Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Types of websites defined

There are 5 basic types of website design structures: Fixed Width, Adaptive, Responsive, screensParallax, and Mobile. In a world rapidly moving toward being able to access any information on any device, a discussion of each follows.

Fixed Width – traditional web design where the website is created as a fixed width and is designed to start at the edge of a user’s browser or float to the middle of the browser window, assuming the browser window is larger than the fixed width of the website. Most fixed width sites are designed to view properly on monitors that have a screen resolution of 1024 pixel width or larger. This would include most desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. For most mobile devices, these sites display as a smaller image of the site and can be difficult to read and interact with.

Adaptive – Fixed Width sites with mobile optimized pages, typically are called Adaptive design. These sites provide a separate mobile user experience than that of tablet, laptop, and desktop users. Many people believe that an Adaptive site provides the best of both worlds. Due to limitations on mobile bandwidth and various data plans, Adaptive sites serve different content to the mobile user in a greatly reduced design format reducing the load time of the pages and providing just the information that a typical mobile user is looking for. Since a mobile searcher is more likely to take immediate action mobile page design and function is critical to the success of the Adaptive mobile experience. A good Adaptive website application will create your mobile page content directly from your desktop content, but will allow the site administrator to modify the mobile content separately from the desktop pages if and when it makes sense to do so. Most Adaptive designs start with the desktop design and adapt the content to fit the smaller screens. Our ProFusion Solution with Mobisponsive, would be considered an adaptive solution.

Responsive – A responsive site is designed to optimize the viewer experience across any device. It responds to the screen size of the device and arranges content based on the device screen size. In order to function properly the website is created in a grid format with rules on how to manage the division layout on various screen sizes. Typically these sites are designed optimally for a specific screen size (i.e. 960, 1200, 1280 pixel width and then divided into a 12 or 16 equally sized grid layout with padding of 10 pixels on the left and right of each grid section), at 100% and then the content is increased or decreased as a percentage based on device. The smallest device size may be displayed at 50% of the original size and arranged based on sizes of the content blocks to be displayed beneath or eliminated altogether. Larger display sizes can be increased as a percentage of the total to better fit the larger screen size. Responsive designs typically start with a design for the mobile device and scale up the design for the desktop displays. To truly optimize the site for a small screen images should be created in various sizes and be loaded based on the device. Responsive designs can be complex and time consuming to do properly and for this reason, many Responsive Designs simply scale the existing desktop site to a smaller screen. The WordPress and Simbus One solutions that we implement tend to use responsive themes.

Parallax – Parallax site design uses techniques in which the background of the website moves at a different speed than the rest of the page for an impressive visual effect. Many times parallax sites consist of a single page.  Parallax sites potentially can have a slower load time, but are very fast moving down the page which can be done by scrolling down. The upside to a parallax designed site include a “Wow” effect with site depth and animation, keeping visitors on a page for longer periods of time, and directing visitors to calls to action. The downside is that SEO can take a hit due to single page meta data, H1 tag relevance, no internal linking and single URL. Parallax sites are best used to tell a story and lead a visitor to take an action.

Mobile Site – these are typically mobile only platforms for creating a mobile version of your website. The actual mobile version is served from a separate location/application than your standard site. When a mobile user comes to your site, there is code on the site that redirects the user to the mobile version of your site. This solution requires maintaining 2 versions of your website: your mobile application and your desktop application.

Mobile sites are frequently confused with Mobile Apps or mobile applications. Apps are small programs that are downloaded to your mobile device and reside on your mobile device. A Mobile website is accessed via your mobile browser.

A mobile site can be a stand-alone site created specifically for mobile devices. These can also be viewed on a desktop, laptop or tablet computer but typically display in a small screen format on all devices.

Which site design type is right for your company depends on your audience, the message you are trying to communicate and what actions you wish to have visitors take. One thing is clear, however: if your site is more than 3 years old and does not take into consideration the large and growing population of mobile users you are missing a lot of potential business.

Need help implementing a mobile strategy? Contact us today to discuss what solution would be best for your business!

Leaving an Effective Voicemail Message

I recently responded to a dealer’s question as to whether or not he should leave a voicemail response when making a prospecting phone call. My gut response was: “Why wouldn’t you?”. Then it occurred to me that question behind the question was really: “Why should I leave a voice mail when it is unlikely that I will get a call back?”

