Ensuring Your Site is Mobile-Friendly Thursday, Apr 23 2015 

Krista

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/your-site-is-mobile-friendly/

Today, Wednesday April 22, Google released a change to its algorithm that gives higher search scores to sites it deems “mobile-friendly.” Curious WordPressers might be asking:

  1. How can I be sure my site is mobile-friendly?
  2. What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?

By Krista

1. See if your site is mobile-friendly

Visit Google’s mobile-friendly test link and enter your site’s address (e.g.,http://dailypost.wordpress.com or http://automattic.com). Google will then analyze your site and declare it mobile-friendly or not.

Did your site pass? YAY! Pass GO and collect $200 from the Community Chest. (For those who didn’t grow up in the United States, This is a joke!)

2. What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?

If your site failed Google’s test, you might be using an older theme that’s not responsive. Responsive themes change their layout slightly when someone visits via tablet or mobile phone to ensure that important content like the site title, post titles, and post content can be read on smaller screens.

Goran is one example of a responsive theme. Here’s a sample of what it looks like on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones:

goran-theme-responsiveGoran’s layout changes slightly to make sure important content comes first, regardless of the type of device you use to view the site.

There are two things you can do to make your site mobile-friendly:

  1. Switch your theme to a responsive theme. Here’s a search on the Theme Showcase returning all our responsive themes to help you choose.
  2. If you’d prefer not to switch to a responsive theme, you can enable an option that will show a mobile-friendly, responsive theme to your mobile visitors only. Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button. You’re set.
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5 metrics that affect the success of your website redesign Wednesday, Apr 1 2015 

This Lady seems to know what she’s talking and writing about. I have read her articles before, they have been helpful and full of good information.  This excellent article is mostly a listing of apps and computer programs to assist in deciding to redesign your website and once the decision is made, how to get the most out of a redesign.

5 metrics that affect the success of your website redesign
It’s important to consider the key aspects of a redesign, both esthetically and from a business perspective.

Grace Smith-493 (1)

Grace Smith

Grace Smith is an experienced web designer and founder of Postscript5, a successful micro design studio based in Northern Ireland. Grace is the creator of The Freelance Feed, the premium resource on freelance related resources and is a wireframe junkie. Connect with her via Twitter.
Social-Proof-thumbnail
How social proof can help your website

Taking advantage of social proof in your marketing can influence buyers, increase conversions and directly affect your brand reputation.
You have a hunch that something on your website isn’t working. Or maybe you want to try something new, but aren’t sure how to evaluate whether it’s successful. Either way, the solution you’re looking for is A/B testing.

A/B testing (also known as split testing) pits two versions of a page, content or element against each other to determine which is more successful, in terms of the goal you set. The goal could be anything from increasing sales, reducing bounce rate, increasing conversion rate and more, it can be completely tailored to your requirements. Running A/B tests gives you real, quantifiable data on your users and can help you make informed, educated decisions to improve your business and ensure that every change produces positive results.

Any form of testing is usually assumed to be technical, difficult to implement and time consuming, however it doesn’t have to be with this collection of tools makes it simple to jump into A/B testing and to help gain valuable customer insights. While the results are only as good as the test you create, you can at least spend more time asking the right questions than trying to actually execute your tests.

1. Unbounce

Unbounce lets you build, publish and test responsive landing pages, without any knowledge of HTML. With its friendly, easy to use interface, working with elements is simple, with the ability to tweak any aspect of your page. Using the drag-and-drop tool you can drag in images, text, video and even maps into your pages and organize them. Unbounce integrates with a variety of providers, including Awber, Hubspot, Mailchimp, CampaignMonitor, ConstantContact, Zoho, Salesforce, and more. Once setup you can create multiple variants of the page, which can be split tested for as long as you require. Collaboration is easy, with the ability to assign roles for team members, enable project feedback, and start capturing leads, embed video, maps, social feeds and widgets, to optimize conversions.

