Your 2011 Favorite Website and Web Marketing Schipul Blog Posts

Your 2011 Schipul Posts with the Most Love

At Schipul, we love to spend our time researching what’s new and innovative and the “next big thing” in web technology and online marketing.  We are super-pumped to uncover all the awesomely geeky web-tech coming in 2012 – and wanted to take a moment and reflect on what You thought was the best and most interesting news in web marketing in 2011 before we ring in the New Year – from our mobile phones, of course!

Our SEM team pulled up our analytics reports and took a look at what You were reading and sharing in 2011.  Here are the most popular blog posts visited on the Schipul blog and the most shared posts on Facebook  in case you missed one.

Posts with the Most Reads on the Schipul Blog in 2011:

Posts with the Most Shares on Facebook in 2011:

  1. Google+ Video Overview
  2. Google+ versus Facebook for Video Calls
  3. Google+ Business Pages Are Here

There’s Even More to Love Ahead in 2012!

Add Schipul to one of your Google+ Circles  to tell us what types of blog posts you’d +1 in 2012.

Follow Schipul – The Web Marketing Company on LinkedIn and see what we are up all year.

Find out Your Top 10 Favorite Pages on Our Website and Our Top 10 Favorites from 2011.

Keep current with the constantly changing web environment with our new, weekly feature page The Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing on the Web  where we’ll pick what we believe is going to be a Web Game Changer in 2012.

Yay! Effective Blogging Strategies

JJ’s Top Tips For Blogging

With what seems to be about a gazillion blogs in internet land, how do you ever wonder how they started?  Or how each blogger developed a blogging strategy? It can be a bit overwhelming to think about, especially to someone new to the blog world and may be looking for advice.

Schipul’s own JJ Lassberg knows that effective blogging takes strategy, focus and a fundamental knowledge of blogging basics. She has even composed a presentation on “Effective Blogging” for rookies that include her “Lucky 13” blogging tips, blog basics and methods.   Check out the entire Slide Show for a really terrific “How-to” on Blogging!

Thanks for a great Wordcamp Houston 2010!

Matt Mullenweg CEO of WordPress
Photo thanks to Ed Schipul

This weekend marked the very first Wordcamp Houston event at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.   As well as being a Community Sponsor, the Schipulites were active participants as coordinators, speakers, volunteers and excitable (what’s new?!) attendees.

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Photo thanks to Ed Schipul

Didn’t get to make it this year and wondering what you missed?   Here are some of the highlights of the day at HMNS, in the Schipulites’ own words:

David Stagg at  Wordcamp Houston 2010
Photo thanks to Brett Morrison

David Stagg (who taught the swell WP 101 class)

I was honored to be given the chance to speak; it was a pleasure leading the WP 101 class, setting up Monica (aka Cosmopolitician) and Chris Everson—two incredibly talented people—for the 102 class. I felt honored to teach some new people from the Houston Zoo, Noah’s Kitchen, Reliant Energy all about how user-friendly WordPress truly is. The class was lively, had some great questions, and was genuinely curious about how to further their WordPress knowledge. Since it was the inaugural WPCamp Houston and it sold out quickly, I can only imagine what it will look like next year!

Albert Hughes

My thoughts:

  • Kelsey Ruger is a genius and I heard a lot of people agreeing with that statement.
  • I saw several people including Matt Mullenweg wearing ‘toe shoes”

thisisnotapril's shark
Photo thanks to April Kkyle

April Kyle
I really enjoyed having HMNS at the host. It was such a neat backdrop for us; and as part of being there I personally was exposed to things in the museum I’d never seen before. In the break times and lunch; we got a chance to play around a bit and have some fun’ totally cool for breaks as opposed to had we been in just a conference center or hotel. It was just super neat seeing the kids learning, and we played around with the exhibits too. Plus, there was a shark.

Eloy and Matt Mullenweg at Wordcamp Houston 2010
Photo thanks to Eloy Zuniga

Eloy Zuniga
My favorite moment was sitting next to Matt Mullenweg during a session simply because I said “I saved you a seat”.   He is ridiculously nice and humble.   I’m glad he’s a Houstonian.

Derek Key and Susan Saurage photo by Ed Truitt
Photo thanks to Ed Truitt

Derek Key (who led a great panel with client Susan Saurage)
My favorite sessions from WordCamp were Kelsey‘s ‘Rebirth of Slick” and Bill Erickson’s ‘WordPress Beyond Blogging”. Kelsey’s was incredibly fun as always and made me think about websites in general, not necessarily WordPress, and Bill’s was very informative and relatable to what we do for clients.

