Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

What’s new with SEO? – Search Experience Optimization Workshop 2015

SEO-search-experience-optimization

Learning the basics of SEO can help you get found on the web. Not knowing it will make sure you aren’t.

Being found on the web is getting harder and harder to do.

The big brands are finally catching up to how the search engines see them and they are now putting substantial budgets into paid and organic search and social campaigns in order to be found on the first page of Google (for their important keywords).

So how do you compete?

Well, there are a lot of ways to compete but you need to have the basics down first.

In my workshop on search engine optimization or the better term for it, search experience optimization (SEO), I break down the basics and try to shed some light on simple things you can do to make sure the search engines and the people using those search engines see you. Because if they can’t see you, then you don’t exist.

Here’s the deck I used. Now you can flip through the deck if you want but it doesn’t have the text that you’ll have here.

When it comes to SEO, the first thing you have to do is produce good content. I know that sounds silly and like my friend Erik Deckers says, “Telling people to produce good content is stupid.”

That’s so true.

You need good content but you have to understand what makes good content and how to produce it specifically for your desired audience.

I like to say that good content is all about making people laugh, cry or think about your subject matter. If you can do that, then you have exactly what they are looking for. They will read it, watch it and share it.

Sharing is very important in this day and age of social.

Buzzfeed (who is one of the reigning kings of sharing content) talks about how they produce good content. You should read it and try to incorporate what they do to produce it.

If you’ve got the content down, then SEO gets pretty simple.

I like to break it down into these 8 things that you should focus on.

1. Content Strategy is basically what should be on the website when it launches and what will you continue to add to it. This is taking your good content and making sure it is focused on your subject matter. Once you have that down, your website should be able to handle these simple questions for both the users and the search engines.

  • Who You Are
  • What You Do
  • Where You’re Located
  • Your Value Proposition
  • What Visitors Should Do Next

2. Platform Strategy is knowing what devices your content is on and how your users see them. The platforms I believe you should worry about are iOS & Android first. Mobile is how people are connecting them most. I’ll have more on that later. Then you need to verify how you look in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

There are two testing tools I like – www.browserstack.com (paid with free trial) and www.browserling.com (free but more features with paid).

3. Information Architecture is how things are laid out on your website (goals, navigation, search, calls to action). Essentially where the content will go. I love that more and more sites are moving to the “hamburger patty” navigation button and essentially hiding standard navigation.

Instead of driving people’s attention away from the content, the hidden navigation will help get your Call-to-Action noticed more and that’s the whole point of the website, right?

4. Keyword Research will help you understand what terms your users are using to find your type of content. Why guess when the search engines can tell you what terms you should be using and what terms you are currently indexed for.

I like using Google’s Adword Keyword Planner tool as well as Soolve to discover more familiar terms.

5. Usability and User Interface are two separate things but they really revolve around each other. I believe you can’t have good Usability without good User Interface and vice versa.

When I think about usability, I’m worried about how easy is it for a user to navigate the site? Do they understand your Call-to-Action? Are they incentivized to do it?

6. When I’m thinking about User Interface, you should be focused on the mobile website vs. the desktop for the first experience. The mobile version in responsive design will really teach you what is most important then you can focus on that when you start doing the desktop design. You should be focused on touch (thumb size) instead of mouse clicks as well as more and more screens become touch sensitive.

Color/design mean everything to the user. Check out my post on digital body language to understand more of how to be intentional with everything the user sees so they will do what you want them to do.

7. Accessibility is important because everyone should be able to view your content including those with disabilities. I’ve been told that up to 25% of your audiences can have vision problems and you can help them by making your website 508 compliant.

Check out 508checker.com and boia.org to help you get 508 compliant.

8. Last but definitely not lead is Inbound Links. These are the amount and strength of other websites hyperlinking to your website. The more you have based on your subject matter, the more the search engines will look to you as an authority in that subject matter.

You used to be able to manipulate these inbound links with blog farms and other black hat techniques but the search engines, especially Google, is constantly on the hunt to keep their search from being gamed. So it’s better to just focus on great content and asking people to link/talk about you on their websites.

