Monday, December 31, 2007

Fusionbox Launches SEO Site

Since we are getting so much Internet Marketing business, we launched a site to share some of the success stories and resources about our services. Our Denver Internet Marketing clients have told me how valuable this information is because it describes search engine marketing techniques in laymen's terms.

Take a look at our SEO website and let us know what you think.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fire Your SEO

Next month I'm teaching a seminar on search engine marketing at the Chamber of Commerce and how small businesses can take advantage of many free tools (including Blogger) to help boost their search engine ranking.

Many SEOs make search engine marketing seem technical, difficult, and ever-changing. It's really not so. It takes time, and some knowhow, but anyone can do at least part of it. You might not be able to optimize your code, but you can effect your ranking.

If you are interested in this Denver search engine marketing seminar, you can sign up here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

There Really Is a Social Network for Everyone

Today, while getting my daily dose of online gossip, I saw an ad for a dating site for pot smokers. Yes, I'm impressed that pot smokers actually motivated to get this site up with no less than 5 grammatical mistakes on the homepage and just a few broken links.

Yeah mannnn- websites are cool… huh huh.

Here are Grayson's suggestions for other dating sites:
Tagline: Never get tired of the same old thing? (for Mormons)
Tagline: Find the loves of your life. (for midgets)
Tagline: See eye-to-eye.
Tagline: :. .. . ::: .
Tagline: Yo baby needs her a daddy.
Tagline: Find you a woman.

That last one would have to be dial-up, though.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I will never...

Wear a dress over pants

Eat a tempeh burger

Get my nails done

Wear Crocs

Drink Zima

At work, I will never cease to be amazed by the number of Denver SEO companies who don't know what they are doing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm really good at:

Losing my keys
Getting food on my shirt
Breaking glasses when I wash them
Dropping my cell phone
Forgetting to get gas
Being late for appointments

It's a wonder how I manage my job at Fusionbox, a Denver web design company.

What are you good at?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Usability Nightmares

Incredible how many of the sites that are most popular and that we use everyday are usability nightmares. Here are the top sites that I wish our Denver web design firm, Fusionbox, could get a hold of and redo:

MySpace - seriously horrible ColdFusion crapfest
Amazon - could they make it any harder to actually buy something?
eBay - you'd think with their millions of dollars, they'd redesign.
Zappos - I'm a shoe addict, but I shudder every time I go to Zappos. The design is just so, so 1994.
Zaadz - I love Zaadz. But how about some bigger font for those aging hippies?

Who is on your list?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Denver Web Design

Working for a Denver Web Design company is so rewarding. I get the chance to share my knowledge with marketing people in all kinds of industries, from Construction to Software to Restaurants and beyond. And I get to learn about their companies' internet marketing challenges. Sometimes when I meet with potential clients, they want to know if Fusionbox has experience in their vertical. Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't; it doesn't matter either way. The principals of user centered design, usability, and search engine friendliness are the same across all kinds of businesses.

If you agree with our design sensibility (not everyone does), and our skill sets match your needs, we can create an effective web presence or service for you. Sometimes we aren't a good fit for a client and we tell them so and try to match them with a company that will fill their particular needs. There are quite a few companies out there doing good work. If you are looking for clean, search engine-friendly design, and solid open source software solutions, we're a good fit for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Subaru Drivers

Here's another list. The worst drivers:

Subaru Drivers (consistently slow and defensive)
Saab (something an asshole buys)
Audi (self-absorbed)

Seriously, the next time you are behind a Subaru pay attention to their driving and you'll see why I avoid driving behind them at all costs.

Stealing Content

For some reason today I decided to Google our website content to see if anyone had scraped or used our content. Well, it turns out that one of our Denver Web Design competitors has used our exact content from our services section for their service section. This competitor is even in Colorado. If they had edited our content just the littlest bit, I never would have known. I guess they were lazy and didn't think they would ever be found out. So now they'll be receiving a nice little letter from our attorney. Do yourself a favor and check your own content.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Does anyone use TailRank? I don't understand how they could possibly compete with Digg.

