Thursday, January 15, 2015

Easy Ways Of Speeding Up Your Website Instantly



Many clients wonder why their website is slow and why it gets slower every couple of months. We often assist clients in determining issues with their website and sometimes even need to convince them that it is not related to their hosting service. It’s like having a great car but a lousy chauffeur. No matter how good the car maybe and how fast it could go, if the chauffeur is not competent, the high-end car is worthless. In the same way, no matter how fast your hosting server is, if you do not have a well coded and well designed website, your website is bound to open with a crawl. This article helps draw the attention of website owners to the various things that can be done to speed up their website to make it more SEO friendly.
Clean Code

The most important thing you need to improve your website’s load time is clean and simple programming. There are some programmers who can obtain special effects on a page with 50 lines of code. There are better programmers who can achieve the same thing in 20 lines of code. This is dependent on the skills and experience of the programmer and the logical thought process. Even Search Engines want to serve up clean and quick content to their website visitors. They don’t want to inflict upon their visitors a slow and cluttered website. The short solution is to Keep It Simple.

Onsite Resources
When linking to images or other media that we like from an external website, we often prefer to load the image or music or video by embedding the other persons link in our own page. This is also known as hot-linking. Earlier, some webmasters used to do this to save on their own websites bandwidth usage by causing the image to load from another person’s website and using up their bandwidth.

CDN and Content Caching
A CDN is a content distribution network, which distributes a mirror copy of your website across their global network of servers. When a visitor requests a page from your website, instead of contacting your web hosting server, it contacts the server closest to the visitor, which has a mirror copy of the website. This greatly reduces the time taken to access the page and serves up the content at lightning speed. From time to time, the cache of your website, which is mirrored on the CDN servers is updated. This means that any changes that you make on your website will not be updated across the CDN instantly and your visitors will see a delay in the fresh content. However, you may choose to cache only the static parts of your website which do not change very often, but the dynamic parts of the website can be called from your web hosting server directly.

You can also use page caching techniques to make your pages load faster by creating a temporary storage of the content on the user’s computer. This may cause a delay in displaying fresh content, but you can tweak the cache to only store the static pages to serve up faster.

Minimize Plugins and Frills
A major cause of your website slowing down is 3rd party plugins. We all want to connect with our audience on social media, but you should avoid using third party plugins for social networking. Some of these plugins pull statistics and display information from the plugin creator’s website, which may cause your website to become slow. While your page loads, the information is constantly requested from the plugin maker’s website, which results in your page waiting till the data is transferred from there. A slow plugin may cause your visitors to see the page loading indication in their browser and may also cause other parts of your page or other plugins to remain in the queue. This can drastically reduce the speed of your website pages. To avoid this situation, it is best to remove slow plugins and constantly monitor the page load speed accordingly.

Some compression tools which are built-in on your web server allow you to compress each request before sending it to your visitor’s computer. When a visitor requests a webpage from your website, the server will zip up the page content and send the compressed information to the user’s browser. The visitor’s browser will then decompress the data and unzip the file for display. This reduces the size of the data being transferred, leading to a reduction in speed and also a reduction in data transfer usage. Compression takes up a bit of processing power on the visitor’s machine and on the server, but the CPU usage is so negligible that it is worth the resources to increase the speed of the website.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Measuring Language on Social Media


Image courtesy of (jscreationzs)/

Measuring language on social media is an area that many businesses, large or small, miss out on. Too many businesses focus on the hard numbers – and often the wrong numbers – when it comes to understanding ROI through social media.

Get The Numbers Right
If your internal social media team is focusing on ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ then, chances are, it is failing to use social media in the way it was designed for. When it comes to the numbers, engagement is the key metric you should be following. Failing to get your fans or followers engaged is the equivalent to standing in a room with them and keeping to yourself in the corner.

Listen to the Language
But another important metric is qualitative – listening to the language that people are using when they discuss your brand, either on your social media platforms or on other people’s feeds – often in places you won’t actually be able to access. Quite possibly one of the best examples I’ve seen of this was from a friend’s Facebook feed – Mike Goldman, of Big Brother fame was posting on his wall asking his friends for recommendations of a draftsman or draftswoman who could conjure up some plans for a renovation for his property.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eight Content Lessons From 2014 You Can Apply This Year



What happened to the good old days when time used to creep by? We are now into 2015, and another year of content marketing has arrived. As expected, we learned a thing or two from Google last year, and experienced a couple algorithm updates that had both positive and negative impacts.

