The Origin of Search and Its Impact | History of Search Infographic

pin it button The Origin of Search and Its Impact | History of Search Infographic

I recently stumbled upon this incredible infographic which shows the inception of the internet and the progression of Search to the present day. Most of us knew the World Wide Web was something that would affect our lives and present us with yet another breakthrough in technology; but did we really know how much of an impact it would make. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since the early 90′s when it was first introduced.

It goes without saying, that from an historical perspective the internet is as significant as the printing press, the radio, and television. It has surely been interesting to witness another huge milestone in communication, as well as, our lives. As the web has grown more and more vast it has adhered to and exceeded the changing technologies. So too has the beating heart of the internet, that is Search, shaped these advances in our world.

The graphic shows the origin of Search, which is really monumental, especially now that we have the benefit of looking back in hindsight and studying the trends. So logical it seems now, that we must have a way to navigate the infinite amount of data created every day. Search has evolved into so much more than just a way to find something, it has created an amazing advertising vehicle and provides a wealth of knowledge about consumer spending habits.

In addition to this, search engines have presented internet marketing professionals new ways to reach an audience along with the many challenges that go with it. Search has spawned spin-off industries, new technical philosophies, and created the need for SEO (Search Engine Optimization); a terminology first coined by John Audette and Bruce Clay in 1997. SEO has become crucial to businesses online and offline and is ushering the people who weren’t aware of its significance to those who now embrace the technology.

How individuals use the net has also changed as the web has gotten larger and the connections have gotten faster. The exponential growth of the internet is staggering; note the number of people online in 1993 at somewhere over 10 million, then 74 million in ’96 with more than half a million websites. Now the number of users exceed 2 billion and over 240 million websites to surf. Wow!

So many major players on the landscape are now even larger, or they’re no more, or they’ve morphed into something else or bigger or just faded away due to better and more efficient options. Here we see Lycos, Alta Vista’s launched, Alexa being founded, Baidu in China, and web portals Blogger and WordPress launched. Then begins the Reign of Google circa 2001. Looking at the timeline now, it’s hard to believe all the changes and how everything has evolved.

Then, of course, the social networks come into play; My Space, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. These networks have obviously become a big part of society but have also become integral in the whole search experience. They’re not only used for keeping up with friends they’ve grown into tools for generating commerce and as business hubs for small and large companies alike.

In addition to providing a place to network, these mega-sites get crawled by the search engine spiders and bots, which is yet another way to find information we need and to get noticed and be found online. Take YouTube, for example, it probably gets crawled and indexed faster than any site online. Not only that, as the chart indicates, it is a search tool in its own right. I know how many times I’ve gone straight to YT for quick answers on some technical issues or video instruction. It’s also a great place to advertise your business.

So what surprises does the future have in store for us? Will newspapers and the phonebook become totally obsolete? Will there be enough non-users for there to still be a demand for such items as time progresses? I’ve been alluding to and writing about for years, that the main forms of media will keep merging and become closer to one “form” of media, in which the user accesses it, then decides what mode they use; be it for entertainment, communication, finding information, or all three.

We already see a lot of this now with cross-platforming, social networking, internet on mobile, T.v. and radio streamed online, etc. Only time will tell to what extent and whether or not these advances will be more favorable. I take an optimistic stance and see plenty of choices and options to fit different lifestyles. What are some of your thoughts as to what’s next on the horizon for developments in search and the internet in general?

I wanted to post this enlightening infographic created by SEO.com as both a fun item of interest and as a reference source. My thanks go out to the creators who provided an embed code which makes it possible to post and share with others. I hope you can learn from and enjoy this interesting and informative bit of artwork. Enjoy!

SEOcom history of search infographic The Origin of Search and Its Impact | History of Search Infographic

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W. Clement Stone: Gaining Success From His Legacy

pin it button W. Clement Stone:   Gaining Success From His Legacy

WCStone W. Clement Stone:   Gaining Success From His Legacy

 

We all draw inspiration from different places and it is my belief that a wealth of knowledge and guidance comes from the early innovators and creators of the success and motivational movement. Most modern speakers and experts, like Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins, usually refer to these figures as a beacon to their own voice. Being the avid reader that I am, I often turn to Napoleon Hill, Charles F.Haanel, Norman Vincent Peale, and the somewhat lesser known W. Clement Stone.

 

 

 

 

W. Clement Stone is truly one of the great pioneers of self-help philosophies.  He is not as well known as some of the other big names but the legacy he has left behind is of equal import. His autobiography, “The Success System That Never Fails,” centers around his rise from poverty to great success as a salesman and his commitment to providing good service, going the extra mile, and living a life of philanthropy.

 

 

When Stone was only three years old he lost his father, who left his mother and him with little hope and a mound of gambling debt. He accepted responsibility very early in life and began selling newspapers in restaurants, a style he developed that was contrary to the usual methods of the time. Then he began selling insurance as a teenager to help his mother at a company she started and perfected techniques and philosophies for selling and closing that brought him many riches.

