Ask Kalena jumps 20 places in Top 100 Aussie Blogs

Well after a year of being listed in the Top 100 Australian Blogs Index, this blog has moved up 20 spots from position #91 in January to position #71 this month.

My friend Neerav has jumped ahead of me to position #48, but at least I’m now beating Duncan Riley who’s at #78. Woohoo!

As I’m now located in New Zealand, I probably shouldn’t be on this list anymore, but I won’t tell if you don’t.

Thanks to all my subscribers who have helped boost the stats. If you haven’t yet subscribed, press the big red feed button on the left and help me reach the top 50 next update.

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7 Odd and Interesting Things About Kalena

So my friend Jane laid down the 7 things meme gauntlet this week and tagged me in her blog post (grrrr, you’ll keep Flora ;-).

The idea is to tell 7 interesting or unusual things about yourself that others may not know. I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so here we go:

1) From the time I was 8 (in a failed attempt to impress my father), I decided that I wanted to be a journalist. All my studies and subject decisions from that point on revolved around this goal. In 1989 after completing a communications degree, I finally got a cadetship at a local paper and spent the next six months working my butt off for crap wages and a sleazy boss who wanted me to scoop the competition even if I had to treat people like shit to do it. I hated every second and decided journalism wasn’t for me.

2) I met my American husband in a chat room on the Internet in 1996 and flew from Sydney to meet him in LA. Back then, Internet relationships were considered strange and my friends and family thought I was either the bravest person they knew, or nuts.

3) I worked for the Government of Thailand in their Sydney office for nearly six years. If I’d worked another two weeks with them I would have received The Order of the White Elephant, a special honor granted by the King of Thailand to long-time government employees. But I digress. In this gig for the Thai Government, I accompanied a lot of trade missions to Thailand. During one visit to Chiang Mai, we were at a restaurant and were all presented with opium cigarettes by a member of the Royal Family. My boss told me we were expected to smoke them in front of him as a sign of respect. Only one problem, I don’t smoke tobacco, let alone anything heavier. I pretended to light mine and then smuggled it out of the restaurant in a coat pocket. Back in Sydney two weeks later, I found the cigarette intact and realized I had carried it in my pocket through 3 airports and on 3 planes without detection.

4) I’ve been on two game shows on Australian TV. The first was Wheel of Fortune when I was 18 and I was flown to Adelaide from Sydney for the show taping. It was my first plane flight and I was scared to death. I won a Garfield phone, a pen and $50 worth of socks. My second game show experience happened in 1999 and was called Catch Phrase. I was carry over champ for 7 nights and won AUD 26,000 worth of cash and prizes, including a memorable trip to Noumea, but I failed to win the major prize (a car). Having to guess word puzzles after 9 hours of taping without food may have had something to do with it.

5) I am a keen geocacher. I only discovered the sport last month but have already become obsessed. It combines one of my favorite pastimes, hiking, with my 4 year old son’s favorite pastime, treaure hunting. Living in New Zealand, it’s the perfect excuse to get away from the PC, spend more time with my son and see more of this amazing, scenic country that we call home.

6) I absolutely love thunderstorms. I don’t know what it is about them, but I get ridiculously excited when I sense one coming. I like nothing better than to park myself in front of a big picture window and watch nature’s free concert – the more thunder, lightning and noise the better. So it’s not surprising that the freakiest thing that happened to me involved a storm. My husband and I were driving on a country road in NSW, Australia when everything got very still and the sky turned orange. I knew a big storm was coming and said that I hoped we wouldn’t be stuck in hail before we got home. Next thing, I hear a huge *CRACK*, see sparks and smell smoke simultaneously. Then a massive tree branch literally flew into the air from my right and landed about two metres in front of our car. Luckily we had disc brakes and I was able to pull up just before we hit it. Lightning had hit a large eucalypt on our right and split the tree in half. I swear my heartbeat didn’t slow down for about 24 hours. We found out later that lightning strikes from the same storm killed 30 cows from a nearby farm.

7) I come from a musical family and I play several instruments, none very well. Let’s see, there’s piano, flute, cornet, recorder, violin and darbuka (my current favorite).

So that’s me done. Now for the fun part. I get to tag others for the same meme:


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My Favorite WordPress Plugins for 2008

I’ve had a couple of people ask me which WordPress plugins I use these days and the answer is that I have a couple of staples and the others I mix up on a regular basis depending on their usefulness or my mood.

I’m putting together a more detailed article about these soon, but in the meantime, here is a list of my favorite WordPress plugins that I’ve used on a regular basis in 2008:

I’ll do a more in-depth post soon describing the features of each, but for now, it’s Friday night and ice-cream and raspberries are beckoning.

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10 Different Types of SEO Clients

home officeThe always witty Rebecca Kelley has hit the nail on the head with her latest blog post 10 Different Types of Clients.

Without naming names, Rebecca describes some of the typical SEO client types she comes across in her job and why they frustrate her. I can totally relate, as I’ve had just about every one of them!

Here’s an extract:

“2. The Lumbergh Client

You’ve all seen Office Space, so I’m sure you’re familiar with the boss, Bill Lumbergh. A Lumbergh Client is someone who is unfazed by your efforts and instead needs you to “go ahead” and make a bunch of ridiculous changes to their site, even if you’re only providing consulting work.

Client: “Yeeeeah, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and manage our paid search account.”
You: “I don’t do paid search.”
Client: “Greeeeat. I’m also gonna need you to redo our landing pages and increase clickthrough rates by 110%.”
You: “I’m only providing consulting. Don’t you have a team or a staff to handle these-”
Client: “Greeeeeat. We’ll touch base at the end of the week.” [hangs up]”

Heh heh. Thankfully, Holy Grail clients DO exist and I’m lucky enough to have two of them. You know who you are  ?

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100 Awesome Blogs by Women

girl powerJimmy Atkinson emailed me this week to let me know he had written a new blog post hoping to dispel the myth that SEO is a boys club. His post is a list of 100 Awesome Webmaster Blogs by and for Women that he personally put together to show how many women bloggers there are in the tech industry.

Jimmy’s list does indeed consist of some great female awesomeness, including

  • Laura Thieme
  • Lisa Barone
  • Kim Krause Berg
  • Donna Fontenant
  • Jill Whalen
  • Tara Calishaine
  • Scottie Claiborne
  • Jennifer Laycock

…to name but a few. So which blog is at the very top of the list? Yep, Ask Kalena appears at numero uno. How cool is that? And it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the list is in alphabetical order. Nothing at all.

Thanks Jimmy!

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