Optimize Bing Search and Get Optimized for Facebook Too!

If you are wondering why the recent Microsoft and Facebook agreements are so relevant, consider a couple things.  Facebook membership and usage grows at leaps and bounds.  Facebook is becoming one of the primary places for people to go on the internet, and while they are there, they search for things and people.  More people and groups right now than anything else, but that might change soon.

Bing web search is now integrated into Facebook search.  Perform a search in Facebook and if there is no direct search result within Facebook itself, you will see the top 3 results from the web powered by Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.

Recently I completed a web site roll out for a client of mine via Softduit Media.  Its a graphic design site in Iowa called Design 26 (http://graphicdesign26.com ).  The site is relatively new, but rapidly moving up the search results in its niche, including the search results within Bing.

One of the bi-products of that foundational search engine optimization of the site we set up is that the site is now also on the front page results in Facebook for ‘urbandale graphic design’.

Facebook Search results for keywords urbandale graphic design

If you expand those results, they are also listed a second time in position 6.

From a cultural perspective people are not using Facebook as a search engine, very much.  However, the cultural shift that turned YouTube into one of the largest search engines on the internet behind Google, could also work in another social network like Facebook, but this time the search is powered by Microsoft.  Optimizing for Bing may have never before been so important, but it will be now.

Southwest Engages in Smart Facebook Ad Strategy

While browsing around on Facebook today, I spotted a great ad campaign executed by Southwest Airlines the darling of the airline industry.  Its simple, ‘Fan Us’ and we’ll enter you in a contest for free airline tickets roundtrip.

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Its simple, easy, will help them build up a large fan following on Facebook, which will enable them to engage in more direct marketing via Facebook techniques in the future, and it conveys an overall perception that Southwest is nice.

No stupid forms to fill out

No silly off facebook websites to visit

No difficult buy in

Does generate a large Facebook fan base, which will show a level of communal good will towards this company for months and years to come

And it simply costs them a few free seats

Brilliant!

New Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred Coupon Codes for Black Friday Weekend

Note: Cross posted from Maven Mapper’s Information.

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Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 is available for 30% off through Nuance starting Today and lasting until 11/30.

You can get the Preferred Version or the Standard version (if you are a blogger the Standard version is likely what you are looking for, if you happen to be a podcaster you might get more out of the Preferred version. If you are a business user, I’d recommend Standard.

Here’s How you can get 30% off Dragon Naturally Speaking with the Coupon Codes Below

30% off Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred

Start Date:11/26/2009 – End Date:11/30/2009

Dragon Coupon Code:giahh897e

Copy your link code below.

30% off Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred

30% off Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard

Start Date:11/26/2009 – End Date:11/30/2009

Dragon Coupon Code: 2r22fbz7z

Copy your link code below.

30% off Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard

Note: Cross posted from Maven Mapper’s Information.

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Best of Pub Con & Matt Cutts Provides helpful tool for Targeting WordPress hacker spammers

Didn’t attend PubCon 2009?  Get the best Insights gathered up from the conference at Managing Greatness.  Even though on the surface this looks like a cliff notes version of Pub Con it is more of a linear mind map or outline of some of the key items.  (frankly I’m impressed there’s some useful stuff in here) like the reference to the Matt Cutt’s interview by GeekCast.fm. 

here’s a screen shot of the article just to give you an idea of how deep this review actually is!

:)

Summary of Pub Con 2009 by Managing Greatness

Jake Shimabukuro Proving the Power of Social Media in a New Music Industry

He’s been dubbed the Hendrix of the Ukulele, but when you hear and see him play, you know that is an understatement.

Here’s a few samples to let you experience just how great Jake Shimabukuro’s music is, and then consider that this talent might not have seen the light of day if it weren’t for his simultaneous mastery of social media tools and marketing to help keep his art alive and thriving and available for us.

You can follow jake on twitter at 
http://twitter.com/Jakeshimabukuro

or on Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jake-Shimabukuro

or visit his website at
http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/

This was my initial introductions to Jake…

 

Check out the amazing technique he employs in this song, Let’s Dance

The Affiliate Summit Ultimate Follow Friday List

Over 60 People You Should Follow at Affiliate Summit

Here’s a list of over 60 key people presenting or involved with Affiliate Summit starting this weekend.  If you want to know what’s going on this weekend or in the Affiliate world in general, you should follow this group.