I think the two biggest takeaways are:

  1. Shopify‘ ecommerce solution for WordPress that can be easily updated graphically to match a site and is easy to manage on the client’s end (from Roby Fitzhenry’s session)
  2. Custom post types and custom taxonomies in WordPress (from Bill Erickson’s session). Allows for more than just pages and posts so you can actually call different content different names… very Drupal-esque.

HMNS IMAX theater for Wordcamp Houston keynote
Photo thanks to Ed Schipul

Michael Coppens (from his @urbanhoustonian Twitter account)

Not sure how I didn’t know WordPress founder @photomatt is from Houston. Makes it a perfect home for Urban Houstonian


Wordcamp Houston 2010 at HMNS
Photo thanks to Erin Flis!

Chris Minor (our fearless intern and videographer)

My favorite session was Kelsey Ruger‘s presentation about design called ‘Rebirth of Slick”. Kelsey weaved his valuable insight into designing a website with a multimedia experience featuring music like hip-hop and jazz that made his presentation not only enjoyable but relevant and understandable in our society. WordCamp was also the first time I have been exposed to a real-time Twitter conversation. Many times I found myself staring at my twitter feed watching all the participants sharing what they were learning and I gained valuable brain-candy from the many passionate developers and users of WordPress.

Katrina Esco
The major takeaway I got from Wordcamp:  We understand things in story so we should be able to tell a meaningful story about a brand or company.

Christine Portillo

Kelsey Ruger’s preso was a highlight, and in a slide asking audience which of many companies listed had the ‘cool factor,” Schipul client IKEA was one of the few (along with Virgin Airlines, Zappos, and more). Best PHYSICAL takeaways: nifty, comfy, stylin’ T designed by Ben G and boasting Schipul on the arm and the bounteous bags of M&Ms provided by the blogger track’s ‘Whose blog is it anyway?” session.

Boss Blog of the Month: baby!

Boss [baws, bos]

1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2.   An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by the early 1960s….until now...

When I was introduced to Natalie Dee, I wanted to hug her. Granted, we were not formally introduced and to digress from creepy status, I can tell you one thing – she is a satirical comic genius who totally digs Wu Tang.

I bet you want to hug her now too. has become my daily affirmations – not necessarily by definition. Through her comics she expresses her real life encounters, vulnerabilities, conversations and of course, her addiction to diet coke. Browsing through her unique art you may even think to yourself, “maybe I’m not the only one with a screw loose…there really is someone else who enjoys Turban Tuesday.”

And over the past couple of years, I have come to realize that her comics serve a dual purpose. Because Natalie Dee is seemingly well rounded, her comics come in handy for any and all human exchanges (use of comic’s impact is likely greater if you are at a loss for words). I have created real fictional instances below in hopes that you will recognize why Natalie Dee is so BOSS.

Are you in an altercation?

Instead of lying down like a coward in the fetal position, use this little gem.   Your nemesis will walk away out of mere confusion. This is also an ideal time to holler, ‘Booyah!”

Do you own a cat?

Me either. So if you find yourself surrounded by cat lovers in deep conversation about LOLz…attempt to relate.

Did your sister-in-law just get pregnant?

Nothing will express your excitement more than a rainbow.

Are you running late for work?

Turtles are slow’ how could your boss ever refute that one?

Are you awkward?

This one is great for the time you held the door open for a complete stranger and they proceeded to call you ‘awkward.” You turn-around and you show them awkward…

Not into politics?

There will never be a winner of a political debate held down the street at your local pub…until you prance in the door.

Enjoy the Moutain Dew/Nerd combo?

Dew the dew bra! That’s all I really have to say about this one.

Did you make a bad decision?

While explaining the situation to your parents, ease the mood with a cupcake. Hey, it could always be worse…

Overwhelmed by technology trends?

No need to worry your pretty little head about it. Reply to the office email about iPhone 4 discrepancies with this farcical treasure’ Nutella does wonders my friends.

Do you like adorable creatures?

When saying it in words won’t do you justice, this princess works for all occasions.

Want more Natalie Dee?

