Friday, April 27, 2007

Digitalfilipino Web Awards

Photos (L-R) Top: Winners, finalists and Digitalfilipino members; That's me giving my talk
Bottom: Marc Macalua, SEO Philippines; That's me accepting an award for a friend.

Attended the Digital Filipino Web Awards today, April 27, 2007, held at the Bureau of Investments in Makati to witness the awarding ceremonies. I also gave a short talk on "Putting Your Business Online". I also accepted the award for a friend, Honey Caragos, who won in the Corporate/Professional Category.

Congratulations to the winners!

1. Apparel / Fashion Category - Kamiseta
2. Art Category - Canvas
3. Association / Organization Category - Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative
4. Auction / Shopping Portal Category - MyAyala
5. Automotive Category - Ford Philippines
6. Beauty Category - FemaleNetwork
7. Blog - Personal Category - Touched by an Angel
8. Blog - Professional Category - Manuel Viloria
9. Books Category - Booktopia
10. Community Category - SEO Philippines Forum
11. Computer / Consumer Electronics Category - PC Express
12. Consumer Banking / Bills Payment Category - HSBC Philippines
13. Corporate / Professional Category - Syntactics
14. Education Category - De La Salle University - Manila
16. Games Category - Philippine R.O.S.E. Online
17. Gifts Category - RegaloService
19. Home Furnishings Category - Cebu Rattan Company
20. Insurance Category - Sun Life Financial
21. Music / Movie/ Film Category - PhilMusic
22. Newspaper Category -
23. Pharmaceuticals Category - Philippine Herbal Medicine Site
24. Podcast Category - Pinoy Podcast
25. Politics Category - Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
26. Real Estate Category - Philippine Realty Showroom
27. Services Category - Chikka
28. Social Networking Category - Itzamatch
29. Telecom / Value Added Services Category - Globe Kababayan
30. Tourism Category - Pinoy Travel Blog
31. Travel Category - Lakbay Pilipinas

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Have You Been Ratified?"

I placed quotation marks on the title coz that is what is all about. developer, Andrew de la Serna, explained that the name comes from Technorati, emphasis on the "rati". Good choice of name coz ratify means to approve or confirm. And that is mainly the objective of - to measure the top 100 blogs in the Philippine blogosphere based on Technorati data "sprinkled" with Feedburner stats.

Andrew said that he created the website to showcase and promote the best Filipino blogs. He said that if your stats are good then that means you're being read. I think it also means that you are relevant and that you are connecting to a certain base of people.

Well, if you're a serious blogger or a newbie who wants to improve your blog and hopefully define your niche so you could grow a reader base, then checking your stats at is a prudent way of gauging your relevance.

My Daily Dose of Google

I was talking with a friend this afternoon and we were discussing the different products that Google recently announced like the Google Website Optimizer, Google Notebook, Gmail being open for sign-ups etc. and he asked me, "How much of Google do you use in a day?"

I said, "A lot."

I use Google products a lot because it is very convenient and easy to use. And besides, it's easier to speak about things when you are a user yourself. Well, I promised my friend I'll post about how much I use Google products in a day, so here it is.

The first thing I do when I wake up is turn my PC on and the first thing that greets me are messages from Twitter from my Google Talk window and while that's ongoing a little window pops up and appraises me about new mail I got on my Gmail. And then, of course, I check my mail, click on the Google Reader link to check up on new feeds from blogs I regularly read.

After I finish reading my mail I click on the "all my services" link in my Gmail account and then click on Blogger to moderate comments I received for my blogs. I may blog or I may not, depending on my free time or if my muse is around and depends on whether I have updates for my personal, work, wedding, or ghost blog. Or I may decide to upload some photos in my Picasa account. And I also use Google Blog Search to check out stuff I'm interested in.

I then sometimes tinker on my Google Adwords account and practice on making text ads and check on statistics in the Google Analytics tab. It's really so cool to have information about blogs/websites you maintain and Google Analytics is one of my favorite Google products. But, it's been a while since I checked on my Google Adsense account.

