mblair – mblair's Website Optimization Cafe https://www.mblair.net Website optimization + strong coffee = success Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:40:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Reset your bookmarks for Bizquarium.com https://www.mblair.net/bizquarium-launches/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bizquarium-launches https://www.mblair.net/bizquarium-launches/#comments Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:36:46 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/bizquarium-launches/ As previously mentioned, I’m going to be covering website optimization over at a new domain. That domain is www.bizquarium.com. I know its been slow going here, and a lot of that has been due to the fact that I’ve been planning where I want to take things over there where I’ll have free range to cover anything under the sun that is important to helping bloggers, niche marketers and other webpreneurs make the most of their websites.

I’d love to see all of you over there or subscribing to Bizquarium’s RSS feed. You can expect an average from 3 to 5 posts per week or so as I’ve been carving out more time from my production schedule to spend blogging.

Also, please note that I’m building Bizquarium from the ground up over there, step by step. This is the embodiment of the long delayed Website Workshop. I think you’ll find this a great way to get the ball rolling on that.

Please don’t get turned off by the “default” look — that’s intentional. I’ve got everything planned out to make Bizquarium a pretty intricate website/blog and really push WordPress to its limits over the next few months. But I wanted to take a look at all the little decisions that are made when growing a site from scratch. So, right now — Bizquarium is just another WordPress weblog. I hope that you’ll join me in transforming it into something a little more unique.

Also, feel free to stay subscribed here if you are interested. I won’t burden your RSS reader any more here than I already have 😉 I’m still going to post here occasionally on topics that don’t quite fit either Bizquarium or SMOblog. Don’t expect it to be too often though.

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I see a new domain in our future https://www.mblair.net/i-see-a-new-domain-in-our-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=i-see-a-new-domain-in-our-future https://www.mblair.net/i-see-a-new-domain-in-our-future/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2007 21:51:25 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/i-see-a-new-domain-in-our-future/ Just wanted to give a shout-out to my long-suffering subscribers and let you know that I’m going to be moving the Website Optimization Cafe over to a new domain within the next couple weeks. Hang tight! In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of posts up on the SMOblog about BlogRush, the traffic building tool that is making a big splash in the blogosphere:

BlogRush promotes your blog while you sleep

Customize your RSS feed for BlogRush

I’ll still be posting to mblair.net from time to time after the transition, but its going to be quite a bit more eclectic, less focused on on web development issues an much more personal in flavor.

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Take out an insurance policy on your blog https://www.mblair.net/blogsurance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blogsurance https://www.mblair.net/blogsurance/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2007 23:49:07 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/blogsurance/ There are times that life throws you a bunch of rotten tomatoes. Chaos starts pulling your strings like a mad puppeteer. All of a sudden your blog hasn’t been updated for so long you can’t remember the password to login.

Sorry for the neglect and thanks for sticking with me.

When life throws you rotten tomatoes, why not make rotten tomatoeade?

While I was lying in bed enjoying fever dreams in Technicolor and Dolby surround, I got to thinking – why, oh why didn’t I plan and prepare for this. Shouldn’t a blog have an insurance policy?


Here’s what I think would be a great insurance policy to keep your blog humming along nicely when you aren’t:

  1. Get a second feed reader or open a second feed reader account and subscribe to a few of your most critical feeds. When you follow a lot of conversations, its all too easy to follow nothing when you are overwhelmed. You need to turn your river of news into a trickle. Keeping just a few feeds in a reader will help you to follow the general ebb and flow of your corner of the blogosphere with minimal time and effort. I suggest including blogs that don’t post too frequently but that typically cover anything of significance. Another alternative to this for some would be to use an aggregator such as Megite to follow your topic at a glance.
  2. Write a few articles in advance and save them for those rainy days. When you’ve got a 101 degree fever its no time to be writing. Preparing a set of articles – perhaps even a series – that you can pull out of the closet is going to be great medicine and keep your readers engaged. Make sure that the articles that you write have a long shelf life. Nobody likes the smell of stale mothballs.
  3. Scheduled publication is your friend. Instead of stumbling into your desk all groggy each day to publish one of your pre-written blog posts, do it all in one setting and schedule them to be released in advance. This is particular easy to do by fiddling with the publication date in WordPress and in similar types of blog software.

Oh, and don’t forget the Vitamin C…

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Social Media Optimization & Marketing (new blog) https://www.mblair.net/smo-blog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=smo-blog https://www.mblair.net/smo-blog/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2007 23:07:14 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/smo-blog/ I’ve just launched a new companion blog to this one devoted to social media optimization and marketing entitled SMOblog.

