Friday, July 31, 2009

How High School sports prepares you for the workplace

Our society places a lot of emphasis on sports. We gather in huge herds to watch the competitions, and we pay the athletes horrendous amounts of money. And we start in on it very young. The competitive drive is taught alongside academics in our schools.

But it's all good. See, because scholastic sports teaches our kids valuable skills and prepares them for the workplace in very meaningful ways. Here's how:


In the outfield, you have to be intensely focused on something that is not only boring, but seemingly irrelevant. If the person in the center messes up, the competition gets a hit, and you have to catch it and fix it. If you don't, the error is assigned to you, not to the pitcher who didn't get the strike in the first place.


In the line, your job is to protect the guy who, moments before, was shouting at you. You do this so he can stay standing long enough to toss his problem off to someone else.

On the bench, you desperately want to be the one out on the field. You want your chance to get out in the game and show your skills. But it's also sobering to notice that the last guy who stuck his neck out, the guy you're replacing, was carried out of the game on a stretcher.


In singles, each player in the game hits the problem back and forth, hoping to make the other person mess up while it's on their side. This is important preparation for something called "meetings".

In doubles, it's just like singles, except that if it drops on your side, your "partner" can blame it on you. This prepares you for the "Committee" or the "Project Team".

So, you can see that sports in school are very important. Maybe you can think back on your own high school athletic career. Why not send your old coach and email and thank him for helping you to so effectively climb the corporate ladder.

Anyone got any others?

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Recent Blog Posts: The Zeezrom Syndrome: Book of Mormon Psychology, Dutch Oven Beef Ribs

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keyword Analysis Research

Remember all that niche and keyword analysis research you did? Well, once you've did that at the start, you're done, right? You'll never have to do that again, right? It's all over, right?


It turns out that I'm constantly doing keyword analysis research. Let's talk about that, about why you want to do ongoing research, and about when you'll want to do it again. And again. And again.

First of all, let's clarify what we're really researching and analyzing, here. It's all about keywords. When you were trying to determine what to sell or promote from your site, you wanted to know if a product was a good one or not. You wanted to know if it was potentially viable in the marketplace. You might have thought you were testing your products or your niche, but in reality, you were looking to see if there were any viable keywords that related to that product or niche.

Let's go through the thought process:

  1. I have an idea of what to sell: Left-handed wind shifters
  2. I know that I'm going to create a site to sell the left-handed wind shifters, and that I'm going to have to promote that site.
  3. To promote it effectively, I want to know if there are search terms (keywords) that are in demand, but not flooded in competiton.
  4. If I can't find keywords that I can effectively use to promote, then maybe the niche itself is too narrow, too unknown, too obscure. Or, it could be too big, too broad, too crowded of a market. It's best for me to think of something else.

See? You're really researching keywords.

So, here are some times to do keyword analysis research that relate to your website:

1 - Keyword Checkup

Things shift, things change. That's the one thing that you can count on as a constant on the 'net. So, keywords that you thought were great when you started might not be the best ones six months or a year later.

A personal example: On one of my blogs, I had researched some keywords when I started, and I found that "Dutch Oven Cooking" was a good keyword. About a year later, I was revisiting my keywords and discovered that "Dutch Oven Recipes" was a stronger keyword, by the numbers. I was getting good ranking as it was, and I wasn't sure I should re-optimize. In the end, I did. My traffic and my AdSense revenues have multiplied five-fold since then.

2 - Blog entries, articles

Every time I write a blog article, when I'm done, I take a quick moment. I think of keywords that would be of interest to people searching for that kind of content. I jump in and do some quick keyword analysis research and find out how good they are, and which ones are the strongest. Then, I go back and rewrite a few sentences of the article so that they contain more of those keywords.

I did it while writing this article. Why do you think you're seeing "keyword analysis research" over and over? Oops, there it is again...

3 - Expanding a niche

Let's say that your website is about selling baseball memorabilia. You've been doing a good business with it, and you're established with good rankings. If you're thinking about expanding into football items, that would be a good time to research the keywords that relate to football.

4 - A whole new website

Let's carry on with the same example of the sports memorabilia site. If it's going well, and things are smooth, maybe you might want to expand in a totally different area. Maybe you want to sell cosmetics, or car parts. Those are so different from sports memorabilia that you'd really have to set up a second site, or even a third, to do both. So, when you're starting from scratch, you'll want to research from scratch as well. Time for more keyword analysis research.

The bottom line is that you'll want to be constantly exploring your keywords. If you do keyword analysis research enough, you'll find that it's very easy and you can get a good idea in just a few minutes instead of hours.

Then you can keep expanding and growing.

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's other blog posts: Save the Lawyer! A Book of Mormon Story, A Birthday Dutch Oven Gathering

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Using Google Analytics for Free Website Tracking

Google Analytics is, by far, the most extensive free website tracking system I've seen, and it's made even better by considering the price. Did I mention how much is it? Oh, yeah... It's FREE!

If you haven't yet installed Google Analytics in you website or your blog, I would recommend that you jump to it and do it right away. The rest of this article won't make much sense until you do, and until it has been running on your site for about a week or so.

Installing Google Analytics
Overview of Analytics main page

Once it has been running on your site for a while, you'll want to check your stats. There are a lot of different numbers, and a lot of different screens. Let me show you which ones I check on a regular basis.

The first one I look at is the visits. That's the default graph that shows up at the top when you first click into your reports. This will show you how many times your site was hit that day. Obviously, you want that to be as many as possible. It will grow, gradually, as you do more and more promotional strategies.

The next thing I always want to know is where my traffic is coming from. On the left navigation bar, I click on "Traffic Sources". There, I can see a list of all the top traffic sources, and all the top keywords that are bringing visitors to my site. If I want to study either one in detail, I can click on the "view full report" link. I can see which of my promotional strategies is bringing in the most clicking traffic.

I can also see which keywords are working the best for me. Sometimes, I've found that the keywords I assumed would be the best aren't the ones that bring me the most traffic. At that point, I have two choices. I can re-optimize for the keywords that my research showed was better, or I can re-optimize for the keywords that I can see are already working. In reality, a combination of both is probably the best way to go.

The last thing I look at on my typical daily checks is the content. It'll show me which pages are getting the most views. Again, sometimes this has surprised me, and shown me where to emphasize both my optimizing work in the future, as well as my monetizing efforts.

Advance research is great. It will prepare you for what's likely to happen. It's also very important to study what is actually happening and be able to adapt it, as well as adapt TO it! With free website tracking from Google Analytics, you can do it.

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.