UPDATED! This manual follow friday list has now been converted to a new Twitter List to make it easy to follow the Affiliate Industry Insiders in 1 Click!

http://twitter.com/brettbum/affiliateindustryinsiders

Tip! Get the Linky Add-on for firefox.  Open this article up in a separate page by clicking on the title, then right click in your browser after installing the add on, pick Linky and in the drop down select open all links in tabs, excluding the handfull of other links from the site footer and header that get pulled in.  Then you can go tab to tab following people, without having to click on each link below.

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If you know a better way to follow a large group of people, leave me a comment and I’ll add you to the twitter list!

Here’s the ASE09 Follow List

  1. @JayBerkowitz
  2. @JamieEBirch
  3. @chiefmartec
  4. @chrisbrogan
  5. @mikebuecheleless
  6. @loxly
  7. @brentcsutoras
  8. @dalka
  9. @trishalyn
  10. @oilman
  11. @karengarcia
  12. @GabGoldenbergless
  13. @pepperjamceo
  14. @internetlawcent
  15. @GaryKibel_law
  16. @bethkirsch
  17. @jimkukral
  18. @ericlanderless
  19. @JGoode
  20. @graywolf
  21. @jeffgreenbaum
  22. @tyrona
  23. @sugarrae
  24. @brettbum
  25. @mikeyjake
  26. @moneyreignless
  27. @cashbaq
  28. @StephARC
  29. @Brianlittleton
  30. @grahammacrobie
  31. @stuntdubl
  32. @acnatta
  33. @wordcampbham
  34. @melaniemitchell
  35. @katemorris
  36. @vinnyohare
  37. @americancliche
  38. @BLAIRAffiliates
  39. @neilpatel
  40. @lisap
  41. @scottpolk
  42. @eprussakov
  43. @DushR
  44. @wilreynolds
  45. @lisariolo
  46. @turnhere
  47. @SteveSchaffer
  48. @turnhere
  49. @SteveSchaffer
  50. @shoemoney
  51. @alexschultz
  52. @mellies
  53. @skydiver
  54. @cshel
  55. @sloanzone
  56. @briansolis
  57. @digijoe
  58. @streko
  59. @michaelvorel
  60. @experienceads
  61. @KarenWhite_LV
  62. @chriswinfield
  63. @dennisyu
  64. @affiliatesummit
  65. @feedfront
  66. @geekcast
  67. @affiliatetip
  68. @missyward

If I’ve missed your twitter address please leave a comment with your twitter link.

If you are attending Affiliate Summit, please also add your twitter link, I’m putting together a separate attendees list for a future article.

Heather Shares 5 Tips for Writing a Great Sponsored Tweet

Heather from the blog Beautiful British Columbia shared 5 great tips for writing a sponsored tweet that I’d like to share with everyone.  As this is a relatively brand new monetization and communication medium, I think it is safe to say that the verdict is still out on best practices.

That said, Heather has captured some of the essentials that will likely make the list.  Here’s a couple that seemed extra insightful to me:

    • Pictures are worth more than words.
      • I often include a picture in my sponsored tweets to make a point. If you see a picture of my adorable doggy with his new toy, I think you are more likely to click on the link to see where I bought it.
    • Keep it short ‘n sweet and easy to retweet.
      • By keeping your tweet less than 140 characters and by using common abbreviations you are more likely to be ‘retweeted’, thereby reaching an exponential number of Twitter users.

Writing a Great Sponsored Tweet

Something else to consider is that the 5 quick tips Heather offers up are relevant even if you are not sending a sponsored tweet, just a tweet.

Personally, whenever someone follows me that has recent tweets that are all quick headlines followed by a link (maybe from their blog or maybe just passing on information from other sites), I click away and don’t follow them back.

I’m not a follow snob, I just don’t need my twitter stream full of tweets with recent headlines from every blog or news source under the sun, especially when those start to get redundant.  I’m not like every one but I only use twitter to talk with people or see what people are talking about.  I don’t go to twitter to receive a ‘NarrowCast’ (as opposed to a broadcast) of a bunch of nice to know blog titles and articles. 

Note – If you read this article based on a twitter title automatically created from this new blog entry, you might think me a hypocrite.  That’s OK, I AM a hypocrite!  :)

But I also typically talk to people on twitter and just happen to include links from my blog articles in an automated fashion when they show up.  You will never see my twitter stream looking like a long long list of either my own or someone else’s headlines.

