Install Contact Form with New reCAPTCHA Spam Blocker


You’ve seen it, the reCAPTCHA tool installed on web forms. But how do they get that? How do you control spam? Chances are you need an email contact form on your site – especially one that sends an automated reply to your visitors. But you don’t need expensive email campaign systems like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. You simply can’t afford another $10 a month much less $30 or more just to capture a few emails.

Relax, there’s a solution

It’s really not that difficult to do yourself if you have a small amount of coding experience. If you don’t you’ll probably be happy to know I can install it and give you my own email response system all for an average of $65. Not $65 per month, $65 ever. Plus I’ll make it match your site design; usually within 24 hours except on weekends. That said here’s the way to do it…

First register your site and get your public and private keys from Google at Google reCAPTCHA. Once you have those you’ll just need to put a bit of information into your web page(s) and your form. You’ll generally need 2 web pages: one for the form and one for the processing. It is possible to have both of these on a single page but most do not.

If you do not have a form you’ll need to create one. I hand code them because they are so quick and simple but you can make one online at JotForms.

For a basic form you can just copy this one:

<form name=”contact” method=”post” action=”RESULTSPAGEHERE”>
<p><input type=”text” name=”fName” /> : <label for=”fName”>Full Name</label></p>
<p><input type=”text” name=”uMail” /> : <label for=”uMail”>Your Email</label></p>
<p><label for=”uComments”>Comments :<br />
<textarea name=”uComments” rows=”8″ cols=”80″></textarea></p>
<p><input type=”submit” value=”Send Comments”></p>

You’ll need to change action=”RESULTSPAGEHERE” to point to the page that processes your form.

DONE FOR YOU: Email AutoResponder with reCAPTCHA

I’ll send you a PHP script for $7 that accepts the form data, validates the content (verifies the email address is properly formatted), strips out dangerous code, sends an automated response to the person who filled out the form, prints a “Thank You” page, and emails you the form data. It can do more – but you’ll get all that for $7. It’s written in PHP so should work on just about every web hosting service out there. If you’re not sure then download the test file and run it first.


Once you download your script you can follow the simple instructions in the files to make it work with your site. Again if you’re in a hurry, don’t want to mess with it, whatever your reason – I’ll do it all for you for $65

Here is one I just installed for a client who already had a website and they just needed a form, a spam blocker, and the data content from the contact forward sent to them. (This is a live site so please don’t demo it. If you want to demo use the one at iCobb here.) I just inserted the form into their existing page, created a confirmation page that matches this page and installed the new reCAPTCHA.



WordPress Category Page How-To

So you’ve got a great WordPress site and you have some good content. What you need to know is how to create a page in WordPress that shows all the posts from only one category. Well, it’s pretty simple once you do it just one time. In just a minute I’ll show you  a video of how to do it.

Here’s an example of how you may need to use this. If you have a WordPress site for your particular topic and you have it divided in to sub-topics you may only want to show that subtopic on one page. For example you may have a catering company and your website is run on WordPress. So you may have categories like weddings, graduations, retirement parties, and Bar Mitzvas.

If you only want to show posts from the Weddings category how do you do it? Do you create a special page? Is there some magic to work with the menu? Actually it’s very simple. All you need is the category ID number. That’s it. Then you simply create a link to /index.php?cat=3 (where 3 is the actual category number you want to link to).

Here’s the video of how to create a category page in WordPress:

How To Fix WordPress Format Breaking Headings


wordpress-headings-breaks-formatting-1So you’ve taken all day to get that blog post or article just right in your head but when you plug it into WordPress the headings break the formatting leaving ugly blank spaces. I know, it happens to all of us. Fortunately for you the fix is really easy for me. So if I can show you how to do it you can make the necessary CSS (style sheet) changes in just a few minutes; Seconds actually.

First make sure you are using a child theme. (Don’t know how? I can create one for you, just contact me.) If you make changes to the theme’s style.css file they will be over-written the first time you update your themes. Now then, open your parent theme’s style.css file. You do this in your WordPress dashboard under Appearance -> Editor. When the editor opens you will see your active theme’s style.css. Since you are using a child theme (ahem) you’ll need to use the drop down in the upper right corner to choose the parent theme. Then select. Now your parent theme’s style.css should be showing in the editing window.