You should definitely have a distribution strategy to execute upon when you put out great content. I love using email, social networks, blogging networks, etc… to encourage people to visit the content when we get it up on the website.

Now let’s touch on tools I use to find out what’s going on with the website.

First there’s Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

I have an article on how you can get them both set up and connected together.

google-webmaster-tools

Search Queries that lead to people finding your website

Once you have that you can start looking at what you are being found for currently and then adjusting to be found for other keywords.

Google Webmaster Tools will also let you sort of control your most popular navigational links so you should have know what those are.

Also Google Webmaster tools is going to tell you a lot about how Google sees your website, from mobile experience to your 404 broken link / missing page issues.

Speaking of 404 broken links and missing pages, I use Xenu to scan websites and get a report of what’s wrong with them so I can check. It’s simple program (free) that anyone on a PC can download. Since I’m on a mac I use Wine to run the program.

Here’s a link to my article on how to fix 404 issues.

Fixing 404 Broken Links

Just go into your CMS and fix the links.

Next up with SEO tactics are your images. It’s pretty simple to fix these. All you need is a process. I would not recommend going back and fixing all your image SEO problems unless the images are on your most popular pages. You can find what your most popular pages are in your Google Analytics. Just click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and you’ll get a list.

Here’s my article on how to fix images to make them SEO friendly.

Cow In A Grass Field

Cow eating grass in a green field

Finally let’s talk about website Title Tags and Meta Description. You should use real keywords within your Title Tags because the domain URL is going to be very important to the search engines. They especially don’t like numbers or non-sensical titles.

Meta-Descriptions have been seriously downgraded for SEO if they were even a part of the search algorithm in the first place but they are seriously important to the Google Snippet which people read about the page they are visiting. If you don’t fill this out, Google will pull any text on the page that it thinks describes the website. You don’t want that to happen.

Here’s my post on how to do Title Tags and Meta-Descriptions.

Page Title

Page Titles are probably the most important piece of SEO you can do.

So this was my workshop on Search Experience Optimization (former Search Engine Optimization). Do you have things you would like to add to it?

How do you make a movie with the iMovie App on the iPhone 6?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about content (mainly video) recently – probably because I’ve been encouraging people to use video more and more since the social networks are making video more popular than ever. So I wanted to show you how to make a simple movie or video using the iPhone 6 iMovie App.

This is mainly just images but I thought that would be the easily way to show you how to do it. And I like “How To” article that are mainly pics and just a bit of text.

With this article I’ll be building a quick tutorial on doing a “talking head” video with added B-roll and photos. It’s not as hard as it looks and the software is very forgiving so why don’t you give it a try! The video is above.

 

01-imovie-open-app

Open the app. Click the Plus on the bottom right.

 

02-imovie-select-movie

Select Movie instead of Trailer. Trailer adds movie trailer like sequences to your iMovie. Sometimes this is a lot of fun.

 

03-imovie-select-style

Select Your Style. I like Modern.

 

04-imovie-touch-video

Touch the video/music icon on the middle left.

 

05-imovie-click-all

Click all to see your movies.

 

06-imovie-select-video-to-edit

Select the video you want to edit.

 

07-imovie-select-download

Select the download button to get it into the iMovie program.

 

08-imovie-scroll-right

Scroll all the way to the right. Hit the “Play” button to watch the movie play.

 

09-imovie-select-timeline-adjust

Where the arrow is pointing is your timeline – touch the video and it will highlight in yellow.

 

10-imovie-trim-start

Trim the video bar by touching the video and dragging the thick yellow bar over. You’ll also notice an option menu at the bottom of the program.

 

11-imovie-detact-audio

With the video highlighted, select the scissors icon and then “Detach”. This will remove the audio from the video section. You should see a blue line representing the audio track.

 

12-imovie-audio-separated

With the audio track separated, you can add what you want to the video track like photos or other B-roll video.

 

13-imovie-add-name

Let’s add a name. Listen to the audio and select where you would like the name to disappear. Click on the video and then click Split.

