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Web platforms: Reintroduction of basic website feature functions and benefits

Ebay had an ad on Facebook for EBay fashion that caught my eye.  It caught my eye because back in the day, I used Ebay quite a bit.  Now not at all. 

I  just posted some furniture on Craig’s list and got no response.  I used to get it sold that day. 

Plaxo use to be my digital address book, now I do not even open their emails. 

I don’t even know my MySpace log in, nor have I used it in years.

So what is going on?  I have created a lot of litter on the digital highway with my usage. Self created, but none the less add to a CMO’s marketers dilemma.

My thought is that even the most famous websites or platforms need to reintroduce themselves frequently to their current user base.  The key driver is to reintroduce what they do, how to do it and why they are still relevant.  The basic 101 of the site. 

Most marketers as of late have been focused on organic optimization of the website and content, which is great, but have forgotten the basics of if and when they find you, they better know how to use you and why to use your site.

I still  have preconceived ideas about Ebay based on my last use.  They have may changes dramatically, yet I still shy away from getting reintroduced. Nor has Ebay even tried to re-engage me. Running a sale is different from reintroducing me to how to use the site.

Google Marketplace has miss stepped over and over again.  I was a huge loyalist, then they because so complex that it drove out all small business with having to add ownership tags that drove out most who do not have in-house web techs. Now they are charging per click to make money off the big brands.

 As compared with Amazon market place, which still has some bugs to work out, but which I sing their praises every day.

As the CMO, dig a little deeper with your team. Look at your own website.  Is traffic up or down, not net new traffic, your returning traffic.  Why are they using your site, what are they doing, what are they not doing. Most sites are designed for net new, not returning visitors.

Returning visitors need  their own path of re-education on how to use the site, whats new, what is familiar. Just as same store sales is critical for brick and mortar, it is critical to activate those who are returning.

The digital road is littered with use and disuse.  What state is your website or platform in? What are your returning customers needing?

These simple questions could improve conversion 10% and who would not want that these days.

Ping-O-Matic is your one stop shop to quick pings for your blog posts to search engines.

With organic content the new focus and king of the hill.  Getting noticed for all your content can be as easy as a single posting to Ping-o-Matic.   http://pingomatic.com/.   This site will allow you to ping over 20 key search engines. It also has an area for specialized services.

 

They also check down stream to be sure the blog is legit and that you are submitting to the ones that are the most relevent to your blog.

How can you get your blog indexed by Google in 24 hours?

Getting Google to index your blog posts quickly will help get the traction you want for your blogging efforts.  Many times the editorial staff who writes and posts the blogs, leave out these key steps. Many do not know you need to do this. Some say it now happen automatically.  My advice is to go over each step for your blogs and see where you cam pick up improvements.

The article that I point most to  is one from Quick Online Tips .  “Quickonline tips  Guest post by Andrew Rondeau
“How can you get your blog indexed by Google in 24 hours? There is a lot of conflicting search engine optimization information available, especially when it comes to trying to beat the natural ranking systems and having your blog rank high in Google right from the start.  While it’s possible to make a blog and have it indexed almost straight away, most people go about doing so with a poor overall strategy for success.

Ranking high on Google is all about long-term thinking, and going out to win everything in the first day will often see you wasting time and opportunity without getting anything in return. However, it’s very much possible to be indexed by Google in 24 hours or less. After you make a blog, just follow these simple ideas and you’ll see your website show up in the search results within a day.

1: Submit your blog to Google

 Obviously you’ve got to submit your new blog to Google before it can be indexed. Some free blogging platforms will submit your blog for free, while others, especially self-hosted blogging platforms, require you to do it yourself. Either way, it’s an easy 5-minute job that can be done alongside other, more time-consuming tasks. Use the Google webmasters tools to verify your site. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to google.com/webmasters. Sign in using your Google Account or create an account if you don’t have one already.

Step 2: Add your blog site by clicking the “Add a site” button. Then type in the domain name you wish to add, and click “Continue”.

Step 3: Once added you will need to verify that you own this site. This can be done one of two ways, Meta Tag or Upload a HTML file. The Meta Tag way is, by far the easiest.

Step 4: Meta Tag verification. This method requires you to add a piece of code to your header.php file. Copy the Meta Tag code Google has asked you to copy to your blog site.

