What’s a Blog and Why Should you Have One

What’s a Blog and Why Should you Have One.txt

What’s a Blog and Why Should you Have One?

Most small business owners haven’t yet dived into the world of online marketing full force. Some may have taken a few steps in the right direction, but are still failing to capitalize on all of the opportunities that are out there. One of these opportunities is blogging, and if you’re the owner of a small business running your own blog can help you succeed in the online marketplace.

You might have the mistaken impression that blogs are only places to rant about your personal life, however this couldn’t be farther from the truth. A blog can be a very powerful outlet to help market yourself, your business and your products or services. Simply defined, a blog, or web log, is nothing but an easy platform to quickly publish articles onto the Internet.

When used for a business, a blog is a fantastic way to help grow your presence. You might have a basic website with all of the common pages and information. However, your presence is limited because of the amount of content you have, and the fact that it’s static rather than updated or dynamic.

A blog helps you change these factors by giving you an outlet to constantly produce new, fresh content. You don’t have to write 1,000 word columns when you blog, a quick few paragraphs talking about something relevant to your business or industry is all you need. If you can consistently do this a few times per week, then you are growing a huge collection of content that you store on your website. All of this content can be found in the search engines, which will lead to a massive increase in the amount of traffic that your website enjoys.

Additionally, the more you blog, the more that people will come to enjoy what you have to say and look forward to your postings. You’ll build up a following, and if you provide insightful, interesting articles, then your reputation will grow as being one of the leaders in your field or community. Some people might see your blog and not think twice about it, while many others will see your blog and then want to know more about your business. Therefore, you’ll be directly finding many more prospects and customers as your total presence grows.

Best of all, blogging is extremely easy and it won’t take up much of your time at all. If you can find 10-20 minutes per day to dedicate to growing your business in significant ways, then you can blog. And that’s what you’ll be doing, as you grow your business’s online presence and increase your own reputation.

Blogging has been around for quite some time already, but only in the last few years have businesses really begun to utilize them. If you haven’t joined the bandwagon yet then it’s time to get moving. By creating and running your own blog, you will increase your site’s traffic, your business’s online presence and reputation and you’ll be finding new prospects and customers as well.


What is RSS and Why Should I Use It

What is RSS and Why Should I Use It?

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a mechanism for websites to publish changes to anyone who has subscribed to receive them. Even so, the fundamental concepts behind RSS have had profound effects on how publishers deliver content of many types to those who are interested. If you’ve never used RSS before, then learning how this technology has changed the rules of internet publishing may prove to be a powerful incentive in beginning to do so.

Before RSS became popularized, the process of receiving updates from websites was a tedious one. Users maintained bookmarks of sites which they must then check regularly. Of course, as the number of sites checked grew, so did the complexity of manually checking them all for updates, and often sites that didn’t reward readers with regular and enjoyable content on a frequent basis stopped getting revisited.

Some businesses and publications attempted to overcome these difficulties by using email marketing. While this is a powerful tool, it has limitations of its own. The dramatic increase in spam has made email lists a somewhat less accurate means of distributing information than is posting it to a website. Furthermore, browsers are much more capable of displaying the rich content found on the web than are typical email clients.

RSS solves all of these problems quite handily. Content from parts of websites that change frequently—news, event listings, etc.–is encoded in a special format. Files in this format can be subscribed to, and changes from a variety of sites can be automatically collected in a single place. No more does someone need to regularly visit your site to know your latest news or events. Instead, this content is delivered directly to their desktops and is completely opt-in, thus ensuring that those to whom you are communicating wish to receive your messages.

RSS also opens up entirely new areas of possibility for individuals, organizations or businesses. For instance, files can be attached to each update and in some instances are downloaded directly to each viewer’s computer. This technology has given rise to podcasting, a method by which audio and video content can be automatically delivered across the internet for viewing on desktops, iPods and a growing array of media playback devices. This places tools for audio and video delivery, formerly only available to mass media broadcasters, into the hands of just about anyone with a message to share.

Most importantly, RSS isn’t a fringe technology requiring specialized knowledge to use. Instead, it is integrated into almost every available weblog and content management system platform. In fact, it is quite likely that you are already creating RSS feeds and simply aren’t aware of it, as the process is so tightly integrated with your normal publishing procedures.

In many ways, RSS technology has leveled the playing field. No longer must sites keep readers constantly engaged and actively coming back for more, as information is passively sent out without effort. Furthermore, no longer are audio and video broadcast technologies only available to those with the budgets necessary simply to send a signal. If you have a message to share and are not actively aware of and using RSS, then you’re missing out on a major means of connecting with those who may be interested in receiving it.


