Paul Kortman

Paul Kortman

+1 616.676.7144 and

Proficient with Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

Passionate about online marketing.

World Traveler via Home Along the Way

Certified nerd, as a system administrator for 12 years.

Father of 4, Husband of 1


Search Traffic Increased by 25%


Code & Site Structure

By simply tweaking the code and site structure Paul was able to improve our rankings significanly

Clairity from Data

Paul is able to see through the data and explain what users are doing and point to areas of concern on our site.

Friendly & Intelligent

It’s rare to find a person who can explain complex matters in laymans terms. But that’s what Paul specializes in!


Digital Marketer


Growth Hacker


Incredible Life

From Paul:

I’m just a regular guy. A follower of Jesus from Michigan in the US. My story is unique just like yours. This blog varies from stories about my family and struggles with raising our kids to helpful technical articles. This is just me in zeros and ones.

What about You?

Data can tell me a lot about you, like where you came from, what you read and where your mouse hovered, but it cannot tell me what’s on your mind, what you are seeking or how I can help. For that I need you to reach out. The web is now social and thus we should dialog to make this experience for you truly social. You won’t regret it!

Providing High Value

Paul’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach to SEO/SEM & Social Media Marketing (SMM) for businesses and organizations is providing high value in the ever-growing area of strategic social marketing, as people look to their peers and friends for recommendations on goods & services.

– Steven Colthorp, 3CStudios

Refreshingly Honest

Paul is refreshingly honest in his approach to SEO marketing and purposefully does not promise things outside his control. He simply provides high quality advice to help his clients implement best practices in an ever changing market. I highly recommend Paul as a very knowledgeable professional.

– Adam Zuwerink, Atorney

An Expert

When it comes to SEO, Paul is an expert. He helped increase our site rank by over 24 percent in a short period of time, and educated us on SEO best practices so we can incorporate them into everything we do online. Paul is also an excellent resource in many many other on-line activities, and he’s fun to work with! Strongly recommend.

– Tamara Bergstrom, Marketing Manager Varnum LLP

Paul Kortman’s Blog about Marketing & Life

I Love Food, But It Has Almost Killed Me. Twice.

I have a condition that I didn’t know about. Sometimes we know something is wrong with ourselves or our body but we just have to push through it. We live in a fallen, broken world where our bodies have troubles and there is nothing that can fix everything. That’s what I thought I was experiencing. I have since learned I cannot ignore it anymore and I have to be proactive about preventing it. Steak at Eight It all began when I was 8 years old. My family and I were spending a week camping at Indian Trails campground. We were having grilled steak for dinner, and it tasted wonderful. Until I started choking on a piece of steak. I was not “choking” persee. The definition of choking is when a person cannot breath. However I could breath. The food was lodged further down in my esophagus past the point where the air tube goes to the lungs. However I was in extreme pain and I could not get the food to go down, or to come up. So my Mom took me to the ER at the hospital. I had to carry a bowl to spit into because our body so wonderfully creates extra spit to digest food when it’s in the esophagus or mouth. the body does this to break down the food. However I could not swallow, so I had to spit it out. After being admitted into the ER and while the doctors were deciding what to do with me I threw up the piece of steak. It happened to be a breakfast-sausage-link-sized piece of steak. So the blame was (correctly) laid...

Productizing a Service Business?

There’s this holy grail in the location independent entrepreneur movement. It’s developing a product. Something that sells over and over and over again after developing it once. This is where passive income can be realized. Much like book writing used to be, once you’re published the money keeps rolling in for a couple years allowing you to write your next masterpiece as you see fit. But a lot of us location independent entrepreneurs follow a path to get there. Typically we start our dreams working for the man. I wished I was smarter when I started out of college (shoot even before that) but I didn’t have the exposure to business that would have given me the insights I have today. When we’re working for the man we start exploring how to break free, how to spread our wings. The ultimate goal even if we cannot state it is to have a product, to have “stable” revenue coming in while we take a week off to go scuba diving. However something comes in there, almost devilish like that tempts us with the sweet candy of money. That devil? Service, also known as Consulting. Service Business There’s a lot of good that can be said about the service business/consulting gig. First you get to know your clients and customers really well, you get to make some really good money (remember that devilish candy?) and you get the benefits of running your own business while choosing your location. The negatives of a service business are all too familiar to me currently. Instead of one boss you have 14 bosses all who...

