She is located in Washington so an in-person meeting was impractical, unless Bud was going to spring for a plane ticket. The aim of this discussion is to find out what the overall goals of the website are for the organization as well as one or two specific goals that we can focus on. I am also interested in what types of people they are trying to attract to the site with the ad campaigns that they have running. Angela our contact there has been very good at keeping in touch with us through email so I'm sure she will have great answers to our questions. Hopefully we can establish a good connection with our three-way conference call. There is a link posted below to their site.

Dream Catchers For Abused Children

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Embedding A Presentation

I was having a lot of trouble publishing my presentation to my blog until I figured out that you have to make a copy of it first in Google docs. If anyone else is having trouble, try making a copy and then publish the copy. It worked for me.

To make a copy...

1. open the document you want to copy
2. Under "file" you will find "make a copy"
3. proceed with publishing the document

Here is mine and Pat's...A little late but better than not at all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meeting Our Non-Profit Organization

My team mate Mr. Damm and I made successful first contact with our NPO Dream Catchers For Abused Children a couple weeks ago. The contact Angela Roy gave us a prompt response and seems excited to work with us. I have logged into the account and looked at work done in Adwords as well as analytics from past groups. I can't wait to get to work. Our next contact will be to outline the goals the NPO has for the site as well as for the Google account throughout the semester.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Search Engine Optimization

There is a kind of battle that has been going on among search engines and the websites that they index. Search engines balance the needs of the people that use them, advertisers and their own business needs. Website builders and SEO firms are constantly inventing ways to get sites to appear at the top of organic results. For example it used to be common practice to stuff keywords into meta tags so that search spiders would rank the site as more relevant. Search engines have since been built to be more advanced and recognize this sort of trickery.

Now to get a website to appear at the top of the list there are better tactics that can be used. For instance finding the hottest keywords for a particular market is still one of the surest ways to get a site to rank near the top of the list. Surprisingly these words may not even be grammatically correct. Putting keywords into key places in code is also a good strategy. Putting them in headlines, subheads and in the body of a page are all good places. Filling the page up with so many keywords that it makes the overall content hard to read will ensure that the site is tossed aside by a search engine. Relevance is also very important. Putting in words that have nothing to do with the overall website is also a sure fire way to get ranked last. For example putting in a bunch of "Roth IRA vs 401K" onto a real estate listing site will cause search engine spiders to ignore the page all together.

Finally keeping content fresh is a great way to get ranked higher in organic results. By changing or adding new content daily or at least weekly, search engines are more likely to show your site to their users than ones that have not been changed in months. Of course users will be shown the most relevant content to their query so that is almost always paramount.

Which Is Better For Advertisers, Google Or Facebook?

Advertisers can display text or image ads to potential customers with Adwords by using select keywords. With Facebook, which is associated with Bing, advertisers can reach their audience in a little more personal way it seems. Clients can opt to market to people with certain keywords in their profile. For instance a hair salon owner can market to people with the words Justin Timberlake or Lady Gaga in their profiles. The difference is that the marketing becomes much more personal when you are targeting people with specific information in their profile as opposed to any query that contains keywords of your choosing like with Adwords. I think Google is missing out on the social advertising scene without offering options like these to advertisers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Apple Pursuing Cloud Based Computing

Tech analysts are reporting that Apple has signed a long term lease to use space in a server farm being constructed in Santa Clara CA which is a jog from the company's Cupertino headquarters. Rumors are swirling that Apple is the new contender for Google and Amazon in cloud based computing. The company has also posted job listings for cloud computing engineers although it has been replaced with the title "web services". Perhaps management thought that was not the best way to surprise rivals with new cloud based services. Can you imagine storing your music online? I don't know how I feel about that one and it only makes it easier for them to track your online behavior. The article below talks more about the lease in CA.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tweeting For Sale

Twitter has become one of the most used marketing and PR tools for companies and celebrities alike. Many individuals have leveraged it to generate interest or inform their followers. There is however a method to all the Twitter madness. If you are actually trying to use your account to influence market or otherwise communicate in an effective manner, the following tips are very helpful.

- Quantity is important: For all of us new to the Twitter scene, this is an advantage we don’t have. For people like Charley Sheen however, they are way ahead of the curve. The number of followers a person has is said the get you ranked higher in organic search engine results than those who have less. The number of tweets and re-tweets on your account is also a factor in getting ranked higher. While you can’t do much to immediately effect your number of followers, you can write like crazy.

- Timing: If you are marketing something specific, timing is everything. If a company is marketing a product or service that is seasonal or directly related to social trends or events, tweeting about it at the time an event is popular will get you much more attention than when it is not. For example tweeting about summer fashion in the dead of winter might not get you ranked very high.

