Welcome back to the 30th edition of the Women of Internet Marketing Series! After a week's hiatus, I'm back with two lovely and talented women I'd love for all of you to get to know a little more about. However first, I'd just like to say, thank you to all of you and to all the women from the past year whom I have gotten the chance to know and interview.
This week mark's the 1 year "birthday" of this series! Our very first set of interviews started off with Kim Krause Berg and Rebbecca Kelly one year ago today.
Now lets get to learning about both of our featured women. Today I have one woman who writes for a rather popular search marketing blog, while the other runs a rather successful web design business. One of these women has been around quite a while, but until now for the most part, has only been known in the forums, the other woman has just jumped into search marketing just over 2 years ago, and has made a great name for herself since joining the ranks. Today let me introduce you to Jordan McCollum and Risa Borsykowsky.
Most people know Jordan from her writing on Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim, and if you are lucky you've probably even seen her on Andy's live blogging he use to do on Tuesdays (straight from Marketing Pilgrim Central!). I actually got quite curious about Jordan, and decided, if I was curious, I bet a lot of you were, too. So I set out to find out the scoop on Jordan.
Jordan's still kind of new to our industry, but with just over 2 years under her belt, she's gotten quite far and has some pretty impressive accomplishments to her name already. Along with writing for Marketing Pilgrim, Jordan also maintains her own blog, MamaBlogga, and manages to keep her cute little 2 year old son, Hayden, entertained. So, I know you're all just as curious as I am, let's get to know Jordan a little bit more!
Q: OK Jordan, I'm going to start you off with the question I ask everyone.
What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A: I answered a job ad on the state job bank. I’d never heard of SEO, but within two weeks, I was explaining what it meant to friends and family.
Q: Why do you love most about working this industry?
A: This is sappy, but I like the people. I’ve made a lot of friends in the industry, and I’d hate to leave them all!
Q: Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A: Lately it’s been Michelle Mitchell of Scribbit.
Q: Do you think the search marketing industry as a whole gets a bad rep?
A: Yes. I guess there are a lot of companies out there that do deserve the negative reputation, but that has caused so many misconceptions that it’ really frustrating.
Q: Can you give us a brief description of what exactly Marketing Pilgrim does, besides the blog?
A: Well, Andy offers consulting services in SEO, reputation management and business blogging, as well as business consulting for SEO companies. I just write on the blog :D .
Q: What's a typical day like for you at Marketing Pilgrim?
A: When I’m actually working, I start by reading Marketing Pilgrim. Read the Internet-marketing-newsy emails/digests, knock out all the stories in my feed reader. Find the best stories that haven’t been covered on MP. Read them, research them and blog about them. The rest of the day, I chase my almost-two-year-old around the house. I work when he takes his nap. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
Q: What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal with in your day to day activities at Marketing Pilgrim?
A: Hayden ;) . Actually it really is trying to balance my time with him, since I’m so prone to trying to work while he’s awake.
Q: What do you consider to be your most successful industry accomplishment?
A: Hm... I should probably say working my way up to assistant editor at Marketing Pilgrim, but I’m still pretty proud of being a finalist in the SEM Scholarship Competition last year.
Q: Is there some change in this industry that has taken you totally by surprise?
A: LOL, the Gphone. I totally didn’t believe the rumors.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A: Use your head. Avoid reading comments on places like Digg if at all possible.
Q: What kind of effect do you think social media has had on the search marketing industry?
A: I think, at its heart, social media has helped us in many ways to remember to appeal to real people. But it’s also forced us to pander to the masses, who aren’t always the right audience. Social media is at its best when you use it to identify and capture groups of your potential audience or potential customers and not just links.
Q: Digg, Propel or Sphinn?
A: Sphinn, followed distantly by Digg. But really, I use StumbleUpon most often, and I hardly ever use that anymore, except when I accidentally hit one of the buttons instead of a tab on my browser. Usually in the middle of composing a post that I haven’t saved yet.
Q: Linkbait - can you think of a better name?
A: “The Siren Song of a Super Story.” So, to answer your question, no, I can’t think of a better name.
Now for some fun!
Q: What's the craziest thing you have ever had to write about?