Defining Success

I’m a parent, husband, friend, entrepreneur, boss, vendor, and follower of Jesus. Each of those have a metric for defining success. But in reality we need to define failure in order to truly define success. It’s my belief that there is a significant space between success and failure that we spend most of our time in. This space can both help us and harm us. Using the illustration above, we can chart our actions and inactions on a spectrum of success and failure. I’d argue that most people are wired to look at this as black and white, the arrows on each side, not the line between. Either I lost 50 pounds or I didn’t. Achieving a goal is success, anything short of that is failure. This is what I’m currently struggling with right now. I want to be the father I never had. My goals include specifically: not abusing my kids, caring for them, encouraging them, and more. When I loose my cool and give them a harsh consequence, or yell at them I feel and tell myself I’m a failure. Because I didn’t achieve the goal. However if I were to define failure first: something like abusing my kids. Then even when I don’t attain the perfect father behaviors I’m still not failing. Defining the land between Success and Failure So what do we call this land between? It’s not success and it’s not failure. Life is not black and white. I don’t know, but I can give a couple more illustrations. My service/consulting business took a 90% hit in revenue this summer. I’d call that aspect alone a...

What If?

A little over a year ago Becky and I asked a very dangerous question. What if? On one hand I strongly urge you to ask that question. Ask it a lot. But like the choice between the blue and red pill you cannot go backwards, you cannot return to bliss if you start asking that question. However, reality will become more and more evident and clear. And so we asked, What if we could sell our house? What if we sold most everything we owned? What if we could travel with kids? And we did just that. We changed courses so dramatically, from living in the countryside attempting to hobby farm to world travelers trying to find a home. We named it Home Along the Way. We made home wherever we found ourselves. We answered a lot of questions. We did sell our house and became nomads. And we have found the sweetness of reality. Reality that our kids love traveling. They miss their grand parents, but they love moving to new houses, they loved exploring new places, meeting new people. Reality that Becky and I still love traveling, and can totally do it with 4 kids! Reality that my wife is a packing ninja, not only does she plan ahead and have exactly what we need along she’s able to shed stuff along the way and still have everything we need. But some harsh realities set in as well. We don’t handle the heat of South East Asia too well. Life outside of SE Asia is expensive Word of Mouth marketing fails when ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ comes into play And so yesterday...

Mailchimp Banned

I’m not an Affiliate Marketer. But I must be a spammer. Or I’m just a human making mistakes trying to skirt around the rules of the system. I made some mistakes and I knew I was playing in a risky place. And I got burned. Bad. I love WordPress, and I love Mailchimp. Best part? They play so well together. However I put all my personal projects, experiments, and my business through one mailchimp account. That’s a mistake. and the fatal error I made. When one list has issues mailchimp puts your whole account in “chimp jail.” I should have had multiple accounts, one for testing (spamming?), one for business, and one for personal blogs like this one and our family travel blog. However having multiple accounts is also against Mailchimp’s Terms.   So a while back I wanted to tell my friends about our new travel blog. Since Gmail has a 500 emails (a day) limit and I wanted to email around 2,000 people I knew I should turn to a service. I instantly went to Mailchimp. And wouldn’t you know it I had a ton of old email addresses in my Rolodex (Google Contacts) and they bounced worse than kids with cotton candy in a bounce house. So my account was suspended. I begged for the Chimp’s mercy (aka explained I won’t do this again) and they re-instated my account. We’ve been blogging and using the Auto Chimp plugin which sends a new campaign for each blog post. Super simple and works really well to keep our list informed of what was going on with our family. Then...

Travel as a Lifestyle from a Digital Nomad Family

I gave up. Or better stated I quit. And this isn’t my first time quitting! On one hand we are told never to give up, that persistence pays off. Shoot, Angry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd attempt at making a game. Yet on the other hand we’re told to say no to things that distract from the priority, from the goal. The really insidious things are those goals/priorities that we don’t know we’re signed up for. I quit those things. Er, I quit two of those things. Keeping up with the Jones’ and The American Dream Background We have 4 kids, and we homeschool them. This effectively makes our family a location independent family. I run a digital marketing strategy agency. I’ve been running that agency for 4 years since I quit the best job I ever had working with the great people at ddm. But the whole time I was building that agency I was working from my basement in Newaygo county. Quite literally from the woods of Michigan. I was struggling with some of the decisions we had made, and frankly as an entrepreneur who loves to start things I was unable to keep up with some of the commitments we were making. For example, we committed to being a one car family and with 4 kids we drove a minivan. Driving a minivan as a parent is no big deal. But using the minivan to meet with clients? I mean we were running a quarter million in annual revenue for four years why was I driving around in a minivan? But I struggled with that, why do...