- Relevance: In the world of search marketing, relevance is the name of the game. If you are not relevant to a user’s query you will not be shown to them. Obviously you can’t be relevant to everyone however you can use all the key words that might be associated with what it is you are selling or what people might use to search for what you are selling. For instance if a company is selling tablet computers, it wouldn’t make much sense to tweet on and on about smart phones.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Naked Domains Driving Me Crazy

I have spent at least a few hours figuring out how to make the naked domain bring up my custom domain. After running around and changing name servers in my GoDaddy account and searching for information on the subject all over the web I was able to get things to work with a simple check box. There is now a check box underneath the text field where you type in your custom domain in your blogger settings under the publishing tab. I don't know how long it has been there or if it has always been there. It reads "redirect example.com to www.example.com". Everything seems to be working now. I'm wondering if I was just looking at it for so long that I never realized it was that easy or if Google has been monitoring my frustration and finally threw me a bone.

Sorry if anyone wasted time following instructions that I have posted.

Update On The Naked URL

In a previous post I outlined how to make your custom domain entitled blog pop up without putting in the www before the domain name. This was not working no matter how long I waited for the system to update. I have found another solution and I got it to work. If you have your domain registered through GoDaddy.com, the following steps will help you set up naked domain forwarding.

1. Log into your GoDaddy account
2. If you do not see your info click on "my account" on the right side of the page
(this should be the last button in the line of options near the top of the screen)
3. On the left column there are several choices for managing your account, click on "domain forwarding" under "domain related".
4. Select the check box next to the domain you want to manage.
5. Once selected, the options for management of the domain will become available, click on "forwarding" and select "forward domain".
6. You will be prompted to enter the domain you would like visitors forwarded to. Enter your custom domain i.e. www.example.com.
7. Save your settings.


When I did this it did not work immediately. I waited a day and now it works. Hope this helps anyone still having trouble.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Let The Networking Begin!

Getting a list of networking events organized is a little tougher than I thought. So far I plan to attend LA2M after hearing so much about it. I watched some of the video posted on the event's site of previous presenters and it looks pretty interesting. I am also planning to attend some entrepreneurial events about starting a business in the area. I want to run ideas of PPC consulting business models by others at the event. I love that people are posting events that they see and inviting others. I think it is a lot easier to attend an event with a colleague or classmate. Sometimes when you are with others it is easier to strike up a conversation with those you don't know. I will try and do my part to post events when I find them.

Google’s Chrome Book Hits The Scene

There is a lot of hype surrounding newly introduced tablet computers with touch screens and all the convenience. With all the bells and whistles on iPads or Xooms or whatever else is being sold, these devices can still not match the functionality of a laptop computer. Sure there is a keyboard but lets be honest, you will never type as confidently or quickly as on the physical QWERTY. Yes these devices render web pages perfectly and handle email with a breeze but how much REAL work can you get done on one? Much of the appeal of these devices comes in the form of a viable visual and processing substitute to an actual computer without all the drawbacks like boot time or limited internet connectivity options (i.e. WIFI only for most laptops unless you have a USB device with service).

The Chrome laptop seems to have all the strengths of a laptop with none of their weaknesses, at first glance. It has been said that the laptops from both Acer and Samsung are essentially a tablet in laptop form with features like instant-on (whatever that is), pay-as-you go 3G connectivity ( huge plus), and all day battery life (8 hours). Features that are included on the Chrome Book but left out on many tablets, most notably the iPad, are the HDMI port and a beefier processor. The article below goes into more detail.

Google Tries To Remake The Laptop

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog To Buzz Conundrum Solved

For all those web marketers, freelancers and other business minded individuals who are trying to build an internet presence, nothing is more irritating than when you can't get the web to do what you want it to do. Such is the case with many individuals in our IS 479 class when (myself included) we could not get our blogs from Google to feed into our Buzz accounts, also a Google product. I stumbled across some advice on a message board and the trick is simple. Our carefully conceived custom domains are to blame. The fix is listed below.

1. log into blogger dashboard.
2. click settings
3. select publishing tab
4. change back to the default blogger URL
5. return to Google Buzz and click "connected sites" next to your pic
6. Blogger should now be a choice in the list of connected sites.
7. click "add" and then "save".
8. repeat steps one through 3 to re-enter your custom domain (when I did this the custom domain immediately directed me to my blog so it shouldn't take long)


Hopefully that works for who ever is still having trouble.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Patrick Damm's LinkedIn Critique

I have reserved this blog post for my newly minted team mate Patrick Damm and the critique of his LinkedIn profile. Pat is off to a great start by having his school and current employer information. He also has the highly recognizable in/username URL format. I believe that Pat could impress employers even more by adding a profile picture of himself. I would recommend using a professional looking or actual professional head shot. Even though LinkedIn may not be the reason you ever get a job, if an employer decides to look at the page it will be top notch. I was also looking for some more detailed information or past experience that could be interesting or beneficial for employers to see. Hope you find these suggestions helpful Pat!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A-records And Naked Domains Oh My!