 

 

Stone attributes most of his success to the principles he learned from the books he read on the subject of self improvement, particularly the works of Napoleon Hill, whom he later collaborated with on many projects. He said, “One of the most important days in my life was the day I began to read “Think and Grow Rich.”” He also said that the Holy Bible was “the world’s greatest
self-help book.”

 

 

These books caused him to go even further and develop philosophies about the power of the mind and being an altruistic human being. Moreover, it aligned him with his hero, Napoleon Hill, and they authored, “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude,” and the monthly magazine, “Success Unlimited.” These works cemented his belief in achieving goals and succeeding by developing a ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ or ‘PMA.’ In fact, his personal motto was, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve with PMA.”

 

 

Stone was also known for his kindness and philanthropy toward his fellow man. His book is credited with assisting another favorite of mine, Og Mandino, lift himself out of a life of alcoholism and despair into a life of prosperity. Stone later became a mentor to him, and he went on to become a best selling author in his own right and penned the ever popular, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” among many others.  Mandino then became a highly sought after motivational speaker.

 

 

The company Stone started, Combined Insurance Company, was worth over a billion dollars during his lifetime.  Because of this great wealth he was able to make donations of over $275 million to various charities, civic groups, mental causes, and Christian organizations. He also gave very generous contributions to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He once was quoted as saying, “All I want to do is change the world.” W. Clement Stone had a long, meaningful, and productive life and lived to the age of 100.

 

 

We can all learn a lot from the lives and stories of inspiration these great people leave behind.  Their books and words of wisdom are valuable treasures to read and reread and prosper from every time you pick one up. Stone once stated, “Regardless of what you are or what you have been, you can still become what you may want to be.” Definitely powerful words to live by.

 

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Twenty Awesome WordPress Plugins

pin it button Twenty Awesome WordPress Plugins

wordpresspluginspic Twenty Awesome WordPress Plugins

 

One of the universal appeals that make WordPress such a great blogging platform is all the incredible plugins. There is a plugin that fits the need of practically anything you can think of to improve how your blog functions. Some are absolutely necessary, some are highly recommended, and others just make the whole blogging experience better all around. Here is a list of twenty plugins I recommend you install into your WordPress sites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty Awesome WordPress Plugins

 

 

 

1. Akismit – Once you start blogging you will soon realize what a nuisance spam can be. Akismit will prevent your site from being overrun with meaningless comments from spammers and software trying to exploit blogs for their own gain. Just apply and get your API Key, then enter it on your blogs for much needed protection.

 

 

2. All in One SEO PackSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) quickly becomes a priority for every blogger so anything that assists you in this is an advantage. This nice feature becomes a convenient part of your posting and helps attract the search engines by excerpts from your blog post, titles, and tags. An excellent and efficient plugin.

 

 

3. Really Simple Facebook Twitter Share ButtonsSocial Media is such a big part of our lives now. Displaying share buttons near your posts make it convenient for your readers to spread the word and increase your blogs ranking and popularity. It’s good for them and good for you. (Note: There are many other good share button plugins, such as Digg Digg)

 

 

4. Google Analytics – Analytics provide the stats and numbers that let us know how our blog is doing and what we need to improve upon. Be sure to integrate this important plugin into your blog so as to know how many visitors you have, where they’re coming from, and how often they visit; along with other vital information, such as how long readers stay on a page and the path they take on your blog.

 

 

5. FD Feedburner Plugin – There are many complexities to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, but there are also many advantages. One of the main ones is they allow your readers to become subscribers of your blog. One of the best and most respected feed creators is Feedburner. Use this plugin to create your RSS feed with Feedburner.

 

 

6. MaxBlogPress Ping OptimizerPinging is part of blogging, as it informs the search engines of your blog updates and expedites the ranking process. This plugin will automatically ping for you whenever you publish a new post. You can even set it not to re-ping when making immediate corrections.

 

 

7. XML Sitemap – There are so many reasons why having a sitemap is necessary. It is one of those items search engines use to evaluate your site as meeting their standards. It also improves how your sight ranks and gives your visitors another way to navigate the pages of your site. This plugin lets you create a sitemap fast and easy.

 

 

8. WordPress Database Backup – Having a backup of your blog in the unfortunate event of losing data or the whole thing going down is crucial. This plugin will safeguard all your hard work and send you the data in time intervals set by you.

 

 

9. YARPP Yet Another Related Post Plugin – Using its own unique algorithm this useful plugin will display related posts and pages under the one being read. How does this help you? This will engage your visitors and encourage them to stay on your blog longer which will keep them even more informed.

 

 

10. BulletProof Security – We’d all like to live in a world free of evil doers, but they’re out there lurking around every corner on the internet. Online security is a must and the highly recommended BulletProof Security protects WordPress sites from unwanted hackers, keeping it safe and secure.