A: Nothing springs to mind on MP, though I’m sure there’s a good one there. I do remember one of my coworkers before MP having to write a landing page for the keyword “gift wife” and we were supposed to use our keywords verbatim. And then there were the fake press releases that we wrote. My favorite was the one about canceling the month of December, because “we don’t think that anyone is really using the Internet during this time of year. . . . It’s also too risky to telecommute in this weather. We’d all be better off canceling the rest of the year.” I’ll see if I can get Andy to run the full press release (updated so it would be funny to more than just my coworkers, of course).
Q: Andy Haggins, Aaron Wall or Stoney DeGeyter?
A: Wow, I just totally realized I’ve been pronouncing Andy Haggins’s name wrong in my mind.
Q: You are in charge of recasting the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, who do you cast as the following:
A: Man, who doesn’t love the Fresh Prince? Even my mom loves Fresh Prince.
- Will: Rand Fishkin. Come on, that one’s obvious. He can get away with anything!
- Phillip Banks: Bruce Clay (hey, the father of SEO, the father figure in the show)
- Vivian Banks: Gillian Muessig. If anyone can keep Rand in line, it’s gotta be his mom. (That and I didn’t think Mystery Guest would be eligible. And besides, that would be weird for Rand to marry his aunt.)
- Carlton: I’ve decided that I’d really like to see Danny Sullivan do Carlton’s dance. But for the full role, I just can’t decide. I mean, who IS the biggest geek in SEO?
- Hilary: Hm . . . who is the ditziest in SEO and/or has their own television show? No one springs to mind.
- Ashley: The cute little sister has to be Lisa Barone. Even though she is almost an entire year older than me.
- Geoffrey: Wow, can we not mention butlers in a search marketing context? I’m still a little upset about Jeeves.
- Jazzy: I’m gonna go with Todd Malicoat. I mean, let’s remember that it was DJ Jazzy Jeff and Todd did spin.
Thanks Jordan for taking the time to answer even my silly questions! I have to say I definitely agree with you on the Todd Malicoat/Jazzy, but I'm thinking the biggest geek in SEO has got to be Bill Slawski ;) (I really wonder when Bill finds time to sleep!). Now lets get to meet our 2nd lady of this Wednesday's feature, Risa Borsykowsky.
Risa Borsykowsky owns her own business that specializes in web design and search optimization. For the last 8 years Risa has been helping her clients put up well designed and optimized websites through her company RB3 Web Design.
I first got to know Risa through the High Rankings forum several years ago, and then finally got to meet her in person at Jill's seminar that was held in Philly a few years back. From there on I'd see Risa at different events on the east coast, and have always enjoyed our conversations. Risa, although she's been in this industry quite a while, isn't well known as some of the other women in the industry with less time here, so I felt it was time to let you all know a little more about this rather talented lady.
Great to have you here Risa, as part of the Women of Internet Marketing series. I'd first like to thank you for for participating in the interview before getting into the questions!
Thank you, Li, for asking me to be a part of this series. I greatly admire the accomplishments and the influence of the women interviewed in this series, so I am very honored to be included with them.
Q: Alright so lets first start with What brought you into this industry?
A: I have always loved arts and crafts and I have always appreciated excellent designs, packaging, and color schemes. It was around 1999 that New York Newsday ran a series of articles that spotlighted different careers and I became interested in “Webmaster.” In January 2000, I took 5 classes to get started – HTML, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, and Fireworks. I loved web design right away.
Q: What do you love most about working in the search marketing industry?
A: I love this industry so much because it is so integral to everyone’s life. Every business should have a website, and everyone uses the web to find the answers to everything. Being part of creating and delivering the content in this remarkable medium is very exciting.
Q: Can you give us a brief description of what services your company, RB3 Web Design, offers?
A: My company offers web design services including e-commerce and development. Some of my sites include an online administration panel so that my clients can update their website themselves. I also do SEO work which includes keyword research and SEO copywriting.
Q: Would you describe what typical day is ike for you?
A: I’m the mom of three beautiful boys, ages 3,6, and 8, and married to my childhood sweetheart, Michael, for almost 18 years. After I get all the boys off to school, I work for four straight hours until I pick the baby up from nursery school. I work on and off when the kids are back home and work again for another 2-4 hours after they are asleep.
