Categories
basel blogger blogging running

Jog log

Dear blog,

I am happy to report that I went running on 5 out of 7 days this past week.

The plan is to replace my daily outdoor swim with a slow jog.

Today I did the 2 hills tour. Starting at Bettingerstrasse, running along the Wiese river, via Sonnenhalde and Wenkenpark. More than 6 km long.

I will try to do the same again this week.

My goal at the moment is to run easy.

IMG_20201003_150629
Run easy
Categories
Asides General german language Learning Italian

Favourite podcasts

The Hidden Brain by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain?t=1594925472583

I listened to this one all about debt:
https://www.npr.org/2020/06/15/877401074/buy-borrow-steal-how-debt-became-the-sugar-rush-solution-to-our-economic-woes

This episode all about scarcity was particularly impressive: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/05/748207152/you-2-0-tunnel-vision

podcast time

Ted Radio Hour by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour

About loneliness: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/01/886292087/listen-again-meditations-on-loneliness

How I built this by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this

How Ben and Jerry Ice Cream was founded: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/20/818918341/ben-jerrys-ben-cohen-and-jerry-greenfield

The Story behind Recaptcha: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/22/860884062/recaptcha-and-duolingo-luis-von-ahn

ARD Radio Tatort (crime fiction in German):
https://beta.ardaudiothek.de/ard-radio-tatort/1998988

L’Italiano Vero:
https://www.litalianovero.it/wp/

The only language learning podcast that I like listening to.

Categories
Photos

“The boring flower snapshot” in 2020

The boring flower snapshot is still going strong.

flower power
This week’s submission for the most boring flower snapshot

I cycled past a field of flowers this week and stopped to take some snaps. The light was beautiful. Taken with my smartphone… As they say, the best camera is the one that is with you.

sunrays and flowers
Sunrays and flowers

View my album “The boring flower snapshot” on Flickr.

Categories
General tech

Social Objects and how they help me to connect

In a recent offline conversation, I dropped a comment:

That’s my common social object with so-and-so.

Me in an informal conversation

I realized how much this old blog post from the beginnings of blogging has influenced me.

My observation: If I find a common social object, it helps me re-connect. If I find a common topic, sport, technology, political view, geographic place, hobby, shared past experiences, the depth of interactions changes.

Sounds obvious.

As 2020 has changed many social interactions, routines, and aspects. I am curious to see what will return and in which way.

2020 is a catalyst for changes that started happening already.

inner courtyard

I am curious how work will evolve. Language change is an indicator of societal change. I attended a meeting on Friday where one participant said to another:

I Slack-ed you.

ironically on a Teams call

The tools may change. But, the trajectory will probably remain the same.

Note to myself: My blogger skills are very useful.

roses
Photography is a social object
Categories
General internet marketing writing

Keyword research in 2020: a brief answer

I received this question recently:

If I create content for our company (articles for magazines, social media posts, etc), do I need to try to use KEYWORDS within the text as much as possible? And if yes, is there an online tool / website to check how well I did my job before I publish it?

Here’s my answer:

  • Brainstorm and research as much as you can about your topic.
  • Ask your sales managers how they describe the service when they talk to people on the phone; write down all the phrases they mention.
  • Jot down all the phrases and questions you think people will enter into a search engine for your topic.
  • Check the monthly search volume of your phrases using a tool such as SEMRush or Searchmetrics or Ahrefs. Or use free SEO research tools.
  • Check search intent by entering the keyphrase into Google. Analyze the results you see:
    • Are you seeing some of your competitors? That’s good. You are in the right space.
    • Are you seeing dictionary or encyclopedia or university links? That’s not good, if you are a commercial company.
    • Look at the Google results and try to understand the search intent.
  • Map out the structure and SEO elements of your article.
    • Outline the topic you want to target.
    • Write a draft meta page title and meta description.
    • Write a draft Heading 1 (H1).
    • List out the questions you want to answer in your article.
      • Questions are typically Heading 2s (H2).
      • Answers are a paragraph or a bullet list.
    • List out the keyphrases you want to target in the body text.
    • List articles that you want to use as inspiration for your SEO writing process.
      • Avoid copy and paste. Google is not dumb and can find out if you copy and pasted from another site.
    • Review SEO research before starting to write.
    • Start SEO copywriting process and include all SEO elements.
      • Include main keyphrase in your meta title tag, meta description, H1, add complementary keyphrases in H2s and body of the text, add alt texts for your images.
  • There are several tools that you can use to check the keyword distribution and density in your article. I’ve used Ryte.com, Moz, and there’s a new AI tool called MarketMuse that I am testing.
  • Important: Write for humans. Make the article useful. Think about the phrases people will use to find this article.
  • Track traffic and keyphrases in a tool like SEMRush or SearchMetrics or Ahrefs or Ryte.com or similar. There’s quite a choice.

