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October 25, 2012

SEO Challenges Small Businesses Face

What really is Search Engine Optimization?

What really is Search Engine Optimization? (Photo credit: Go Local Search)

More and more people all over the globe are taking the plunge and diving into the world of self-employment. Even though the economy is not what it used to be, it is relatively easy to find your place in the modern market and open a business of your own. Furthermore, when starting a small business, you are faced with a large number of problems which should rather be seen as challenges. These challenges are often difficult to overcome, but some of them such as the challenge of creating a strong online presence, is extremely important to overcome. Here, we will talk about SEO challenges that small business are faced with. read more

September 7, 2012

Top Hotel Chains Strengthen Their Social Media Presence

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Marketing professionals are realizing the immense power of using social media. It is a potent marketing tool when used correctly because it eliminates a lot of layers that separate the marketer from its target audience. The immediacy and intimacy of social media is a natural fit for the hotel industry because it is a service-oriented industry and benefits from the close relationships social media marketing establishes with its audience.

One great example of how social media is being used by a hotel is the Marriott. The prestigious hotel chain knows that it needs to incorporate social media marketing to its online efforts and has done this quite admirably by adding various social media options in its website when it was overhauled. It now provides links to various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube. The site has also established a blog and a handy link resource that point to various business and operational aspects of Marriott International. read more

August 22, 2012

The Future of SEO

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Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of modern web design. In recent years, having a good grip on SEO has often made the difference between a successful website and one that fails to garner significant attention. Due to the nature of search engines, SEO must constantly adapt to ensure that websites remain high in the search rankings.

Many web designers have been noticing lately that Google, the most widely used search engine by far, has had its search algorithms modified in an attempt to reduce the amount of spam content in search results. With this in mind, it pays to remember that it is in the interests of both you and the search engine companies to produce content that doesn’t have the typical spam features, such as keyword stuffing. The aim of Google is to produce results that are pleasing to people searching out websites, so having a high quality site can act as a form of SEO in itself. In the long run it’ll pay off as more specifically optimised pages eventually become obsolete. read more

August 7, 2012

Google+: A Place to Learn

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Though the brutal social networking war has lost the interest of most news outlets, gruesome battles continue to take place behind the scenes as the arms race for users escalates. Facebook’s IPO has left the brand bloodied, and Google has seized on this moment of weakness to bolster their own offering, Google+, in the eyes of consumers. Meanwhile, MySpace seems to be taking a different strategy and reinventing itself as the music discovery service it was originally envisioned as. Shots continue to ring out across the digital ether, and with every blow levied, each social network has just one task ahead of them: Becoming distinct enough from other networks while pulling in more users. read more

August 1, 2012

How the Big Social Networks Use Email to Encourage User Engagement

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If you are an online marketer and you are not using email, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful tools for reaching customers and increasing engagement. Email is a means to reach the people most interested in your products or services in a deeply personal way. It’s a way to stay in constant contact with your most loyal customers, fans and supporters. However, email marketing can be very tricky. If it’s done well, it can attract new people to your business and make current customers even better. If done poorly, it can turn away people who were, previously, excited about you and your brand.

So who can you turn to for help in mastering email marketing? Social networks are among the largest email senders in terms of volume and have spent an incredible amount of time and resources honing their email marketing. However, this is effort and energy you can tap as you can learn a great deal from these networks without having to duplicate their investment. You just have to be willing to step back and study what they are doing and why. read more

April 30, 2012

How Instagram got to $1 Billion [Infographic]

It’s not every day that a mobile app is acquired by a social media giant for a cool one billion dollars- which explains why Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook was one of the hottest topics a few weeks ago. Infographic Labs, which previously created an infographic on the Rise of Instagram, tracks Instagram’s journey to $1 billion with this infographic design:
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March 19, 2012

Using Facebook Timeline for Online Branding

Social networks are a juggernaut when it comes to online marketing. You can easily reach more people by using social networks in promoting a product or service, while directly communicating with your target audience, something that traditional advertising can never do. With social media marketing still in its relative infancy, new tactics and strategies are still being formed as we speak.

One of the new strategies for online branding is presenting a strong Facebook page. Facebook is arguably the most popular social network on earth. And unlike Twitter (that other social network giant), Facebook balances content with a more visual bent, which makes it a better vehicle for online branding. read more

January 30, 2012

Then and Now: What Your Favorite Blogs Looked Like in Their Infancy

As we all know, every blog has a beginning. The beauty of the web is that websites can be stored in a permanent cache; effectively taking a virtual snapshot of the way the blog exists at that moment in time and storing it for later retrieval. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could go back in time and see what certain blogs looked like then? Well, it turns out you can. Archive.org has a public cache that stores snapshots of websites at regular intervals. It is called the Wayback Machine, and works just like a regular search engine; I tapped into it to bring you some blog history. You punch in the URL of the blog/site you want to look up, and they show you what dates they have stored in their database. The tool is not flawless, and many searches turn up corrupted pages or missing images, but it is really cool nonetheless.   I did quite a bit of poking around on the database, and here are some of the snapshots I found:

The Blogs I Looked Up

From left to right, down the list in order, the blogs covered were Blog Herald, Boing Boing, Copyblogger, Engadget, John Chow, and Problogger. The thumbnails are in sequential order, so that you see the earliest snapshot of the blog to the most recent. To view each snapshot, just click on the thumbnail to load the full-size version of it. If you roll the mouse over each thumbnail, it will tell you what blog the snapshot is from and which date as well. This project was a lot of fun, and I could have gone on forever with it.

One thing that we can all take away from this example is the amazing amount of hard work and dedication the owners of these blogs have committed to their sites. We sometimes forget that everyone has a starting point, and everyone at one time was a nobody. Even Google. Now, I am gonna bet that after you read this post, you are going to head over to the Wayback Machine and start looking up all kinds of sites! Go for it.

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January 3, 2012

IT Infrastructure in the Third World

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Photo Source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/223760

When you think of a third world country, chances are you aren’t thinking of Internet access. You might be surprised to learn that many developing countries are working hard to provide Internet to their populations, often in surprising ways. The majority of these countries, particularly India and African countries, are also receiving a helping hand from the West, with Americans and Canadians helping to develop the technology required to access the Internet, even with a minimal infrastructure.

While only about 20% of people living in third world countries use the Internet (compared to 69% in the Western world), that figure varies greatly depending on the country. For example, India’s population features just 8% Internet users, while China has a whopping 36% of the population online. Brazil is pushing 40%, all according to TheEconomist. read more

November 24, 2011

Google Plus Now Business Friendly

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Google Plus is the social media service that Google has recently released and it has been suggested that this service is a direct move against Facebook which is the leading social media website today.

Much praise should be given to the Google team for the constant innovations they seem to bring out; moreover the smooth roll out of Google Plus was also slickly done. Instead of launching it to the entire world, they selected certain countries first of all and then as and when issues arouse they solved them in a timely manner.

Also rather than launching the finished product with all its features, they did the release of Google Plus in a more progressive way so that people could get used to the new social media service without getting confused by to many features. read more