Getting on Google

I’m a web developer.  I take ideas and use the tool I know best (the web) to make those ideas into a product. Sometimes that means I write a custom app in C# using ASP.NET MVC to help manage a business process and sometimes that means I set up WordPress and customize a template.

Everyone wants a website . . . from the CEO of a big advertising company to the soccer mom who wants to share a story and some pictures.  Some want a site as a forum to express something they NEED to say.  That kind of site has no goal of attracting readers or revenue from adwords.  Other sites are set up with a specific goal: marketing tool.

Inevitably the “marketing tool” sites are going to ask about Google, specifically, “How do I get on the google?”.  Here is my advice (in terms everyone can understand).

Google (and by “Google” I mean every search engine) looks at every site it can and and tries to figure out the ones that users will find interesting.  How it does and the order sites show up is magic and no one knows the how and why.  Google is always changing the rules to thwart those who think they figured it out.  If you want your site to show up when people search for something you need to have valuable content.  If you are a bike repair shop, create articles about DIY repair. Sure, some users are going to see your site and do their own repair but the vast majority are going to bring their bike in to you because they found you with Google.

So here it is . . . Sheldon’s Rule: To show up on Google add content to your site that reveals how you do what you do.  Tell all your secrets. Over time all those articles will add up to valuable content people want.  The more you reveal about how you do what you do the higher in Google’s ranking you’ll be.

Sheldon

LoseIt with Diet Coke

My sister and I are both using LoseIt for the iPhone to track our calories.  You tell it what you eat,  it tells you how many calories you have left.   We’ve decided to spot-check each other to stay honest, and I found this exchange particularly amusing.

A humorous exchange w/ my sister about dieting.
A humorous exchange w/ my sister about dieting.

Scott Adams: believer, philosophist, cartoonist

Man, this guy cracks me up:

“First, if you are American, and you believe the deficit means certain doom, you should cash in all of your investments and move into some sort of survivalist encampment, or to a country that has less of a budget problem. You don’t want to pay your share of the $19 trillion. So if you aren’t already packing to leave, maybe you are just saying you think the ballooning national debt is the end of us all, but you really think we’ll figure a way out of it. This might be similar to saying you believe in Jesus but for some reason you refuse to give most of your money to the needy. There’s a difference between real believing and whatever the heck the other thing is.”

I’m always amazed at people who are so sure of themselves when it come to politics, religion, etc and yet when someone trys to point out their failed logic they still somehow have a way to justify their belief.  I was no fan of Bush (mostly the later as I was a kid when the former was president) but I do think he had the interest of America at heart even as he was allowing our soldiers to die for a war he should have never started.  And if Bush later changes his mind and says that MAYBE, just maybe he was wrong, well, that just can’t happen and it’s too bad.

I accept!

Not sure if this came after www.stackoverflow.com but it’s horrible!

http://www.justanswer.com/

No mention that you have to pay to get an answer. And, just out of curiosity I decided to go ahead and offer $9 for an answer to my question (it was about my garage door and how it won’t close at around 5pm because the sunlight hits the censor at just the right angle) and the answer was useless (“How about shading the sensor”). Below is the dialog box for my reply. If I press accept then my $9 “deposit” is used up and I accepted the answer. Whack! I can’t wait for stackoverflow for home improvement!

Reply screen from the JustAnswer.com website
Reply screen from the JustAnswer.com website

San Francisco scams

Okay, so I really like Frisco (I don’t care what it means that I say “Frisco” instead of “San Franshutthefup” . . . Frisco is shorter) and have visited a few times and it’s always been fun.  But on this short trip (for Google I/O, more about that later) my time is the city sucked.

I don’t know if it’s the economy or what but for every block that you walk you’ll have *at least* two people ask you for money.  That’s annoying in itself but usually I usually feel kind of bad for them in that they have to ask.  But it’s no exaggeration that on the 5 block walk from my hotel to the conference center there must have been 10 people asking for money . . . each way!  After a while it’s just plain annoying and I don’t feel bad for anyone and I just want them to go away and I start thinking about ways the city should try to fix this problem.

But it gets worse!  I’m at the BART station trying to get a ticket to get on the train.  I have my wallet out pulling out a $5 to put in the machine and a guy walks up and has a BART ticket and a few dollars in his hand all spread out perfectly and says something like “I only need 75 cents so I can get home” and I look up and say “okay” and hand him a dollar.  Before I can even finish getting my $5 in the machine another person walks up to the people next to me and says the same thing.  I look over and at that point I didn’t know what was going on and the people there didn’t give him anything.  Then I finish my transaction and turn around and the same guy that asked me for 75 cents is consulting with the new guy and is looking at me as if to say “No, you get the money from that chump over there”.  I just look at the guy blankly in disbelief and he says “Seriously, thank you”.

It gets worse.

The BART incident happened on my way home . . . the night before I’m walking up California street . . . a street that’s not at all crowded like Market Street but isn’t exactly deserted . . . and I’m stopped by a frazzled (but not homeless looking) woman who looked like she was lost:

Frazzled: Are you from the city?

Me: You mean from here? No, I’m just visiting.

Frazzled: Oh okay, well, can I ask you a question anyway?

Me: Sure, maybe I can look it up on my phone.

Frazzled: Oh, um well, I ran out of gas and my car is over there I can pay you back just give me your information . . .

Me: How much do you need?

Frazzled: Twenty dollars but I already have five.

Me: <pulls out wallet and hands her a $20>

Frazzled: Thank you so much!

In hindsight, I think that transaction was a scam.  I’m not sure I like Frisco as much anymore.