Week 1: Intro

Hi Everyone,

I’m looking forward to learning more about visual media with you, and learning more about each other as we each work toward our career and education goals.

My name is Rob Wagner, and I live in Utah with my wife, Chandra and our two kids, Lydia and Gabriel. Chandra and I both grew up in Washington state, and were married in the Seattle Temple in 2006. We lived in Washington for 6 years, moved to California for a new job, where we stayed for 4 years, and just moved to Utah in early 2016. Lydia (7), and Gabriel (2).

I work as a lender/assistant branch manager at a credit union, and have always worked in some sort of sales, banking, or marketing role. I’m taking this class as part of a requirement for my degree, but I also love art, and technology, so it’s something I’m looking forward to doing this semester. I don’t have a lot of experience with visual media, but I have practiced some video editing with Sony Vegas Pro from 2008-today.

My hope in this course, is not only to satisfy the required credits, but also to expand my knowledge of visual media, and increase my job prospects with new, in-demand skills and experience.

Please enjoy this video below which will help us to get to know each other better, and let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you, and best regards,

Rob

Week 13

This week was awesome! We talked about how to build our site’s ranking and link-building, and later on did an overview of how to use Google Analytics more in depth. I think my favorite part of this week was when we checked our site’s woorank at woorank.com. Woorank provided me a ton of ideas for how to improve my site, such as adding pictures, reducing load time, and boosting rank with quality link-building, but my favorite was the suggestion to edit the Meta data with keywords because it’s so easy to do, and so effective at getting the site to come up on searches.

Now that we have our final project, a presentation of our web business, coming up I REALLY need to get the art part done. I haven’t really had a ton of time because I’ve been trying to keep up with all of the other homework this whole time (this is not my only class), but maybe I can take care of that on my lunchtime at work. Can’t wait to show the world what Jacky-Jack looks like.

Week 12

This week was a bit overwhelming to be honest. In hindsight, I found out that it would have been easier if I had checked my email more regularly. Oh well, so this week we did Project# 4, two study topics, two discussion boards, and of course our regular weekly wrap-up assignments.

Our topics this week were wrapping up the Adwords campaign, and introducing SEO and SMO marketing strategies.

I really enjoyed these topics because I gained some exposure in 2008-2011 when I was more involved with Youtube, and I learned some new ideas for networking the different SMO outlets together for best results.

One of the best ideas I got from this week came from another student who suggested I use my Jacky-Jack stories in live settings, such as an elementary school, to share it with the kids, and give the card with my website on it so that they can go home and read more Jacky-Jack stories. That was perhaps one of the best ideas ever because being in front of somebody is so much more powerful than trying to reach people simply online.

I just need more time to go and do that kind of thing now, ha ha!

Week 11 Reflections: Website Optimization

This was an awesome week! I’ve had questions for years that were answered in the last seven days about what ranks a website higher (which rules have changed recently), and how to get your website to rank up in search results.

I’ve earned about 22 clicks from Google Adwords, but my site has enjoyed over 150 sessions, and 320 pageviews since I made it available to the public. It’s not an over-the-top stellar site, not full of impressive graphics, or interesting games, and doesn’t really sell anything. It’s just a site that offers children’s stories for parents to read to their kids at bedtime, or whenever. To be honest, I don’t know why it is generating more interest on its own than my Adwords campaign is, but I think that there are two things that really help: 1) My site offers the service of wholesome, children’s entertainment, and it does so for free. 2) It does not employ any advertising to third party sites at this time. These two features improve the sites value to the end-user, and I think that is the number one driving force for a site’s success. A site that genuinely offers value (in this case simply exchanging time to view the site), gets talked about, shared, and re-visited in the future.

If I were to add third-party site advertising, and charged for my stories, the site’s numbers were almost immediately drop off because it affects what is known in marketing as the equilibrium point at which the cost of a product exceeds its value. Stories like this generally need to be free to get distributed, so how do I plan to monetize the site? By building a brand, and licensing that brand to toy-makers, game-makers, and so on.

There’s only one thing that I’m struggling to find this week. I came across a site that measure’s one’s website’s mobility friendliness – among other things – and it showed me what I need to do to make the site function better as a user experience, but now I can’t find that site 😦 – just others that are similar to it. It has to do with download times, and the top portion of the website, etc. If you think you know what I’m talking about, please comment and let me know where you think I need to go to recover that site, I really want to apply those tips and improve the end-user’s experience.

