Side by side comparison graphic for 2018 Governor Race in Iowa

Libertarian Party Nominee for Governor 2018 side-by-side comparison

By | Graphic Design, Political Design | No Comments

For the first time the Libertarian Party is getting the attention it deserves due to its major party status. I wanted to make a side-by-side to see where they differ from each other. You can do it election day, Iowa law requires voters to be registered with the party they want to vote for in the primary. You can easily change it back online later. More info below on what is required to change it the day of.

Here are links to both candidates and their quotes from their websites to find out more and see all the media both of these amazing men have drummed up.

Jake Porter

“Politicians in this state aren’t looking out for the interest of Iowans. Too often they are more concerned with scoring points against their political opposition. They use the budget as a weapon for partisan gain with Iowans as collateral damage. Instead of cutting big waste in the thousand plus page budget, they make drastic cuts to programs such as mental health facilities, domestic violence shelters, and sexual abuse hotlines, nibbling around the edges while bloated waste and corporate welfare remain.

Recently, I announced that I was relaunching my campaign for the Libertarian Party nomination for Iowa Governor. With the state’s current financial crisis, people have asked me to run. I want to be a Governor for all Iowans. I want to help provide solutions to our financial issues, to take power away from the state and give it back to the individual. I have no interest in partisan fighting and the status quo that got us into this mess.

Sick children and individuals shouldn’t have to wait years for the Iowa legislature to do something about medical cannabis. We should demand leadership from our elected officials. While they play games, sick people are denied medication. While the Legislature and Governor pass cannabis bills not worth the paper printed on them sick Iowans have continued to suffer.

Our state shouldn’t be giving welfare to large, financially sound corporations while raising our taxes and borrowing from the state’s emergency fund. I don’t view a Governor and the legislature not knowing how to make a budget as being an emergency. What happens when a major flood occurs, or another natural disaster happens, and the state has no emergency funds left to use? Recently, our State Treasurer told us that the state of Iowa is on the brink of not being able to pay its bills and that our tax refunds were delayed this year because the state didn’t have the money to pay them on time.

We have a government more interested in partisan politics than doing what is best for the state. We have a Governor and legislature that deny sick Iowans their medication, can’t pay their bill, refuse to cut spending, and gives the keys to the state to big corporations. It is time for real solutions to get us out of this mess.

As Governor, I would do a detailed analysis of every government department and agency in the state and my recommended budget would first cut out waste, consolidate departments, focus on efficiency, and eliminate unnecessary government.

With your support, together we will restore the motto of this great state and once again we will prize your liberties and maintain your rights.

In Liberty,

Jake Porter”

 

 

Marco Battaglia

Give freedom a chance

“My platform focuses on Medical, Agricultural, and Economic Freedom. My platform will simplify and reduce taxation for all Iowans. It will balance the budget, reduce debt, and reduce the size of government without cutting the social safety net or ending services that Iowans rely on. My platform will restore and improve access to mental health services. It will increase revenues, decrease inequality, reform civil justice, and first and foremost, restore freedoms for Iowans while protecting their civil liberties.

This involves ending the prohibitions on medicinal plants. This involves giving Iowans medical freedom from their first moment of life until their last. This involves giving Iowa farmers the ability to compete, to grow hemp, and to sell raw dairy. This involves ending eminent domain abuse, ending civil asset forfeiture, and putting Iowa on the forefront of returning to sound currency.” -Marco Battaglia

Click the links below to learn more.

Both Marco and Jake are great options and they both are freedom loving candidates but there are a few issues they differ on and you can compare them in the side-by-side I included below. I am personally very happy about all the freedoms they will provide to Iowans. Agricultural freedoms like raw milk deregulation, personal freedoms like vaccines choice and economic freedoms like tax cuts. Libertarians are the truly moderate party, they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative and I hope you take some time to look into them both.

You may register and vote on election day. To do so, you first must go to the correct polling place for your current address on election day.If you are unsure of your polling place, Find Your Precinct/Polling Place.

At the polling place, you must prove both who you are and where you live. The best way to do this is with your valid Iowa driver’s license with your current address printed on it.

Proof of ID

If you do not have an Iowa driver’s license, you may use a photo ID that is current, valid, and contain an expiration date. The following are acceptable IDs:

  • Iowa non-driver ID card
  • Out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military ID
  • ID card issued by employer
  • Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

Proof of Residence

If your photo ID does not contain your current address, you may use another document to prove where you live if it contains your name and current address. The following are acceptable proofs of residence:

  • Residential lease
  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck
  • Government check or other government document

Attester

If you cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents listed above, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.