I used Google search a lot when I was going through graduate school. I still do and I wish I knew about the Google cheatsheet back then, well anyway I still search on Google a lot of times in a day. I've also personalized my own Google page to show news and other stuff that's important to me (including Pacman!). I've been using Google Notebook a lot to clip interesting websites and blogs, and I find it really useful since I can put little comments about the website easily.

And, of course, I try to get in touch with my brother and sister who are abroad regularly by sending them email updates about what's happening back home. I created a family Googlegroup more than a year ago and that's how we communicate with the whole clan. And badminton announcements and other plans are announced by my friends in our Googlegroups as well.

I'm now brushing up on Google Apps for Your Domain - planning to use it for our family as well.

Whew! It seems quite overwhelming to be using so many different products, but it's become second nature. I'm not as techie as my tech blogger or programmer friends, but I like trying out new things and that's how I learned how to use all these products and it's made me a whole lot more productive :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mission Impossible Series: The Beginning (Episode 2)

I got the thumbs up from my siblings about getting our Dad to go online. You see, we've been trying to do this since the late 1990s so he could communicate with his grandkids abroad. And since he's a really good writer and has published several books we think he should really share his thoughts online - and get published faster!

I've been scouting around for his laptop the past few days and I just have a US$600 budget (suggestions on what to buy are welcome, leave me a note below). I've managed to install wifi in our home with the help of some friends and I'll be "expanding" the access all throughout the house once I get to save up for the other equipment needed. I have a few weeks left before his birthday on May 19. And summer ends officially once Miguel goes back to school.

So far, success is quite dim since he's adamant that he won't go online. Uh-oh!

Anyway, a friend of mine suggested that maybe I should start and publish his previous writings to test the waters. Get readers to comment and then let him know that there are people online interested in what he has to say. And since I am the safekeeper of all his works (since I've been encoding them since I was in high school!) and I am allowed to publish it wherever, that's exactly what I did today.

Next step: Market my Dad's blog to his friends.

Check out Solutions Not Lampoons.

How to Put Up Your Business' Website at Almost No Cost

In the last 6 years I have been in the online advertising industry I always get asked, “How much does it cost to put your business online?”

Back in the late 90s very few businesses put up websites. The main contention about going online was cost, but aside from that the complexities - the too techie-lingo, the system requirements threw off business owners. Exporters/manufacturers back then were hesitant to put photos of their products online because they were scared that their designs would get plagiarized. All of these issues still holds true today.

Before I went to work full time for the internet industry my Mom and I dabbled in exporting furniture and houseware. My Dad, ever the forward thinker, insisted on putting up a website. We didn’t have the budget to outsource it, so I was challenged to put one up for free. My IT friends all told me that there was a way to do this. Do the web pages myself and then upload it in a free webhost. I then bought a copy of Dreamweaver and bugged one of my friends to teach me how to navigate it. He was such a sweetie coz I managed to upload our company’s website in no time. That was in 1999. Eighty percent of our revenues came from online inquiries. And guess what, the only cost to us was the monthly charges of Philonline.

Things were much more difficult to do 8 years ago. And I could say that it’s now very, very easy to put your business online today.

So how does one do it? (Disclaimer: I’m no web designer/developer, this is a do-it-yourself guide for non-techie business owners/freelancers).

(1) Determine the content of your website.

List down all the things you want to be found in your website. (Yes, include even the mundane things). Just list everything first, you can always cut down later.

Then organize. Think outline. Remember when your English teacher used to force you to do outlines before you start on your paper? It works the same way.

And then, of course, determine where you’re going to get all those content from within your company. List down the stuff you need to write and the photos/graphics you need. And since you’re doing it yourself. Keep it simple coz you’re going to be the writer as well.

Congratulations! In techie-lingo you have just completed your website’s content architecture.

(2) Data gathering and writing comes next.

Now don’t get unfazed, this is just the part wherein you write out the outline. Just make it short but informative.

At this point you have to keep in mind how everything ties up together. Your message has to have one voice and remember consistency is important in branding. (And branding’s another matter entirely, I’ll write about this later).