We can only make educated guesses as to what obstacles Google will throw at us this year, but there is one thing that still remains certain: content marketing is vital for online success.

2014 SEO Updates: A Penguin and Penguin Roundup
Every year, we can usually expect a bit of turmoil from Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. However, in 2014, the shakeup was a bit less painful than professionals anticipated. Panda in particular did not hit the SERPs with an update until about midway through the year — May 19. With the release of Panda 4.0, it became more than just another refresh. This particular Panda update had a new algorithm, with precise ability to sniff out low quality content. The new version of Panda impacted roughly seven percent of search queries in the English language.

More recently, another Panda update rolled out in September. This Panda update wasn’t as hard as Panda updates of the past; roughly three to five percent of search queries were affected. However, this Panda update did have a positive impact on some level. Thanks to Panda 4.1, new tweaks to the algorithm will give small- and medium-sized websites a time to shine. This could possibly be a signal of encouragement for local scale websites to produce more quality content, but only time will tell.
Those who benefited from this particular Panda update include:
  • eCommerce websites that feature compelling content. This is particularly the case for ecommerce websites that offer customers educational content to help make smart purchasing decisions.
  • Large media niche sites with a lot of valuable and relevant content. This also includes smaller scale sites with compelling content, but with a small audience base.
  • As always, websites that are stocked full of strong and unique content that compels customers to take action. Content marketers are always winners in the eyes of Panda, and this latest update is no exception.
There is no question that a pattern has emerged as to what websites are generally safe from Panda updates. High-quality content that serves a purpose will almost always keep you on the safe side of Google’s Panda updates.

Also rolling out in mid-October was Google’s Penguin update. This version of Penguin was much anticipated — offenders waited nearly a year for the new update to roll out. Those who were penalized by Penguin in the past spent months correcting their mistakes and have been at the mercy of Penguin ever since.

To reverse your wrongdoings from Penguin, any unfortunate losers from the update have to wait on a refresh. If you have made the right moves in removing bad backlinks, you might be lucky enough to turn your ranking around. Penguin is known for harsh penalties, and it can be difficult to pull yourself out of the Penguin penalty pit.Penguin’s aim is to take down low-quality Web links that give websites an unethical search engine boost. Buying links and other shady tactics will get you in big trouble with Pengiun, and the penalties mean serious business. Yet again, quality content serves as an antidote to Penguin. If you invest in high-quality content development, you will never need to buy a link in your life.

People link to what’s engaging, educational and relevant. Keep your content and link building efforts on this path, and Penguin should ultimately stay out of your way.

Predictions From The Past
We made a couple predictions last year as to how Google will impact SEO and content development for 2014. We’re proud to say that quite a few of them were right, and some of these predictions can even carry over into 2015.

First, we predicted that Google would crack down on spam. We hit this prediction on the head, especially with the new algorithm rollout of Google’s Payday Loan update. The Payday Loan targets spammy queries, and this year’s update was also designed to protect against some aspects of negative SEO. Other spam-fighters include the usual Panda and Penguin, which target low quality content, over-optimized spam websites, and shady link tactics.

We also predicted that there would be a shift in eCommerce for using content as an SEO strategy. This prediction came true very recently, with the aforementioned Panda 4.1 update. Quality content on eCommerce websites reportedly resulted with a nice SEO boost.

Not surprisingly, we also predicted that content quality would win in 2014. This prediction has been proven time, and time, and time again. Google is notorious for being unpredictable and pulling fast upsets with SEO experts, but one thing has remained the same for quite some time: content marketing pulls a ton of weight in the world of digital marketing.

If you aren’t on the content marketing boat in 2015, your ship is about to sink.

2014 Content Lessons and Your Plan to Move Forward
Google has taught us quite a bit about content marketing in 2014, and there are some solid guidelines to follow this year too. We hope you are on board by now with the content marketing game. In order to not be left behind, here are the lessons we’ve learned this year and how you can fit them into your 2015 content marketing strategy.

