Monday, March 30

I have a problem

I have a problem. Well more accurately, I have multiple problems both related and unrelated. However, I am only going to talk about one. How do you overcome a fear that you haven't clearly defined?

Currently, I am working on development of my personal website As a visual person by nature, the design of the site is taking form in my head; as well as, on paper/computer. However, in an effort to govern myself I have decided that I can not; will not work any farther on the design until I have completed the copy development. Otherwise, I run the risk of launching a site with greeking in the place of the would be copy. My problem is I can not write about myself. I mean of course, I can. It is just that everything put down seems corny or pompous. So I start and stop, erase and then start all over again. It really is a vicious cycle, that is getting me no where.

In all reality what I write is not corny nor pompous. In all reality, the problem isn't in my writing or conception. The problem is in my head. One of my main skill sets is my ability to conceptualize an idea and then proceed to communicate said idea through written and verbal word. I do it all the time for clients, products, and the like.The problem is my reaction after I have written about myself. I giggle and blush after reading over what I've written; eventually scrapping it all.

I'm not sure why this is. Which I believe is why I can't get over it. I am a firm believer that facing your fears head on, is the only way to overcome them. So, how do you overcome a fear that you haven't clearly defined? Have you experienced a similar dilemma?

Please help. Otherwise, I may have to resort to putting a rubber band around my wrist and snapping it each time I start sketching or day dreaming about the design for I really don't want to do that, it hurts.


Tuesday, March 24

Hosting Options

My job recently fell fatal to the economic conditions that have become our everyday lives. (In writing that sentence I changed it from “I fell” to “My job recently fell”. I choose to do this because, despite the fact that I have recently joined the ranks of America’s Unemployed, I am doing rather well. The word “fatal” felt dramatic when speaking of myself; however, it feels appropriate when speaking about the job I am no longer performing. ) Since, becoming unemployed I’ve realized a lot of things that I over looked or took for granted before. (So many that I may dedicate a post solely on this topic.) I haven’t been “out of work” since 2001, when I first began my professional career and I haven’t “looked for” a job since 2005, when I left The Miller Group. One of the biggest things I immediately couldn’t ignore is that it is a much more competitive marketplace and finding a job isn’t as simple as looking in the classifieds and faxing a paper resume. Especially, when focusing in the marketing and advertising field; the earliest adopters of anything promotional. So over the last two weeks, along with applying to jobs I’ve been focusing 100% on giving my personal brand a face lift. One item that is part of this face lift is #6 on my 101 in 1001: to create, design and develop my professional website.

Last week I secured my domain names:,,, and from I’ve decided to use in all my branding efforts, being that it matches my twitter, gmail, and flickr profiles. All URLS will point to the same website for those people who are just doing a quick search on “Julianna Wittig” or one of my other aliases. Next item on my list is to secure hosting.

In the past I’ve always used for my hosting services both professionally (when appropriate) and personally. I’ve been using for 8 years now, without ever looking elsewhere. I’ve never really had a reason before, and quite honestly they haven’t given me a reason now either. However, service offerings have changed greatly since I started using and I’m in a place of change personally and professionally. In spirit of this place of change, I want to use a different hosting service for You are invited to join me while I narrow down my options for a new hosting service. Below are the steps I have taken to make my selection. Note: I am writing this post as I make my selection, so I don’t even know who I am going to end up with.

1. Recommendations: I employed my network for recommendations on ho
sting services. On twitter @dwplanit recommended and @briancrumely recommended MediaTemple. On facebook Shaun Ault recommended and So right off the bat I have been able to narrow down my options with recommendations from trusted resources. Resources that I can metaphorically say to: “I know where you live”.

2. Consumer Feedback: Now that I have narrowed my options to four capable solutions via the assistance of my direct network, I would like to see what everyone else is saying about these services. Once again, this is a question that twitter is perfect for answering. Simply by performing a twitter search on each of my candidates I am able to see real-time results on what other users are saying about the services I am considering.

    Overall positive conversations. A couple of complaints regarding service interruptions.

    Note: You have to search because
    myhosting has a profile on twitter for the company

  • #MediaTemple
    Overall conversations seem to be tech related. Indicates a higher usage by professionals? A couple recommendations for using other services.