Based on that question, my response would be the same, but with some additional information. Why would you take the time to make a call and then hang up when you go to voicemail? Of course you want to leave a voicemail message! But, understand that you may not get a call back after the first call. Just make sure that the message you leave provides a compelling reason to call you back.

Cold calling can be hard, but, if done correctly, it can help move the prospect to want to do business with you. Calling to touch base is a wasted call – for you and for your prospect. Recognize that his time is valuable, too, and your message is an unwanted interruption in his day. If you do not have something compelling to say, you are deleted before you even get started. If you are not providing immediate value to the prospect in the first few second,s your opportunity disappears with the flick of a finger.

Remember that, in a world where everyone has more things to do than hours in the day to get them done, you must emphasize value at each touch point. The more value you provide, the more touch points you will be granted. If you have had previous contact with the client, use information gathered in that meeting to move forward in the sales process:

“Bill, you mentioned that your primary lead-generating tradeshow is just a few months away. If we are going to maximize your results at this year’s show, we need to put into play the strategy we discussed right away. Let’s get together and discuss implementation plans.”

If you have not had prior contact, then share insights and knowledge about the client’s business. Your client wants to work with knowledgeable people who can help him, not the other way around.

“Jim, a number of my customers are also printers, and they report a steady decrease in the quantity of items that they are printing for their clients. I’d like to share with you a couple of ideas we have implemented for them to not only stop the slide of revenue, but actually increase their gross revenues and bottom line profits without adding expensive equipment or requiring additional staff. When would be a good time to get together?”

At times, your client may seem to have no good reason to not move forward, yet they still hesitate. In these cases, you cannot tell what she is thinking. There may be myriad reasons why they have not pulled the trigger. One of these may simply be “the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.” In these cases, you simply must empathize and continue to educate your prospects. A message like:

“Sally, I know that you have limited time and resources, that you feel you are already overworked, and that the thought of developing a new service offering may be overwhelming to you right now, but I wanted you to know we are here to help you every step of the way. I am sending you our process overview to help you see that what we are providing goes along well with your current processes. Let’s set up a time to discuss your concerns.”

If you are not leaving meaningful and relevant messages, then you are simply wasting time. You must provide value to your customers today in order for them to continue to want to do business with you or to switch from the status quo.

As an executive with a good memory and excellent tonal recognition that gets too many sales calls from people who simply want to sell me their products and/or services, I thought I would share with you some of the biggest mistakes I encounter from people attempting to talk to me.

Here are the top 5 voicemail mistakes made while prospecting:

1. Pretending you have called before when you haven’t.

2. Not planning your message in advance.

3. Talking about your products/services, instead of a problem resolution that matters to me.

4. Not leaving your name and contact at the end of the message. Better yet, leave it at the beginning and end so that a prospect does not have to listen to the whole message to copy the information. Also, speak slowly; this is not the time to see how quickly you can leave the information. If your message is of interest, nothing kills that interest more than having to hit replay a dozen or so times trying to figure out what your number is.

5. Giving up too soon. Most prospects won’t return your call until you have tried them more than 9 times. I am no different. Even if I am interested, life may prevent me from returning your call at that moment and I am not going to look for your number when I am ready.

Use these tips to improve your calls and messages. These strategies for leaving a message are even more important when you do get through.

Let me know your thoughts – agreements or disagreements – and anything that has worked well for you.

Using Facebook for your Business

Now that Facebook has become almost ubiquitous in our society, it is not only silly but potentially harmful to not use it for your business. With over 750 million active users and growing, Facebook is second only to Google as the most popular website in the world. Simply put: never underestimate the importance of Social Media Marketing. These days if you don’t exist on Facebook you almost don’t exist.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a facebook profile. Perhaps you use it every day, or maybe you only visit a few times a month, but you’re probably not harnessing the full potential of Facebook for your business, or using it at all. So how do you go about creating and maintaining a successful facebook presence? Read on…

The Facebook “Edge”

In order to understand exactly how effective facebook ads can be, you must understand how they work.

Facebook has an EdgeRank Algorithm which determines which items are displayed on a users’ news feed. Instead of displaying every single piece of activity from every friend a person has, this algorithm determines what to display based on the number of interactions, or “edges” that item has. Edges can be likes, shares, comments, tags, etc. This algorithm compiles frequency of posts, relevance (number of friends interacting with posts) and the user’s history of clicking and messaging within facebook, and uses all of this data to determine what shows up in your news feed.

