Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moving to a New Domain

Yes, we've packed the removals van and we're heading over to our new home at Ask-Kalena.com tomorrow. All our archives will remain in place at this domain, but I'll be redirecting the blog home page within 48 hours so please update your bookmarks. We're also moving away from Blogger to a WordPress platform that offers much more in terms of template features and control.

Our feed will stay the same: http://feeds.feedburner.com/AskKalena so if you're already a subscriber, you'll continue to see posts as normal. If you're not yet a subscriber, you know the drill! Catch you at the other end.


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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Apologies for the mess around here

A quick apology is in order for the (seemingly) sporadic blog posting this week. Blogger has been creating some major issues for bloggers like me who use FTP to publish to their own domains and I've been having a heck of a time getting some posts to publish on the day I write them.

Add to that some severe weather playing havoc with our broadband connection and we are in blogging hell! I'll be posting over the weekend to make up for the blank spaces. Thanks for reading and please avert your eyes to the mess while we slowly move this blog over to WordPress and it's own dedicated domain.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SiteProNews: History of the Blog

I'm totally trashed tonight - it's been a series of 9am-1am days in preparation for our launch of Search Engine Wiki. Add to that 30 laps in the pool today and I'm really feeling it. So please forgive me for a lazy blog post tonight!

Please enjoy a post I made a couple of days ago on SiteProNews about the History of the Blog. Catchya tomorrow!


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Monday, October 15, 2007

20 Must-Have Search Engine Marketing Tools

One month in and I'm still really enjoying my gig as a blogger and writer for SiteProNews. My latest article has gone live on their site today: 20 Must-Have Search Engine Marketing Tools.

Because I found so many useful tools for search engine marketing, I couldn't fit them all into one article so the piece will be followed up next week with Part 2: 20 MORE Must-Have Search Engine Marketing Tools. Got any favorite tools that I missed? Share your favs via comments on this post.


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work With Them

A terrific and amusing article was published recently on Freelance Switch, a community blog for freelancers: 12 Breeds of Client and How to Work With Them.

As a freelancer myself, I find myself nodding in agreement and laughing out loud at some of the client descriptions. Here's an extract:
"The Get-A-Good-Deal-Client:

Unethical get-a-good-deal clients are usually up for 'no harm trying' mentality that can see them trying to get out of paying for certain things, or at their worst, bullying you for more work or discounts...

The Low-Tech Client

The low-tech client looks confused and disoriented when discussing anything high-tech, calls rather than emails, wants everything to be faxed... The low-tech client will need to be hand-held through everything from setting up their email to opening up PDFs. Charge accordingly."

So true. And isn't it a snazzy blog design? I'm quite jealous. Thanks to Sophie for bringing this great site to my attention.


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Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm now a SiteProNews staff writer!

This week I was absolutely delighted to be invited by Mel Strocen of SiteProNews to become a staff writer and blogger for their site and newsletter. I'll be penning a weekly article about search engine marketing, as well as 2 or 3 blog posts a week aimed at helping small biz owners and webmasters to market their sites via search engines.

You can catch my SPN blog here and browse the SPN Archives for articles I've written. Don't worry, I'll still be blogging here daily so keep sending through those questions. I will probably end up turning some of the FAQs here into more detailed articles and case studies for SPN.

Meanwhile, if there are any topics you'd like to see covered by my columns at SiteProNews, please let me know.


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Monday, September 03, 2007

Q and A: Where should I place outbound links in my blog?

Dear Kalena...

I would like to know what links and where on a page are the best kinds of links. I'm a new blogger and started up my 2nd blog this weekend: The Artist Food Network. An artist will email a recipe and a painting of a food from the recipe. We will link to her in our post and we will want a link exchange by having her put a permanent link to us somewhere on our side bar (in a sidebar with layout -- adding a new page element). Are these the same in value?

Everyone talks about the value of links but I never know where to put these links --In a comments on another's site, in the post, or permanently in the blog roll. Thanks for your help.

Nancy


Kalena's Answer:

Dear Nancy

What a delightful idea for a blog! Very unique. In terms of your questions, it can be confusing for bloggers to know who to link to, where to place the link and how many links to use on a page. First and foremost, design your blog pages with users in mind. Create your navigation and outbound links so they are the most logical for your visitors. Create a few different layouts for your blog and ask a sample of people to provide feedback and what they do and don't like.

Any usability expert will tell you that the most expected place for navigation links is at the left of top of a page and the most expected link format is blue underlined text. Now that might not work with your particular blog template, but you should still try to fulfill your visitors expectations as much as possible. Visual heat maps can show you what areas of a web page are most looked at and clicked on by visitors. Try to place your most important content and links in these areas.

