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Websites

Website Design

A website is the gateway to any brand or business endeavor. In today’s fast paced, always on, need to know now world, a business without a website might as well not exist at all. The challenge is maintaining the information to stay top of mind, and relevant amidst the constant evolution of your competitor’s digital footprint.

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We have designed several different WordPress websites for local businesses. While each needs their own unique messaging, the approach is the same.

Search Engine Strategies

Search Engine Optimization

 (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.-Wikipedia

The process of optimizing any website or blog post for optimum results in a search query is complex and

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multi-layered. Page titles, categories, keywords and page descriptions are all necessity. These are

keywords and titles that correspond to the content on each page. Including backlinks to other websites or blogs allows for cross promotion. Adding new pages or posts on a frequent basis always is good practice to refresh your site across the search engines.

This practice is ongoing, and with the constant algorithm changes to search engines, SEO can take a long time to produce first page results with search terms depending on how competitive your business is. There isn’t much to show for these projects, but references can be provided upon request.

 

Search Engine Marketing

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(SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. – Wikipedia

I have held the Google Adwords Certified Partner designation managing multiple SEM or Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for clients of all sizes. There is a great deal of planning and strategy involved with any successful SEM campaign, but it mostly comes down to willingness to bid on keywords, and quality score for the ad and landing page that each click gets delivered to.

Click Here to read a detailed PPC Audit done for a national client.

Click the image below for more in-depth description of choosing SEM strategies for your business.

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 Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used website statistics service. The basic service is free of charge and a premium version is available for a fee. -Wikipedia

Analytics is crucial to any website and business success. Without data to measure, there is no concrete way to measure your digital impact and lead generation. Google offers a free program that is widely used among small to large businesses. Once it is installed, it varies on the level of reporting, but leads and conversions can easily be monitored to see what is working and what needs some improvement.

Please ask to see some of our monthly Analytics reports.

30 Things I’m Thankful For

It’s the final countdown… there is no turning back now! To quote a famous albino python “I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been.”

1601221_10152713454318812_8458312162827588411_nIn any campaign, it is critical to know what direction you want to go; but in order to do that well, you need to know the backstory.  I was originally planning on setting out on a bucket list of 30 things I wanted to complete before my third decade comes to a screeching halt. Like many of us, my procrastination (aka life, parenting, work and sleep) got in the way. Realistically achieving 30 things in 30 days seems a tad bit daunting. So I am going to start with going through 30 things I’ve been fortunate to accomplish in my 30’s.

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1) First and foremost, I am thankful that my husband’s safe return from both deployments.

2) My youngest daughter was born and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the joy that has come every day since. Watching two girls grow up together has certainly had more ups than downs and I’m thankful everyday that they have each other to make us all laugh.

3)My favorite memory from 2004 Red Sox World Series win is actually taking my oldest daughter to the Rolling Rally parade. I’m almost 95% sure that we were featured in the crowd  in the movie Fever Pitch ending trailer.

More to come throughout the next few days and weeks. Keep in mind the importance of laying the groundwork for any marketing campaign. Tell the story. Engage your audience. And most importantly, keep them wanting more.

What Matters- Key West

It’s the final countdown….we are 30 days away from what I am viewing as the apocalypse. And since it’s the end of my youth and immortality,

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what better way to spend it than to go to Key West?

What Matters? 

I will be embarking on the journey known as down hill…the 4th decade….the end of the world as we know it….or as everyone older has said to me….just another day! Hog wash! If I have to share this day with the Pilgrims and Turkeys than you better believe I am going out with a bang!

In this case, what matters is that I am able to get some time away in the warmth and the sunshine and spend four days with friends and family drinking margaritas, and NOT eating turkey or cranberry sauce! I am thankful for all those who will be making the journey to have a 40th birthday celebration, who says I can’t do it with a cheeseburger in paradise?

How does this apply to you? What matters is finding something you are passionate about, and celebrating it! It could be in your personal or professional life, but set a goal and make a plan to achieve it. Sounds simple, but when was the last time you really sat down and did it? What matters is the way you go about structuring your action plan. It can’t be on a whim, it has to be well thought out and researched. There’s no reason you can’t create a workplace bucket list, but you need to find the time to flesh it out and make that dream a reality.

 

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What Matters

I was recently at a local networking event listening to a well respected speaker. He has accomplished many great things in his career and was telling us a number of things that were inspiring and worth contemplating. As a leader who helped the audience reflect and think about his/her career path, the one thing I heard was to constantly be asking “Why Not?” I will dive into that some more in future posts, but all I could think about was my daughter’s new line of questioning.