Lesson Learned 1: Long Content is Ideal Content. The days of 300-400 word blog posts are long gone. With the Internet becoming heavily saturated and overloaded with information, it takes in-depth writing with expert knowledge in order to win authority with Google. One of the ways that you can achieve Google recognition is with long content. Long content generally starts with 1,000 words and goes up from there. However, research suggests that 2,000 words and above pulls the most weight and have the highest ROI.

Why does long content work so well? There’s a laundry list of reasons. First, assuming that the content is well-written, it keeps visitors on your website for a longer period of time. Longer visit times equate to lower bounce rates, which is desirable in the eyes of Google.

Furthermore, longer content gives marketers an opportunity to be more thorough. Being thorough means that you are being informative and providing value. This is a double win with Google, and can easily be achieved by stretching that word count.

Lesson Learned 2: Over-optimizing and Keyword Stuffing is Out. Focusing heavily on keyword optimization and over optimizing your content is the oldest trick in the book. Let’s be honest, here: it doesn’t fool real people, and it is not going to fool Google. Keywords can give your content a kick, but never supplement your word count with a ridiculously high keyword density. That’s just asking for trouble.

If you need more evidence, Google’s regular algorithm updates should be enough. Just like we predicted that Google would tackle spam in 2014, your keyword-stuffed content will not go undetected. There’s a Panda out there, and it’s hunting for spammy and low quality content.
The bottom line is to use your keywords naturally. Let them flow into your sentences as if they are strokes of a paintbrush. Forcing keywords is a big no-no; just ask Panda.

Lesson 3: Education Spells Success. It’s as easy as A-B-C. In 2014, educational content continued to be a big winner with Panda. eCommerce sites with quality content got a leg up with Web traffic on the Panda 4.1 update, as they helped buyers make informative decisions.

Education pays off in the world of content marketing for multiple reasons. It gives you a position of authority, as you offer expert and credible insight on your services and products. Next, educational content can serve as evergreen content, which can be used over and over again without becoming irrelevant. Educational content is also the perfect supplement to a link building strategy, as you’ll become a source of reference in your niche.

Lesson 4: Content Curation Supplements Your Strategy. Although it isn’t as widely practiced (yet), content curating is a super smart content marketing technique. It adds hours to your watch, ideas to your calendar, and can open new doors for relationship building. Content curation makes sense for busy marketers who can’t always find the time to find the best available content in their niche. Streamlined content curation tools like make marketers’ lives easier, as you can curate content at the click of a button.

Content curation is bound to get big in 2015. Start building authority and establishing your brand with the wonders of content curation.

Lesson 5: Quality Content Comes In All Shapes and Sizes. Content in the form of writing is fantastic, but don’t forget the other versions of content that brings a big bang to your marketing strategy.

Infographics are still widely popular this year. They are the perfect solution to reproducing high quality content with a twist. Infographics pair data and graphics beautifully, which is a big reason why they are so appealing to readers.

Generating content in the form of a video or slideshow is another way to reach your readers in 2014 and beyond. It’s a snap turn a blog post into a slideshow; simply create your design in Google Slides and upload it to Slideshare. You can also include an embedded link to your blog for some extra link juice.

Lesson 6: High-Quality Content Helps With Link Building. Inbound links is one of the stronger signals that Google uses to determine ranking. As an effort to cheat the system, some resort to buying links and other shady tactics to score some extra SEO juice. Google fought back against spammy links with the Penguin update, making link building a much more difficult task.

However, you don’t have to scam the system to score higher search rankings. Creating quality content is a solution to help your website build links naturally. High quality content that is relevant and informative naturally encourages inbound links. Better yet, high quality content has the potential to be linked to from high authority domains; this means that the SEO value increases.

For best link building practices, aim to develop high quality content that delivers. No Penguin penalties included.

Lesson 7: Quality Content Answers Customer Questions. Content that is focused on serving the needs of your audience will always win with Google. Becoming a helpful information hub in your niche will lure in readers, while naturally giving you a boost in traffic.

If you aren’t sure what questions your customers have, ask them yourself. Conduct a Q&A session on Facebook or Twitter. Take the feedback from those social platforms and turn it into content

Lesson 8: Take Advantage of Multiple Social Platforms. Sharing your quality content doesn’t have to be tricky. Social media plays a big role in content marketing, and trying your luck on several platforms can work to your advantage. Social media is not only perfect for sharing your own content, but it’s a hot spot to share curated content as well.