 

 

11. WPtouchMobile is expected to exceed desktop for internet usage by the year 2014, so there is no question about its importance. WPtouch will format your blog and convert it into a mobile site that fits and is compatible with iphone, Android, and many other smartphones. You definitely want this plugin!

 

 

12. Comment Luv – This is a very useful plugin which is very popular in the blogosphere. It helps in giving commenters links back to their site for SEO purposes. Having this encourages comment activity which is a big plus for your blog. There are also some premium upgrades available which offer advanced features others swear by.

 

 

13. Contact Buddy - Put contact forms wherever you want and on all the pages you need. Contact Buddy quickly and easily creates these forms so you can have another way for customers, clients, readers, and fellow bloggers to reach you.

 

 

14. W3 Total Cache – When it comes to the internet, speed is everything. How fast your site loads has even become a rating standard for page ranking. W3 Total Cache will increase your site’s loading speed and improve its overall performance. You want this top rated plugin.

 

 

15. WordPress SEO by Yoast – This comprehensive optimizing tool by the innovative WordPress expert Joost de Valk will do wonders for your SEO abilities. It addresses many different aspects needed for better performance in the search rankings; like page analysis, meta and link elements, RSS optimization, and social media integration. In addition to all this, it has features that will even help you improve the content you create. A five star plugin indeed.

 

 

16. SEO Friendly Images – Perusing the images that relate to keywords and phrases is another way of searching online and has become very prevalent among effective methods of search. This plugin saves time and creates the needed description and tags to get your images ranked which lead back to your blog.

 

 

17. SEO No Duplicate WP Plugin – Duplicate content is one of the banes of the internet and there are many debates over what is allowed or cause for penalization. One thing for sure, though, is that identical content on the same site is “verboten.”  You’ll appreciate this one after you’ve been blogging awhile and don’t want to post something you may have previously published. This plugin helps you do a quick check and prevent that from happening.

 

 

18. SEO Smart Links – Automatically links keywords and phrases from posts and comments with other related posts, pages, and categories on your WP blog. You can set keywords and matching URLs and make them nofollow if you want. It will find these phrases which match post titles which will be turned to links. A very customizable and useful plugin to have on your blog.

 

 

19. Permalink Finder – Sooner or later you’ll want the benefits of link redirection and avoid those 404 errors. When you change a link or migrate from another platform or a link gets hung up this plugin (and a host of many others) comes to the rescue and will search the WP database for the original page based on various data and do a 301 redirect taking the user to the correct URL.

 

 

20. Broken Link Checker – This one seems self-explanatory enough. The internet is so dynamic and many sites you link to or make reference to may either change or disappear. There are also all the glitches and errors that can create broken links. You don’t want them affecting how your site is evaluated or to interfere with the user experience. So use this and fix those broken links.

 

 

 

I hope this list helps you in learning about some of the best plugins to have on your WordPress blogs. There are literally thousands of plugins available so I obviously can’t tout them all; a whole blog could be devoted to just that. They usually only take seconds to install and activate, so there is no reason not to experiment a little. If they’re not for you just deactivate them and forge ahead. Feel free to leave any comments or questions and please include some of the other plugins you like to use.

 

 

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Top Ten Ways to Use a WordPress Blog

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wplogo2 Top Ten Ways to Use a WordPress Blog

In my last post I listed my top ten reasons to choose WordPress as your blogging platform.  As you now know WP was originally designed for mainly blogging alone.  Of course, many people still use it for this purpose only, there are also lots of people who choose to use it as their main website.

 

There are sites that mesh the resources and functionality of WP to fit their exact needs. This is of great benefit to online marketers and local business owners alike. Here I would like to expound on some of the many ways you can use your WP blog to market online.

 

 

 

Top Ten Ways to Use a WordPress Blog

 

 

1.  WordPress as a Traditional Blog - Make it your Weblog (Blog) to make your thoughts and opinions known about the world you live in and whatever else you feel like sharing.

 

 

2.  WordPress as a Business Blog – This can be a great addition to your presence online to promote your business or your business website. Blog about your industry, as well as, news about your company.

 

 

3.   WordPress as a Business Website – Configure your WordPress blog to function as your sole business website on the internet. It can look like any modern website you’ve seen; update it and make changes as often as you like.

 

 

4.  WordPress as Both a Business Website and Blog – Make it the main online hub for your business and let it serve as both your main website and blog. Have a static homepage and a tab that goes to your blog with full blog functionality.

 

 

5.  WordPress as a Niche Blog – Niche blogging is when you hone in on one topic, category, or “niche.” You can market products, your own or those of others (as an affiliate), related to this topic by blogging about it.

 

 

6.  WordPress as a Review Site - Much like niche blogging, a review site features a variety of categories or “verticals” in which to report news or be a trusted authority on.  Blog about different products and market them as an affiliate.

 

 

7.   WordPress as a Sales Page – A sales page is a proven technique for promoting products online. Usually very text and copy intensive, they can also combine video, images, and audio, to deliver your message.