I posted a link to our offer for a free Denver SEO review. It'll be interesting to see if we get any traffic from it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The List

Our Denver web development team went out for lunch on Friday. The topic of discussion was your most hated actors and actresses. We agreed on most of the members on the list, though Jen has a top three who she said she would take out if she had a deadly illness and had to die anyway.

Here they are in no order of most hated:

Jamie Lee Curtis
Whoopi Goldberg
Cameron Diaz
Gary Busey
Robin Williams (what happened to him anyway?)
John Travolta (John Revolting)
Joaquin Phoenix (in everything except Walk the Line)
Kirsten Dunst
Tom Cruise (of course)
Jude Law (needs to go away)

Jen's list was Gary Busey, Nick Nolte, and shoot I can't remember.

Who is on your list?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Organic Postioning Takes Work

We'ver been really busy at the Denver web design firm Fusionbox that I work for. I haven't been doing much search engine work and it shows. We've gone down from position 5 on organic search engine results to 8 or 10 in the last couple of weeks.

I always tell clients that search engine marketing takes work and maintenance. Now, I just need to follow my own advice. The Denver search engine marketing landscape is a competitive one. In order to stay at the top of our game, we need to work at not only adding content to our site, but by following the other techniques that we teach our own clients.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flash Intros

Flash Intros

At a seminar that I gave last winter, I told a group of marketing people that if they were considering Flash Intros that they should seriously reconsider this choice. About half of the group had "uh oh" looks on their faces. They had all planned Flash Intros and had no idea why these intros will kill traffic to your site.

Flash intros are the bane of users. Users hate waiting for them to load and about 90% of users skip them anyway. Whenever I see a Flash Intro, I bail immediately. This means you are losing site traffic right away. We always tell our clients not to use them because, besides being usability nightmares, they usually cost quite a bit and don't add any value to your site.

Perhaps the only audience who actually watches these things are marketing people. That's because they are marketing people. Your users aren't marketing people and your Flash Intro is not going to convince them to buy your products or services.

Do your bottom line and your users a favor and don't add a Flash Intro to your site.

Fusionbox is a Denver web development company.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Denver Internet Marketing

The rules for internet marketing have changed drastically over the past couple of years. Internet marketing is no longer just optimization-- it's really more Public Relations than anything. It takes time to do, but pays off over and over again, especially now that users are finding companies not just through search engines, but through social media outlets, press releases, articles, and forums.

This is good news for our clients because we can teach them how to use these tools themselves. Clients are no longer tied to an SEO for life.

The best rule of thumb for increasing your organic search engine ranking is adding value to your users. All of your efforts should work toward this goal. This means adding helpful, relevant content, putting resources out on the web, and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

To learn more about Internet Marketing, give us a call at 720-956-1083.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Writing for the Web

Many of our clients want to write their own copy which is fine if they know that writing for the web is much different from writing a brochure, sales letter, or print ad.

Here are the basics to look for when writing for the web:

Rule #1 - Users don't read, they scan.

Bolded Items
Short Sentences
Bulleted Lists
Short Paragraphs
Use Headings and Subheadings

Rule #2 - The longer the line of text is horizontally on the page, the harder it is to read and comprehend.

Narrow column widths (there is a reason newspapers are they way they are
Left aligned text (never right or center align it)

Rule #3 - The good stuff should be above the fold.

Calls-to-action and offers above the fold
Linked keywords above the fold

Rule #4 - Your content makes or breaks your search engine ranking.

Keywords and phrases in title, tags, headers
Keywords as far up the page as possible
Often, but not too often
As internal links

Rule #5 - Less is more except when it comes to search engines

Less than 100 words per page, if possible
Case Studies, Articles, Blogs to add content that everyone may not read but that is important for search engines

Follow these rules and you'll have happy users and high search engine ranking.

Ivy Hastings is a Project Manager at Fusionbox, a Denver Internet Marketing and Web Design Company.

Fusionbox is offering a complimentary review of your site's search engine marketing friendliness.