How Do I Source the Right Tools for My Business

How Do I Source the Right Tools for My Business

Regardless of the type of business you operate, you will need the right tools. Each and every business is known for a specific type of service. All of these services will require the purchasing, installation, and operation of particular tools. There is no way around this fact!

Of course, it is also vital that you acquire the right tools for your needs. To do otherwise will undermine your success potential. This does raise rather obvious questions regarding the sourcing of the business tools. Some may have serious concerns regarding how one can effectively determine which business tools are the right ones to purchase.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can properly arrive at a determination as to which tools are the best ones for your needs. None of these steps are tough ones. All they require is a minimal amount of effort and some determination to get to the truth. If you are open-minded and not biased towards a particular price range or name brand, you will discover the ability to acquire the proper business tools is possible.

One of the easiest ways to determine which tools are the top ones would be to simply….ask. Yes, ask those that you know that have proper experience using specific tools. This way, you can gain an insight into the value of such tools by looking at the personal experiences others may have with the items. This could be the best way to determine what tools are the best to use.

Related to this would be the concept of networking. This is basically the equivalent of “asking a friend of a friend.” That is, when you do not know someone to ask, you can ask around until someone recommends someone to you in which to contact. This process may be a little more time consuming but it will be worth it in the end. This will be doubly true if you end up finding someone that steers you in the right direction regarding which business tools to actually purchase.

Personal research is definitely helpful as well. This could be something as simple as reading reviews on Amazon.com or personal blogs. Or, it could entail putting significant effort into exploring the history of a particular product. The depth of the research you employ will be up to you. The key is that you do put in the proper amount of research time in order to acquire a reliable set of business tools.

The process of attending events is definitely worthwhile since it can allow you to see for yourself whether or not certain tools are right for you. Commonly, people will attend trade shows to take part in such a process. However, the internet has opened the door for webcam based “virtual events.” While definitely not the same thing as being there in person, such events are definitely helpful for those seeking to get a deeper insight into how the tools work.

As you can see, it really is not all that difficult to source business tools. You just need the right steps to follow and the motivation to go forward with such steps.


The Influence of Video Email in Email Marketing

The Influence of Video Email in Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the earliest forms of Internet marketing since ordinary consumers got hooked to dial-up Internet. With so many people having e-mail addresses, advertisers that are hoping to make some extra money for themselves with the mindset of helping other people, these advertisers resorted to sending their offers directly to their inbox. Since Internet connections were slow at the time, video email marketing couldn’t be used.

The messages often contained convincing messages that describe the product, service, or offer along with a link that leads to the opportunity or product webpage. Then viewers are supposedly captivated with the offering assuming that the webpage is convincingly designed which can then lead to a sale or referral that benefits the advertiser.

As these e-mails started circulating around inboxes more often, people started treating these items as spam. Some web users ignore the email because the content doesn’t look very convincing and the offering could be a possible scam. With the increased technology of spam filters by many of the online web providers, making e-mail advertisements are increasingly difficult.

Nowadays, however, Internet speeds are much faster and compression technologies are far more advanced to allow multimedia content like video to be streamed quickly with good visuals and sound. Combined with the latest video marketing software, advertisers are creating their own video email marketing campaigns to convince their leads to go on with the purchase of the products being offered or any available opportunities for the visitor to take on.

Video emails are quite similar to standard emails, but they do not contain as much text since all is needed is a link to the site where the video will be. From there, visitors can enjoy the visuals, graphics, and, other effects of the video while understanding more information about the product and service being advertised.

Videos are designed to increase the conversion rates of visitors to actual sales. Existing advertising methods in gaining traffic to the website will still be used while the videos themselves serve as the main spotlight for people to believe what they are actually seeing on the website.

Multiple videos may be made to further convince and guide people if there is any registration process that needs to followed. For instance, a person may need to fill up a web form with a valid e-mail address in order for them to get a special video email that leads to a video demonstrating a more detailed overview of the website.

Video email marketing is highly advantageous in modern Internet marketing because of the many free places videos can be hosted including YouTube and other free hosting sites. They have influenced the way emails are made and how new websites are designed with the video in a good spot where viewers can’t miss or resist playing it. Video marketing is here to stay and marketers are always trying to find new and creative ideas to make their videos better and more convincing than ever.


What Are Bookmark Sites In Social Media

What Are Bookmark Sites In Social Media?

Bookmark sites also known as social bookmarking sites are a popular device for sharing and storing bookmarks with others. Everyone has a favorite set of sites, and almost everyone has a set of bookmarks for frequently used or enjoyed sites. Bookmark sites enable the average surfer to share their favorites with others along with comments on what they found interesting on the site or what they disliked.