Falsely attesting or being attested for is registration fraud. It is a class “D” felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison.

 

Side by side comparison graphic for 2018 Governor Race in Iowa

 

Content is KING when it comes to SEO in 2018

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So we just launched your new SEO optimized website and now it’s up to you to create content that will push you up the rankings but this takes time to do organically. It takes atleast four weeks for most search engines to index your site and on average 60 blog posts to gain industry authority at all in Google eyes. And it really is about quality content that will get your audience to engage across all of your platforms to make your views go up and get your audience to engage, the days of being able to trick search engines algorithms into ranking you higher have gone by. In the industry, we sometimes call people claiming to be able to get you ranked #1 in a short amount of time with a trick are the equivalent to snake oil salesmen. In fact lots of sites are getting dinged for having attempts at these outdated tricky tactics no matter if they don’t work due to Google constiently changing its algorithms.

I suggest to my clients that they post atleast three times per week to get the best results and it is important to share the blog link on your social media pages and ask your audience to check it out and please comment on the blog. The blog needs to be atleast 400 words to be considered quality content. The comment engagement is huge for SEO rankings these days and them clicking your link from social media to go to your site boosts your inbound links and your views both. Speaking of inbound links the more you can get the better so if you own multiple sites add your url to the other sites for inbound and outbund link boosting.

Your posts should use the search keywords that your audience would be using when looking for your services. My sites come with a tool that will rate and score your SEO on each new blog posts your create if you want to control each one or they have a general meta description/keyword by default. This tool also comes with search keyword research tools and other SEO teaching tools. I create sitemaps that I submit to the search engines to crawl your SEO optimized website that you are going to be taking over but it’s now up to you to create the quality content and high traffic/engagement. I even suggest asking some clients to specifically get on and share your site url and comment on all your posts, share your blog posts and just engage as much as possible.

If you haven’t done so yet you will want to submit your business listing to Google, not your website just your business listing, phone address etc. They will need to confirm your location by sending you a postcard usually to be a verified listing but even if you don’t want to put your address and be verified you will still want to submit the listing and create the listing profile by adding your logo and more info.

So in review, there are no tricks or gimmicks to raise your SEO rankings, content really is king. Keyword research yields quality content. Quality content yields more traffic/views, more traffic yields more engagement and this all yields higher search rankings.  Rinse and repeat so that your site is never looked upon as dead because that runs the risk of hurting your rankings you worked so hard for.

If you want to cheat the system you have to pay, but luckily Google allows you to pay for top ranking while you are trying to build your organic ranking.

STOP, before you give your next reaction on Facebook! 

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I recently found out I was “facebooking” wrong!

Like the rest of you I just scroll past things I didn’t care about but every once in a while I will see a post that I react to, these are usually only ones that I was to show support for and sometimes there are some that make me sad or angry. Here is where I was going wrong for instance, if I saw a post about child abuse I would give it the sad face, thumbs down or even the angry face but how Facebook see’s that reaction is that the POST is making me angry or sad, not the subject or content the post is talking about. So then it will be a consideration in how they decide which posts I see in the future. So if you really want to support the content of post, the page or person, then even if the content makes your blood boil please still like the post. Facebook will see it as you support that person or pages efforts to bring light to the subject that you were moved enough to give your reaction to. Only use the negative reactions to things you don’t support, this will affect the person’s or page’s visibility to you in future posts.

 

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Website Builders

By | Uncategorized, Website Design | No Comments

You’ve seen the commercials before… “Build your own stunning website in just a few minutes!” Websites like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly offer do it yourself websites at a very cheap price. These website builder tools are making a killing off business owners who don’t know the difference between one of these pages and a real website with semantic markup and search engine optimized code.

The problem is that creating a good website is more than just throwing a few elements on a page, slapping your phone number on it, and letting it go.

To make a really good website, you need to create an experience for the user. A website should be built with the user in mind to create a perfect user flow and smooth UX (user experience). This requires a good website structure and the latest SEO (search engine optimization) techniques as well as a professional design…

I have compiled the main reason to NEVER use a website builder

You Don’t Own the Website

Like I mentioned before, you aren’t able to migrate a site created with a website builder. Which also means that you don’t even own the website. If you wanted to move it, you couldn’t… which means the company you built it with, owns it. You don’t even have root access needed to customize code, back up and restore.

