Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Henry Hudson Quadricentennial (400!) Birthday in NY - Saugerties Bed and Breakfast Awaits

First there were Maryland's 375th Birthday Celebration activities to visit this year (poking our head out of land-locked Loudoun); now there's the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's famous voyages up in NY, and the resulting NY birthday events in great tourist destinations such as Saugerties, NY, in Ulster County. Here's a sample of the local fare (that we've enjoyed in the past) - only a few (well, maybe a little longer than driving to OBX) hours up 95 on past NYC...

Saugerties NY Farmer's Market - Henry Hudson Quadricentennial History Day, August 1, 2009 11AM - Period Cooking/Recipes, Dress and Historical Food and Farming Demonstrations By Cafe Tamayo Saugerties Bed and Breakfast Inn.

As part of the 2009 Henry Hudson Quadricentennial celebration in Saugerties, NY and throughout the Hudson River Valley, the Village of Saugerties Farmers Market plans to serve tastes of heirloom and heritage local food made into dishes that Henry Hudson would have found very familiar. On Saturday, August 1st, market chef and founder James Tamayo, proprietor of the well-known local Saugerties bed and breakfast "Cafe Tamayo and Inn", will be preparing Venison Stew using venison from the Highland Farm with local produce from the Saugerties Farmers Market. James will also be creating a locally-sourced fruit cobbler, and Maya Graeves will provide the local corn bread and fixings. You may also catch members of the Saugerties Historical Society in period costume assisting the Saugerties Farmers Market chefs, along with many opportunities to get recipes, participate in tastings, watch demonstrations of historical cooking implements and learn from expert discussions about the local food and its history. Local farmers will also be available to talk about growing and raising foods in our times, that Henry Hudson and his crew would have used 400 years ago. The public is invited to this taste of history and to join in the celebration of the Hudson Valley bounty, unlocked by the Hudson and Champlain’s voyages.

In July 1609, Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer and navigator, mapped much of northeastern North America and started a settlement in Quebec. Champlain also discovered the lake named for him, Lake Champlain, on the border of northern New York state and Vermont. A month later, Englishman Henry Hudson sailed the Dutch Halve Maen (Half Moon) into New York Bay and traveled up the river meeting with the Mohican Indians at a spot south of Albany near Castleton, historians believe.

In addition to celebrations of New York's 400th birthday throughout Ulster County, Saugerties and the surrounding region, the celebration of Hudson's legendary voyage will include two three-day festivals in both Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in New York City – along with a transatlantic sailing race between the cities. The year-long observance of the journeys of some of the state's first explorers has been years in the making already, and is well underway. Historic displays, re-enactments, boat races, music, drama, television documentaries and big city and small town observances from the Netherlands to Quebec via the Hudson River are already taking place.

Jimmy Tamayo is a founding member of the Saugerties Farmer's Market, and with his wife Rickie runs the very well-known Hudson River Valley and Saugerties Bed and Breakfast Inn/Restaurant at Cafe Tamayo. Cafe Tamayo serves fresh food and products year-round from the Farmers Market and local Ulster County farming producers to the public, tourists or private parties. The Cafe Tamayo Inn and Saugerties Bed and Breakfast is available year-round, and is especially convenient for attending local Saugerties festivals, HITS, Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial events and more.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Loudoun Easterner is Shuttered

The Loudoun Easterner's last issue was July 22, according to this article by John Geddie, a former employee now at the Loudoun Independent.

We reached this conclusion many times over our years blogging in Loudoun that the communities, while fast-growing in terms of people, housing and traffic, was not quite as fast-growing in terms of "real" news from unique journalism perspectives - i.e. major business, community or government reporting opportunities created or discovered by journalists, that were really compelling and unique to the journalist or publisher. Most papers over the years had very similar stories and formats, and a dwindling base of advertising - this, along with the rapid proliferation of online reader-generated news sources and dialogue, the movement of LoudounExtra.com on the scene, and the fall in the economy could only lead to consolidation of the local papers.

So, the remaining papers can only get better, or will we end up with 1 or 2, with the community reporting slack taken up by local blogging, tweeting, emailing and community discussion boards?


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Northern Virginia SEO Services - Professional Grade Engineering, Information-Sharing and Management

A quick word from our sponsors, promoting Northern Virginia Businesses, Organizations and the online information-sharing social media community in general...