Look for the lines of code that look like this and specifically look for the line that says “clear: both;”:

/* Headings */
h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6 {
clear: both;
font-family: ‘TitilliumText22LRegular’, sans-serif;
line-height: 1.25;

Copy that whole section and navigate back to your child theme to edit the working style.css file. Somewhere below the declarations and the call to to include the parent theme’s style.css paste those lines and delete everything so that it looks like this:

/* Headings */
h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6 {
clear: none;

What was happening before was you were telling your images to float: left or float: right (or some other float command) even though it was happening automatically from the insert media function and you didn’t know it. When the heading (H1-H6) was created it was clearing that float. Now you have told your style sheet you do not want to clear those so you get something that looks like this:


A Word Of Caution

Now you have fixed the content so that the headings do not clear images – but they also do not clear other divs. This can be problamatic so remember when using custom <div></div> in your posts (as I often do) you’ll need to include a <div style=”clear: both;”></div> at the end of your special code. If you see the two columns of bullet-points below the primary topics paragraph you may know those are created using two floating divs in the content area. If I did not include the div for clearing then the next heading after “Credit Monitoring” would float to the right of that column looking silly. You can see the actual article on this site at I Write Articles.

Need Help With It?

For most WordPress installs and themes I can make these changes in less than an hour and have you on the road again. Just contact me and let’s get started!

Top bloggers know how many words a post should have


Statistics say you won’t read this post completely even if it’s highly valuable to you. Want to know why? Read on…

round-table-discussion-argumentLet the arguments begin…but first, a back story. Some years ago a few “friends” and I were sitting around a literal round table discussing such heady things as Obi Wan vs. Spock and what soccer would be like if played with square balls. Then we got around to things where religious fervor can come in to play like which social site will dominate for our market sector. Then it got really nasty when we started talking about The Length Of Posts (as in how many words). Opinion soup was the fare of the day with numbers ranging from 750 to 5000 or more. Yes, 5000 – or more.

Now people who take the fast lane need to be ready for some challengers so since I was in the 1500 to 2000 crowd, based on some actually factual evidence from years of writing and publishing content for a variety of clients, I threw down the gauntlet: what does the data say? Oh, that darned data. We love it, we hate it, we can’t get enough of it. So here I am, 3 years later, finally getting around to addressing the question of how many words should a blog post be. With data references I should add. Because it’s just possible I may have been wrong.

The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each web page has. (QuickSprout)

Admittedly a large percentage of the articles I have been hired to write fall into the 750-1000 word variety (my prices start at $49) and they have helped a lot of sites move up in the results categories, including conversions, but maybe not in the Google PR category, inbound link category, and comment category. Since inbound links are pretty important that helps me encourage site owners to upgrade and go for the 1500 word range (about $100 starting price). I’m including prices because (a) I sell content and (b) it’s important for people who do not write to have an idea of what it’s going to cost. Of course those prices include only minimal research so that’s something to keep in mind.

Bring on the data!

First let’s look at some stats on the average post length of top ranked pages according to Google. Are you ready?According to CopyPress it’s 2416 words. Now if you have written as many blog posts for pay as many professionals you will immediately see dollar signs. So maybe it translates that posts which require more resources translate into posts have have a higher search and reader value. Which does make sense. Humans like quality – of course this statistic doesn’t say anything about the quality or content of the posts. It only gives an overall average based on the sites surveyed.

If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words. (QuickSprout)

Relax, there’s a big caveat in that number above. According to SerpIQ (the people who provided the actual data analysis) that number includes every bit of text on the page from the content, sidebars, header and footer. Another very interesting point is that the older ranking content (10 years plus) had the higher number of words per page and the new content (1 year or less) had only about 1/2 the amount of the older pages.

“Here we see that fresh domains generally have less content on the ranking page, averaging around 1800 words. Domains 1-10 years old are at around 2100 words of content, while domains over 10 years old close in on 2800 words.” – SerpIQ

So if you have a time machine you’ll really need to hammer out some content to get those numbers up. Fortunately, if you want to look at it from a “word count only” perspective, if you’re writing today you’ll do better with a lower number. But, wait; I’m not writing all of this to encourage you to write for word count. I’m writing all of this because it is a valid question and quite often a contentious discussion amongst so-called content marketing gurus. Somehow factual data doesn’t really solve the argument so please examine it and make your own determinations.