What Matters?

As a seven year old, she doesn’t know how profound she is being by innocently mixing up the words of ‘why does that matter?’ or ‘who cares?’ but it got me thinking….”What Matters?” could actually be a leading question we should all be asking ourselves when faced with decisions. They could be trivial and insurmountable or life-changing decisions that we are empowered to make all from asking ourselves a simple question….

I will continue to explore this topic in future posts, as I think she may just be on to something more wise than beyond her years.

Top 7 Do’s and Don’ts when posting to Linkedin

Top 7 Do’s and Don’ts: 7 Good (and Bad) Ways to Use The LinkedIn Status Update Box

Social Media Marketer | Entrepreneur

1. Share links (using a URL shortener) to interesting articles, websites or video you have found that some individuals in your network might appreciate. Don’t worry about whether all of your connections will find the information equally valuable. Also, try to use words that grab the readers and encourage them to click the link.

2. Pose a question that could lead to solving a problem you have, like: “Anyone know any good controller candidates?” One of my connections saved $20,000 in recruiting fees by posting an update like this a couple days before calling a recruiter. (I apologize to all recruiters for having to mention this situation.)

3. Conduct an informal poll of your network (which consists of many smart businesspeople) relating to a topic that is of interest to you, such as: “What interest rates are you seeing for lines of credit in the current environment?”

4. Mention a person or a situation that might be helpful to some of your connections, like: “I just met with John Jones from ABC Insurance Company and found out they are saving companies lots of $$ on workmen’s compensation insurance.”

5. Talk about an event you are attending or have attended to encourage involvement and/or questions about what you learned there.

6. If you are a job seeker, don’t use this to say, “Hey, I’m still looking for a job.” Rather, mention job fairs you are attending, people you are interviewing with, networking events you are going to, etc.

7. Use the “Like” feature when you see a helpful update from one of your connections. Doing this shares that update with your entire network.

DON’T DO THIS:
1. Mentioning personal things–like what you had for breakfast and the fact your dog is sick today–is just wrong. This suggests to the business professionals in your network that you don’t really respect their time.

2. Continually talking about specific products and services takes people back to the days of big newspaper ads and screaming radio messages. This is not the purpose of social media, especially LinkedIn.

3. Avoid talking about topics that might be sensitive to some of your audience. I am too embarrassed to even think about, let alone share, some of the items I see posted as status updates. You know what I mean. If your mother wouldn’t want you talking about it, don’t put it in your LinkedIn Status Box.

4. Think twice before posting your physical whereabouts. I have heard several real-life examples of people’s homes being broken into after putting out an “I-am-out-of-town” update on Twitter. Sorry, all you Foursquare users, but I had to share that.

5. The LinkedIn/Twitter interface is causing people to have too many LinkedIn updates as well as inappropriate updates. So, if you are using that interface, be selective about the updates you share between the two platforms. LinkedIn and Twitter are designed with different purposes and strategies.

6. The netiquette on LinkedIn is no more than a couple updates per day, whereas on Twitter you are almost expected to tweet twenty times per day. (I apologize to my Twitter followers for not getting out twenty per day!) So, watch the frequency of your LinkedIn status updates.

7. Don’t waste your time reading updates from people who violate all of the above. By using the “Hide” function, you can stop an individual’s status updates from showing up on your home page.

Follow these simple suggestions, and you will be on your way to being a model LinkedIn citizen!

LINKED-IN-SUCCESS at: http://bit.ly/oP3EgM is a perfect training course for Business Owners, Marketers, Job seeker and Recruiters to master LinkedIn as Professional. I strongly recommend this course to Business Owners, Marketers, Job seeker and Recruiters to build a profitable audience. It would be your lifetime asset.

10 Simple Google Calendar Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Productivity

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By Amy-Mae Elliott Shared from Mashable.com
Google‘s free Calendar tool is a handy way to organize your life online, but how much time have you invested getting to know the service?We have 10 tips and tricks that will help you to get more out of Google Calendar. Discover quick ways to add events, schedule your agenda to be emailed to you on a daily basis, and many more valuable Calendar tricks.

Take a look through our gallery of GCal tips. Let us know in the comments about any other handy shortcuts you’ve come across.

 

 

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    1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

    An entire list of Google Calendar keyboard shortcuts will help you get around the service more quickly.

    For example, “S” goes to the “Settings” menu, “D,” “W” and “M” produce day, week and month displays, “/” pulls up the search box, and “Q” brings up the “Quick add” field.

