Sep 252012
 

In an earlier post we discussed how much computing power your desktop system might need to produce quality web videos while keeping to the HayleStorm Interactive mantra…”Spend frugally”.  That post, and this one, is prompted by some of Robust system resources are needed to edit videothe things I read while doing the research needed to keep the information here up-to-date.  I am completely blown away by what I see described as “inexpensive” when systems are discussed.

I just read an article, , that has an ENTRY level system cost pegged at $1330, mid level at $1870, and a super duper, mega kick butt system with a price of $3370…and these prices are for parts only, YOU do the assembly (which is super simple)!  Wow!

Belive me when I say you DON’T have to spend anything even close to that amount of money to have a system that will exceed your expectations and needs.

The earlier post was in very generalized terms, mainly because it was written when I was in the middle of making a major change in desktop systems Continue reading »

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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May 272012
 

I have talked quite a bit about the importance of video in todays online world…talking about everything from the amount of web traffic that is video (and how it is growing almost exponentially) to the fact that video pages keep visitors on a  

website a lot longer than text pages, or even pages with static graphics.

Once you decide to “go video”, you want to REALLY go video, and for most folks that means having a video “go viral”.  Here are 5 “hooks” that will help you make the viral “jump”:

Continue reading »

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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Apr 102012
 

Fighting to keep your blog cost under control can be a challenge.  A blog is a very inexpensive means of communicating ideas and information, right up until you are afflicted with.

BSB…Big Shiny Button…though it’s not just a button…its the “next new thing”.

If you drop your hand down by your side, you will find a little slit in the side of your pants called a pocket.  Be careful!

It sometimes seems  like everyone wants in your pants via that thing called a pocket.  After all, that’s where a lot of folks keep their money, and sometimes in this blogging thing you can feel like everyone in the world wants a bit of your hard earned coin.  Hell… Sit on your money...don't let blog costs waste it.before you started blogging, how many times had someone in the Philippines promised you the moon …or a reasonable facsimile… as long as you spent $50.00 a month paying them to announce to the world that you exist?

IMWBB…In My World Before Blogging…little old ladies with religious pamphlets coming around on Saturday mornings were the only folks that seemed to want to get to know me.  Now I have dozens of folks wanting to be my new BFF…or at least until it becomes apparent I’m not sending them money.

And it’s because they all want to either help me make $100,000 a week working 5 minutes a day or they will…guaranteed…get me in the top 3 spots on a Google search if my blog posts  even remotely…VERY remotely…resembles a Google search term or terms.  You blog about Halloween?  These folks will get you in the top three spots…they promise, just ask them…for a search for “global warming”.  After all…Halloween involves witches, which involves boiling cauldrons, which involves noxious fumes, which cause global warming…so you WILL be at the top!  They promise!

Uh huh.

“The point, Bob…the point!  Get to the point!  What does Halloween have to do with blog cost control?”

Oh…OK…sorry…

All this babbling is to point out that there are lots of folks who want a close internet relationship with bloggers based on money, rather like relationships with laborers in the world’s oldest profession.  Let some of them get in your pants…but be picky and don’t be too promiscuous.

Blogging has some hard costs, but they are few.  A blog can be running for less than $15.00 for a year’s domain registration, and there are shared hosting plans out there for under $5.00 A month.  Once those are dealt with EVERYTHING else is an option.  My admonition was to not be TOO promiscuous…not to not let any of those folks get some of your money.  You just need to be careful who you let in your pocket.

Two currencies, three ways to spend

I don’t know about y’all, but I have two kinds of currency.  I have time and I have cash.  If you have a lot of the second, and don’t have a curious bone in your body that likes to learn, stop reading now…this article isn’t for you.  Find a big time internet guru who will do everything for you and just keep writing him checks each month.  Don’t worry if your ROI sucks.  After all, you have a lot more money than time, remember, so ROI doesn’t really matter…right?

If you are like me though…way more time than money…and have a healthy dose of curiosity about how your blog works thrown in, you have a lot of tools to choose from once you have your domain and hosting set up.