Price: $49/month – $199/month

A_B-Testing-Scales-thumb-1

2. VWO

VWO is one of the easiest A/B Testing tools, with the ability to easily change headlines, buttons, images or any other elements to create multiple variations of your website to test. You can track revenue, signups, clicks and other conversion goals and get real statistical data and results. Build campaigns in minutes with the visual builder, unlimited undo to fix mistakes, and the ability to load pages even behind login walls. Each campaign generates a report to show you how well your pages are performing, and the built-in heatmap tool means you can track visitors’ click behavior and browsing habits. VWO works across mobile, tablet and desktop websites, and is a simple one-time installation, simply insert a small JavaScript code snippet on your website.

Price: $9/month – $499/month

3. Five Second Test

Five Second Test lets you fine tune landing pages and calls to action by analyzing prominent elements of your design, by finding out what a person recalls about your design in just 5 seconds. Using this method you can ensure your message is being effectively communicated, to test your brand message, and quickly find out what users like most and least about your website. You can choose how many responses are provided to your test, and even use your own set of testers. There are several different types of tests to choose from, including the Click Test, Preference Test, or Nav Flow Test. It’s simple to use, just upload an image, setup your test and a URL is then generated, which you can share, with instructions on the test.

Price: Free – $99/month

4. Google Analytics Experiments

Google Analytics ‘Experiments’ makes it a complete A/B testing platform which utilizes Googles multi-armed bandit approach. The tool allows you to split-test up to 10 full versions of a single page, each delivered to users from a separate URL. You can compare different web pages’ performance using a random sample of users, with the ability to define what percentage of your users are included in the experiment. Choose the objective you would like to test and receive updates via email on how the experiment is performing. Using the Content Experiments API you can run tests sever side and implement different recommendations or search algorithms. There’s also no redirects, as the API allows testing changes to content without redirects, and is simple to implement.

Price: Free – $150,000/year

5. Convert Experiment

Convert Experiment offers multi-domain A/B and multivariate testing and tracking, development tools for jQuery, JavaScript and CSS, with comprehensive reports. Edit your content without your need for infrastructure, with a visual WYSIWYG editor and easy style sheet editing for dynamic content experiments. Create and edit tests on the fly, test e-commerce products and category pages, with just one snippet of JavaScript code for instant integration. Convert Experiment seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics for real-time data and extended segmentation. You have full test control with minimum and maximum test duration, traffic allocation, conversion tracking, automatic bounce and engagement measuring and behavioral and segmented tracking.

Price: $9/month – $1499/month

6. Maxymiser

Maxymiser is a powerful solution to optimize customer experience and create sophisticated campaigns. Providing simple A/B tests right through to sophisticated multivariate tests, with the ability to quickly and easily create and launch tests on any public or secure page with just one line of code, using the easy to use visual editor. Using the insights from tests you can automatically identify and remove poor performing variants from active campaigns and gain powerful insights which can be applied to segmentation, offers, recommendations and personalization, making them more impactful and relevant. Maxymiser automatically builds a unique customer profile for every online visitor based on CRM data, historic and in-session behaviors and industry specific and customizable visitor attributes.

Price: Available on request

7. A/Bingo

A/Bingo is a Ruby on Rails’ A/B testing framework deployed as a plugin, which can test display or behavioral differences using just one line of code. It can measure any event, test for statistical significance and is extremely fast, meaning it has minimal impact on page load times or server load. As the A/B tests are defined in code, there is no setup or configuration required, the first time code for a particular test executes, it does all the setup work for the test and logs the first participant. Subsequent test alternatives are read straight from the cache. Each A/B test is defined in controllers (or views), and A/Bingo also allows for multivariate testing, with the ability to build your own dashboard or use the default one provided to view the results of your tests. It’s simple to setup, simple install the plugin, create the required tables, assign the user a unique identifying string and configure the cache.

Price: Free

8. KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is a powerful analytics platform to help increase customer acquisition and retention rates. The KISSmetrics JavaScript library provides a function to help you set up your A/B test, which has three major features; it randomly assigns the current visitor to one of the variations, ensures the subsequent calls return the same variation to the visitor and sets a property with the name of the your experiment. You can also include KISSmetrics into your in-house testing code, or integrate it with another A/B testing platform. Once you’ve set up your test you can then segment any report to see the test’s performance, and determine if the results are significant. You also have the ability to track two completely different page designs, not just changes in individual elements, using a single URL for all of your landing page variants.