Northern Virginia SEO Services available to businesses and organizations are proliferating quite quickly, due primarily to the increased exposure of the business value of Internet Marketing to local and regional businesses. Northern Virginia in particular is a hotbed of internet technology and online internet application awareness, with its concentration of Federal Government technology-savvy contracting staff and organizations, and the influx of younger generations liberally using and developing social media information-sharing applications focused on the Obama administration's focus on open government and green industrial policies. However, when searching for SEO Services in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland or frankly any other metropolitan region as a business or organization, there are several extremely important characteristics of both your business need, and your Northern Virginia SEO services provider to keep in mind. In particular, 5 critical disciplines are essential to look for and hire in your Northern Virginia Internet Marketing, SEO, SEM or PPC services provider. Don't fall into the trap of doing one without the other, or hiring a service provider who claims to provide all 5 - but either doesn't deliver or is simply too new or inexperienced to offer these.

Business MUST consider and execute on ALL 4 services, to be guaranteed some level of success. After reading below, contact KME Internet Marketing for more information.

(1) DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia Online Web Design and Branding - this is what your website looks like, how useful and effective it is for users to navigate, whether it meets usability and accessibility standards, the logos and branding elements, the colors, graphics and pictures, and the smart, integrated use of multimedia like videos or podcasts.

This service truly provides the "front window" to your business, and helps keep and convert interested customers who find and come to your site - whether via traditional computers of through mobile devices.

Many companies focus ONLY on this, and while claiming to deliver the other 3 services below, quite often are ineffective or simply inexperienced in these other areas. Test this out - check out the Google Page Rank of the websites that web design companies have in their portfolio - more times than not, it's quite low. Look at the "title" of the website at the top of the browser window - does it speak to the core products or services offered? Try this test on the actual Northern Virginia SEO Services provider you're considering - it's quite interesting how many times a seeming "expert" doesn't seem to execute the basics for their own business.

(2) Northern Virginia SEO Services, Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Optimization - this is how you attract customers to your website, using all kinds of techniques from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Social Media Optimization and Marketing, Blogging and Pay-Per-Click.

This Northern Virginia SEO service actually delivers the "right" customers to your website and business, through many Internet channels including search, advertising, directories, social media, micro-blogging/alerts and news/press releases or communications. Channels also obviously include references and reviews about the target website, whether as user-provided comments or corporate-supplied backlinks. This service also includes management of marketing and advertising campaigns, along with analysis and tracking of web traffic statistics and website use. Keeping track of your website traffic and demographics, from BOTH your website's perspective AND the perspective of referring sites or services (like RSS feeds, emails, Twitter, etc.)is an extremely important skillset Northern Virginia SEO service providers need to demonstrate. Providers with certifications, such as a "Certified Google Adwords Professional" are ones to seek with superior skills in business and marketing analytics.

This MUST be done by experienced professionals, with controlled systems-engineering style methods, in parallel with web design/build efforts - without experienced service here, no one will ever see your great website, and your company branding, communciations efforts and web design money will have been wasted. This includes Internet AND "offline" marketing coordination and experience.

(3) Northern Virginia Web Technology and Hosting - this includes the underlying technology platforms, telecommunications, security, storage, operations/help desk and programming required to run your website, from the eCommerce or Shopping Cart applications your website uses to the availability, recoverability, performance, reliability, privacy and security requirements your your website and business needs. It's the computer Hardware, Software and Operations/Maintenance (O&M) needed to successfully run a great website. Very experienced Northern Virginia SEO Service providers will maintain significant professional alliances with reputable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with long track records of success, particularly for online businesses with significant online marketing and application management needs.

This also MUST also be done by experienced professionals, in parallel with web design/build efforts. What's extremely important about this particular service offering and capability, however, is that you retain professional advice and services for the #4 critical service, below.

(4) Northern Virginia Marketing and Advertising Communications and Copywriting - this is perhaps the clearest differentiator between an experienced and successful Northern Virginia SEO services provider and any other SEO services provider one might find looking for really cheap and turnkey answers. Good writing skills take a long time to develop and tune, especially when the writing assignments frequently range across many diverse subject areas and publishing contexts. Writing articles is very different than blogging or twittering, and Facebook updates are not approached the same as LinkeInd entries...plus, the source, content, placement and links to/from the content will vary a lot depending on other contextual or semantic factors - perhaps the time of week, the style/reach of the publisher, the volume of material or the sophistication and target demographic of the intended readers. Not only does writing style and content need to be crafted for the reader, but also obviously for the automated search engine 'bots, whose algorithms regarding inference and interpretation of content can be quite different, in different circumstances. This kind of writing prowess, using impeccable American English for regions like Northern Virginia and metro Washington DC, is a significantly unique trait to KME Internet Marketing, and most certainly not found through outsourcing to overseas SEO factories or providers without professional writers on staff.