This means that every little thing you do on facebook helps to determine whether or not your page or group will actually be seen. Having a Like button on your site and blog, asking questions, posing interesting articles, and creating contests can all help you be found.

The Goal…

  1. Connect and engage with current and potential customers.
  2. Be found by people who are searching for your service or product.
  3. Create a community around your business.
  4. Promote sales, new products, and content you create including articles, webinars, etc.

Let’s get started.

 

Your Business Page

You must create a page (or group) specifically for your business, but you cannot do this without first having a profile. Because you most likely have a profile we’ll skip it here, but if you don’t have one, get one now.

It is important to keep your business page separate from your personal profile. Keeping a division between yourself and your business will help to protect your privacy and to maintain a more professional business identity. The bottom line: do not treat your business page like your profile, or vice versa.

Additionally, profiles and pages each have features which make them perfectly suited for their intended purposes, so take advantage of them:

  • Pages are capable of allowing multiple administrators, meaning you can have several people maintaining and managing the account, and no one person has total control over the public face of the business.
  • Pages are public by default, and are gaining ground in facebook searches, as well as general searches outside of Facebook.
  • Pages have categories which help with the relevancy of searches.
  • No administrator acceptance is required, meaning anyone can instantly become a fan of a page.

Create a business page

Like just about everything else on Facebook, creating a page involves a cute little wizard which guides you through the process. Go to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php (you must be logged) to get started.

  1. Choose a classification. You’ll likely choose one of the top 3 options. Choosing the correct category will help you rank in more relevant searches and provide relevant information fields on your page.
  2. Choose a name and category for your page. This should be your company name, or possibly a brand name.
  3. Click Get Started to create the page.
  4. Set a profile picture. This should be a logo, or possibly a store front. It should be something consistent throughout your business and memorable.

Congratulations, you now have a Facebook business page!
Now, what do you do with it?

Promote your Page

There’s not much of a point in having a page unless people find it. So…

  • Create an engaging Page; give users a reason to become a fan your page, and then keep them coming back. there are numerous applications you can use to make your page more engaging such as a discussion board or the YouTube video box.
  • Take advantage of the viral nature of social media marketing – the News Feed. Every time there is activity on your page, it is published on your fan’s news feed. Stay on your fan’s minds by frequently posting interesting, relevant information.
  • Connect with your existing network in a new way. You probably already have customers and business contacts, and possibly even email or blog subscribers. Let them know that they can now follow you on a site they probably already visit every day. This can be as simple as putting facebook icons with links to your page on your site/blog/newsletters, or as in-depth as writing a blog article about your new page or emailing your subscribers about it.
  • Make your Page public and searchable. By default all pages are public, but if for some reason you notice your Page isn’t showing up in searches, make sure you have set it to be publicly indexed. Go to “Edit Page,” click “Manage Permissions” and make sure “Page Visibility” box is un-checked. This will make it publicly visible.

Groups vs. Pages

There are two types of business-friendly profiles which might be beneficial to your business. While all businesses should have pages, some should also have groups. Should yours?:

Overview:

  • Groups – Community of people with a common interest
  • Pages – Represents a brand or entity of which there are “fans”
Messaging Members/Fans
  • Groups use Messages – emails members and sends to Facebook Inbox
  • Pages use Updates – shows up under Requests on user’s homepage and sends to Facebook Inbox
Visibility on Profiles
  • Groups are publicly indexed and searchable (single page only)
  • Pages are publicly indexed and searchable (each Page‟s tab); Pages may show up in fans’ public search listings
Visibility in Public Search
  • Groups are publicly indexed and searchable (single page only)
  • Pages are publicly indexed and searchable (each Page‟s tab); Pages may show up in fans’ public search listings
Distribution in News Feed
  • Groups – When members join or engage with the group, action is distributed in News Feeds
  • Pages – When users become a fan or engage with the Page, action is distributed in News Feeds Updates / content shared by the page
Administrator Visibility
  • Group admins listed on Group; When Group admins engage with the Group (send a message, respond to a discussion thread), it comes from the admin’s personal Profile
  • Page admins are the behind-the-scenes managers of the Page; When Page admins engage with the group (send an update, post content), it comes from the Page (business) – unless changed in settings
Applications Available
  • Groups – Basic applications including Events, Discussions, Wall, Links, Photos, Videos
  • Pages – Almost all applications (tens of thousands)

If you want to create a group, here’s how:

Create a Group

Go to http://www.facebook.com/groups.php, and click the “Create a New Group” button in the top right corner of the page. You will be led through a wizard similar to the one used to set up a page. Fill out the group information, invite friends, and set the group privacy settings. For a business-related group, you’ll most likely want to set it to “open” to maximize visibility and access.

