A Little R&R (Roni’s blog)

Why Content Writers Boost SEO
From the newsletter of client/fellow networker Justin Herring of Yeah! Local, www.YEAH-Local.com, an online marketer who specializes in SEO:
One of the most common questions I get from business professionals is how often should they update their content online. The answer to this question is not going to be the same for everyone, but the theory behind it is the same.–>> The answer to how often you should update your content online is as much as possible. Why is this?Google is completely focused on giving a good experience to their users. This means that they want the most relevant content to rank highly in the search engines. They also want the content to be user friendly and helpful instead of some of the spammy content you may see on the Internet at times.

Google is constantly refocusing their efforts to make sure that the content they rank is for keywords that the user has input. This means that you need to be constantly adding new content to your site using the proper keywords in order for it to be ranked. In other words, you can’t just write something once or twice and expect your website to stay ranked over the long-term. That just doesn’t happen anymore. You also cannot just guess what users want to read and you need to know what keywords they are really using.

One of the most important things to remember as a business professional is that you need to invest your money and/or time in getting content written for your site on a regular basis. The more content you write, the more of a snowball you are creating. Remember that that content will always be online, and so you are adding to it every time you put an article or blog post out there. It is money and time well invested.

So what do you do if you’re not a good writer or you don’t have time? You hire a ghostwriter or online freelance writer who is qualified and experienced at writing online content.

 

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Honorary Boy Scout

OK, I know I’m a girl, a woman to be exact, and traditionally camping with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is for the males. Yet, I also pride myself on my appreciation of nature and my ability to rough it like a man, as if somehow I’ll be treated as an equal in their world.

It’s all for the experience, I tell myself, along with the bragging rights that come with giving up the shower, the hair dryer, the comforts of home for a weekend. Still, there’s nowhere a girl or woman sticks out more than when the boys are pissing in the woods with only their backs turned to company, and you’re searching for a clandestine sanctuary to cop a squat without exposing or wetting yourself completely. It’s definitely a skill worth learning, I might add, that has come in handy on other occasions away from the camp-site.

So, up until my son became a Boy Scout, my daughter and I would pack up our hair products and bare girlie essentials – knowing full well we probably wouldn’t stay all fresh and feminine – and joined the boys, my husband and son, on their outings in the woods.

I should add that in addition to the camping gear, we also included a plastic baby porto-potty for those late-night I’m-not-going-out-there-what’s-that-noise urgencies. Even the PM pain reliever that usually knocks me unconscious can’t seem to control my neurotic bladder, which seems to have a mind of its own when there’s no indoor plumbing that’s close or clean enough to compensate for the fear of the unknown outside the tent unseen by mere flashlight illumination. My daughter sometimes has her mother’s bladder, too.

Practical question: What to do with the um-contributions? Dump it outside the tent and hope it rains to wash the evidence away, although rain actually triggers the neurosis further. Still, notwithstanding the stench near the tent, it’s worth the release.

Enough about bodily functions. The beauty of being a girl with the Boy Scouts is you don’t have to help cook and clean for belt loops, merit badges or advancement and you still get to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. I particularly remember a camping trip I took with the family to Callaway Gardens one fall weekend in 2009. We were with about 40 Cub Scouts and their families from our troop in Marietta, Ga.

For $35 a person (2009 rates), the 70-member Pack 1800 pitched tents in F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, near Callaway, 100 miles south of Atlanta. The Scout families cooked some of their own meals over an open pit, roasted marshmallows and smores, and sang campfire songs under the stars with guitar accompaniment.

Certainly sleeping in your typical walled structure — read: comfy hotel room — you can’t appreciate the night music of the katydids and how their chirping drone echoes our own sleeping pattern, changing from restless chatter to quite slumber, except for the occasional coyote or owl some campers heard.

Among those on this trip were two Atlanta lawyers with differing perspectives about camping as a regular travel option. Ian Platt, division counsel for Textron Financial, was a Cub Scout leader willing to really rough-it twice a year with the group.

“I like it, but I like it to be in small bursts, spread out,” he said, between overseeing silly skits — a campfire ritual — and helping to prepare a grilled pack dinner.

David Bryman of Bryman, Clerke & Kent was a newcomer to scouts at the time, but he had a long history of camping and wanted to make it a regular family outing.

“I really just enjoy doing the work that camping involves: setting up the tent, making a fire, using camping tools. My wife’s not the camping type,” he added, “but we’re going to convert her.”

With guilt, he admitted he slept pretty well on his air mattress. His then 7-year-old, Drew, was quick to point out that camping is about “sleeping outside in the woods. It’s not about an air mattress.”

Platt contends the full adventure includes sleeping on the hard tent floor and arising in the middle of the night with a flashlight to use a wood-structure latrine. The pack rented those disgusting everyone gets to excrete in the same hole porta-Johns, but the less-than-pristine latrine was closer to Platt’s tent. If he only had our relatively sanitary baby porto-potty he wouldn’t have had to leave the comfort of the tent.

“To me, part of the experience is to feel the separateness, to be in total darkness, to hear animals that if you were home, you would call pest control about.”

