Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October 2008

This month Michael has asked that we take a look at his site because according to him: "I know it could use some help and I am looking forward to all constructive opinions."

Now I've taken a look and I think you'll find that making some constructive comments a challenge.

So when you're ready to put your web master skills to the test go to

Then either post constructive comments or send them to me to have them added as part of the blog article.

To Your Success,


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Can We Learn From Hot Skateboarders?

brandon bs 180Image by MattLaws via Flickr

Ever heard of Tony Hawks, Ryan Sheckler or Anthony Shetler? They're popular names around my house.

You see, my grandson is really into the whole skateboard scene and the hot skateboarders I've just mentioned are just 3 of his idols.

Now for those of you who aren't skateboard enthusiasts let me tell you that most pro skateboarders are not only talented skateboarders, they're also pretty smart. They've taken their passion for something that wasn't widely known about a few years ago and helped turn it into a multi-million dollar industry.

Here's what I mean.

Tony Hawks - Retired Pro Skateboarder / Hawk Clothing
As a child Tony Hawks was considered a "troubled kid" so his parents had him psychologically evaluated and discovered he was "gifted". Tony took up skateboarding because he found it was something he liked and could focus on which helped turn him into the world's most recognizable skateboarder today. He's now retired from skateboarding and has established the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Steve Caballero - Pro Skateboarder / Artist:
Steve was born with scoliosis which made his head tilt to one side. He is also an active in artist and produces more than just new skateboard deck designs. His determination to overcome his disability was proven when he became a successful pro skateboarder and when he skated at the closing ceremonies at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Danny Way - Pro Skateboarder / Co-Founder of DC Shoe Co USA
Danny's father died when he was 8 months old and for most of his childhood he had a single parent. In 1995 he broke his neck surfing and in 2000 he had his first knee surgery. (He's had 7.) Neither the lack of a parent during his childhood or his previous injuries stopped him from jumping the Great Wall of China (first non-motorized jump of wall in history) in 2005.

Will my grandson be able to make his dream of being a pro skateboarder come true?

I don't know although he has learned a very important lesson for life and that is: he must be determined and overcome obstacles to make his dream come true. You see, he lives in an area where there are no skate parks or instructors and he has no place to practice except on broken up sidewalks and badly maintained brick streets. And yet he still holds onto his dream by learning tricks from YouTube videos and practicing for several hours a day.

So what can we as internet marketers learn from my grandson and the hot skateboarders I've mentioned?

How about:

  • Ryan Sheckler (at 13 he was the youngest skateboarder to go pro until this year when an 11 year old amazed everyone)
    "Don’t ever give up. You gotta keep trying, and never give up."
  • Anthony Shetler (grew up as a ghetto little kid with no friends)
    "Find something that makes you happy and hang on to it."
  • Dan MacFarlane (started Mentality Skateboards in 2003)
    "The only limits you have are the limits you set on yourself."

I think Daniel Haney a retired pro skateboarder summed it up when he gave this advice for underdogs trying to make it in the pro skateboarding game:

"First of all of if you aren’t doing it for love then you need to rethink what you are doing. Some people have talent and that is great. I am sure it is much easier for them. I, on the other hand, am not naturally gifted. ... I worked my a** off to get to where I got. I did it because skateboarding was my life. There was nothing else. ... I sure as h*** wasn’t going to give up on following my dreams. No matter who told me it wouldn’t happen, Todd. So with that being said, if you have some talent and a lot of heart make that s*** work for you. Never say die. It is all possible, trust me. I came from nothing and made something. Granted it wasn’t much but it was enough to make me happy and in the end that is all that really matters….your individual happiness."
(taken from thrashermagazine.com, Nov. 14, 2007)

Yes, pro skateboarders are talented and smart. They've found something they're passionate about. They've worked hard to develop it. They've overcome all the obstacles put in their way. They continued to learn and master new things. And they have achieved their dream.

To Your Success,

P.S. Please leave a comment or rate this tip. Thanks

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why is Education So Important?

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...Image via Wikipedia

While getting ready to write today's tip I was interrupted by a phone call from my youngest daughter, Shawna. And while I love talking with her my first thought was how she had really called at a bad time.

However that thought quickly left my mind because, as usual, my daughter made me think.

You see, Shawna has always been a thought provoking person. As a preschooler she was always asking questions like:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why is the grass green?
  • Why does the sun look yellow?

Then as she got older she started asking questions about the things she learned in school like:

  • Why does 4 + 4 = 8?
  • Why are to, too and two all pronounced the same but have different meanings and different spellings?
  • Who makes up these rules?

Now as a parent I was both happy and flustered by my daughter's questions. You see, I was happy because I knew it was the people who asked "why" who were the creators of all the technology and art we have today. However I was also flustered because I knew I couldn't always answer her questions.

And when I was flustered I looked to the education system to provide the answers to her questions. Now I can't speak about all the educational systems throughout the world however I can say that the one we have in the U.S. was a big disappointment.

How did the educational system disappoint me?

Going back to Shawna's days in elementary school she was accepted into the "Gifted and Talented" program. (That's where they put the fast learners on a fast-track learning system.) Before I signed the consent form for her placement I interviewed the teachers to find out what being in this program meant.

It meant the kids would be learning the same things as everyone else, only faster. That sounded fine until I asked, "What happens when a child asks a question?" and the answer was, "We don't allow questions."

A further discussion revealed that being on the fast-track simply meant that a child could absorb the material quickly so they could cover more. There was no time for questions, explanations or discussions.

Needless to say, Shawna didn't like being on the fast-track and we requested her removal during the first week. While there were many times she was board in the regular class the teachers did allow questions and tried to explain things.