Step 5: In your WordPress dashboard go to “Appearance”, then “Editor” using the menu tabs on the left hand side.

Then click on Header (header.php) on the right hand side to open up the header template. Find the <head> tag highlighted, and BELOW it “paste” in the verification Meta tag Google has given you.

Step 6: Then scroll down and click on “Update File”

Step 7: Go back to the Google Webmasters Tool website and click “Verify” and Google will confirm that you own the site.

Step 8: After verifying, Google will display a confirmation page.

2: Submit your blog Sitemap to Google

If you are using WordPress, install the Google XML sitemap plugin that creates a sitemap of your blog that search engines can read.
You now want to add your blog’s sitemap. This is how:

 Step 1: From within the Google Webmaster tools website, click on the domain name you have just added and it will open up a Dashboard for your site. On the left hand side menu, click on “Site Configuration” and then “Sitemaps”.

Step 2: Click “Submit a Sitemap” and enter the name of your sitemap. It should be sitemap.xml

It will take a few hours for the sitemaps to be analyzed and added. Then you can return here and make sure there are no errors, see how many URLs are being indexed and the time that Google last visited you. Even without the sitemap you will begin to get a list of the top search queries that your site is being found for, incoming links to your site, and the keywords that Google thinks your site is optimized for.

By verifying your site and adding your blog’s sitemap, you are telling Google your blog has arrived and it will quickly be indexed.

3: Use social bookmarking to generate links right away

Social bookmarking services are a great way to generate links to your new blog in record time. From simple community bookmarking websites to the giants of the web, submitting your website to social bookmarking services like StumbleUpon, Digg and Twitter can help you generate powerful, natural linkbacks. Log on and “favorite” your blog, and be sure to encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

4: Get posting on forums

Get your blog link in your forum signature and start posting it on as many forums as you can. Of course, spamming is never a good long-term idea, but some smart, relevant forum posts are a great way to bring in new SEO juice and links for your new blog. For some reason, Google tends to prioritize websites that are generating links already, so get out there and create as many as you possibly can for your new blog.

5: Install SEO plugins for your blog

Most blogs will come with a SEO pack available, and WordPress has a free one for download if you’re having trouble optimizing your blog. Search engine optimization is absolutely essential for generating blog traffic, and without putting time and thought into your SEO efforts it’s easy to lose what could be a great opportunity. Even though we’re focusing on short-term SEO speed, it’s good to think long-term right from the beginning. Download and use the All-in-one-Seo-Pack plugin.  Check out my video to optimize your All-in-one-SEO-pack plugin set up: How to use the All in one SEO WordPress plugin to your advantage

Five ideas that take hardly any time will ensure you get you new blog seen and indexed by Google within 24 hours.”

5 Best Printer Friendly WordPress Plugins

Have you had trouble printing out information from a blog article?  I have and so when I saw this article on top Wordpress plug ins for printer friendly documents, I was all over it.   Take a look at the: Quick online tips blog.  They had great info for the options for printer friendly wordpress plug ins for your blog.

5 Best Printer Friendly WordPress Plugins
Posted: 22 Mar 2010 06:55 AM PDT
Guest post by Tom Walker.
“Do you know which are the best printer friendly WordPress plugins? When you are in the process of creating a WordPress blog, trying to get your head around all of the jargon and available plugins can seem quite daunting. To put it simply, a plugin is designed to help you achieve more with your blog and can make many tasks a whole lot simpler.