Social media optimization and marketing consists of optimizing the technical infrastructure of a website so that it is well-integrated with social media and marketing directly to online communities, blogs and other social media websites through a variety of methods.

SMOblog is going to take a look at what it takes for a website to successfully market to the social media in a positive, participatory way that is supportive of social media in general, and of individual communities in specific. I’m going to be striving to discern the good from the bad and the ugly techniques of social media optimization and marketing.

I’ll also be covering significant developments in social media from the perspective of the interested webmaster.

If you are interested in social media, I hope you’ll join me over there as well, either in person or via RSS.

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Does your domain name have a weak handshake or a crooked smile? https://www.mblair.net/bad-domain-names/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bad-domain-names https://www.mblair.net/bad-domain-names/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2007 10:51:10 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/does-your-domain-name-have-a-weak-handshake-or-a-crooked-smile/
I was reading a great post earlier today by Aaron Wall that really laid out why it is a bad idea to cut corners on your domain name. He told an interesting story about how one of his domain names conveyed such a lack of credibility that when he tried to sponsor and event, they refused to take his money. This had nothing to do with the content, the look, or the feel of the site once you get there. They were afraid of the credibility hit that they would take by promoting his domain name.

If your website has an obscure, easy to forget name like my-really-funky-name.com, is it worth the time and money to change it?

If you desire to be a major website within your niche, the answer is usually yes. Your domain name is your first (and sometimes last!) impression

A name that is finely tailored to fit your website is not just a fashion statement – it is an identity. The first look at your URL should convey an appearance that your site belongs at the top of the Google results. You want it to look like it deserves lots and lots of backlinks.

That doesn’t mean that high rankings and backlinks will automatically follow, but it is an awful lot easier to get somebody to link to your website when they aren’t rolling their eyes or snickering at your domain name.

Of course changing names isn’t without risks. Any domain name transition can give you a punch in the gut in the short term as the search engines get the transition sorted out. This is a tactic for people that think about the lifespan of their website in terms of years, not months. The best option is to use a 301 redirect and try to keep as much the same about the structure of your website as possible in the transition.

Still not convinced?

Think about how many musicians have changed their name in order to appeal to a mass audience:

  • Reginald Dwight became Elton John
  • Ernest Evans became Chubby Checker
  • Barry Pincus became Barry Manilow
  • Vincent Furnier became Alice Cooper

All of these people have sold over 50 million records. I’m not so sure if Vincent Furnier could have done the same.

You could have a great website but if the domain doesn’t quite fit, you may be capping its potential. A solid domain name can help to stabilize your market position.

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Best advice I’ve ever received https://www.mblair.net/best-advice-ive-ever-received/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-advice-ive-ever-received https://www.mblair.net/best-advice-ive-ever-received/#comments Mon, 05 Feb 2007 12:39:46 +0000 http://www.mblair.net/best-advice-ive-ever-received/ This is driving me nuts. I was just reading Scott Horne’s blog (which is excellent by the way) and he’s got people sharing the best advice they’ve ever received. This is great because I love advice like sunflowers love sun. The problem is, I know exactly what the best advice I’ve ever received was but I have no idea who gave it to me or in what book I discovered it. I’m going to share it anyway, and my thanks to whomever’s idea it was.

I’d say it doubled my pleasure

This was back in the midst of a long and lazy summer in 1989, right before I began classes at Sonoma State University. The advice was to spend a week with a pad and paper and to log exactly what I did in fifteen-minute increments. So, I’d have things like:

8:00am -8:30am – Read the sports page.


9:00pm – 11pm – Watch a movie on videotape (I am old enough to remember those days)

So, after a week of this I had my very own “system logfile” of sorts. The point was then to go over this and to really scrutinize, as if balancing a checkbook, how that week had been consumed and if I could have spent the time in a more fulfilling way. Because of course, time is a zero-sum game. Each week is a week more in the history books, and a week less in the crystal ball.

Oh boy, was I lazy!

What I found was there was far more room for improvement than I realized. I tracked myself for another week, and found that I was easily able to double my enjoyment by shifting priorities. I thing in specific that I remember changed was that I did a lot less channel surfing and more writing.

Since then, I’ve gone back to the exercise a number of times – as it is easy to lose the “one week” perspective and to let life get a little flabby again. Also, it’s a little trickier now that I have a wife and a kid as priorities get more complicated with three of us to consider. Still I’d say it works wonders and I recommend it to anyone that wants to put themselves through a little mental boot camp.

If you are interested in reading some of the other responses, Graywolf and Stuntdubl have great responses on their blogs.

What was the best advice you ever received? (If you write a post about it make sure that you give props to Scott for thinking to ask this wonderful question.)

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