What about conversion rates?

content-test-performanceAll of my clients can tell you I have said these words to them, “Traffic costs money. Conversions generate revenue.” Keeping this in mind helps us to know why we’re writing and what we are writing about. It also reminds us that businesses are online to convert visitors to customers. How that is accomplished is another highly debated topic regardless of the data. And, it’s far too involved to include in this post. So hopefully you’ve subscribed to the feed so you’ll get that information when it becomes available.

Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. (HubSpot)

The folks at Marketing Tests did a nice, simple, down and dirty A/B test using content length as a qualifier to test for conversion performance. What they found was longer content outperformed shorter content by over 40%. Most people would quickly realize that’s a good thing. When you sum it up like in their quote below and put it on the banking counter it really starts to become important. Now remember the quote I give all of my clients and read the quote below:

“In our initial micro-test, long copy outperformed short copy by 40.54%. Click-through traffic sent to the short copy page was unprofitable (-14% ROI), while traffic sent to the long copy page produced an ROI of 21%.” – Marketing Tests

Raise you’re hand if you would prefer an ROI of +21% over one of =14% – exactly as suspected. Everyone likes to profit from their efforts even if they are “just writing for a hobby”. We want more followers, more likes, more shares, and many of us really like more revenue in the form of dollars and cents. Whether the revenue comes from ad sales, product sales, or service sales we like money. It helps us keep our hobbies, like eating and living in a warm/cool spot possible. So what did they consider short copy or long copy? It really doesn’t matter. The test was run 10 years ago and we’ve already learned back then long meant more than 2800 words and now it means 1800 words.

How do you test?

The number one way I prefer is to use Google Analytics. Since most search, at the time of this writing, comes from Google’s search engine it makes sense to start there. I do also use Bing and some third party apps, but Google is the launching point. If I notice search traffic, time on site, and bounce rate all improving I must be doing something better, if not right. So I continue with that trend and make minor adjustments. Of course much more can affect this than simply the length of posts such as trending topics, external interest (a television appearance for example), or others. The difference is those trends don’t last and you can usually identify what happened to cause them. Changing tactics like increasing the length of articles on your site(s) is going to be a constant as opposed to a temporary trend.

61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World)

You may want to engage in A/B testing and tracking the results. This would simply mean creating two versions of your content using the same key words (the ones you are tracking) and monitoring the performance on each page. For the purpose of this challenge I would recommend one article of about 500 words and another version with your target number of words – say 2000. Make sure you can track search terms, time on site, and bounce rate (people who only viewed that one page). These numbers will give you enough information to know which direction you need to go. If you get 0 hits to both pages we need to have a separate discussion!

What should I be writing about?

Write about what you do. Write about what your readers are interested in. If you’re a news source that could be all over the board. If you’re a real estate agent who needs to improve both search performance and conversion ratio you had better write about your local area, the homes you have for sale or have sold, and about how you serve your customers. If you are a chiropractor the chances are good people will want to read how you intend to make them feel better. Every industry and every market will determine what you need to be writing about…and when.

One word of caution is to write to your audience. This is another huge bone between so-called content professionals: reading level. (Check some here at Read-Able). Before you take off and do your best to write at a graduate level degree let me remind you to check three things.

(1) Do you only want to engage with people who have a Master’s Degree or higher?
(2) Are people with a post-graduate degree going to be the only ones who convert on your page?
(3) Who are you trying to impress?

The caveat of this, of course, is that if you are a practicing physician writing a peer reviewed paper the chances are strong you’ll be writing at that level. If, however, you are a family practitioner writing about health issues for prospective clients you may want to think in the 6th to 10th grade range. Don’t believe me? Okay, go ahead and show off your vast amount of high education and listen to the…crickets. A wise man once told me, “Never make a prospect think about anything other than doing business with you. The minute they start thinking about something else is the minute they become something other than a prospect.” Prospects are not going to convert if they spend their entire time on your site Googling words they don’t understand. Keep in mind this is situational, but if you’re the average service provider you’re going to thank me for telling you to write to that lower level.

So what does content look like when written to an 8th grade level? You’ve been reading at that level for the last few minutes. Readable, informational, inspirational, motivational, and transactional can all fit in that grade level. Chances are you didn’t have to Google even one single word – so your attention stayed on this content. Did you read this far? If you read this far leave a comment with your web address in the comments section below. We all want to see what you have written and how you’re using these same tactics to propel your site to the top of the search engines.



