Thursday, December 03, 2009

Conf 611: Down To Business


No news from agent. It's only 2 weeks and I'm trying to be cool about it. Trouble is I had such a dangerous burst of confidence, did you notice, it's taken some coming to terms with. I've now gone from excitement at the possibilities ahead to complete 100% conviction that that's it. Rejection and big slide down snake are imminent.

I've been quite good at not thinking about it. Had some great feedback from the newspaper editor on the supplement I've been working on. They're going to give me as big a plug as they can. Asked for a full page profile and there's a possibility of a photo shoot to accompany. Cuts will no doubt be made and pic highly unlikely, just as well as hairdressers are way out of my budget zone at the moment. What's great about it is the platform it gives me to have another go at selling my new non-fiction idea. The mag comes out in middle of January so I've got a bit of time.

Meantime had a great couple of days at the business startup show last week. Not that I have a business, yet. But I've got my Idea and have been messing around with a beginner's Mr Site web-builder. So I printed up some business-cards on the Mac and off I went. Went to lots and lots of talks, or seminars as they call them, and learnt so, so much. The seminars were free and very popular so the queues were long, but fun with everybody chatting away. It was like a parallel London in that respect. Back out on the street everybody stopped talking to each other again. I got quite high on it all, imagining how much fun it would be to have a business. To actually get out there and be doing something constructive about my future instead of sitting at the computer for months and months on end and then eventually sending it all off. And waiting and hoping. And dreading and waiting. Then the bad news, or good news that soon turns bad. I'm going to write up my notes now. Might do them here.

Top Ten Tips for Web Success

Consistent colours
Size 12 font minimum
7 seconds to capture new visitors' interest
Avoid hyphens in web names, very important
Contact details are very important. Have a postal address. Can lose up to 70% of customers if you don't give an address. If need be make it a PO Box service.
Don't write loads
1 paragraph only on home page
Update every 2 weeks - improves search engine position
Make Wikipedia, My Space pages and link back
Key words in content. But the trick of writing key words over and over in the same colour as the background is not to be attempted. Banned by Google.
If you get a web designer to make your site, get a fixed price NOT hourly.
Use istock photos, free resources.

Somewhere between these notes, I think it's here moved on to another queue for

Real teccie super-expert, founder of Shopzilla (sold in 2005 for $M569!) and dot Tel and his talk on

Search Engine Optimization on a Budget

How to get to the top of Google, known as SEO.

(Somebody in a queue told me that if you're not in the top four on the first page, forget it. Everybody's fighting for those slots and some companies pay SEO Optimisers a great deal of money to get them up there. Also, incidentally, she told me her husband writes Apps for iPhones & one of the newest ones is an estate agent, Rightmove, which has an app for house hunting. So you stand in the street and open the App and it'll tell you all the houses for sale closest to where you're standing!)

He said that in the world of SEO experts there are many lies and snake oil fallacies.
They sell with pitches like Number 1 Google guarantee. but under what terms? For how long? Crabs? Risks? Bing? The thing is, if there's a loophole it will be found and then Google will hurt you. You'll slide right back down to the bottom, like me and my novel pitching, back to the beginning you'll be sent.

The fact is things change. Signals are constantly changing. User behaviour changing. People have more knowledge of search engines. Average number of words in search box used to be one, now it's 3.

Mobile phone usage - people want to type less on mobiles, and navigate more. They'd rather push a button than pull up a keyboard.

Cat and mouse fight with SEO optimises chart system.

Meta tags, keywords. MILLIONS use the popular ones like finance, news etc. SEO impact is ZERO. DON'T waste time managing Meta tags. Exploited words are never, ever used by search engines.

The thing to do is

1. Make the engine find YOU
2. Make people choose YOU


You can get easily indexed.
Best results for search is content, on pages.

All about links? Not true.


DOMAIN string most important part. Domain URLS are criticl. .info. .biz. dot whatever GET IT.

AGE - you have to wait. Older, better. First 3 - 6 months it's a 'sandbox', to avoid spamming.
Changes slow to appear. Read up on "Google dance".

Since Twitter - real time search is a big deal.

Google thinking of integrating real time search. Feeds from Twitter, Real time, encyclopaedic.


5 seconds, horrible disaster.
1 second good.
0.2 seconds feeling of 'instantaneous'. Magical. Cost of clicking on another page, ZERO. Reader will STAY and click around.

Increase speed, reduce clutter.

Increase no. of valuable placements. DON'T TRY to outsmart algorythms. Ask is what I publish useful to those who look at it?

Classic SEO tactics
Flash, real media
Don't EVER duplicate content, you get massacred.

To point the search crawlers to all your properties - guerilla tactics, ADD POINTS OF PRESENCE Twitter, Facebook, Linked IN, Google Profile (beware, keep updated). Actively participate in forums, don't spam forums, show you're an expert in your field, Traffic from communities much more valuable than search engines. If in community talk about your side (VG)

He knew his stuff. At the end of the next queue was Richard Farleigh. I didn't take any notes. Just sat and stared...

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.


nodamnblog said...

Thanks for sharing this useful information. I'm considering self-publishing unless something starts to happen quite soon, and will need to create an effective website. Based on the above, I now have some idea of how to go about it.

Good luck with your ventures.

Amanda Mann said...

Glad it was useful, nodamnblog. I know the waiting feeling only too well. I'd recommend the Mr Site beginner's pack, I think it costs about £20 now. You get all you need, including a domain name, and it's very easy to set up.

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