|Become a More Efficient SEO Professional|
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Tuesday, 2 April 2013
at 09:50 Posted by Web Master Tips
Friday, 14 September 2012
at 06:35 Posted by Web Master Tips
The search engine marketing (SEM) space is hot and growing hotter every day. The massive migration of advertising budgets from traditional channels to online marketing has brought many new players, and hoards of salespeople too.
Buying SEM services can be tricky in the best of circumstances, given how new and complicated the industry is. To make matters worse, guarantees are prohibited (to various degrees) by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. So how does a small business owner know a good SEM proposal from a bad one?
1. Don’t Purchase on Price Alone
Picking the lowest bid for anything is only logical if the deliverables are exactly the same. In SEM, this is rarely the case.
A small business owner may be comparing a standalone SEO proposal with an integrated online presence pitch that includes SEO, PPC, social media, and local map optimization. Even among SEO proposals the targeted keyword space is monumental, as marketing costs vary widely based on levels of competition and potential economic value.
The purchaser needs to have at least some understanding of what they are getting. And unlike many other industries, buyers can’t rely on a money-back guarantee for protection.
2. Make Sure Deliverables are Clearly Articulated
The strong SEM proposal will clearly outline the deliverables and timeline. While this may sound simplistic, many proposals are vague about what work is actually done.
Furthermore, are the work activities appropriate for the small business? Many owners will say they don’t know and rely on their vendor to tell them. This can be dangerous.
Know what is being proposed and buy what the small business really needs. Don’t expect miracles.
3. Pick the Most Informative Proposal
A well-crafted proposal will not only be professional and aesthetically appealing, but will also be informative. Look for a firm that took the time to do some research on your domain name and company.
Don’t respond to emails sent to Dear Sir. A good proposal will articulate a bit about your business and the competitors you are up against. It should include key statistics about your domain, keywords, and social media. This level of research in a proposal is a good indication of the attention to detail that will come post-sales.
4. Select a Team That Manages Expectations Carefully
This is counter-intuitive and many small business owners fall prey to hype. But the strongest team is often the one working very hard to manage expectations down.
Years of business experience highlights that under-promising and over-delivering is usually the key to long-term success. Look for these solid, honest, and reliable teams, avoiding those selling magic SEM pixie dust.
Steer clear from firms making guarantees. Aside from violating Google’s directive on guarantees, these firms usually have fine print or don’t plan to be around long enough for you to enforce the terms.
5. Check References & History
Solid firms don’t have a hard time finding customers who say “they did what they said they were going to do.” And that’s really what a small business buyer should be looking for.
Particularly when shopping for discounted prices, be wary of exaggerated claims of success. Too good to be true usually is.
A small business owner needs a reliable, honest, long-term partner. Make sure the vendor has been in business for at least 3 years.
6. Be Prepared to Learn
Most small business budgets don’t afford the luxury of extensive consulting time. Also, consultant billing rates are usually much higher than marketing services labor.
To get the biggest bang for the buck, be prepared to learn about search engine marketing enough to manage the vendor well and funnel the full budget into the work. While a good vendor will help educate you, you don’t need to become an SEM expert – and really can’t as a part-time initiative. If you aren't prepared to learn enough to speak the same language as your team, then perhaps you aren't ready to purchase SEM services.
Search engine marketing is an evolving industry with few standards and confusing terminology. Small business owners often feel under-qualified to evaluate vendors. To make matters worse, Google, Facebook and Twitter all prohibit guarantees to varying degrees.
To avoid making a costly mistake when hiring an SEM vendor, small business needs to arm themselves with enough knowledge to be competent as a vendor manager, and then select the right proposal and a reliable team.
Friday, 10 August 2012
at 04:50 Posted by Web Master Tips
Frankly, I love the latest gadgets and when it is from Apple, I just can’t resist and finally end up buying one. The latest entry in my gadget world is the new iPad. Ask me to describe this new gadget in one word and I would say, ‘fabulous‘. I might sound crazy but frankly most share of my hard-earned money goes in buying the gadgets. Before buying the third generation iPad, I was using iPad2 from last 8 or 9 months. After using both the tablets I actually can easily distinguish between the two and share my viewpoint . Though, the new iPad is almost similar to iPad2 lookwise but it comes fully loaded with new features that make it one of the stylishly desirable tablets.
Here I am sharing the positive and negative aspects which I have figured out while using the new iPad that will surely help you to take a decision if you are planning to buy one.
Key features of the New iPad
Apple A5X (dual-core with quad-core graphics) processor that make it faster than iPad2 that has A5 processor.
One of the groundbreaking features of the new iPad is Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 pixels.
It has 4G LTE cellular technology that will allow you to browse internet and download files at superfast speed.
Mobile users will be excited to see the inclusion of 4G LTE cellular technology, which offers faster mobile downloads.
Another exciting feature that I like in new iPad is its 5 mega pixels/1080p rear camera which is a huge improvement over the iPad2 camera.
It is available with 16GB, 32GB, 64 storage capacity unlike iPad which is now only available in 16GB.
It is first tablet with Bluetooth 4.0 also known as Bluetooth Smart Ready which will help you in faster data transfer between devices.