“Round Table” Photo Credit: Simon Blackley via Compfight cc

Social Media is the new customer suggestion box


suggestion-box-vs-social-mediaRemember when businesses used to have those little wooden boxes with the pencil taped to it labeled “Suggestion Box”? In case you have wondered where they went, you’re reading one now. Bloggers and social media have replaced that suggestion box en force. While the old version, aka the suggestion box, was anonymous and lacking the echo effect of social media the tangibility of it made it somehow seem more real. In retrospect it was much less powerful and capable of initiating change.

The way the old box worked (or still works when used) was generally by sitting on the counter until someone remembered to empty it. The suggestions may or may not have been highly regarded and (speaking from experience) may have consisted, at least partially, of bad pranks and useless rude comments. And some gum wrappers. What it didn’t have was the reach of social media as provided by Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

The old box was secretive, almost silent. What went into that box was usually guarded by a dime store padlock and intended solely for the eyes of the manager or owner. The real concerns were often quite stale by the time the administrator read them and the hope for resolution to the original case long lost. We used to say, “For every one that complains to you there are 10 complaining to others.”

Introducing Social Media, aka personal publishing

In case you’ve been laid up with Rip van Winkle for the last 20 years there is a new form of communication called Social Media. Every restaurant owner already knows about this (Yelp, Zaggat, Foursquare, et al.) and its effect, so corner one of them to catch up. But seriously, we all know what can happen when the single customer has the same publishing power and reach as a mega-corporation. If you’ve never seen it take a look at United Breaks Guitars, currently over 14 million views. It’s old now and the method of “attacking” a customer service issue has been replicated thousands of times – but it was one of the first major shots fired in the new suggestion box wars.

The elephant in the room

This will be short: the suggestion box was opened in secret very near the trash can. Social media may only begin with touching a few followers or readers of the complainant but it can go viral in seconds. Literally millions upon millions of eyes can read about your foibles in just a matter of days….or hours. When they say there is no such thing as bad publicity that depends entirely on your response. And it had better be honest, accurate, and swift. Social media is here and it’s on everyone’s phone.

Three “to-dos” with the new suggestion box

LISTEN – If you or your hired agent are not monitoring the entire social stream and blogosphere (Web) for mentions of your company brand that’s a good place to start. I have written about tools you can use to do this and they are the same tools I use for my clients. It’s not hard people, just pay attention and know when your name is used. In fact let me do an intelligence report for you and you may be blown away with what people are saying about you or your business.

Photo Copyright Mark Hodson 101 Holiday Ideas

RESPOND – It takes a few years for canned food to go stale, but leave bread on the counter in the southeastern United States where it’s warm and humid, and stale is a matter of hours. Stale on social media could be hours…or minutes. It is definitely not days. Even if your first response, in the social stream or on the blog comments, is “Your concerns are noted and we will get back with you promptly” that’s better than resounding silence. Do not let the crickets speak for you because they harbor evil in many ways. (In other words, react.) How you react is very important but when you react is crucial. Never let it wilt.

REPAIR – Do your best to understand the reach of any damage to your reputation. Weigh the cost of the damage to the value of investment in repair. It’s impossible to give a detailed example of what to do here because each business and incident is different, as are the clientele. A quick example may be if you own a tire and auto service and someone Facebook bombs you about their thought that you are a rip-off may be met with a genuine apology that the customer feels the way they do and by offering an incentive to new clients and an even bigger incentive to existing clients. (That’s hypothetical, call me or a trusted reputation manger before proceeding.)

Repair also means the possibility of adjusting your service offerings or how you present your products and services to better set or manage customer expectations. Sometimes it’s a simple misunderstanding. I’ve had people order what I have offered as a special offer then request all kinds of services not included in that offer. Either they were probing for my limitations or they truly thought they were getting caviar at the price of steamed rice. (That’s hyperbole by the way.)

Summing it up

It’s your reputation. You are either paying attention to it or you are barreling through business with your eyes closed. If you touch enough customers one of them is going to have either a legitimate beef with you or an outright vendetta against you. Learning how to respond and knowing why it’s valuable to call in the professionals is key. The old adage is right: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Trust me, I love a good $50,000 reputation repair contract. Want to do that? Or, would you prefer to put the prevention into action now…

Questions and comments invited

Use the open forum below or the Contact form to ask questions or submit comments. You’re standing in my Suggestions Box right now. Thank you.