    Note: MediaTemple also offers a twitter profile @mediatemple

  • #bluehost
    Mostly recommendations. A few complaints regarding service suspension and customer service.

  • #hostmonster
    Overall banter about service. No real hearty recommendations or complaints.
3. Feature and Cost Comparison: Next I compare the features and costs of each service. There is a plethora of options out there when it comes to hosting services. I need to make sure the option I choose is the best solution for this project. Although this site will be for professional growth and brand establishment it is a personal website. I don’t anticipate insanely high traffic demands or the need for especially large amounts of data storage space. I will be handling the design, production and testing of the website myself; so I’m not interested in any free site builder options.
  • MyHosting Cost: $6.45 a month
    My Hosting Features: Linux (Debian) platform, 5 GB disk space, 50 GB data transfer, 250 email accounts with spam filtering, 5 domain name aliases, Free web-based Site Builder, PHP 5.2.9 and Perl, Free MySQL 5.0.32 database 9

  • Media Temple Cost: $20.00 a month
    Media Temple Features: 100GB premium storage, 1TB network transfer, Host up to 100 domains, 1000 email accounts, Clustered architecture, Rails & Django Containers, MySQL SmartPool v.2, FREE Urchin Analytics, Money Back Guarantee.

  • Blue Host Cost: $6.95 a month
    Blue Host Features: UNLIMITED Hosting Space (NEW!); UNLIMITED File Transfer (NEW!); Host UNLIMITED Domains!!!; 2,500 POP/Imap Email Accounts; SSH (Secure Shell); SSL, FTP, Stats; CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MySQL; 2000/2002 Front Page Extensions; Free Domain Forever!; Free Site Builder (NEW); 24/7 Superb/Responsive Sales/Support

  • Host Monster Cost: $5.95 a month
    Host Monster Features: UNLIMITED Hosting Space; UNLIMITED Site Bandwidth; Host UNLIMITED Domains; Unlimited Pop/Imap Email Accounts; SSH Access (Secure Shell); SSL, FTP, Stats; CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MYSQL; Front Page Extensions; Free Domain Forever; Free Site Builder; Best Support in the Industry
4. Customer Service: Last but not least I take a look at the Customer Service offerings of each service. One of my biggest pet peeves is when working with a internet based company that only deals with service requests through FAQs and tickets submitted via an online form. Now, I certainly expect that each service is going to boast “Award Winning” and “Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed”. Which means I am going to have to read between the lines to ensure I am purchasing the customer service I will expect.
  • Myhosting: 24/7 Phone Support, Online Chat, FAQs, Email Support, and Call Back Request. Myhosting also has a presence on twitter as I mentioned previously, @myhosting. More and more companies are continuing to embrace this means of communication. I am glad to see myhosting adopting twitter; however, their account was just created at the start of sxsw this year and their tweets are regarding their sxsw participation. Hopefully, they evolve their usage to include customer support.

  • MediaTemple: Our Promise and 24/7 Support. MediaTemple also has a presence on twitter, @mediatemple. A pretty active presence, these guys are using twitter to its fullest for customer service. They are interacting and engaging with their users; becoming part of the solution.

  • Blue Host: Ticket System, Knowledgebase, 24/7 Phone Support & Live Chat.

  • Host Monster: Ticket System, Knowledgebase, 24/7 Phone Support & Live Chat.
5. Decision & Reasoning: My network was able to provide me with four capable options for my needs. I could have simply chosen the cheapest option or the most complex and went from there. However, I did not. I wanted to make sure the one I selected was going to meet and maybe exceed my needs as a consumer. In the end I've decided to go with The reviews they have received were positive for the most part, their features and price were exactly what will meet my needs, and they show the potential for adopting proactive customer service techniques.

MediaTemple appears to be a great solution to meet the demands of a robust corporate website. I will probably refer back to thier service the next time I'm working on such a site.

BlueHost and HostMonster both lost points because if you look at thier customer support pages, it appears they may actually be the same company just branded as two different companies. I don't know this to be true, but there was just too many uncanny similarities. Check it out for yourself.

Well I hope I havn't bored you to death. I know this hasn't been the most entertaining post. I just hope the information, helps you make a hosting selection in the future.


