SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

I know that I ramble a lot, so I am going to try to keep this brief.

First and foremost, if anyone doesn’t know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

In layman’s terms – SEO is trying to make your webpage appear at, or near the top, of google, bing, duckduckgo, etc… when people search certain terms.


SEO without an established blog and brand is a waste of your time.

But why?

Well, the idea of SEO is ranking your blog/website high on search engines so that when people search certain terms, your blog/website is one of the first things that they see. It’s the idea of gaining raw, organic traffic to your site.

But, and this is a big but, if your brand and blog are not established, what’s the point of ranking at the top of search engines? Heaven knows, if you actually write something that goes viral, without an established brand for your blog, people are going to accidentally stumble on your page, read only the searched term and leave.

Now, if you’re thinking ‘hey, at least I got that traffic!’ I would strongly recommend you readjust your thinking. Successful blogging involves building a community. You want readers to find your blog, read your blog, fall in love with your blog and want to come back. You want them to hit that follow button, like your posts, or submit their email address for subscriptions. Why? Because this is blog growth.

If you write something that does happen to go viral, you want people to read it and to want to come back. If your blog isn’t established, what are people coming back for?

I see a lot of bloggers feel the desire to jump on the SEO bandwagon right away. As much as I hate the statement, you really ought to learn to walk before you can run.

Build that blog. Create that community and that space which you’re damn proud of. Make it a place for people to come, fall in love with you, what you share and who you are. Make it yours. Design a layout. Talk about your passions. Make a safe space for thoughts, hopes and dreams, and everything that you love to write about.

Picture it like you’re building a house. Jumping on the SEO bandwagon before your blog and brand are built is like moving into your master bedroom when the roof hasn’t been put on the house.

SEO is a great tool, when you’re established. And when you’re established, it’s something that you’ll find a great deal of fulfillment in learning and trying to master. But, until you’re established with your blog, any of your posts ranking highly on search engines will likely garner only temporary attention. A day or two of a lot of a traffic might be exciting in theory, but in reality, it’ll show a fatal flaw in your blogging structure in that, you’ll be failing to keep any of that traffic as a piece to your community.

I’m not saying don’t ever establish SEO for your blog, I’m just saying that there are more important steps to establish first.

Build the blog (people will find you from WordPress during the process) then invite the people from the interwebs.

Adventures in job hunting: a clarification

I know that my adventures in job hunting series can, for the most part, come across as quite negative. Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time is aware that job hunting is quite stressful and can be filled with a lot of false leads, unfortunate events and people who just don’t seem willing to be honest and up front about what they’re looking for.

This is not to say there aren’t positives in this process. Because there are. But I like to talk about the negatives and rant about the employers who seem to be conducting their hiring processes all wrong because, quite frankly, I know I’m not alone. These types of things happen to everyone.

Through the past few months, being selected as one of the final two candidates several times, getting hired and then having my job offer rescinded (due to “corporate restructuring”) and so on and so forth, I’ve learned to be a little more mum about the things I’m excited about… the things I’m hopeful for. Why? Because when I get excited, it often ends in disappointment. Actually, since I’m still technically unemployed, I’m batting 0 for the year and, it always ends in disappointment. That doesn’t mean these weren’t good experiences though. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good HR people out there. That doesn’t mean that nothing good ever comes from job hunting.

For me, it’s hard to get my hopes up, to get excited about it and to really believe it’s going to happen only to have my dreams quashed when they ‘take a different route’. That’s not to say I have any negative feelings or ill-will towards that company, that’s just to say they didn’t want me.

There are good people working in HR. I’m sorry if it comes across as my bashing HR. I have had good experiences. There are good hiring managers in this world. I’m sorry if it comes across as my consistently bashing these workers. Because in spite of all the idiots and assholes I cross paths with, there are some really good ones in this world.

It’s just, when I’m dealing with the disappointment of making it all the way to being final two and then I don’t get selected, it’s tough to then turn around and tell stories of my consistently not being good enough. For that reason, ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ tends to be a series more about the epic failures of companies that I cross paths with in this unemployment journey. Adventures in Job Hunting is all about the struggles that I, and all too many people go through to try and find a job. It is by no means a reflection of job hunting as a whole.

I just like to vent about the shitty stuff, the assholes and the liars. Because venting about it helps me get over it and move on faster.

Because… I’m onto the next. I’m not giving up. I can’t give up. Someone, somewhere out there is going to realize my value and what I could bring to their office. Someone is going to know they need to hire me. Until they do though, I’m sure there’ll be many more ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ posts to come.