 

 

8.   WordPress as a Capture Page – You can configure your WP blog to gather leads and prospects. Dedicating a page to be a lead capture page can act in conjunction with an auto-responder and newsletter.  All businesses should use this strategy because it works.

 

 

9.   WordPress as an Aggregator or Curator Blog – You don’t necessarily have to be an expert on a subject to be seen as an authority.  You can be a reporter of what is happening or of things to come.  Some of the most respected opinions come from those who know how to find valuable information and share it with others.

 

 

10.   WordPress as a Membership Site – Membership sites run the gamut and with the right theme this is possible with a WP Blog.  Anything from sharing information, to an exclusive trade organization, to a fun gaming site.

 

 

 

So as you can see there are many ways to use you WordPress Blog for marketing online and the list just goes on and on.  In addition to this list, all blogs serve as a nice hub to keep track of and anchor any social networks you may be a member of.  The blogosphere is an excellent resource to learn from, contribute to, and be a part of; and the best part is anyone can do it.

 

You can start to blog and get your word out as soon as you get set up. If you need help installing your blog or getting it underway, there are plenty of reliable professionals, like Rank High Media, who specialize in doing this for businesses.   I hope you like my top ten best ways to to use WordPress. Feel free to offer some other ways to do so.

 

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Top Ten Reasons Why to Use WordPress As Your Blogging Platform

pin it button Top Ten Reasons Why to Use WordPress As Your Blogging Platform

wplogo11 Top Ten Reasons Why to Use WordPress As Your Blogging Platform

 

 

In my last post I explained why it is so beneficial for a local business to have a WordPress blog on the internet and start seeing how it can increase online exposure and improve business and sales. I would like to emphasize this by sharing a quick top ten list of reasons why to choose WP as your blogging platform.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Reasons Why to Use WordPress

 

 

1. Ease of Use – We all know how taking on new projects on the internet can be challenging to say the least. The WordPress Platform is designed to be simple to learn and user friendly. You do have to put some time into getting familiar with the system, but it is both fun and rewarding to advance in your abilities while you improve your business at the same time.

 

 

2. Flexibility – The mantra “Whatever you can conceive you can achieve,” applies to this amazing platform. What more really needs to be said. Hey, it’s flexible! Tailor and tweak it to fit your needs, be it a website, blog, or a combination.

 

 

3. Economical – Custom websites can easily run into the thousands. Both versions of WordPress are free. The dot org version requires a domain name and a web host which is still far better than the exorbitant cost of web design.

 

 

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Capability – For some reason the powers that be, i.e. search engines, really like blogs. I guess it’s the fact that they get updated so often and give them the fresh content to crawl that they love. Whatever it is, ranking on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is very achievable by using the right plugins and producing good content.

 

 

5. Available Themes – Your blog look or personality; be it sleek and clean or hi-tech and business-like; is all up to you and the theme or “skin” you select. There are plenty of free ones available, but a premium high functioning theme can be purchased for a song. Some great themes to check out are StudioPress’s Genesis, Unique Blog Designs, Woo Themes, and the ever popular Thesis.

 

 

6. Available Plugins – Plugins are crucial to your blog functioning at its optimum potential. The ones that are available to a WordPress user abound and they can be found and activated very quickly. They can improve your SEO online, as well as, protect your blog from hackers and spam.

 

 

7. Strong Community – You’re in good company when it comes to having a WP Blog. Major players like The New York Times, Yahoo Corporate, and Sony Playstation, along with countless internet marketing giants; all have blogs using WP as their Content Management System. Additionally, there are all the everyday folks and businesses to share in the experience.

 

 

8. Excellent Support System – Along with a strong community goes WordPress’s support. You don’t have to look very far for assistance regarding any matter needed tending to. Either on the WP help forum, in the social networks, or on YouTube, you can find the answers and solutions you need.

 

 

9. Multiple Website Capability – You are not limited to just one site with WordPress. In fact, you can use it as many times as you want with as many sites. If you have the domain names, a hosting plan set up for this way (most are), and the time to manage your sites; you have what is needed to create multiple sites for all your needs.

 

 

10. Integrates Well with Other Sites and Social Networks – It’s nice to have a main hub for all your online activity and having a WordPress blog is an efficient way to way to do this. You can easily link to other websites and your social networks and stay organized in the process. There are also many plugins that improve this aspect of blogging.

 

 

I hope you have gotten something out of this top ten list of why to use WordPress for your business blogging purposes.  Please share your thoughts or concerns about how the items listed here would meet your needs or some other advantages you know about. My next post will be another top ten list featuring the many different ways you can use a WP blog for marketing online.

 

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Why to Use WordPress For Your Business Website

pin it button Why to Use Wordpress For Your Business Website

wplogo1 Why to Use Wordpress For Your Business Website

 

One of the smartest things you can do to further the success of your local business is to create a WordPress Blog. WordPress is a blog software started in 2003, and it was used primarily by bloggers only. It has since become one of the most useful tools for building business websites on the internet. Being the very flexible Content Mangement System (CMS) that it is, it allows you to do this, whether you want it to function as a blog, a website, or both. Read on and find out why you should consider this amazing blog platform for promoting your local business.