Hope you find this list useful.

think make check
Continuous Improvement
Categories
Malawi-related recipe

Baking Banana Bread

3 mushy bananas means… It’s time for Banana Bread.

Today’s variation:

  • I used whole wheat flour
  • I added 150 grams of plain joghurt
  • I added lots of walnuts (omega 3 for the win)
  • I added nutmeg, kambuzi sauce, and vanilla sugar for taste

It’s in the oven, baking at a low heat.

Categories
flickr Photos

Giulia Super

giulia super

What a beautiful vintage car. I saw this snapshot in my Flickr archive. From 2008, taken in Hannover with my Canon 40D.

I like this Alfa Romeo.

Find out more in this Wikipedia article.

Categories
General tech

Useful Schema generator for FAQs

I heard about this useful Schema generator for FAQ pages

Categories
basel flickr Photos

February flowers

flowers

For the boring flower snapshot album, some first signs of spring.

flowers
breakthrough
Categories
flickr General Photos

When you have over 20 thousand photos on Flickr…

I’ve been on Flickr for over a decade.

And I have over 20 thousand photos.

Imagine.

I didn’t think this is possible.

Memories. Snapshots. Visual notes.

The primary beneficiary is… me.

I love browsing thru my photos.

I love seeing old snapshots emerge in the Flickr stats or in old links or chats.

I realize Flickr might be dying. I hope not. I hope the new owners find a sustainable business model soon. And ways to innovate.

sunset thru the curtain
Categories
basel biking General

Cyclists, beware of tram tracks. Dangerous spot on Elisabethenstrasse in Basel

I witnessed a motorbike crash this morning while cycling to work.

I was cycling up Elisabethenstrasse when I heard a loud crash.

A motorbiker had crashed on the other side of the street. At a place where the tram tracks and street don’t leave much space for cyclists and motorbikes.

At exactly the same spot which I’ve previously identified as being dangerous.

Not so long ago, the pavement at the tram stop was increased in height so that now the tram doors open at pavement level.

This means the curb is much higher and steeper.

At the same time, the space between curb and tram track is narrower than before and after the tram stop.

Which means on rainy days, you can easily slip on the wet and slippery tram tracks.

Dangerous.

I usually move to the middle of the tracks, away from the curb.

I think I will cycle a different route. Especially on rainy days.

Life is precious. Cycle safely.

As you can tell i am shocked.

Categories
marketing

Content distribution strategies on my mind

Brian Dean’s recent study confirmed what many Digital Marketing folks know intuitively.

(…) Brian Dean recently found that 94% of all content generates zero backlinks. And just 1.3% of articles gobble up 75% of all social shares.

Source: Brafton

It’s 2020 and we’ve have been pumping out content for many years.

Algorithms influence distribution.

How do you earn backlinks for your content?

As shown in the above article, the cost of content creation is increasing.

Distribution strategies matter.

schienen
Train tracks

I liked this tweet:

Well, maybe not Medium… Their technical SEO is broken. I personally think WordPress is still a good option.

The tweet conveys the importance. You need to increase visibility. You must find ways to connect.

Where's the zoo?
Bus and tram network

Consider distribution strategies early, ideally when you are planning and creating the content:

  • What keyphrases and questions will help this article to rank well in the SERPs?
  • Did you look closely at the search intent?
  • Always share the link on your social media properties (Organic Social).
  • Can you spend some money on Paid Search and Paid Social to promote the content to your target audience?
  • Can you add a podcast on the topic?
  • Are you planning a video?
  • Maybe, you could offer a webinar and share the slides and the recording?
  • Brainstorm for ideas: How can you earn backlinks on high-quality sites?
  • Build a simple newsletter and share new content with subscribers at regular intervals.
  • Consider contacting journalists and getting relevant publications to write about you.
  • Inform your sales team of new content. Encourage them to send out direct links to relevant content.
sbb train station
Velo courier at Basel’s main train station
Categories
General Photos

A weekend in Göteborg

Some snapshots and memories in this Flickr album.

lion
La sfida commincia
cake
if you share, there are no calories
street art in Göteborg
Street art
lamp shade
Patterns
göteborg
pippi longstocking
If you are strong, be kind
Categories
flickr Photos

Zucchero

zucchero

A snapshot from my archives on Flickr.

Categories
Photos

Where are you going?

Saw this chalk message on the pavement this week near Basel SBB train station. Where is your life going?

wo geht dein Leben hin?
Categories
General Photos

Photowalk

I went photo-walking with the Basel Photography Meetup on Saturday. The theme was #Openings.

#opening

On my way into town, I saw this yellow monster. Nothing open about it. And very noisy.

loud machinery

I like this snapshot of openings within a gate:

#opening

This snapshot of some openings in this construction site scaffolding fits my likeable criteria equally well:

#opening

An enjoyable photo-walk thru Basel.

water fountain
Categories
General internet swiss video zurich

I attended Medien-Barcamp 2019 – my notes and comments – #medienbc

Yesterday, I set my alarm to 6 am and jumped on the 7:33 train to Zürich-Oerlikon. On a Saturday. To attend a barcamp on media.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of barcamps, a barcamp is a conference that organizes the talks by itself, on the day, Someone provides some rooms and infrastructure such as wifi and screens. And they send out invites via Twitter and other social media channels.