10-hour battery life, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, 1GB RAM, 1080p video recording at 30fps, , four and five-finger swipe gestures are the other notable features that enhance the overall user experience.
Adding feather to the cap Apple has announced the upgraded operating system – iOS6 that will bring cool features like Siri : Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant, FaceTime over cellular networks to the new iPad.
The new iPad Vs iPad 2 ?
How is the new iPad different from iPad2 is one question that you all might be curious about. Frankly, I was keenly interested in knowing how it is different from iPad2 when its design is almost similar. No doubt, the new iPad is thicker and heavier than iPad2 but its features like amazing features make it stand apart from iPad2.
I was quite amazed when I started using new iPad for the first time because the text was razor sharp, colors were quite rich and everything was perfectly detailed because of retina display. Second thing that really blowed me away was its blazing speed while playing games and doing multitasking ; thanks to A5X chip with quad-core processor.
In addition, iOS6 update which is coming this fall will bring features like Siri and Facetime calling over cellular network promising to enhance the overall experience. These two upcoming features will only be available for the new iPad and iPhone 4S users.
Another feature that you might not be aware of is the amazing dictation feature which helps you to convert your words into text. Simply, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard, say what you want to type and it does the typing for you. It was exciting to learn about this cool feature and it was a fun moment to see my new iPad converting my words into text. Though, if you are an existing iPad2 user and looking to sell it to upgrade your tab to iPad3, I suggest you to wait and stick to iPad2, unless you are complete gadget freak.
Cons of New iPad
It is slightly heavier and thicker than iPad2.
Its reflective screen doesn’t work well in outdoors.
There is no Flash support in the web browser.
The iPad misses out the standard USB port like its predecessors. Same goes for its non replaceable battery and memory card slot.
There is no GPS receiver in the Wi-Fi version
Personally, one thing that bothered me much is that the ‘oh so cool’ tablet becomes uncomfortably hot at times.
If you are interested in basic iOS apps like weather, stocks, clock, calculator, voice memos then you might get bugged up not finding them on your new iPad.
Is it worth buying third generation iPad?
I won’t deny that the new iPad became irresistible to me because I was overtaken by the hype and after using it for sometime I have concluded that it definitely has met my expectations. No matter how strongly we talk about bad side of the coin, fact remains that it is loaded with impressive features. As of now, the biggest USP of the new iPad is its magnificent Retina display but the promising features like Siri and Facetime over cellular networks are sure to make you love the new iPad.
Why should you buy the new iPad?
From my personal experience I am writing down the reason why you should buy it or who should buy it.
If you are the one who is more cautious about image quality between standard-definition and high-definition images then you should go for the new iPad. This is one reason I bought this cool gadget.
It has one of the fast processor with quad-core graphics that will let you enjoy the thrill and excitement of different games.
If speed matters to you a lot then this new tablet from Apple is an ideal choice. The new iPad is 4G enabled device that will offer browsing at amazing speed. Go for the one which works on either AT&T’s 4G network or Verizon’s 4G network for fast connection anywhere.
It is good for those who love to keep their music and video data stored. Unlike iPad2 that has 16GB storage capacity, the new Apple iPad is available in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB capacity. However, I preferred 16GB for the reason that I don’t have too much of music and video data.
Saturday, 4 August 2012
at 04:55 Posted by Web Master Tips
|FIVE SIMPLE STEPS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND NEW CLIENTS|
I certainly haven’t.
But I have met more than a few people who don’t actually get how social media can help them with this challenge.
And often enough, even among those who do have a sense of the potential of social media for lead generation, there is lack of understanding about just how to go about tapping into this opportunity.
These five simple steps provide a framework for using social media to find potential new clients via the social web and then begin engaging with them:
Get clarity about your ideal client
Survey existing clients
Check in where the clients are
Listen for concerns, interests and needs
Share your knowledge
1. GET CLARITY ABOUT YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Social media provides new opportunities to identify our ideal clients and provides also some new learning and experimentation, especially for those not already comfortable with using social media for business.
Having a clear picture of our ideal client is essential if we are going to:
use our marketing time and budget productively
not be always settling for whoever comes along
This is basic foundational work for any kind of marketing, but taking time out to do it thoroughly is essential.
Our existing clients can help.
2. SURVEY YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS
It seems to me that, one way or another, every book on social media and every social media consultant or coach tells us to find our prospects on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites, so that we can engage with them there.
But how do we find them?
One strategy I recommend is to ask our existing clients what they do, what platforms they use, what networks, and how much, on the basis that there is a good chance others like them will have similar social networking patterns of behavior.
I work on the assumption that my clients will be happy to help, within reason, as they will want my business to do well.
Using a tool like Survey Monkey (free or premium) can help in collating and analysing the results of our enquiries (I believe in keeping such surveys simple and brief so that it’s not a burden or nuisance).
3. CHECK IN WHERE THE EXISTING CLIENTS ARE
Once we know where our existing clients spend their time and engage on the social web, we need to make sure we are there too.