Not to mention, social media helps you discover the engagement factor of your content. Use platforms like Facebook and Twitter for clues that your content is serving its purpose.

We’re always discovering new ways to increase the value of content, and 2014 has offered valuable lessons with how to continue our strategies into the New Year. Regardless of what tricks and trip-ups that Google throws at us next year, high quality content will remain unstoppable and untouched.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Top 10 Must-Have Resources for Conversions and Rankings in 2015

If your 2015 goals include improving search engine rankings and conversions/sales, you’ll want to make sure you have the following resources in your arsenal. These are the same tools I use to get exceptional results for my own company and my clients.
Here’s to a prosperous and profitable New Year.

Easy Redirect Script – Are you constantly copying and pasting frequently used links? Do you have to share complicated links often? Do you use links that change regularly and constantly have to be updated? This handy tool simplifies all these situations and more. I use this on a daily basis to save me a ton of time and money.

Aweber – I’ve used Aweber for my newsletter since 2009. I’ve tried three or four other list management/autoresponder services and think Aweber is easiest to use, has the best delivery stats and the most responsive customer support.

“You Should Test That” – One of my favorite conversion books of all time; Chris Goward and the Wider Funnel team offer easy recommendations for things you can simply test to improve conversions of your site.

“Words That Sell” – Choosing your words carefully is vital to creating impressive copy that converts. This handy book acts as a copywriter’s thesaurus full of word suggestions to elevate your text.

Fascination Advantage Test – Ever wonder what others really think about you? This quick assessment reveals your No. 1 personality advantage (and disadvantage) in about five minutes. Discover how the world sees you then use the information to build your brand, improve your online reputation and put your best foot forward in all your marketing.

Amazon Bundling Basics & Advanced Strategies – If you’re selling on Amazon, bundling is one of the most effective success strategies. Whether you’ve never created a bundle or you’re ready to implement some advanced tactics, Debra Conrad shows you her best-kept secrets for making more in less time.

Merchant-Fulfilled Mini Course – While almost everything you hear about Amazon selling revolves around FBA, there is a definite place for merchant-fulfilled orders. Jessica Larrew takes you through when and how to take advantage of this alternate Amazon strategy to save money and increase profits.

“73 Ways To Describe A Widget” – If you’ve ever stared blankly at a computer screen straining your brain to write eCommerce product descriptions, you’ll love this book. With 73 strategies for describing products, this timeless classic guarantees you’ll never run out of ideas again.

Pinterest for Ecommerce Sales – Pinterest is fast becoming the ecommerce site owner’s best friend. The magic doesn’t end with the holidays. Lisa Suttora shows you how to use this social media site to drive direct sales all year long.

WebCEO Keyword Research – If you need an affordable tool for doing simple keyword research, Web CEO is my choice.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to Grow Your Twitter Flock – 14 Surefire Tips for Explosive Organic Growth



Have you ever wondered why all media outlets use Twitter? Are you curious about how useful Twitter really is? What happened? Are you providing the wrong content? Are you using the wrong posting schedule? Are you engaging your audience in a useful way? Are you wondering why you only have 300 people following you, after a full year’s worth of work?

What you really need to consider is: Are you really looking to grow your Twitter following or are you just dabbling in Twitter because someone said it was cool?

If your main goal is growing your organic following then read on and learn our 14 surefire tips that will grow your Twitter flock. When I started using Twitter back in 2006, I had no idea what would work, what the rules were, or whether Twitter was going to be a useful tool and network for me.
Twitter has many advantages over other social networks.These included features like hashtags, the ability to search subscribers’ profiles, search by what people were saying, and re-tweet other posts.Other advantages I found useful was that I could also easily follow a focused group of people that were interested in the same things that I cared about. I could also do profiles search by what people listed in their bios. I could even find the influencers of my industry and follow them, not needing their permission to do so.

However, one of my favorite benefits of Twitter is that it allows me to curate a post and then invite readers to visit another web page. This ability to add a “push messages” to the end of a useful tweet was magical for me.