Thanks! Till next week,

Rob

Click the link below to view the site, and enjoy reading The Adventures of Jacky-Jack to your children.
Jacky-Jack

ROI, Conversions, and Optimizing Ad Performance

This week we studied ROI, Conversions, and optimizing our website. ROI stands for “Return on Investment” and basically answers the golden question, “what am I getting for my money?”. If the ROI is good, you’ll make more money on the sales generated from your advertising investment, but if the ROI is not good, then you spend more on advertising then you make. It doesn’t always have to be money, sometimes the objective of the advertising can be for things such as subscriptions, or gaining contact info for a visitor. The objective of the marketing can be tracked by an event known as a “Conversion”. Most conversions are actual sales on a site, but they can also be when a visitor clicks on a key link, or visits a key page on the site.

One way to improve (or optimize) ad performance to generate a better CTR rate, or higher rate of conversions, is to add quotation marks (“”) to your key phrases which causes only that phrase to show up, instead of the words within it independently. You can also add “Negative Keywords” which are words for when it might cause your site to show up in a search list even though it’s unrelated.

Since my site is about kids and pre-schoolers’ bedtime stories based on the adventures of a tiny, little pumpkin, so naturally I don’t want my site showing up on searches where people are just looking for Pumpkin Pie, cookie, and other pumpkin recipes. So I’ve added those to my negative keywords list.

Hope you have found this helpful, it’s been a busy, but a great week!

View Jacky-Jack’s Website!

Week 9

This week we worked on Adwords scoring, and connecting Adwords to Google Analytics. The goal was to narrow down our marketing verbiage to the most effective words and phrases to generate impressions from our target audience. The other goal for this week was to identify the benefits of connecting google analytics and adwords together.

That part was easy, google adwords is to generate traffic to the site, google analytics is to measure the behavior of those visits in terms of how many visitors we have experienced, how many are new, how many are return visitors, how long they stayed on the page, what percentage left without navigating beyond the landing page, and so on. Why this information matters is because it can get expensive to drive people to your site, and using the most effective words, and understanding which pages of the site visitors remain on, and which ones they don’t show much interest in is a key-indicator of where we may want to invest some more time improving those areas of our website.

More Adwords Planning

This week we learned more about constructing an effective adwords campaign, and provided each other with some valuable feedback on our ads.

Originally, I thought that I had a pretty good ad put together, but after receiving some student feedback, I discovered that there were some improvement that I might make to my ad.

My original ad read “Meet Jacky-jack, the tiny pumpkin, as he overcomes the challenges of being small”

Another student suggested that it have more of a call-to-action in it like so:

“Join and meet Jacky-jack, the tiny pumpkin, on his adventures. Being small was never so awesome!”

Both ads have their advantages, so I think I might do a combination of the two for my ad campaign.

I can’t wait to see how it goes, but first I need to add some more content to my website, and finish building the Jacky-jack character. I’m using Adobe Illustrator, but I’m just learning how to use the software, so it may be a bit before I have a completed character for Jacky-jack.

Online Advertising – Web Business

This week we learned about online advertising, specifically setting up an ad campaign, and learning about appropriate key words and phrases to promote our website.

I found these exercises extremely helpful, and eye-opening because as we went through the practice of identifying, and then narrowing down the best key words and phrases, I made a discovery; I am actually NOT in the children’s book industry, at least not until I actually sell hard copies of my books. So that changes things a bit, but I was easily able to identify that I am in the children’s bedtime stories industry. Honestly, I didn’t even know such an industry existed, but that’s because it is so specific, it is actually a sub-category in children’s books. So armed with this knowledge, now I can maximize my advertising dollars by driving the right customers to my site, and avoided false positives, or customers who are not interested in what I’m offering.

I’m SO excited to get started on the official ad campaign and start interacting with the public on my offering to see how it actually goes!

Till next week,

Rob

Week 6 Reflection

This was perhaps the most fun week yet!

First of all, we studied a lot about businesses, business licenses, legal structure, and taxation. Admittedly, this part was actually not too exciting, it was simply necessary to understanding what we need to do to legally operate our business, and what legal structure to use for our various businesses.

The REALLY fun part was learning how to customize my website, and adding content to it. I was able to add a Q & A section, an About section, a Legal, a Privacy Policy, a Donate, and the Stories section. I realized that as I began to write the first Jacky-jack story I told Lydia years ago, the actual story was much longer than I remember, so I had to make it more succinct to fit it in. I can’t wait to write more, but for now, we’ll just start with the first one. 🙂

If you want to see Jacky-jack’s first story, Why am I So Small, click here.

Credit Cards and Paypal

This week we learned about credit cards, PayPal, and how to create such a button on your website to allow those transactions.

Since my site is more about content than selling merchandise, I went with the “donate” button. I don’t expect a lot of activity on it, but I am going to have some fun writing children’s books, and maybe that will inspire someone to donate a buck or two for our cause.

Here’s a link to the site so that you can see the donate button, though it’s not very developed (the site) at this stage.

http://gojackyjack.com

Looking forward to the progress we’ll be making next week, until then.

Rob