Filtering by Tag: Technology

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Transform and Roll Out!

While writing this post I couldn’t get the image of Megan Fox...err – scratch that – Optimus Prime out of my head.  The key word here is Optimize – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t about adding stuff that you don’t already have – it’s about making what you do have better.

In the same way that a gaudily colored truck can transform into a mobile battle station complete with Ion cannon – you too can transform your website into a highly ranking, customer catching cash funnel – all by following a few simple rules:

Take Care of the Tech

You’re not a website developer – you’re an attorney, a baker, a life coach, a marketer – whatever – it’s not your job to know how to set up your website correctly.  All you need to know is that there is a right way and a wrong way: HTML code should be structured correctly, page URLS should use real words and create hierarchies, H1 tags should be used, pages should have easily modified titles, descriptions, keywords and tags and content should be quickly distributed across different platforms and networks.

We recently ran across an agency that was going to charge a client $9,000 to ‘SEO” the very website that they themselves had built.  If I could have fallen off my chair I would – but I was already on the ground laughing over their definition of wireframes and site plans.  If you are having a new website built – all of this should be taken care of – if you’ve got questions – ask us – we’re always happy to give you an opinion.

Use the Right Words

You might refer to your business as an “Artisanal Horticultural Hideaway” – your customers however are typing the words “Flower Shop” into the search engines.  If you’re not already familiar with it – you must spend a little bit of time with Google’s Keyword Finder tool – it’s free, it’s easy and actually quite fascinating.

Write down all the words you think that describe your business – then go to the online tool and see how many people are searching for these terms.  Because the tool displays words that are used in similar searches you will often find that people use a different word for your business.  Find the most popular words that describe what it is you do and incorporate those words into your writing.

Use the Right Combination of Words

This is the whole “write like your customers speak” concept – often difficult for professions that use a lot of Jargon.  When you’re in the keyword finder you’ll see that Google shows not just single words but a series of phrases – these phrases are what people are typing into the search engine.

Studies have shown that people who arrive on your site from longer keyword phrases (3 to 5 with 4 being the optimum) convert better.  The thinking goes that the more detailed their search (i.e. the more words they use) the more serious they are about finding a solution – and if you can match their phrase then they will be more serious about you.

Get People to Link to Your Site

The more people that link to your site the better; get some heavyweight well established site to link to your content and your search rankings will increase dramatically.  But there’s only one way to ensure that people will link to you.

People don’t recommend crap to their friends – they recommend stuff that adds to their knowledge, that makes them laugh, that makes them feel good about passing it on.  There is absolutely no point in having some 3rd party firm writing generic content about your business – in the old days before everybody was a publisher this might have had merit - nowadays if you publish the same boring crap that everybody else is producing then people will learn to ignore you.

Transform and Roll Out

A new content strategy absolutely works if you are passionate about your business and can put that passion into words.  Read your content before you post – does it resonate, do you believe yourself, would you stand by the article in front of Megatron and fight for its authenticity?

As we’ve written before – times are changing and you need to change, adapt and transform to keep your business on top.  Fortunately this brave new world only wants to hear about why you love what it is you do and how you do it.  Forget the marketing speak, start writing, write from the heart, write with your customers words and phrasing, transform yourself and roll out!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Casa Victoria

Casa Victoria is a funky furniture shop in the hip Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. With inventory ranging from 1930’s art deco pieces through to matching President Lincoln book ends – they have a lot of stuff to show off and were looking for an easy way to do it that didn’t involve trekking to a “web guy” every week.

Casa Victoria La - by Kilted Chaos

The approach here was to make the site as image heavy as possible without slowing it down. Use of CSS image sprites add interest while keeping page loads light and a cunning twist on category management allows the owners to easily arrange their inventory while maximizing visibility.

To keep server space down, product images are stored on Flickr and to ensure maximum visibility have a creative commons license – increasing the possibility that Casa Victoria inventory will be seen on other sites. To add a new item the owners simple create a new blog post – paste in the id of the product image on Flickr and the Flickr product set into the shortcode and bam – a new product is listed within the right category – couldn’t be easier.

Add to that a simple styling job on the Casa Victoria Twitter and Facebook pages – hook everything together and you have a super easy to use and incredibly effective approach to promoting a local business.

  • PLATFORM - Wordpress
  • Theme - Thesis 1.6
  • Key Plugins: Flickr Gallery (Easy images + added SEO)
  • Price point of Site: $550

Your Music = Unique / Your Website = Derivative

Ask any band what they sound like and you can guarantee that they’ll tell you they’re unique. Sure they might give you qualifying reference points: Led Zeppelin meets the EaglesKaren Carpenter on top of Diane Birch (Hmmmm!) but at the end of the day – when you listen to the band – there is no other soul on the planet that sounds like them.

So why would you want your band website to look like someone elses? I mean – you don’t dress like other bands do you?

There are loads of options for bands that are looking for a new site – companies are popping up every week with a new variation on the band theme template. However, when you look at the marketing that surrounds these solutions the one message that comes across very clearly is this:

“Spend your time writing and playing music and only spend a few minutes setting up your website – it’s Easy!”