Some of the exclusive advantages of Twitter have been copied by other social networks. Nevertheless, Twitter remains one of the largest social platforms on the Internet with 500,000,000+ subscribers, built in analytics, pay per click/view capabilities and much more.

But how can you grow your organic Twitter following?

The following tips are sure to help you grow your flock:
  1. Offer up useful, curated content that your followers want, are interested in or are entertained by. Social networks are all about what followers are interested in. They only care about what you’re interested in if it matches their interest. Do not post lots of ads, commercials or hard-sell tweets. This will only scare away real followers and leave you with bot accounts or other twitter subscribers who want to sell you something. Provide and curate the best content you can find and people will follow you.
  1. Only post original, authoritative content that adds value to your follower lives. It’s important you provide content you have authored. By writing your own content via blogs, articles or unique tweets, you provide added value by presenting original content. If you can add value by showing you’re your expertise, while teaching others via your own content, you show the Twitter world you have real value. This attracts followers like a magnet. There is no substitute for providing unique, authoritative content.
  1. Send invitations to other Twitter subscribers to follow you back every day. You need to consistently invite people to follow you. On Twitter, you normally do this by just following people. Inviting goes beyond just following people, it also includes engaging them with positive messages, answering their messages, and so on. If you follow 25 people a day, every day, and only five follow back, you will grow to 1,875 followers in one year. You will need to unfollow those who are not following you back to stay within Twitter’s total follow limits. Look for people who don’t have a complete profile, are totally self-promoting, or maybe don’t speak your language. You do need to give new followers a chance to follow you back (give them about 10 days) but you will see consistent growth by consistently inviting people to follow you.
  1. Always thank anyone who follows you. Be gracious with your followers. Always say thank you for following. You might also give away a free eBook as a goodwill gesture, or ask them to read your best article that they might be interested in. You will be surprised how effective a good thank you message is. Just saying “Thanks for following, I appreciate you, connect with me, on Facebook, too @”
  1. Invite your connections on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube to follow you on Twitter. If you’re already active on other social networks, make sure you cross-pollinate them. Not everyone will follow because some people just like a specific social network, but there will be many who will. Make sure you let people know your Twitter address when posting to your other social networks. And make sure you add your Twitter profile address to your other social networks. Along these same lines, make sure all your web properties have your Twitter account listed so that those who like Twitter will click on a “follow you” when they visit.
  1. Send out a mailing to your current customer base asking them to follow you on Twitter. If you have an email database of customers, send them an email inviting them to follow you on Twitter. This also holds true for snail mail as well. This tip is amplified if you follow up with a call or another email. If you also provide an incentive to follow you in your mail piece, like a special discount coupon, you will also increase the number of new followers as well.
  1. When customers visit your store, ask them to follow you on Twitter. Make several signs for your store asking people to follow you on Twitter. Put one by the checkout counter, put it on the signage of your carry out bags, business cards, letterhead and on your shopping windows. You can even create a QR code so that mobile users can jump right to your page and follow you right then and there.
  1. You can also upload your contacts list into Twitter’s follower inviting system. This normally occurs the first time you setup your Twitter account. But it’s also available after you set up your account. If you use Gmail, Yahoo mail, AOL or Outlook, you can upload your contact list and Twitter will invite those who are already subscribers to follow you. To find this function, click on “#Discover” link at the top of your page and click on “Find friends” link, then follow the prompts when you click on Search contacts button.
  1. Your best customers can be a great source — ask them to invite their friends and family to follow you on Twitter. If you have customers who are real advocates, ask them for their help. If they have people following them on Twitter or other social networks, ask them to promote your Twitter account. This is tantamount to receiving a referral and testimonial all in one.
  1. Make use of promotional directories such as Twiends, Twitter Counter or Klout. This is my short list of promotional directories. There are many others that you can find as well. Using promotional directories can help you connect with people and business that have the same interest as you. They also provide management tools and promotional opportunity to help showcase your Twitter account. You still have to use these online apps to grow your Twitter following, they aren’t magic, but they can make a real impact on your overall growth.
  1. Pay per click promotions on Twitter can be used to generate followers and to promote your best tweets. This will help you target followers and get people to tag your tweets as favorites, and get your Twitter account added to their list of people worth following. This will cost you money; just make sure your ROI is no more than your daily budget allows.
  1. Use pay per click on other social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Paying to grow your flock can be cost effective. Just make sure you’re targeting the right group of followers and that whichever platform you use, you stick to your budget. Understand this is different than buying follower. Twitter does not approve of buying followers. On top of that, most of the companies that sell followers are not providing targeted followers. Many are selling bots, fake or serial accounts. Buying followers can also get you suspended.
  1. Become a member of groups in other social network communities and encourage people to follow you on Twitter. LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ all have groups you can join. If you don’t have a lot of followers, joining a group makes a lot of sense. When you join a group you have access to all the people in that group. A group can contain thousands of accounts and you can connect with them by just posting a message. What kind of message you ask? Ask them to connect with you on Twitter amongst other things. This is a great place to promote your authoritative content and providing great content always creates a following.
  1. Make use of social media aggregation software to save time and to increase your productivity. Use online applications such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Tweak Deck to provide scheduled post, RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and other e-zines. This is a great way to curate and schedule post. These types of applications will help you manage your social media marketing process in a more efficient and smoother way. They will let you do more in much less time, and this helps you grow your flock in a faster and better way.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Four Ways to Google Better Than a StormTrooper