 

14-imovie-select-text

Then you’ll select the frames you’ll want to see the text on. Select the “T” icon and then the style of text action and the location of where you want the text to be. I selected Gravity Style and Lower location.

 

15-imovie-type-text

Next you select the text that shows up on the video screen. The keyboard will appear and you can type what you want.

 

16-imovie-add-broll

Now we can add B-roll. Select the location to add the video just like you did before. Select the Scissors Icon. Select Split. Select the Video/Music icon and then add the video you want.

 

17-imovie-select-dissolve

Select the “Dash” icon and then select the action buttons for “Dissolve”. You can pick what you want but dissolve seems to work the best for B-roll.

 

18-imovie-select-broll-audio

Now we need to remove the B-roll audio. Select the added B-roll frames. Select the “Scissors” icon and then touch “Detact”. Once you have the second line of audio (below your first audio track), select that one to highlight yellow and then touch “Delete”.

 

19-imovie-match-audio

This is probably the hardest part of doing video. You need to match the audio track and the video by dragging the video track of the frames after the B-roll. This will take some time with trial and error.

 

 

21-imovie-fade-to-black

We’re almost done. Now let’s add a “Fade-to-Black” at the end of the video. Scroll to the end of the video and select the “Gear” icon at the bottom right.

 

22-imovie-fade-to-black-switch

Pretty simple. Just slide the switch for “Fade-to-Black” over.

 

23-imovie-name-movie

Now let’s name the movie. Select the left arrow to go back to our project name. Select the text in the center and it will bring up the keyword. Delete the fake movie name and type what you want.

 

24-imovie-save-video

Save your movie by touching the upload button.

 

25-imovie-select-video-save

Select where you would like to place your movie. I always save to the phone first.

 

26-imovie-select-resolution

Select your resolution and Ta-Da, your video is done. I would recommend saving anything worth keeping to higher resolution. Quick videos that aren’t keepsakes can be just large format to save space.

 

That’s it. If you have any questions or need some clarification I would be happy to help. Just leave your questions in the comments or you can hit me up on social media.

 

 

 

Does Your Future Depend On Your Social Media Etiquette? The Do’s and Dont’s of Social

I recently gave a presentation at School Nutrition Association’s National Leadership Conference in San Diego. I had a great time and actually got an “I love you” out of the audience (first time for that).

I wanted to share some of my notes from the presentation because a lot of it was common sense that people need reminders on. Especially when it comes to social media. I wish I could have spoken to this Concord coach before she did this.

So here’s my do’s and dont’s on social media.

I like to start a presentation like this with a video that shows how strong of an influence that digital and social play in our lives.

 

Platinum Rule

Flickr CC via Nikos Koutoulas

We rarely treat another person better than we do when we are in love with them. This is the platinum rule.  Focus on them and meeting their needs.

 

Advertising Sucks

A big mistake is that just because you think it’s important to get your message out right away – it’s definitely not the first thing people are wanting you to do. They want you to be part of the conversation and figure out if they trust you before they decide they want to listen to your message. If you’ve earned the right, then you will be heard.

 

 

be-helpful

Flickr CC via toffehoff

When you help others, they tend to like that. If you highlight them and encourage them, they like that even more. You shouldn’t be worried about it coming back to you but it usually does. People don’t remember what you say or do but they’ll remember how you make them feel. Make them feel special.

 

 

Lewis Black - The King of Rants

Love Lewis Black! He’s the King of Rants

It’s hard not to rant on social. In fact my buddy Jay Baer is writing a book on Hug Your Haters, which I’m sure will be awesome. He calls it a spectator sport.  But I say don’t do it. Two reasons:

  1. You will brand yourself as a ranter and that’s negative.
  2. These social profiles are your best stuff not your worst. What will your great-great-great grandkids think when all they know you from is your social profiles (this digital stuff is gonna last way longer than you do). You don’t want them thinking you’re a jerk, do you?

 

Flickr CC via andrew_mc_d

Flickr CC via andrew_mc_d

You shouldn’t be a robot either on social. There’s a balance to all of this but people need to see that you are a real person. If you never mix business with pleasure then no one is going to pay any attention to what you are saying. Be real but understand who you are trying to portray with this digital life.