 

Advertise on Facebook

As with any ad, Facebook ads allow you to promote your business, get more fans for your business page, and drive more leads for your sales team. Facebook ads allow you to advertise a website or content you manage on Facebook (a group, page, event, etc.). Creating and managing an ad is similar to using Google AdWords.

Types of Ads

There are two different types of paid Facebook advertisements, Ads and Sponsored Stories. While ads have unique content and are fairly similar to any advertisement, sponsored ads take advantage of the user-driven content aspect of Facebook and appear when someone has liked a group or page on that persons’ friends’ news feeds. These two types of advertising are best used together. (for more information on Facebook Ads, see this e-book.)

To create either of these types of ads, go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising, click “Create an Ad”, and follow the setup wizard. (you must be logged in)

Create an Ad

  1. Choose your destination tab. This is the landing page that your ad will point to.
  2. Choose your ad’s title. Choose an eye-catching, concise title.
  3. Create ad copy for the body. Create compelling copy to promote your ad.
  4. Choose an image. Images are highly recommended, as they increase your ad‟s click-through rate.
  5. Preview your ad. Then make changes as you see fit.

Create a Sponsored Story

  1. Choose your story type. You can select a “Page Like Story,” a “Page Post Story,” or a “Page Post Like Story.” Click the question mark icons on Facebook next to each option for further clarification.
  2. Preview your story.

Targeting Options

Naturally, your ad is going to perform better and continue to run successfully if it’s being displayed to users who are most likely to be interested in your service or product. This is where targeting options come in. These settings allow you to target users by their location (country and even city), demographics, likes/interests, and connections.

Unfortunately, Facebook ads aren’t free. The final step is to choose your payment type and set a budget for your campaign. This wizard also provides you with the most current information about the bids which are currently winning in the auction among ads similar to yours.

Manage Ads

Once you have reviewed and submitted your ad. Facebook’s built-in analytics (Ad Manager) will start tracking your ad performance in terms of impressions, clicks, and click-through rates. It is recommended that you run multiple variations of an ad at the same time and use the analytics to determine what yields the best results.

So, is it Working?

One of the greatest things about Facebook is that it lets you know exactly how much your efforts are paying off. While it is best used in conjunction with other analytics software like Google Analytics, Facebook provides its own analytical data, called Facebook Insights. Insights will report the number of likes, page views, and engagements with content your page receives. You can also view these points of data in a timeline, allowing you to determine exactly which types of posts and interactions are succeeding in generating page traffic.

Lastly, Insights lets you view the number of un-subscribes which can be very useful in determining exactly what your fans don’t like. Are you posting uninteresting things too often? This handy little function will let you know. Naturally, maintaining and increasing your number of active users can help drive traffic and leads to your business, so once you have generated a fan base, make sure you keep them happy.

 

Best Practices

Here’s a simple list of the top 10 things you can do to ensure Facebook Marketing Success:

  1. Be interactive, fun, and helpful. When people reach your Facebook page, they are looking for some kind of interaction. Don’t disappoint them. It’s important not to let your page become stagnant, or it will simply disappear.
  2. Embed videos on your Facebook page. There is no reason to send people to YouTube to watch your videos when you can keep ’em right on your page!
  3. Create a connection between Facebook and the outside world. Promote your sales and events through Facebook updates and photos.
  4. Create contests; they are a fun and engaging way to encourage participation from fans and even generate new fans. Have people comment on a post to enter a drawing or create a scrambled frenzy by rewarding the first person to answer a trivia question correctly with a prize. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Integrate Facebook into your traditional advertising. Because the Facebook icon/logo is so well known, adding it to your print ads will promote your Facebook presence. Use traditional ads to promote contests that encourage people to sign up on your fan page.
  6. Use Facebook to grow your email list, and vice versa. Use your email newsletter to boost awareness of your Facebook page. In addition, promote your email newsletter to your existing Facebook fans. The end result will be growth in your email list and your Facebook fan base.
  7. Introduce new products on Facebook first. People who sign up to be fans of your Facebook page are likely your most loyal evangelists and customers. Reward them by giving them information about a new product/service/feature before everyone else. If you do it right, they will help you promote it to others.
  8. Welcome new page visitors. This can be as simple as sending a friendly little message to new fans or as intricate as installing an elaborate third party welcome page. HubSpot customers, for example, can install the free Facebook Welcome Application.
  9. Integrate social content on your Facebook Page. Facebook is the gateway to the Internet for many people. As much as an eighth of all time spent on the Internet is now spent on Facebook. Extend the life and reach of your page content by incorporating content from other social channels like YouTube and SlideShare to your page.
  10. ‘Like’ other businesses’ Facebook Pages. Liking the Pages of business partners, valued vendors, and customers will notify the administrators of those Pages, and often they will appreciate it and like you right back. The reciprocal like is the first step to creating an online community; think of this as leveraging Facebook for co-marketing efforts.

Q & A with Bob: Email Server Transfer

We recently had a client ask about transferring email to our servers. The question was:

“We want their email to transfer to your server. We also want the transfer to be a seamless so they do not lose any email. Can this be done, and if so, how?”

Bob’s answer was full of important email hosting information, and we’d like to share this information with you:

Point your Domain:

If a client is having a new website created and they have an existing website hosted somewhere with email, the easiest thing for them to do is to point their domain nameservers to NS3.ProFusionWebsites.com and NS4.ProFusionWebsites.com. They do this at their domain registrar.The way this works is you type in a domain name in your browser bar, this name is verified at the Domain Registrar who then tells the user where the website is located. Same thing if you send a domain based email message; the Domain Registrar tells the mail server where the Mail server is located.This is done by sending a request to the Nameservers – effectively asking “Hello, do you know where XYZ.com is located?” – the name servers reply with “Sure, go to this IP adress to get to the website.” Same thing with email.

Modify the MX Record

You can leave your DNS at the Registrar and modify your A record – for the website – and the MX record – for email. This requires a bit more technical knowledge and requires the domain owner to get involved if there are any changes at the hosting company level.If the Domain Name Servers are pointed to our servers at the Registrar level, when that request comes in to the registrar, they respond with “that information is located at “NS3.ProFusionWebsites.com” and a back up is located at “NS4.ProFusionWebsites.com” – go there to get your information.This allows us to control where things are. So if we need to move things around a bit we can do so without involving the domain owner. We are free to make changes as needed.

So…

When the Domain Name Servers are pointed to us, and we have already set up the A record and MX Record, the world immediately knows to get the website from the IP address we have set and get email from the Mail Server we have set. This means that the old location of email will no longer be valid. Any email sitting on that server prior to or during the change over will no longer be available to the email account owner, unless there is a way to access this email via a web service.This is why we have the domian www.safesecurewebmail.com where users can go to check their email. They can do this as long as we have their email set up on our mail server, even if they change mail hosting, they can get to our mail server by going to www.safesecurewebmail.comand entering in their full email address and their password. This give them direct access to our mail server even if their MX record is pointing elsewhere.The problem with this is that if we do not remove their old account in a timely manner, anyone else who is on our mail server that sends an email to this user’s account still located on our server will not get the message unless s/he logs in to the webmail server. This is because mail sent from one mail account on a mail server to another mail account on that server will never have to leave the system to ask “Anyone know where this email account lives?”

How long does the transfer take?

This transition from Old server to New Mail server is generally quick. A matter of minutes to an hour depending on how frequently the hosting company refresehes their DNS. For example, we refresh our DNS every 15 minutes.Email sent during the transition can sometimes bounce around a bit and get delayed, but usually gets delivered sooner or later. If it does not, then the sender will typically get a response that the mail he sent was undeliverable as addressed.

One more thing…

Your client needs to reconfigure his/her Outlook or mail client to pull from the proper server.This can sometimes be a problem when a user has been using web-based Exchange servers as these are not always cleaned out quickly and these IP addresses are likely cached in the user’s system.So you should probably find out what kind of email client your customer is using and how they access their email currently – via web access, POP3, IMAP, etc.