Price: $179/month – $599/month

9. AB Tasty

AB Tasty is an A/B testing tool to optimize your conversion rate, allowing you to modify pages using a visual editor, without writing any code and without any technical knowledge. You can measure which versions of your pages produce the best results for your objectives, such as page-views, registrations, purchases, and more. Create a any testing scenario you like, from simple to the most complex multivariate tests, and precisely define the pages and visitors to include. Tests can be configured to your specific requirements, with the ability to measure performance, visitor engagement, turnover generated, average cart value and conversion rate. The level of personalization is impressive, use advanced analysis features to identify the most relevant messages of each visitor. You can then take what you’ve learned to personalize customer experience and create segmented marketing campaigns.

Price: €29/month – €299/month

10. Adobe Target

Adobe Target provides an intuitive user interface to create personalized web experiences, quickly create A/B tests and confidently target content. Target provides a guided testing and targeting workflow and framework, with no coding or setup hassles, so it’s easy to see your visitor’s responses to content variations in real time and instantly adapt your site to meet their needs. Adobe Target features one-click optimized content delivery, multipage and cross-channel testing and interface customization, with a variety of filtering option, customizable graphs and reporting options. With mobile optimization you can increase mobile engagement and revenue with A/B testing and geolocation targeting. With both automated personalization you can create deeper engagement and more effective cross-selling.

Price: Available on request

Get Rid of Clutter by Throwing Things Away “By Default” Tuesday, Jan 13 2015 

By Herbert Lui

http://lifehacker.com/get-rid-of-clutter-by-throwing-things-away-by-default-1678754198

Keeping your objects as long as possible is easier on your budget, but also leads to a lot of clutter. Instead of trying to keep your stuff for as long as possible, make your default decision one to throw it out.

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Most of us don’t throw stuff out unless we can think of a good reason to. Organizing consultant Marie Kondo has a different opinion. Author Tim Harford explains the lesson he learned from Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying:

Kondo turns things around. For her, the status quo is that every item you own will be thrown away unless you can think of a compelling reason why it should stay. This mental reversal turns status quo bias, paradoxically, into a force for change.

Even though it sounds like a small mental change, you can eliminate your status quo bias by reversing the situation. If you have a clutter problem and can’t find a compelling reason to keep an object, considering throwing it out. When you’re making a decision to declutter and are sitting on the fence, change the question from “Why throw it out?” to “Why keep it?

The 4 Most Important Pages on Your Website (& How to Optimize Them) Monday, Jan 12 2015 

WRITTEN BY NEIL PATEL ON JAN 9, 2015 4:20:00 PM4waysphoto-01

This post originally appeared on the Inbound Hub Marketing section.

Some of the pages on your website are more important than others. Okay, many of you probably find that fairly obvious — but I’m surprised how few people actually apply this knowledge to their websites to improve conversions.

I’m all about low hanging fruit; about undertaking the easiest tasks that will have the biggest results. What I’m about to describe in this article has the potential to improve your site dramatically with just a few, critical changes.

Let’s get right into it. Every website is different, but generally speaking, here are the four most important (and most-visited) pages on a website:

  1. Home Page
  2. About Page
  3. Blog
  4. Contact Us Page

In this post, I’ll explain how to optimize each one of these pages. (And if your most-visited pages are different than the ones listed above, you’ll still learn a framework for optimizing any of the important pages on your website.)

What do I mean by “optimize” a webpage?

You’ve probably heard the word “optimize” most commonly used in phrases like “search engine optimization” (SEO) and “conversion rate optimization” (CRO). I’m actually referring to something broader here, but the advice that I’m delivering will help to enhance both of those.

The optimization I’m going to explain will create user optimized pages. In the pursuit of SEO and CRO, it’s easy to overlook the broader, big-picture idea. First and foremost, a site must be optimized for the user. Here’s how you can do that.

How to Optimize Each Page

The broad framework for optimizing these pages the same across your home page, About page, blog, and Contact Us page. There are two simple questions to ask of every page, and the specifics of optimizing those pages will flow from the answers to those two questions. The first question is all about the user, and the second question is all about you. Here we go:

Question 1:  What is the user looking for?