 

 

Not too long ago you had to write code or hire a web designer if you wanted a website. Just at the right time WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors came about and made things a lot easier, but it was still necessary to know some code except for the most basic sites. WYSIWYG allowed for the text and graphics that were added to a page during the creation process to appear the same when they went live online to the respective site. This greatly increased the popularity, as well as the demand, for blogging and do-it-yourself websites.

 

 

Now that WordPress (known as WP) has come into the picture, it has really leveled the field for those who want a business blog or website. WordPress’s flexibility and ease of use are by far its biggest draws. Added to this is the ability to get indexed fast on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and to be found easily and increase your online presence. Additionally, just about anything you can think of for marketing purposes can be integrated into a WP site.

 

 

A big reason for the fast success of WordPress is the fact that it is open source, which means it’s accessible to anyone online; much like creating an email account or a social network profile. This source code can be shared and used for development of a WordPress blog and tailored to look and function as you want it to. So, not only the WordPress developers adjust and make changes and improvements, but the users of the platform can create different themes and plugins to fit the needs and demands of others.

 

 

Themes or “skins” can best be described as the style you choose and install to make a blog unique. They are much more than graphics, though, they determine the overall look, format, layout, and function of your WP site. This can all be done automatically when you install a theme and you’ll still have the flexibility of altering it as wanted for your purposes. For example, it can appear and function as a conventional website without scrolling posts, or just as a web sales page, or as a landing page. It can also combine all of these elements, like having a website with a blog tab or a blog with as many topic tabs as you need or want.

 

 

You may have heard the term “Plugins” bandied around a bit. Simply put, plugins are all the add-ons and extras available to customize, improve, and enhance the functionality. There are many different plugins available; some can be found and activated right from your “dashboard,” others can be downloaded or purchased. Either way, it is essential to have some of the ones that will improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capabilities, as well as, blog security. Many others are just bells and whistles, but a few of those don’t hurt either.

 

 

Many of these features of a WordPress blog are free; like the platform itself, lots of themes, plugins, and many other enhancements. This does not mean you should mind paying extra for some superior products to make your site the best it can be and exactly as you want it. You’ll still come out ahead because some of the best products available for the purpose of blog improvement are very affordable and can be used on different sites once you own them. Usually you pay a one time cost; some of the best themes are under fifty or a hundred dollars.

 

 

It warrants mentioning the cost of owning a WordPress site. The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is an important distinction and the subject of another post; what is being described here is primarily about WordPress.org. Both platforms are free and provide blogging capabilities, however, with the dot org version you will be the true webmaster and will need a domain name and web hosting to have your site live online. Again, a small price for the many advantages of owning your own site.

 

 

To conclude, let me emphasis how nice it is to work with and have a WordPress blog for your business. If you haven’t already guessed you’re on one, although it’s not the fanciest in the blogosphere, it gets the job done and is a work in progress. Watching your business blog develop is one of the rewards and part of the fun. After starting one, you usually start another. I personally maintain several blogs for various aspects of my business, as well as, help others get started in generating publicity for their online or offline business. In my next post I’ll outline further, some of the advantages of having a WordPress blog and some of the uses it has for marketing online.

 

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Blogging For Your Local Business

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bizblogpic Blogging For Your Local Business

In my last post I pointed out the differences in blogs vs websites and offered my preference between the two for your business. So if you are running a local business in your area, you should definitely consider maintaining a blog (short for weblog) to share your business news and expertise with your clientele. Local business blogging gives you a great opportunity to reach out to a broad audience and help build a strong sense of community among your employees and patrons. If you are thinking that your not sure because of technology or the time involved, re-evaluate this kind of thinking. Blogging has become so readily available lately it is as simple as navigating some of the social networks you’re probably familiar with.

 

 

 

There are many blogging platforms available online like Drupal, Blogger or WordPress (The preferred system of most) that can easily be set up to meet your needs. A blog can complement an existing website or stand alone and act as your new website. When you want to update in any one of these platforms, which are based usually on content management systems, you just log in and enter new posts or entries and make any changes you want to as needed.  No need for a fancy web designer or a code writer or computer programmer to come to your place and update the blog like so many IT professionals we’ve had to deal with in the past. All businesses need to have an online presence and be visible to the search engines and to the folks that use them.

 

 

Blogging has been proven time and again to be a great method of ranking online.  This means more pages in the search engines, which in turn means more potential for people to visit your site and learn about your company and the services you offer.  Search engine traffic generation is an economical way to market your business.  This means you can further save money on your advertising by having a blog.  When you want to rank for certain keywords or keyword phrases, marketers that specialize in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can assist you in the best way to go about it.  It is becomming commonplace for companies to enlist the help of professionals for the online marketing and publicity aspects of their business.