Social Media Marketing: Simple Steps, Big Results!

Social Media Marketing may seem like an impossible area to master due to the very nature of social media – it’s entirely user-driven content which has the ability to spread like wildfire, or to disappear into the dark depths of Internet obscurity. While it can be frustrating trying to control your social media marketing, it is undeniable that this aspect of marketing cannot be ignored – it must simply be done better. This can be done by harnessing the potential of the “Like” and “Share” features of Facebook.

Like…

To “Like” something on Facebook seems pretty simple; if someone is interested in your page, they click “Like”. Despite its simplicity, the effects of this single act are numerous and far-reaching. The “liked” page will be listed on the person’s wall, and will display in the person’s friend’s news feeds. Given that the average Facebook user has around 130 friends, this means a lot of exposure. But it doesn’t stop after that initial “Like”:

The liked item will often show up on the recommended pages area of the person’s friends, and the person who liked the page will be continually reminded of their interest in this page as each new post on the page will show up in their news feed.

By placing a “Like” button on your website, you can allow for all of this ripple-effect advertising and marketing with one simple step.

Share…

“Share” is similar to a “Like”, except with more information. This often creates a greater level of interest to one’s friends because of the increased specificity of the post. “Shares” are able to display a thumbnail, a longer description, and a direct link to the original site. There are also similar functions on Twitter and LinkedIn, allowing for greater social media coverage. Because these posts tend to be more interesting, they are also more likely to generate a greater number of comments which will keep the post at the top of friends’ news feeds.

The most important difference between a “Like” and a “Share” is the sticking power of a shared item. Because they require more time and effort to post (not to mention the fact that the post itself is often twice or three times the size of a “Like” notification), the poster’s friends are much more likely to take the time to check out the original page.

And…

While both “Liking” and “Sharing” require frequently writing and posting interesting, quality content to be effective marketing strategies, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be your content. By building a community of related businesses online, you have the ability to “Share” an interesting article from another website which will build trust, interest, and confidence in your posts in two ways. First, if you can prove that by “Liking” your page a user can expect interesting content, they are more likely to actually pay attention to your posts and to share them with others. And second, this can have the effect of creating goodwill among the people whose content you share. Social media is nothing if not a two-way street, and letting others know that you’re posting their content can lead to them posting yours as well.

So…

There is no magic formula for social media marketing, and simply creating a page is not enough to generate interest. Social Media is an active, ever-changing format which requires continual time and attention, but if done correctly, it can be one of the most effective marketing strategies available today.

Adding social media icons to Hotmail Signature

Adding social media icons to Hotmail Signature
Hotmail is a little trickier than the other signature files. Follow these step-by-step instructions to add a facebook, twitter and LinkedIn icon to your hotmail email signature.

1. Login to Hotmail

2. From the upper right hand corner click on the drop down arrow next to your account name

3. Click on Options

4. Then click on the mail tab on the left hand side

5. Under “Writing Email” click on Message Font and Signature

6. In the Personal Signature box, follow these instructions.

  1. Change the editor type from “Rich Text” to “Edit in HTML” from the drop down on the right hand side. If there is text in the editor, go ahead and clear it out at this point so you are starting with a blank slate.
  2. Type in your name and contact information – the font will not look like the one you selected above, and that is ok. When you are done typing and adding in the icons, you can change from HTML to text mode and change the fonts if you want.
  3. Place the cursor below the contact information where you want the icons to appear.
    1. Facebook – For the Facebook Icon, type in the code from the image below. Sorry you can’t copy and paste it, if you need to copy and paste – download the PDF of these instructions and copy the code from the PDF.
    2. Twitter: For the Twitter Icon, type in the code from the image below.
    3. LinkedIn:  For the LinedIn Icon, type in the code from the image below.

Note: Due to WordPress thinking it’s smarter than me, you have to download the pdf: Adding social media icons to Hotmail Signature if you want to actually copy and paste the code. If you don’t mind retyping it, just type carefully the code you see above..

Note (again): the icons may have a blue or purple line around them. I have tested this and the lines show up in your signature when you send an email, but the email recipient does not see these lines. Please also remember to change the page URLs for each of the accounts. You’ll want to put in your actual facebook account URL into the code.

