Posts Tagged With: who’s hinsel!?

Shrimp Jambalaya! Say yeah yeah baby!

PaellaJambalaya is a New Orleans tradition that originated in the Caribbean  islands and it related to the dish known as paella. The many variations of this dish are a direct attempt by Spanish settlers to make paella in the new world where saffron was not readily available; tomatoes became a substitute for the costly seasonings traditionally used. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish.

Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as ‘jambalaya’. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

Here’s how to make it!

1. Cook onions, garlic, green pepper and celery (trinity)  in bacon drippings or cooking oil until onion is browned.

2. Add parsley, ham, thyme, and bay leaves.

3. cook 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add salt, hot sauce, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of water.

5. Simmer 5 minutes.

6. Add rice.

7. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

8. Add shrimp and smoked sausage.

9. Cover and simmer 10 or 15 minutes longer or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

10. Season to taste with salt and more hot sauce.

This is one of my most favorite dishes to make for parties, or for the holidays – it’s a nice and more simple way to get a little cajun flavor when you are low on cash for seafood (cuz you can always add more rice!) or just don’t want to anger the creole gods by making a less than perfect gumbo. 😀

*edit: Some folks have brought to my attention this recipe lacks exact measurements…

Let me say this:  I don’t remember ever seeing grandma measure nothing, else she was baking (at which she was a *master*). This kind of cooking was just in her blood.

How much rice? Well, enough to “take care” of the water. How much garlic? How much you like, honey? That’s what she’d tell you if she was teaching you to make it; that’s pretty much the instructions I have in this old family cookbook. 🙂

Don’t worry, there is a ray of hope here. I will now provide for you a slightly different recipe (say hey to Ocean Springs, MS) .

1-2 quarts shrimp (peeled)

Chop: 1 large onion, 3-4 stalks celery, 1 small bell pepper, garlic.

Simmer in water until tender, no grease.

Add: 1 can tomato soup, sauce or paste, 1 can of water, 2-3 bay leaves, salt pepper to taste,1 teaspoon “cajun” seasoning

Simmer on low.

Add Shrimp.

Cook rice (2-3 cups?) and then add to simmering shrimp – add enough rice to take care of the liquid.

Stir ONLY once.

Keep on low.

That’s the only other recipe for it I know – hope it helps! – and if you make it send pictures!! Always love seeing other foodies dishes!

Next Time: Just in time for Christmas!
The Highly Awaited Turkey N Dumplin’s recipe!

Categories: FOOD, Personal Blog | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Myths About Social Media

To dispel some common misconceptions: social media success isn’t determined by driving up website traffic, but that *can* be a side effect if it’s done especially well. Social media success isn’t necessarily determined by providing better customer service, although it can be used as a powerful tool accomplish that. How does one determine success in social media?

Don’t you know, it’s smoke and mirrors and buzzwords, it’s mysterious and confounding algorithms and formula’s that would curdle Merlin’s blood! Not only that, but to pay to manage social media is insanely expensive and doing it yourself is far beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal! 😛

Uh, yeah…about THAT.

Success in social media is both more difficult to obtain than you might imagine, and easier to accomplish than most will admit – but often all it takes is patience, and three even harder to find elements:

Relevancy. Effort. Consistency.

The last one is harder than you might think.
The second one is where most stumble and fail.
The first one perhaps hardest to grasp of all as it’s fleeting.
If any one element is missing the effort will fail – perhaps not horribly, but worse: by being nothing more than mediocre.

Are you an individual or small business owner interested in learning more about what social media really equates to for your business, and how you can leverage it to gain improved online exposure?

I love meeting great progressively minded folks who are interested in taking hold of their digital destiny; am always glad to talk a little shop over coffee, and even offer full web consulting services or social media training to help you get started. Drop me a line so we can get connected!

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, social network management | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Stuffing is for Thanksgiving, Not Websites…

Stuffing Should Only Be for Thanksgiving
When most people get interested in SEO and find out some of the basics it is natural habit to fall into “big hammer” methods of getting results by cramming as many keywords into one’s site content as possible. And it isn’t uncommon for those methods to get results – even good results – quickly and with seemingly little effort. Making keyword rich content can easily get out of hand quickly. How much is enough? How much is too much?