“Suggestion Box” Credit: sethoscope via Compfight cc
“Customer Service” Credit: Mark Hodson Photos via Compfight cc

Old content on your blog, is it good or bad?


old-man-web-contentLast night during #mediachat on Twitter the conversation lead to deleting content. Now the content primarily being discussed involved tweets that may contain incorrect or libelous information. This topic is always contentious so what I state here is pragmatic from life’s experiences rather than data backed. You see I have chosen the photo of an “old man” to illustrate the point.

Tweet This Content: Old website content. Delete it?

When old content is timeless it is pretty much undisputed that it should remain. Perhaps occasionally managed to change vernacular or augment information, this web content is much like the memories of that old man. Just because they are old memories does not make them ineffective. In fact, they may just be better because they have stood the test of time. An article about how to be aggressive in your approach to business while being genteel towards the people we deal with should never stagnate.

Blog posts about current events, emerging technology or other time sensitive information does have a tendency to wilt over time. So what do you do with that content?

How does it affect SEO from Google?

From a search perspective it seems Google has the onus on them to recognize what content was deleted and how it may be necessary for the type of content your site(s) delivers. Almost 10 years ago in a forum post on WebProWorld user adacprogramming summed it up in two separate posts:

“I had a similar problem with Cars are constantly added and deleted, In my case I left the cars in my inventory but made it so they would not show with the current cars. I then marked sold on them and added a link so that the person could do a new search. The benefit is when someone Google searches a cars that was in my inventory and it comes up in the SERPs they will not get a 404 and they will be shown how to find a similar car.”

“The worse thing to do is to just delete pages both from a SEO and a customer point of view. Indexed pages will continue to send people to your site long after you remove the page, but the customer will get 404’s. Just doing a 301 redirect kind of leaves the customer lost, “Why did I go here”. Leaving a catch page up directing the person where they can find the information or a product comparable to what they searched for is of benefit to both.”

Editing existing content to bring it up to date

This takes a few minutes but it’s what I do and recommend. If you have particular web pages or blog articles that are out of date but receiving a measurable amount of attention it’s safe to make an addendum. For example I have pages on this site that are how-to guides demonstrating things like blocking Facebook game requests. Over time the steps to do this have changed. I also have matching videos on YouTube. As you can imagine once this process changed and the video remained the same some of the comments became less than kind. So, I did a new video, linked it from the old video and made notations and proper edits on the existing page on my site.

Deleting an indexed URL from Google

One thing you can do when you decide to delete content completely is also delete it from Google. Matt Cutts recommends this and I am mentioning it because of that “lost visitor” syndrome. If that deleted content no longer shows up in Google you’re not going to get search hits from it. This may take a few minutes to do but it beats having a visitor come to your site and getting a 404 or a 301 with no relevance to their search. Here is Google’s guide for how do you remove a link from Google.

Your comments are welcome

Comments are always welcomed here on this site. I write content, create visual content, and analyze/audit sites for conversion qualities including SEO. Feel free to add your questions, comments below.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Alejandro Street Photography via Compfight cc

How To Build Your Customer’s Confidence In You

Don’t make your customers feel like this cute puppy!

First day of school, first day of a new job, first date, first day of boot camp…remember those feelings? Sometimes your customers are experiencing just those emotions when dealing with you for the first time. You’re in luck, though. I’m old and have been down that street from both sides. Plus I read a lot. Plus my sister was literally a master at confidence building. Of course this is not a self-help article; This is a helping other article.

Building confidence in others is quite difference from building confidence in yourself. Also there are multiple personality types to deal with – certain actions cause specific responses in others. There is no way in this short blog post to cover all of that psychology so we’re going to look at just a few things that can be found in the Venn intersect of all things. In other words these should fit the bill across the board.

Be Open

This sounds like a no-brainer but it goes beyond the 8A to 9P retail hours you keep. This includes your website, your email, your social media, and other ways of connecting with you. Everyone already knows the first thing we all do with a new business or new business person is? Google them. You do it, I do it, your prospects do it. So be open. This does not (necessarily) mean having someone monitor Twitter 7/365 but it does mean having all major channels open.