In terms of how to link to your contributors, I see that you have created a Contributors column in your left-hand navigation and are linking to the profiles of each contributer. But most of your posts don't link out to other sites. I do see one post from a guest artist where you've linked to the artist's site within the post text. The way you've done that is just fine. In terms of search engines and linking, there are really only four things to remember:

1) A link from site A to site B is considered by search engines to be a "vote" by site A for site B. The quality of site A is what search engines pay close attention to. If site A is considered a high quality site, with high traffic and popular content, the vote for site B is obviously worth more. If site A's content is related to the theme of site B, the link value is even higher. If site A is considered to be fairly unimportant or of low quality, then the link value is reduced considerably. This is why mass link building campaigns are often unsuccessful, because webmasters go out and try to build links willy-nilly, without caring who links back to them or who they link to. It's quality that counts for search engines, not quantity. The same goes for the number of links from one site to yours. Having a link from somebody's blogroll to your blog might provide more traffic, because more pages are listing your link, but it won't necessarily help from a search engine perspective unless the pages that list your link are considered of high quality themselves. The point here is to link and become linked by all means, but make sure you only link out to sites you would recommend to your site visitors.

2) If possible, don't exceed 100 links on a single page, as recommended by Google in their Webmaster Guidelines. I know, I know, I break this rule! It's a usability thing.

3) Don't link to the same page more than once on a single page.

4) The anchor text you use in the link can influence how relevant search engines consider the linked-to page for matching search queries. So you should always try to use logical keywords within the link. For example, if you were linking to a site about watercolor artists, instead of having the link look like this: Visit this site, it's about watercolor artists. You should use keywords in the anchor text and change the link to: Visit a site about watercolor artists. Make sense? It's very important that you encourage your guest artists and any persons linking to you to use anchor text in their links also so your site can gain from the link juice.


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Friday, August 24, 2007

Cre8asite Forums Turn Five

With all the excitement of search conferences going on, it was almost forgotten. But a little birdy leaked the news anyway: Cre8asite Forums turned 5 this week.

Founded by the delightful Kim Krause-Berg who is also one of our tutors at Search Engine College, Cre8asite Webmaster Forums are a friendly space for webmasters to gain professional and helpful advice on improving their web sites. Of all the forums I've spent time in, I've probably felt most comfortable with Cre8asite, due in no small part to the welcoming attitude of Kim and the moderators. You'll also see more search experts at Cre8asite than you can poke a stick at. That in itself says a lot.

Congratulations to Kim and her bunch of Merry Moderators!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hide and Speak Article Updates

You might remember that I recently blogged about Jennifer Laycock's latest article series, where she set herself the task of building an e-commerce site and hiding it from the major search engines to prove a point.

Well Jennifer's site Bento Yum has been performing amazingly well, despite the lack of search engine love. The site has attracted a wide range of fans and customers (including me!) and despite some social networking hiccups, the experiment seems to be working a treat.

Jennifer has been busy updating her article series about the challenge and you can read her latest installments below:

Stumbling Into Opportunity

Have a Unique Selling Proposition

WordPress for Content Management

Becoming Part of the Community

Develop Very Thick Skin

Congrats to Jennifer and Abigail for developing such an inspiring site and for having the guts to kick Google to the curb!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've Caught Bento Madness

I'm way too tired to answer an FAQ tonight, so instead let me reveal a deep dark secret about myself. I've caught Bento Madness!

You can blame Jennifer Laycock. To prove a point, she started the Bento Yum site with her Japan-based friend Abigail with the added challenge of making it a success without the four major search engines being allowed to index it. This piqued my interest and when I caught site of the whimsical Bento Kits at Bento Yum I was enthralled.

After a few days of soaking up the photos of Jenn's gorgeous lunch box creations and poring over the colorful Bento Kits for sale, I've been inspired to become a Bento genius in the hopes of coaxing my fussy toddler into eating anything that doesn't come out of an Oreos box. I mean, how could he resist the toddler Bento lunch pictured?

I've got my name on a waiting list for the cutest Bento Kits and I'm spending more time in the fruit and veg section of our local supermarket. When I go out shopping, I find myself side-tracked by craft shops and obscure little Asian shops in the hope of adding to my Bento accessory collection.

I've succumbed to the madness, as Jenn calls it, and I'm loving it.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jennifer Plays Hide and Seek With Google

After the success of her 30 Days series, Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide has set herself a new challenge: See how well a new site can survive if it hides from Google and other big search engines.