When your done writing out your content, congratulations! You are now a certified copy-writer.

(3) Design your website.

Knowing the information you want to share in your website is key. At this point you have to define how you want your website to look.

Get a pen and paper and do some doodling. You don’t really need to draw it out. It’s just like drawing on paper how you’re going to put furniture in an empty room. Just boxes and lines to see how things will flow in your website.

Case in point. Keep in simple. Remember, you are doing this yourself.

And it’s best to surf and check out other websites so you’ll have an idea how you want things to look. Keep in mind when designing your website that it should be easy for your readers to navigate your site. That’s called usability in techie-lingo.

(4) Develop your website.

Gulp! How does one do this?

I said earlier that it’s very easy nowadays to put your business online. All you need now is your domain name. Domain Name is your company’s internet address. A lot of search engine optimizers say that you should use a descriptive domain name. Meaning something that best describers your company’s products and services. If you’re selling pancakes, then is best. If you’re selling condominiums, then name it A friend of mind shared the other day that it worked well for her to put “Filipino” or “Philippines” in her domain name.

Purchase your domain name online or go and buy it from a web hosting company. You can easily search for them through Google.

When you already have a domain name, go and get the only thing you need now – free usage of Google Apps for your Domain.

(5) Publish your website and then generate immediate traffic by advertising online through Google Adwords.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mission Impossible Series: The Plan (Episode 1)

I was in a very engaging discussion with a UP professor yesterday about blogging and he brought up the problem of preserving the knowledge of those in the "silver years". And then I told him about having lunch with Mr. Jun Verba, former CEO of Globe, and the tales he told us over lunch. I feel it's really a privilege to hear great people talk about their accomplishments. It motivates me to do well and go for goals that would benefit my community.

The greatest, grandest influencer in my life is my Dad. He writes well and has published several law books and is about to come out with a book of his essays. His love letters to my Mom are so adorable and since I got them I know my Mom chose really well.

As with any executive, my Dad writes long-hand. He's definitely not techie, but he is a forward thinker. He was the one who actually encouraged me to dabble with internet marketing in the first place. In our family, he is the dreamer, the one who taught me to think big. And he has many stories and experiences to share.

So, I have hatched a plan to get my Dad to go online. Shhhhh! He doesn't know! (And he's definitely not online and won't read this post unless one of his friends find my blog LOL).

I've conspired with my siblings to purchase him a laptop and then I'm going to lobby for him to start blogging. I've broached the idea over lunch the other day, but he just shook his head.

That is my impossible mission this summer.

Good luck Dad, let's see who's the better influencer. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lessons I Learned at the iBlog3

iBlog3 is the third Philippine Blogging Summit. It was held at the School of Economics in UP Diliman last April 13 and 14, 2007. I didn't get to sit-in the talks on the first day, but I sat-in all the talks for day 2.

What I spoke about...

(1) Be found!

Make sure you are searchable online. With the 200% increase in marketing messages that we receive everyday, it's easy to get lost in the pile. We blog because we want to get read, so make sure you are: (1) unique; (2) relevant; (3) and that you have a niche. In today's world, it's not about mass marketing your site, it's about finding the people who will "buy" what you are saying. To be found, do some search engine optimization (check Google's Website Optimizer) or advertise through Google Adwords. (And, of course, if you want to monetize your site, use Google Adsense).

Wanna be searched in Google? Add your blog's URL here. And check out's blog directory, coming soon.

(2) Janette's Question: What is it that you want bloggers to ponder on?

I adhere to what Anton said in his talk. He said, "Blog about what's beautiful" and that thought stuck in my mind while waiting for my turn to talk. Whenever I travel I only hear negative news about our country. I think it is our responsibility to share to the world how beautiful our country is and that it is safe to travel here. Aside from that, we should also blog responsibly.

(3) How much does blogging cost?

I heard this question asked again and again during the summit. Blogging is FREE! (Well save for connectivity fees, but you can always bum some airtime at a friend's place if needed). All you need to do is sign-up for an account in Blogger and then you can immediately start blogging.

