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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.

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.”

Creating a video sitemap for Google search

Adding video to your website is a key element today,  just as adding social media elements is a must do in today’s world of organic search. To gain page one video placement you need to get the video indexed by Google.  We all know of pushing an XML site map to gain organic traffic to our content, however many do not know to add a video sitemap, in addition. Check with your webmaster or agency to be sure they know to do this.  The Quick Online blog had a great article on this a few months back, and it is worth revisiting or visiting for the first time, especially if you are adding videos to your site or are already using video.  The blog  also addresses, hosting videos on your site vs feeding from YouTube or DailyMotion.

How to Get Your Videos Indexed by Google  by Quick Online blog
March 1st, 2010
Guest post by Keiros.
How to get your videos listed on Google? Have you already noticed while performing a search on Google, those videos thumbnails displayed on the left side of some sites? They are definitely great traffic attractors, and having such a video associated with your site when being on 5th or 6th positions of the search results page may be better in terms of “click-thru-rate” than being on 1st position without it.
There is an additional bonus in having a video associated to your site: on some occasions, Google displays in a block titled “Video results for Keyword“, often on the 3rd or 5th position, several videos, and when it is the case, you can jump several positions and land directly on the first page to join an already existing video results block.

The trick is to find a search argument for which your page is already ranking well but not yet on the first page, with Google displaying a Video Results group on first page: you will benefit from the optimization work of those who made the way to the first page.

Found the perfect search request? All you need to do now is to make your video indexed by Google, and that’s the easiest part !

1.Put a video on your page : I mean a real video, hosted on your site, not on Youtube or DailyMotion. You need a .flv file (or .mpg, .avi, .mp4) and a video plugin that supports this kind of video formats. Jing is perfect to record onscreen action and make nice video tutorials.
2.Create a thumbnail of your video : that’s the thumbnail that Google will display on its search results page, so making a good quality thumbnail out of your video is an important step. Personally, I’ve found that 160×120 gif or jpg works well for that purpose….and they actually don’t need to be extracted from your video. Any image pertinent to the content of your video will make the trick.
3.Create a video sitemap : Video sitemaps are XML files similar to usual sitemaps but using a different syntax. See an example.
4.Submit your video sitemap to Google : Video sitemaps can be submitted in Google Webmaster Tools exactly as a standard sitemap. If you had not yet registered your site in Google Webmaster Tool, that’s the perfect occasion to do it now.

Video Sitemap example

( See HTML on the Quickonline site)

The video-specific XML tags are pretty straightforward, but if you need more detail, you can check this page on Google Webmaster Central: Creating Video Sitemaps. Don’t forget to optimize your video sitemap by inserting your main keywords in the video tags, it will give an additional boost to your ranking if done meaningfully.

Guest author Keiros is an outsourcing and infrastructure management consultant, and a contributor to SEO Chat Forum. You can also write guest posts and share your Google tips with our readers.

How to use Ping.FM to be able to update all your social statuses from one place.

Looking for ways to streamline the updates and set ups for your social media programs? The Social Media Guide  blog recently did a very good and detailed review of Ping.FM. I am always looking for ways to multi task in the social media world and this is a very good solution to issues all CMO’s face when it comes to updates and changes and how to get them on each and every social media tool we use in our marketing mix.

You or your team spend hours filling in profiles, joining groups,updating statuses as the list of social media tools grow in your marketing mix. So check out this option and the detailed instructions that they gave us.

How to use Ping.fm

Ping.fm, Social Media — By Matthew Tommasi

There are so many social networking sites around today and even more appearing on a weekly basis. 

If you are like me, it is likely that you are a member of more than one social network like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. If you are one of the hardcore you could be a member of many, many more. 

How many hours would you have spent filling in your profiles, joining groups and updating your statuses within these social circles? It starts to add up. 

Wouldn’t it be good to be able to update all your social statuses from one place? Well you can with Ping.fm

Ping.fm allows you to send updates to all, or just a handful of your favourite sites. Updates can be made from your browser, email or sms. If you have an iPhone and are using the Twitter application Tweetie, checkout my guide on how to integrate Ping.fm with Tweetie. 