It didn’t hurt that it was only around 50 degrees overnight with clear skies. While it’s been nice on past trips to lie in a tent listening to raindrops hit the tarp, leaves and ground, it’s a little sloppy trudging around outside, he said. Still, contemporary campers always know they have a warm, dry home awaiting their return.

For more information about camping at F.D. Roosevelt State Park, view www.gastateparks.org/info/fdr.

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Daughter of a NY Blacksmith Becomes                                                                                        Paparazzi Reporter, Business Consultant

You wouldn’t suspect from my conservative, suburban lifestyle today I was destined to take such an unconventional path. As the first born of a Jewish blacksmith growing up in the suburbs of Long Island with such a feminine name – not short for anything – my memories of childhood include the humiliation of my mother, sister and I wearing long, colonial dresses at craft fairs. We also were among a rare breed of New Yorkers who listening to country music as we traveled around the nation in a bunk-filled camper converted from a huge yellow truck. CB handle: Yellow Canary.

Then there’s the career track. An early fascination with my own penmanship followed by poetry, lyrics and calligraphy, led me to write what became the opening copy of my high school yearbook, along with most of the other articles.

Fast forward to college. Imagine my culture shock as a fresh-from-New York Yankee attending the University of South Carolina on a journalism scholarship. Let’s just say my new Southern friends found comedic relief in my repetition of such words as “mutha” “cawfee” and “hawl.”

I spent summers initially flipping burgers at a McDonald’s in Asheville, N.C., alternating shifts at nearby Burger King. From there, I interned for newspapers in Asheville and the still-deeper South — Abbeville, S.C. — before becoming college newspaper editor my senior year. Go Cocks!

After graduating with a journalism degree, I was a staff reporter for 12 years for daily and weekly newspapers in three states – Florida, Alabama and Georgia — and a freelancer since 2000 for regional, national and online publications.

My writing has appeared in Adweek, the New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Forbes, CNN.com, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, American City Business Journals, American Lawyer Media, Mother Nature Network, The Forward and Hadassah Magazine, among others.

Newswriting awards come from the State Bar of Georgia, the Alabama Associated Press, the South Carolina Press Association, the American Jewish Press Association, and Amazon, for my yet unpublished novel, Hands of Gold. The historical fiction loosely based on my grandfather’s life was a quarter finalist in the retailer’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Some of my most memorable articles include almost crashing in a hot-air balloon as part of my promo of the annual Bele Chere festival for the Asheville Citizen-Times and seasickness covering the first post-Challenger launch aboard a Coast Guard rescue boat for Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla.

In harder news, I led my college paper’s exposure of the school president’s excessive spending and what might have been my biggest scoop: top executives at McKessonHBOC admitting they cooked the books.

One of my more recent writing adventures was as a paparazzi stringer for the New York Daily  News. I tracked Liam Neeson for three days as he filmed “Taken 3” in Atla220px-Liam_Neeson_Deauville_2012_2nta, hoping to elicit his comments about the paper’s “Save Our Horses” in Central Park campaign, which he seems to support.

I’ve also interviewed Usher, Hank Aaron, Andy Gibb and Wolf Blitzer.
When not reporting for traditional media, I use my more than 25 experience150px-Wolf_Blitzer_2011_crop to help businesses improve their website copy, newsletters and other marketing materials.

My specialty areas in all writing genres include businAndy_Gibbess, environment, health/wellness, Judaism and women’s issues.

When I’m not writing and editing, I enjoy spending
time with my husband of 20 years — a fellow Long Islander — our two teenage children and our retriever/terrier mix, Scout.
When Terrorism in the Middle East Hits Home 

We hear and read about the fighting between Israel and its neighbors, the bombings, the loss of innocent lives and take pause. The shame. But we sigh, in relief, and return to our lives here in America. Human nature: We don’t know anyone personally affected because, after all, it’s there and we’re here. Safe.

But it’s a different story when your friends and neighbors are there as was the case when the U.S. banned flights to and from Israel recently, http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/23/travel/israel-flights-suspended. Our rabbi and a number of congregants, including close friends there for their son’s bar mitzvah, were stranded in Israel at that time, trying to return home from a synagogue trip. They were safe, but inconvenienced. They heard the bombing, sought shelter when necessary as a precaution, but only the children were fearful. Many of the group members had been there before and understood the risks while confident in the strength of Israel’s military.

My husband, Ian, and I have both been there before. I, for my brother’s bar mitzvah in 1983, my senior high school year, and Ian, as an adult while we were dating about 20 years ago. It’s very common to see Israeli soldiers carrying guns. I felt safe there too on my visit. But there we never heard bombings; we never sought shelter.

We are happy to report that our friends, the rabbi and his contingency are home safe now. But the fighting rages on and we are more keenly aware and touched by the news reports now, having experienced a little terror of our own, fearing and praying for the safety of those we know.  I’m sure it brought them closer and it certainly brought us all closer to the conflict overseas.

Images on this page (with exceptions) come from Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons and Microsoft Words image gallery, the latter with permission from Microsoft.

 

 

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