How to Solve Virtually Any Sudoku Puzzle

pin it button How to Solve Virtually Any Sudoku Puzzle


sudokupic1 How to Solve Virtually Any Sudoku Puzzle


I was not a big fan of Sudoku at first but over time the unsolved puzzle next to my daily crossword won out. I was curious about its popularity and addictive quality, especially since I failed at so many half-hearted attempts.  A couple of years ago I sat down determined to solve one and I did just that.  It was not pretty; I literally forced myself to solve it with no strategy or system just sheer will of trial and error with numbers changed, crossed out, and every other mistake possible.




I had numbers in the margin, possibilities scribbled very tiny in each box, redrawn boxes out to the side and so on until it was done. Whew, but I did one, then another and another. It’s been a while now and I’ve done thousands of these puzzles and I guess I’m a bit of an expert.  Now I’m not perfect mind you, I goof plenty of them up, but it is usually just a careless error.  As for speed, I’m sure I wouldn’t win any contest or anything, but I can usually solve any newspaper Sudoku of any difficulty well under or around fifteen minutes.


When I say newspaper Sudoku, I mean any of the ones printed in the paper, usually having a difficulty rating of 2 through 5 out of 5.  Difficulty does not matter it just takes a little longer.  I’ve also noticed the puzzles rated 4 are the hardest for some reason. I have since purchased the paperback puzzle books and have found some of their more difficult ones to be complete stumpers, but can usually get through those if I lay it aside and come back to it later. However, the newspaper puzzles rarely pose this problem.


I have devised a simple system and it works nearly every time. I will list the steps I go through below. I have not included any charts or diagrams as I do not think it is necessary even if you are only vaguely familiar with the rules of the puzzle.  I will assume you know what those rules are without going into great detail; you know you must fill in the squares with the numbers 1 through 9 with no duplicates in any row or small box. Some of these steps may seem simplistic, but this system does work.



How to solve Sudoku:


1. Either in order or backwards, starting with the first number that jumps out at you start filling in the numbers that are “givens”. That is to say with one number at a time look for and place it where it belongs in the squares where there is absolutely no doubt, question, or ambiguity as to it belonging there. Fill in all the “givens” you see, 1 through 9.


Now at this point you have a “new puzzle.” It is not the same puzzle you started with. Every number filled in is one less you have to solve. Always keep this in mind. On the easier puzzles you can continue this method by just going through the number sequences until the puzzle is solved. Once you’ve filled in all the obvious ones and looked for new obvious ones that have been created by you, you may hit your first wall. Now move to step 2.


2. Look over the entire puzzle as a whole and pinpoint different squares that appear to have a fair amount of numbers running in the same row both vertically and horizontally.  Mentally count 1 through 9 while your eyes scan each “plus sign/intersection” and inevitably there will be a few squares (the center of the plus signs/intersections) with all the numbers 1 to 9 except one (not the number 1, the ‘amount of one’ missing number).  This will allow you to fill in at least one or a few squares.  If you hit another wall. Move on to step 3.


3. Start with each vertical column and mentally run through the numbers 1 through 9 to see if one can be placed. This sounds time consuming or overly simplistic, but it goes really fast because some of the numbers are already filled in. Working one column at a time try to place the number 1 in every box of that column. You know the number belongs in a box if there is no other possible place for it. In other words if there are two “possible” squares for it, move to the next number, 2,3…  all the way through 9. Then do the next column and the next.


4. Use the exact technique in Step 3 only use it on the horizontal rows. These steps may seem futile at first because you will think you are not solving or filling in any squares, but it rarely fails, you will usually fill in at least 1 to 3 new boxes, again changing the dynamic of the whole puzzle. If you are not much closer to solving the whole puzzle by now you have hit another wall. Step 5 usually ices the puzzle and gets me “over the hump” on most puzzles.


5. Now look over the puzzle as a whole and look for rows, columns, and boxes with only three remaining blank. There should be a few. Now that you have found some areas that only have three remaining numbers as possibilities, determine what those three numbers are.  Pay close attention: Now one at a time (trying each blank box) look horizontally and vertically – IF TWO OF THOSE THREE DETERMINED NUMBERS CAN BE FOUND EITHER VERTICALLY OR HORIZONTALLY OR TOGETHER IN THE SAME ROW, IT IS THE THIRD NUMBER THAT IS NOT THEM THAT GOES IN THAT BOX. So by going around the puzzle and finding these rows, boxes and columns with only three needed, when two of those numbers share the row, you know they cannot be duplicated, so it is the missing number of the three numbers you determined to be needed.


Usually after going through Steps 1 through 5 I have all but solved the puzzle, it is just a matter of filling in the missing numbers that will be obvious.  If you are still at a wall, repeat the steps, as the puzzle has changed now by you filling in more numbers and, thus, will be able to fill in more by repeating the steps. On the rare occasion I have had to resort to step 6 which is hard to explain but it is rarely necessary.


6. Step 6 is a little like Step 5 except you look for rows, columns and boxes with only four needed to be filled in. Usually what you’ll find is not an overt one to fill in but you will be able to determine that two squares of the four squares must be this one or that one or be the spots for the remaining two.  You just don’t know which one goes exactly where, but you know, at least, they do not belong in the other two squares.  Now block them out mentally or with your thumb and look at the other two empty squares… there should be at least one that you can fill in this way.



