Thursday, October 16, 2014

Website Content and Literary Devices




I've been thinking a lot about writing, from website content to Bildungsromans. Authors say to be a good writer, one must read a lot of good literature. One must pay attention to syntax, word selection, grammar, paragraph breaks, punctuation, and prosody.

Building text structures requires a deep understanding of how words work and how they can combine with other words.

I would add that a competent writer must be so passionate about composing with words, there is a keen interest in the technical gymnastics of rhetoric and semiotics.

You don't have to be writing a poem, play, or novel to employ subtle or advanced composition techniques.d Even emails, websites, and Facebook updates can be enriched by their inclusion.

Here's a list of my favorite literary devices.

See if you can guess what each item below means, based on the example given beneath it.



enjambment

"The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun"


catachresis

"Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them?"


epizeuxis

"This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land"


adynaton

"Had we but world enough, and time
This coyness, lady, were no crime."


zeugma

"John lost his coat and his temper."


isocolon

“I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads, / My gorgeous palace for a hermitage, / My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown, / My figured goblets for a dish of wood…”


anacoluthon

“I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall–I will do such things,
What they are, yet I know not…..”


sesquipedalian

"...for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus.." (Shakespeare)


antimetabole

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”


chiasmus

"Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you.”


portmanteau

"edutainment"


solecism

"He works his work, I mine."


paranomasia

"You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead."


epistrophe

"When everybody wears a uniform ,
The rebel dresses in fantastic clothes.
When everybody wears fantastic clothes
The rebel dresses soberly."


litotes

"They do not seem the happiest couple around."


elision

"rock'n'roll"


aposiopesis

"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I’ll –"




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Monday, September 29, 2014

Ad copy for vintage electronics


As a website content writer, I study and learn from all types of marketing text.

What was being said about old stereo equipment is interesting and instructional.

Heathkit Model AA-151 stereo amplifier (PICTURED ABOVE -- at Electronics Diversified).

"A four input selector switch provides choice of magnetic phono, crystal phono, tuner or high level auxiliary input for tape recorder, TV, etc."

"The husky power supply which employs a GZ34 rectifier tube, provides the voltage regulation essential for high power output, while maintaining low distortion levels."

http://www.heathkit-museum.com/hifi/hvmaa-151.shtml


$1,600 for this 1982 Akai GX-747 dbx 4 track stereo glass and X'Tal ferrite head reel to reel tape recorder -- at Electronics Diversified in the old Murray's Jewelers building on the riverfront.

The Vintage Knob says:

QUOTE

One of the most remembered and sought-after reel-to-reel recorder although, arguably, not the "best" - we could name the Technics RS-1500Useries or the Sony TC-880-2 to name but two masterpieces.

But what lavish looks the 747 was graced with ! And it sold extremely well, too ! But it couldn't spin at 38cm/s.

The GX-747 wasn't an all-new design : it was much too late in 1981 to develop for an already weakening market.
The 747 is thus mainly an updated GX-646which itself was an updated GX-635...

An anything dbx-equipped, the sonic results are amazing (a m a z i n g) but whether to give credit to the recorder or the dbx system is an open debate.

Oh, well - it mainly is the dbx.

END QUOTE

http://www.thevintageknob.org/akai-GX-747.html



Teac X-1000R bi-directional reel to reel tape recorder at Electronics Diversified. These were put on the market in 1981.

I plan to buy one for experimental purposes. I like the idea of making Str8 Sounds electronic music that uses the most ancient techniques (reel tape manipulations) paired with state-of-the-art digital/analog synthesizers, plus harmonicas, Farfisas, mandolins and slide whistles where appropriate.

http://www.stockhausen.org/tape_loops.html

QUOTE

Karlheinz Stockhausen who in 1953 produced the first synthetic tones in music, In 1952, while he was studying with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatory in Paris, Stockhausen met Schaeffer and arranged to begin experiments at theStudio for Musique Concrète of the French Radio. It was there in 1952/53 that he produced his first work of musique concrète, Etude.

The first significant electronic music event was, arguably, in 1948 when Pierre Schaeffer produced a Concert of Noises for the French radio. Although it consisted mainly of modified recordings of natural and instrumental sounds, this musique concèrte was responsible for many of the basic techniques which were to be used in the production of early electronic music.

These so-called classical studio techniques are methods of tape manipulation in which individual sounds are recorded onto separate pieces of tape which are then cut into small pieces, rearranged and spliced together, or interspersed with pieces of blank tape to create rhythms. Sounds can be made into tape loops, played backwards, mixed with other sounds, sped up, slowed down, filtered, reverberated, etc...

http://www.bassboy.com.au/getreel/site/samples/cc/x1000r/x1000r.htm
END QUOTE


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Saturday, September 27, 2014

iPhone 6 taco supreme



 
New at Taco Bell, for a limited time only: The iPhone 6 Taco Supreme.