Stop and think about that for a moment. Your website is your home – it is the place that the VAST majority of your fans will interact with you. Your website is international, no matter how many Volcanoes are hitting Europe. Do you really want the thing that differentiates you from the next band to be a different color background?

Here’s our view – your website is critical to your success and if you aren’t spending time learning how to use it and develop it then you may as well play your gigs onstage behind a black curtain. For every second that you spend on working out your stage plot, the set list – what the drummer’s going to wear…you need to double that on how you present on your website. We’re not saying that an awesome looking site is going to make up for lousy music – but a cool engaging site that screams who you are and makes it easy for a fan to interact with you and your music sure is going to help.

Now if you have the money – then you can skip that stage and hire us to come in and build a Kick Ass site for you – but we reckon that most bands starting out don’t have $550 lying around to blow on a website. But we reckon you do have time - learning tech is no different than learning an instrument – it all comes down to how many hours you put into it.

Kilted Chaos is working with DTF Works to build an affordable solution to this and yes – it involves you learning how to make shit work - more very soon.

Image Credit: Day 157 - Pasukaru76 on Flickr

RCRDLBL

It used to be that you only listened to one kind of music – your whole identity was wrapped up in a couple of bands that would shape your clothes, your hair who you hung out with and who you made out with. 

From what I can tell – this is all pretty much in the past.  With terrestrial radio being nothing but Prozac for the masses – people are getting their music from satellite or the internet; when you control who you listen to, the choices are endless.

Over on music2work2 I have been actively listening to beat makers – I'm looking to incorporate more beats into the music and there is no better way to do this than listening to different artists.  The site that I use for this is RCRDLBL.  To quote from their about page:

RCRD LBL is an online record label releasing exclusive and completely free music from emerging and established artists. In addition to our in-house label, the RCRD LBL network includes a curated roster of independent record labels offering free MP3 downloads and multimedia content in blog format.

Which sounds groovy and all – but in reality it means that every day I get an email from them with one, sometimes two tracks which I can listen to and if I like – download.  The music is predominately dance, hip hop, club music with the odd Indie band thrown in for fun – if I dig the track I can add the band to my RCRD LBL and download the Free MP3. They also make it super easy to embed the track on your site - which is something I really like and is why you're currently grooving to Whatevr u Want right now!

As a music delivery service it’s great and I love the write ups about the artist – although they often seem to be pulled from the artist’ bio page.  What I don’t like about the site is how long it takes to log in – it takes for-freakin-ever.  Also the layout of the site is really blocky and chunky – kind of like they did a wireframe and then forgot to actually take it to the next level.

Still – at the end of the day this is about the music and if you’re interested in new beats I can thoroughly recommend RCRDLBL.

*** Last week to enter the #FREECHAOS competition and win a free website and hosting for a year ***

Digital Music News

If you’re thinking of your band as a business – (which we sincerely hope you are by now) then there is another read that you might want to incorporate into your daily routine: Digital Music News.  Written by Scion of the business Paul Resnikoff and his team out of Los Angeles, the Daily Snapshot is delivered to 20,000 subscribers every morning around 5 AM and has everything you need to negotiate that fat 360 deal with the label.

Let's not allow the fans to kill the music

I met Paul at the 2nd Bandwidth conference in San Francisco a few years back; for a journalist who operates in such a turbulent market he was one of the most positive and enthusiastic guys there – you can tell that he eats, sleeps and breathes the music world.  I’ve been reading DMN for 4 years now and if I had to choose one industry publication over all others – this would be it.

Aimed at Industry executives – the snapshot’s content tends to be data driven (which is reassuring!) backed up with thoughtful analysis in digestible bite size paragraphs.  Relevant ads from companies whose services you might actually want to use as well as the latest conference dates and industry jobs makes it a great top level start to the day.

Is Your Band A Business?

You’d better bloody believe it, and just like any business out there – you want it to be easy for customers – call them fans – to find you and give you money.

I’ve been in bands on and off pretty much my whole life; whether as a 6 year old dressed up as Gary Glitter (which in retrospect is just wrong!) or as a “grown up” keyboard player – there’s nothing like the dream of making it in music.  There is however a big difference between playing at it and actually living it – a huge part of that difference is how you manage your online presence.

We know that there is a growing market for easy to update websites that integrate seamlessly with social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook and that don’t require a computer science degree to use.  We also recognize that having an easy to use website doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s enough time in the day for the business owner (lead singer, drummer or keyboard player – guitar players are usually too busy screwing around with their tone!) to write and respond to blog comments, Facebook friend requests or tweets.

If at this point you’re all squeamish about looking at your music – your art – as a business than you’re reading the wrong website. Remember, to do this professionally you need people to give you money and not just once, but again and again for as long as you are making music.

We work with Bands but we also work with Realtors and Telecoms Agents – the product is different but the business relationship is always the same. If you can find the time to work your website, manage your Facebook page and keep your fans – call them customers – updated by email – you dramatically increase your chances of doing this for the rest of your life.

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