The Trifecta of BlogWorld, New Media Expo & Las Vegas WordCamp 2009

Originally posted in full at Softduit Media.

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Last weekend I ventured back to BlogWorld & the New Media Expo and Las Vegas WordCamp.  The great thing is that all three conferences were consolidated in the Las Vegas Convention Center.  I closed out WordCamp with a Session on How to Design a WordPress Theme in Minutes.  The video from the event is not yet available, but the slides are below:

This was an expanded version of the ‘Intro’ level presentation that I provided a few weeks ago at WordCamp Birmingham. 

The big difference is that I demonstrated how to use multiple themes in a single WordPress configuration.  Multiple themes that anyone could design and later iterate modifications themselves.  I also highlighted a few of the techniques that I utilized to build our strategic partner’s site at Grass Shack Events & Media.

Here is the basic code that I utilized to create and call a default header as well as alternate headers based on an if then else selection:

<?php
//
// example of using header file based on pages
// note that you can either use page ID, Page Name or Page Slug
//
// this one uses page title

if (is_page()){
    include(TEMPLATEPATH.’/header-business.php’);
}
else {
    include(TEMPLATEPATH.’/header-default.php’);
}
?>

 

This month I will also create additional step by step video tutorials to share with people that were unable to attend this session.  Alternately, if you would like me to speak at a conference or event in your area, please contact me to discuss availability.

Note: Cross posted from Softduit Media.

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Only Fools Rely Solely on Cloud Storage for Personal/Business Information

As I’ve read about people potentially losing their personal data during the Microsoft/T-Mobile/Danger/Sidekick fiasco, I thought to my self, well that’s the price you pay when you rely on the cloud to keep you safe.  But the same thing could happen to me now that I’m using a Palm Pre.  It relies heavily (far too heavily) on Google Contacts (an awful system, definitely not up to par with Google’s normal standard) and Facebook.

Fortunately there are extra services ($$ Missing Sync) that can enable you to make offline copies of important information, like emails, phone numbers, addresses, calendars etc.  Sure there is a good argument to be made that Google is a nice big company and should be safe. 

If Google’s servers aren’t safe, whose are?

The answer to that question, is who cares.  Back up your data yourself and have another level of redundancy.  It is 2009, going on 2010 as I write this and if there is anything we’ve learned in recent decades is that you can NOT trust big companies to protect you, and espeically you can’t trust big companies to protect any of your data!

Got it?  Yeah, I know its a no brainer, now go find a way to back up your information!

Letting Data Die A Natural Death – washingtonpost.com

Does a PHP integration of mod_php or FastCGI or suphp have an Impact on CPU Usage?

Since July, I have been experiencing CPU usages on my Virtual Dedicated Server.  In July, my host InMotion Hosting, whom I have had an excellent relationship with for over 3 years, recommended that I should move to a ‘new faster server’ and they would migrate my accounts for free.

Sounded good, I asked a few questions, hoping to make a relatively informed decision, but I know next to nothing about servers and hardware, which is the reason why I turn to them for hosting and Virtual dedicated hosting specifically.

They upgraded me and within about 2 weeks, I started having problems with my account using up too much load on the CPU of the server.  My sites and the server were crashing every couple weeks, and InMotion Hosting started telling me that I would have to upgrade to a dedicated server, a price difference of $150 per month!  (Currently paying about $50 a month, prepaid for a year, Dedicated costs about $200 per month).

Frankly, I couldn’t afford the move.

At the time this first started happening, I was traveling in NYC for Affiliate Summit, and I didn’t have the time to completely figure out what was going on.  Twice over the years, I’ve run into CPU load issues and it usually involved a plugin that was broken or not working right.

I searched through my cpanel accounts, checking the error logs on each.  I found a few little errors but nothing significant.  I fixed those, checked with my host, and that didn’t seem to phase anything.

I did some heavy lifting in robots.txt to insure that I wasn’t being indexed by bots that were driving up the CPU (there was some indication that a bot masquerading as the cuel (cool) search engine was causing a bit of a problem.  I worked to eliminate bot access to every folder that wasn’t essential.

I triple checked my largest sites to insure that my images were optimized too.  (they were already, but I wanted to double check)

I was already running WP-Super Cache on my largest 2 sites, so I started loading that up on all my other sites.  Then I added DB Cache and even Widget Cache and DB manager so that I could routinely optimize my DB.