We may be already signed up to the platforms and groups they are on. If not, we need to register, for the main ones at least. For most executives or other professionals, we should be able to cover a reasonable amount of the field from the platforms listed in my post from last April, Six Key Social Platforms for Busy Professionals: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blog and YouTube (and note the recommendation there to not try and become proficient in all of them at once!).
With some ongoing experimentation, we should be able to get a picture of which platforms or networks are likely to be most helpful to our cause.
4. LISTEN FOR CONCERNS, INTERESTS AND NEEDS
Social networks provide priceless information to help us connect with clients and prospects. Once we have a sense of the places and spaces where our clients and prospects are likely to be we can begin to learn more about them by hanging out there ourselves.
The first thing to do is listen. Listen for what the conversations are and for what they reveal about the interests, concerns and needs of the people with whom you want to connect.
The second thing to do is listen some more.
Above all, we have to resist the temptation to immediately use these new channels of communication to broadcast about our products and services.
5. SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Once we have done some listening and developed a sense of the way people are communicating on a particular platform, say on a LinkedIn Group or with Twitter or other social platforms, we can start to share our knowledge and experience.
That does not mean diving in and declaring (however much and however justifiably we believe it) that we have just the product or service to solve their problem. If we do feel we have the answer they need, or at least an answer, and we have a sense that this will be all right to mention, then it is absolutely essential, for our ongoing credibility with the particular group, that we be transparent about the fact that this is our product or service, or – say – that we are affiliates (and thus stand to gain a commission).
What we can be sure of is that if, and as soon as, we start to look like we are just using the group to trawl for clients and not making any positive and reasonably disinterested contribution, people will tune out.
More positively, as we connect with the real concerns and issues of people in the group and offer help and suggestions where we can, people will become more receptive to learning about what we have to offer in terms of products and services.
SOMETIMES A MINDSHIFT IS NEEDED
I fully realize that, for many business people, this way of doing things will not come naturally.
But I believe it’s increasingly the way savvy professionals are going to be finding new clients.
And at the same time keeping “top of mind” for existing clients.
It’s all part of social selling.
Have you tried this approach, or something like it? Please feel free to share your experience.
at 04:51 Posted by Web Master Tips
|Thoughts: Don’t forget content, but context is king.|
Following on from my earlier post ”mobile” is now really about the blend of online and offline; enhancing one with the other – social + sensors.
Google are ahead of Apple at present as they have implemented this at the OS level with Google Now.
Google has the advantage of holding its own data whereas Apple is in partnership with various data providers (and will rely on opening up for other areas such as transit information) but that will change.
The one thing that won’t change (at least immediately) is the partnership with Facebook, by necessity that must get stronger, closer and more ingrained – after a disappointing IPO and a share price in free fall Facebook needs all the friend it can get.
And Apple needs the social data.
So how about this scenario:
iOS needs to have location awareness and Facebook integration with the expertise of the Glancee team is the perfect route to achieve this as easily as possible.
Combined with data from the central mapping engine (and maybe acquire some smaller developers that produce location aware apps) Siri could start providing us the type of information supplied by Google now. Google, however, still has the advantage of the Knowledge Graph.
The advantage of doing all of this at the OS level rather than by relying on apps is that you create a standard install baseline so you instantly know that all those with the latest OS running on (probably) the past couple of phone revisions will all be equally capable – and others will want to upgrade to achieve that capability.
No-one is safe
The question then becomes when does Apple acquire or develop its own data sources before dropping its partners? I’ve said before that dropping Google Maps shows all partners that no-one is safe from the cull.
at 04:48 Posted by Web Master Tips
|Tourism Tweetup: Connecting Locals & Visitors|
Ask any traveler: would you rather stay in a tourist compound (aka tourist ghetto) or get out and meet the locals? Overwhelmingly, travelers want to meet the locals!
Social media can facilitate this in so many ways. Today I am promoting the idea of connecting guest travel bloggers with local bloggers, to enhance the coverage of the destination and to build a deeper, more personal community online among the many voices in travel. You are invited to a tweetup on Saturday, June 23rd, from 2-3 pm at Flatbread Pizza in Pāʻia. See below for details!
I have long believed that local people are among the very best ambassadors for a locale. After all, we know the secret spots, the shortcuts, the best food, etc. Granted, we don’t always want to give those details away, but speaking for Maui, I know there are many of us who are happy and eager to share our home and help make the visitor experience awesome!
This week the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau is hosting a group of travel bloggers for a new media press trip. We first did this together back in April, 2010. We used primarily local bloggers due to the short planning window. It was a huge success, both in getting a powerful message out to the people beyond Hawaii, but also in introducing social media to many who live and own businesses here on Maui. It included the launch of a blog for the bureau, VisitMauiBlog.com.
To help our visitors, here is a list of some of Mauiʻs top bloggers. Not all of them will be able to join us tomorrow, but I wanted to create an easy way to see who we are and to invite our guests to tap us, and our blogs, to help tell the stories of visiting Maui! This is a draft list – by no means complete! (Though for this list I am looking for blogs with ample posts that talk about Maui-related topics. Plus, there are many key influencers in our community who are not big on blogging yet who belong in these conversations.)