I love using Blogger! You should too!

I've learned so much about blogging in the past few months! And the tremendous change in traffic I've been getting the past few months (1,100% growth!) has spurred me to blog more. Some things I learned in the past few months from professional and hobbyist blogger friends and from experience:

(1) Find a niche.
(2) Blog as much as you can.
(3) Labelling/tagging is very important.
(4) Check Google Zeitgeist for the latest trends in searches.
(5) Market your blog through networking, link lovin', commenting.
(6) Do a little SEO. Well, ask Marc. Check your traffic and where it's coming from once in a while. (7) Speak in a universal language.
(8) Don't be scared to write. Everybody makes grammatical mistakes.
(9) Got blog backlog? Do a rundown post instead.
(10) Got bloggers block? Play badminton with bloggers and the intellectual conversation around you will surely get your block unblocked. You'll be running home to blog in no time.

Things I picked up from the speakers:

Abe Olandres - he's been blogging for 7 years and originally blogged about personal stuff but eventually realized he had to strategize about what he wrote about. It was only in the past 2 years that he has managed to monetize his blog.

Anton Diaz - blog about what's beautiful!

Manuel Quezon III - he said that at the end of the day everything is political. Ergo, everything is about power.

Wilson Chua - he spoke about the importance of podcasting and making your podcasts searchable on the web.

Aileen Apolo - er, this is me, more about what I spoke about below.

Norman Agatep - 20 to 30% of the market are prosumers (the first movers) and they will be the ones who would convince the rest of the market to use or not use your product/service.

Alecks Pabico - he shared the difference between journalism and blogging. Journalists adhere to a strict discipline since they have to make sure all facts are true and all sources are credible.

J. Angelo Racoma - he reiterated that trust is important especially in social news.

Malou Mangahas - she said that new media is where everybody should go and that media has recognized blogging as an important tool and that's the main reason why GMA has set up their own blog network.

Marc Macalua - the founder of SEO Philippines gave tips on how to increase your traffic and shared his insights on how to monetize your website. Also, be an expert in your field, just make sure you don't decorate your blog in pink.

Jayvee Fernandez - Jayvee basically taught us how to make raket from blogging. He said that it's easier to blog than to write for a magazine and the pay's really competitive since aside from per article fees you also get commissions depending on the traffic your write-ups generate if you write for a blog network.

Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva - inasmuch as her husband's "controversial post" was discussed, Gail spoke about how to brand one's blog.

Congratulations to Janette Toral, JJ Disini and the other organizers for a very successful event!

Google Job Openings in Singapore

The Singapore office is hiring! Here are the positions available:

Administrative Assistant - Singapore
AdWords Account Coordinator - Singapore
AdWords Associate - Singapore
Client Services Associate - Singapore
Creative Maximiser / Internet Copy Writer and Keyword Expert - Singapore
Engineering Center Director - Singapore
Enterprise Channel Manager - Singapore
Enterprise Sales Engineer - Singapore
Enterprise Sales Manager - Singapore
Finance and Accounting Manager - Singapore
Head of Corporate Communications - Singapore
IT Field Technician - Singapore
Localisation Editor - Singapore
Network Engineer, Deployment - Singapore
Project Manager - Network Deployment - Singapore
Recruiter - Singapore
Recruiting Coordinator - Singapore
Sales Manager - Singapore
Strategic Partner Development Manager, Content - Singapore
Strategic Partner Development Manager, Reseller - Singapore

Go on... apply today. If you're interested please visit the jobs page of Google.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Blogger, Why Do I Love Thee?

I was talking with Pierre during lunch at the iBlog3 Convention about sticking to Blogger. You see, his friends have been convincing him to switch to another blogging platform. This started our conversation on why we love using Blogger. (Hey Pierre, hope you wear your cool hat tomorrow!).

Blogger, why do I love thee?

Read more here.