Now while I am disappointed in our educational system I also know that it has failed for many people. People who are extremely bright and full of question; people who are full of ideas and creativity have no place in our public school system.

Have you ever wondered why some school dropouts became self-made billionaires? Maybe it wasn't because they were too dumb for school. Maybe it was because our form of formal education was too dumb for them. Ever hear of Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, Subhash Chandra Goel, Michael Dell, Paul Allen or Sir Richard Branson? (Sorry, I couldn't find any female self-made billionaires so if you know of any please leave a comment and share.)

Going back to my discussion with Shawna, today she asked the question, "Why do people want their kids to go to college and yet they hold a college education against most people?"

So I went to YahooAnswers to find the answer. And sure enough, a couple of years ago someone asked the question, "Why is an education so important?" and here are most of the reasons:

  • "we need education to get jobs to get money to live"
  • "$$$ is the answer"
  • "It is important to employers, they feel that if you have an education you have perseverance and you are trainable."
  • "make more money"

Yet for the same question we also get this answer:

  • "We have been conditioned to respect institutions of higher learning as the be all, end all, of knowledge. Ever heard of an educated idiot? You can spend 5 years at Yale and come out with no common sense whatsoever, but be a whiz in what a book teaches about physics.
    . . .
    It's all about money nowadays anyhow."

Now I don't agree with those who answered the question on YahooAnswers. Here's a short video with the answer I do agree with. (You only need to watch the first half to see my answer since the second half is a bad version of some outtakes.)

Unfortunately here's what's going on in some of our higher educational institutions. You may want to keep your cursor close to the pause button so you can stop the video to read some of the writing on the walls and chairs.

Looks like getting a higher education is a waste of money for many since these kids are board with it.

As for what's wrong with our educational system, here's a video by Ken Robinson I think everyone should watch. And while the video is a little long, Sir Robinson is a great public speaker and I think you'll find his talk both enlightening and entertaining.

Now no matter what you do on or off-line and no matter whether you dropped out of school or got a college degree, a good education is important if you want to succeed because a good education will give you the knowledge of how to do things. And a good education can come from both formal institutions and everyday life and experiences. The important thing to remember is that education is important not because of what you learn to do, it's important because of what you can do. A good education teaches you to think for yourself and to use your creative mind to make the world a better place to live.

To Your Success,

P.S. BTW Shawna is not a school dropout. Hopefully next year she will have completed her dissertation and have her PhD in Cultural Anthropology. Alas, anthropology is not among the highest paying fields but at least she still has her common sense and she really enjoys what she's doing.

Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree that internet marketing requires knowing how to do things and creativity.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Free Way To Make Your Blog Fun

Since I had so much fun last week creating a slideshow I've decided to do another 1 this week . Here's another free online resource I just discovered.
Was this tip useful? Please leave a comment and let me know.

To Your Success,

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

When You're Not Ready For Video

Today I'd like to share another quick, easy and free way to get traffic to your website. But rather that tell you about it I'll show you.

The above slideshow was created in less than 15 minutes using the free software from OpenOffice.org and I created my account and uploaded the show in less than an hour.

How's that for quick, easy and free?

To Your Success,

If you found this tip useful please let me know by leaving a comment.

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September 2008

The generic globe logo used when Firefox is co...Image via Wikipedia

This month we get to help Simon with his site at:


Please take a look because I'm sure you can help. Then either post constructive comments or send them to me to have them added as part of the blog article.

To Your Success,



I only had a three things bothered me on the site (not necessarily in the following order).

1st, the yellow font on white background was hard to read.

2nd, the falling leaves seemed to distract me from what I was trying to focus on.

3rd, I would rather have a pop up after viewing the initial page, or maybe just a link to a squeeze page.

Beyond that, the site appeared to be real clean which may change as more info is added. I really didn't click on all the links and follow them.



There's a very good bit of advice that we are all given when it comes tomaking a web site, and that is to sit with pen and paper and PLAN thesite. In other words, decide on the design, from colour schemes towhere we want to put X or Y or Z, and of course the important aspectof the priority of the site, the message we want visitors to get, preferablyas soon as they land on the site, but definitely before they leave.

This site needs serious overhaul in all those areas, starting with the relative size of the images, whether banners or photographs, and alsothe use or over-use of white space. The drop in box offering the freesoftware is far too big for the rest of the images on screen, so it detracts instead of adding to the appeal.

Similarly, the link referring to THE FOREST opens the affiliate pagefor AUTOMATIC BUILDER.COM, and throws up another instantcomparison with the main page, so Simon, have a close look at thatpage (quite likely to have been designed by a professional!), andcheck how symmetrical everything is, how well the spaces are used,how much the site looks as if everything is part of ONE big picture.

Some of your links come up in a YELLOW colour which is impossibleto read in both Firefox and Internet Explorer 7, and the latter puts upan error message saying DONE BUT ERRORS ON PAGE, whichusually means error or errors in the HTML coding. Finally, the linebeginning WELCOME should be the last line on the page with youremail link just above it, to keep all the information/contact linksgrouped together. Above everything else, you should be able tolook at the site and immediately answer the question....What isthis guy saying or selling to me? Look for example at this site:http://www.friendswhocare.us/newsletter/

Best of luck, and congrats on your efforts so far.


My Comments:

I'd like to thank everyone who left and sent in comments about Syd's site. You did such a great job there's nothing left for me to say.

So thank you all for helping Syd with his site and making my job easier.



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September 3,2008

Ever think of having a city directory?

Art did and he's got one for a prime location.


To Your Success,

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