This guide will show you how to save time and be more efficient when it comes to updating your social statuses. 

Firstly, you will need to make sure you have added all your social networks. For this guide, I have only added Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. 

There are three different methods of posting – status updates, micro-blogs and blogging.. which I found a little confusing when it came to configuring my social networks. Do I set them as status only, or micro-blogging only, or both, or what? And what about updating via email? 

So I decided to test these out to see how they worked for real. Here is what I have found when testing out the various posting methods of Ping.fm. 

To check out the details go to:

http://thesocialmediaguide.com.au/2009/05/10/how-to-use-pingfm/

Social Media web traffic stats mean changes in social media direction

 When the landscape is changing so fasts in social media, a stat like 41% of social media on Facebook would be a key driver for the 2011 marketing plans.  However for me the interesting fact is the growth of the others like Ning, and Hulu. The fact that MySpace has held it own and has not declined, is a definite relook, were many had started to count them out. The flattening of Twitter trend is also one to take into consideration when planning to use it in your social media mix.  The term – Social media mix, is the key to 2011 planning, it is not longer a one tool plan as an add-on that will work.  Social Media mix is now my new mantra.

Mashables article on social media stats gives a road map to next steps.   By Jolie O’Dell 14

Facebook and YouTube are displacing rivals and taking over the social web, according to data we’ve just received from comScore.

In addition to showing massive and continued traffic growth throughout 2009 and the beginning of 2010, Facebook and YouTube continued to capture the highest volume of social web traffic. Twitter also garnered a ton of mainstream attention, helping the company increase the number of visitors to its site by fivefold over the course of the year.

Taking a look at the unique visitors charts, we see the widespread migration from MySpace to Facebook even more clearly. As of March 2010, Facebook traffic made up 41% of all traffic on a list of popular social destinations. MySpace was in second place, capturing around 24% of traffic. Gmail had 15%, and Twitter had 8%. However, during the same period in 2009, MySpace was in the lead with 38% of site visits over Facebook’s 33%.

While Gmail continues to show slow year-over-year growth and sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter experienced exponential gains over the course of the past 12 months, MySpace’s traffic has been completely stagnant. Facebook, on the other hand, has exhibited strong growth and high volumes of traffic. Take a look at the difference between site traffic in March 2009 and March 2010 for these social sites:

comScore is an acknowledged leader in digital analytics and intelligence. comScore’s data for this post are based on a hybrid of site analytics and audience measurement for U.S. users at home, work and school.”

Adding Group SMS text messages to your marketing or communications plans

 Finding ways to leverage SMS or Text marketing is always a challenge on how to do carefully selected text messages to targeted audiences.  Messages like getting a key message out to your sales force or you need to change a location or time for an event and to grow customer engagement. Broadcasting text alerts to your subscribers and have it also push to your Twitter, Facebook and website visitors in one stroke is a valuable tool to consider. Mashable recently covered this subject.

” Christina Warren  from Mashable blog has done a very good outline of a way to easily do this.

This post is part of Mashable’s Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark.
 

Name: TextMarks

 Quick Pitch: TextMarks group text messaging services turn any mobile phone into a powerful marketing tool.

 Genius Idea: TextMarks makes it easy to create SMS marketing campaigns by letting users send a text message with a custom keyword of your choice to 41411. You can also use TextMarks auto-post service to send out SMS messages to subscribers and also update Facebook() and Twitter().

As the Red Cross’s efforts in raising money for Haiti proved, text messages can be a powerful way to engage others and to spread information. It’s not just about joke-of-the-day subscriptions or other nonsense that you see at 2AM on TV — real money and real causes can be publicized through text.

 

TextMarks is a service that makes it really easy to set-up a mobile campaign to broadcast messages or updates to users that opt-in to your service by first texting a keyword. 

What we like about TextMarks is that the service is easy to set-up and affordable. You can try out the service for free and send unlimited ad-supported messages each month, and ad-free plans start at $9.95 a month. For small businesses or small groups like churches or clubs, that’s a really nice option. 

We also like that you can update Twitter and Facebook with the same messages you send out to other users. That way, if you’re using messages to keep people updated with scheduling information or other time-sensitive info, the message can go out across all of your social channels.”

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!”