December 31, 2003

Reputation Systems and Social Networks

I have just posted over at Web Dawn about peer-to-peer reputation systems. The idea is to use social network-based trust to store reputation information in a P2P network. Click here to read more.

Posted by Mark at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2003

Movable Type 3.0 (not Pro)

In recent announcements, Six Apart has announcement that the next version of MT will be Movable Type 3.0, which is a free upgrade to the current versions. Movable Type Pro, a paid version, will follow 3.0 and will focus on features for business and organizations. MT 3.0 will include new features such as:

  • Comment registration. As a response to both comment spam and to the increased usage of Movable Type on large community sites, we'll be adding the option to restrict comments to registered users.

  • Improved comment and TrackBack management features.

  • New API hooks for plugin developers. Plugins will now be able to hook into many more pieces of Movable Type, including adding callbacks for saving and removing objects, building application methods with integration into the UI, and hooking into the publishing process. This opens up possibilities for plugins to add even more advanced functionality than they're able to do now.

  • User interface rebuilt using CSS. We've seen with TypePad that a CSS-based interface gives users very fast application response times, and gives us a flexible interface for making application-wide changes, and we want to give this same speed and flexibility to Movable Type users.

  • Support for the Atom API. We've already added Atom syndication feed support in version 2.65 of Movable Type, and we'll be adding publishing support for the API in 3.0.

The announcement also alludes to some other features to be announced later. I am particularily interested in the comment management features being added. A beta is expected in the first quarter of 2004.

Posted by Mark at 2:28 PM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2003

Blogging Tools

Christopher Locke discusses a handful of "must-have" blogging tools in Cheap Thrills for the Beer-Budget Blogger. The tools are not blogging applications or services themselves - rather, they are utilities that Bloggers may find useful for blog design. Some of the tools seem quite interesting. I plan to try them out soon.

Posted by Mark at 4:55 PM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2003

SEO after the Google Florida Update

In mid-November Google deployed the first major update in months, now known as the 'Florida' update. Previous updates have introduced changes to Google's scoring algorithm and adjusted spam filters - filters designed to catch sites using hidden-text, link farms, and other tricks to fool search engines. The Florida update was unique in that it introduced a filter that was not targeted at spam sites at all. It appears that the filter was targeted at over-optimized sites: sites that have been ranking very well due tried-and-true SEO techniques. The filter seemed to target mostly commercial search queries - but perhaps this is just a coincidence, because commercial web pages are among the most likely to be heavily optimized. While it remains unclear exactly what the threshold might be to get caught by this filter, the existence of this filter has been confirm solidly. Google Watch founder Daniel Brandt discovered some bugs that exposed the impact of the filters. These bugs have now been fixed, but the filter remains in place. While the filter does downgrade many less relevant sites, it also has taken many small businesses and other relevant sites with it. Pages that used to rank in the top 10 may no longer be in the top 100. Many webmasters have reported dramatic drops in traffic and sales - in the middle of the critical holiday shopping season. Here's what others are saying about the Florida Update.

For search engine optimizers (SEOs), the question is: how do we optimize pages to rank well after the Florida Update? Many webmasters have discussed the obvious choice: attempt to de-optimize pages until they no longer trigger the filter. Perhaps this is what Google wants, believing that this might level the playing field for non-optimized yet relevant web pages. If many webmasters take this approach, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My rankings and Google traffic have been largely unaffected by the Florida filter, for a number of reasons. First, none of my sites are in areas that are highly competitive commercial topics. Second, my SEO strategy is to target many search queries, not just a few top phrases. In November, my top 20 search queries represented less 20% of my search engine referrals. During the month, over 13,000 different queries were used to find my pages. This strategy provides insurance against events like the Florida filter and it is also a quicker, less expensive approach to generating search engine traffic.