 

 

Flickr CC via oatsy40

Flickr CC via oatsy40

What gets done during your day? If you are like me, it’s the stuff that is scheduled in your calendar. If you don’t schedule in social media, it’s not going to get done.

I try and make time for it throughout the day but if you can’t, the first 20 minutes of your day can be prime to get some social done. Especially using cool tools like Buffer. I highly recommend this. It can make it look like you are taking the time throughout the day to be productive in social.

 

be-the-expert

Be the expert

People don’t know if you are an expert or not until you prove to them you are (or not) one. But if you don’t use social media, then they won’t hear you anyway. Your title does not define your leadership – the fact that you care and are willing to put yourself out there and lead people does.

You have an audience to influence. You can try to do this one at a time via email and phone calls or you can use a blog or social profile and reach so many more. It’s up to you but I can tell you that if you aren’t out there, there are people willing to fill in the gaps. Like her below.

fraud babe

This is not HER fault.

You can blame the Food Babe all you want but she took the time to listen and then lead the charge. I can’t fault her. I could put blame on all the researchers, food experts and scientists that you should have not let her fill the gap but I won’t.

Most experts know what to do now – you need to get out there and preach the good word about good food backed by science and emotion. Most of these people are diet fads – it will fade in time but it didn’t have to be this way.

 

 

Videos win in social, photos come in second.

Videos win in social, photos come in second.

Facebook favors video. Why? Because people will stay on their site longer to view videos (common sense, right?). So what should you do? Make videos if you have a message you really want people to see/hear and upload it natively into Facebook (don’t just upload to YouTube and then share).

Video is much easier to do than in the past. One of my favorite apps for video is iMovie and it’s a lot easier to use than you think.

 

google-yourself

When people first meet, what do they do immediately afterward? Especially if they are interested in them in a business sense (sometimes romantic). They GOOGLE them. Are you happy with what Google says about you? Do you know how to change it? Tip: you can’t change what Google displays but you can fill Google with more content that hopefully pushes the bad stuff down.

Google is your homepage – not your website or social profiles. People Google you first.

 

 

talkwalker-alerts

You should know if Google has something new on you. Use Talkwalker Alerts (FREE) to monitor for your name. It’s not hard to set up and it works relatively well.

 

 

know-your-social-audience

If you want to reach people in their social areas, then you need to know which network they hang out in. If you don’t know that then stop using social until you do. How do you find out? I don’t know.

Did you ever think to ask them? Or you can use research? The graph above displays my thoughts and experience on where young and old people are at in social and what they use it for (personal or business). Most networks blend both.

 

 

dont-do-everything

Flickr CC via Wessex Archaeology

You honestly don’t need to try and do all the social networks at once. Pick one and go deeper in your use (HINT: it should be the one your audience really likes to use).

 

 

facebook-walled-garden

Flickr CC via Leimenide

Personally, I love Facebook for its interaction with my friends. I seldom interact with brands there but I know I can. The problem with Facebook is that it’s not an easy place for business pages to get stuff seen UNLESS they have money. But the groups out here can be wonderful for engaging and getting your fans to see your content.

 

tweet-reporters

The best thing about Twitter is being able to connect with people that you had no right to in the first place – like reporters. They are all on Twitter and understand the major importance of interacting and building a following. Use this to your advantage.

Twitter can also be good at getting people organized around a rallying cry. Just be careful it because it can bite both ways.

 

linkedin-groups

LinkedIn is an easy network to maintain and it’s the most professional of all the networks. It’s also one that is probably going to have the least amount of engagement – unless it’s on blog posts. I’ve seen a lot of great content there. Blogging on your own place and sharing inside of LinkedIn can give you more visibility than you think. BTW, join more groups. Groups help your profile to be found.

 

pin-good-food

Pinterest is such a hot network right now especially for food. But it lacks experts. You can be that expert pinning good food and answering questions. This is where people search for good food – not Google.