Sorry, not sorry. That’s life.

Adventures in job hunting: Misleading job descriptions.

I had a phone interview for a job scheduled for today at 11:00.

The job that I applied for was for a Marketing Coordinator for one of the most major beverage companies in the world.

I read the job description and it talked about creating and implementing a marketing plan, determining new markets and sectors for which to expand the brand, using communication platforms to deliver messages and promotions of the products and deciding events to sponsor. These are all typical marketing related tasks.

The ENTIRE job description mentioned that it was for this particular beverage brand. NOWHERE in the job description did it mention that it was for any other brand, or anything but this particular beverage brand.

Get three minutes into the phone interview and he lets me know that the job isn’t actually for this brand at all, it’s for one of their subsidiaries.

Fine.

Whatever.

Then, he asks me what makes me want to work for this brand – the subsidiary, not what I thought I was applying for.

I told him the position seemed like a challenge that I would be great for and I was excited at the prospect.

Then he said ‘No, not why you want this position, why do you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

I again mentioned the position seemed like something that would excite me.

And again, he said ‘I know why you think the position is great, but why did you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

Well, sir, I didn’t actually know I was applying for a job with this subsidiary until about a minute ago when you told me. There was no listing of the subsidiary anywhere in the job posting. At all.

Scuffles on the other end of the phone.

‘You’re not very quick at thinking on your feet, are you?’ he asks.

‘Guess not!’ I said and tried to laugh it off, knowing this was going to be held against me.

Then he goes on to say ‘Well, I’ll explain to you a little more about the position. As a member of our sales team..’

Hold up.

Nothing in the job description mentioned ANYTHING about sales. ‘Oh, the job description didn’t mention anything about sales?’ I calmly, casually suggested.

He says ‘Well Marketing Activation is, by definition, sales’.

I disagree with that statement on its face. But whatever.

He goes on to explain that this position is a sales role and commission based.

So I applied to a job that I believed was going to be branding, marketing and establishing this company into new avenues in Western Canada.

The job was actually for a sales position for a subsidiary company in which the job-holder is to drive around the prairie provinces asking different gas stations and arenas and venues if they’re willing to carry this product and what kind of deal I could arrange to sell them these products.

Letter to a lost soul.

Dear Self,

Hold on. I promise you that it won’t be this way forever. So please, I beg of you, hold on.

You might not know where this next year is going to take you and the sheer prospect of it might frighten you to your core, but I promise you that you can handle it. Good, bad, happy, sad, no matter what comes your way, you can handle it.

There’s a lot of unknowns right now. Even more than those unknowns, there’s a fucking lot going on that you cannot control. Please don’t let that weigh on your heart.

I know that you can get overwhelmed at times, feeling like there’s really nothing in this world you can do to make things better. It’s times like these that I encourage you to remember that it is not always you responsibility to carry the weight of the world. As much as I know you’re not a religious person, try to remember the sentiment to the statement ‘let go and let god’. Because putting everyone’s burdens on yourself is a really hard way to live.

Please don’t be afraid of the future. Don’t be afraid for opportunities, or lack thereof. Like the lyrics say ‘what is meant to be will be’, and if it never comes to fruition then it wasn’t meant to happen.

Stop worrying about money. You’ll always find a way to get the money – whether it takes a week, a month, a year or ten years.

Stop worrying about time. There is no rule that says you need to have an established life by a certain time. This is your life and you determine the time frame of which things happen, no one else.

Stop worrying about not being good enough. Worry about leaving a lasting impression on the world, especially your friends and your family. Worry about improving yourself daily and about making people’s lives better.

Hold on, self.

Hold on for dear life.

Work had, self.

Even with all the bad there is in this world, you can be good. You can lead by example and you can make change.

Be kind, self.

You never know what sort of challenges someone is facing or how hard of a time they might be having. Perhaps all they need is someone to show them genuine kindness.

Love yourself, self.

Regardless of the insecurities you might see when you look in the mirror, you’re a pretty fucking amazing person. And while you may see those insecurities so clearly, I promise you that the people who really matter to you, they don’t. And even if they could, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t care. It’s a nice feeling being loved and appreciated for exactly who you are, so stop letting those insecurities dictate your happiness. Let people love you for exactly who you are.

Regardless of what happens, you can and will get through this. It may seem like insurmountable demons right now, but I promise you that one day you’re going to look back on these times and be proud.

Hold on, self. I promise you that it won’t be this way forever. So please, I beg of you, hold on.

