Still Frames of a Spring Cruise

We went back into the archives and pulled out a whole bunch of great photos from our Spring 2004 Caribbean cruise.  Browsing through these photos brings back some fantastic memories… but also reminds us of a sad reality.  Some of these characters (Donny, Sobe, etc.) will forever remain best friends of ours.  They are true friends, the kind of people you can rely on when it counts.  Others in these photos (Sam, Nick, etc.) have dwindled down to being nonexistent in our lives, mostly due to selfish back-stabbing actions on their own behalves. 

But either way, when we look back at these photos we both agree that none of this really matters.  When you capture a still frame on camera you freeze that moment in time.  All events that follow that moment aren’t reflected in the image.  You only capture life as it was right then at that slit second.  As depicted in these photographs, Sam and Nick used to be great friends of ours, but since then their foul actions have destroyed relationships that we all admittedly miss from time to time.  Unfortunately these actions were also too cruel to easily disregard.  While we do miss the people that they were, we don’t miss them. 

One thing is for sure though… the time spent on this cruise could easily be ranked 10 out of 10.  We all had a blast, and we cherish the moments in every one of these photographs!  Thanks to everyone in them for making these moments unforgettable. 2683 2743

Link Bait How To: Obtain 42,000 Unique Hits and 1,000 Inbound Links in 1 Week

The Basic Concept of SEO…
Everyone involved in blogging and web publishing appreciates the value of website exposure.  Whether the site is for business or pleasure, heavy visitor traffic and a high rank on the major search engines is unarguably a definitive goal for any website owner.  Search engines use undisclosed algorithms to evaluate a website’s relevance and importance.  Google calls it PageRank and Yahoo calls it Web Rank.  It’s fairly common knowledge nowadays that inbound links are one of the most essential positive evaluation factors for search engine ranking algorithms.  The more inbound links pointing toward your site’s URL, the more important your site looks to the ranking algorithms.  This deliberate act of increasing your site’s search engine rank is often referred to as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

The Link Bait Process…
So what’s the best way to obtain hundreds or even thousands of inbound links for free?  It’s actually quite simplistic and almost completely self explanatory.  The answer is using a single article (or multiple articles) as Link Bait.  The basic idea revolves around the fact that one well crafted and informative article can attract an enormous influx of web visitors and inbound links.  I know it’s been said before, but this time I’ll lay it out in 3 easy steps.  I’ll then prove the effectiveness of this technique with past website statistics for our domain.

Step #1: Write a short informative article that is easy to read…
Understand that writing a successful blog post or web article does not necessarily involve a ton of writing.  Short, sweet, and to the point is the way to go.  Make sure your material is relevant and extremely easy to comprehend.  Although informative articles can fall under numerous categories, many of the popular articles (that are easy to write) fall in one of the two following categories:

Step #2: The Title is 51% of an Article’s Potential Success…
The title is undoubtedly the most important part of an article.  It’s the first and only thing a casual web surfer sees.  It has to grab their attention and wet their appetite for the information contained in the body of the article.  This casual web surfer scans through article titles at a rapid pace, committing only a split second to your title.  In that split second this title has to sell them on the rest of the article.  It should also double as a short summary of the body, giving the potential reader an accurate introduction that seamlessly guides their curiosity into your first paragraph.  Without a catchy title the body of your article is a waste of time and web space.

Step #3: Spread the news!  Release your article into the wild…
There are numerous methods for marketing your article on the web, but I’m going to stick with free, easy, and fun as the primary method requirements.  The advent of Web 2.0 social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us and article ranking sites like Digg and Reddit have completely altered the way web surfers find, catalog, and exchange information.  If you can get your article to stir up buzz on one of these sites, the traffic to your site will escalate by a multiple of 10 in a matter of hours, and the inbound links pointing to your site will start pouring in by the dozen.  Based on the excessive inbound link exposure, your visitor traffic will continue to thrive long after your article loses its buzz on these social bookmarking and rating sites.  With a catchy title and the content to back it up, it’s only a matter of time before one of your articles makes its way to the top.  Here are the sites I would submit my articles to, and this is the order I would do it in:

  1. Shoutwire – I would submit my article to Shoutwire immediately following the completion of the article.  This will give you a test bed for evaluating how well it is being received before you submit it to Digg and other more popular sites.  If needs be, you’ll have time to edit the title (or whatever) before pressing forward.
  2. Del.icio.us, Furl, and other social bookmarking sites – There is always the chance that other users will come across it and pass it along.
  3. NowPublic
  4. Fark
  5. Reddit
  6. Digg – Save the best for last.  Submit to Digg at least 1 day following your initial Shoutwire submission. 

Note: If you run a blog with RSS feed capability I would highly recommend opening a Technorati account and pinging it every time you update your site.  You may also want to ping Ping-O-Matic to hit multiple birds at once.

The Proof of Concept…
Alright, I know the most important aspect of any suggested success technique is the hard evidence that it actually works.  So here is the proof…
On Friday October 13th I wrote a short “how to” article about using Google to search open website directories for music, documents, and video files.  The article was entitled “Turn Google into Napster 2000”.  I never even had the opportunity to submit it to the entire list of social bookmarking and sharing sites.  In fact, all I did was ping Ping-O-Matic with our blog’s updated RSS feed, and the rest was history.  Here’s how it played out:

  1. Sometime Friday afternoon the article was posted on Reddit.  It made a quick jump to the front page where it remained until Saturday morning.
  2. On Saturday afternoon the article had over 200 bookmarks on Del.icio.us within a 12 hour time frame, thus sending it to the “Del.icio.us Hot List” on the front page of the site.  It remained there until late Saturday night.  It then continued to remain on the Del.icio.us “popular page” for another 12 hours or so.
  3. On Sunday morning it was posted to the front page of the Lifehacker blog where it remained for two days.
  4. On Monday morning someone posted it to Digg.  This is where the visitor traffic really took off!  The site started receiving thousands of hits per minute.  It received well over 1,200 Diggs and maintained a position on the front page for about 5 hours.  It then remained on the front page of the Digg “Tech News” section until Tuesday morning.
  5. At this point the URL of our article was posted all over the web, from blog to blog.  It even wound up on the front page of Ehrensenf, a very popular German news portal.