Be Deliberate

Confession time for me would be that I can do so many different things for small business people that I have a difficult time focusing. Hopefully you will be much better than I am at focusing on your business and your interaction with future clients. If you click the “What I Do” link in the menu above you’ll see I have really tried to narrow it down and be deliberate in my choice of words and communication. Real Estate Agents, at least during the down times, were among the worst. And, I still see real estate agents who’s profiles say, “Social Media Guru, wedding planner, Network Marketer, and Diet Planner”. I think I’ve said enough. Be deliberate.


More confession time for me would include the thousands of times I blew this when I was younger. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and it was very obvious the other person was thinking about what they were going to say the next time it was their turn instead of listening to you? Yes, we can all pretty much tell. Sometimes people just aren’t the right client for you. If you’re so desperate you have to bend your offerings to appease this client (guilty) then you really have some issues that need to be dealt with away from your clients. Listen to what they want even if you don’t have it. The best thing you can do is recommend someone who does.

Help Them Decide

Some people refer to this as “pressure” and it can feel that way. But when it gets down to it and you know your prospect is very interested in what you are offering then it is your responsibility to make sure they get it. This could be offering financing, throwing in some bonus, extending a stronger guarantee – whatever it takes within reason. If they weren’t interested in the first place they wouldn’t be there. Many years ago a partner told me, “If they weren’t interested in doing business with us they wouldn’t have dug out the yellow pages and called us.” Times have changed but he’s still right.

Get A Consultant

Do you have any idea how many ideas have exploded into life just during phone conversations with a trusted listener? Nor do I, but I know some that have happened with me. A super efficient grill was invented, a new type of radio telemetry device was created, a promising re-design of traffic signals is in the works and literally hundreds of others have been pulled screaming out of the incubator of some brilliant minds.

Be Consistent

Be consistent. Be consistent in your message. Be consistent in your offerings. Be consistent in your service. Be consistent in your support. Be consistent in your availability. Jimmy is a great plumber…when you can find him. Dinesh is an amazing web coder….when he returns messages. David is a brilliant young developer….when he doesn’t tell the client his boss is an idiot. See where we’re going? If corrections are needed, make minor changes.

Call Me

Seriously. I spend a lot of time speaking with people who never do business with me but many of them have become regular conversations. Of course I want to do something for you that helps you succeed and helps my mortgage company stay off my back. But the reality of it is I have been there, done that and got the tattoo.

Photo Credit: Sigma.DP2.Kiss.X3 via Compfight cc

6 Awesome Online Color Tools


I’ll be the first to admit it, I don’t have the greatest eye for colors. Fortunately for you, the novice and professional designer, I found some color tools to spare you the gaudiness of my earlier designs. Oh, you noticed, I’m still not the greatest designer – but I don’t claim to be! Ahem, we all need a little help and these 6 tools, online and for free, can help you match colors perfectly.


Palleton makes it easy to find and use color palettes that are monochromatic, adjacent colors, triad, tetrad and free. It’s easy to use and you’ll quickly learn to depend on it for your quick, down and dirty design jobs. Once you select a set of colors just click on the example tab and Paletton will generate a mock-up web page for you using the colors you have selected. You can also save your palette in multiple configurations to share with your design and development team or your clients. Heck, let your clients pick the color palette and send you the link. I give this 4.5 stars.

This site leaves a lot to be desired after viewing the previous, but it still has a good purpose. User submitted color kits are published for you to select from. Use their ComboMaker tool to create your own color sets and submit them to the site.


This is a simple but useful tool. One click gives you a complete color set to choose from. They do have a downloadable version I believe is for Windows only.

The usefulness of this one is quickly seen. You input the URL of a photo online and the system creates a color set based on the dominant colors in the image. As you can see our ruggedly handsome model has been used for demonstration purposes. I was a bit surprised at the colors the script selected in that the blue in my jeans seams to be very brilliant, so I’m surprised there isn’t at least some indigo in the color set. Still, this is a pretty useful tool, don’t you think? I’ll go 4 stars on this one.


Not much to it, the site is more to support the book. But, there are several pre-created color sets to choose from.


Collor is another powerful color picker. It doesn’t give you a full color set, but it does help determine shades.