Sincerely, Me

Natalia Grace on Dr. Phil

Well, today was the day. For the first time after all these months hearing Michael and Kristine Barnett slandering their adoptive daughter in the news with nothing but speculation they’re trying to claim as ‘evidence’, Natalia finally got her chance to share her side to the story.

There are varying degrees of opinions following the interview today. A lot of people online still painting her to be a liar, still doing… what I would consider to be online bullying with their words.

While I admit, there are some things I would love to have been asked/answered that weren’t, I trust that if Dr. Phil thought anything ridiculous going on he either would have 1) Stated that, or 2) Not aired the episode at all. He, as an executive producer has the power to decide what makes it to air and what doesn’t. He doesn’t need the ratings, his show isn’t in jeopardy. So, there was no reason for him to air this interview other than him wanting to let Natalia share her story.

In my personal opinion, Natalia is a 16 year old. I thought this before I watched Dr. Phil and after watching Dr. Phil, my opinion is only stronger that that is, in fact, the case.

A couple of important things happened on the show today:

  • Dr. Phil asked Natalia over and over and over again what her thoughts were so far as to the Barnett’s and their actions and, not once, did Natalia say a bad or negative thing about them.
  • When asked if she thinks the Barnett’s should serve jail time for their actions, Natalia said that all she wants to happen is that she gets her life back. She wants her age changed back to what it should be. She said that the court could give them jail time, and if they do that would be the courts decision. She said that she just wants her age changed back on paper and to be able to move on with her life.
  • Natalia said it wasn’t two months into her adoption that the Barnett’s started questioning her age and stopped treating her like family.
  • Dr. Phil asked Natalia about the speculations the Barnett’s have blasted through media cycles the past couple of months and Natalia responded to each of them. And honestly, it just seems like things the Barnett’s are blowing out of proportion to try and play a victim card.
  • Natalia’s parents, the people who have looked after her since she was abandoned, speculated a couple of things. 1) The father speculated they were trying to discredit her mental stability and when they couldn’t do that, that’s when they came up with the plan to change her age so they could leave her ‘because she was an adult’ and 2) The mother speculated that Natalia’s medical conditions and need for surgery would slow down their ability to devote their lives to their boy genius son and be touted in the media as an incredible mother looking after a son with Autism and advocating for people with disabilities, and that Kristine just didn’t want the negative press.

Honestly, I do think it’s a bit of both.

As mentioned in the previous posts I have done about Natalia Grace, I do believe she is a child. I do believe she is still a minor. Call this opinion biased if you’d like, but I am stating this is, in fact my opinion because I don’t want people to ‘come for me’ for saying it’s fact.

I’m grateful for the Mann family for taking in Natalia, a little girl who was forced to grow up way too quickly and who deserved better from both the Barnett’s and the United States government.

I sincerely hope, when all is said and done and the trial is over, that her age is legally changed back and she gets to lead a normal life. The Barnett’s are callous. The State of Indiana fucked up here. They really did. The judge who legally changed her age needs to be investigated. To me, it’s abundantly clear the Barnett’s crafted a way to ‘dispose’ of her that wouldn’t hurt their image and public notoriety gained from being the amazing parents to their child prodigy son Jacob. Natalia wasn’t an daughter to them. Natalia was an inconvenience to them. She’s the victim here.

I’m so disappointed in the media. I really am. All of these people who’ve been promoting Kristine and Michael’s lies and dragging this girl through the mud, they should have to apologize. I really hope they swallow the sword and grow up and apologize. Because until they do, Natalia is never going to be able to lead a normal life. Her name, face, likeness and person has been dragged through the mud for months… at the hands of this couple who refuse to admit their wrong doings.

** Oh, Dr. Phil also said that he’s arranging for Natalia’s birth mother to come to the United States to reunite the two. Which is awesome. I hope this birth mother is, in fact her birth mother and that Dr. Phil can help prove that. Because if so, that’ll be a big help into getting to the bottom of this case!


Couple of Dr. Phil clips:

Natalia responding to specific claims made by Kristine Barnett
Natalia answering with what she wants when all is said and done.

Previous posts about this subject:

Natalia Grace Speaks! – Nov 4, 2019

Natalia Grace – I can’t even with this crazy story… – October 9, 2019

This millennial’s music guide.

I’m not really sure what genres I could call this collection of songs. But, since music is such a big piece to my life, I thought for the first time ever, I’d share some of my favourite songs on this blog.