AWStats Website Stats for marcandangel.com (Oct 24, 9AM)…
CLICK HERE (note the increased visitor traffic after the article was written) 

Inbound Links for marcandangel.com (Yahoo!)…
CLICK HERE
 

Feel free to leave us questions or comments. 

The Female Boss is Your Friend: Act Ethically and Get Promoted

So you think you’re a hard working employee.  Maybe you exceed company expectations in almost every measurable category directly pertaining to your position.  You’ve put in a couple years of dedicated service, and in this time frame you’ve managed to befriend your boss.  Your boss happens to be female, and occasionally you informally socialize with her outside of the workplace. 

You’ve been respectful in the past and have established a solid rapport with her.  Does the existence of this informal relationship give you the right to stretch the rules of the work environment?  “She likes me.  She’ll let me get away with a little tardiness.  Won’t she?”  It’s this kind of attitude that quickly eats away at the relationship and dismantles all levels of the trust and respect you’ve constructed in the past.

I’m a young female professional, and yes, I am the boss.  I’m fair and compassionate, but I expect results.  I certainly expect my employees to follow the rules, but above all I expect honesty.  Because I choose to occasionally socialize with my employees in an informal setting, they sometimes feel that they can use this as a free pass to slack off at work.  When this occurs, I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. 

If I let them slide, my reputation as a fair manager is in jeopardy.  The image I portray and the example I set becomes tarnished.  Other employees see me favoring their peers over themselves and quickly become displeased.  My credibility is lost.  If I take the necessary disciplinary action, I personally feel horrible.  Punishing or firing someone that you’ve established an informal relationship with can be disheartening.

In the end it basically comes down to “me or them”.  Their unethical behavior will either negatively affect my professional reputation, or I must hold them accountable for their actions.  This is something many of my employees continuously overlook.  They don’t see the immediate affect their actions have on me.  They don’t understand that the compassion I show outside of the workplace is completely unrelated to my leniency at work.

Does my sex have something to do with their misinterpretation of reality?  I know females are typically seen as more empathetic than their male counterparts.  So do they think I’m a pushover? Who knows.  Some may say that one way to avoid the situation is to cease the habit of informal socialization.  But, that would be a sad situation.  I truly believe the fostering of an informal relationship can increase overall employee moral and ambition.  I know it can easily benefit both parties.  Employees just need to follow the basic rules.

Do you informally socialize with your boss?  If so, allow me to layout a concise summation of my experiences and expectations.  I’ll make this really short and sweet.  Here’s a quick reality check of what not to do, and how to harness this informal relationship and use it to your advantage:

Understand this…
There is a distinct separation between business and pleasure.  Believe me, your boss understands this fact.  Don’t cross the line by believing that a stronger informal relationship gives you the ability to break the rules of the workplace.  Also, bragging to your coworkers about the conversations you had with your boss can easily start negative rumors.  This will reflect poorly on your perceived honesty and dedication.

React like this…
Reinforce the informal relationship by proving yourself within the workplace.  Instead of slacking off, do the exact opposite.  Take pride in your work, and go the extra mile.  If your boss takes the time to get to know a little more about your personal life, she probably holds you in high regard.  Don’t screw it up by disrespecting her authority in a professional atmosphere.  Instead, use it to your advantage.  If your boss likes you, she will be willing to spend more time assisting you, training you, and ultimately promoting you.  The choice is yours.  You can lose your credibility, or you can place yourself on the fast track for promotion.  It should be a no-brainer. 

Turn Google into Napster 2000

Okay peeps, I’m sure most of you know how to use Limewire and Bittorrent these days.  But, I’ll bet you haven’t used Google to perform a quick Mp3 search for the nagging song that’s been stuck in your head all day.  The truth is that Google can be used to conduct a search for almost any file type, including Mp3s, PDFs, and videos.  This functionality has been available for a long time, but most users haven’t caught on to it.  So here’s a quick example of how to use Google to search for Mp3s.  It’s like turning Google into the Napster of 2000.

The following is a Google search string for searching open web directories containing downloadable Nirvana music files.  Substitute the term Nirvana in the search string for any other band of your liking.  You can always bookmark the search result for future use.

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “Nirvana”

With some very slight modifications the same search string can easily be used to search for ebooks in DOC and PDF format:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(pdf|doc) “george orwell 1984″

Or perhaps your looking for some specific video file:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(mpg|wmv) “towelie”

You can check the official Google Advanced Search Operators page for further details on editing this search string to meet your specific needs.  Enjoy yourselves!

For more awesome Google hacks and tricks, check out:

NEW – Check out our Google File Search Interface:
Google 2 Napster File Search
(Mp3, MPG, AVI, PDF, ZIP, Torrent)
A simple web interface using advanced Google file search queries.

Physical vs. Mental Attractiveness

Well, Angel and I don’t need this because she’s perfect… 😉 But for the rest of my friends, here’s a little chart to ease the difficulty of determining whether or not your significant other is worth the extra effort.  Enjoy yourselves!

Attractiveness Scale