As of January 2014, there were some 861,379,000 registered Web host names. That is one crazy huge number! With nearly one billion websites out there, finding that one page you really need can feel like trying to find a robot in a galaxy far, far away.

Google is a pretty amazing search engine. But, even the all-powerful Google can sometimes fail to find the information you want in the vast, never-ending vacuum of cyber-space. It seems like no matter what combination of keywords you type in (robots, bots, androids, etc.), no matter how you phrase them (robotic automatons, automaton cyborgs, etc.), sometimes, the search engine returns results that are not at all related to what you have in mind. Sometimes, it is way, way, WAY off. Or it is getting close but just not quite finding what you’re looking for. You just know that the information is on one or more of those websites and you know Google is smart and pretty amazing so why is Google failing you so miserably? It’s so frustrating!

Don’t despair. Don’t give up. You’re better than that! You are better than a StormTrooper! There are certain tricks you can use to overcome the odds, and get Google to find the droids that you’re actually looking for. Here are a few tricks that will set you on the path to finding those droids:

  1. Use Quotation Marks to Find Exact Phrases
Google is a Boolean search engine. Perhaps you’ve never heard that word before. “Boolean searches” allow you to combine multiple words and phrases (otherwise known as Boolean operators) to limit, widen, or define your search. Google and most of the other Internet search engines default to Boolean search parameters. So, when you type in a search query, say something like Are the droids in Mos Eisley, the search engine technically searches for pages that contain: Are AND the AND droids AND in AND Mos AND Eisley. If you’d like to find sites that contain the phrase exactly as you’ve typed it, search the phrase in quotation marks, like this: “Are the Droids in Mos Eisley?” Play around with that and see how that impacts the results.

  1. Use a Dash to Exclude a Word From Your Search Query
If your search phrase is pulling up results that are not relevant to what you’re actually looking for, you can use a dash to exclude them from your search. When you search on the word “droids,” for example, Google is probably going to think you’re looking for information about Android operating system or a Smartphone. You’ll have better search results when you exclude the words that might interfere with Google’s ability to understand your true intentions. For example: Droids -Smartphone. That little adjustment will make a difference in your search results. At the very least, you won’t have to scroll through all the results that have nothing to do with the Droids you have in mind.

  1. Use a Tilde to Include Synonyms of Your Search Terms
To find exactly what you’re looking for, you may need to cast a much bigger and wider net. If you put a tilde before one of your keywords, Google will also include that word’s synonyms in its search, allowing you to get the results you didn’t even know you were looking for. A search for ~Were those the droids I was looking for? would also find out if those were the robots, cyborgs, or automatons you were looking for.

  1. Search Within a Website For Specific Pages
Most sites have a search function within them that is supposed to find content on the site, but, more often than not, those widgets aren’t very helpful. They don’t always find everything on the site. Luckily, you can use Google to search those sites for you. All you have to do is type “site:” followed by “intitle:” and then the keywords you want to look for. Say for example you need to find a new job, you could type: intitle:careers. That should do it!

StormTroopers Have Nothing on You!

