Thursday, February 12, 2009

Capital Good Group logos

Andy Posner of has highlighted some of our latest freelance graphic design work on his blog. He is getting ready to launch a community micro-finance endeavor, and we are doing branding and websites for him. We are targetting March 1.

Read about the logos and the ideas behind them.

We handled the logo, web design, and development, for as well, which is a multiblog website running on Expression Engine. If you haven't checked out Expression Engine for doing highly customized websites or blogs with a super easy backend UI and utterly easy and powerful develpment method, you need to check them out. Andy's site is a testament to how powerful and customizable Expression Engine is. As an HTML/CSS nut, it can't any easier to integrate your code the way you want into a template system. It simply doesn't change anything whatsoever, and you can work locally on the code and upload as a file to make development very easy.

Big Blog Discovery, relatively speaking

I just came across WordPress MU, or multiple users. It's pronounced "Em Yew" and not "mooo" like a cow. This is dangerous :)

We are moving ahead with the foundational concepts and tech work on a few "deep" blogs we'll be running longterm. I was looking for something in WordPress to mimic the native functionality in Expression Engine, where setting up multiples blogs with distinct feeds and templates was possible. I just discovered MU, which makes this very easy.

WordPress MU is the same basic platform used on If you have a main site and would like to host "sub blogs" on your sub domains or other folders that feed into the pertinent info on your main domain, this could be extremely powerful.

In addition to the main blog which will feature important links and freshly written articles, I wanted to bring highly selective niche auto feeds to the overall value of the new blog(s). Auto feeds can of course be abused. But used correctly, they are a huge time saver and a great boon to anyone with a legitimate use for them. Legitimate, in my opinion, is simply anything other than spam blogs that create useless sites. But if you are in a niche, and nothing in that niche is optimized for SEO, and people in that niche are struggling to find information in that niche, well, auto blogging in the right context is very powerful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SEO Experiments: How to stretch pizza dough

Keep laughing. But man are we learning. We are in the SEO school of Trial By Inundation.

Our next experiment is about how to stretch pizza dough. The searches are less than a thousand a month, and very little specific results. It's funny to see what people type in Google. I like this one "pizza dough won't stretch" with a whoping 12 searches a month. I can almost see the frustrated pizza maker saying "Man, my dough won't stretch" and then a benevolent voice whispers, "Go ask Google" and the compliant chef pensively sits down and tells Google his pizza troubles...

Well, no optimized results for such an obscure search term, for sure. But I have been making pizza for 25 years or so, and can speak to the subject. If you are really bored, read on:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Migrating to Wordpress

We are in the process of moving our Catholic News website, Bon Report to Wordpress from another CMS platform. Same goes for E-Ink Report, our e-ink news and blog review website. We follow up with a big explanation later...

New: Grain Mill Blog

One more I forgot to mention. This experiment is a deliberate attempt to be somewhere between a shallow or long tail blog and a deep blog. Snippets of articles, full articles, photos, etc.

More on why we chose this term for this experiment later. The other experiments, if you bother to look at them, aren't going to make a lot of sense. I can't help but chuckle if someone visits the "frog" blog mentioned earlier and scratches there head. I'll just kind of delight in that for the time being...

SEO Experiments continue...

We are currently trying about a dozen different strategies we've culled from some high-quality SEO sites and blog. Here are some of the latest experiments. Don't laugh. Well, don't laugh yet. It's difficult to weed through all the bad information on SEO. We have found, through copious amounts of surfing and reading, that there are no secrets to SEO, and that everything you need to know, to at the least get started and get started very well, is already out there. But, you have to know how to search and how to avoid reading useless articles and sales pitches. This is really the hard part - knowing what NOT to bother reading.

For sure, you don't need to buy anything. You don't need to join forums and ask questions and wait for answers. You just need to search around and be clever. Get your Sherlock hat out, find good SEO blogs (try for 10 minutes - not too hard), and start experimenting.

I have found that trial and error is the best way to learn this. It's diffuse and complex at first, to get your head around what SEO is and how it needs to be done "white hat", but it's not harder, but maybe just as hard, as your average college level class. Yeah, I think that's a good analogy.

So here are our new experiments. After this list, I have a homework assignment for you:

  • The Richest Americans
  • Frog Stuffed - I said, don't laugh, OK? If you laugh, it's only because you don't know why we chose this. No, I don't want stuffed frogs. But some numbers said I might want some, so maybe I will!
These are "shallow" or "long tail" experiments. We have a few ongoing "deep" blogs that we are in the process of redesigning, moving from Expression Engine to WordPress. That will be the subject of another post for sure!