That seemed to make a small bit of a dent but not enough.

My biggest problem was really the lack of information at a domain level.  On a VDedicated account, I have absolutely NO TOOLS to help me identify if one domain/cpanel account is causing the bulk of the problem or if all domains are.  I thinned out the herd and eliminated/suspended/moved some cpanel accounts.

Again that helped just a little bit, but not enough.

Finally towards the end of September, I spoke with a admin at Inmotion who was able to install a script or a program to monitor my account.  I couldn’t view this program, but she was able to tell me the top domains or directories that were using the most CPU at the time.  She was also able to point out a couple plugins, that were not creating errors but did seem to be consuming to much of the cpu resources.  I deactivated and deleted them.

A couple days later, I got a message from Inmotion saying that that action had fixed the problem!

I sent back a message saying terrific! I can’t believe we finally solved this.  I was very happy and relieved.

But 20 minutes later, the same person replied again and told me that actually things weren’t fixed and we’d have to continue monitoring.

:( Uh, OK. :(

Four days later, I get an email saying that things were still bad, and my account would be shut down tomorrow, the original deadline given several weeks earlier.

So I called in, got filtered through hold for 20 minutes, got a low level representative on the phone, who was nice and polite but frankly jerked me around for 14 minutes because 1) he couldn’t do anything about the issue 2) its his job to make sure that people like me no longer have direct access to the admins 3) their own internet connection was apparently down 4) when he tried to transfer me, it didn’t work a couple times, maybe internet down related.

So I finally get on the phone with the admin who had sent me the latest message.  I mentioned to him, that when I had spoke with the helpful representative that had set up the monitoring script, that she had indicated the next thing to trouble shoot would be whether my Apache configuration on the new server was not optimal for my sites as compared to the Apache configuration on the old server.

I asked the new guy if we could look at this.  I had done some quick research that had indicated:

mod_php Vs. FastCGI

How you integrate PHP into Apache has performance implications. The two most popular options are:

mod_php

The PHP interpreter and all it’s linked in libraries are compiled into a loadable Apache Module (mod_php) and this module is loaded into every running Apache process at startup time. This is generally the simplest way to run PHP and is supported by most hosting environments. It also introduces memory overhead because of the monolithic Apache processes which you have running, and because the PHP interpreter is included in the web server binary which services non PHP files.

FastCGI

An alternative method of using PHP is to have the PHP interpreter running external to the Apache process and to use the FastCGI API to interface between the web server (mod_fastcgi) and the PHP interpreter. The advantages of this method is that you don’t load the full PHP stack into Apache, you can call upon PHP only when your web server needs to run a PHP script (not images, or HTML/CSS etc) and you also get security benefits of running PHP as a user other than the web server user. This setup is slightly more advanced, and usually requires custom compilation of PHP. One other possible advantage here is that you may be able to run the threaded Apache worker MPM when using FastCGI, since technically any non threadsafe PHP libraries are not being run inside Apache, but inside an external process.

I also found this useful description in a forum post that broke down a few additional settings from someone with the username ‘till’:

2nd April 2009, 10:42

The php option depends on traffic that you expect for the site and if the site e.g. uploads or creates images or files on the server.
mod_php:
- fast
- runs not under admin user of the site
- well suited for low and high traffic sites, but not for cms systems like joomla.
suphp:
- not so fast
- script runs under web admin
- secure
- well suited for low traffic sites
fastcgi
- fast
- script runs under web admin
- secure
- well suited for high traffic sites
so basicalley the decision is, if a site is low traffic, use suphp. suphp spawns a new cgi process for every page request, but it does not use resources when no pages are requested. On the opposite fastcgi, the php processes are running permanently even if no page is requested, this is faster and fine for a high traffic site but for a small homepage with 100 pageviews per hour you would waste resources.

So he agreed to try an alternative, and later sent me this message after it had been set up:

Just to follow up with you I have made two major changes to your VPS platform. The first being php was upgraded to the latest (from 5.2.10 to 5.2.11) and no longer uses suPHP. Also I have recompiled apache to use the MPM Worker instead of MPM Prefork which may help to
reduce load used by apache.

So now I’m in a new holding pattern, hoping that this change might be the magic bullet that gives me back my happily functioning websites and vdedicated account.  I’m heading to BlogWorld next week, so I expect that my account will likely take a crap on me while I’m traveling, not a traffic spike or anything, just a Murphy’s Law issue.