Archive for April, 2011

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Comics of the Week #75

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Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons…

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Improvements to view-through conversion reporting

If you are advertising on the Google Display Network there is a good chance you know what a “view-through conversion” is. In case you don’t, a view-through conversion (referred to as a VTC) occurs when a user views an image or rich media ad (but doesn’t click on it) and later completes a conversion. Way back in 2009, Google introduced the VTC reporting feature to help better measure the value of display advertising…

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SEO Link Building Tips 101: The Power of Contextual Link Building …

By now, everyone who has dabbled in web advertising or Seo for their website knows the greatest way to rank in the search engines is to link construct.
link building tips – Google Blog Search

The 5 Hidden Powers of Business Blogs

Business blogs are becoming an increasingly common way to expand a company’s online presence.  Six months ago I asked does your business blog? According to Hubspot, the number of companies that blog has risen 17% in the last two years to represent 65% of all businesses surveyed.  That increase is not at all surprising to me.  After all, as well as improving search engine rankings, blogs can be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available to businesses. With so much competition online, they have become a powerful channel for both developing brands and generating sales.

While blogs continue to mystify many companies who think that they are just for people expressing their personal opinions, more and more businesses are realizing the hidden powers that a business blog can provide to their sales and marketing efforts.  Even successful B2B blog case studies are beginning to appear.

If your business still hasn’t started a blog, consider the potential hidden powers that a business blog holds for your company that you might not be aware of:

1) Communicate Freely

Unlike web pages that often remain static for too long, business blogs provide a quick and convenient platform for new company information.  For providing resourceful industry information, background regarding your press releases, in-depth analysis of new product launches, promotions, or simply conveying up-to-date company news, they are an invaluable tool for many current businesses.  Especially if your website isn’t updated regularly, blogs can be a very effective means of promotion, keeping regular customers informed, and attracting new customers to your web presence.

2) Loosen Up

A business blog allows you to communicate in a more informal setting, which can help you to connect on a more personal level with your customers.  Unlike the more formal aspects of a main business website, a blog can afford to be more conversational.  Under the leadership of your social media content czar, blog writers from both within your company as well as from outside sources can write regular and diverse content that can still relate closely to your company’s philosophy and meet your fluctuating needs.

3) Boost Your Ratings

Even with a standard blog on your main website, there are many opportunities to create links to and from your site, enabling visitors to find relevant information with a single click.  This can encourage visitors to discover other relevant pages on your website, and it will also naturally help your search engine optimization.  As the blog brings in more people to your website, you have more opportunities to promote your products and services, which can convert into more sales.

4) Save Money and Time

With a regularly updated blog, you can afford to spend less money and time on expensive advertising.  Giving a worldwide audience new company information will cost very little, if anything at all.  It’s your choice whether you want the blog to be updated every day or every week.  Whatever you decide, you can be in complete control of the content and branding and feel comfortable in the fact that search engines will be indexing your content to provide potential clients new ways of discovering your company online.

5) Get Feedback

If you need to know what your average customer thinks about a new product or future company plans, surveys embedded in blog posts or simple comment boxes can provide you with immediate consumer feedback that would otherwise take weeks or months to obtain.  You can even use the blog to answer visitors’ questions.

Even though blogs are an excellent marketing tool, they do require time and management to keep them up to date, but they should not be dismissed because of the real value they can bring to almost any business.  As a tool for organic SEO, a vital link to potential customers, and a means of inexpensive, effective communication, business blogs can possess powers that are hidden to those who don’t use them.  If your company doesn’t have a blog yet, there’s never been a better time to start blogging.

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Talking About What We’re Talking About: Here’s Why We Tell You To Blog

Sure, content is important for search engines. You knew that. Without it there's nothing to be found. But now that you have that web site with killer content up, why does your SEO company recommend adding more content, new content; ongoing new content on a regular basis  via a blog?

Because content talks about what we're talking about now.

Remember when you just started out in the field you're working in? The jargon was new and confusing but you grew into because we were talking about what we were talking about…

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Important Link Building Tips For New Internet Marketers | All …

Are you just getting started learning about search engine optimization or SEO as more widely known? One of the basic and also the most important things that you.
link building tips – Google Blog Search

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring a Social Media Consultant

I believe that many businesses in 2011 are as confused as ever about how to maximize their social media presence.  There are some that are finally looking to take social media seriously this year, while many have had a presence for a year or two but are still trying to determine the ROI of their efforts.  Some businesses have been implementing social media for several years, but even they are still trying to figure out how to get more engagement from their followers or perhaps plan new campaigns to try to leverage their social media fan base.  The net result is that 70% of marketers are planning to increase their social media budget by more than 10% in 2011.