When you have visitors to your blog it is often the case that they would like to print out information to use either immediately or in the future. This could involve details about your company, contact numbers or email addresses, or general information that they have found useful and would like to keep as a reference.
If you have tried to print information from a blog before, then you will know how many pages end up coming out of the printer, many of which are useless, and sometimes even the full width of the page doesn’t print out. However, there are some extremely useful plugins that you can get that will help to make your blog printer friendly.
Best Printer Friendly WordPress Plugins
Most plugins can be used immediately to help improve the success and look of your site. Here are some of the best plugins available and we have outlined some of the features to give you a better understanding and to help you decide if they would be useful on your blog.
1. PrintWhatYouLike
This plugin is a great way to ensure that your blog prints out in a print-friendly manner for your customers or potential clients. It works by automatically formatting your blog for printing, but it also has some additional benefits as well. It will allow you to save a blog page as a PDF file, individually customise a page, and create your own layout for printing.
2. VoucherPress
If you would like to be able to offer discount vouchers or special deals to your customers and visitors, this plugin will allow you to customise your own individual vouchers that can then be downloaded and printed. One of the advantages of this plugin for those wishing to create a potential client base for email marketing purposes is that you can set the parameters to require email addresses and individual logins. This could very well set your WordPress blog up to be far more successful in the long run.
Another advantage of using the voucher or token system is that once downloaded, a specific voucher cannot be downloaded again. You could also place limits on the number of offers available, once the limit has been reached the offer will cease. This allows you greater control over specials and promotions, if you so choose.
3. PrintFriendly
This plugin is exactly as its name suggests, a button that can be added to your WordPress blog to enable potential customers and clients to easily print your pages in a friendly manner. Visitors familiar with the web will appreciate this add on, as they know they will be able to print exactly what they want, without multiple sheets of paper being used and wasting ink. This plugin will also allow you the ability to remove any imposing pictures when printing leaving you with a printout of information only.
4. Blog2Print
If you are extremely pleased with your blog and think it would have some value as a book, it is now possible to turn all of your blog posts that you have made into a book. It is up to you whether you would like to actually hold this book in your hands physically, or download and save it as a PDF document. If you would like it in a hardcopy, then it will cost you money, however the PDF version is free. If you wish to print the PDF, it is important to note that it is currently formatted to an A5 paper size only, and this could be a disadvantage for some.
5. Cleanprint
The use of this plugin will provide your readers with many advantages and will promote your blog as one that is thoughtful and professional. Having pages that have been optimised for printing, and showing readers that this is the case, could set your blog apart in terms of convenience and repeat visitors. This plug in will also enable you to customise the logo that will appear at the top of each printed page and will omit useless on-screen details that the reader doesn’t need on their printed page. Imagine your blog post coming out of the printer looking like a page straight out of a magazine, advertising your product or service. If this appeals to you, then this plugin is a must for your blog.”
This guest post was written by Tom Walker for Quickonline tips, a blogger who writes for a UK based specialist in ink, toners, paper and other supplies for the creative industry called Cartridge Save. You can subscribe to their blog to keep up with his posts on art, design and technology. You can also share WordPress tips and write a guest article here.

What other blogs are saying about you and your products.

Blogs and monitoring of blogs and what is being said about you is a hot topic these days.  How do you monitor? Do you pay to monitor? What tools are available to you to monitor blogs and what is being said about you or your company is all the discussion in the CMO’s mind.

Social Mouths blog had some good ideas of free listening posts for your products and services, beyond the paid services for social media monitoring such as Radian 6 and CrimsonHexagon. 

Here is the short list URLs and Free blog listening tools:

IceRocket

Blog Pluse

Blog line search

Google blog search

Paid Services:

Radian 6

Crimsonhexagon.

Here is the blog I was reading on the subject.

Social Mouths blog 

Do You Know What Other Blogs Are Saying About You?

listeningDo you know if you are being mentioned on other blogs? Did you know there are ways of tracking this? And, why is this important anyways?

In this post, I’ll explain why paying attention to what other blogs say is important and how to be aware of these mentions.

So let’s get started…

Why You Should Care

SEO

When you get mentioned by another blog, the author usually links back to your blog/site and as you know, getting backlinks is one of the most important things you can do to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as they can improve your page ranking. The search engines want to know if your site is relevant.

Sentiment

The next thing you need to worry about is sentiment. Is the comment positive or negative? Of course you don’t want people saying something negative about you or your services. When you track these mentions at least you have the opportunity to participate, maybe try to do something to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. Damage control.

If it’s a positive mention, it is also a good opportunity to engage in the conversation.

Reciprocity

Be human. Be thankful and participate by leaving a comment or giving the post a tweet. Not to make you feel obligated but return the favor if you can, there is a good chance the other blog is somehow related to your topic.

Don’t ignore it, keep this blog in mind.

Let’s Look At An Example

Herbert from Penn State | Outreach Marketing did a very, very nice piece sharing a post from SocialMouths on his “Why Is Social Media Not Working For You” (Thanks Herbert).