The copywriting, composition and communications skills of a Northern Virginia SEO services provider can be very quickly determined through survey of online dialogue, blogging, postings, articles and other material supplied by the provider, in addition to the material presented in a proposal or services statement. Look also to check out the online authorship and reputation of your service provider's staff - it they write great elsewhere, they'll write fabulously for you.

(5) Northern Virginia Information Technology (IT) Management - this is the MOST critical element of your website implementation, and is MOST frequently where website efforts fall short, expectations aren't met, and lots of money and time is wasted. Most Washington DC or Northern Virginia SEO service providers actually fall far short in this criteria, their businesses being run by web designers, programmers or "johnnie-come-lately" SEO experts - who simply don't have the career experience, project management or Information Technology industry knowledge to successfully launch, market and maintain your business presence on the Internet, at a regional or global scale.

An experienced Information Technology Project Manager should be provided by your Northern Virginia SEO services provider to help plan, manage and coordinate the efforts of all website and Internet presence design, development, operations, marketing and promotion activities. The Technology Project Manager should be experienced with BOTH "Technical Project Management" (i.e. making sure the resources, schedule, services and financing are all aligned, for the project and with your other company activities), AND "Internet and New MediaTechnologies" (i.e. in-depth knowledge of the kinds of technologies and services being used for Internet-sourced websites and applications, including their risks, standards, best practices and availability of 3rd-party options). The Technology Project Manager will be well-versed in social media tools and techniques, multi-media digital asset management and optimization, newly available and useful sources and services for website optimization and management, "buzz" and important information regarding your presence, offerings or technologies within the Internet user and technologist communities, and many other elements available and utilized by all successful businesses with online presence and solution offerings.

This kind of experience is MOST OFTEN the "missing link" to a successful website, and great return on your Internet Technology and Marketing investment (ROI).

This kind of experience is KME Internet Marketing of Virginia's greatest and most unique strength - Senior Technology Project Managers at affordable prices with BOTH regional Internet marketing and social media expertise AND decades of successful Internet systems engineering, architecture and online marketing experience with Globally-recognized firms, including EDS, IBM, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, and Accenture. This critical Information Technology Management and Northern Virginia SEO experience is highly unique, extremely valuable, and typically NOT available (ask them!) from:

  • local web design and graphic firms;

  • outsourced and offshore website development companies;

  • Audio/Visual design and production companies;

  • freelance designers, programmers or copywriters;

  • traditional advertising, marketing and PR companies;

  • brand new local SEO companies; and/or

  • ISPs/Domain Name registrars.

This critical Information Technology Project Management, Digital Asset Optimization, Information Sharing and Management, Data Architectures and Internet Systems Engineering experience IS available here, at KME Internet Marketing and Partners.

To conclude, when hiring a Washington DC, Southern and Suburban Maryland, Northern Virginia SEO services provider, be sure to take seriously into account the five principle differentiators discussed in this article - for maximum return on your investment (ROI), lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), best management and maintenance of your professional and/or corporate reputation, and overall most satisfying and profitable long-lasting relationship and experience.

One additional point - does your Northern Virginia SEO Services provider have a solid and distinct community reputation, participating not only in philanthropic and community service events, but contributing to the local business and nonprofit environment from both an information-sharing and collaborative promotion perspective - basically, do they "give back"? In our new era of "green is good" and "give forward", providers like KME Internet Marketing who offer free Internet Marketing for nonprofits, run community blogs and directories (like Gateway to Loudoun County and Dulles South Online), support specific, family-friendly regional community service organizations (like Paws4People) and are active in local business community events and services (like Loudoun County, Fairfax and Dulles Chambers of Commerce) are the ones to take special note of, and work most closely with.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th - Triathlon Training - Need a Road Bike!

Happy 4th of July! In preparation for several hours ruminating with the Dulles Regional Craft Brew Appraisers here in DC's beer country, it's time to get out and get some triathlon training in - for the upcoming South Riding Triathlon, September 6th.

Last year's race was an overwhelming success, though the pool got real crowded, real fast - with many slower swimmers clogging the works - it appears the seeding and management of the swim this year will be much more finely controlled. Of course, riding a big 'ol mountain bike didn't help my time any - does anyone have a used men's road bike I can buy? Will spend $200 for what should be a 5 minute improvement, and perhaps a significant move up in the "over 40 slow fat guys" rankings!