Feeding the Robots - Drupal Camp FV

Fox Valley Drupal Camp presentation.

Here are the slides from my October 5, 2013 session at the Fox Valley Drupal Camp in Aurora Illinois.

Feed the Robots – Optimized for Facebook, Google and more

This is a hands on session showing exactly how to make your Drupal website highly shareable and findable by the Facebooks and Googles of world. Along the way you will learn not only the mechanics of tayloring and creating your site’s meta data but considerations you need to make along the way to make your content highly clickable and sharable.

  • Setting up and planning your site to be a rich resource for the web.
  • Open Graph (Facebook) meta tags
  • Pinterest Optimization & considerations
  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP) curation and Optimization
  • Schema.org

Download the slides

SEO Toolkit Presentation - Drupal Camp Ohio

I just finished giving this presentation at Drupal Camp Ohio. We reviewed SEO fundamentals and the best tools in Drupal 7 to meet the needs of an SEO.

Web Design Myths You Can't Afford to Believe

MYTH #1 Design is overrated; all I need is content.
When the internet was new and you were the only one with a website, having your content displayed in any form was pretty much enough. Today, your customers expect more. Don’t find yourself losing customers because your website’s poor design and lack of functionality prevented them from actually finding the content they were looking for. How you present your content is just as important as the content itself.

MYTH #2 My increasing site traffic is what will increase my sales.
Site traffic isn’t what builds a customer base, it builds site traffic. Having high traffic to a poorly designed site can actually end up hurting your reputation and losing you money. Sales are created by gaining your customers trust in you and your business. Put your best foot forward and create a site that truly reflects who you are and what your business is all about.

MYTH #3 My business is too small for a really great website.
You may think your out-of-the-garage local business doesn’t have a need for a great website. However, a great website can show the public that even though you’re small, you are just as professional as the big dogs. Working with the right designer, a proper strategy, and a small investment can get you the beautiful, effective website your company needs to stand out from the competition.

Drupal Meetup in Bloomington/Normal Illinois

We are hosting a monthly Drupal Meetup in Bloomington/Normal Illinois.
Come joint us every 4th Tuesday of the month to learn about Drupal and web building with this awesome platform?

Experienced Drupalers / Newbies / Curious
Business owners / Hobbiests / Web Professionals
Our meetings will cover practical topics that will help you be successful with your Drupal website.

Sign up on Meetup.com

Say their name - it's magical

Say a persons name often in your conversations with them.

I first heard this advise from Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. People love to talk about themselves and they love to hear their name.

It’s almost magical how this has a way of building a trust and a bond with a person, even someone you just met.

I’ve made it a goal over the next few weeks to make this more of a habit.

Instead of say “Hi”, say “Hi John!”

Instead of saying “How is your family?”, say “How is Betty and the kids?” and even name the kids if you know them.

This is such a small subtly but it somehow makes the conversation and the relationship feal more personal.

Human relations 101 in a Web 2.0 world

A little personal interest in your customer goes a long way.

I was on the receiving side of this when I signed up for a trial product the other day. After signing up for a 30 day trial of ZenDesk I shortly received a personalized email from a REAL person. In the email the representative used my name, found my website and commented on it and the services we offer and offered some empathy in regard to the likely problems we are trying to solve with their service.

Hi Jason,
Thanks for checking out Zendesk!
I had a quick glance at your site. Cool web services! I’m sure you’re inundated with tons of questions. I think you can effectively manage all these issues with Zendesk.

I use tons of web services for our business and have done many many trials. Unfortunately this type of response is not common (although it is becoming more so especially with startups like ZenDesk and Freshbooks. This small extra personal communication over email pays huge dividends by

  • Make an instant human (personal) connection with the customer.
  • Open the door for further contact.
  • Give a great first impression of what future customer service is going to be like.

Some enterprise services have sales reps that want to call you and sell you. That is way to pushy. A phone call is much more of an invasion of space than an email.

The best thing about all this is that it is dead easy, takes almost no time and costs nothing. By simply planning some automation and using modern tools, a real person can reply with a touch of personalization like this in 30 seconds.

If you took an extra 5 minutes finding your potential clients website and Googling their name to find out their interests how would it affect your first meeting with them.

Loads – not doubt.

A good Youtube Channel can BE your Marketing

This year I decided to pick magic back up as hobby. In my search for products one store really stuck out and kept coming up to the top in my searches.

Magic Geek has a YouTube Channel that covers a nice demonstration of almost every product they sell. Here are some benefits Magic Geek is gaining by posting their demo videos on YouTube.