Not ‘Stunning’

Many website builder companies like to say that you can create a stunning website with their software. The problem is that ‘stunning’ has a context. If the last time your website was redesigned was 10 years ago, then a 1 page Wix website may seem stunning to you. But technology is growing very fast and the web design market has grown with it.

Stunning websites these days are much more than just a single page that a lawyer, doctor or chiropractor throws together in 30 minutes. When we build a website we create an experience for the user that engages them and builds trust. A stunning website is a website that brings in traffic and converts that traffic to paying customers and most website builder sites don’t do that. They do not offer multi-level marketing campaigns with pop up funnels for those campaigns. They cannot capture leads and send newsletters. They cannot do live chat with you and your site visitors. And they don’t have a deep level of function customization.

Only 1-Page

Most website builders only offer a single page to be created which is bad for SEO and terrible for creating an online presence. Websites should be multiple pages and constantly be growing in pages. That is the only way to keep Google bots coming back and keeping your website relevant. If you are not adding new content after a while google will concider your site dead and that will be detrimental to your ranking.

It should not be possible to showcase your business in just one page. No one wants to scroll down an extremely long page that goes on forever. Websites should be sectioned off into different pages and levels to explain the business, who are you, what you do, where you are located and how to contact you.

No Support

In order for a website to grow, you have to water it. When you create a website with Weebly, Wix or Sqaurespace you don’t get the support you need or deserve. Is should not be your job to keep your website running and up-to-date!

What if your website goes down or something stops working on it? Do you have the skills it takes to fix it before your customers notice? A lot of the time, certain pieces of a website can stop working and you may not even know it. Customers may be trying to contact you, but you’re not a webmaster, how would you know?

Having a dedicated support team is essential and necessary to have an online website. They can make sure your website is up, running and functional so that your customers can find you 24/7, 365.

What about the learning curve of that builder to initially get your site up and going? How much is your time worth? Can you delegate your companies first impression to one of your employees? Would you want to trust your online image to the persona answering your phones? If so how many hours is it going to take them to get it right in conjunction with your expectations? Don’t forget the revision that you want to make. Let’s say you are paying them $10/hour(and most people make more) it could easily take 50 hours to get even a basic three-page site built by someone who is not an expert. Don’t forget they also need to know how to select the right images and how to edit those images for your site.

Bad SEO

One of the worst parts of using a website builder to create a business website is that the builder spits out a jumble of code that is not structured well. It doesn’t contain the necessary elements to help websites rank better in Google.

SEO Stands for search engine optimization and its the methodology of making your website show up higher in Google and other search engines. There are many pieces to SEO but one of the most important parts is on-page SEO. This is the code and structure of the site and they have a large impact on the SEO-friendliness of the website.

When you build your site with these website builders you do not have control of the code…just the design. You can’t use structured data to increase your local SEO or even add content. Growing your online presence is a huge part of getting more online visitors and customers. These website builders don’t allow you to create new content so you will rarely rank in Google.

Flash Based

Another reason websites builders are bad for SEO is that they are flash based. Google and other search engines can’t read flash so they have no idea what the website is about. Not to mention that flash is very slow and kind of old school.

Flash is also very insecure, can’t be searched, doesn’t have text content and is a nightmare for search bots. I highly suggest staying away from website builders that use flash.

No Website Structure or Data

The other issue with only have 1 page is that you do not have a website structure which is essential to SEO. When a website is organized nicely and according to a site hierarchy, you make search engines very happy and they are often going to rank that website higher. A URL structure should be organized to match the hierarchy. When you create a website with companies like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace, you aren’t going to get a good hierarchy or structure…

Devalues Your Business

Let’s do some math… Wix.com currently has over 90 million users. On their website, they mention that they have about 500 customizable templates. If we do some simple math… 90,000,000 users / 500 templates = 180,000. That means that if you use Wix, you are probably using the same template as 180,000 other people.

This really diminishes your brand in so many ways. Not only do 180,000 other peoples website resemble yours, customers know you are using a cheap website builder to create a website and brand.

48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business (source: IronPaper)

Customers want to know you are a legitimate business that spends more than $30 on their online brand. This builds trust and brand awareness. When you go the cheap route with your business website, you are going to get cheap results.