Top 6 Mistakes Small Businesses Make On Twitter


Twitter_logo_blueTwitter is still a very viable marketing stream. Though it’s not the engagement stream as much as it once was it is still, as Guy Kawasaki simply stated it on my radio show (Social Media Edge), “A powerful syndication stream”. First let’s look at a few facts about Twitter:

There are 645, 750, 000 registered Twitter users (even if 50% were spam, and they’re not, that’s a lot)

There are 190,000,000 unique visitors per month (try frying that many eggs)

There are 58,000,000 Tweets per day (even if 80% are spam, that’s still a lot)

And a very important stat – every day there are 2,100,000,000 (2.1 billion) search engine queries to Twitter

So, there’s a lot of activity on Twitter and there’s no disputing it. What most people believe about Twitter are either myths or misguidance. When the majority of “social media experts” leave a tremendous amount to be desired and they basically are “playing” on social media there’s no telling what they’ll come up with to make you think they are worthy of hire. (Removing sword now.)

But, you have tried Twitter and it didn’t work. No offense, but you were doing it wrong and probably had the wrong expectations. See, Twitter isn’t always about someone Tweeting you in the public stream and buying your product or service. It’s about generating a buzz, be that direct clicks from Twitter posts or increased search engine activity, and leading prospects into your conversion funnel. So let’s look at the top 6 mistakes I see small business owners making on Twitter and leading to a really bad experience. The seventh is a bonus so I’ll give it to you up front: Hire me for 3 months and if I don’t show you a marked improvement we part company and I sing your praises.

Mistake Number One

If I see one more business with a missing or spammy profile picture I’ll scream. Too late. Get a profile PHOTO that works unless you are a major brand and your logo means something. Even if it’s a photo of your product it’s better than Mystery Man.

Mistake Number Two

Complete your Twitter profile. You get a long sentence to talk about yourself. Put your web link, your buy line and maybe your phone number in that little section. It gets read by Google and Bing almost immediately.

Mistake Number Three

Tweet dammit! I recommend a minimum of two tweets per week. What they say, what time they are tweeted and to whom they are directed varies based on your business, location, industry, yadda yadda … (let’s talk)

Mistake Number Four

Speak when spoken to! It takes literally three minutes to check your Twitter account and see if anyone has mentioned you (Tweeted at/to you). Take the time at least once per day to log on or use a notification service (or hire me) and make sure you reply What if they are praising you and you don’t thank them for days, weeks or <gulp> months?

Mistake Number Five

Protecting your Tweets. Are you flipping kidding me??? When I see a real estate agent with their Tweets locked down I just shake my head. Hey, genius, get a Personal account and a Business account if that bothers you that much.

Mistake Number Six

Not following up with Twitter leads. First of all you need to learn to recognize a Twitter opportunity. Now you’re probably not going to sit at Twitter all day ready to pounce – although some people do and it serves them well. This is where spending a little money and purchasing a third party service like comes in handy. Of course if you don’t know how to use it that can be another handful of cash down the drain.

Okay okay okay – I get it. Twitter isn’t that hard. It takes one of two things: time or money. Oh, and just a little knowledge. That’s really it. Twitter is a communications stream, sort of like a constant elevator speech that can work for you! My pitch: I will set you up with automated tools and coach you on using them or I will custom tailor a solution just for you, your budget, and your goals. Then I’ll follow it up with data – regularly and recurring.

Micro Content And Why You Need It

micro content

micro contentSometimes we come up with new words or phrases that really don’t match what they are talking about. This is not the case with “micro content” which perfectly describes what it is. Simply stated it is content for web delivery which fulfills the need to broadcast information while complying with today’s fast paced society which allows only a few seconds to make a decision.

Micro Content I Offer

  • Social media posts – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. From 10 words to 100 words, not much more.
  • Short blog posts – I will write around 400 words for your blog (you publish in your name)
  • 60 second or less videos – videos are awesome because people watch them on the go. I do the actual video (or hire and animator), the audio (myself or higher voice talent), and the titling. People act on video that is compelling.
  • Infographics – to do an Infographic “right” requires a good amount of data. If you supply the data the cost is much less and the turn around time much quicker. If I do the research prices vary from about $150 to $5,000 or more. Yes, they can get that expensive.

Contact me today with your questions or needs about social media content, blog content, or other marketing content for the web.