SEO Industry Directs Attention to Usability

Bruce Clay Inc. hosted a Twitter Chat, #SEOChat, called “The UX Force Awakens”, where Cre8asiteforums founder and administrator, Kim Krause Berg, was invited by Bruce Clay moderators.

We were also delighted to have Kim Krause Berg — the veritable UX whisperer — join us for the chat.

— Source: What Is UX? Who Owns User Experience Optimization? What You Need to Know About SEO & User Satisfaction from #SEOchat

At long last, online marketers are taking user experience seriously and more importantly, are interested in understanding what, exactly, usability is.

Cre8asiteforums, launched in 1998, is the first forums for search engine marketers, website owners, and web developers to host a usability forum. It’s founder, Kim Krause Berg, already established as an SEO, crossed the bridge to usability and accessibility in 2000. At that time, and for the next decade, the number of SEO’s wanting usability site audits for their clients could be counted on one hand, from around the globe.

Today, there are two hands worth.
Just kidding.

Three hands.

Usability is referred to by some internet marketers as “conversions”, or “customer experience”, thus ignoring what usability is. The result? Websites that fail to perform will also fail to convert.

“I was pleased to see that many SEOs place a high value on user experience for all devices, and that they understood why … I’m thrilled that Bruce Clay, Inc. is educating people on UX,” Berg said post-chat. “UX is HUGE … it includes empathy for every human, using every device and every software application and every search engine wanting to provide what humans want, in every environment, with an understanding of the limitations of age, bandwidth, Internet availability, use cases and business requirements specific to one’s business or web page intent.”

Do SEO’s Understand UX?

Screenshot from article on SEOChatDo you? Here is a transcript of the entire discussion, Summary: The UX Force Awakens on #SEOchat.

Cre8asiteforums Thread – #seochat Twitter Discussion With Bruce Clay On Usability

Cre8asiteforums: 17 Years From Club to Online Community

In the 1990’s, the wild world wide web was the stomping ground for anyone who fell in love with the possibilities the Internet provided.  The whole world was just a modem screech away.

I was one of those crazy people who wanted to learn everything possible about the world and its people.  To get on the Internet meant a long distance phone call to a town hooked into AOL.  Every minute I spent learning how to make web pages in those days racked up my phone bill, but I was in love with the gray lifeless backgrounds, tables with cell padding, AOL chat rooms and the email discussion lists I joined, and soon, moderated.  To learn everything about the world and its people meant figuring how to communicate with a keyboard.

My 286 PC grew to 386 and then 486 RAM.  I had stacks of floppy disks, with clipart and documents.  The computer was installed in the kitchen near the telephone line. Still using WordPerfect, I earned a tiny income typing for people and saving their documents on small disks.  I made my first websites in 1995, and got my first job as a webmaster in 1996.

I was also a newly divorced mother of 3 and 7 year old children, who had not worked in 3 years. The divorce was mediated.  We wrote our own divorce agreement and I typed it up for the lawyer who represented both of us.  I declined alimony and child support, moved into a small condo near my ex-husband, and we co-parented our kids so well that most people had no idea were not married.

Determined. Stubborn. Scared sometimes.  Often broke.  I couldn’t afford beds for the kids.  I went without stuff.  It was a time where few people understand why I insisted on being independent.  I kept my personal troubles as private as I could.  Meanwhile, I worked full-time to pay for daycare, and when the kids were in bed, I freelanced in SEO and taught myself how to make better websites.


It was in those dark days of struggle that I launched the Cre8pc Website Promotion Club to teach SEO online and use my skills as an online community moderator.  I co-moderated another club for small businesses too.  It was 1998.  It would be 2 more years before I got my dream job as a User Interface Engineer with a salary that let me move forward and provide better for myself and kids.  I still freelanced in SEO and had some famous clients.  The Cre8pc club became the Cre8asite Group in Yahoo and by then Bill Slawski was a moderator there.

By the year 2002, I was cross trained in software QA testing and human factors, freelancing in SEO, and had attracted friends like Ammon Johns and Jill Whalen who, along with Bill, helped me move the Cre8asite Group to a new server, with genuine online community software.  In August 2002, Cre8asiteforums was launched with its core group of members like Adrian Lee and soon, Diane Vigil, Peter DaVanzo, Sophie Wegat, Ruud Heim, and Dave Childs.  It was the first online marketing community to discuss and teach website usability and accessibility. Jill Whalen enjoyed the experience so much she decided to start her own forums under her own brand.  For years, HighRankings Forums and Cre8asiteforums shared moderators, members and friendship.

The year 2002 was also when I was laid-off from my dream job and was picked up as a sub-contractor by AT&T Worldnet  within 6 hours of leaving the building, thanks to two of my mentors from the 1990’s who watched me grow and wanted to not only match my previous salary, but increase it.  I have been a consultant ever since.

Old Logo

Cre8asiteforums was acquired by Internet Marketing Ninjas in the fall of 2012.  It joined the ranks of WebmasterWorld and SEOchat as a desired online community worthy of investment.  I was retained to continue as Administrator for Cre8asiteforums.  The community boasts members, moderators and administrators who are now famous in their industries.  We gave up Pierre Far and John Mu to Google.  Rand Fishkin, Ammon Johns, Chris Winfield, Donna Fontenot, Barry Schwartz and Miriam Ellis, to name a few, run their own companies.  Joe Dolson is my long-time mentor on accessibility and today devotes time to improving WordPress software and application development.  Some folks, like Barry Welford, Ron Carnell, Tamsin Stone, Stock Truslow and Elizabeth Able, have been steadfast supporters long past their years as moderators.  They still stop by and contribute, along with many others who have never left and continue to provide assistance to members who need it.

forums 2002

Today, Cre8asiteforums is a community that manages itself, with some input from myself and my mysterious friend, “iamlost”.  I refer to the community members as “professors” and “brainaics”.  They are inquisitive, curious, love to test theories and debunk myths.  We have a private area for long-timers called LABS, the brainchild of a member, and the Rookie Room, at the suggestion of another member.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.  I wanted to meet people and learn everything I could about website design and online marketing.  After 17 years, that desire has never changed.

