When two sites both have great content, user experience becomes a crucial element in SEO

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Google has announced that starting in 2021 it will be adding a cumulative UX signal to the metrics that it uses to rank web pages in search results. This will be important for web developers, but it is also important for solo bloggers and writers out there who run their own sites.

First, a word about content. The UX metrics will not help content itself rank higher. In other words, your first priority and goal is to produce useful, informational content that helps your readers answer their questions or solve their problems. …


How we made Van Gogh safe for field trips

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Van Gogh, Tree Roots and Trunks, July 1890. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Public Domain.

The cleaning up of culture, the sanitizing of art and even of the lives of artists themselves is an ongoing part of the Disney-fication of our cultural heritage, our birthright. Musicians and other artists come along, transgress the limits of their chosen form and at some point they undergo an image reform so that their work can be consumed by the masses. Or, if not their work, the fictional hologram we have replaced them with.

Part of the argument of music historian Ted Gioia’s new book Music: A Subversive History is that this process is not an aberration, it IS the real history of our musical culture. He writes about how Beethoven was despised by the greatest composer of the previous generation, Handel. …


It’s one of your best, lasting marketing plays

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Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

What Is a Resource Page?

Very simply, it’s a page or set of pages with information about topics, tools, or products that are among the best in their class and that will solve readers' problems or help them understand how to proceed.

A resource page is among the very best marketing tools for bloggers and website owners because it helps provide your reader with information (the purpose of our blog or website) while at the same time allowing you to market valuable products or other information that brings in revenue to readers who are already interested in them.

Why Does Your Blog Need a Resource Page?

The main reason for creating a resource page is to provide value to your user. …


Once again we live in our age’s most uncertain hour

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Photo by Jacob Hilton on Unsplash

I’m not the first to notice the way that Paul Simon’s “An American Tune” reflects the times we are living in as deeply today as it did when it was written, recorded, and released in 1973. In a fine essay published in the LA Times over the July 4th holiday, staff writer Jeffrey Fleishman discussed the way that the song serves as “the anthem for our troubled nation. Again.”

Robert Hilburn, the author of Paul Simon: The Life, has commented that Simon’s ‘Nixon impeachment song’ as the artist has called it, was written at a time when songwriters were in the ascendancy in popular music. …


For writers, it’s more than a day planner

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Last year when I started working full time as a writer and blogger I also started to work with a bullet journal. I’d played around with it the year before that but gave it up mid-year when things got a little crazy. I made some adjustments and worked with them last year.

When it came time to set up my 2020 bujo I spent some time thinking about how I could make it a better tool to advance my writing career. …


Libraries support researchers with online tools and local community resources

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Photo by Erick Zajac on Unsplash

Writers need access to books and information. Libraries exist for precisely that reason — to provide books, information, and more to everyone in their communities. There are many ways that libraries can support your mission as a writer. Not only can you research nearly any topic, but you can also find resources to actually improve your writing.

Library Extension: Your secret weapon

Much of the research writers do these days takes place online, and sites with large databases of published books such as Amazon, Google, and GoodReads are frequently used to find and obtain information about sources. …


Isn’t adding value to a transaction the first rule of business?

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I have a rant to make. It’s a real doozy, OK Boomer, Clint Eastwood empty chair moment, so be warned.

I never really got what made Grubhub such a wonderfully innovative business model. I mean, I get that it’s convenient and friction-less (in a perfect world, which we will discuss shortly). It’s great that you don’t have to call the restaurant and place your order — I’m an introvert — with someone who may not even understand you or be able to hear you over the roar of in-house dinner and bar guests in the background.

It’s great that you can tip on the app and that no money needs to exchange hands. I really liked having someone just hand me a bag of food and closing the door. …


At the birth of a new decade, digital and analog happily coexist for music fans

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Photo by Willis Stout on Unsplash

The 2010s were an incredibly diverse mix of music driven by technology that built on what was created in the first decade of the new century. During that decade the music business moved from a physical product model (CDs) to a download model (MP3). Apple’s iPod and iTunes store restored a profitable model to the industry after Napster’s revolutionary disruption.

The decade began with the introduction of the Spotify streaming service and it ends with the continued resurgence of records and vinyl culture — two trends that seem diametrically opposed but which happily coexist for music fans as the new decade begins. …


It’s just energy that you can flip to give you an edge

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Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

Fear, like any emotion or feeling that we have, is a form of energy. That’s all it is.

It’s not really good or bad, positive or negative. Like any emotion, it is the feelings we overlay that energy with that make it seem positive or negative.

When we deny our fears, we paralyze ourselves and become powerless to act or to take chances. As we find ways to engage with our fear we open ourselves up and become more vulnerable. …


Doing my own thing made reading fun again for me.

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Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

I went to the mailbox and there was the package I’d been waiting for. A copy of music executive Stan Cornyn’s book Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group which I ordered partly for research (I’m a music writer), but also because it looked like an entertaining read.

I took the package upstairs and opened it. I pulled out the book and found that it was actually a copy of a book entitled A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East.

Sigh. Another item on my to-do list. Another time-consuming trip to the post office or the UPS store to return someone’s mistake. …

About

Marshall Bowden

Author of Quotable Jazz, Publisher of https://www.newdirectionsinmusic and http://www.eatatangerine. Writes at Medium about writing, marketing, and culture.

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