Jennifer has built a new e-commerce site and (wait for it...) she's preventing Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask from indexing it. The point?

"Whether it's the struggle to gain strong rankings in the organic index or the razor-thin margins associated with running a paid search campaign, new business start-ups seem convinced that they can't get anywhere without Google. I'm here to tell them that they can... In fact, I'd argue that without the crutch of Google propping you up, you'll be forced to build the type of business that can ride the ups and downs of search.

I'm kicking Google (and Yahoo and Windows Live and Ask) to the curb and telling the world that you CAN build a business, increase traffic and drive sales all without the major search engines."
In lieu of major search engines, Jenn's going to be using the power of social media and viral marketing to help the site's growth. I'll be watching this one with interest.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Interview on Pandia

I was interviewed by the delightful Per Koch of Pandia this week about, amongst other things, Google's Universal Search and how it will impact the future of this crazy industry. We even discover a mutual adoration of Kate Bush. Check out the interview here.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Food for Thought

It's not often we web workers think about what would happen if we died unexpectedly or became seriously ill. I mean, it's not a pleasant thing to dwell on is it? But if the unthinkable were to happen, have you thought about whether you would be missed online?

In her article Will We Know it When You Leave?, Kim Krause-Berg poses this very question. Do you have a community of friends online that would miss you if you disappeared? Are you so active in forums or chat rooms that people would wonder where you were? Would they become concerned enough to try and contact your friends and family?

I recall an incident about 3 years ago when I was a moderator at the ihelpyou forums, when one of the more active moderators stopped posting for over a week and didn't answer any emails or private messages we sent him. It was such unusual behavior for this particular person that we all became worried and began posting in other forums in search of him.

One moderator took it upon herself to track down his private details and phone his family. Turned out that the missing moderator had had some personal issues to deal with and had deliberately taken himself off on a private holiday with no phone, no laptop and no Internet access. He returned a week later to a warm reception at the forums, feeling overwhelmed by the concern expressed and sheepish for not telling his online friends of his plans.

It just goes to show that your online influence may extend further than you think. Those virtual friendships you make might just prove to be solid real-life relationships that last for years, so don't under-estimate them. More importantly, think about your online footprints. As Kim says in her article: if something happens to you or you choose to spend less time on the Internet, what sort of legacy will you leave behind? Food for thought.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Melbourne Rocks!

Wow, Melbourne totally rocks! My trip was fantastic, despite the fact it was too short. Didn't win at the casino but had a blissful visit to the Aurora Spa and a decadent High Tea the Windsor. Who would have thought that two small women could work their way through a three layer tray of cakes, scones and sandwiches? We even caught a fine gig at Australia's best jazz club: Bennets Lane.

And the shopping? Divine. I won't reveal the damage to my credit card, but let's just say I checked through an extra bag on the way home. A real highlight of the trip was catching up with fellow SEO and cre8asite forums buddy Sophie from ThinkProspect whom I hadn't seen in person for over five years. We made up for it though - spending three hours catching up and gossiping over lunch and a few glasses of wine. I wouldn't be surprised if half the SEO community felt their ears burning that day!

So I'm well rested now and feel better able to tackle the ridiculous amount of work in my In-Tray. Stay tuned for Q and A's later today.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Porkers Apologize

If you've been following the whole pork vs boobs saga I posted about yesterday, you might be interested to know that Jennifer Laycock has received a formal apology from Steve Murphy, the Pork Board's CEO.

To their credit, the Pork Board has also made sure that all persons who complained about their approach to The Lactivist, (and there were a LOT of complaints), received a polite, measured email response from Mr Murphy:
"Thank you for your email to the National Pork Board. We appreciate you taking the time to send us an email regarding our communication with "The Lactivist" webstore on CafePress.com about our trademark rights.

It is important to understand that our lawyer’s correspondence to Ms. Laycock was in no way intended to challenge or demean breastfeeding or those who support it. This correspondence is about defending our trademark and the National Pork Board's responsibility to protect pork industry investments on behalf of the 70,000 US pork producers we represent. The Other White Meat® is a pork industry trademark whose value was built slowly and thoughtfully over 20 years, paid for by producer’s hard-earned dollars. Any infringement on that mark would substantially lessen its value and impact for US pork producers.

It’s also important to understand that the National Pork Board cannot pick and choose which infringement challenges it decides to address. We have a responsibility to the industry to challenge all viable infringements (and we do so on a weekly basis) or face the possibility of losing trademark protection and allowing the industry’s valued trademark to become public domain, and thus worthless.