No Competitor Diversification

With 180,000 other people using the same template, how are you going to differentiate yourself from your competitors? If a customer had the choice between a business with a Wix website or a business with a custom designed website, who do you think they would choose?

Not Mobile Friendly

Having a mobile-friendly website is probably the most important thing on this list. This should be obvious since pretty much everyone has a cell phone with access to the internet.

62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile had increased sales. (Source: Econsultancy)

When you use a website builder you aren’t going to get a responsive website design. Sure, it may look decent on a desktop computer, but did you happen to check it out on a mobile device? or a tablet? It’s very important for a website to work on all devices because users are accessing the web from a lot of different ways and your website should be ready.

Not CMS (content management system) Based

CMS systems are a powerful tool to help manage websites and their content. Content management systems like WordPress facilitate writing, editing, organizing and publishing content online.

You can have full control over files, design, documents and how you display your content.

When you use a website builder you are creating static HTML web pages that are no match for content management systems.

Your Stuck With It

Migration is not possible when you use a website builder. That means that if you wanted to move your website somewhere else, you wouldn’t be able to.

Having your website run on a CMS system allows you to migrate from host to host easily without website interruption.

Slow Website Speed

Having a slow website is bad for visitors, sales and even search engine rankings. Google knows everything about your website including how long it takes to load it. If it takes a long time to load, you will get dinged in the search engines and probably by your visitors as well.

The change in a website bounce rate spikes to 100% when a page takes 4 seconds or more to load. It jumps to 150% if a page takes 8 seconds or more to load. (Source:Hubspot)

With companies like Wix and Squarespace, you are on a server with a ton of other people. This creates fewer resources and slower websites which is bad for everyone.

Websites should be hosted on a fast server that doesn’t have a large number of other websites hosted on it.

No Analytics or Reports

Knowing what’s happening on your site is really important for testing and evolving your website. You need a good way to track visitors, leads, and what people are doing on your website. With website builders, you simply can’t do this. My sites come with live statistics and reports.

Advertisements

Having a large advertisement to create your own site for free is not something you want to display on your website.

Not only does it devalue your brand but it takes away from the user experience of a website. It instantly tells me that this website owner doesn’t care enough to invest in a real website. Other signs are the icon on the browser tab, the loading text on the bottom right while its loading, or the “Powered by:” at the very bottom all right there in  plain sight.

Not an Actual Domain Name

With some website builder sites, you don’t even get your own domain name. They will give you a URL like mycompany.wix.com or goodbusiness.weebly.com which is pretty much worthless. This diminishes brand value, trust and the likelihood that anyone is going to contact you to do business from your website. You an pay to remove their name from the URL but that only hides the problem slightly.

Having your own domain name is what sets you apart on the web. It allows you to build backlinks to your domain increasing the traffic and customers.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, its a very bad idea to create your business website using a cheap website builder like Wix, Weebly or Sqaurespace and others. Many customers shy away from businesses that use these type of services to create their website. It makes your company seem less professional.

Instead, enlist the help of a professional website design company that can create a responsive website for an affordable price. Stop trying to do it yourself and redesign your website to adhere to the latest standards and SEO practices so that you can grow your online presence resulting in more traffic, leads and customers.

Having your own host versus a website builder hosting

By | Uncategorized, Website Design | One Comment

Make sure you also take into consideration that many hours involved in creating the site and editing just the right images to convey your design. And that is if you already know the platform. If you also have the learning curve of that particular platform if it increases greatly. If you have zero knowledge on the subject of building a site anywhere it again magnifies. Are you going to do it yourself or are you going to pay an employee to do it?

I am running a special right now that is $500 for a basic startup four-page site. That breaks down to having someone do it for $10 per hour and 50 hours and if it is your first time the learning curve is going to be far greater to build a site even on a site builder. And even if you buy the domain so you don’t have their name in your free domain you can still always see their branding somewhere. When you have your own hosting account for the site it is all your branding. Everything is customizable and you have root access. This is for a limited amount of contracts so contact me right now.

Support small Sunday, not to be confused with shop small Saturday

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Everyone has heard of shop small Saturday but what about support small Sunday. On Sundays, you like the posts of your friend’s small businesses to help them open their viewer network up. A like may not seem like much to you but to that company, it could lead to their next project. Lets first look at why you may not be seeing the posts in the first place.