Remember, we’re focusing on the user. Why are they on the page to begin with? There are a few things you need to know:

  • Where did they come from? The idea here is to understand the origins of the user, so you can deliver relevant content.
    • Did they come from a search engine? (If so, which query?)
    • An email? (What kind of email?)
    • A navigation menu? (What option on the menu?)
  • What do they need to know? A single page can deliver a limited amount of information, so you need to determine what that information is going to be. You want them to know something so that they will then dosomething (which is addressed in the next question). Remember: Less is more. The more information you load up on your main pages, the less likely the user is to remember any of it. Give them less, and they’re more likely to remember — and do — what you want them to.

Pro Tip: Use visuals such as explainer videos, diagrams, hero shots, and so on to help compact a lot of information to a single page. To get the most out of your visuals, make sure you correctly optimize your images and videos. 

Once you answer the question of what the user’s looking for, you’re halfway there. That brings us to question two.

Question 2:  What is my goal for the user?

Now, you need to ask the user to do something. This is where most pages fall short. One of the critical components of a web page is its call-to-action (CTA), and many website owners don’t realize that every single page of a website should contain at least one CTA.

The point of a home page isn’t for the user to see and depart. The point of a product page isn’t for the user to look and leave. The point of content marketing isn’t for user intake, but rather, for user marketing. If you retain only one thing from this article, let it be that every webpage needs a CTA.

Why am I so insistent? Because every shred of knowledge demands some response: A web page imparts knowledge, and that knowledge requires a response. So, what is it that you want the user to do? This is your goal for the user, and it must be clearly and starkly defined as you face the big optimization question.

The question is then, more specifically, what do I want the user to do? Knowledge alone is not enough. What is the application point for the page? Let’s look at some examples of webpages that do it well.

HubSpot’s Home Page

HubSpot’s home page is well laid-out and hosts a clear CTA, front and center. A user is on the HubSpot home page for a reason, and perhaps that reason is to grow their business. The headline speaks to the “what am I looking for?” And the CTA buttons tell me, the user, what I’m supposed to next. (The white annotations are my own, not Hubspot’s.)

hubspot-home-page-1

Now, let’s see what HubSpot has going on on the About page.

HubSpot’s About Page

A user might click on the About page for a variety of reasons. A few might be:

  • They want to figure out exactly what the business does.
  • They want to work for the business.
  • They want to make sure the business is legit.
  • They want to see if the business serves their niche or location.
  • They want to analyze the business’s success.

I could go on and on. There are a ton of reasons that could bring a user here, but they all boil down to the desire for information. Let’s see what HubSpot does. Here is their About page:

hubspot-mission-statement

The user likely wants to know the information about the company, and in response, he or she can click “sales inquiries” to take action. That persistent sidebar button hangs on to the entire page, all the way to the very bottom.

Along the way, however, there are deeper levels of both information and action. The more granular and detailed the information, the more correspondingly detailed the CTA becomes. Halfway down the page, I see information about how great the company is along with an invitation to join their team:

Screen_Shot_2014-12-17_at_1.51.35_PM

There’s more. I can download information about highlights and awesomeness:

hubspot-year-in-review

Finally, I can start following them if I’d like to:

hubspot-follow

This is an example of an About page optimized to drive engagement, increase conversions, and enhance the brand. They made it as much about the user as about the company itself, because along the way, the user is getting value — applying for a job, downloading a free report, and connecting with a trusted brand for even more valuable content.

Tips for Optimizing Each Page

Now that I’ve given you a framework and a couple examples, here are a few, more specific tips to help you on your way to optimizing each of the four most important pages.

1) Home Page

  • Use a big headline, and place the most important information front and center.
  • Provide flow. Make it obvious where the user is supposed to go and what they are supposed to do next.
  • Make your CTA as big and obvious as possible. A home page may allow for several different CTAs — make it easy for the user to choose by making CTA buttons large and easy to click. Oftentimes, a user uses the home page as a way of finding where on the site she wants to go. For this reason, you should make the navigation menu very clear.

2) About Page

  • Deliver the most important and relevant information above the fold. The user is on your About page for a reason — answer their question(s) without making them scroll.
  • Include at least one CTA. Remember, most people aren’t just looking for more informatio; they’re seeking a deeper level of engagement.