 

How To Videos on YouTube

If you want to know how to do something and you don’t know how, just YouTube it. It’s a Do-It-Yourselfer’s dream. But the videos can’t be stale and I would even say that traditional videos have a harder time being found and liked. Make every video fun and engaging.

 

 

dont-argue

Is it ever worth it to argue on a social network? Nope, not that I’ve seen. Is it entertaining to watch? Yep. Is it fun to participate? No way. You shouldn’t have to fight on these networks and I would discourage it.

Sometimes it will make you feel better in the short run but over time it’s going to eat away at you. Remember one of the first lessons about the “Platinum rule”. It’s hard to do that when you are flaming another person. Just step away from the keyboard until you can calm down.

 

evaluate-trolls

If you want to persuade someone, you must elevate who they are and the position they are taking. If you think it’s worth going after, then follow the old salesman’s rules. Never let them say “no” (always give them stepping stones they can easily say “yes” too and then you can lead them where you think it will be a “win” to both you and them. If this isn’t possible, just walk away.

 

summary

Well, that’s it. There’s always a ton of other stories and what-not that I throw into this presentations but you get the gist of it.

If you have any questions about anything I went over, just give me a holler online. I’ll be here like I always am.

 

Is blogging dead in 2015?

No, it’s alive and well especially in agriculture.

Blogging isn’t dead even though the big names in marketing and tech claim it to be almost every year. Here’s one from 2012 / Fast Company.

blogging-is-dead-fastcompany

Blogging is dead via Fast Company

And then this year, supposedly it’s doing great.

bloggins-is-alive-gigaom

Blogging is Alive & Well via GigaOM

Of course the company, GigaOM isn’t. But that’s beside the point.

When it comes to reaching out to our customers, farmers want to know if they should spend time blogging. I get this question a lot from farmers when I’m on the road teaching digital marketing.

My answer is always the same. Yes. Yes, you should.

“Why?” asks the farmer.

I have a lot of answers to that. But for this post I decided to reach out to ag bloggers and see what keeps them blogging and doing this kind of digital outreach.

Here’s one of the biggest reason of why you should be blogging.

People go online looking for information about farming if they don’t get it from us, who will they get it from? The number of people who want simple agricultural information is astounding and I personally want it to come from credible sources.
Janice Person – http://janiceperson.com

The farmers are credible sources of agriculture information.

Other reasons to be blogging is that all that time you spend in social media is great but you should be housing all of your photos, videos and longer text format in a place you control. Facebook’s posts and Twitter tweets are fleeting and get lost in the ether.

Why would you take all that time to craft something so beautiful to let it be lost?

Another reason is that the search engines especially Google still love blogs and give them a lot of credibility. Blogs are workhorses of the search industry. Many of the major news organizations nowadays were once just blogs (and are still structured that way).

“OK,” the farmer says, “I’m convinced that a blog is the way to go. What should you write about?”

Ranchers/farmers don’t necessarily see their daily lives as unique, and sharing the simple things of country life tend to be overlooked, but I can’t tell you how many times readers have asked how far to the grocery store or gas station, how do all the vehicles keep running or why do we have so many, can I get take-out? Lots of the daily stuff is worth blogging about, just because we understand it’s an hour to town, doesn’t mean the readers do! Sure moving cattle is a highlight, but most of the year, it’s Life that takes up my days.
Carol Greet – http://reddirtinmysoul.com/

 

I don’t think you need to just focus on the farm…snippets of the life of a farmer are good, because it draws in more of the non-ag audience. It’s good to write about things they can relate to, and to build relationships…that’s when you become their trusted source.
Carolyn Olsen – http://carolyncaresblog.com/

I’ll bet you that when you attend a city event and people find out you’re a farmer you get a barrage of questions.

  • What’s the difference between conventional farming and organic?
  • What do the cows eat?
  • Why do you take away the calves from their mothers?
  • Why do you live on a farm?

If you are looking for blog topics, you can also just use Soovle and it will help you see what people are searching for around your topics. Soovle will pull the auto completes from Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc…

Then the farmer asks, “How do you go about starting a blog?”