Contact us to sign up.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Exito Travel Case Study

We recently were contacted by Exito Travel, a company based in Ft. Collins, Colorado that provides travel deals for passengers going to South and Central America. They needed our expertise in design, usability and search engine optimization. Their current site needed some help in these three areas. The goals for the project were to:

• Redesign with a cleaner, more modern look and feel that appeals to their target audience. Use design to drive user actions like performing a flight search, or calling Exito.
• Increase leads by improving the lead generating forms.
• Create a central navigational system that considers key user paths.
• Rewrite the code in order to increase organic search engine ranking.

All of these goals supported increasing site traffic, page views, time spent on the site, and of course leads and bookings.

Here's what we did:

When redesigning a site, Fusionbox always considers the following rules:

• What is the first thing you want a user to do when on your site? How will the design support this critical user action?
• What is the second thing you want a user to do on your site? What are the key user paths and how are we going to make them as efficient and readily available as possible?
• How will we tackle the 30 Second Rule? (Showing users who you are, what you do, and what the user should do next within 30 seconds.)
• How are we going to most effectively use prime real estate - the area of the site above the fold in a user's browser?
• What design look and feel supports the brand and appeals to the target audience?

For Exito Travel, the first thing they wanted users to do was pick up the phone and call them. The second action was to do a flight search. With these key actions in mind, we made the phone number much more visible and placed the flight search tool at the top right of the page where users expect to perform an action (this is according to eyetracking studies).

We tackled the 30 second rule simply by keeping the logo at the top left of the page where the eye goes first, and creating calls-to-action that underscore what Exito does and what the user should do. For example: Book a Flight, Search Group Flights, and Search Flights to Mexico. This way users knew exactly who Exito was, and what option they should use that fit their needs.

In the previous design, important calls-to-action were placed below the fold in 1024x768 meaning most users would completely miss them. This most certainly meant lost leads. We made the most of the real estate above the fold by moving up these important calls-to-action that support key user paths.

The current design had some great elements, and then some that weren't necessarily working toward an end goal. We redesigned to appeal to a young target audience (20-40) by using modern colors, rounded, contemporary, 2.0 looking shapes, and removing stock illustrations.

Here’s the old site:

Here’s the new site:

Users complained of "getting lost" and not knowing how to get back. To improve usability, we created a central top navigational system that was missing from the previous site so users could navigate around to different sections without getting lost. We also added a breadcrumb trail to help users orient themselves on the site. We developed a left nav that was very clear and also managed to use keywords, i.e., Flights to Mexico, Belize Tours, etc.

We put the all important Booking Tool on every page in the same place so users could take advantage of booking from anywhere on the site. This way, users could be reading about a Tour in Guatemala, and then book that tour immediately on the same page. This increased bookings dramatically.

Before the redesign, the lead generation forms were lengthy and bulking. We recreated the forms and eliminated unnecessary information from the tools. Fields like Mr./Ms./Mrs, Fax Number and auto filling information whenever possible. We also presented the information in the form in steps rather than one long form that is intimidating to users.

Search Engine Improvements
The most dramatic success of redesigning Exito Travel’s site was the boost in site traffic by 50%. This is due to the search improvements we made to the existing code. By optimizing and streamlining the code, Exito Travel’s organic search engine results improved dramatically. We did not launch any other internet marketing strategies, and did not change the content in any way, but Exito still increased unique page views by half.

Fusionbox is a Denver Internet Marketing and web design company.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Exito Travel Traffic Increases by 50%

We've recently finished a project at Fusionbox where we redesigned and redeveloped a travel web site for Exito Travel.

The goals of the project were to:

Improve website design look and feel
Improve usabilityIncrease organic search engine ranking

All of these goals support the end goal of getting more traffic and conversions. The project has been an overwhelming success.