3) Blog

  • Organize information on your blog clearly, and make sure that information satisfies the reasons users might be on your blog. Most users will want to read the most recent articles, so provide these. You may also want to organize categories on the blog home page, such as “most recent,” “most popular,” or other forms of categorization.
  • Include CTAs that make it easy for the user to subscribe to the blog, download a free resource, and so on. Even though the user came to get information, you want them to get engaged and connected. (Click here for 8 types of CTAs you can try on your blog.)
  • Provide CTAs in the core design of your blog so they appear on each individual blog post. In my experience,most blog visitors land on individual blog articles through organic search, instead of landing on your blog’s “home” page. To get these users engaged, put CTAs on the sidebars, in the footer, and other places. (Learn how to pick the perfect CTA for each blog post here.)

 4) Contact Us Page

  • Put the information they’re looking for above the fold — an email address, phone number, contact form, map, mailing address, and so on. Of all four of these webpages, the Contact Us page implies the most detailed level of intent on the part of the user.
  • Use CTAs that allow the user to contact you easily (since, presumably, that’s why they came to your Contact Us page). Make the CTA really obvious, and engage them by gratifying their intent instantly, using CTA copy like ”Chat now!” “Email now!”.

In conclusion, here’s how to optimize pages like a pro: Look at your most visited pages, figure out why users are there, give them what they want, and ask them for an action in return. Regardless of your most-visited pages or even the nature of your website, you can create more engaged users.

You’re in the business of not just dissemination information, but demanding a response. The knowledge you impart requires that users response. Ask for it.

Neil_PatelNeil Patel     Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, Stride, and KISSmetrics, and a columnist for HubSpot. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.  

| Website

The Real Reason No One Wants To Link To You Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

Wondering why no one is linking to you? Julie Joyce gives you the lowdown on why your site isn’t as linkworthy as it could be.

7 Reasons to Start Something Really Audacious Today Wednesday, Nov 12 2014 

Today is a great day to begin working on something that will make a difference. Here are just the reasons you’ve been looking for.

http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/7-reasons-to-start-something-really-audacious-today.html

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This quote often attributed to Goethe (a statue of him is pictured above) has always been a key inspiration: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

I know you are already busy. And the idea of starting a big new project when you are near capacity seems foolish, especially with the holidays just around the corner. But sometimes the opportunity comes and you have to capitalize now–for tomorrow may not be an option.

I made just such a commitment today with this column. Instead of writing three times a week, I have committed to at least a column per day for the next year. I intend to create better, more interesting content–yes, I know you will be the judge–and lots more of it. I understand that writing roughly 20,000 words per month may not be audacious to some, but to achieve it without sacrificing my current responsibilities or lifestyle, I must change the way I do everything in my life.

If you have been thinking of an accomplishment or challenge that you know is important, today is as good a day as any to start. Here are the seven reasons that inspired me to do it. Maybe they will inspire you as well.

1. It will advance your preferred future.

The future will happen either with your input or without. Of course you can’t control what will happen, but you can have some influence. More writing is the path that will increase my engagement with the business community and ultimately result in a better lifestyle and impact.

Start a project today that gets you closer to your life goals.

2. It will help you prioritize.

There are many things you and I both do every day that are simply not important. I am not suggesting you eliminate necessary relaxing time or entertainment. Instead, the need to do something important will allow you to edit out only those activities that do not serve you best during the day.

Start a project today that gets you motivated to reduce meaningless activity.

3. It will refine your productivity.

I am as good as anybody at procrastination or constant distraction. This big writing commitment forces me to build better work habits so I can maximize my time and not be distracted. I now have to schedule everything and make choices, which shows me I had more time than I originally believed.

Start a project today that inspires you to organize and manage time better.

4. It will improve your efficiency.

There are many things I do during the day that take longer than they should. I now analyze every process to see how I can do it better and faster. It used to take me hours to write a meaningful column. With some advance planning and better work habits, I can now create something meaningful in much less time.

Start a project today that inspires you to examine how you can give yourself more time with greater output.

5. It will give you something new to talk about.

At nearly 50, even I get tired of telling the same stories, let alone hearing them. A big project like this helps you learn new ideas and share them with your friends. This decision has started a flurry of new conversation in my circle.

Start a project today that instigates new learning and conversation among your peers.

6. It will open new and exciting doors.

I am grateful for all of you, my loyal subscribers and readers. Producing more columns motivated me to engage more with my social media and followers. Already the conversations are yielding new and interesting discussions and opportunities.