Saturday, March 7

The Economy, Responsibility and Twitter

I come from a generation where the great depression is made up of story tales of hardship, togetherness, and struggle told by my elders. I don't remember it and I can't fathom it any more than I can fathom the story of sleeping beauty or the renaissance. So I turn on the switch to the analytical part of my brain to make my own determinations of the theatrical media reports.

During the Great Depression, in the United States, the percentage of the population that was out of work rose to 25 percent of the workforce at its highest level. This number translated to 15 million Americans being without work. But times are very different in 2009, then they were in 1930. The population is larger, there are more women and men leaving for work everyday, jobs have changed and technology has changed. According to my calculations (I am no mathematician), for the US unemployment rate to reach 25 percent again, 35.5 million people will need to be out of work. So where do we stand? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million in February, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent. Not good, not comfortable, but you know what? I don't think the sky is quite falling either.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everything is fine. It is not. We've had it pretty darn good since the end of the depression and even better still in the more recent years. But as the english proverb goes, "all good things must come to a end". Things are not going to be as easy as we've grown accustomed to, we are going to have to work a little harder and be a little more responsible for ourselves and our own. Responsibility should and will take on a whole new meaning for us, that is if we are doing it right. So I ask you, what are you doing about it? Are you sitting around waiting from someone else to fix it? Are you talking about how bad things are? Or are you taking control of your own mindset? Are you talking with people like yourself? People who are empowerd to change things, people who can change things?

My point is you can read the news reports on the american economy. Reports with words like grim, destroyed, wrenching and brink. Or you can start being selective about what your reading and who your talking to. I'm not using google for the same purpose anymore. Google no longer gives me what I need or what I want. It is just a tool to aggragate and display information posted by whoever and whomever. Instead, I'm listening and talking with a whole new network on twitter. A network that is optimistic and sharing ideas, successes and lessons learned.

According to Twitter's homepage the service is defined as "A service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? However like all tools, Twitter is what you make of it. You have to follow the right people, you have to offer valuable information, you have to be transparent and honest. If you are complaining to your network and talking about what lunch was for the day; your going to hear people complaining and telling you about their newest aliment. You will get back what you put in. Below is snapshot of my favorite things that my network shared with me this past week. I hope they inspire and make you smile, as they did me.

@prnewswire Editor who had earned 6 figures until she was laid off last year now interns to become tech-savvy

@AgencyConfesses Friday Ad Haiku: Responding to a-holish blog comments

@george_murphy RT @city_paper DC takes one more baby step toward admitting that Baltimore is, like, totally the cooler city:

Lost it, Found it, Not going to lose it again! Here is a blog post from @rohitbhargava that I found worthy.

@mashable It's #followfriday! The usual reminder of how #followfriday works:

@adamostrow Reading "MySpace is Toast" - ... nice to-the-point headline!

@CocoOnTheWeb The most impressive 27-year old you’ve never heard of? Barack Obama’s speechwriter:

@mashable Reading: "The Power of Social Networking to Save the World (from zombies)"

@mashable Reading: "A Twitter Basics Primer"

@MrTweet Which great organization or individual should @MrTweet feature next? Tell us: (RT if you know great folks!)

@jhawkw “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” — Chinese Proverb


Wednesday, March 4

Glossary of Terms: Search Engine Marketing

Below is a glossary of terms that were originally published in SES Vol.3, Issue 1 for search engine marketers. I found these definitions clear and consise when explaining things to the general public, and thought you may too!

advertising network: A service where ads are bought centrally through one company, and displayed on multiple websites that contract with that company for a share of revenue generated by ads served on their site.

algorithm: The technology that a search engine uses to deliver results to a query. Search engines utilize several algorithms in tandem to deliver a page of search results or keyword-targeted search ads.

anchor text: The clickable text part of a hyper-link. The text usually gives visitors or search engines important information on what the page being linked to is about.

click through rate (CTR): The rate (express in percentage) at which users click on an ad. This is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of ad impressions. CTR is an important metric for Internet marketers to measure the performance of an ad campaign.

content network: A group of websites that agree to show ads on their site, served by an as network, in exchange for a share of the revenue generated by those ads. Examples include Google AdSense or the Yahoo Publisher Network.

content advertising: Advertising that is targeted to a web page based on the page's content, keywords, or category. Ads in most content networks are targeted contextually.