This is just one facet of web 2.0 but social media where regular internet users share their thoughts has become wildly popular and many sites have popped up to serve this function. In the beginning, that is before web 2.0, the average internet user was faceless and mostly voiceless unless it was in a chat room. The internet was a place to find information, read, or sometimes watch videos, but rarely were the surfers allowed to interact in a meaningful way or to influence what was shown on any one site. Social media has changed that and now surfers have a voice and can influence what is seen and share what they felt was funny, sad, awful or informative.

There are a wide variety of social bookmarking sites to choose from but all of them work in a similar manner. You must sign up for an account with the chosen bookmarking site (remember this is social media and the surfer is no longer faceless or voiceless). You will have a screenname on that site and a list of favorite sites can be created. When you find something great on a website you can add it to your list of bookmarks along with comments, and even tags.

Some of the more common and well established social bookmarking sites are; Twitter, where you don’t bookmark you tweet and share your newfound web discovery and your thoughts on it too. Digg, is a very popular social bookmarking site and website owners take great pride in how many “digs” they have had. Stumbleupon allows users to give thumbs up to bookmarks and boasts some 9 million stumblers. Delicious is a venerable social bookmarking site and even offers a toolbar that will let you share a bookmark without leaving the page and going to their site. Facebook has it’s own social bookmarking feature as well and you can post your favorite bookmark to your Facebook page as well as any thoughts you have on it.

Social media and social bookmarking have evolved rapidly from an experiment into the new face of the internet where surfers influence the popularity of a site and finally have a voice. Website owners and especially blog owners recognize the importance of this and many have widgets beneath posts or articles so that surfers can bookmark a post or article with ease.

Along with the very real positive influence that social bookmark sites have had on the internet they are also subject to spammers. Site owners figured out quickly that the more often they were bookmarked by surfers, the more popular they became with Google. This forced the social bookmark site developers to keep developing means to prevent such manipulation.

For surfers sites bookmarked by them are not private but intended to be shared and can’t normally be hidden, but hiding them would negate the reason for putting them on a social site anyway. Most sites encourage bookmarkers to use tags to identify their bookmarks and organize them with others.

RSS feeds are even available for some social bookmark sites and can be followed by tags, comments, keywords or even by username. The addition of social media to the web has changed the face of the internet and though it is subject to some manipulation, web 2.0 has brought more interaction and given the average user a voice, and it’s not going away.


Success Through Branding

Success Through Branding

Branding yourself or your company requires that you put emphasis on the positives that you or your company can provide to consumers. Branding is essentially setting up an image that will put your business into a customers mind when they are considering necessary services or products.

The companies that have been successful in providing good branding in these tough economical times have found that, even though people are not spending as much money, they are turning to them to meet their needs. Think of the top insurance agencies of the world and what tools they use to create successful branding for their business. It could be a catchy slogan or something as simple as an image that brings good feelings or ideas to people.

Finding the right branding idea for your company could take some time. You have to put something together that people will remember and that will draw people to your business. Changing brands often can sometimes hurt a company more than help so be sure to put a lot of thought into the process and commit to the branding idea. You should give the brand time to catch on and not give up and change as soon as you have tried out an idea.

You want your branding idea to portray the type of business that you are running. You want consumers to feel like they can trust you to give them what they need and that you will be there to assist them in any way that you can. It is a good idea to avoid any racy or inappropriate branding attempts as they will surely limit the number of prospects that they will attract. The goal is to speak to the largest amount of people and to grow your business to new levels.

Once you have found the right brand for your business you will see that the word will spread quickly about the services that you provide. Be sure that you can deliver on any promises that you make because branding also makes it easy to loose a large amount of business. If everyone knows your business name or slogan and you get some bad reviews, your business and your slogan will mean poor service and customers will look elsewhere for their business needs.

The branding for your company should speak to the integrity of your business and the high quality services or products that you can deliver to your customers. Give the public something to remember you by. Give them a reason to call you for their needs. When you have developed a strong customer base that is very familiar with the brand that you have incorporated into your business, word of mouth advertising will surely take place.

Companies with difficult names or that do not have a catchy brand to be remembered by may find it difficult to get the word spread about their business. This is why incorporating a great brand to your company and standing behind the great services or products that you offer are very important to any business.

If your company does advertise using their brand today, think of the possibilities that could be waiting on you and the growth opportunities that you could be passing by on. Branding moves companies ahead in the business world and the benefits can be realized as soon as the great brand gets spread to the consumers.