Here's the old site:

And the new one:

Right away you can see the difference in design. The site is more modern looking, less complicated and contains clear content areas. The code is clean and search engine friendly. These changes have resulted in 50% more traffic for Exito.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Increase Ecommerce Conversions

Research says that 59% of ecommerce users abandon the process before it is complete ( The reasons why users abandon the process are:

Not revealing pricing up front - Users want to know exactly what they are in for. You need to be up front about product pricing and, shipping and handling costs. Don’t try to trick users about pricing. Ever.

Poor usability – The process needs to be seamless, fast, and intuitive. Make buttons big and obvious. Error handling should make it very easy for users to go back and fix mistakes.

Asking for too much information – Fields like Mr./Miss/Mrs., Title, Company, Fax, Home Phone and Business Phone are not particularly valuable to you, and can really frustrate a user. Eliminate them and make the process shorter. Auto fill any information that you can. Have the country field default to US. Auto fill the shipping address.

Not presenting the process in steps –users respond to processes that are presented in steps. They also want to know where they are in the process and how much they have left to complete. We’ll segment the checkout process.

Forcing users to register in order to buy – Buying should be as easy as possible. Users have a block when it comes to registering. These are busy people. We need to let them get in, buy, and get out.

Presenting outside links or navigation –How often have you clicked on an outside link and then come back to find all the information that you have just added missing? Let’s keep the users focused on checking out.

Follow these best practices and you will increase your conversions dramatically. By giving your customers a pleasant buying experience, you will turn them into lifelong advocates of your products and service.

Ivy Hastings is a Project Manager at Fusionbox a Denver website design company.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When AdSense Goes Wrong!

Dave Gannon, a Denver freelance designer, noticed that we had a competitor listed on one of the AdSense ads. The fact that this competitor is advertising with AdSense pretty much shows that they don't know squat about getting organic results. So, as far as competition, I'm really not worried. They are an ad agency and every ad agency I know, offers web design and then just outsources it and marks the work up by 50% and is more concerned with design and flash than usability, web best practices, etc. Too bad their poor clients don't know that too!

Check out his blog entry here: Dave Gannon :: Denver Freelance Web and Print Designer Blog

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jabbits Launches

This is a development project that we did at Fusionbox. We did the design, the Flash video, and an engine that connects to your web cam automatically to record questions and answers.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Soap Opera Names

Today someone told me that I have a Soap Opera name. Hmm. I'm not a soap opera actress, though my life does resemble a soap opera from time to time. I'm just a lowly project manager at a Denver web design company.

Here is a list of what I think are good soap opera names. Please add yours to the list.

Dr. Rick Slater
Alan-Michael (This is a real character on Guiding Light played by my longtime friend, Michael Dempsey. Isn't he cute?)


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Planning a Web Site Design

The Denver web design company I work for, Fusionbox, almost always has clients who call with rush jobs. Sometimes we miss out on jobs because we insist that the project cannot be done correctly within a certain timeline. What we have found is you can do it quickly, or you can do it right.

Seventy-five percent of a successful project is planning. That means beginning with measurable goals and objectives. Your goals and objectives should always tie back into your company's mission. So, if your company's mission is to be the market leader in widgets, your site's purpose should be to do that. It's also important to set measurable goals. This will prove that investing in your web site, pays off. Plus, it'll make you look good to your boss.

Once the goals are set, your planning is still far from done. You'll want to examine your target audience or audiences and get in their heads. This means finding out who they are and why they are on your site. Then, you'll need to make sure you are fulfilling their needs. Identify what actions each target audience will take on the site. If it's someone purchasing a widget, make widgets easily available from the homepage. Research show that people who buy on the web want to see products right away and they want to see images and prices. Put your widgets on your homepage with a small image, title, description, price (users hate to drill down to get pricing), and a "Buy Now" link.

The next step is to determine the specifications of your functionality. It sounds scary, but it's not. Most developers can work with a list of statements like, "I want a user to be able to rate products on a scale of one through five." Write down everything you want the site to do and even include what you might want it to do. For example, "An adminstrator should be able to log into a content management area and add a press release." You get the idea. Along with your specs, you'll need to include a database discovery. This means determining all the possible fields for everything that might be stored and served in a database. For example, a product might have an image, a title, a description, a price, a product number, etc.