cost per action (CPA): A form of advertising where payment is dependant upon an action that a user performs as a result of the ad. The action could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or asking for a follow-up call. An advertiser pays a set fee to the publisher based on the number of visitors who take action. Many affiliate programs use the CPA model.

cost per click (CPC): Also called pay-per-click (PPC). A performance-based advertising model where the advertiser pays a set fee for every click on an ad. The majority of text ads sold by search engines are billed under the CPC model.

geo-targeting: Delivery of ads specific to the geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows the advertiser to specify where ads will or won't be shown based on the searcher's location, enabling more localized and personalized results.

Googlebot: Google uses several user-agents to crawl and index content in the search engine. Googlebot describes all Google spiders. All Google bots begin with "Googlebot"; for example, Googlebot Mobile: crawls pages for Google's mobile index; Googlebot-Image: crawls pages for Google's image index.

inbound link: An inbound link is a hyperlink to a particular web page from an outside site, bringing traffic to that web page. Inbound links are an important element that most search engine algorithms use to measure the popularity of a web page.

invisible web: A term that refers to the vast amount of information on the web that isn't indexed by search engines. Coined in 1994 by Dr. Jill Ellsworth.

keyword: A word or phrase entered into a search engine to return matching and relevant results. Many websites offer advertising targeted by keywords, so an ad will only show when a specific keyword is entered.

link bait: Editorial content, often sensational in nature, posted on a web page and submitted to social media sited in hopes of building inbound links from other sites. Or, as Matt Cutts of Google says, "something interesting enough to catch people's attention."

link building: The process of getting quality websites to link to your websites, in order to improve search engine rankings. Link building techniques can include buying links, reciprocal linking, or entering barter arrangements.

meta tags: Information placed in the HTML header of a web page, providing information that is not visible to browsers, but can be used in varying degrees by search engines to index a page. Common meta tags used in search engine marketing are title, description, and keyword tags.

pay per click (PPC): See cost per click (CPC).

quality score: A score assigned by search engines that is calculated by measuring an ad's clickthrough rate, analyzing the relevance of the landing page, and considering other factors used to determine the quality of a site and reward those of higher quality with top placement and lower bid requirements. Some factos that make up a quality score are historical keywords performance, the quality of an ad's landing page, and other undisclosed attributes. All of the major search engines now use some form of quality score in their search as algorithm.

return on investment (ROI): The amount of money an advertiser earns from their ads compared to the amount of money that advertiser spends on their ads.

search advertising: Also called paid search. An advertiser bids for the chance to have their as display when a user searches for a given keyword. There are usually text ads, which are displayed above or to the right of the algorithmic (organic) search results. Most search ads are sold by the PPC model, where the advertiser pays only when the user clicks on the as or text link.

search engine marketing (SEM): The process of building and marketing a site with the goal of improving its position in search engine results. SEM includes both search engine optimization (SEO) and search advertising, or paid search.

search engine optimization (SEO): The process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searches. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to users. Successful search marketing helps a site gain top positioning for relevant words and phrases.

search engine results page (SERPs): The page searchers see after they've entered their query into the search box. This page lists several web pages related to the searcher's query, sorted by relevance. Increasingly, search engines are returning blended search results, which include images, videos, and results from specialty databases on their SERPs.

social media: A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content. They include social networking sites like Linked-In or Facebook, social bookmarking sites like, social news sites like Digg or Reddit, and other sites that are centered on user interaction.

spider: A search engine spider is a program that crawls the web, visiting web pages to collect information to add to or update a search engine's index. The major search engines on the web all have such a program, which is also known as a "crawler" or a "bot".

title tag: An HTML meta tag with text describing a specific web page. The title tag should contain strategic keywords for the page, since many search engines pay special attention to the title text when indexing pages. The title tag should also make sense to humans, since it is usually the text link to the page displayed in search engine results.

universal search: Also known as blended, or federated search results, universal search pulls data from multiple databases to display on the same page. Results can include images, videos, and results from specialty databases like maps and local information, product information, or news stories.

web 2.0: A term that refers to a supposed second generation of Internet-based services. These usually include tools that let people collaborate and share information online, such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies.

Hope you enjoy!