Even though you might not have found the information you were looking for on your first pass, chances are, you will if you use quotation marks, dashes, and tildes in your search terms. These tricks will take your search capabilities up a notch or two. You’ll be Googling better than a StormTrooper in no time flat. Happy hunting, and if you have any questions or extra tips, feel free to share in the comments.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

7 Creativity Tools for Inspired Marketing



At the core of a great marketer lies a truly creative being. When marketing becomes formulaic, it falls flat. When it’s creatively tailored to meet the needs of the audience and express the brand authentically, marketing can actually feel like art.

A marketer’s job is so constant, however, that staying in the creative flow is a humungous challenge. That’s why a lot of marketing feels so generic; it was either drafted by someone who isn’t truly passionate about the field, or by a great professional who is simply tapped out.

When you reach your next “marketer’s block”, turn to these apps and services for inspiration. Each fills a different need in creating a stellar marketing campaign, and each can infuse new life into what would otherwise be a dull campaign. In other words, they each could be your new best friend.

#1: A Global Network of Experts
Gathering credible quotes from experts in your industry can be marketing gold. By using the honest statements of professionals, you can manifest a deeper sense of credibility and expertise in your industry. Finding these folks can be a headache, but sites like Media Diplomat offer an immensely efficient and simple way to connect with the people you need. Media Diplomat is a global database of experts from a myriad of specialties, and journalists and marketers use it daily to nab the exact quotes and info needed to write brilliant blogs, content marketing pieces, and articles.

#2: Animated Videos You Can Make Yourself
Infographics have been all the rage for some time now, but what if you could make animated videos in a snap, all by yourself? If this sounds like just what your marketing efforts need to reach the masses, GoAnimate is a must. This fabulous tool is essentially a drag and drop dynamo that produces high end videos that are do-it-yourself but look totally professional. It’s affordable, intuitive, and super fun too.

#3: Go Beyond the Average Email

Email marketing is still a highly effective means to reach your demographic, but let’s face it, it could use some creative juices to jazz up the mundane. Movable Ink is a fabulous way to take your email newsletters from boring to unforgettable. Movable Ink helps marketers make email feel personal, and yet still reach the masses. The tool makes the entire email setup process easy and intuitive, from email creation to the analytics. This lets you spend more time conceiving snappy copy and headlines, as opposed to endless hours setting up and analyzing results. Content can be streamed in real-time into your blasts as well, making a stale email a thing of the past.

#4: Visually Organize Your Thoughts
Murally is a genius marketing tool that helps you visualize the goals and ideas you have about each campaign. This app helps you draw meaningful insights from your list of must-haves, and when used with a team, can get you all on the same creative page. Murally speeds up the creative process significantly by creating a visual map of ideas and needs, which can spark creative solutions in a jiffy. So much better than an old school white board.

#5: A Brilliant New Way to do A/B Testing
Almost every marketer lives to test their ideas against each other, finding the most successful method to sell their goods and services. Tools like Convert make the process far more entertaining and effective. Convert is an A/B testing application made specifically for agencies and marketers. Its greatest gift is simplifying the technical process so creativity is held as the shining star. Convert also seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics, and it really is a godsend for split testing and optimization.

#6: Let Your Fonts do All the Talking
Typography in online and print materials can make all the difference in the world to a successful campaign. If you’re running low on inspiration for the text styles you’re using, check out MyFonts. This site has a gorgeous selection of varied and eye-popping fonts that can truly jazz up your marketing materials. You can even use it to help define your corporate design.

#7: Collaborate in Style
Marketing efforts are often a joint collaboration between marketing teams and clients. If your campaigns are created by a team in any fashion, Notism is a fantastic new tool to help you meet your potential. Notism is platform that facilitates efficient and inspired collaboration on design and video creations. It streamlines precise and comprehensive feedback, lets teammates communicate via text or sketches and artwork, and even allows for video timelines and communications within the workflow. It has genius task management and is an overall magnificent tool to get marketing teams on the same page.

Great marketing starts with great ideas, and sometimes it takes a brilliant tool to help you generate your dream campaign. Technology is all about making our lives easier, and for marketers, sometimes that means streamlining the mundane tasks and giving you more time to get imaginative. These tools are just a small sampling of the awesome suite of options you have, but employing even just one of them can make the difference in your marketing magic.

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