And that’s how i found my way to #medienbc, the event’s hashtag.

In yesterday’s case, the Medien-Barcamp organizers had access to the rooms of SRF, the Swiss public radio and TV station, in Zürich.

It’s not my first barcamp. I’ve attended many and even presented topics at some. Yesterday I was in listening mode.

#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019

Here’s a brief recap of the talks that I attended:

First, I attended a talk by Markus on Voice User Interfaces. He provided an excellent intro to the rise of voice. He says many new jobs are being created in this space. And I made a mental note to look up SSML.

Fabian and David invited us to discuss how to get more “old” people engaged on social media. The discussion covered a lot of ground:

  • The decline in journalistic quality,
  • The change in speed,
  • The fact that today journalists have access to less proofreading, fact checking and editorial staff than ever,
  • Questions like do users want to see and interact with company content on Facebook (apparently yes, 1 attendee described how a Facebook ad influenced her decision to buy).

Next, I listened to Vincenzo talk about the challenges and learnings of setting up an email newsletter for a small regional newspaper. A very honest and useful talk. His newspaper uses a tool called Revue, by a Dutch startup, cos it’s even simpler than Mailchimp.

#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019

I peeked into the session on no-budget video production. I would like to learn more about this.

#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019

I listened to a talk on analytics. Not new for me, but I was curious to see SimilarWeb. It looks a lot like SEMRush.

We looked at the stats for Nau.ch that had just announced it is now making a profit. The stats showed Nau.ch is investing in organic search. Markus recommended that journalists do keyword research for their articles. I would think that is obvious by now.

#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019

In the last session of the day, I got valuable advice on how to prepare to speak in front of audience or take part in an interview. In my own words:

  • Stand firmly. Before you start presenting, assure yourself that you are standing firmly on the ground and that it will not disappear beneath you.
  • Find ways to relax and stand in an open, welcoming position, e.g. take deep breaths of air, yawn, make funny faces, turn into a loud and noisy monster shortly before your gig.
  • Remind yourself that you are valuable, e.g. imagine you were given a really expensive diamond worth more than 100 thousand CHF and walk thru the busy train station in Bern.
  • Prepare and know the content of your presentation. If you know your topic well, you will be persuasive.
  • It’s about your attitude and posture.
#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019

Thank you to the organisers and participants for an enjoyable and fulfilling event. Good food, awesome location, great speakers. I like barcamp sessions cos we can leave out the sales speak and dig deeper. I feel excited and encouraged.

#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019
#medienbc Medien-Barcamp 2019
Categories
flickr Photos

“The boring flower snapshot” lives on

I noticed that searching for the phrase “the boring flower snapshot” still leads to some of my flower snaps on Google and Duck Duck Go.

Added some new snaps to my collection. So boring.

flower power
flower power
flower power

I think this is a great example how using links and relevant anchor texts consistently can help you rank for a specific phrase.

Categories
General

Summer of 2019

There are so many beautiful poppies this year. I captured some impressions on Flickr. It must be the additional rain that causes poppies to bloom. The field next to Fondation Beyeler is red with flowers.

poppies in the wind
stream
Categories
architecture basel Photos

Bicycle tour

I took part in a bicycle tour of public spaces and buildings in Basel. A highlight.

Categories
basel flickr fun Photos

La domenica sportiva

I went for a long slow run today. Along the Wiese river. Up to Bettingen. Via my favourite sawdust track (aka Finnenbahn) at Ausserberg. And, ending my run at the Kneipp facility in Riehen.

Feeling positive and blessed.

water catchment area of basel
Dieser Weg
Categories
flickr Photos

Stacked

Took this snap of a stack of newspapers some time ago. I like the pattern.

stacked
a fave of mine: stacks of newspapers
Categories
flickr Photos

Tulip time

tulip bubble
tulip bubble chez moi
while i was away the tulips started flowering #gardening 2019

Planted several tulip bulbs last autumn. Reminds me of the tulip bubble.

At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsworker.

Tulip Mania
tulip mania
Categories
basel Photos

A postcard from Basel

basel münster as seen from wettstein-brücke

I took this snapshot last week. A postcard view of the Münster in Basel.

Categories
culture

Cycling anecdote

This morning the traffic lights jumped from yellow to red just as I was approaching a pedestrian crossing. I stopped. A man and a small boy were standing on the sidewalk, waiting. The man turns to me and comments angrily or sarcastically:

Zu müde zum velofahren? (= too tired to cycle?)

I responded that I have a red light.

Somewhat weird comment. And he sounded angry.

Perhaps I didn’t fit in with his view of “rowdy” cyclists that ignore traffic lights.