Outreach Marketing

OK, so this is an extreme example and it’s not always like this, the mention can be a simple link to your blog or to a specific post. The point here is how to find this, right?

Tools

There are many tools you can use to track these mentions, feel free to share your favorite ones in the comment section of this post. Here a couple you can try:

Go to these sites and do a search based on your blog’s name or URL.

IceRocket

icerocket

BlogPulse (From Nielsen)

blogpulse

Other tools you can use are Bloglines Search or Google’s Blog Search.

Get Alerts

rss readerAll these services and most of them out there allow you to get the search results on RSS. You should subscribe and organize them on your RSS Reader. The point is to get alerts and be able to react as soon as possible, there is no point if you come back a month after the post was published.

Final Tought

The social web gives you the opportunity to engage in ways traditional media can’t but if you don’t pay attention, those opportunities are wasted.

One more thing, when you mention somebody or share a post from somebody else on your blog, make sure you do it properly so you give credit and the other end is aware of it.

Happy Listening!”

Bing has issued best practices guidelines for SEO, SEM

Search Engine Optimization Journal is an SEO Blog that discusses Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Ranking and Positioning for the new and advanced reader and has a very interesting article on Bing and branding your website. I found this article very interesting, since SEO and SEM have become such a part of our lives in marketing. Bing  is recommending that you take an approach that utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine.  They also talk about focus on link building as a key to the success of your website.  I also was interested in the term going “unnatural” in the search engines which manipulates the system in order to achieve higher rankings. Having Bing talk about link building and other best practices will make it clearer as to your next steps with you agency or team.   Good read.

Bing Gets Serious About Link Building

Writing by Nick Stamoulis on Friday, February 26, 2010

I think one of the best things I have ever heard a webmaster blog from a major search engine say is to build your website like a brand. Bing’s exact words state: “Develop your site as a business brand and be consistent about that branding in your content”

Too many people out there get all antsy to have their internet marketing look like a recipe. If it looks like a recipe it is a recipe for disaster. Bing’s official webmaster blog states that it is very important and vital to treat your website like a brand. How would a brand build its image? If you take that step you will build your business the right way rather than just go after rankings. Rankings are important but they are not the only and final goal you should be worried about for your internet marketing campaign. Building business is the most important aspect to your SEO campaign. Bing also recommends taking an approach that really utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine. Link building is very vital to the success of a website but unfortunately it is important to do it in a way that allows your business to grow and not just your rankings. Bing also refers to going “unnatural” in the search engines which states that an unnatural approach is one that blatantly attempts to manipulate the system in order to achieve higher rankings.

Bing’s exact words go as follows:
” So what does it mean to go unnatural? It means you’re trying to fake out the search engines, to try to earn a higher ranking that the quality of your site’s content dictates as natural through manipulation of search engine ranking algorithms.”

Bing hasn’t been the first search engine to come out with this type of best practice’s guide. Google has been doing it for years now just not many people want to follow it. When the top two search engines in the world layout a best practices guide on how you should conduct your search engine optimization efforts it is time to listen.

Please take a look at the Bing Webmaster Post that talks about link building and SEM, it is a great read:

http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/archive/2009/11/20/link-building-for-smart-webmasters-no-dummies-here-sem-101.aspx

Facebook and MySpace added to Google and Bing real-time search.

There has been a debate within the CMO community discussing why they should approve a Facebook page and a MySpace Page for their company and or employees.  Mashable did a very valuable update on where this all stands.  Based on this update, the debate is over.  Get your company pages up on Facebook and MySpace to gain real-time organic content search.  More important, be sure to tell your team and family to clean up their pages on each or to close the access to their page if it is currently public, unless they want to be searched real-time.

 Google Adds Facebook Pages to Real-time Search
Posted: 24 Feb 2010 04:26 PM PST
 Google has announced that it has added a new content source to its real-time search feature: Facebook Pages.
Google launched real-time search in December, providing a real-time feed of information from Yahoo Answers, Twitter, blogs, news websites, and other sources for hot or trending search results.
Two integrations have lagged though: MySpace and Facebook. Eight days ago, Google added MySpace updates to its stream. And now Google has added Facebook Pages to the mix.
Still, Google’s stream doesn’t include public Facebook profiles, something only rival search engine Bing can access. This limits the usefulness of today’s update, but we still welcome the addition