Most people aim for a keyword density of 2% (i.e. use the keyword 2 times for every 100 words).

It’s a fine balance. Generally you want your main keyword to appear a several times either in your text or as the title of a paragraph (in bold), with keywords that are your secondary focus trailing along in frequency.

You will know for sure that you are stuffing a bit too heavily if every other word in your content is a keyword. You want your text content to have a natural flow for human readers while still being keyword dense; there are a few good methods for this.
Use keywords as a title of a paragraph or section, using bold, and/or “H” tags in the html code itself. Search engines will give a bolded word (and especially an H tag) slightly more weight than regular text on your site. H tags may just look like big text, but search engines read them differently and give them extra keyword power.

This is an H1 Tag:

Boise Search Engine Optimization

This is an H2 Tag:

Search Engine Samurai

This is an H3 Tag:

Coldfusion Cowboy

this is an alt tagUse alt-tags on your photos in place of repeating keywords over and over where users are forced to read them.

It’s not JUST about the number of times your keywords appear either. WHERE they appear also can play a big role. Make sure your keywords appear in these places as good rules of thumb for best keyword visibility:

The Title Tag.
The Page URL.
The Main Heading (H1 or H2).
The first paragraph of content.
At least 3 times in the body content (more or less depending on amount of content and if and only if it makes sense).

Search Engine Optimization isn’t some mystic art, it comes down to easy to understand elements created and managed in balanced proportions. It takes time and it takes effort to see lasting results, especially as algorithms are constantly changing.

Don’t understand any of this? Just don’t have time to manage your SEO or social network marketing? I can help! Contact me to find out how I can help you develop your digital presence to work for you.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

SEO Basics Demystified

It seems there is some mystery to how search engine optimization works, despite it being fairly basic. Whether this is intentionally propagated by SEO companies looking to convince potential customers they are better off hiring someone to do the job for them, or just a general lack of website owners wanting to take a hands on approach and do a little homework – it’s hard to say.

Regardless there are just a few very basic things to understand in order to help improve ANY websites standing in search engine results. It is my hope to clarify a few of these items in order to help educate those interested in learning search engine optimization for themselves.

There are three main things that will largely determine your search engine visibility: Age of Your Domain, Keyword Density, and Backlinks.

Age of your domain:
Sadly, not a lot you can do about this one if you are new. Believe it or not the search engines do give a little ‘grandfathering’ powers to sites just for being around for a longer time.

Keyword Density:
This is the number of times a keyword appears in your sites content. Your keywords should be focused on your target market, so if you sell shoes in Boise for instance good keywords would be things like “boise shoes”, “shoes in boise”, “boise footwear”. Search engines look for these keywords in your site code and text as well as in the URL itself – and even seem to give a little extra edge to sites which have their keywords in the domain name itself.

A word of caution: stuffing is only good at Thanksgiving, and that includes keywords. Make sure you don’t OVER saturate your site with keywords to the point that it becomes illegible to human readers. Keyword stuffing can eventually harm your search engine position as much as not having those keywords at all.

These are links from other websites pointed to you essentially saying you are a credible source for what you claim to be. I often use the analogy of the sign waver guys you see on the corner – essentially a link from another website to yours is like a sign waver on the internet saying “GO Here for This Service”. Search engines see that and give you better placement for it.

Those are the “Top 3” of factors that will effect your standing in search results. Secondary factors include things like how many other sites are competing against yours, website page count (internal links), and frequency of updates.

There are any number of keyword research and density tools online, as well as tools which allow you to see how many backlinks your site has; I encourage those interested in doing their own SEO to make use of these largely free online tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and others.

Some simple tips for improving your sites SEO:
Make your main keyword prominent in the top portion of your website, preferably in the meta-data and by using “H tags” near the top of the site. Search engines read sites from the top down, so it is always best to have keywords at the top even if nowhere else on the site.

Be sure to make at least a couple of the keywords found on your site BOLD. It’s a small thing but some search engines still give bolded keywords a little extra relevance.

