One of the most frustrating parts of watching Kim do her thing is watching her doubt herself. I know I torture my friends and family as they see in me what I have been unable to.
That ended when I learned some harsh truths and had the chance to step away from the keyboard and Internet to listen, review and take stock of a lot of stuff. One of the more shocking realizations was the clear, screaming reminder that I know my job, what my career is about, what my legacy will be and any attempts to squash me make me insane.
I love my work. It chose me. I had no idea I had the empathy necessary for usability work. I just felt what was wrong about a web page and was restless, antsy and frustrated when an employer forced me to ignore my knowingness. Only once in my life did I find myself working for a company that saw my gift and invested in training me to make it blossom. I created proprietary methods for doing my work then, simply because they encouraged me to do so.
Today, I have returned to that place of creativity in my work.
The past several weeks have been busy, as I am working on a gigantic To Do list of plans, while taking on new client work I never dreamed I would be getting. More importantly, I’m getting outside and offline, pursuing personal things I could not do when I was not my own boss. My health went severely downhill the past 2 years and one of the first items on my list has been to get healthy. To beat diabetes and my arthritis pain that is throughout my spine and knees, I have to stop working several times during the daytime to exercise. I have to meditate. Now trained in Reiki, I can work on my pain when I need to. My Tai Chi classes can be taken during the daytime and evening. We moved to where there is a walking path behind our house. These luxuries are available because I am my own boss.
My new company has been registered and new business cards ordered. It is time to do what my family and friends have always believed I could do. My new company is an LLC, and I am taking some of my friends along with me on this venture. Of course, one of the first comments sent to this new website was a complaint by someone who hates the bloated code for this non-custom site. As always, there are those who pass judgement on matters that are none of their business. I never claimed I built this site from scratch. I have five websites that I maintain or own. I could hand code a responsive site, or do client work. Most self employed people need to work to pay their bills.
I’m having a blast. Thank you to my friends for your support, especially those of you who always believed.
After putting in so many hours on the new UsabilityandSEO site, I find I am having stage fright about announcing it. For starters, it is a huge undertaking just getting it to function, and then I worry nobody will like it.
I have a nephew, a local popular artist who paints gigantic life scenes on large, several feet wide canvas with swirls of colors. To some people, they look at a piece and see what might be more like a child finger painting a wall. And yet, if you stand back to look, you can see the people, buildings, cars, trees, water, sky and whatever else he put in there. The more you are still and gaze at a painting, the more you feel drawn into it, as if you are suddenly part of the experience.
As much as I wish to make websites like that, I am not an artist. I do like to think that someday I might crack the code of what I call “kindness experience design”, which is what we all deserve when we go to any website.
As an advocate for people who use websites, I am not without a keen understanding of what it takes to make them and I am in no way a gifted designer. I know what to do but I’m clumsy with a paint brush, which is to say I am dangerous with HTML5 and CSS3, not to mention Photoshop.
To do my job, which is mostly site reviews, I guide and teach but am also well aware that someone else can do a much better implementing my advice than I can.
For when I try to work with clay, the sides fall down. I admire potters. I have a deep respect for designers who make amazing things happen with code.
When I try to make a website, I try themes and then hand coding responsive code and themes again and hand coding and finally get fed up and think I’m making the whole process harder than it needs to be. And then I remember my old Cre8pc sites. They were hysterically awful and yet people liked what I put in them.
I hope that legacy continues. UsabilityandSeo.com Directory is dedicated to the people who are great at what they do, those who are trying to do great work and the joy I get out of promoting great people, companies, products and resources.
Since leaving Internet Marketing Ninjas, I have not only returned to the work I love, but am taking some new and different turns with my life. First, I am deeply grateful to my closest friends and family for holding me up and reminding me that I matter. Every day, in my heart, I am thanking you.
Next, this site is going to turn into a hobby site and travel all the way back to its roots to 1996, when its name was born. Cre8pc means “create peace”. I hope to find people on our planet who love Earth and wish the humans who live on it would get their act together before we destroy it and each other.
Kim Krause Berg
My passion for creating good things for people translates well into the usability work I do, and especially, why I do it. I care about the people who use websites. I care about the people who want a website. You can find me now at KimKrauseBerg.com.
Secrets For The Wind
My daughter and I started Secretsforthewind together and let it go to sleep. We are in the process of bringing it back, along with help from my son and other family members. We eat organically, use products as pure and simple as possible, have long used alternative healing methods and you will find all manner of Native American and Buddhist stuff around the house. There is also a hard core sports and workout fanatic, college student heading to the Navy, another headed for the Marines and someone who works with drug addicts every day, all with ideas and experiences to share from their point in life. I’m excited about what we are planning for that site and the goodies we will share with you for purchase – including yours. Yes. You heard me. Stay tuned.
Another New Site
With the help of one of my friends, Cre8pc content will move to a new home. The domain and server are ready. Stay tuned for when that launches. I am looking for companies with SEO and Usability software applications and tools to sell to be included in this new site. Tell me about what you have here.
I am studying to be a Reiki healer. My daughter will be starting her own alternative healing practice and we wish to bring together our vast interests and studies. My leanings towards Native American spirituality are calling me again.