Now that you know who your target audience is and you have identified key user paths and you know what the site should do, it's time to start creating your information architecture. This determines the flow of the site. Build the flow of the site to best accomodate those key user paths. These should give the user what he or she is looking for in three clicks or less.

After you have determined your information architecture, it's time to create wireframes. Wireframes are like a blueprint of your web site. You'll want to identify all of the content that will be represented on each page including navigation, logos, images, and content. This is a very important step because it takes all the guess work out for the designer, and you can do a usability gut check on your key user paths and the flow of the site itself. You can even build a test site based on the wireframes and run a usability test.

The next step is to get your content together. Start with a content strategy. What are you trying to accomplish with your content? Don't forget to include a search engine strategy that defines what your key words are and how you will leverage them in your content. Is all of your content working toward your goals and objectives? Too often I see meaningless stock images like the ubiquitous handshake. Web users are jaded amd images like these just distract the user from their mission. Do yourself and your users a favor and leave it out. Instead, use images that are meaningful and I'm not talking about the butterfly that signifies growth.

Only once all of the above steps are taken should you even start to think about design. So many web design companies lead with design. Then the client ends up with a site that may be gorgeous, but doesn't support goals and objectives. It is also of the utmost importance to design around content rather than creating a design and then stuffing the content into it. Your design should support your brand and serve as the wrapping paper to the gift. And again, make sure the design supports those key user paths; the first question your web designer should ask you is, "What's the first thing you want users to do when they come to your site. Don't forget to integrate the look and feel of your site with your offline materials-- if you don't, you'll just end up diluting your brand and your marketing efforts.

Your planning is still not done. The last bit is to plan the actual work--who is going to do what when. Who needs to give approval for what when. Throw in some milestones, stakeholders, and deliverables and you're done. In other words create a project plan. And by all means, plan the launch of the site. Make it deliberate, not an incomplete, rushed event because someone has it in their head that this just must be done before the end of the year, or else Create some buzz and PR for the launch of your new gorgeous and effective web site. Remember, you only have one chance to gain or lose users; if a new user comes to the site and does not see what their looking for, they're gone, forever, and you've just lost a possible new lifetime customer.

By planning, and doing it right instead of quickly, you'll have an end result that is not only effective but also matches everyone's expectations-- your boss, your sales team, your marketing people, and most importantly your users and your bottom line.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fusionbox is #1

Hooray! Fusionbox has achieved number one ranking on Google for the keywords "Denver web design and development". At least for now!! How cool is that?

We've been spending about two hours a week for the last three months improving our organic listings. We weren't even in the top 1,000 results three months ago, and now we are on the first page of Google.

I'm not going to tell you how we did it. Let's just say we know what it takes to get there. One of the techniques is not even being used by Denver internet marketing companies. And, the best part is, it's not that hard to implement.

If you need help with your search engine results, contact us.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Creating Targeted Landing Pages

Marketers often make the classic mistake of launching a pay-per-click campaign and having users land on a page that is not targeted towards that PPC ad.

Take this example. A Denver oil and gas company, which will remain anonymous, has a suite of products including land management, an ERP System, and Accounting Software. They launched several targeted PPC campaigns (good idea) but had each click-through land on their homepage (bad idea). The homepage unfortunately does a miserable job of describing their various services. So, what they found was users would click on the ad, go to the homepage, and then bail.

It's so important that you have users land on a page that is clearly tied to the contents of your ad. You'll also need to include a strong call-to-action that is directly related to the ad. What good is it if a potential client comes to your site and then fails to become a lead.

By giving users what they are looking for and what they expect, you'll ensure that you maximize your PPC spending dollar.

Here's more information on our Denver web design company, Fusionbox. With this, and other tactics, we can help you make the most of your PPC budget.