Laymen’s Guide to the Kolbe Score

I was looking for a definitive explainer or a guide to the Kolbe Score and I couldn’t find one, mostly because consultants make a lot of money explaining how the kolbe works and they are old skool in that they don’t want to give away the information that they consult with. And mind you I’m very un-trained in the Kolbe score reading land, but this is a layman’s explainer for how to use a Kolbe score (specifically in teams). First off, a Kolbe score shows your instincts, your natural desires of how to act. This isn’t Myers Briggs’ “are you an Extrovert or Introvert?” It’s more of a how well do you work with teammates to get things done? It’s also a holistic view of people, we all need to work on areas that are not our strengths. Instead of an excuse for laziness (well my Kolbe score says I’m no good at doing it that way) see it as more of a prediction of where problem areas lie between two individuals. Kolbe scores on 4 modes, Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quickstart and Implementor. Fact Finder This is your propensity to seek out information before acting, or before making a decision. Are you more likely to read a recipe, watch a video, and witness a demonstration before cooking a new dish? Or are you more likely to read the ingredients, see a picture and go from there? Follow Thru Are you a systems creator, or a person who bypasses the system to get the task done? Those who score high here are able to document processes and develop repeatable...

Saying No

It happened again. The great opportunity fell into my lap. And I turned it down. What is this great opportunity? A job offer. In 2013, 5 years after the economy took a nose dive, 3 years after I quit my job and 3 years after starting an SEO company. I turned down my 3rd job offer in as many years. When the unemployment situation in the US isn’t good at all, how can I be so prideful as to turn down a job, never mind three in three years? Truth be told none of these were finalized, formalized offers, but all three were (and are) clients who loved what I brought to the team. They made overtures and asked if I was interested, after saying no initially in a cursory manner each one got serious and followed up to see. Essentially saying: “Are you sure?” And each time I’ve told them No. The offers have been increasing in size, the first one’s base salary matched my previous salary with bonuses included. The second was higher than that and this third involved moving the decimal place,  a number I never thought I’d be offered. Yet I still said no. Money isn’t everything, and no it’s not just the rich who say that. To give a little context, since some reading this may think I’m rich. Or they might say, “whatever, that Kortman guy has a successful business, 4 kids, house, and takes trips when he needs/wants to.”  But in reality I’m making payments, paying off debt and we’re a one car family who cannot afford 99% of the trips we want...

Father’s Day Sucks

I’m usually not to negative on this here blog, but today I needed to get something off my chest. To be real with the world. To make a confession: I don’t know how to be a good father. For that reason, and many others today sucks. Celebrating fatherhood sucks. As most problems we adults experience within ourselves: this problem has roots in my childhood. As a child I was physically and emotionally abused by my father. So starting right there you see why I have baggage about this day. Why the days and weeks leading up to today it’s weighed on my mind about what it means to be a father, and about what my father did to me. However that’s not the end of the story. As if abuse wasn’t enough! When I was 21 years old my parents separated. A divorce was imminent. But the kids were moved out, so a divorce would be a okay. One day my mom called me to come over because my dad had something to tell me. Upon arrival, I found it odd that my parents’ pastor, my moms closest sister and my dads closest sister were there. But I forged ahead thinking this was when he’d tell me they were divorcing, which at this point in my life I felt would be a blessing. I’d been out of the house for 3 years and the abuse had stopped. But visiting home was still no fun. What he told me changed everything. He told me (in very different words because he had a difficult time communicating) that he was not my...

Jumping off of the Page

I’m the co-founder of ThingShare, a peer to peer rental system where anyone can participate in the sharing economy by listing your things and then renting them out to strangers. It’s a form of Collaborative Consumption currently focused on the video gaming industry. Since ThingShare is a new business which needs scale to succeed we’ve gone the route of pursuing funding for our idea. Part of that journey might take us to an accelerator. We’ve applied to a bunch and are still applying to more accelerators. TechStars is the biggest accelerator we’ve applied to and the one that we’d benefit the most from. In preparation for applying to TechStars I did my research, and figured out that while some funds/accelerators give priority to the business model/idea, TechStars puts a large emphasis on the team. Essentially they believe in raising/supporting great entrepreneurs no matter what the current idea/business is that they’re working on. We’ve applied to both Boston and now NYC TechStars. But I’ve learned something in the 4 weeks in-between each application. The lesson I learned came from the movie 21. Lessons learned from “21” In the [based on true facts] movie the main character Ben had denied himself the pleasures of this world to seek after one goal, getting into Harvard Medical, the only thing in Ben’s way is finances. He has all the perfect scores, has everything lined up, and even is accepted into Harvard Med, and now he’s competing in a full ride scholarship. The professor explains to him that Ben’s life and in turn Ben himself is boring. In Ben’s final essay he needs to “Jump off the...