 *******

The ghost of Steven Jobs on the Bendable iPhone 6:

"It's not the phone's fault. It's your fault. User error.

The phone is sturdy. It is a fine American product made in China. It's not flimsy. It's fleeting edge technology.

You're too rough. You're not sitting correctly. Stop wanting to put your cell phone in your pocket. Change your behavior for the sake of the phone. You should buy a hard case for it. Or buy our new Apple Phone Sling to properly holster your iPhone 6.

Quit carrying it around all the time. Be disconnected for a while. Use your iPhone 6 delicately, at home only, never outside your house.

iPhone 7 will be larger, thinner, more brittle. So enjoy what you have now, because it's going to get worse.

End of transmission for Reality Distortion Field."

*******


Here's the post that started the uproar:

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/09/23/iphone-6-plus-bending-pockets/

I haven't had this much fun since Twitter ruined its 2006 interface. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Why Generic Web Content is a Bad Idea





Your website must differentiate you from your competitors. Generic website content is not going to show your competitive superiority.

When website content is mediocre, your customers will not be impressed. Your content must be fresh, distinctive, original, and compelling. It should engage customers like a friend or a trusted adviser.

For website content to be effective, specific information about a business must be included. A content writer can't just make up copy. It can't be magically spun out of the thin air.

If you have a client that needs content for their website, here's how I operate.

I will need, from you, information about the client's business, brochures, lists of events, product specs, organizational history, whatever I deem relevant to the web content and cannot acquire on my own. Clients have printed material and specifications that need to be delivered to me in some form.

I will provide you with a list of data that I need from the client. I will not contact the client.

The client is not "writing the content" -- they are providing me with the information they already possess and use in mailings, office handouts, fliers, print ads, etc. I then tweak it, put it in user-centric language, build SEO values into it, and format it for web display.

I don't write generic web content that doesn't require any information from the client.

I don't just make up content based on nothing.

I don't have standard, pre-written content that is targeted toward various industries, which just needs changes in the business name and product titles.

Generic template web copy from remote content-grinders is typically duplicate content with slight modifications that is sent out to all websites in a given field and often relies on keyword stuffing and we-oriented fluff.

Web content that satisfies search engines and meets customer needs in a friendly and authoritative manner must be completely unique, sufficient to achieve "Best Page on Topic" status, and written in a FAQ format, mirroring the actual queries that customers use in searches.

Yoast, a Wordpress plug-in, is a poor SEO analyzer, which encourages using the same keyphrase in multiple locations within content and meta tags. Synonyms, variants, and substitute phrases must be used, rather than the exact same phrase over and over. Yoast can give some helpful suggestions, but slavish conformance to the "green button" activation will result in content that violates Google Webmaster guidelines. 

I provide marketing-savvy, personalized, user-centric SEO website content writing that is based on Google Hummingbird compliance and keeps pace with changes in the search algorithms, keyword usage, and customer interests.

Your website project will receive high quality expertise that will result in a good ROI.

Here's a report on buying a generic Android tablet:

http://the-digital-reader.com/2012/02/15/on-the-perils-of-buying-a-generic-android-tablet/#.U9MD9uNdWSo


Sunday, July 20, 2014

SEO, Carpentry, and Website Productivity



I was talking with a person recently who does carpentry work. I told him I make websites more productive with SEO and content development. He said, "I have a website, but I don't get any business from it. All my business comes from referrals."

He is probably wrong. What he doesn't seem to realize is that even when a customer is referred to him by a friend, I'm sure the customer looks up the carpenter's website to verify that the carpenter's insured, licensed, been around a while, has a land address, is no fly-by-night con artist.

It also helps if the website contains before and after photos of his carpentry projects, a photo of the carpenter and an interesting bio, and website content that answers questions people have about various relevant topics. That's just to start with. There is much more that should be included.

So the website is a partner in the sales transaction; it's a vital part of the chain of events that transformed a person with a need into a paying customer for that carpenter.

If he had no website, or if his website was poorly designed, that would make a bad impression on the customer, and would very likely reduce the number of referrals that turned into customers for him.

You may think your website is just an internet presence, something you're supposed to have, but you're not sure if it's really doing anything for you. Your website should be a salesperson, working hard to attract web visitors -- and to convert visitors into customers.

Part of my work in SEO is advising companies to analyze the effectiveness of their website in terms of achieving conversion goals (product purchase, call phone number to set up appointment, sign up for newsletter, visit store, watch a promo video, etc.)