Facebook doesn’t use a chronological feed, like Twitter does (or like Facebook used to). Instead, what you see in your News Feed is determined by an algorithm that sorts things based on what Facebook thinks you want to see. This is a cause of some consternation.

Every so often, a page or person I follow on Facebook complains that their posts are only reaching a small fraction of their followers and begs everyone to add them to their See First list so they can “keep reaching all the fans”. They claim Facebook is cutting them off and hiding them from some of their follower’s feeds so they’ll pay for Promoted posts. But that’s not really how Facebook works.

If you’ve used Facebook for a few years, odds are you’re friends with a few hundred people (most of whom you don’t really care about) and have liked way too many pages (again, most of which you probably don’t care about). My friend count is well north of 1100, and I dread to think about how many Pages I’ve liked.

Facebook wants to keep you and me, the users, engaged. They have poured millions of dollars into finding ways to keep as many people as possible coming back for another hit of social crack. Showing us a load of stories from former friends or pages we liked to try and win an iPhone 4 isn’t going to achieve that. So Facebook has had to find a way around that.

How Facebook Determines What You See

So how does Facebook determine what stories appear, and what don’t? As they say in their FAQ:

The stories that show in your News Feed are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. This helps you to see more stories that interest you from friends you interact with the most. The number of comments and likes a post receives and what kind of story it is (ex: photo, video, status update) can also make it more likely to appear in your News Feed.

This is a little vague, so we reached out to Facebook to find out more.

Facebook has a ton of information on it, and Facebook doesn’t want to show you stories that don’t interest you. So every time you open Facebook, the algorithm looks at all the possible stories you could be shown. Everything that your friends and the pages you follow have posted since you last logged in is included. Each story is assessed individually and given a Relevancy Score; a measure of how likely Facebook thinks you are to spend time viewing it, like it, comment on it, or share it. This score is unique to you. A post from How-To Geek’s Facebook page would have a different score for you than it does for me. Facebook uses these signals as proxies for actual interest.

There are thousands of different signals that go into determining a story’s Relevancy Score, but the most important are who posted it, what type of content it is, how many interactions it has, and when it was posted.

When you add someone on Facebook, the algorithm doesn’t know whether they’re your new best friend or a stranger you’re buying a TV from. Over time, as you interact with your bestie more, Facebook learns that they’re someone you care about so their posts are going to get a higher Relevancy Score than a random old school friends.

The kind of post matters a lot, too. If you watch a lot of videos, you’ll be shown more videos. If you mainly like text posts, they’re the ones that will pop up more. If you never interact with photos, you’ll see fewer.

As Facebook is concerned, interactions (likes, shares, and so on) are a good indicator of how interesting something is. So if there’s a choice between two posts from the same page, one with hundreds of likes, the other with a few dozen, the one with hundreds will be shown first.

Lastly, Facebook takes recency into account. Online, everything moves fast. Something that was posted last week probably isn’t as interesting as something posted an hour ago.

All of these factor into a story’s Relevancy Score, which then determines whether you’ll see it or not.

How Facebook Decides the Order of What You See

Once Relevancy Scores are calculated, Facebook has to decide what order you’ll see everything in. This part is simple: stories are arranged from most relevant to least relevant.

Once a story is shown, it’s locked in place. If you visit Facebook at 1pm, all the potential stories since your last visit will be considered and the most relevant shown. If you visit Facebook again at 3pm, all the possible stories from the last two hours will be considered. Any that are shown will be slotted into your News Feed above all the stories you saw the last time you visited. That’s why, if you keep scrolling down, you come to the same old stories.

Where This Approach Falls Short, and How to Fix It

The News Feed algorithm is constantly being updated. Every time you interact with a new story, Facebook is logging that detail and using it determine what posts are more likely to interest you in the future.

Sometimes though, the algorithm can get the wrong idea. Maybe you have reason to interact with one person really intensely for a short period of time or an ex-girlfriends posts are still showing first in your News Feed a year after you’ve broken up. If that’s the problem, manually prioritizing your News Feed. You’re able to select some people to show up first, and others to hide everything they post.

I urge you to just go ahead and give your friend the like, what is it costing you? Worst case you had to take the time to go to their page on fb. That’s it. Best case you just connected them with their next closed deal. And it cost you nothing. I will never understand how people support strangers and celebrities companies so strongly but when it comes to their friend or family members company they don’t have the time to go to their page and like their stuff.