When you are done entering in the information, it should look something like this…

7. You can now use the drop down to switch back from HTML mode to Rich Text Mode to see the work you just did and format the text to look the way you want it to. You may have to enter in line breaks now.

8. Then click save. The next time you send an email, this signature will appear!

Why Use Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are pretty much what they sound like; they’re longer, more specific keywords which pertain more strongly to your business than other more general – and perhaps more frequently used – searches. Essentially, the usefulness of long tail keywords lies in the specificity of the keywords which greatly increases the chances of traffic actually going to your site and becoming a customer.

This isn’t about getting your site to show up on a vast number of generalized searches; it’s about being found for searches which are likely to actually bring you business. If you’re trying to get traffic to a small, local, or super-specific site, these types of keywords are essential. When you’re part of a specific niche market, even if someone manages to find your site with a general search, it’s much less likely that they’re searching for exactly what your website does. In these types of situations, optimizing only for general search terms wastes both your and your potential customers’ time.

The simple truth is that sites like Amazon.com are always going to snap up the majority of super general searches. Long tail keywords are all about being found for what your site really is and does. If your website is optimized for this keyword, you’re basically guaranteed a website visit an an increased chance of customer conversion.

Let’s look at an example. Say you’re a potential customer trying to figure out where to eat in an unfamiliar city. You could search for “burger restaurant” and receive a few million search results, the first few pages of which will be filled with mega-chains like Red Robbin, McDonalds, and the like. People will often start with more generalized searches and refine them if they don’t find satisfactory results, especially if they’re doing research on the options available to them. This is where those additional details become critical, if you’re looking for a specific product or service, you won’t find applicable sites unless this criteria is reflected in the site’s keywords.

Now, unless you were searching for a massive worldwide burger chain, most search-engine-savvy people will automatically refine their search by adding specific details about what they’re looking for until it looks something like “local burger restaurant in Bellingham, WA”. This long tail keyword search will show nothing but locally owned burger joints in one specific city, filtering out the big chains entirely. This is crucial, especially if your website shows up on the first page of results, because you’ve got about a 1 in 10 chance that the searching person is about to come to your restaurant.

As a last note, it’s important to remember that, as useful as long tail keywords can be, they’re only as good as the content they describe. You can bring in all the potential customers you want with specific keywords, but unless your site actually has the information the customer requires, nothing is going to be able to increase your customer conversion. Great content is, in the long run, vastly more important to the success of a website than any SEO.

Increasing Your Blog Readership

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a blog is getting people to actually read what you post. Of course, a high level of quality is essential for a blog to acquire a following, but even if someone appreciates what you’re posting, it can be difficult to be sure that you’re letting them know when you’ve posted something new.

The problem is that, quite often, bloggers will continue to generate content for those few who keep up with the blog without actively pursuing new readership. For a business blog especially, this is a huge missed opportunity. If you’re generating quality content, especially if it involves valuable instructions or advice, chances are someone will want to share that advice with someone else… and suddenly you have a large thriving readership!

But it all starts with getting people to read what you post.

As an avid follower of several blogs myself, here are a few of the ways I appreciate blogs keeping in touch (and yes, some of these are going to be pretty basic, please bear with me):

  • Include links to any and all social media your blog is associated with. This means that, if you haven’t already, you’re going to have to join a few of those social media outlets (facebook and twitter at least). It’s a simply a necessity now-a-days to crafting your online presence.
  • Post about your new posts (how redundant, I know) on those social media sites. This allows your followers to see a link to your new post where they already go regularly. This makes for effortless reading on their part, which makes for more readership on your part. (Just try to post a few things besides blog post announcements; you don’t want to seem too inactive.) Also, if people comment on your post posts, their friends (who may not even know your awesome blog exists) can see those links and perhaps they’ll check it out, too! Yay for expanding audiences!
  • Find a way to enable a subscription option on your blog. I’m sure there’s something out there for every blog tool which will at least allow users to subscribe via email. Most of these simply send out your post in the email. How easy is that? However, you will probably encounter some readers who, for whatever reason, don’t like getting their blog updates in emails. Perhaps they subscribe to too many blogs, or maybe you post on your blog too often for it to be convenient. Chances are, these people have found a way to subscribe to your blog via some collective program such as:
  • Google Reader (my personal favorite). While you can add any website or blog to this feed by typing in the URL in the right spot, there’s no reason you can’t make it a bit easier on them by adding a handy little button that can do it for them. Google even supplies it themselves: http://www.google.com/webmasters/add.html.