Ever wonder how your browser got smart enough to take you to a page even when you leave the prefix www out of the equation? It has less to do with the browser and more to do with A-records. These are settings that are configured in your hosting or domain registration service such as GoDaddy.com. When you type a naked domain such as example.com into a browser instead of www.example.com, you are linked to another IP address for which there is a record. If no such record exists, the user gets an error message. If you are using GoDaddy.com or some other domain registration service user will be directed to a page generated by that service. Either way, users are not seeing your site.

Most people, myself included, feel it second nature to just type a naked domain into a browser and expect to get the site we are thinking of. Should it not appear it is not a stretch to say that most people will resort to using a search engine before typing in www to get the result they want.

Setting A Custom Domain To Your Google Blog

If anyone seems to be having trouble directing visitors to your blog through your custom domain, the following information may help. I obtained bits and pieces of what to do from both Google Blogger's help section as well as Godaddy.com's help topics so if you aren't using godaddy or blogger, this information will not help you much. If you have your blog set up and domain name purchased, these steps will help you direct visitors to the custom domain.

You will have to edit DNS (Domain Name System) Settings before you can link the purchased domain name to your blog. To do this you must enter your CNAME (associated with blogger) into your Godaddy account.

1.Log in to your account at www.godaddy.com.
2.Open the Domains tab and select My Domain Names. You'll be directed to the Domain Manager page.
3.Click the domain that you'd like to use with your blog.
4.select the tools tab and then select DNS manager (redundant I know).
5.Under your customer domain there should be a link that says "edit zone". This is to edit zone files associated with your domain name. Hint: if you are following Google's instructions posted for Godaddy.com, they are misleading and may be outdated.
6.You can click "quick add" however there should already be a listing for a top level domain with "www" already entered. The sub-domain feild may have an @ symbol in it. Delete the @ symbol.
7. Enter ghs.google.com as the Host Name. Specify a TTL or use the default setting of 1 hour.
8. Click save settings at the bottom of the inline frame.

Your settings should take hold in about an hour however it can take up to 48 hours for it too work so don't get discouraged if you can't get you blog to pop up when you type in your domain name. Also, you want to make sure you update blogger with your domain name as well if you haven't done so already.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Future Of The Cell Phone Industry

So there are currently four large Cell phone carriers to choose from in the United States. AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile and Sprint. T-Mobile just reported the loss of a whopping 470,000 contract customers last quarter which puts them in a bad position to say the least. AT&T has already offered 39 billion for T-Mobile however regulators are considering the deal. On the one hand it would be negative for competition because consumers would have less options when purchasing a cell phone and carrier. On the other hand it may provide for better consumer products if the assets of T-mobile were added to those of AT&T or another suitor in the form of upgraded networks and lower prices (maybe). It should be very interesting to see where the future of the cell phone industry goes when smaller companies get gobbled up by larger ones. What will be the implications if there are only three choices for your cell phone carrier? What if there were only two? I doubt regulators will let that happen but at one time in our history there were several auto-makers, some with better products than the three that emerged to do business today. The article below talks more about T-Mobile's recent contract losses.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-05-06-T-Mobile-ATT_n.htm

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adwords Management

I'm really looking forward to meeting our non-profit sponsor for IS479 and managing the Adwords account. In IS239 we had the pleasure of working with the Corner Health Center and we were able to drive thousands of new visitors from a national audience to their site. What I'm really hoping to do this time is manage keywords and ads as well as measure how changes were beneficial to the NPO. In the first class we could see everything that concerned Adwords however we never got a clear picture of how those extra visits impacted the NPO either positively or negatively.

One thing that I will keep in mind this time around is to develop a strategy for generating higher click through rates and more exposure. That was the one action that got the Corner Health Center so much attention last time. We decided to market to a national audience with the information the Center had on their site. I will have to keep my eyes open for a strength the NPO can build on to get more people to do what they want them to do.

Computers Are Still Getting Better

It appears that Intel is about to blow Moore's Law out of the water with the introduction of its new 3-D Tri-gate Transistor. Computers have steadily become smaller and more powerful since their creation however analysts are saying that Intel's new creation is one of the largest breakthroughs in computing technology since the integrated circuit was invented in the 50's. Not much was heard in the media about this previous breakthrough in the 50's because no one cared however it opened the door to the Mac Book Airs and Smart Phones we use today. An article in USA Today explains the details.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-05-04-intel-faster-chips_n.htm

Monday, May 2, 2011

Search Marketing and Everything Tech

I have a ton of experience with writing however this is my first attempt at a blog that I will continually update throughout the course of my IS479 semester. Hopefully I can add value for classmates from time to time with this blog. I mean, who writes a blog for no one to read right? Better yet who writes a blog for people to have to read? Long story short this whole thing is starting as an assignment but it would be great if even just one person found it useful at some point. IS479 at Eastern Michigan University is a web marketing course however I love to write about all things happening in the tech/internet world but with impacts on web marketing tied in. With that said, this first post includes a link to an article concerning search marketing that points out the 6 keys to web marketing success (according to its author). I liked it because it highlights the explosive growth of mobile as a conduit to reach consumers.

searchenginewatch.com