In consulting with businesses, I find that those companies looking for social media expertise from an outside consultant are either just beginning to strategically plan their social activities or have been doing so for the last several months and want to do a “reset” or something different to try to get to the next level.  This is why the professional social media consultant exists: To allow enterprises who lack in-house expertise to utilize the knowledge of outside experts to quickly help get them to the next level with limited risk.  In other words, a successful engagement with a consultant should provide at the least significant time-to-market advantage for those companies hiring them.

The problem, as you can all imagine, is who should you entrust in hiring as your social media consultant?  That’s why I am writing this post, to give you some advice as to some questions you should be asking to make sure you are choosing someone of the right pedigree and experience to be helping your company in something so critical to your company as social media is.

5 questions to ask before hiring your social media consultant:

1) Have They Ever Had P&L Responsibility?

Does a social media consultant need to have had P&L responsibility working for another company?  If you think I’m crazy for saying it, think about it: If they haven’t had that magnitude of responsibility in the past, how can they be experienced enough to be consulting with you on how social strategy maps in to your corporate strategy?  (Note: If you think that social media is just about marketing, think again: It will affect your entire organization over time.) How can you ensure that they have an ROI mindset when they begin consulting with you on social media?  And how do you know that they have worn enough hats within a company organization to be able to consult with you regarding social business outside of their own core expertise?  If your “consultant” only understands social from an academic (i.e. webinars and books) perspective or has only done it for their own brand without having actual broad business experience to apply their social media expertise to, be forewarned that you may not be getting as truly strategic of expertise as you might be paying for and expecting.

2) Is Their Main Business Social Media?

You always want to be working with a specialist, but now a days it seems that every Internet Marketing, SEO, and Web Design company is selling social media services.  Everybody sees social as being the new trend which they can monetize in an economy that is less than robust.  But if social media isn’t their main, or only, business, do you think your company will get 1st priority when they get busy again with their traditional “bread and butter” services?  And do you think they really have the expertise they are talking about or are they merely trying to cash in on the latest fad?

3) Is There a Conflict of Interest?

All sorts of advertising and digital marketing agencies as well as PR firms are selling you on social.  They want to help you with your social media strategy, but what they really want is to get your budget for a long-term retainer agreement or expensive social media campaign.  Think about it: If you proceed in hiring these companies on a consultant basis, isn’t there a conflict of interest because they will tell you that you need to buy their services as part of their recommended strategy?  The oldest trick in the book…

4) Can They Explain What They Would Do in Clear & Rational Terms?

This is my favorite.  For the price that you are paying, what exactly are they going to do for you?  What are the specific deliverables?  Does every answer they provide raise more questions?  If they are selling you a social media black box that you can’t learn from nor help manage when necessary, run for the hills!

5) Are They Experienced?

You don’t want to be the guinea pig.  Your consultant should be able to give you referrals to their past clients.  If not, and you want to be the guinea pig, understand that in advance and negotiate for an inexpensive, or even free, deal in exchange for providing them the experience.  Better yet, stay clear of truly inexperienced social media consultants for they could potentially do more harm than good.

There are obviously more questions that you should be asking any business consultant before you do business with them, but because social media is so new and so many are trying to capitalize on the buzz, you need to be extra careful before you sign that contract.

If you are looking for some other perspectives on questions to ask before hiring a potential social media consultant, check out these related blog posts as well:

6 Tips to Hiring a Social Media Consultant from Sysomos

10 Tips for Choosing a Social Consultant by Larry Brauner

20 Real Tips for Hiring a Social Consultant by Pam Moore from Social Media Today

Has your business had a negative experience with a social consultant?  Any other questions that you would add to the list?  Please chime in!

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Artists unite for Japan Flags

Since March 11, the tragedy in Japan has impacted the entire world in many ways and unfortunately continues to do so.

But can we make a difference? We certainly can! As artists and designers, we can support the people of Japan and their struggle with our art.

French Agency Creasenso did exactly that by gathering 11 talented illustrators to create some amazing designs for sale, in order to support the Red Cross in its efforts to aid refugees…

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25 Link Building Tips to Outrank Your Competition

Link Building techniques are essential to SEO for ranking on high competitive keywords. Here are 25 tips on how to build links that help you rank!
link building tips – Google Blog Search

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