This is not specific to PHP but specific to you as a community of PHP users. I’d ask this informally at the monthly NYPHP meetings but since I moved away I haven’t been able to attend too many of them.
I’m a competitive webmaster type who lives off of tactical things like PHP and SEO. When a technical or strategic optimization can hold a competitive edge in markets on the Internet, I try and deploy web sites/pages based on that opportunity. Usually it’s all about doing things well, doing them efficiently, and often doing them first. I got involved in PHP early on because of the edge it gave me accessing HTTP header information. I participated as a principal in NYPHP because there is really no limit to the practical flexibility of PHP/LAMP, and it is so interesting to hear what other technologists are doing with it.
I’ve been a full time independent SEO and consultant for almost 4 years now. The creative side of my consulting is very exciting, and involves people and personalities and markets and opportunities and all that jazz. But the technical side of my consulting work is mostly about doing the basics, over and over again. Fixing problems, disproving faulty “understandings”, and of course providing a catalyst for team work when good people work at the same company, but don’t work together. I work mostly with people like the people on the NYPHP Talk list, both as team members at my client’s sites, and as SEO trainees in my own consulting business.
Right now, for a very limited time, I would like to offer the NYPHP Talk community free SEO “analysis” and advice, as best I can. Specifically to people who are working on LAMP or with PHP/MySQL, and who have real-world SEO issues that need some attention. I want to see what your teams are struggling with in my arena these days (SEO – search engine exposure and marketing), and I am willing to put in some time and share what I know in exchange for that knowledge exposure.
So if you work in the real world and are aware of specific issues related to SEO/Search Engine Exposure/Marketing, consider letting me know the details (nothing confidential, please). In exchange, I will provide some of the same consulting I provide for hire, for free. I will look at the issue, and if possible suggest an approach, solutions, or identify the issues that I see need addressing. Since I do this every day with real clients, I suspect it will be fairly easy for both of us, as long as you are close to your project and it lies within the realm of modern-day SEO. Of course I reserve the right to say “I don’t know“. I don’t need any formal engagement or paperwork or approvals… and I won’t provide any guarantees at all. It’s just collegial email exchange between peers. Chances are excellent you know far more about PHP and LAMP than I do, but what I know may equally surprise you.
If you’re interested, let me know via my contact form and I’ll get right back to you. Here’s a FAQ just to avoid the need for too many questions:
Q: Why are you offering free advice? Are you crazy? Or do you need to find work?
Well, I’m not independently wealthy and I do need to support my family by working my own web sites and consulting for select clients, but no, this is not an outreach program to find more work. I want to hear about today’s real-world SEO-related issues from the smart people who are actually doing the work. I value that feedback, and so I offer my own expertise/efforts in exchange. Since I moved to Seattle I have not been to NYPHP meetings and I see this as a way to start some casual conversations with PHP listers on real issues.
I already do several hours of pro-bono SEO work every week, in addition to the time I spend contributing to the “academic” community through blog posts and discussions. I spent 10 years working in non-profit world before becoming independent, and I still provide reduced rate consulting to worthy causes. This is not a hardship for me, but thanks for caring.
Q: Free Advice is usually worth it’s cost. Why should I bother participating?
I have a pretty good reputation for knowing my subject and influencing the search engines. If you don’t feel there is sufficient value to cover your time spent discussing things via email, then please don’t participate.
Q: Why is it only people on the NYPHP List? Can’t anyone else apply?
I’ve participated in NYPHP and Talk since 2003 and I consider it community. I’m not offering free advice to the world, just that community. If you haven’t joined the NYPHP Talk list, there’s still time to join, and thus qualify (it’s free too).
Q: Obviously you won’t be able to solve all of the issues, because that can take a lot of time. Are you available for hire if that looks like a good idea?
Normally yes, I am very much available for hire. But for this promotion, I will defer that because I am really looking to collaborate collegially. I want to learn and will contribute in order to do so. I don’t exclude the possibility of finding perfect clients through collegial activities, but that’s not a goal nor a priority here.
Q: There is so much free SEO advice on the web I would never need a consultant. Right?
Because there is so much free SEO advice on the web, people need the better SEO consultants. I believe more than half of what is out there ranking at the top of searches for SEO information is completely incorrect. But that’s not the issue. The issue is, if you have some problems that you haven’t addressed yet through application of that free SEO information that is out there on the web, maybe it would be smart to take me up on this offer?
Q: What makes you so special? Are you Mr. SEO or something? Did you write a book?
No. I don’t even claim to be an SEO Expert. But I am a full-time SEO and have been for 4 years, and part-time SEO for almost 7 years prior to that. I was doing SEO before Google was born. I was an editor at ThreadWatch.org for a while, I have a popular SEO blog that is popular with many of the more advanced SEO types in the world, and am active in several respected competitive forums. I’ve given an SEO presentation or two every year for the past several years to highly technical audiences, and have yet to get panned (and I usually get praised). I don’t claim to be Mr. SEO, but I know how to compete on the web using SEO.
Q: How long is this offer available?
I will see what response I get. I can see putting in several hours of free work per week for a while, if the issues are interesting and I am learning. If it’s boring and I am not seeing any challenging issues, I reserve the right to stop the offer at any time, for any reason.
So thanks for reading, and if you are interested, let me know via my contact form.
Update: Hans Zaunere over at NYPHP likes the idea of discussing issues that might come up, publishing the discussion on NYPHP.org, so everyone can benefit. I totally agree. We think a good way to make that happen is for me to blog about it over there, keeping the focus on the issues of interest to PHP users. So if we isolate an issue to a problem with the Zend Framework’s front controller design, for example, I blog on that over on the NYPHP site and we all get didactic lessons out of the exercise. I don’t know if we will enable comments or not but we’ll see how it goes.