Ten Ways to Instantly Improve Your Usability

Whether it’s an e-commerce site, an online tool, or just your company’s corporate sites--smart marketers know that web site usability is key to the success of any online presence. What a lot of marketers don’t know is the basic principles of web usability and how to apply those rules to their own online presence. Here are ten very easy ways to make an immediate impact on the usability of your site:

1. Home – Users want a home and they expect to see a link to home in the same place: the top left-hand part of your site. Don’t try to be creative and place your link on the right hand side, or at the bottom of a left navigation, or even worse, leave it off your navigation completely. You’ll just end up frustrating your users.

2. Links – Make links look like links. Designers hate the ugly blue, underlined text that indicates a hyperlink, but users love it. The standard blue, underlined text shows users implicitly that the content is a link. Now you don’t have to use that blue, underlined text, but do make sure your links look like links. You’ll want to also make sure that a visited link changes color.

3. Text Size – Another Designer pet peeve is text size. Designers tend to use the smallest size they can get away with. If users can’t read your text, they’ll bail out. Make sure your text size is 11pt. or above. One of the great trends that stemmed from Web 2.0 is the use of really large text, buttons, and features.

4. Navigation – Your navigation is central to the usability of your site. Your navigation should be placed on the top of the page under your logo, or down the left side. Never place your navigation on the right hand side, or worse change the location of your navigation Users are used to seeing navigation in the same place. If you make them hunt for it, they’ll bail and you’ll lose out on that sale, lead, or client.

5. Orientation – If your site is deep, meaning it has a lot of pages and many levels of navigation make sure that users know where they are in the site, and how to get back. A great way to accomplish this is by adding a breadcrumb trail. This basically shows users their click path. For example, a user who is shopping for skirts might see: Home > Women’s > Clothing > Skirts. Each of these categories should be a link that takes the user back to that category.

6. Content – Though content is usually not mentioned as an aspect of usability, it is so important to use web best standards for your written content. In this case, less is always more. Your site is NOT an online brochure. Web users don’t read, they scan. Use short, active sentences and calls to action that are engaging. You can do this with bold, bullets, buttons, and call-outs.

7. Placement – Put features where users expect to see them. Your logo goes on the top left and is a link to the homepage. Search belongs at the top right hand side. Contact Us should be the last section in your navigation. Login should be at the top left. Eye tracking studies show that users start at the top right, scan back and forth from left down the page, and end up at the top right expecting to complete an action.

8. The 30 Second Rule – The 30 Second Rule states that users should know who you are, what you do, and what they should do next on your site. Do a gut check and make sure you pass. Ask anyone who is not familiar with your site or business to perform this test.

9. Search – Fifty percent of users prefer to use a search tool rather than drill down through your navigation. Give your users search so they can find what they are looking for fast.

10. Speed – Users hate nothing more than waiting. Do you think they really care about the fancy Flash effects your designer talked you into? Every last study also says that Flash-based intros are useless. So, if you’re considering spending good money on a fancy intro, think again.

At least 8 out of ten websites are breaking at least one of these rules if not all of them. Do your users a favor and fix these issues right away; your bottom line will thank you for it.

Ivy Hastings is an Internet Marketing Expert at Denver web design company, Fusionbox.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Web 2.0 Finance Tracker

I found an amazing web 2.0 tool today, It combines finances and social networking to help people take control of their finances. I found it thanks to one of my very favorite sites:

Wesabe allows you to upload your bank statements and categorize them by tags, for example restaurants, bars, movies--three of my very favorite ways to spend money. You can set goals, get tips from other users, and just keep track of what is going in and what is coming out. For the checkbook-balancing resistant, this is the ultimate tool.

The best part is that they have created an RSS feed, so you can't not keep track of your finances. If you are on Google Reader, for example, your balance is their in front of you constantly. And, with all the help of your newfound online friends,you may just save a buck or two here and there.

Wesabe is free for basic membership and while your data is 100% secure, Wesabe aggregates information on spending habits--a marketer's wet dream!! They've promised not to collect revenue from advertising because, "The problem with ads is that they generally show you ways to spend your money. There are tons of sites and services that will help you spend your money � we want to be the one that helps you save it." How can you not love that. Plus, the site is amazingly usable, employing AJAX the way it should be--by enhancing user tools and creating a truly simple-to-use web-based application.

