Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Archive for Web Marketing



Posted by: Char | Comments (6)

My Social Buttons

Social media is hot and its here to stay! One of the biggest trends in web design right now is adding icons or buttons for all the various social media sites you use to your web site to make it one step easier for friends, customers and potential customers to connect with YOU. So where do the designers find all these cool icons? They are all over the web and many are free, but you have to go looking for them.

Fellow designer Randa Clay and I got tired of looking high and low for the best social media icons and decided to create a single hub where you can find the best, free social media icons, buttons and graphics to use at your site. We would like to introduce you to our new website,, a one-stop resource for all the coolest social networking buttons you can use to let the world know where and how to connect with you or your company online.

All of the buttons on the site at the moment are free. Yep, free. You can help yourself. We just ask that you save the buttons you want to your computer first before you add them to your site or your clients’ sites.

msb-mousepadAnd, if you really want to show of your social prowess, check out some of the t-shirts, mugs, mousepads and other goodies we have created to go with the social movement. They make great gifts, awesome conference schwag, and they are perfect for use as doorprizes or ice breakers at corporate training sessions.

Anyhow, the site is still in beta, but we just can’t keep it to ourselves any longer! Please check it out, let us know what you think, bookmark it, share a link with your friends on Facebook, give it a Tweet, or love it anyway you see fit!!


Poll: How Does Your Website Make Money

Posted by: Char | Comments (16)

There are countless ways to earn money via the Web, whether you have a small business web site, a niche product site, or anything in between. One of the most popular posts on this site has been the one I did on Website Monetization: A Reality Check. Since that time, I have experimented with additional monetization strategies – some work, some don’t – and some work better than others depending on your site goals, traffic levels and audience.  I am planning a follow up post to the Website Monetization one, but in the meantime, I’d like some feedback from YOU.

What monetization methods do you use? Take this quick poll and let me know.

[polldaddy poll="1138037"]

Now for the fun part. What monetization methods are working BEST for you? Leave a comment letting us know what type of site you have and what monetization methods are making the most for you. I will be including some of the reponses and the results of the poll in an upcoming post.


Mixx Mixes It Up With Traditional Media

Posted by: Char | Comments (4)

Add to Mixx!A few months back I wrote about how I got traffic from CNN and their use of Sphere to link content from blogs to their articles. Well, a recent look at the CNN site shows that they have become even more hip and social – and their social darling is CNN is not the only traditional media outlet who is getting social with Mixx – the LA Times, New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, and The Weather Channel are part of a growing list who are all mixxing it up.

The difference between Mixx and other social news/bookmarking sites is how users form communities based on topics and create a more personalized experience. The Washington Post recently featured a really nice article on Mixx and its founder, Chris McGill, who took the time to explain the differences between Mixx and its social rivals.

When you visit today’s CNN article on Web use at work and how it can be a good thing, you are presented with multiple opportunities to get social with the article. They have long had the email a friend and print options on their article pages, but now check out the upper right hand corner of a CNN page:

CNN gets social

Mixx gets top billing! You can also submit the article to a variety of social bookmarking sites using the Share button, but it is Mixx that stands out from the crowd.

As you read further down the page, you are presented with the social options again:

CNN mixx

I also think it is interesting that at this point in the article, the page looks an awful lot like any successful blog page! Notice the tags, the ads by google, the Most Popular tabbed navigation box, and of course the options to get social. Makes you wonder – did blog design emulate the news media or have the news media taken on the best features from the blogosphere? I’m sure it is a bit of both – and I’m sure that the traditional media outlets are consulting with some of the most successful bloggers for input.

cnn’s social sideSo, if Mixx has CNN’s attention, which other social news and social bookmarking sites are worth investing time in? CNN seems to think these are and in this order:

Yahoo Buzz is getting quite a bit of attention lately and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the mix soon. Netscape’s Propeller is also hanging in there, but it hasn’t made too many waves as of late.

What are your favorite social news and bookmarking sites? Which ones do you think are here to stay and which ones will get drown out with all the other noise? I’d love to know what you think! And while you are at it, add this to the Mixx!

Add to Mixx!

Comments (4)


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