Getting Started in Video Marketing

Getting Started in Video Marketing

There are millions of people that log on to the web and do all sorts of things on a daily basis. This fact has encouraged advertisers and marketers to bring out their products, services, and other offerings to these people to increase their sales. With Internet marketing being easy to learn, the web has become oversaturated with marketers which explain the many ads that are floating about. The competition can make it tough for some people to become successful so new marketing methods need to be developed in hopes of increasing sales.

Video marketing is one of the advanced techniques of marketing since it involves a webcam, digital camcorder, or imaging device that has recording features. Its primary purpose is to further encourage viewers to try or buy a product or service.

It can be a powerful method for getting the word across because the advertiser has full control of the quality of the video. Combine all of the different offline and online editing and production video tools with user creativity and you can get a really nice output.

Popular video tools like Windows Movie Maker for Windows and iMovie for Mac OS X allow people to add some nice effects to their videos to make them stand out more. More experienced users can try out professional tools like Adobe Premier to create clips that can compare to advertisements seen on TV. Even without a video recording device, graphical videos can be made using programs like Adobe After Effects. Then using a video tool, music or audio recording from the microphone can be added so that a convincing message can still be conveyed.

Once the video is ready for public viewing, it must be uploaded to an online video sharing website so it can be viewed at any time without any worries of bandwidth depletion. Lengthy videos on a good resolution can turn out to be large file sizes and most online video sharing websites compress the video without greatly sacrificing the quality.

Popular websites like YouTube and Vimeo are great to try out first since they are visited very often and have a high page ranking. High page ranking of the site is significant because you can still apply search engine optimization techniques to make your video more visible. Think of a good title of your video after uploading using keywords that best describe your content. Add some more keywords on your description and tags to back it up. Don’t forget to add a link to your capture page or product homepage where others can find more information.

Now that the video is fully functional online, you can use the various sharing tools to increase the exposure. Every video on the video sharing site has a unique link and you can market that link the same way you would market ordinary links, so exercise your favorite marketing techniques like e-mail marketing or social network marketing to get more video views. You can even embed the link to a webpage so that people that visit that webpage can see the video as well.

Videos aren’t totally focused on driving traffic to your website, so don’t abandon all of your other advertising techniques. Use videos to increase the conversion rates since they are made to further entice visitors into making a purchase.


The Importance of Having a Good Landing Page

The Importance of Having a Good Landing Page

The internet is still expanding at an enormous rate of knots, and many people are now using it as their prime source of income. There are literally millions of websites, and many of them are plying for a portion of the same trade; in other words they are competing with each other for a slice of the same market. In such a fiercely competitive environment, it is vitally important that your own website stands out from the crowd.

There are two main issues to consider. The first is driving traffic to your website, and the second is capturing that traffic when it alights on your site. Much has already been written about how you can drive increasing quantities of visitors your way, but when you stop to think about it, unless you can spark your visitors’ interest the moment that they actually land on your website, you are likely to miss the opportunity of turning that visitor into a paying client.

This is where having a great landing page comes into its own right. But what is a landing page? A landing page is the literally the page of your website that a visitor lands on. It is the first thing that any visitor sees of your site and that is why it is so important to grab your visitor’s immediate attention. Once you have gained their attention, you have immediately increased your chances of making a sale a thousand-fold.

As well as grabbing your visitors’ attention, a well designed landing page will then entice that visitor further into your site. The number one priority is of course to make a sale, but this is not the purpose of the landing page itself. In reality, most people do not make a purchase on their first visit to a website. Yes it does happen, but most sales rely on piquing the visitor’s interest and then drawing that visitor back, time and time again, until they are convinced to make an actual purchase. The average number of visits that it takes to clinch such a sale is seven.

So the key thing is to engage your visitors in a way that will encourage them to return to your website. Good landing pages need good design. Your landing page needs to be aesthetically pleasing. When your potential client regards your website for the first time, you want to make them feel that your site presents a professional image. No one will even dream ofmaking a purchase if your website looks cheap and tacky.

Your potential clients must feel comfortable, and must have a belief in the integrity of your product or service, and they should be made to feel that they will get good value for money. No one likes to waste their hard earned cash, so generating this feeling of confidence and security is all important.
The best Landing pages are designed to entice. They will often lead visitors to another page within the website that is set up with the intention of signing your visitor up to a newsletter, or signing on for some form of free gift. The important thing is to gain your visitor’s contact information so that you can keep in regular touch with them reminding them about the benefits of your product and/or service and keeping them up to date with any offers that you may be making.

Remember the seven visit average to making that all important purchase. Make sure your landing page is well designed to captivate that initial interest, and that you can gain your potential clients details in order that you can keep in touch and gently nudge them from time to time until they decide to buy.