Economizing Your Time with Google

Two weeks ago I posted an entry about decorating your personalized Google homepage... fast forward to finding more ways to economize online time through Google Reader and Google Notebook. I was out yesterday and read Sarah's comment about the new Google Reader gadget. I only managed to check it out just now since I was at the iBlog3 the whole day today.

You may either use the full interface, your mobile phone, the "bookmarket", or you can include your reading list in your Google personalized homepage. This is how mine looks right now:

With more demands in work and personal time, I find Google services really helpful. One other thing I love is Google calendar :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google Zeitgest Takes on a Different Approach

The March Google Zeitgeist is up!

Instead of publishing top keywords searched, Google Zeitgest has taken on publishing the top gaining queries. Noteworthy are the searches for "phantom of the opera", "hospitals" and music and anime related queries.

Data haven... now I'm having this warm, fuzzy feeling.

Check it out.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Ever had trouble merging documents because several people have to review and revise it? I always had a headache over document revisions especially when we were killing copy in white heat. And shuttling revisions on projections with accounting gave me migraines. So it really makes sense in having people access, review and revise the same document at the same time - live and borderless. The solution? Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Goodbye headaches and migraine :)

Google Website Optimizer

Google introduces a new tool for marketers - the Google Website Optimizer. This service will definitely help marketers and the techie-phobes who are baffled about what search engine optimization is all about and what's the most useful content in your website . The Google Website Optimizer is a self-service tool free for Google Adwords advertisers. What's interesting about it are the graphical reports and it works with site analytics solutions.

Google Reader

And I finally gave up visiting blogs one at a time. I subscribed to Google Reader this morning and it definitely cut the time that I spend connecting to different blogs. I used to bookmark them, but then sometimes I get impatient and I just type up the URL (I type really fast). Anyway, like the Google Notebook, Google Reader has definitely helped me organize my readings. Another great thing is accessing it through my Gmail account where I just click on "all my services" and I get to sign-in my account without having to log-in again.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google Notebook

Another product from Google has graduated from Google Labs and is out of beta - Google Notebook.

If you're like me who does a lot of research and reads a lot of blogs, Google Notebook will definitely help you organize your notes! You can clip text, images and links to your notebook and then add comments so you won't ever have to do what I used to do - copy and paste to a document file! Now I can easily organize my notes on websites/blogs just by clipping the page and then writing a quick note and of course it's going to be easy to find stuff using the search box.

Try it!

Philippine Blog Awards

Photo by Chris Haravata

The Philippine Blog Awards was held last March 31, 2007 at the Carlos P. Auditorium, RCBC Plaza. The PBA was organized by volunteers headed by Abe, Gail and Jayvee.

Winners were as follows:

Main Category Winners

Best Personal Blog: Misteryosa
Best Home & Living Blog: Wifely Steps
Best Socio-Political Blog: Philippine Commentary
Best News & Media Blog: Inside PCIJ
Best Fashion & Lifestyle Blog: Bryanboy: Le Superstar Fabuleux
Podcast of the Year: HappySlip
Best Technology Blog: Leon Kilat: The Cybercafe Experiments
Best Business/Entrepreneur Blog: Reflections of a BizDrivenLife
Best Entertainment Blog: Retzwerx
Best Sports & Recreation Blog: Who rides a Vespa?
Best Travel Blog: Ivan About Town
PhotoBlog of the Year: SeƱor Enrique: Wish You Were Here

Special Awards Winners

Best Blog Design: Far from Neutral Notions
Best Free Custom Theme: Blu3zin3
Best Plugin/Extension: iPap
Best OFW Blog: Kwentong Tambay
Bloggers’ Choice Awards: MarketManila

Globe Broadband Awards Winners

Blog Achievement Award: The Mommy Journals
Pinoy Ako Blog Award: ederic@cyberspace
Family Blog Award: About My Recovery
Blogirl Award: Well Whatever
Deliblog Award: Dessert Comes First

Read my other post about the Philippine Blog Awards.

Gmail on Paper

Get hardcopies of your Gmail emails!
Hahaha... Happy April Fool's Day!