My post-Florida recommendation is combination of the above two approachs. If you have been hit hard by the filter, start stepping down your optimization - but do it in baby steps, waiting to see if the change affect the search results. At the same time, starting adding pages to your site, targetting sub-topics, thus increasing your referral base. I know that's not a miracle cure for those who have been hit hard, but it is a proven strategy that works well for me.

Posted by Mark at 11:10 AM | Comments (5)

December 11, 2003

10% of Profits go to Charity

I believe that all profitable companies should donate a portion of profits to charity. If all companies, large and small, did so it would make an enormous difference in the world.

As I have been earning some money from my various web sites, I decided recently to give back by sponsoring a child. Hama is a 9 year-old boy from Niger, West Africa.

Now that I have started Mark Carey Consulting Inc., I plan to donate 10% of profits to charitable causes. I am interested in any and all feedback about what those causes should be. Please post your thoughts in the discussion for this page.

Posted by Mark at 9:35 PM | Comments (35)

Blogging for Business Service

Blogging for business is growing trend. There are many benefits of managers and employees keeping weblogs.

Both public and company-private blogs can be beneficial in there own ways.

Public business blogs (published on the Internet) show the human face of your company. You are your employees. Your employees are your web site. It common policy that only PR is allowed to speak for the company. Customers hate this, and they are tired of scripted statements and press releases that are nothing more than "fake news articles". They want to learn about your company from real people in real voices. Employee blogs, especially with integrated discussions, can be a great way show the people behind the company - and increase customer loyalty as a result. It can also be an effective way to improve search engine rankings and traffic.

Private, intra-company blogs are valuable for knowledge management. Employees record information about current projects, lessons learned, best practices, etc. This type of information usually exists only in the minds of employees. Blogs provide an engaging way to record that knowledge in a searchable repository, which can be used to improve company operations, policies, and processes.

I can help your company develop a blogging for business strategy that matches your goals. For a free assessment, click here.

Posted by Mark at 9:25 PM | Comments (18)

Management Accessibility Service

Management Accessibility means ensuring that the management of your company is accessible via your web presence. Too many companies try to shield management from customers with PR departments and other non-communication methods. Some companies may provide a short bio of the company executives, but they provide no way to contact them. Customers want to be able to communicate with the principals of the companies that they do business with. Companies that embrace communication with customers are more successful in maintaining loyal customers and better reputations. Having management participate in discussion forums, chat events, and customer conference calls are just a few ways that companies can make their management more accessible.

For a free assessment, click here.

Posted by Mark at 8:54 PM | Comments (0)

Reputation Management Service

What is Reputation Management and how does it relate to web presence management?

In life and in business, reputation is everything. So it goes on the web as well. Your web site is one of representations of your reputation. You are your web site. When disgruntled customers complain about your company in discussion forums, and chat rooms around the web, that is another representation of your reputation. You are what people are saying about you.

In the years ahead, reputation will become even more important on the web. To be successful, you will need to manage your reputation on and off your web site. Software systems are services are emerging that measure and record reputation in quantitative and qualitative ways. I can help your company develop a reputation mangement strategy.

Click here for a free assessment.

Posted by Mark at 8:39 PM | Comments (0)

Blog Optimization Service

Blog Optimization is search engine optimization for blogs.

I have a number of successful strategies for optimizing blogs for high search engine ranking.

I can also help you use blogs on your company web site to improve rankings and increase search engine traffic. Company blogs can be a great way to boost your search engine traffic and rankings.

Click here for a free assessment of your blog or site.

Posted by Mark at 8:28 PM | Comments (1)

Blog Design Service

What is Blog Design? Blog Design is web design for blogs (weblogs).

The primary difference between Web Design and Blog Design is Blog Design almost always includes customizing templates. Blogs typcially include a home page, with entries listed in reverse chronological order, and archive pages for categories, dates, and individual entries.

Many blogs use the "default" templates that come with blogging software or services. The default templates are quite straight forward and functional - but the result is that a lot of blog sites end up looking very similar. I can help give your blog a unique design.

