#1 in Google

Congratulations to Ozdach’s client Seattle Home Staging experts Set the Stage for showing up at the top of Google results for their primary keyword phrase.

When I spoke with Patty, the owner, after discovering their placement, she was non-plussed.  She said something like, “Oh yeah.  We’ve been there awhile. I thought you knew.”

Some accomplishment!  And, nice that you’re staying on top, Patty!

Patty said that being on top in Google search results has let her weather the bad home sales market better than other local stagers.  She also buys Google AdWords and puts her business on the page as a Google sponsor to help keep the phone ringing.

We’re happy to have created her website with Search Engine Optimization in mind.  And, we talk with her regularly to answer her questions about content and optimization.

One trick: Patty updates her site frequently with Contribute.  There’s new text and content online every few weeks.  Google loves sites that are frequently updated, so Patty’s ongoing work reinforces the text optimization we did when we originally created the site.

Reach Me on Google Voice

My invitation to Google voice came in the email about two weeks ago. I’ve set up my account, tested the phones, and imported my contacts. Now I am mulling over how much to use the service.

Google Voice provides a single telephone number that I can then direct to any number of cell phones, landlines, or whatevers. In theory I can keep this number forever and go online to change where it rings as I move or change locations.

Google Voice Widget
Google Voice Widget

Google also provides a widget for my website that let’s people call me for free. You just click on the widget on my website, enter your telephone number, and answer your phone. As soon as you answer, Google will connect you to my Google Voice numbers.

If you want to talk with me (and it’s a reasonable Pacific Coast timezone hour!) give it a try.  Click on this link to my Web Design and Internet Promotion website, and then click on the Google voice widget. Or, pick up your phone and dial my personal Google Voice number 415.347.3393.

But, I confess.  I haven’t put that number on my website.  I haven’t ordered business cards with the number.  I haven’t started giving out that number to friends, customers, or family.

Why?  Google Voice is free. Free for me.  Free for my friends, customers, and family.  Free.

I’m uneasy about relying on a free service. FREE! is a wonderful price, but will the catch be worth it?

Right now there is no catch.  You call, I answer.  If you’re calling from a blocked number, you have to say your name, and I’ll get a chance to answer or send you to voicemail.

In the future, the best guesses on Google’s forums are that Google will insert audio ads when people call me.  Instead of hearing a ringing tone or clicks before being connected, you’ll hear a targeted ad.  In addition, if you reach my Google Voice voicemail, those messages are automatically transcribed and sent to me via email.  The forum writers think that in the future if I look at voicemail transcripts online they’ll be Google Adwords ads on the margins that relate to the words in the transcript.

Voice ads for a free call?  Not bad, I guess.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want someone calling me to get an ad for another web designer or marketing service.  And, I am not sure how comfortable I am having personal information available to Google.  What can it “learn” about me from the words in the voicemail transcripts? Or,  will Google also let itself listen into conversations to really give us “helpful” targeted ads?

As I said, I am mulling.

No Grace in these Economic Times

It’s the first of the month, and my inbox is stuffed with the routine reminders from the third-party services I use. Today I received a separate email for each domain name registration and hosting service that is expiring during August, September, and October. Quite a pile of email.

Unfortunately, we have to be more careful about these messages than we did just a few months ago.

The services I use are cutting off domain name registration the date after expiration. They are giving no grace period.

If you don’t pay by the date due, your site will disappear. In it’s place will be single page filled with spammy advertisements.

True, the registration service has given multiple warnings that the balance was due. No doubt that they are within their rights to disappear you website.

But, this behavior is new and startling. In the past, the service provide a 30-day grace period. But, not now. Not in these economic times.

Photoshop Done So Well, It Needs a Disclaimer

Roger Arvid Anderson photographic show as envisioned by David Wilson

One of my clients, the sculptor, photographer, and artist Roger Arvid Anderson, had a fun reason to add text to his website recently.

Visitors to his site who were reading a proposal for a Star Spangled photo exhibition were contacting him saying that they liked the photos of his show.

The mock-ups that seemed to show visitors strolling through galleries of Roger’s photographs were being mistaken for actual photos.  So, Roger asked me to add a disclaimer under the first of these Photoshopped pictures to say that the images were digitally manipulated.  Check out all the photos yourself!

Nice to have to such quality work on his site that we needed words to tell people that what their eyes were seeing wasn’t real.

Roger is an art photographer who still uses black and white film. He relied on photographer David Wilson to digitally create  such a realistic gallery.  I have worked with David for a couple of clients, and always appreciate his clear, interesting images. I recommend him whenever you need a professional to capture (or create!) a perfect image.