1. There is a LOT of “free stuff” out there to help you have a kick-ass blog while keeping blog cost low.

For example there are the free WordPress plugins.  Sometimes I think there is a WordPress plugin that will do anything (I’m still looking for the one that washes my dishes, freeing up more blogging time).  There are 7-9 that I consider important for a blog, and hundreds, if not thousands for folks to choose from.  Which to use?  That’s a whole different post…LOL.

2. Blog cost can be kept down by taking the time…sometimes a lot of time…learning to search for specific “how-to” information on the internet.

You would be amazed at how much you can learn about “how to blog” for free…and then even more amazed at the free tools available to implement what you learn, by judicious use of Google.

There are a lot of folks…some of whom actually know what they are talking about…who just plain enjoy sharing what they know.  Some are 100% satisfaction oriented and will never want you to buy something, and some are really wanting to help AND make a little coin, either through donations (think WordPress plugin authors) or by selling associated products (think Dr WordPress, Dave Doolin).  It would be a bit of hard work, but I think you could build and maintain a good blog just through good research on who to listen to and some hard work and study…you wouldn’t have to spend a dime, but there ARE some worthwhile expenditures you might choose.

3. Look at one time cost items rather than subscription tools to keep blog cost down.

I am talking about the e-books, video “how-to” courses, premium themes and plugins, and the like.  Some are a good value, but many MANY are not.  Basically, I have found that the more the sellers promise the less they actually deliver.  Dr David Doolin’s “Blog Post Engineering” is a good example of “less is more”.  No grandiose promises of posts that will drive your blog to the top of a Google search 100% of the time…no promises of making a gazillion dollars a day just working 5 minutes before breakfast…just an easily doable way for your posts to be SEO friendly without having to really get down in the weeds.

I do regular vlogs…video blog posts… on three different blogs weekly…, , and …and have spent money on equipment and video recording and editing software for that, and I do theme design and spent some money on software for that, but strictly for blogging I have spent less than $100.00 in one time purchases (including BPE) in about 3 years…and don’t feel I have missed anything I needed.  Wanted?  Yes, but needed?  No.

We’ve looked at how to keep your blog cost at almost zero, besides your hosting account, with the help of Google Search.  In the next of this series, we’ll look at paid, but economical, services and products that cost little but give good value.

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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Mar 152012
 

As discussed in the previous post, SEO for web video is an inexact science, at best. Given the explosive growth of video this can be frustrating. Everywhere you turn, web “gurus” tell you to get into web video, then tell you that your content needs to be well optimized…then tells you that optimizing video is a lot of alchemy combined with WAGs (Wild Assed Guesses).

I am as guilty of doing that as anyone. I soent over 1500 words in the last post talking about video SEO best practices while at the same time telling you there was no such (exact) thing.

With that in mind, what is a blog owner supposed to do to saticfy the growing demand for video and deal with the SEO issue?

Simple…experiment.

That is what the video below is…an experiment. As an added bonus, besides making the HayleStorm Interactive video “findable”, I’ve done a little bit of tweaking on the SEO practices I suggested in the last post. Those practices are valid, but I think they can be better, making the video climb the Google ladder faster than one would expect, all without doing anything “black hat” or violating Google or YouTube terms of service. If the tweaks do not work, it will be one more thing that I know will not work. And if they DO work?

Well…you will read about it in a coming post.

Remember, if you want to keep up with “doing” the web in 2012, and beyond, it is almost a given that you MUST use video, and it is equally true that video SEO is still evolving, and probably will for the forseeable future. With that in mind, be a scientist and do what scientists do…

Experiment.

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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Dec 072011
 

Entering the web video arena feels like throwing your wallet into the center of the Roman Coliseum to be plundered by lion and gladiator alike.  Every web guru and video ninja known to man seems to be lining up to take a crack at plundering your bank account, and many, if not most, of them do their plundering in large chunks.  It is not unusual to see software that you absolutely MUST have to create good videos that costs several hundred dollars that is not just good, it is indispensable…at least until the guru pushing it finds other software that does even better.  Of course the “newer, better” software costs even more…and pays the guru a higher commission.