Again, the National Pork Board takes no issue with your important cause. Our interest here was in protecting US pork producer’s investment in The Other White Meat® trademark. We apologize if our response seemed impersonal or harsh; that was not our intent. We will use all feedback that we receive to improve our communication processes in the future. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Sincerely,


Steve Murphy
Chief Executive Officer
The National Pork Board"

Their choice of legal team may be questionable, but the Pork Board's public relations team seem to know exactly what they are doing. They are in full damage control mode and are doing a jolly good job of mopping up the PR mess before it spreads too far.

As a former PR consultant myself, I tip my hat at them. Having the apology come from the very top is smart. It demonstrates how seriously they are taking the complaints. The wording of the complainant response is polite and restrained. Addressing each and every complainer personally is impressive. I dread to think how many flames they received in their in-box. It would've been tempting to ignore them all and issue some stock standard release. You can bet that somebody has been working overtime since this thing bubbled over.

This whole situation underscores the growing importance of online reputation management. SEO players such as Andy Beal recognized the potential growth in ORM a long time ago. But I wonder how many PR agencies offer this service? You can be sure I'll be adding ORM to my own service offerings this year.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

US Pork Board Offended by Breastfeeding

Some days a story comes along that is every blogger's dream. Today is such a day. I've just heard that wonderblogger, supermom and breastfeeding advocate Jennifer Laycock has been threatened, (see Back Off National Pork Board), with legal action by the National Pork Board of America for (wait for it) allegedly stealing their pro-pork slogan "Pork: The Other White Meat".

Yes, you read right ladies and gentlemen. It seems that the guys in the big chairs at the Pork Board were offended by Jennifer's irreverant pro-breastfeeding t-shirts, in particular one that read "The Other White Milk" and felt they could justify legal bullying to make her stop selling them (and cease raising money for her local milk bank). But it gets better - here's a quote from the letter Jenn received from the Pork Board's legal counsel:
"...your use of this slogan also tarnishes the good reputation of the National Pork Board's mark in light of your apparent attempt to promote the use of breastmilk beyond merely for infant consumption..."
So apparently, staff at the Pork Board think that Jennifer's t-shirts are promoting some kind of kinky breastmilk fetish. Either that or the Pork Board are SO offended by the concept of breastfeeding mothers, that they feel any association with them would tarnish their reputation. I don't know which is worse!

I might have thought the Pork Board's request was reasonable if people could easily confuse Jenn's parody with their slogan and if she was selling a related product. But there's no confusing the two. Jennifer is promoting a non-profit organization that contributes to infant well-being and the Pork Board are promoting the slaughter and consumption of innocent animals. Yet they take offence at HER! It's priceless.

Apparently Jenn only sold the one version of that shirt but the item has already been removed by Cafe Press from her web store without Jennifer's permission, probably after contact by the porkies. You KNOW that whoever owns that shirt (?) is one happy purchaser right now. There will probably be people lining up at the door to buy Jenn's other shirts as a result of this. And all thanks to the Pork Board. As Danny Sullivan pointed out, the Pork Board's letter to Jennifer tarnished their reputation far more than her t-shirts could have.

Care to join Jenn's cause? I am going to lead the charge and go and purchase that NIP/SUCK shirt from The Lactivist that I've had my eye on for a while. Anyone else? You can also contact the Pork Board directly and tell them what you think. Let's poke those porkies and see if they squeal.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

25 Tips to Optimize Your Blog

Jennifer Slegg over at Search Engine Land has just saved me a ton of research by writing an article called 25 Tips to Optimize Your Blog for Readers & Search Engines. I'd been planning a similar article - kind of a dummies guide to social bookmarking - but this article is all this and more. The only problem now is that her tips have added another 20 or so tasks to my MUST DO list.

Great stuff Jen.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sisters (in Tech) Are Doing it For Themselves

I've been thinking about the subject for over a week now, ever since Kim posted Where are the Women Tech Bloggers?

An outsider looking in could be forgiven for thinking that the tech industry is dominated by aggressive, ambitious men. Certainly the search blog landscape has its fair share of loud macho stereotypes, always trying to one-up each other with jargonized posts, pointless SEO ranking competitions or bizarre territorial pissings. And there's only one woman listed amongst the A-List bloggers. Why is that?

I personally think it's because we sisters are busy doin' it for ourselves. Yep, most women in tech are far too busy actually working to be bothered with "mine is bigger than yours" comparisons, sexually suggestive blog illustrations, endless Digg backslaps and other male-dominated time-wasting. We just get on with it. Thanks to Kim for the list of sisters doin' it for themselves.


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