Saturday, May 11, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Tomorrow is Mother's Day -- a day which I celebrate and enjoy. I consider Mother's Day a private holiday. I give a card and gift to my mother and, when she was alive, I did the same for my mother-in-law -- at times we even take/took them out for brunch. I receive a card and gift from my husband (I am the mother of his children). And I receive cards and gifts from my children and, often, from my "furkids" (aka my cats). To me that is plenty and absolutely all I need.

These past few years, however, I've noticed a growing trend. People I'm not related to wish me a happy Mother's Day. Included are friends, salespeople in stores, the teller at the bank, servers at restaurants, etc. Apparently simply being female earns me that greeting. I smile, say thank you, and, if it's another female, respond "Happy Mother's Day to you too." Now my friends do know that I'm a mother and usually I know the same about them. But most of the others are strangers and know nothing about me. My first thought, often, is "But I'm not your mother!" However, what if I were not a mother? What if I had been a mother but lost my child? What if I was desperately trying to have a child but wasn't yet successful? What if my mother had recently died? In those cases, this seemingly innocent greeting could cause pain.

I don't want to be considered the Grinch of Mother's Day, but let's go back to just wishing our own mothers and wives a happy Mother's Day. Really the only people I need to have recognize my motherhood are my husband and children. Like the little bird in Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman, knowing and finding your own mother is very important. Let's keep it at that.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blogs Are Wonderful -- But NOT as a Homepage

Blogs are great. And a CMS (content management system) website, which allows for relatively easy updating, changing, etc., is also great. One of the most widely used CMS's is WordPress. And this is where I have a problem.

Some WordPress websites don't look any different than any other website -- home page, about us page, services page, etc. Of course what a WordPress website does is allows your blog to be a part of your website. And that is fine. We've all been told that providing fresh content on your website is a good thing -- both for SEO and for keeping your readers happy and returning.

But why do people think that their blog should be their home page? And not just the current entry, but every entry they have ever made. So you can scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and . . .  Am I ever going to get to the bottom of the page? Do I care? Sorry, but when I visit someone's website, the first thing I want to see is some description of who and what they are. Your home page should be an overview of you, your business, your services. Have a separate page for your blog. And then only highlight the most recent. Have an archives column (just like Blogger provides for my blogs) that saves them by month and year. People can look at them if they want. You can even make your blogs searchable so people can find past issues.

As long as I'm on a rant, I will complain about two other things on people's websites that annoy me. The first is a Twitter feed -- an ever-changing Twitter feed. I find it very distracting. If I want to see your Tweets, I'll click on the Twitter icon on your website and go see them on Twitter. The other annoyance is ads. I know that people are looking for ways to "monetize" their websites and/or blogs. But is filling up your homepage with ads really productive? I've gone to people's blogs or websites and wondered whose page it was -- with all of the ads it was hard to tell.

To me, my website is part of my overall marketing plan -- it's a place for people to learn more about me and my company. The portfolio page provides samples of my work so people can get a sense of what I do. And sometimes, I'm even found in search. The only way I expect my website to make money for me is by helping to build relationships with potential clients.

So think about what people see when they visit your website. You don't just want them to find you, you want them to stay and get to know you.