I’ve got a quick “how to blog” on my blog and some 13 best practices  but there are many different ways to start a blog and tons of people writing about how to do it.

But some good advice came straight from the farmers.

I suggest that anyone who wants to start blogging have 10 posts wrote before they launch. That way when they get busy they can use something they already wrote to keep their momentum going.
Plus if they can’t get 10 posts wrote in the first place, they can decide if maybe blogging isn’t their thing after all.
Carrie Mess – dairycarrie.com

 

Find a good blogging planner. My resolution for 2015 is 2-4 posts a month and I’m hoping a planner will get me there!
Brooke Behlen – http://meetyourbeef.com/

 

Your own blog helps you write about your passion. It will keep you interested in blogging.
Judi Graff – http://farmnwife.com/

 

Do something simple. Don’t worry about making a post the definitive post of all posts on the subject. Non-farm people are often fascinated by things we thing are mundane.

Brian Scott – The Farmer’s Life

But if you’ve tried blogging and it just wasn’t working out, don’t just give up on online communications. We definitely need your voice out here.

Are there other things besides blogging – yep! Try video or images.
If writing isn’t your thing, think of moving to YouTube. The second most utilized search engine is YouTube. Find YOUR way and don’t think you have to follow others.
Katie Pinke – http://thepinkepost.com/

 

Visual definitely makes a difference. Sometimes just a photo, sometimes photos illustrating, sometimes just a photo along with the article. I usually aim for 1 if under 400 words, more if over to ‘balance’ it or if needed to explain something.
Jan Hoadley – https://slowmoneyfarm.wordpress.com/

Again, blogging is a powerful tool to connect with your customers. You can pass along insights about life on the farm and how you farm as well as the commonalities you share with them.

Your farm voice is one of the most important communication tools ag has and without it other voices will fill the void and the imagination of our customers. You can set the record straight and build strong relationships with the people that trust you to grow their food.

If you have any questions about getting started or getting back into blogging, please let me know. I would be happy to answer them. You can leave a comment below or just hit me via Twitter or Facebook.

How do you win your wife back? Fight the evil twin.

my-wife-evil-twin
I’m battling the most evil (and excuse me for saying this) bitch for my wife’s well being. I’ll refer to it as the evil twin.

Let me tell you about this twin:

She lies all the time to my wife. What does she lie about?

  • my adoration and love
  • my kids’ affection
  • my relatives and friends’ thoughts about her
  • her clients’ trust
  • her faith in God
  • her abilities as a woman, a mother, a lover and a friend

She cheats my wife as well. What does she cheat my wife from?

  • Joy
  • Success
  • Happiness
  • Peace of mind
  • Prayer

And she steals from her. What does she steal?

  • Her time
  • Her money
  • Her beauty
  • Her thoughts

God, I hate that woman.

And the worst thing about it is that I’m never going to be able to beat that woman out of our lives because it’s literally my wife.

You’ve seen the Dove commercials where artists drew women as they see themselves and then as strangers or their loved ones saw them. Those woman pictured themselves as some pretty hideous creatures.

I believe my wife’s internal evil twin does that to her as well. It sees her not as a loving, giving beautiful child of God but as a hateful, selfish hideous spawn from Hell. How can that person be living inside my wife’s head?

Well, I don’t know and I’m not here to debate the psychosis of this situation. I just finally figured out that it was there and I’ve decided that I’m not going to fix the situation (I wouldn’t know how to anyway) but I’m going to go to war with that thing and I’m willing to battle her the rest of my life.

Normally I don’t write about these things on my blog. My family life and especially my relationship with Jenn is superficial on the web – we don’t voice too many of important life decisions and we definitely keep our issues out of social media.

While I love social, it’s not a place to throw out internal beefs because nothing will ever be worked out online in a public forum. When you do this, you are just asking people to pick sides in a battle that they have no skin in and they will do it. The results are never pretty.

But this is an issue that Jenn and I both chatted about extensively together and have come to some thoughts that might help others. So I thought I would share.

I want my wife happy and healthy – as probably most of you do – and I’m willing to do what it takes.

defeating-evil-twin

How do I win the battle with the evil twin?