 

 

Blogging about information regarding your particular local business or area of expertise will not only offset and reduce the need for some advertising expenditure, it will help you foster more trust and interest in your company and create an open flow of communication.  Another great aspect of a local business blog is that you will lower the cost of your overall online marketing greatly.  The blog will help you to ensure a needed internet presence with the updates you will be putting to your blog at your descretion.  You can communicate changes about your company, major news, promotions, sales, specials, and any other information you see fit.  This improved communication with your clientele will surely contribute to a boost in your sales.

 

 

It is also of benefit to share news about your industry with other professionals in your field or those related to your field.  Many local businesses complement one another so you can gain further strength and momentum by staying in touch with others online and creating networks and support systems.  Having a blog also offers the possibility to create a newsletter and implement email autoresponders which will mean you can easily reach your customer base with updates and broadcasts through this useful effective form of communication.  This can be done through email programs or mobile phones and devices.

 

 

Just having a site on the internet is not enough anymore.  Interaction with your visitors and potential customer base is crucial and creates an openess and transparency you should strive for, a blog is one of the ways that makes this possible.  Your updates will be read when they are available and then your visitors can leave feedback which keeps you in touch and enlightened about ways to grow and improve your business services.  Now is the best time to start blogging and it only involves getting a web host, choosing a blog platform, and getting some assistance in getting started.  I’ll soon be posting about some preferred hosting plans and blogging platforms which make it extemely easy to get started in blogging for your local business.

 

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Blogs vs Websites For a Local Business

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blogsvswebsitespic1 Blogs vs Websites For a Local Business

There is no doubt that the internet is a very useful platform for the thousands of online businesses which directly depend on it for growth. These businesses have to develop blogs or websites from where they will execute their internet marketing agendas. With a blog or website, it becomes even easier for internet users to locate these businesses over the net.

 

So, what is the difference between a blog and a website?  Is there a particular advantage in developing either a blog or website, or both for your business?  Well, keep reading this post because it explicitly shows why local business blogging is more beneficial to your business than relying on a
website alone.

 

 

To begin with, it is essential to understand that there is a subtle difference between blogs and websites when it comes to online businesses. The difference is particularly technical and deals with how data is presented on both platforms. Blogs are used to display numerous dynamic posts which may cover a variety of topics while a website is mainly used to display static information which does not need to change as often.  Besides this, blogs provide a commenting system which allows visitors to write their views, are updated almost on a daily basis and are frequently crawled by search engines. Websites rarely have these features.

 

 

Now that the difference between a blog and website is clear, here are several reasons why your business needs a blog more than it needs a website.

 

 

Boosts your SEO 

Online businesses cannot do without effective search engine optimization strategies. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo which are key to the success of online businesses consider blogs more than they do with websites before determining how to rank your business. Therefore, if your business has an active blog, chances are that it will be ranked highly, thus getting you more traffic and customers

 

 

Improves your social media presence

Unlike websites, blogs improve your social media presence because every time you share an interesting post, it stands the chance of generating a huge readership especially when it is shared on the social media.  A huge number of views for your posts definitely improve your social media presence, thus giving you an edge over your competitors.

 

 

Builds an online community

Building an online community for your business is essential because it helps you to know your customers and work towards creating a relationship with them. Through local business blogging, you will be able to attract like-minded individuals from all over to blog with, and whom you can connect and share beneficial ideas.  Nurturing a community is just as important to a business as it is to find and maintain customers.

 

 

Builds traffic to your website

This point particularly addresses the fact of already having a website or having both a blog and a site for your business. In this case, a blog can easily build and send traffic to your website which could increase the number of sales your business makes.  A blog which is well linked to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn builds traffic to your business, thereby enhancing its online presence.

 

 

Increases your credibility

The fact that there are thousands of brands with blogs over the internet makes it hard for consumers to distinguish between credible and bogus businesses.  However, with a professional blog representing your business it becomes very easy for internet users to associate themselves with your brand because the blog ups your credibility.  You become more accessible and transparent and get to know your customers better.

 

 

Overall, a blog does more good for your business than a website does.  Though, this does not mean that you only develop one over the other for your business. The two can work together to the benefit of your business and a blog can be a complement to your website. Unlike bloggers who do not necessarily need websites to spearhead their interests, your business cannot manage to work without either a blog or website. Nonetheless, you should give more prominence to local business blogging.  Generally a blog is more flexible and the better choice if you had to choose only one.

 

To conclude, it is essential for you to let an experienced professional create a business blog for you in such a way that it is well equipped with the tools which will enable it to compete with the multitude of other blogs which are already online. A professional is aware of the current search engine optimization trends and will undoubtedly develop a blog which will lead your business to greater growth.

 

 

Blogs vs. Websites.  Blogs are the clear winner!