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    2. Add a Different Time Zone

    Did you know you can get Google Calendar to display multiple timezones?

    To activate this functionality, hit “S” to head to “Settings” menu. Now, under the “General” tab you can see “Your current time zone.” Click on “Show an additional time zone,” and then tick the box “Display all time zones.”

    Add in a new time zone by scrolling down, selecting the one you want and hitting save.

    Now you will see both timezones in your “day” and “week” Calendar views.

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    3. Add National Holidays

    Google Calendar can show various national holidays.

    To activate this, hit “S” for Settings, click on the “Calendars” tab, then “Browse interesting calendars.”

    You can now preview and subscribe to various calendars.

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    4. Change Your Custom Date Range View

    Found at the top-right of your Calendar page, the day, week, month and agenda views are default options, but you can customize another tab.

    The default is set to “4 days,” but there are other options here. To see them, hit “S” for settings and scroll down until you see “Custom view” drop-down menu. Now you have options to view 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 days, or 2, 3 or 4 weeks.

    Incidentally, if you only use GCal for work, you can prevent it from displaying weekends. This option can be found a little higher up in the general settings menu, where it reads “Show weekend” and a “yes or no” choice.

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    5. Add Tasks Into Your Calendar

    While Gmail Tasks don’t show up in your calendar by default, the service is simple to enable. On the left-hand side of your main calendar click on the “My calendars” menu and select “Tasks”. These will now display in your calendar.

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    6. Share Your Calendar

    You can share your Google Calendar with anyone via email.

    To start sharing, hit “S” to take you to Settings, click on the “Calendars” tab, then look for “Share this calendar” on the right-hand side of the page. Click on this, add in an email address and then select your preferred access option.

    You can also give someone the ability to “make changes and manage sharing,” “make changes to events,” “see all event details,” or “see only free/busy” with details of events withheld — a super handy privacy tool.

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    7. Get Your Agenda In Your Inbox Every Day

    You can set Google Calendar to email you your agenda on a daily basis.

    To take advantage of this useful tool, hit “S,” got to the “Calendars” tab and click the “Notifications” link that should appear around the middle of the page.

    This will let you manage all your notifications, but click the “Daily agenda” option to receive an email with your agenda every day at 5 a.m. in your current time zone.

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    8. Use Quick Add

    The “Quick add” option is a great way to speedily create events.

    This sophisticated tool works best if you use the principle of “what, with who, where and when.” So, “Meeting with Tom at “Venue Name” on Tuesday 2.15 p.m.” is the correct way to enter info.

    If you want to enter an all-day event, then don’t enter a time — just use the date. So “1/25 training day” would work in that instance.

    Our favorite trick with this tool is using someone’s email address to create an invite at the same time you “Quick add” the event.

    This means “Meeting with email@company.com on 1/25 at 10 a.m.” will generate a GCal invite for your invitee.

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    9. Use Calendar Search

    You can hit the “/” key for a quick search, but if you want to see a list of events by venue, participants or event type, there is a more advanced way to search.

    Simply select “Show search options” next to the search toolbar and you can narrow down your search by the “what,” “who” and “where” fields.

    This also lets you search a specific timeframe in a particular Calendar, so it’s a handy option to note.

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    10. View Your Calendar Offline

    The Google-made Chrome app will give you access to a read-only version of your Calendar, even when you don’t have Internet access.

10 Free Apps for Productivity, Social Media & SEO

10 Free Apps for Productivity, Social Media & SEO

Social Media is the buzz word driving brands across the world. With countless number of tools available to monitor, manage and analyze the social media activity of your fans, you might feel like wandering in a forest. In this article, we present you the hand-picked apps that are tailor-made for social media analysts and content marketers.

Also, we have been endlessly reading articles and research columns on either “SEO is dead” or “Is SEO dead?” from reputed writers. On the other hand, the myriad number of apps to optimize and efficiently use SEO is being launched day in and day out. SEO is not dead, at least for now.

Rapportive

When Gmail is opened, the most boring part on your screen is the right hand side panel. How about changing it into an interactive social media profile of the person to whom you want to send mail? That’s exactly how Rapportive works. As you type the e-mail ID of the person in the “To” field, you can see the recipient’s social media profiles in the right hand side panel of your screen.

 

Rapportive

Rapportive works with your Gmail inbox to give you near-instant rich contact information for almost everyone you want to reach. It is head and shoulders above any other Gmail add-in and a must-have for marketers. If you want more reasons to substantiate the efficiency of Rapportive, here is one – Paul Buchheit, the creator of GMAIL has been funding this start-up.

