Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Google+ Tips to Help Local Businesses Thrive Online

Being a local business has a lot of perks, while carving out an online niche may not be one of the first to pop into your mind, maybe it should. Social networks, especially Google+ are filled with potential customers looking for local businesses to interact with. Consider the following 5 tips for thriving as a local business on Google+.
  1. Think About Your Customers
Yes, the current online trend is to optimize listings and websites for search engines. This is important, without SEO, it’s hard for customers to stand a shot at finding you, and organic searches are less likely to pan out in your favor.
However, in this piece, we’re talking about Google+, not the Internet at large. Because of this, it’s important to optimize your site for your customers—the people you’re hoping come across your listing and take the time to look into what you have to offer. Use natural language and focus on what your business has to offer. Engage, share new content regularly and work to build connections. This is what really matters.
  1. Customize
One thing is for sure, the more personal you can be, the more appealing your brand will look online. Take the time to customize your Google+ local page to differentiate your company from your primary competitors with great photos and a fully filled-out profile. Think about it, what makes one Amish furniture store in Smithville, Ohio stand out from another? What does one running shoe store in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania have that another does not? Customization can go a long way.
Consider using banner ads, photos and videos that give an idea of what your brand is all about, tailor your content toward your local community and promote relevant information. Customization matters for local businesses looking to get ahead online.
  1. Don’t Waste Your Time
This should go without saying, but, if your target market doesn’t spend their time on Google+, all of the tips in the world will not help you grow your business on the network. Just do the minimum required to make your listing look good and move on.
Do a little research. Find out where your customers spend their time online. For example, if you’re looking to connect with crafty stay at home moms, Pinterest might be more appropriate. It all depends on what you have to offer, and who is a part of your target demographic. Know this before placing a strong effort on Google+ or any other social network, but, remember, Google+ can influence search results, so do not discount it; use your research to determine how much time the network deserves on your end.
  1. Keep Up With Your Listing
Like all other social networks, or most of them at least, a successful Google+ account is dependent upon commitment. If you’re not willing to put time into updating your content and modifying your listings, it might be better not to create an account in the first place.
Take the time to update your listings on a regular basis and to monitor that listing’s performance to determine whether your efforts are paying off or not. If a listing has a high page rank, let it be; there’s no reason to mess with a good thing. In either case, keep up with your account, this is critical.
  1. Use Reviews to Your Advantage
Customers, especially local customers, tend to rely upon online reviews when choosing new businesses to work with. This is where your Google+ account can really work to your advantage; these reviews are also helpful for improving your search rankings.
Take the time to request reviews from your customers, in person and through an email marketing campaign. Thank those who take the time to recognize your business; they’re doing more of a service to you than they’re probably aware of.
Whatever you do, Google+ can play a major role in increasing your online presence, especially if you’re a local business. Get started by taking full advantage of the network and following the tips above.

Friday, May 8, 2015

SEO Basics: How Online Marketing is Changing

SEO Basics: How Online Marketing is Changing

The online marketing landscape has evolved immensely throughout the past few years. The age of stuffing websites with keywords and depending solely on Facebook for social media traffic is over. Businesses must adapt to these online marketing changes to achieve better search engine rankings and more online traffic. Be sure your company is taking part in these changes and that you know what to look for in your SEO program.

In the past, Google and other search engines placed a premium value on keywords for search engine rankings. Today, Google now values content as a major determination for search engine rankings. Although the keywords in the content are important, the most valuable aspect is the quality of the content. Examples of online written content include blogs, sponsored articles, and press releases. A recent trend in search engine optimization is the emergence of visually based content like photos and videos. Essentially, search engines place a higher value on content that is engaging and warrants a discussion.

Social Media
For many businesses, social media networks are a great source of public relations. In addition, social media networks provide traffic to websites and helps with search engine optimization by providing social value to a business. While the standard social media networks include Facebook and Twitter, this may not be the case for every business. For example, a company that is based on business-to-business transactions might value LinkedIn as their best social media network instead. 

Link Building
External links on other websites is still a major part of online marketing. And while this can easily be achieved by submitting a website link to online directories and forums, this may not be the top way to achieve the best search engine optimization. Many companies are reaching their target audiences online by having their link, their content, or an advertisement, on a niche website. For example, CEO Bart Knellinger says in online Progressive dental marketing, this includes sharing your link on a dental related website.

The popularity of mobile usage continues to grow. It is therefore a standard in online marketing to have a website that is mobile-friendly. Some business might interpret this as a need to create a mobile application. However, this usually means creating a website that is responsive and will perfectly fit the size of the screen of any electronic device. Google values websites that are mobile-friendly. The more electronic devices that can comfortably access a website, the more traffic possibilities for your company website. 

Internet marketing is reaching an age where mobile is going to be everything. As online marketing continues to evolve, businesses must stay on top of the changes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review: Tied my Up for Hours - How to Tie a Tie

The book "How to Tie a Tie" covers fifteen different ways to tie a tie, along with how to tie a bowtie. There are plenty of graphics throughout the book that illustrated the instructions for tying the different knots. The graphics were clear and easily followed by even a novice such as myself. I really appreciate this as to watching a video online because the video moves far faster than my hands do when trying to tie a tie. I would be constantly pausing the video and rewinding just to see exactly how their hands moved.

The book does not lay flat - shocker. Other reviews have mentioned this as well and if there was a built in mechanism for making the book stay open on a page I'd be even more grateful. Right now I use a paper weight to hold open my page when getting the steps down.

Of course I tried my best to work through the instructions for tying the different knots - I leave my ties tied to save time in the morning so I don't often need to tie them and when I do - I usually forget how.This book provides a great quick access guide for those times that I do need to retie them so in that respect it almost works as a coffee table book too! (Just too small) We've often had a conversation about how to tie a bow tie so this will be a great tool in teaching that long died sought after skill.

Inside the book you'll find:
* Step-by-step instructions to knot neckties for casual, office, and evening wear
* Tailoring basics for dressing excellence
* Guidelines for matching cufflinks to shirts, folding pocket squares, and other essential finishing touches

"A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life,"  quipped Oscar Wilde, a fashion genius who could knot an ascot as well as he could turn a phrase. For the rest of us, there's How to Tie a Tie. Whether you have always wanted to master a classic Windsor knot or simply need to rustle up an acceptable bow tie, this is your personal guide to dressing seriously well.

This makes a great graduation gift from high school or college!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kentico Webinar Summary

Kentico Webinar Summary
 Open Source

 SQL DB, .NET (can write from scratch), Create custom controls for extendibility

 A ton of pre-built functionality / widgets: polls, form building, social, etc.

 Drag and Drop Interface for .NET Controls, widgets, extensions, layout, and menus.

 WYSIWYG Editor w/ Permissions  ( similar to our CMS )

 Approval Process / Workflow

 Integration with Active Directory via LDAP

 Email Capture Forms w/ Auto Responder & Attachments

 Re-use and Re-purpose Content

 Constant Contact – possible to integrate

 Search Site

o User Management integration

o Sign up to receive something

 Multiple Blogs

 Design based on a Master Page (like visual studio)

o Filterable

o Indexes

 PDFs

 Word

 Excel

o Kids

o Teens

o Seniors

o Ability to customize through

 Templates


 Timed Posting – Schedule Posting

 Auto-Post to Social Networks

 3 types of chat built in: group, single, auto (pop up)

 Social Login with OpenID

 Ability to preview in device specific format

 Calendar / Registration feature  - ability to add to outlook, iCal, Google Cal

o Adding these features to the current calendar would be great, but iii might have that

locked down

Example Website on Kentico

Cuyahoga County Public Library