New trend: One page web design

 There is a tad of ground swell around the idea of having a one page web design. One page web designs take advantage of the oft-misunderstood user behavior of scrolling. Let's face it now squarely: users scroll. They know what the mouse is. In the drive for "less mouse clicks", why not just GET RID of them? A one page web design does this.

We recently redesigned our freelance graphic design site,, into a one page web design. Everything you need to know is right there. There is absolutely no navigation. The user gets there and can see quite clearly that the only thing to do is...scroll down. In three gentle, single-finger mouse wheel movements, or slider bar grabs, the user has read all they need to know about BonFX. Shortly, we'll have the link to the new blogs hooked up, but that is not what people are initially landing on our site for.

We got started on this idea recently. We found two articles on the same day regarding one page website designs, and how successful they had been for their respective objectives:

...and also...

We've gotten quite a bit of curious traffic back to after commenting on both articles. There is definitely an interest. I say the less clicks the better. The less mouse and hand movement the better. It allows users to focus all their intention on your message, not on where your message might be.

It doesn't solve the problem for every type of website of course, but I think for many, many websites, including your standard brochure style website, this might be a good idea. We'll see - but for now I'm going to have fun working on one page web design projects! I have a few lined up already!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Very high rank for "Freelance Graphic Design" at

I just learned something interesting today. My main domain,, is listed in Google around 50 or so for "freelance graphic design" and "freelance graphic designer" and very highly in a few others. What's interesting is that I have never done anything whatsoever to accomplish this. The site for the last 4 years was 4 pages with very little copy, but it did have the term "freelance graphic designer" on the top of each page. 

So, as I go collecting info about SEO lately, and pondering this fact of where I'm listed through no intentional effort of mine, I discover page rank. I installed the Google Toolbar and went to and discovered it is a 4. I think that's pretty high for a static website, no blog, very little if any content. But, again, the key words are on top. My recent site redesign was SEO friendly, but still no optimized towards the keyword in question.

Well, the answer seems to be that the domain is 8yrs and 3mths old at this writing, and for that whole time, has been a "freelance graphic design" site.

My guess is that if I make any effort whatsoever to "rank up" on these terms, I could get in the top 10, maybe 20. I could probably easily run a blog for freelancers off of bonfx, of which their are many, but leap towards the head of the pack in short order...

Thoughts - anyone?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

SEO again

(NOTE: Great...tried to put some code examples in here and Blogger translates them all to actual working links and not examples that you can read. I'll have to read up on how to get Blogger to not "help" me format my posts!)

A new blog with 20+ articles, with analytics, adsense, and some Amazon product placements, took an hour to put together. The new blog is on white nose sleep machine products and info...but maybe I shouldn't be calling these blogs exactly. They are mini sites using a "shallow" technique to try and capture a search term that does not have a lot competition for it's specific phrase.

Now if I'm not mistaken, a high-quality link back to a blog has a good "A" tag name. The "A" tag is the "A" in the code:

So a quality link to, say, a freelance graphic designer might like this, in code:

That code, when in a live site, looks like the "white noise" link above. It references the keywords of the destination site. Therefore, a high quality link to a Freelance Graphic Designer would look just like the link in this sentence. The search engines like this because it validates, from another domain, that the site being linked to has something to do with those terms.

Well, before we take the plunge and start paying for SEOBook service, we are determined to learn some stuff ourselves. So we are going to keep at it and learn the "old school" way of trial and error. At least for a while.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Yet another SEO experiment

We are probably going to post 100 of these in the next few months! We have become completely intrigued. There are LOTS of books and programs and whatnots that say they will teach you how to optimize your site for search engines. But, the fact that there are SO many of them available has me thinking that this can't be that hard to figure out. The basic methods are all very straightforward, but implementing strategies really depends on site goal and the nature of your material. Therefore, it seems the only right way to do this, if we are going to do it all, is to jump in and try ourselves. 

Our newest experiment is about...the humble cast iron skillet. Again, we don't have time to explain why we are choosing this term. The term itself is kind of arbitrary, but the numbers behind the term, as revealed by Google Analytics, is what is more interesting. It's a niche, for sure. In fact, more of the posts we make in the next few weeks or months regarding SEO will likely be about niches. Our clients are usually smaller businesses with a need for niche marketing. In fact, WE need niche marketing! 

So, if you are interested what a "cast iron skillet" blog might look like, click away!