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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Sir Isaac Newton

February 16th, 2007

As a former boss of mine used to say, “Having a great idea and not telling anyone is the same as not having any ideas.” Do you have a great site with a valuable message? That’s a significant achievement but if you’re a relatively new company you need to think back to high school physics and Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” We’ve built the mass into our site to keep it going but the challenge for now is to take it from rest to motion. Our slingshot will be Google et. al. who, if we treat them right, can serve as our matchmaker to unite us with those people out there who need our solutions most.

Will work for backlinks

The good news is that Google and company claim to want the same thing…they want to serve up the most valuable sites to their users for any combination of keywords. The most important means by which Google and the other major search engines claim to decide which sites are truly the most valuable is by taking a vote from the Internet community. The votes they use are link backs from other sites.

So your mission is clear, submit your URL for consideration to as many other sites, indexes, and directories as possible. There are many options for where to submit, but some of the most important ones I’ve listed below. I recommend to our clients that they go through this list methodically to get the best exposure possible for nominal cost. Keep in mind
the process and protocol for getting your URL listed at each one of these sources will vary…some are an automated submission and others will require you calling the organization to make a case for being listed, yet others may require
you make a contribution of value to their community.

  1. All the major search engines of course, you might consider using a service like Traffic Blazer from RisingLineWeb.com
  2. dmoz.com (open directory project)
  3. Superpages.com
  4. Local business directories
  5. Technorati.com
  6. Public Library Sites (you’ll need to make a convincing case as to why they should list your link)
  7. MyPages.com
  8. blogflux.com
  9. blogtopsites.com
  10. blogwise.com
  11. iblogbusiness.com
  12. Blogger.com (your profile)
  13. goarticles.com
  14. syndic8.com
  15. blogdigger.com
  16. weblogs.com
  17. Press Release Sites e.g. prweb.com
  18. Squidoo.com
  19. Craigslist.org
  20. Digg.com
  21. del.icio.us
  22. Furl
  23. Shadows.com
  24. MyWeb
  25. StumbleUpon
  26. blog-directory.org

The process of submitting to these potential partners can be time consuming. To keep from being overwhelmed, consider setting aside 15-30 minutes every week or two for backlink hunting. As always, I would be interested in your feedback or suggestions.

Avoid Site Monkeys

February 14th, 2007

Imagine driving down the freeway…you see a billboard with a message about an accountant specializing in international business, just what you’ve been looking for! As you start to read a few sentences at 70 mph, a giant helium-filled monkey that’s anchored in place next to the billboard begins clashing it’s synthetic cymbals while cables retract and expand it’s eyelids. Hey look there’s some sort of logo on the monkey’s shirt for the accounting firm….too late, you’ve sped by the sign.

Site MonkeyAs ridiculous as this example sounds, it’s exactly what happens many times on websites. We find a site in a Google search that looks like it might be what we’re after, but on its front page were confronted by too many snippets of ambiguous information and distractions and no clear statements of what this site is about.

One of the most ludicrous distracting features that I’ve seen recently is “SitePal.” A zombie-like animated talking head that speaks in slow broken computer generated speech…”Welcome (octave lower) to our Website (two octaves higher) Please mouse over my (pause) face to make me talk. What’s even creepier is that on some versions the characters head slightly bobbles and it’s eyes cross as it attempts to follow your mouse movements.

Having some sort of animated or technical feature on a site can be tempting for its novelty factor. But just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done. Research has consistently shown that superfluous elements are often detrimental to the overall communication and persuasion goals of web sites. For
access to solid research on the topic visit the  Stanford Web Credibility ResearchOpens in new window site or, in keeping with the theme of efficient communication, check out the all-time classic, Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug.

iPhone Delivers Upon Market Need

January 12th, 2007

Once again, Apple has circumvented the status quo by developing the world’s most advanced mobile device, the iPhone. Unlike the OCR driven Blackberry or the stencil managed Windows device, the iPhone combines value-added features such as a fully functional Web browser, an advanced and functional MP3 player (iPod), and a true touch screen platform, which allows users the freedom from stencil-driven bondage.

So why is this iPhone device relevant to a marketing blog? Simply from the standpoint that Apple has revolutionized the mobile market in one swoop by satisfying a true market need, namely to develop a user-friendly hand held device that facilitates efficient and easy communication.

Unlike the Blackberry I currently carry, the iPhone provides the user a true interface for instantaneous communication via a phone, Web platform, and SMS texting. Plus, the iPhone only has one button, which has completely simplified the arduous process of data entry on mobile technology … no more stencils, no more miniature keyboards, no more gadgetry features that literally take weeks to figure out; the iPhone has enhanced userability through exceptional design. Trust me, as soon as my T-Mobile contract expires, I’ll be running to the Cingular store that very day so as to move away from the soon-to-be RIM paperweight.

So as professionals, what can we take away from Apple’s example? Namely, to not get caught up in product commoditization, but to strive to deliver on a true market need. Steve Job’s innovative leadership was simply a product of assessing what the ultimate aim is in mobile technology, namely convenience and functionality, and delivering upon it. As a result, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericcson were all caught off guard and have been scrambling over the past week to formulate a response.

Congratulations Boise State!

January 2nd, 2007

BSU, Hollywood aint got nothing on you. Surreal is a word that probably gets overused, but there’s nothing else that comes close to describing the iconic American-dream spectacle that BSU put on for us in their defeat of the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl last night. Action, suspense, horror, and drama…it had it all—and then some. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, in the case of the Fiesta Bowl truth is exponentially more exhilarating than any screenplay that could ever be imagined.

If for some reason you missed the Fiesta bowl, stop what your doing and take a look at the amazing highlights of this game. Whether you’re a football fan or not has no relevance. If you’ve got a pulse, just a brief skim of the highlights will be guaranteed to quicken it. Here are few quotes from the sports world to give you a flavor:

“It’ll go down as one of the best college football games in history…an instant classic” – FOX News

“…it gives the game a legitimate case for being considered the greatest game of all-time … not just the greatest bowl game. As far as sheer excitement goes, it’s hard to vote against it. And 20 years from now this could be seen as one of the most important games ever…”
»Read full article
Pete Fiutak, CollegeFootballNews.com

“How do you sum up one of the most remarkable endings any of us will ever be fortunate enough to see? How do you sum up one of the most exciting bowl games ever contested? And how do you sum up what will one day be viewed as one of the most significant moments in the history of college football?”
»Read full article
– Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated

“…a dizzying, riveting, back-and-forth game that will be remembered as one of the most exciting in college football history.”
»Read full article
– Pete Thamel, New York Times

“At the end of a game unlike any college football has ever witnessed, two of the great female icons in American culture staged a harmonic, hypnotic, borderline hallucinogenic convergence. Boise State introduced Cinderella to Lady Liberty.”
»Read full article -Pat Forde, ESPN

So what does Boise State winning the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, a revered bastion of college football, have to do with marketing? Plenty, but I’ll let RisingLine principal, and BSU fan extraordinaire, Erik Warilia comment on that when he returns from Phoenix later this week. Until then, let me just say thank you Broncos for one of the most inspiring demonstrations of dedication and passion that have ever been seen in the history of sports.

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