So abandon Quicken and sign up for wesabe. isn't it fun when you can get rid of fee-based, client-side Microsoft applications? Oh, and I swear I am no on Wesabe's payroll.

Ivy Hastings is an Internet Strategist for the Denver web development company, Fusionbox.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I am Anna Nicole's Baby Daddy

No, I'm not. I'm missing a Y chromosome, but maybe this blog entry will get me some traffic. That's what some marketers call the YouTube effect. When YouTube started to get hot, smart spammers and some legitimate marketers splogged or wrote about YouTube to attempt to draw in traffic.

So, if you're able to pick up quickly on the hot topic du jour, and optimize and add content quickly, you may end up with quit a bit of traffic. Is it misleading? Yes, in some cases it is, but if you have something legitamate to say, why not capitalize on some good organic search results, and some social marketing visibility?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Meta Advertising

It's amazing how advertising has so drastically changed in the last couple of years. The advent of DVRs and online content has completely changed the advertising landscape. Advertisers are pressured to come up with new ways to capture eyeballs. Advertising has become more creative, more edgy, and more memorable. The YouTube category for advertising contains 24,000 results. Advertising has now literally become destination content.

Consider this. Last night I was watching television and I saw an advertisement advertising an advertisement. I'm not kidding. It was an ad for Career Builder notifying viewers to tune into watch the new ad campaign for Career Builder that will be aired on the Super Bowl. The ads have become so popular that the agency is actually promoting the campaign as if it were a feature. Is this the beginning of a new genre called Meta Advertising?

Other advertisers have embraced user generated content. There are numerous contests for users to create the next campaign for products including Sony, Toyota, and L'Oreal. The contests have resulted in thousands and thousands of entries. Now everyone has the ability to become a producer, writer, and actor, why not harness all this free creative talent?

But does this mean the end of the ad agency creatives? Probably not, but in the case of user-generated advertising, ad agencies will have to give up creative control. More and more marketers should embrace this trend as the landscape changes. User-generated content means more options, less agency spending, and advertising that actually appeals to your target audience.

As more advertising becomes destination content, the lines between advertising and content will be even more blurred and we'll be seeing many more ads about ads.

Ivy Hastings is a Project Manager at Fusionbox, a Denver web design and development company. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Ivy has published many articles about Internet Marketing. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Arts Street, a local non-profit that teaches at-risk youth the craft and business of the Arts.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

SEO - The Three Things You Must Know

SEO - The Three Things You Need to Know

by Ivy Hastings

Clients are always asking me about SEO. They want to know what it is, how it works, and what they need to do.

What I tell them is that SEO comprises of three main components: content, code, and inbound links in that order.

Content is still King not so much because great content creates sticky sites, but because great content does more to help your search engine rankings than many of the other tactics that SEOs use. Knowledgeable SEOs must first and foremost be great writers who can incorporate the right ratio of keywords within your content.

The way your site is coded can have dramatic results when it comes to your organic positioning. Make sure your designer knows what this means. If your web design and development company knows what they are doing, they will know how code affects your SER (search engine ranking). Your site should also be optimized, but that can sometimes have less of an effect on your SER than the structure of the code itself.

Inbound links are perhaps the most time-consuming and troublesome of the three keys to great organic SER. Don't clutter your site with unrelated links that you trade with just anyone. Trading links does not have nearly the effect that inbound links do. Save your energy by increasing links.

If you spend your time and energy on these three core tactics, you'll definitely increase your ranking. And the beauty of it is that these techniques only improve the stickiness of your site, the performance, and your reputation as an expert in your industry.

To learn more about how Fusionbox can help you increase your organic search results, contact us at: 720-956-1083

Ivy Hastings works for the Denver web design firm, Fusionbox. She writes for several publications and blogs on subjects such as search engine marketing, usability, web design best practices, and internet marketing techniques.