We do a benchmark study prior to the SEO work and content development. Then we do subsequent studies to measure the ROI, which is accumulative and gradual, not instant riches beyond your wildest dreams. It's incremental.

As you keep adjusting SEO factors and building new content, Google starts ranking your webpages higher, and the pay-off begins to snowball.

Most websites just look okay, but tend to have a lot of underlying code problems and slim content issues that impede effectiveness. They don't attract qualified customers, nor do they do a good sales job.

So it's rather easy to get a substantial competitive advantage by implementing Google Hummingbird compliant SEO.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Web Content and Child Prodigy Painter Frauds



Direct, simple, blunt website content is typically the best way to quickly and clearly communicate your message. Write it from the customer's point of view, from the inside of the interests of your audience, not from an external, we-oriented corporate angle.

Getting right to the point, with no hesitation or long-winded wind-up, that's what web content must do in text, video, imagery, polls, widgets, calls to action, and online contact forms.

Tell the truth, in the strongest, smartest manner possible. Your website needs to make your product the hero that solves your customer's problem. If it comes off as a dreary, same old Product X, a generic me-too, nothing special, self-absorbed -- your competition is going to send it to an early grave.

Authenticity with flair. No deception, no hyperbole, no distance from audience needs and customer frustrations. Integrity with style and excitement.

People gradually develop a sense for what is real and what is fake as they visit more and more websites. They see ugly sites with no credibility, spammy sites cluttered with ad proliferation, poorly written sites, boring sites, sites with typos, impersonal sites, web presences that don't convince.

I just finished watching "My Kid Could Paint That" documentary about painting prodigy (or fraud?) Marla Olmstead. I'm pretty sure it's a scam and the 4 year old did not paint what her father says she painted.

One article discussing this topic has an interesting comment by Joseph Kemp. He mentions how the dad talks too much. He over-explains things, which makes him seem guilty of lying.

QUOTE

I once heard an ex-cop who specialized in interrogating criminal suspects talk about behavior like this. Usually, if a person is not guilty of something, and you ask them if they are, they’ll just say “No.”

Simple as that.

But if a person IS guilty of something, and you ask them if they are, they often lie, saying things like, “Oh, how could you ever think me capable of that? I am so offended. How dare you accuse me of something like this? I’m a fine, upstanding citizen in this community. Everybody knows it. Ask anyone you like. People here have known me for years, and nobody would ever say I could do something like this, because of this and that, and blah, blah, blah blah…” And on and on forever.

Guilty people talk forever. They never just say “No, I didn’t do it.”

END QUOTE

Jesus said, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37 - NIV)

I've also noticed how, if you confront a con artist, instead of just dismissing your statement, they go overboard and start falsely accusing you, to take the spotlight off of them. "Well, what about you? You're not so perfect. You've done the same thing...(blah blah blah)."

http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/marla_olmstead/


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Friday, July 4, 2014

I Boycott Fireworks



I boycott fireworks. I celebrate the 4th of July with other rituals or methodologies. (Don't mind my eccentricities. I also fast on Thanksgiving.)

My reasons for shunning fireworks include impact on the environment, harm to other creatures, sensitivities of combat veterans with PTSD, and the glorification of death and destruction as a means of resolving conflicts.

I wasn't always this pure. As a younger guy, I liked loud noises and smoke. I didn't mind a little chaos and violence now and then. I have since refined my views somewhat.

When I lived in NYC, we had roof parties in the summer. And on Independence Day, a party of people on one roof would fire bottle rockets at a group of people partying on a nearby roof across the street or down a few buildings.

So part of the partying was military in nature. Dodging sniper rockets, literally. Drinking beer, grilling brats, smoking various substances, and dodging incoming missiles. Everybody was doing it. It was surreal and comical in some respects. I loved the danger and abnormality of it.

People who drove down to the Statue of Liberty fireworks celebration did not enjoy the ride home. As they drove back north through the East Village, where I lived, they were greeted with garbage can cannons placed in the middle of the street and shooting off an incredible payload. Mischievously, a wide assortment of ballistics and explosives were hurled at their windshields -- an all out war on the streets.

No matter where you went in Manhattan, somebody would be tossing an M80, Solar Punch roman candle, Sidewinder missile, Black Arrow bottle rocket, or Super Hellcat firecracker in your general or specific direction.

Ask the cops what they think about Independence Day. They'll tell you it's the best day to shoot somebody and not get your gunshot sound reported. You know you have neighbors who are firing off illegally large amounts of powder blastings. But nobody cares. It's like Halloween without the candy and costumes. Anything goes, as long as nobody gets hurt too badly...

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