Tech and Digital Overload
Finding the best way to fit in everything I love to do has been a challenge. Some of my friends have left their companies to essentially wind things down and get their lives back. When you work in the tech industry, the effort it takes to keep up is tremendous and exhausting. Competition can mean destroying anyone in your path and using people to get what you want. Companies that don’t invest in their employees, care about their health and well being, monitor their every breath and refuse to nourish growth and creativity are zapping the life out of tech workers. For me, work meant never stopping to eat, getting exercise, and always needing to be plugged in. Even on camping trips, the campground had to have an Internet hookup plus water and power.
I am turning off the digital. Walking outside whenever I want. Spending time with my family and friends, who for so many years complained about not seeing me. Slowing it all down. Remembering to breathe. Having reasons to laugh. That last one is my favorite reason.
Follow my smile if you want to find me.
An old friend wrote on my Facebook page, when I said I selling this site, “You are a true internet pioneer.” And then others wrote to me. Real friends. Encouraging friends.
But what really got to me was the unhappy smile from my daughter when she learned I wanted to sell this site. You see, this web site was launched when I was facing being a homeless single mom of two young children. This website saved my life, several times. The up-all-night working hours, while my kids slept on K-mart cushions (I could not afford beds) moonlighting in SEO, while working to earn my spot for a real job that paid enough for us to survive…this is the site that made that dream come true.
This is the site that taught SEO in the 1990’s. It taught how to get sites into search engines, when there was a big pile of them to play with. This is the website that became a blog in 2002, helping me build a private consulting business in web site usability testing. It paid for my kids clothes, prom dresses, their car insurance, their sports equipment and contributed to their college payments.
They saw me go from working for a crazy boss who did not believe that his only webmaster, who built, maintained and got his 13 websites into search engines, deserved to be paid $5.00 and when I asked for a raise, since I was earning below poverty level, I was laid off.
They watched me fight my way to real jobs, with famous companies. At one of them, I had an incredible manager who believed in me and encouraged me to keep learning, growing and from that, I developed my own usability testing methodology to go with the SEO I knew backwards and forwards. His influence was my bright star. It led me to other mentors and then clients who loved my work. I remember them all and am grateful to them to this day.
This site sustained me when I needed a place to write. It kept me out there, in case someone needed affordable help. I never charged what I was worth. In fact, that became part of my brand.
Because for me, it was never about getting rich.
For me, my kids needed beds. I won’t sell this site. It has a story to tell. I haven’t figured out how to tell it yet.
Maybe I will have grand kids someday.
They will like these balloons.
Remember the TV commercial that showed what your brain looks like when you take street narcotic drugs? The splattered egg in a pan? Have you ever wondered what your brain looks like when trying to find something you want from a search engine? In those cases, brains look like strawberries.
is a piece I wrote about the relationship between human behavior and information seeking.
Frequency of the use a search term may not necessarily be interpreted to mean it is the best word to choose for your particular website. The word might be used often because it is more commonly known and used but still not meet the need of the information seeker because they know of no better word choices to try.
Did you know that your website visitors have different searching styles? Do you know how these behaviors affect how they search for information and make choices? There is more to keyword research data than the number of queries used to find site or the weight value of the top keywords. Words paint a different mental image for some people or don’t mean anything at all.
Another recent article I wrote is on a topic that I love, but which most web site owners choose to ignore.
One of the reasons why sliders and carousels suddenly appeared everywhere on homepages is because they provided vivid visuals, with or without commentary or a call to action. The logic was similar to what goes into book cover designs. A walk through a bookstore or library is partly research, partly informational and partly tied to whatever book cover attracts attention. A casual browsing experience, where there is time to take in both information and eye candy, does not work for several genres on the Web.
The real tragedy in web design is not knowing how to sell online.
This is something I didn’t write, but a Cre8asiteforums member found some interesting stuff:
Has anyone used any of the reports and settings suggested in the articles above with any success when working on their own sites or reporting for clients sites? By success, I mean, have you used any of the suggestions and has that resulted in any really valuable insights about a website that you could take action on?
I’m surrounded by smart people.
I have been applying Holistic Usability and SEO practices for 13 years because the combination is powerful for building successful websites. Now, there is a book about it.
Get the download for free.
The Secret to Natural Website Conversions, by Kim Krause Berg
Natural text is an affordable Internet marketing practice that any type of web site owner can implement and yet an enormous number of websites ignore it in lieu of sliders, images and CSS3 navigation. With under five seconds to make a connection with site visitors, your web site must present value, trust, authority, ease of use, main tasks, and answers to top questions, inspire and motivate. My book will tell you how.
The Secret to Natural Website Conversions is a free PDF download available at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Its focus is on increasing website conversions by combining usability and user experience design with organic search engine optimization techniques. This book explains how to decrease site abandonment and bounce rates, increase page views and conversions and send happy signals to search engines.
Every page has tips, advice and provides oodles of examples you can use for your own web pages. It’s also easy to read and non-technical. The Secret to Natural Website Conversions was the topic of a radio show at WebmasterRadioFM and it was such a hit there will be another show about the book.
You can listen to the podcast here at the Ecom Experts show.