Make the links within your site use a keyword instead of “click here” for anchor text. So if you have a page on your site you are linking to for “Boise Homes” make the text the user clicks reads BOISE HOMES instead of Click Here (this same rule applies for creating links to your site from external websites). Read more about Building Better Backlinks here…

Link to other sites, but more importantly get other sites to link to you. The internet, and seo success, is all about being interconnected. Request owners of websites in your industry in other states to link to you. Comment on blogs and websites and include your website link. Add your website to online directories. Establish profiles on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help expand your overall web presence.

ANY of these things will help your websites search engine position if done correctly. It’s not some arcane magic, it generally comes down to putting in the time to do some research, a lot of typing, and either maintaining your website code or working with an experienced web developer who understands SEO.

There are myriad other details and subtle techniques to really harness the power of the web to boost your business, but just starting with these very basic items is key to better search engine placement.

Interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this blog, or connect with me on any of my social portals. Generally I am as easy to find as typing Hinsel into a search engine.

Don’t have time, or don’t care to handle SEO for your website on your own? I can offer exceptional organic search engine optimization for established websites or create an search engine friendly design for you from scratch. Contact me to get started!

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why bother with social network marketing for search engine optimization?


If it ain’t workin’ you ain’t using it right…

There is some debate regarding the effectiveness of using social network marketing on sites like Facebook,Twitter and other profile based platforms as a valid search engine optimization method. Some key points to the possible truth of that view is concern over lack of return on investment, as the maintenance of those social portals requires more and more time (not just because I am Bejeweled champion, either!), and from the watering down of link-juice due to those platforms using “no-follow” code on displayed links.

Aren’t we supposed to be all about the organic SEO?! What happened to believing that you don’t (yet) have to pay to play on the information superhighway, that anyone with the motivation to do so and a little bit of know how can rank with the big boys and nary have to shell out a dime to the great web gods for the glory of Page One…?
Homegrown Organic Links
These are a big part getting overlooked from the “no-follow” standpoint. Yes many social sites won’t really be giving you any link love in a backlink sense to your site (some argue even those ‘technically count’), but what they CAN do is provide a lot of actual PEOPLE who visit your site…and after all isn’t that what we’re trying to do?

You can be the worst salesman in the world and if you have something people want or can use and present it to a big enough audience; you will sell it. More traffic, more leads, more business…less people, less leads, less business.

So make sure if you are going to use social sites for SEO that you put your links wherever you are allowed to do so, but more than that don’t just stick them in there, (click here) , make them something people will be interested to click on. This can be as easy as creating a witty profile statement, or creating a good “hook” for your link when you post it on Twitter.

Check this out –


5 things every [target group] MUST know

[target group] Do you know the 5 most common mistakes to avoid before you [target market]?

Use a similar style in all your publication or linking efforts any time you can in order to see higher organic traffic to your site – don’t just spew content and links, make it INTERESTING, add some spin to that web. You can post links til you’re blue in the face, but if you are doing it incorrectly or only to try to appease the algorithms you may find the most important part is missing from your website: visitors.

It all comes down to not just using these online tools, but understanding the subtleties of using them in their best manner. Don’t just post, engage. Don’t just link, drive. Leverage your fan pages with a personal profile (it can be for more than just pictures of the kids or talking to mom), boost your website with an externally hosted blog – YES even if your main website is in a blog format.

Optimize locally through engaging your follower base. Market globally by connecting these portals to create your own syndication — using these tools to their fullest potential. Some might say that level of individual time and effort is just too much to invest in reaching a client base, but think on this: The social networks online today allow us to communicate with others more efficiently and widely than we’ve ever been able to before. Can you imagine if you had to hand write and mail a card to each one of your clients every day?! Using social network marketing for search engine optimization is more than just tags, keywords, and links: it’s knowing your visitors, it’s interconnectivity; putting it to work for your online presence is key to digital success.

Not sure where to start? Need help with your blog, optimizing your current site or creating a new website? Contact me for the very best Boise SEO, Social Network Management, Ghost Blogging, and Web Design online.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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