I truly believe that a person’s taste in music can tell you a lot about who they are. People are often surprised when they hear my selections for song choices. I’m not really sure that this collection will say much about me, but if it is does then please feel so inclined as to share some of your favourite songs. I’d love to let your favourite songs tell me a little bit more about you.

I really tried to narrow it down to ten but I just couldn’t. Thus, this list is thirteen…

Tom Cochrane & Red Rider – Boy Inside the Man

I can’t really explain the reason why I love this song so much. It just a certain ‘purity’ to it that makes me think of all the adventures I go into growing up. It’s pure nostalgia for me when I hear it.

Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

Oh goodness, I might need to stop actually talking about why I like these songs because I’m only on #2 and I’m struggling. This song, it reminds me of a specific moment in my life when someone said to me “Forgive me for staring, but your eyes, they’re the most blue of anyone I’ve ever seen.” When I hear it, I’m transformed back to a much more simple time and place in life. And, I like that. I guess you could say this one is nostalgic for me as well.

The Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See

This song is waking up in the morning to smell a fresh pot of coffee brewing and hear some extremely loud singing coming from the shower. It’s a peaceful drive into the city, on your way to work, witnessing the truly incredible sights the Canadian landscapes have to offer, with the sun beaming on your face and a sense of fulfillment in your heart. This song is… peace, calm and serenity to me.

Tom Petty – I won’t Back Down

Though it doesn’t sound like much of a fight song, this song is my fight song. When I feel like the world is kicking me around and throwing all sorts of shit at me that I can’t handle, this is the song I’ll go to.

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark

Ugh… to me this song should be a Millennial Anthem. It’s like… as we were being born, he knew how we’d feel 30 years from then…

Paul Simon – You can call me Al

This song is equally annoying and incredible to my brain. I both love it and hate it equally, and cannot stop listening to it. It’s like an earworm that I’ve had since I was ten years old.

Otis Redding – Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay

This song reminds me of my grandfather. This was his favourite song, and I think as a result that’s why it’s one of my favourites. My grandfather was someone who could hear something on the radio and sit down and play it on his piano, or guitar, or any of the instruments he had in his house. He was a music genius and he always had a soft spot for this song. As a result, I do to.

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel

I love Elvis. I love all Elvis. From Jailhouse Rock to Blue Christmas to Suspicious Minds, I really love it all. If I had to pick a favourite though, this will always be my favourite Elvis song.

Dobie Gray – Drift Away

This is the most chill of all chill songs (for lack of ability to describe it any better).

Chris Stapleton – Millionaire

A song from this decade, how did this sneak in here? Actually though, Chris Stapleton is one of the most amazing musicians ever in my mind. Fun fact: he was actually a songwriter for other artists before he broke onto the music scene himself. I’ve seen the man live… 3 times now. I’d go to his concerts again and again and again because his lyrics are incredible, his voice is powerful and his shows are just as damn good as the recorded songs. And when his wife appears in concert with them – oh my god, you won’t be let down.

The Wallflowers – One Headlight

This song was a key piece to my ‘I’m a moody teenager soundtrack’ and has stuck around on my list of favourites ever since. The 90’s was a truly great decade for music. Seriously.

Bob Dylan – Mr. Tambourine Man

This song also ranks on my ‘top of the tops’ list because of my grandfather. I recall so many times going over to his house and this song was playing. I think this was one of his favourites. He used to sit down and play it on his various instruments and try to make me sing. I would never sing though, because I’m horrible. But… fond memories.

David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

ANOTHER SONG FROM THIS DECADE! This song is my go-to for when I’m in a really bad mood. It always seems to make me feel like it’s better than I think it is…


Have any song suggestions that are your favourites? I’m always looking for some new music to encapsulate my soul.

Don’t wait for the new year for resolutions. Things for you to quit TODAY

  1. Trying to please everyone.
  2. Fearing change.
  3. Living in the past.
  4. Overthinking.
  5. Being afraid to be different from everyone else.
  6. Sacrificing your happiness for others.
  7. Thinking you’re not good enough.
  8. Thinking you have no purpose.

People always wait for New Year’s Day to make resolutions and honestly, why? Make these resolutions today. Make change today. Better yourself today. You deserve it. You’re worth it. Don’t wait for some arbitrary day to try and change you thinking – start to try and change the way you think today.

It’s not going to be easy. And it’s not going to happen at the snap of your fingers. But if you make the effort to enrich your life with serious changes that will ultimately benefit you long-term, the change will be worth it.

Do it. Do it today.