The trick to gathering a large readership is to make following your blog as effortless as possible. Let’s face it, most people are too busy, forgetful, or just plain lazy to keep up with your blog unless you let them know there’s something new. By proclaiming the existence of a new post far and wide and doing everything but clicking the link for them, you’re bound to increase your readership and generate more interest surrounding your blog. (Just don’t forget about the whole quality posts thing)

🙂

Update: Using Twitter and Facebook Icons in my Email Signature, New Video!

Update: Here’s a link to a handy video Patrice made showing how to do this in Outlook: http://www.viddler.com/explore/ProFusionDemos/videos/16/

I frequently get asked how to put the little Twitter and Facebook icons into an email signature with links back to their respective accounts. If you are using Outlook 2007, here are some basic instructions for how you can add these icons to your signature.

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Options
  4. From the tabs, click on “Mail Format”
  5. Click on Signatures
  6. Click on the New Button
  7. Give your signature a name (Company name will do)
  8. Then in the Edit Signature section, type out everything you want included in the signature. My signature has my name, title, logo, address, phone, email, web address and Twitter/Facebook icons.
  9. To add the images to your signature (we have attached the Facebook/Twitter icons to this post for you to save and use in your own signature) click on the “picture” icon (which is the 2nd icon from the right)
  10. After you click on Picture, a browse wizard will pop-up and will allow you to browse your hard drive and add your twitter/Facebook icons to the signature.
  11. Once you have the images in the signature, click on one of the images to highlight it. Then click on the “hyperlink” button (it should be the last button on the right)
  12. In the address field at the bottom of the hyperlink window, type in your Twitter or Facebook address (depending on which image you are linking)
  13. Click ok
  14. Repeat that until you have all your images linked to the right web addresses.

It takes a few steps to get all the icons loaded in the way you want, however, not having to type in your signature each and every time will save you lots of time and save your recipients time if they are trying to look up your contact information. Promoting your Facebook Fan Page or Twitter Account in a signature is a great way to get your Social Media efforts in front of everyone that you touch base with via email.

These icons can also be added to your website. Just reduce the size to 30 pixels x 30 pixels and then add them to any page on your site. We added them to the vertical column section on the Net Solutions site. If you are using the ProFusion Ultra Internet Solution as your website provider, you can see how to do this by watching our Introductory Webinar.

Click to Download Social Media Icons

If you’d like to host the twitter and facebook icons on our blog and link them into your site, use the URLs in below in your signature:

Twitter: http://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/twitter-small.jpg
Facebook: http://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/facebook-small.jpg

Here is the corresponding video to this instruction set:

Adding Social Media Icons to your Gmail Signature

We have had so many good questions and posts on our blog about adding social media icons to your Outlook Signature, that we figured we’d create a similar instruction set for Gmail. To add the Twitter and Facebook Icons to your Gmail Signature, follow these instructions:

1. Login to Gmail
2. Next to your email address in the upper right hand corner, click on the Options button, then select Mail Settings
3. On the General Settings tab, scroll down to the signature settings.
4. Type in your name, address and other contact information.
5. To add the Facebook Icon, click on the image button (looks like this Insert Facebook Icon in Google Signature Then copy and paste this image link into the Image URL Field: http://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/facebook-small.jpg then click ok
6. Repeat this step for Twitter using this image link: http://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/twitter-small.jpg (BTW – here is the link for Linkedin if you want it: http://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/linked.jpg )
7. Now that you have the images inserted, you need to hyperlink them. To do this, first click on the image you want to link to highlight it, then click on the hyperlink button (looks like this: create a hyperlink in Gmail Signature
8. After you click on the link, a dialog box will open. Copy and paste your Facebook or Twitter link into the Web Address field, then click ok.
9. Do this for all images in your signature.

Here is the video instruction set if you’d rather see it in person:

Be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen and save your changes. Then send yourself a test message (or send me one patrice@netsolutionsna.com) and we can verify that the links go to the right place!

We’ll post more image options in the near future so you can add in YouTube, Linkedin, etc.