Start a project today that creates new possibilities where few existed before.

7. It will inspire others.

Since I committed to this new objective, several people have told me they have also decided to do something bold and audacious. I am of course not responsible for their achievements, but I take great satisfaction in being the seed of thought that they will take forward. Who knows how they might actually better the world!

Start a project today that inspires others to follow their dreams and take action today.

From Garbage To Gourmet: Fixing SEO Content Strategies Friday, Nov 7 2014 

on April 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

photo of Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is Chief Marketing Curmudgeon and President at Portent, Inc, a firm he started in 1995. Portent is a full-service internet marketing company whose services include SEO, SEM and strategic consulting

http://searchengineland.com/from-garbage-to-gourmet-fixing-seo-content-strategies-74273

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before:

Site Owner: I want to rank higher in the search engines!

SEO: OK, you’ll need to fix a few things…
produces a list

SEO: And you’ll need to start a content strategy. That means 10-20 pages of new content per month, minimum, plus work to promote it.

Site Owner: OKAY! I’m on it.
Site owner goes away.

Two months later:

Site Owner: SEO, you totally ripped me off. I haven’t seen any improvement in my rankings.

SEO: Did you make all the changes?

Site Owner: Yes.

SEO: Did you start work on the content?

Site Owner: Yes.

SEO: Can I see?

Site Owner shows SEO their site. It has 70 pages of new articles.

SEO: Wow, that’s great… Wait a minute. This article is only 150 words. And the author used the wrong ‘your’ five times. And this article is almost identical to these other five…

Site Owner: So?

garbage-on-a-plate-600x399

SEO: Well, this isn’t exactly great content.

Site Owner: Hey, you told me to get new content. You didn’t say anything about great content!

Search Engines Aren’t Garbage Disposals

I suspect that most people see search engines as a sort of content garbage disposals. You feed them a random assortment of leftovers, hard-to-identify and vaguely smelly things, and the occasional rotten egg in one end, there are some grinding and crunching sounds, and you’re all set.

Well, they’re not garbage disposals.

Half of SEO is a long list of things you must do to make yourself visible, help search engines classify your content, etc..

But, in the pre- and now more importantly, post- Panda world, the other half of SEO is all about differentiating yourself from competitors with great, unique information.

You know… Marketing.

No More Garbage

You have to stop serving garbage to your visitors, and to search engines. Here’s a couple ideas to get you started:

  1. Write stuff that hasn’t been written before. There are already 999,999 articles about SEO and title tags. Try something else, or a new spin on your topic.
  2. Be interesting. Put some thought into how the article is put together. Use visuals where it helps. Use humor, even.
  3. Hire quality writers to write quality stuff.
  4. Ask your visitors and customers what they’d like to read. Then write it.
  5. Follow production best practices. Use good line spacing and typography. Place subheads to organize your story and make it easier to scan. A 500-word article vomited onto the page with zero formatting makes it look like you don’t care. If you don’t care, you don’t deserve to rank.
  6. Brainstorm and maintain a list of headlines you can assign to writers.
  7. Assign target topics and phrases to specific pages on your site. Think through how you’ll interlink new content with those pages to build authority.
  8. Integrate content into your site. You probably won’t make much progress if you hang a bunch of lousy articles off your site like some kind of growth. Content has to be in the flow of a normal visitor’s movement through the site.

In short: think about it. Make content strategy part of your overall Internet marketing strategy and invest in it. You can’t outsource your writing to eLance for $5 per article and expect progress. Nor can you somehow automate or fake your way into the rankings. Yes, there are always the lucky few who manage it. But it’s not the norm.

But It’s Hard/Expensive/Time-Consuming!

I know, huh? If you want to gain a top ranking, you have to work for it, and invest, and really dedicate yourself to it.

But have some perspective: 20 years ago, the minimum required to reach a national audience was $250,000, a fantastic sales letter and a lot of luck. Now, you can reach a national audience with a well-coded website, one decent writer and a good idea. That’s nothing short of miraculous.