Youtube Browsing.

Youtube is highly popular and is the largest bandwidth usage site on the world. People routinely surf videos like they surf channels on TV. Youtube does a very good job of getting you found if someone is looking for your type of content.


You can tell that Magic Geek videos are kept up to date and fresh which makes the channel appealing for subscribers to subscribe to. When users subscribe to your channel they get email updates when new videos are released so are constantly returning to your channel.

Google Juice.

Videos (especially Youtube) are hot on Google search. People love video and Google knows this, so relevant videos relating to search terms rise to the top of Google very quickly. As long as your videos lead people back to your website you are gaining a whole other stream of traffic to your site.

Cross Marketing.

Because Magic Geek embeds their videos into each and every product page – not only do visitors get to visually see a demonstration of the product they are interested in but they have a whole new channel to view other products. You see after a Youtube video is complete it shows thumbnails of relative other videos (usually from the same channel.)

Magic Geek not only positions their videos well but you can tell they put a lot of effort into the quality and consistency of each one and have developed a strong brand that is very unique to them. A sort of fun nostalgic feel that is very inviting.

My guess is that the Magic Geek Youtube effort is by far their biggest source of traffic which judging from their Channel stats is pretty impressive.
Uploads: 683
Total Views: 7,631,156

Good job guys and keep up the good work.

How to make $70/hr holding a sign on a street corner

We have all seen the guys on the sidewalk next the road holding those signs, advertising for tax places during tax season or the furniture store "going out of business (for the 5th time)" sale.

Usually these guys are day workers that are paid $7/hr.

Well the guys who started the "Aarrow Advertsing":http://www.aarrowads.com company decided they would take a bottom-of-the-barrel job and turn it into a $70/hr job and even a hot national franchise.

So to those whining about their dead-end job - go make an opportunity for yourself! If these guys can turn sign holding into a hot business, what is your excuse?

Check out their story.

Some more slick moves.

Three neat new features in Drupal 7

Drupal 7 has been in development since February 2008, and it’s finally starting to head towards an actual release. It’s currently in a code freeze, which means they’re no longer adding new features, and instead concentrating on fixing bugs and polishing things up. After that, they should be ready to release!

In the mean time, we thought we’d take a look at the development version of Drupal 7 and highlight some of the new additions (keep in mind this version isn’t for production sites yet, and that some things are likely to change before release).

1. Great usability improvements

Drupal 7 features a menu bar built in, with quick shortcuts for things like creating and finding content (which should have icons eventually). It also has an customizable dashboard feature, which lets you arrange blocks to show the most recent comments, quick links, etc. when you login, kind of like Wordpress.

It also improves the organization of forms – which used to get incredibly long. Now instead of an endless sea of collapsible boxes, there is a set of tabs at the end of the form, letting you set things like revision information, comment settings, urls, etc. It’s also easier to change input formats, now using a drop down box.

2. Less modules to download

Usually whenever you start a new Drupal site, you need to download CCK and Imagecache before doing much of anything. In Drupal 7, they’re built in. You can add a new text field, image field, file field, etc. to a content type right out of the box. Imagecache, renamed Image Styles, is there as well, so you can crop and resize pictures. If you’re planning on using views though, it looks like it’ll still be an extra download.

3. Now with unit testing

You won’t see this feature in the interface, but unit testing is huge leap forward for Drupal’s source code. It now uses the SimpleTest framework to automatically make sure everything is functioning correctly, and that means less bugs. It also means that in the future, Drupal’s developers will be able to make changes more confidently, without having to worry if they’re breaking something.

There’s lots of other improvements, such as the Block configuration page, the improved Help module, and better naming in many places. You can read more about them in the links below.

Other Interesting Drupal 7 Links

Going above and beyond "should" be normal

A couple of weeks ago I was in Peoria (Illinois) and looked for a local place to see if they could fix my exhaust problem. I called a local Midas shop and a guy named Chris answered and was able to help me determine the part I would need and told me to come in.

When I arrived I met the manger at the front desk and told him I was the one who just called. He said, “Oh yeah, Chris said you would be coming in.”

After waiting for a bit Chris came out and told me he could fix the problem. When the work was complete he showed me what he had done and made sure I was satisfied. The manager was helping another customer so Chris then came around the desk and took my payment too.

Surely Chris’s job description wasn’t to answer the telephone and check customers out as well as fix exhausts, but he didn’t care, he saw a need and met it. And he did it with a smile on his face the whole time.

I live an hour away from Peoria but I just may go back to that Midas to get my car worked on again… as long as Chris is there.