1. Unconditional Love – always assume the best.
That thing in her brain hates her unconditionally. It never relents or fails to bring up her shortcomings. Offering unconditional love to her is not always easy but it’s worth i. It means that I love you no matter what you do to me. I will forgive you for anything. Now this might be easier for me more than most because I’ve never experienced Jenn not being honest and open with me about everything.

How do you do unconditional love?

First, is that no matter what they said or did, you have to forgive without holding anything over them. I know this can be difficult if what they have done was extremely hurtful to you but forgiveness will allow you to heal as well.

Second, always assume that whatever has happened, it did not occur from malice or hate. If I feel like I’m being attacked by her over something, I try and view the situation from her point of view and see where I might have wronged her first by being unloving or distant. Hey, I’m male and I do those things a lot. I try not to but it happens.

2. Non-stop Compliments
The evil twin takes advantage of every situation to tell her something awful about herself. You don’t look good enough, you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t loving enough, you aren’t “fill in the blank”.

To combat this non-stop verbal assault that my wife undergoes daily, I try and compliment her as much as I can. Sincerely. Now this may seem weird and when I first started doing more of it, Jenn tended to react poorly. She’s never taken compliments well and we had to chat about it several times before she would take the compliment with a “thank you” vs. verbalizing what that thing told her internally.

BTW, after we discussed this I found out that the evil twin immediately discounts what I say. If I say “I think you are beautiful”, she says, “he has to say that. He’s married to you.” What a bitch.

Little things are just as big as her great successes so it’s more important to give them all the time and sincerely. You shouldn’t wait to give them thinking that you are going to save them up for those larger meaningful moments. It means more if they are there all the time.

I don’t want you to get the idea that Jenn is superficial and needs lots of compliments to get through the day – hardly. These compliments are for her to know that I’m paying attention to her – that she feels loved – and it’s to offset the verbal abuse she’s giving herself internally.

The more I verbalize her beauty and worthiness, the more I see her beauty and worthiness. I’m sure it has an effect on her but to me it keeps my eyes on her and her in my heart.

3. Focus on her like I did when we were dating – everything has intention.
One thing that I struggle with is intention. When Jenn and I first dated, I planned out entire nights – what I would wear, when I would pick her up, was the car washed and cleaned, where we were going, how long we would be there, what we would eat, and when to make the right moves. Now, not so much.

We still do date nights but I tend not to put as much effort into them and then I get called out on them – lack of intention means lack of love and effort. Of course, I don’t always see it that way but she’s right.

Remember the evil twin will come out and use this lack of intention to tell her that she’s not worthy of my attention – which is complete BS but in some ways it’s not. That thing is right – I’m not taking the time and intention to plan the night out, to getting her alone and focusing on her.

I’m definitely a work in progress here but when it comes to date night, I’m trying to get better.

4. She’s before the kids/family – don’t make her feel guilty about you spending time with them as well.
The thing has no problem using her kids against her. When you think about that you realize that’s such an ugly thing to do but like I’ve said before she’s the most evil person I’ve run into so I shouldn’t be surprised when she uses the kids to make Jenn feel horrible.

Quality time / face-to-face time is very important to her and the kids. But remember the kids came after the marriage and they won’t be living with you the rest of their lives. They aren’t your kids anyway – they are God’s children and we are just taking care of them for him.

So the kids come second. I try and set out designated time for the kids every day and I make sure that I’m involved in their lives but the majority of my free time should be focused on making sure Jenn’s needs are met.

I’m not talking about following her around and waiting on her hand and foot. I’m talking about that quality time is defined and she knows when it is and her quality time isn’t sacrificed first when other things come up like helping the kids with a project or working on a vehicle. These unplanned things should be chatted about and shouldn’t be assumed.

Like I said earlier, I’m not perfect when it comes to dealing with the bitch that talks smack to my wife about her failures in everything she does but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give her more ammunition that she can use against her. I want to be there to help her battle that demon not just pick her up after she’s taken a huge hit.

So do you have some good ideas on how to handle the bitch that lies to your wife?

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