Boomerang

Do you believe in Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote “Time is money”? If yes, Boomerang is all yours. It is the best time management app available for Gmail.

 

Boomerang

Boomerang

You can schedule your emails for a future date, create a reminder for a mail to pop up on top of the inbox just before you leave for a movie (to take print-out of the ticket) or a meeting (to recollect the agenda) and the best feature about Boomerang is that it alerts you when someone doesn’t respond to your email after a specific timeframe (you can set that). No better app offers response tracking as good as Boomerang.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

As I write this, Yoast has been downloaded over 6.4 million times and the rating out of 5 stands at 4.7, which is extraordinary by any yardstick. If you could choose only one WordPress plug-in for your website, the first would be from Yoast and so would the second. This one sets the standard.

Open Graph tags and managing Google Authorship are the two best features of Yoast. The former helps the posts from your website look appealing when someone shares it across Facebook or Twitter and the latter reduces your effort significantly to complete Google authorship. Get it right away.

Optimizely

It’s an easy A/B testing and analytics tool to help you move toward success in your CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) efforts. See if you have mulled over these questions.

While working on new designs for your website’s landing page, have you ever had hunches about how the visitors will welcome the effort? Will the new-look show way to an uptick in site traffic? What would be the conversion rate?

Optimizely answers all the above questions in a simple manner one could comprehend.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms site says “Over half a million wordpress sites use Gravity Forms.” That’s a testament to its productivity. With Gravity Forms, you can create complex and powerful contact forms for your website without any fuss.

 

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms

It provides a simple drag and drop feature to create and customize forms with conditional logic fields. As the name suggests, Gravity Forms doesn’t stop with just support, order and contact forms creation. It also allows launching quick surveys and creating polls instantaneously. Site-building is no more a drudging task when you have Gravity Forms.

WorkFlowy

It is one of the best task management web apps available. Its best features include nested lists, tagging keywords (for better compilation) and implementation of brainstorming. Even when writing this article, it’s become inevitable for me to switch tabs to reach out to WorkFlowy to recall my thought-process. The UI is neat, quick and responsive enough for one to engage.

 

WorkFlowy

WorkFlowy

Be it note-making, jotting a list of ideas for your blog or planning an event, WorkFlowy makes your job easier than never before. It works offline too for iOS users. If you master a few keyboard shortcuts, task management is a cakewalk forever.

Trello

Trello is basically a more optimized version of WorkFlowy, taking list-making to the next level. It is the best and easy-to-use project management app available. If you want to collaborate with your team members for a particular project and assign specific tasks to everyone, Trello is the answer.

 

Trello

Trello

Trello is all about boards, lists and cards. You can organize your projects in boards, assign and organize topics in lists and arrange individual tasks in the lists as cards. You can add check lists, assign due dates and also attach PDF files up to 10MB in the attachment tab. Make it your default project management app for better collaboration with the team.

Pixlr

It is probably the best online image editing tool available for content creators and designers. If you’re ignorant about Adobe Photoshop, it is the go-to tool to design images in an effortless manner. It is chocked up with various image editing options and manipulation tools to create images on the go.

 

Pixlr

Pixlr

It comes with three versions – Pixlr Omatic, Pixlr Express and Pixlr Editor – in which Pixlr Editor is nothing but photoshop made easy. Pixlr Express offers amazing image adjustments, filters, overlay and borders all in an easy-to-navigate interface which makes it the best among the three.

Social Mention

It is a real-time social media search and analysis web tool. It brings together the content generated across the web in an orderly fashion. It divides your keyword search into four categories namely strength, passion, sentiment and reach.

 

Social Mention

Social Mention

Strength is measured using the phrase mentions and sentiment is assessed using the ratio between positive to negative mentions. Reach is the most crucial feature since it measures the ratio between the number of unique users to the total number of mentions. It is the best tool to analyze your brands’ social media activity.

Customised Google Maps

Google’s acquisition of ‘Where 2 Technologies’ will go down in history as one of the remarkable leaps in data visualization. What started as a simple C++ program almost a decade back has turned everyone of us into cartographers in our own right, thanks to Google’s extraordinary vision.

Google-Maps-Engine-Customise-Your-Maps

With Google Maps Engine, one can create customized maps with their own references and collate your areas of interest before planning a vacation. You can also upload data source in excel formats to visualize the same on maps, share organized maps with your friends and compare the maps that you have already created. To conclude, Google Maps Engine has made cartography easier and lively for everyday users.