Take a bow Cre8asiteforums Community.  Congratulations and thank you.


The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!

Even if you have been practicing internet marketing strategies for years, there is always room for refresher ideas and perhaps even new methods to try.

Stoney Degeyter, from Pole Position Marketing, answered the silent cry for help by countless newcomers and anyone struggling to be sure they covered everything they should be doing. His new book is a hot seller, packed with 35 checklists providing 675 action steps. Not only that, he offers the reasoning behind each technique.

Hurry while supplies last!  We hear there may be a Kindle version coming as well.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! 

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!

Here is my pre-publication review, which was included with the book:

Checklists on steroids! Stoney’s Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! is going to be attached to you from the first page and follow you around wherever you go until your online business dreams come true. I have always been a checklist and cheat sheet fanatic. There never seem to be enough of them, and they are always spread out in various places. Stoney compiled and organized 36 checklists, with more than 675 action points, along with examples, and he explains the reasoning behind each recommendation. Not only do you get the checklists with descriptive information, but you can download a quickie cheat sheet to apply to a number of websites. Everybody will want this book.

Cre8asiteforums – August 1998 – August 2014

16 yearsThere are many reasons to start an online forum – most of them having nothing to do with knowledge share or the desire to meet people who do the same work.  I started the Cre8pc Website Promotion club during the summer of 1998 as a single mom of two young children scraping by to survive.  My work as a webmaster who built, maintained and submitted 13 sites to search engines for a magazine publisher was severely underappreciated and my salary was below poverty level.  What kept me going was finding friends in my Yahoo! Club (and another one for small businesses that I co-moderated.)

In December 2001, just after Christmas, I moved the site to what was known as Yahoo! Groups.  I changed the name to the Cre8asite Group.  By then I was working for a famous dotcom called Verticalnet, the company that not only valued me, but saw talent and my passion.  I knew more about SEO than their SEO department employees, but I was hired as a User Interface Engineer.  Management studied me and decided I was worthy of investing in, so I was trained in Human Factors and the disciplines of software functional QA testing, with the assignment of creating usability testing for Internet software.

While there, I had famous clients as a freelancer in SEO.  With the help of a member, Cre8site Group was moved to an even larger forums platform and renamed Cre8asiteforums.  Its rebirth then was on August 30, 2002.  Several pioneering people in the SEO industry helped me and I would not have made it this far without them.

Cre8asiteforums was there when I was laid off from Verticalnet and became a consultant in usability and SEO.  It has been my home, where members came to my kitchen table to discuss everything from SEO, to usability, plus every aspect of web design, online marketing, running a business online, social marketing, writing content and more. I had seats for anyone able to share, learn and converse in a civil manner.  If someone insisted on being the only right person, they would not survive.  I invited and wanted all opinions and perspectives, because I’m extremely curious.

In October 2012, Internet Marketing Ninjas acquired Cre8asiteforums and it is now part of the Dev Shed properties.

I don’t know what the future holds but once again, I reflect on my journey.  The most amazing people have crossed my path and taught me amazing things about what it means to own a website in an ever-evolving environment of search engine algorithms and user behavior.  A community, a real community, is a family that respects and cares about fellow members.  A real community has no ego.  It thrives because it gives, rather than it takes.

Thank you for 16 years of joy.

Kim Krause Berg, Founder and Administrator


Google’s Missing Memorial Day Logo = No Respect?

I feel that patriotism is a personal thing and not everyone feels it for their own country. Yesterday Google finally put a tiny USA flag on Memorial Day AFTER there were complaints that they were showing disrespect for American vets.

The other top search engines had holiday logos for Memorial Day. Barry Schwartz reports  on this in a few places on his site.  The opinions run from outrage to people outside the USA feeling that Americans are acting silly and complaining over something of little importance.

Google Logo

I noticed the lack of logo yesterday while searching for something and later saw the tiny one they put up.  It didn’t upset me, but I was surprised and a bit sad, but this is because I lost someone I love to war.  He wasn’t even defending our country, but was fighting in Iran.  Losing my brother-in-law, who left my sister and his then-4 year old son, left an enormous hole in our lives and made a huge impact on me and my personal feelings about service people.  And now, my own son leaves in January to become a US Marine.

I know how difficult it is to decide what holiday logos to put up when your user base is global.  Google faces this.  However, they they should be able to serve logos based on country.

Their excuse is that they say their doodles are intended to be lighthearted.  Yes, Memorial Day is a solemn day but the sadness is like any other day where they honor someone who has died.  My brother in law, uncle, cousins, and son are HAPPY and proud to serve.  They choose this career.  When my brother in law died, there were 3 military funerals for him, due to his heroics in battle in Desert Storm.  The stories told were funny, loving, and respectful.  Never morbid or focused on the loss of the loved one, but rather deep respect and joy at having known or served with him.

This is why I feel that Google made a bad choice.  They could have found a way to show respect and not be depressing about it.  I feel they could have found something to celebrate in a positive way, rather than doing nothing and then, only bowing to pressure and making a token effort.

What do you think?