Like her on Facebook

Follow her on Twitter

Say hi to her friends over at Toothpaste for Dinner, Married to the Sea and Superpoop

Buy her prints on a T-shirt

Trend Tuesday: Comment SPAM gets Tricky

We’ve all come across email SPAM, but that is only where the annoyance begins. If you have a blog, a website that takes comments, or even a contact form, then you have probably seen some SPAM there, too. It used to be easy to identify, but  spammers  are becoming craftier at their game. Learn how you can fight back.

SPAM stacks up
SPAM can pile up in your blog. Learn how to get rid of it.

Why people Spam

Before diving into the problem of comment SPAM, I’d like to answer this question: Why do people SPAM? The biggest purpose of comment SPAM is SEO-related. One of the things Google and the others factor into their algorithms is linkbacks. A linkback is any link from an external site back to your website. In many comment forms on blogging platforms there is an option to include a website, which is then linked to your name when you leave a comment. This is a way of telling people who it is that is leaving the comment. Spammers use this opportunity to link to trashy SPAM websites that make pennies per visitor. If they rank higher in the search engines for keywords like “free viagra”, they can drive more traffic and make more pennies. Pennies turn into dollars which turn into Benjamins, and you get the picture. However, this doesn’t work very well for the spammers.

While most of the blogging platforms include comments and do send links, they include a little piece of code that prevents linkbacks. It’s called a “nofollow” link. It tells Google not to count a link as a linkback. Google doesn’t follow the link, so that website isn’t given any benefit. It’s an optional setting, but it is turned on for professional blogs as well as and hosted blogs. We don’t use nofollow links on this blog so that we can pass along benefits to our commenters. However, spammers don’t know that we do this, and they don’t seem to care much either way. Even with nofollow links, the spammers will still attack your site. Now that we know the why, lets look into the “what” of comment SPAM.

What Comment SPAM looks like

Most people can identify the obvious SPAM very quickly. It is riddled with links to ED drugs or other  pharmaceuticals, or in some cases it is written in Russian. This kind of SPAM is automated by the spammers and can be caught by filters. The other types of SPAM are much harder to identify. They look more like real comments. Here is an example (the link doesn’t work):

From Investment Ideas: Great Post! I stumble by this blog from Google and your content really speaks to me. You are an expert in your field and this post is proof. I am now subscribing to read more.

At first glance this looks like a very nice comment. It is probably one you would be proud to have at the bottom of your posts. Unfortunately, it is SPAM. The “name” of the commenter is used as a keyword to create a linkback to the URL, which in this case is also about investment ideas. The text sounds very nice, but it would probably sound very nice on any of your posts. These types of comments have a few things in common, and you can become a pro at identifying it and removing it.

How to Identify and Stop SPAM

Unfortunately, this kind of SPAM is not caught by the filters because it looks genuine. In many cases it is even entered by a real person (often overseas). They copy/paste a snippet on many sites as fast as possible. But, you can spot it when moderating your comments. Here is three-item test to identify the tricky SPAM:

  1. The name looks like a description and not really a person’s name. In the example, it is Investment Ideas.
  2. The link goes to a site very similar to the name. It may also include several hyphens, which are sometimes used in spam URLs.
  3. The text of the comment is very generic. It doesn’t reference anything in the post and can probably apply to almost any of your posts.

Those three quick tests can help you to identify most comment SPAM. After reviewing the fake comment above, you will see that it includes all three of the regular pieces of SPAM comments. You may come across some comments that just say “Great Post!”. To determine if these are SPAM you should pay close attention to the name and link. If it is a person’s name and goes to a personal site or blog (like JMO), then it is probably not SPAM.

You will have to use your own discretion when deciding which comments are SPAM on your blog. Comments are great places to have a bit of further discussion about posts. They can add to the “conversation” in many cases, so blocking SPAM is even more important to keep the conversation fluid. While comment SPAM can’t hurt you directly, it can look ugly on your blog.

While some sites have turned off comments all together to prevent this, you may still want to keep comments on your site. Using nofollow links can help prevent the spammers from gaining anything with their garbage, but it will still pile up in the back and can clutter your real comments. Moderating your comments regularly and having a keen eye for SPAM can protect your site from the evils of comment SPAM.


I have decided it to let the SPAM comments show up on this post so you can see some examples of what we get. I will neuter them by removing the link, but the text and name of the commenter will be left alone (unless it’s profane). Our first winner is “Affiliate Network”.


Many more SPAM comments have rolled in to the mix. I’ve removed links on all of them, but the text gives you an idea of what they may look like on your site.

Awesome SPAM creative commons image thanks to freezelight.