 

 

pin it button Blogs vs Websites For a Local Business
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Alternatives to Google Reader | Top RSS Feed Readers

pin it button Alternatives to Google Reader | Top RSS Feed Readers

 

In my last post I lamented the demise of Google Reader which will cease to exist as of July 1 of this year. There will certainly be a void to fill now that this invaluable tool will no longer be available and it will be interesting to see the shifts on the landscape and see who surfaces as the go-to service. In this post I will offer some alternatives to Google Reader which up to this point has been the most popular one.

 

Readers are used by internet professionals, bloggers, and avid consumers of web news. They basically aggregate content into one place so it’s easier to keep track of blogs and stay organized. There’s a variety of readers out there that function as a way to collect and organize blogs after subscribing to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The orange icons you see on most blogs, podcasts, and some websites is a link to subscribe to that particular site’s RSS feed.

 

Whenever you’re on a blog you want to revisit easily, you click the button and get directed to the feed so you can subscribe to it. Posts from these subscriptions are then aggregated and directed into your own reader for easy access. It’s a convenient way to have such a system in order to retrieve information and receive it when it happens. Although average users of the mainstream internet population may not even be aware of RSS and Readers,  using one has many advantages.

 

Some advantages to utilizing a reader are you can keep up with your competition by subscribing to their feeds and stay informed of what news they are disseminating. Also you may choose to monitor more advanced professionals than yourself as a learning technique. This keeps you in the know and saves time because it isn’t necessary to go to every site one at a time, not to mention the timely nature in which the information arrives.

 

Readers also help you remember the blogs you like; this might not sound necessary, but after visiting a lot of blogs it’s easy for some to get lost in the shuffle. Another advantage is you’re able to absorb more information faster, you can actually increase the rate at which you learn and gather content. I do a lot of web surfing and searching the old fashioned way, this is how we discover great sites to begin with, but, using a reader makes sense and is a great way to save time and keep that competitive edge.

 

 

Top Ten FREE Alternatives to Google Reader

 

 

1. www.Feedly.com Feed your mind, says Feedly, …with your digital world. Feedly far and away seems to be leading the pack as the reader of choice for web news junkies. Half a million Google Reader subscribers have already switched over. Feedly is a free resource and it works with iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop platforms. They offer multiple layouts and an up to date interface that integrates well with social activity and news gathering needs.

 

2. www.TheOldReader.com Still in beta, The Old Reader proves to be a solid no frills reader that gets the job done. It is the preferred reader of many users for this very reason. You can start using it in an instant by signing up through Facebook or Google Plus, which tells me social integration is a priority and more features will ensue. No mobile integration yet, but that is around the corner too, according to their homepage it’s in the works.

 

3. www.Pulse.me Pulse has a streamline interface great for accessing media, blogs, web sites and social networks. This Stanford contribution to the reader space was founded in 2010 and has won several design awards. Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web make Pulse an enjoyable reader experience.

 

4. www.Netvibes.com/en Netvibes offers a personal dashboard system on user friendly drag-and-drop desktop and mobile platforms. Individuals can monitor feeds and apps or agencies can monitor their brand activity. They have social tools for real-time monitoring, digital organization, news gathering, and brand research. They’ve helped some major brands and have impressive upgrades like detailed analytics, business insights, and alerts.

 

5. www.Bloglines.com Bloglines is one of the first news feed aggregators and has over two million users. You can access your RSS on desktop or mobile while creating, managing and sharing your favorite news feeds, blogs and content from the internet. Feeds can be customized and arranged in a variety of ways to meet your needs.

 

6. www.FeedReader.com  FeedReader is the oldest desktop RSS reader on the web, so with their “Newsbrain” technology they’ve had time to adjust to user’s needs. It is a basic service, but not too much so. There are plenty upgrades and features as well as online and downloadable versions to meet the demands of most. Definitely worth a look see.

 

7. www.RSSOwl.org RSSOwl can be used on major platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac. Add feeds to RSSOwl with ease by using its Import Wizard; select feeds from a file, web site, or let RSSOwl search feeds that match topics you choose.  Features and versatility make this reader a strong option for keeping track of feeds and news.

 

8. WordPress.com/#!/read WordPress launched a reader about a year and a half ago under its dot com version. Using desktop or mobile you can import from GR and subscribe and organize feeds regardless of their origin, as long as you create a dot com account. Many say it’s not compact enough or there’s too much space per entry, which concerns those who quickly scan a river of titles to get info fast. Knowing WordPress there will likely be tweaks and adjustments in light of the open top reader spot; either way it is an option and it’s winning over many fans.

 

9. My.Yahoo.com MyYahoo! makes the list because Yahoo is still a relevant source for web interaction and cannot be counted out as an online leader. No doubt they have experienced major shifts in the last few years but who hasn’t. I’ve always been a fan of their homepage, products, email, and Answers; so I believe interesting things are ahead.

 

10. www.newsisfree.com NewsIsFree is another straight forward, raw-no-slaw system for subscribing to and managing your RSS feeds. They have a huge data base, 35949 news channels of their own to be exact, as of this writing. Basic Free Service lets you add feeds from within or add new ones they don’t have to your customizable portal.