If you REALLY feel like your wallet is too fat and you MUST spend as much as possible on your video projects  there are plenty of places to exercise your Pay Pal account.

Once you have the hardware…cameras, microphones, lights, and such (which will be covered in another post)…let’s take a look at the software to put that camcorder to use:

  • Recording – Most folks will choose to use a camcorder to record their videos, and the recording software is built into the camera.  In that case you don’t need recording software, right?  Well, the answer is kind of a yes and kind of a no.  Recording a quality video with a camcorder alone IS possible, with a few caveats.First, you need to know your way around the camcorder exceptionally well, able to maximize the potential quality of the recorded video file.  The poorer the quality of the file, the harder…and more expensive…the editing process becomes.Second, many people want to create videos that the expense of a camcorder would be extra and a waste.  Many styles of video, a video news blog for example, can be done with an inexpensive webcam, but then you bring on the need for recording software.
    Also, other than for simple, straightforward, plain Jane shots, recording software beyond the free software included with most operating systems is a necessity.Web videos are often screen capture videos as well, and you must include screen capture software costs when budgeting for recording software.

    So…what does recording software cost?  Quality recording software, including screen capture, can run as high as $799.00 for Adobe Captivate 5.5 for screen capture PLUS $1699.00 for Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 for video recording (CS 5.5 includes much more than On Location, the video recording software, but On Location cannot be bought separately).  Adobe is as good…and expensive…as it gets.  You can spend far, far less for quality software.

    I use video capture and screen capture software from an Australian company called NCH Software.  Their Debut Video Capture software, combined with the screen capture feature in Video Pad Video Editor, is a huge step up from the software included in your operating system for a LOT less money, under $120.00, and it will be all you need for most video projects (greenscreen and live streaming need more horsepower, but still a LOT less expensive than Adobe), with the added benefit of a good video editor as a bonus.

  • Video editing – Once you have video recorded, unless you script it perfectly and record it with no mistakes and don’t need transitions or file encoding or meta tagging to make flash files pseudostream, you will need a good video editor.Again, the ultimate video editor is an Adobe product named Premier, and like On Location, Premire cannot be bought separately.  Also like On Location it is included in CS 5.5, a $1699.00 package.  I find the video editing tools in NCH Software’s Video Pad Video Editor do a good job for 90% of all video editing needs.  While I have the entire Adobe Creative Suite Master’s Collection, I find that Video Pad is my go-to video editor…and it costs a small country’s annual budget less than Adobe.
  • Audio recording and editing – For the ultimate in audio recording and editing…ultimate as in good enough for a music recording studio with every possible dubbing and mixing tool imaginable…Avid Pro Tools 10 is as good as it gets, and the price reflects that at somewhere north of $2500.00.  Again, if you aren’t planning on recording Elton John’s next CD, NCH Software comes through with a software package for far less.  Record Pad Audio Recorder and Wave Pad Sound Editor do a great job for a total of less than $100.00.I use the NCH software above with one exception.  While Record Pad and Wave Pad do a great job dealing with audio, if I find myself needing more audio capabilities than are built into Debut or Video Pad, or if I am doing audio recording or editing alone with no video, I use a free utility available for download online.  The program is called Audacity, it does a great job customizing audio tracks, and it is 100% totally, completely free.  It requires a small…very small…amount of geekiness to install and get up and running, but is a really great utility.Did I mention the Great Price?  I did say FREE, didn’t I?

Full disclosure: The software providers mentioned in this article are advertisers on HayleStorm Interactive, advertising on this site, and are paying a nominal commission on each sale.  With that said, EVERY software (or other item) reviewed and promoted on HayleStorm is actually used by the webmaster of the website.  FIRST a product must impress the site owner enough for him to buy it with his own personal money (no free review copies endorsed here), and then, and ONLY THEN will he endorse the product and allow it to be sold through HayleStorm Interactive.

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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