If you want to add one or more blogs to your company web site, I can customize the blog design to match your company web page design - so you have a seamless and consitent look to your site and blogs.

I have experience with blog templates from Blogger and Movable Type. I specialize in Movable Type blog design, due to the enahanced features and flexibility of the application. I also offer Movable Type Customization, which moves beyond blog design.

Posted by Mark at 7:58 PM | Comments (16)

Test Forum Message




Posted by anonymous at 7:34 PM | Comments (5)

About Mark Carey Consulting Inc.

My name is Mark Carey. I started Mark Carey Consulting Inc. very recently (December 2003) to provide consulting services for web presence management. Many company web sites are nothing more than online versions of brochures and press releases. The reality is that many people find company web sites boring and not very informative. I want to help companies create a web presence that engages customers and fosters communication. The book "The Cluetrain Manifesto" is one of my inspirations for starting this company.

About Me

I grew up just outside Toronto, Canada. I graduated from the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario. Since then I have worked in the areas of financial analysis, business case analysis, strategic planning, and product management in the telecommunications and software industries.

I have been creating web sites for about four years. Some of my web sites have been (and continue to be) just for fun and others are "for-profit". Recently I have learned a lot about blogging and search engine optimization. The knowledge that I have gained in these areas has been very helpful in developing strategies for web presence management. Lately my web site traffic has been doubling every two months, with over 400,000 page views in November, 2003. In my consulting practice, I would like to share what I have learned to help other develop and grow their own web presences.

Below is a list of my other web sites. Most of them are powered by Movable Type, a powerful content management and blogging software application:

Mark Carey (personal web site)
Web Dawn
GoogleGuy Says
Blog Spam Database
Blog Coop
Seinfeld Blog
Quote Blog
Media Blog
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Mark and Michelle's Wedding
Honeymoon in Egypt
Smells Like Sour
TV Blogs

Posted by Mark at 7:16 PM | Comments (1)

Mark Carey Consulting Services

I provide a range of services as part of a comprehensive web presence management approach. I can also provide each service individually, to complement your existing web presence strategies.

Follow the links below (or those on the left) for more information about the services that I provide:

Web Design

Blog Design

Search Engine Optimization

Blog Optimization

Reputation Management

Management Acessibility

Movable Type Customization

Click here for more information about a Free Assessment.

Posted by Mark at 6:19 PM | Comments (1)

Comprehensive Web Presence Management

Mark Carey Consulting Inc., and this web site, have just been launched. I have started this company to help other companies and individuals manage their web presence.

I believe in a comprehensive approach to web presence management, combining simple web design, search engine optimization, interaction with customers, and reputation management. Web presence is more than a web site. Web presence includes the ways that people find your site, the things people are saying about you in forums and chatrooms, and the opinions and actions of customers and prospects regarding your web presence. I believe that this comprehensive approach to web presence management leads to increased sales, word-of-mouth advertising, and loyal customers.

Follow the links below (or those on the left) for more information about the services that I provide, that make up this comprehensive approach:

Web Design

Blog Design

Search Engine Optimization

Blog Optimization

Reputation Management

Management Accessibility

Movable Type Customization

Posted by Mark at 5:53 PM | Comments (0)

Simple and Interactive Web Design

I believe that web design should be kept simple, communicating clearly with customers and other web site visitors. Visitors should be able to easily navigate the web site in order to find what they are looking for. For smaller web sites, everything should be no more than a few clicks away from the home page.

I also believe that web sites become much more useful when they are interactive. Interactive web sites engage the site visitor to contribution information, questions, or comments. An integrated discussion forum can be an effective way to make a web page a true communications tool.

While I believe that easy-of-use is the most important factor in web design, I also consider search engine rankings when creating the structural elements of a web site. I design web sites that are both user- and search engine-friendly.

Posted by Mark at 3:43 PM | Comments (4)

December 4, 2003




Posted by Mark at 7:40 PM | Comments (0)