 

 

Other Google Reader Alternatives

 

 

www.Feedbucket.com

 

www.Pageflakes.com

 

www.ManagingNews.com

 

www.FeedShow.com

 

www.NewsAlloy.com

 

Guzzle.it

 

RSSBandit.org

 

agregator.ro  Agregator (beta)

 

 

Paid Services

 

www.NewsBlur.com

 

www.RapidFeeds.com

 

www.FeedaFever.com Fever

 

www.NewsGator.com/rss-readers NewsGator

 

 

Readers for Mac

 

netnewswireapp.com NetNewsWire

 

http://www.newsfirerss.com/ Newsfire

 

www.Shrook.com

 

 

Readers for Mobile

 

www.Flipboard.com

 

Winksite.com

 

 

In summary it is important to note that this shift in the reader landscape is causing all kinds of speculation as to the fate of RSS and if readers will be all that relevant in the future or not. As mentioned in my last post, Social already has the lion share of internet users’ attention so it is likely more sophisticated features will evolve that act as news aggregators or ‘catchalls’ for our most important content. Some of them already have such features, like Twitter Lists.

 

It is also fair to say most people only need one reader. Social networks each have their own unique uses which is why we tend to have accounts at many different ones. Up to now readers serve a specific purpose so having only one usually suffices. However, as outlined above, many of the readers are adding lots of features, tools, and upgrades of benefit to both individuals and organizations. It will be interesting to watch as readers become more social and social networks develop more tools like readers. So with that I will end by restating my top five readers.

 

 

Top Five Free Alternatives to Google Reader

 

1. Feedly

 

2. The Old Reader

 

3. Pulse

 

4. Netvibes

 

5. (tie) Bloglines and FeedReader

 

 

pin it button Alternatives to Google Reader | Top RSS Feed Readers
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Google Reader To End July 1, 2013

pin it button Google Reader To End July 1, 2013

 

Google recently announced it will no longer offer their Google Reader which will end in July of this year. The popular product allows users to organize and read their favorite blogs from one central interface after subscribing to RSS feeds. Periodically Google does a little “spring cleaning” just to keep things fresh, and are doing just that again, due to overall interest and usage. According to the company, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.” Pulling the plug on this service narrows down the number of their product offerings by 70 since spring of 2011; a drastic reduction or “rate of change,” also noted on the Google blog.

 

 

The consensus and scuttlebutt elsewhere and everywhere seems to be that it’s possible the decision was made to focus on the Google Plus social networking platform. We know the shaping and innovation that is always a constant at the heart of the search giant’s mission, but that fact still does not lessen the sting of bidding farewell to a still viable and beloved convenience. Since Google is such an influence on our lives, after all, is this move reactive or proactive in what the future holds? Google certainly wasn’t the first kid on the block but when they make major changes people take notice. We already know social networking is a stronghold in our lives, to say the least, and only growing and innovating more and more.

 

 

Social networking has transcended “social” and become an ubiquitous part of communication, business, and media and is here to stay for a while. Since they are focusing on the Google Plus platform could this mean that Social will be the new RSS? Then there’s the whole Mobile vs Desktop outlook that may also contribute to decision. Granted RSS feeds and ‘readers’ are not necessarily mainstream fare, however, to avid online users and entities they are. The Google post also notes it will be possible to export data and subscriptions using Google Takeout.

 

 

The end of ‘Reader‘ also sparks the debate on whether the free business model works well or not. It was Google’s choice not to specifically monetize or charge for this feature, they definitely don’t need to, especially with their AdWords text ads visible in so many other places. Some services work as a free usage model and some don’t; but it is certain many of the ones that do; including Google’s cache of offerings, other top email services, wildly popular social networks, and a myriad of other open-source platforms and sites. It remains to be seen how long we can look forward to these many free amenities. Probably for the long haul, considering the reciprocal nature of consumers and advertisers and users fueling the cycle for the ad based services.

 

 

My real question, though, is what does this shift mean for RSS and does Google foresee something or want to adapt their social platform into an all-purpose one stop aggregation center for social networking and the organization of the content we intake? Who knows? But RSS feeds will most likely remain relevant and serve to distribute content throughout the web, including within Google Plus. It is a matter of how much and to what extent RSS will play in the significance of our quest for information gathering. I’m sure some delineations or lines in the sand will be drawn by how people sort through all the information.

 

 

Web surfing styles are very specific and personal to each user in the first place. However, those styles and preferences do become habits and the actions of the masses dictate what can endure the longest. I think the RSS still serves a significant function of organizing large amounts of content, especially in regard to the blogosphere. The preferred function of real-time news a la Twitter and Facebook obviously reflect the times. Speed it seems will  win out every time.  In the mean time, what many people will be looking for now is a new reader.   In my next post I’ll touch on a few of these options and explore alternatives to Google Reader.

 

 

pin it button Google Reader To End July 1, 2013
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