So switch your content strategy from garbage to gourmet. It’s worth the effort.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Molly Crabapple’s 14 rules for creative success in the Internet age Wednesday, Nov 5 2014 

To celebrate the release of my new book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, I’ve invited some of my favorite creators and thinkers to write about their philosophy on the arts and the Internet. Today, Molly Crabapple presents her 14 iron laws of creativity. -Cory Doctorow

Why do creative people seem so cynical when they follow standard business practices that every successful business person must follow?  Martin

info

I’m a visual artist and writer. What this means is that I have done most things one can do that involve making pictures (as to making words, I’m far newer). I’ve ` dicks for Playgirl. I’ve painted a six foot tall replica of my own face and carefully calligraphed things people have said to me on the Internet, then displayed it in a Tribeca gallery, as a sort of totem. I’ve live-sketched snipers in Tripoli. I’ve illustrated self-published kids books for ten dollars a page. I’ve balanced on jury-rigged scaffolding on a freezing British dawn, painting pigs on the walls of one of the world’s poshest nightclubs.

I’ve made my living as an artist for eight years, almost entirely without galleries, and until relatively recently without agents. It was a death-slog that threw me into periodic breakdowns . I’m pretty successful now. I make a good living, even in New York, have a full time assistant who gets a middle-class salary, and have a book coming out with a major publisher. I feel so lucky, and so grateful, for every bit of this.

My success would not have been possible without the internet. I’ve used every platform, from Craigslist and Suicide Girls to Livejournal, Myspace, Kickstarter, Tumblr and Twitter. I’m both sick of social media and addicted to it. What nourishes you destroys you, and all that. The internet is getting increasingly corporate and centralized, and I don’t know that the future isn’t just going back to big money platforms. I hope its not.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. The number one thing that would let more independent artists exists in America is a universal basic income. The number one thing that has a possibility of happening is single payer healthcare. This is because artists are humans who need to eat and live and get medical care, and our country punishes anyone who wants to go freelance and pursue their dream by telling them they might get cancer while uninsured, and then not be able to afford to treat it.

2. Companies are not loyal to you. Please never believe a company has your back. They are amoral by design and will discard you at a moment’s notice. Negotiate aggressively, ask other freelancers what they’re getting paid, and don’t buy into the financial negging of some suit.

3. I’ve cobbled together many different streams of income, so that if the bottom falls out of one industry, I’m not ruined. My mom worked in packaging design. When computers fundamentally changed the field, she lost all her work. I learned from this.

4. Very often people who blow up and become famous fast already have some other sort of income, either parental money, spousal money, money saved from another job, or corporate backing behind the scenes. Other times they’ve actually been working for 10 years and no one noticed until suddenly they passed some threshold. Either way, its good to take a hard look- you’ll learn from studying both types of people, and it will keep you from delusional myth-making.

5. I’ve never had a big break. I’ve just had tiny cracks in this wall of indifference until finally the wall wasn’t there any more

6. Don’t be a dick. Be nice to everyone who is also not a dick, help people who don’t have the advantages you do, and never succumb to crabs in the barrel infighting.

7. Remember that most people who try to be artists are kind of lazy. Just by busting your ass, you’re probably good enough to put yourself forward, so why not try?

8. Rejection is inevitable. Let it hit you hard for a moment, feel the hurt, and then move on.

9. Never trust some Silicon Valley douchebag who’s flush with investors’ money, but telling creators to post on their platform for free or for potential crumbs of cash. They’re just using you to build their own thing, and they’ll discard you when they sell the company a few years later.

10. Be a mercenary towards people with money. Be generous and giving to good people without it.

11. Working for free is only worth it if its with fellow artists or grassroots organizations you believe in, and only if they treat your respectfully and you get creative control.

12. Don’t ever submit to contests where you have to do new work. They’ll just waste your time, and again, only build the profile of the judges and the sponsoring company. Do not believe their lies about “exposure”. There is so much content online that just having your work posted in some massive image gallery is not exposure at all.

13. Don’t work for free for rich people. Seriously. Don’t don’t don’t. Even if you can afford to, you’re fucking over the labor market for other creators. Haggling hard for money is actually a beneficial act for other freelancers, because it is a fight against the race to the bottom that’s happening online.

14. If people love your work, treat them nice as long as they’re nice to you.

15. Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth. Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer living in New York. She has written for the NY Times, Vanity Fair, and VICE, and has work in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art.

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