Introducing “Sparks by Kosmo”

December 8, 2010

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You’ve seen the ads.  Sparks by Kosmo – Web consulting with a twist.  What the heck does that mean?

Although our little site at The Soap Boxers is still a relatively undiscovered diamond in the rough that is the blogosphere, I can, with confidence, claim to have one unique specialty.

My mind is not bound by the constraints that tend to hamper most people.  Most people operate with a filter that weeds out the bizarre ideas before they actually have a chance to live at all.  Not the case with me.  I say to those ideas “be fruitful and multiply!”  Honestly, if I didn’t have a day job in a conservative industry, I’d probably commonly be referred to as “a bit eccentric”.

Introduce people to a variety of unusual ideas, and you will expand their horizons to encompass a broad range of possibilities.  While the original ideas themselves may not be a final answer, they may open up a line of thought that leads to other ideas which are eventually implemented.

To that end, I am announcing a service that will allow you to bottle a little bit of Kosmo.  Few can doubt that my creativity factory churns out some unique stuff (don’t believe me?  Check out short stories like Second Chances and The Critic) – why not work with web site owners to come up with new ideas to help improve their sites?

This will certainly not be your grandfather’s brand of web consulting.  There will be no chatter about click-through rates, search engine optimizations, and load times.  The focus will simply be on making the site more interesting and useful for your visitors, pushing the envelope beyond what you do today.

I’m going to start out with two different levels of service.

The first, affectionately nicknamed “I hate your website because …” will be a quick look-see at your site, with an email from me pointing out the aspects of the site that I disliked the most.  Most often, these are going to be tactical things, although I’ll throw in an outside-the-box idea when possible.

The second level will be a more in-depth look at the site.  For a small retainer, I’ll give you two quick tips on how to improve your site, plus a quote on how much I would change for a full review.  At the end of a full review, you will receive a formal report (between 500 and 3000+ words) detailing suggested changes.  Bear in mind that I have no prior knowledge of your site or your audience, so I don’t know what “won’t work”.  Odds are good that several of my ideas will be things that “won’t work”.  Given a chance, I bet that some of those ideas actually WILL work.  And if they don’t work, you just blame it on the crazy consultant!

I can’t guarantee that you’ll be a BETTER person after working with me –  but you’ll certainly be a DIFFERENT person.

I lined up a lucky sucker customer to give Sparks a try.  You may know her as Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life.  Honestly, she’s probably not in my target audience.  Not only has she spent much time refining her site over the years and has a strong sense of the direction she is heading, but I am also a frequent reader.  This means that it will be difficult to truly look upon her site as a blank slate.  The report I gave to SVB ended up being on the more basic side of the spectrum.  What could Kosmo come up with the improve one of the most popular personal finance sites on the web?

Here are a couple of sample suggestions

Navigation bar links to outdated information – The most current deal in the Special Deals section is from July, and the most recent online coupon is from May. You need to decide if these are important enough to take up prime real estate on the navigation bar, or if they are so unimportant that they can go a half-year between updates. These are mutually exclusive categories.

Recent articles – If a new visitor stumbles across your site, they aren’t able to determine what you have been writing about recently. Consider using a “recent articles” plug-in in a sidebar to draw their attention to your recent activity.

Another client was Mommy’s Recess.  This is a newer site that has only been up for a few months – so I was able to put together a more detailed report.  This is the type of client who can probably gain the most from Sparks.

Here are some nuggets from the detailed report:

Who’s your daddy? – Obviously, your site is centered on the perspective of a mother. Every once in a while (perhaps once a month), why not have a guest article that comes from a different perspective? Have a father write something about the joys of fatherhood – or a grandmother, teacher, or even the owner of a store that specializes in children’s clothing or merchandise?

Go ask mother – Get your readers more involved with an advice column. You may need to prime the pump at first – getting some questions from friends and family in the “real world”, but before long, you’ll be getting questions from your site visitors.

Recalls – Consider covering the important topic of manufacturer recalls once a month. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission provides this information on their web site, not every checks the site. Also, you may choose to go explain the importance of some of the recalls.

Sarah and Emma had this to say about Sparks:

We received a great review from Kosmo. As stay at home moms working on a blog, we know diapers and kids but not internet.

Not only did he give us tips on colors and links, but he gave us content ideas that will give the blog a fresh look and ideas!

Hop over the Sparks today for some introductory pricing.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Digerati Life
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 11:27:07

    I love the fresh pair of eyes Kosmo! I showed your report to the “Digerati Spouse” who handles the tech work at my blog and certainly found a lot of your suggestions worth pursuing. We’ll see how we can fit it into what we are doing. I will also be addressing your service in my site today!! 🙂 Thanks for the review and your awesome work. 🙂



  2. Evan @40Tech
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 17:07:07

    I love the idea Kosmo. By now, I think many of us are sick of all the SEO huckstering going on out there, so something like this is a breath of fresh air. And you do have a unique take on things!


  3. kosmo
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 21:14:17

    @ Evan – Yeah, I try to give SEO the old college try, but I certainly don’t go overboard on it. I use a plug-in to do the heavy lifting and try to use decent titles for articles.

    Yeah, I definitely have a unique take on things. About a week ago, I realized that I have a tendency to slide onto a tangent when asked about a new idea – “I like X … but have you considered Y and Z.” Sometimes the people I was discussing the ideas with ending up loving Y and Z. Hey, why not try to capitalize on it? Not to mention the fact that some of the reviews will probably spark ideas for future fiction short stories.


  4. Van
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 15:50:50

    I work in marketing and am forced to look at the numbers, SEO, blahmarketingblah. I like your idea, offering a fresh and brutally honest look at websites. It’s hard for us as the writers to see our websites how EVERYONE else sees them!


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