I don’t really have a typical day, but this is what I got done in one week: scan my Netvibes feed reader and read 4-10 blog posts a day, IM with programmers to discuss prior day’s work and new assignments, read and respond to emails, order products from my vendors, ship orders, photograph products, crop and optimize photos, add new items to the website, do keyword research, write title and description tags, design graphics for a newsletter, learn how to use Icontact and send out my first email marketing campaign, design a postcard to send to customers, check stats every few hours, speak with clients about changes to their websites, design graphics for client’s website, add pages/forms/photos/graphics to client’s websites, work on proposals, prepare client invoices, prepare customer invoices and write personal notes on them, design nice landing page graphics, figure out new features of X-cart, sign up with Stumbleupon.
Q: What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal with owning your own small business?
A: I think the most challenging aspect is needing to excel at such a variety of skills, which is what makes it so interesting. As a small business owner, I need to know enough to understand the people I am hiring to support me. Another challenge is time management. There is never enough time to get done what I need to do.
Q: What do you consider to be your most successful accomplishment?
A: My most successful accomplishment is having a lot of great clients that were my clients when I started, and they are still clients today. They value my personal commitment to the success of their website. I do very little marketing and most of my clients are referrals from other clients. I am proud that I have been able to make web design a viable work-at-home business so that I can be there for my 3 boys (ages 3,6, and 8).
Another accomplishment that I am very excited about is the launch of my own e-commerce site, Jewish Gift Place. My work on the site gives me the opportunity to converge what I have learned about web design, SEO, and SEM with my appreciation for beautiful, handcrafted Judaica. Since I launched my first website, I have learned that there is so much more to a successful website than the design.
It has been extremely rewarding to have found the great people in this field and to be able to work with them. Bill Slawski was pivotal in encouraging me to develop and launch Jewish Gift Place. I have worked with and learned so much about usability from Kim Krause-Berg. I am working with Marty Weintraub of AimClear who has great insight and enthusiasm for internet marketing.
Q: Is there some change in this industry that has happened that you didn't expect?
A: I didn’t expect social media to be so big.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A: Take classes to learn how to design a website so that you are not dependent on anyone to get your site online, read a lot, visit Cre8asite Forums, subscribe to the High Rankings Newsletter, and read the SEOmoz blog and other SEO/SEM blogs. Work to get that site to rank high in the SE’s, and do the SEM you need to generate traffic. Having your own site will teach you so much.
I got started volunteering to do a few websites (an association that my husband belonged to and my pottery studio). Then I made hundreds of cold-calls and landed my first paid client, which led to more clients, and so on. When my 8 year-old was 3, I bartered with the Central Queens Y and designed their website in exchange for tuition. Then another Y contacted me and they are a great client with ongoing projects.
I first learned about SEO from Jill Whalen and attended her High Rankings seminar two years ago -- where I met Bill, Kim, and you! I would also encourage someone starting out to attend an SES or SMX show to learn more about internet marketing.
Q: Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A: My favorite bloggers are:
And I recently added:
They all have a passionate writing style that communicates their points either through anecdotes, rants, or interesting introspective.
Q: What kind of effect do you think blogging has had on the search marketing industry?
A: Blogging makes everyone smarter and more informed. It is factual and opinionated at the same time. They take me to conferences I can’t attend. They introduce me to new ideas that I never would have thought of and explain complex SEO concepts. Through comments, they invite people to agree, disagree, and digress, which is often as interesting as the blog post itself. There is a lot of energy and passion in blogs. Everyone seems nice, interesting, and very giving of their knowledge in the Search Marketing world.
Q: Digg, Fetch, Sphinn or Reddit?
A: I read Sphinn every day.
Q: Linkbaiting, think it's over rated, or a necessity - or just not for everyone?
A: I think linkbaiting is synonymous with great content. Linkbait raises the bar on what defines a quality website. The internet is creating a generation of really smart people. There is so much information out there - a lot of it intentional linkbait - that searchers can find the answers to almost anything.
One of my favorite posts is a response by Bill Slawski to my question, “Isn’t Content on an E-Commerce Site Just Fluff.” This post was one of those “ah-ha” moments when I understood the importance of content, and how it can separate on OK website with a great one.
Thanks Risa for letting us get to know you a bit better!
Thanks, Li. I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year. This industry moves so fast that 2008 is sure to be another exciting one.
So that's a wrap for the 30th edition of the Women of Internet Marketing series! Stop back next week when I'll have 2 more industry women for you to learn about, until then check out the more than 50 interviews in our Women of Internet Marketing category, which even includes some video interviews!