These are my steps to solving the Sudoku Puzzles. Again, they may seem simplistic at first glance but if you follow them you will be able to solve almost any puzzle yourself.  It says there is no math involved in Sudoku, but I have to disagree a little because it is really process of elimination more than anything else and that is kind of mathematical.  It is also important to note that you never ever have to guess at filling in any box whatsoever.  It should always be without a doubt, 100% the only possible number to go in each box.


I was convinced early on you had to take a leap of faith and take a guess at some point in the puzzle and correct as you go.  As I’ve done more and more I realize that this is not the case.  Please share your comments or tips and let me know if you have any questions about the steps.  This is my main blog which I devote mostly to business marketing, but I just wanted to share my love of puzzles and offer these tips. Hope they help, have fun!



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List of Free Local Online Business Directories

pin it button List of Free Local Online Business Directories


As an online SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist it is important to be up to date with the current methods and best ways to be found online.  The most important thing for your business to be aware of is “how to get found online when customers are looking for you.”  Rank High Media implements hundreds of techniques in doing just that; and has the ability to spread your web presence using these techniques.


One of the more rudimentary steps that is absolutely necessary is to submit to the most popular local directories where web surfers get their information.  These surfers or potential customers either go directly to these sources or they happen upon them based on their position in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).  Either way it is important to submit your business and enter the crucial contact information so these searchers can take the next step and give you a visit.


You don’t have to join every available directory on the internet but creating accounts with the most popular and effective indexes will immediately increase your online visibility and have a direct impact on the amount of actual people you come in contact with. Of course, some people will tell you the more the better, this may be true in this case, but what is certain in regard to local search is that when someone finds what they want they usually physically go to get what it is they found.


Listed below I’ve comprised some of the top Local Business Directories with a brief description and a link to each one. It is followed by a lengthier list of high quality directories with links to the respective sites. The entire list has well over 60 business directories to visit, learn about, submit to, and reap the benefits by growing your customer base.




Top 20 FREE Local Business Directories



1.  Yelp is the online leader as local business directory with user reviews to index your business. Yelp boasts over 41 million users a month. It also is a social networking site where members can share favorite recommendations.


2.  CitySearch is an online business directory which has local information about businesses and professionals in your town.  It has many categories including restaurants, entertainment, retail stores, and other professional services.  Citysearch has business contact information, maps, driving directions, and reviews for the listed US businesses.


3.  Google Plus Local Business Center helps potential customers to find you instantly. By inserting specific keywords for your business you will get found much quicker. Keywords like “lawyer,” “jeweler,” “pizza parlor,” etc. will give you an advantage over businesses with just their name.  An entry in Google Plus Local Business Center gives you more control over your business information like its name, phone, address, and hours.


4.  Yahoo! Local Listings is an online local advertising directory which allows businesses to give business information to the searchers of your type of business. Yahoo! Local has Basic Listings which allows your general information along with a link to your site. It also has an Enhanced Listings feature that allows for adding longer descriptions, taglines, and photos.


5.  Bing Business Portal is the perfect adjunct to Microsoft’s Bing Search. This fast growing and at this time still in Beta local business directory is a must.  As with Google and Yahoo, do you really want to leave this one out?  An obligatory step in creating the kind of publicity and search friendly exposure every business needs.  Great features and enhancements for listing your business with exciting advertising options, coupon promotions, QR codes, and mobile apps. Bing Business Portal is certain to remain on the cutting edge.


6.  Merchant Circle has the largest network of business owners on the internet. Their main focus is connecting people with the best local merchants and top quality service providers. Merchant Circle is easy to use and a must for any business to be a part of to increase their credibility, visibility, and popularity with the public.


7.   eLocal is an established, top notch local business city guide and search directory that prides itself on its reputation, easy navigation, and category specific information. The categories cover general niches right down to specialties of those fields. You may search for a plumber, then see which plumbers actually specialize in certain types of installations or jobs. They originally centered on select professions like lawyers, roofers,plumbers, and exterminators but recently expanded and offer all major consumer business categories.


8.  Hotfrog is fast growing and may soon be the go to business index.  It’s innovative, easy to use, and puts emphasis on the uniqueness of your business.  Keyword selection plays a big part in matching potential customers to your Hotfrog profile and helps you get noticed fast by the search engines.  You can add pictures, create coupons, and tell how your business is different from the rest.  Don’t overlook this outstanding directory for your local business.


9  DexKnows is an excellent local directory and resource for businesses. It offers online and print advertising, along with free marketing consultation. Listing within the DexKnows Directory helps companies get found millions of times every year.


10.  YellowBot is a local search site for finding and reviewing local businesses. Adding your business to Yellowbot will further increase your business’s web presence. This site is on the cutting edge and integrates well with Mobile search.


11.  Superpages is an extremely comprehensive source for local information with an array of services. It’s a top internet resource for locating information about businesses and services in your area. They help potential customers find local business information like driving directions, hours of operation, reviews, and much more.


12.  Manta is a rapidly growing business site and even claims to be the fastest. This business directory is very focused on the social media landscape as it integrates these features into members’ profiles. On Manta you can create status updates for your business which will circulate your business name throughout the network of millions and throughout your community.


13.  MapQuest is one of the oldest and most trusted sites on the internet and has always served as a reliable source for finding directions to specific geographic locations.  After several iterations and a Beta phase (at this writing), Mapquest Local is another must for businesses to include their information in, as it is certain to remain as strong or better in the coming years.


14.  BestoftheWeb states that they are the oldest internet directory.  Someone had to be first, right?  The certainty of this is of no matter because they offer a stellar platform with comprehensive, detailed, and reliable information to find what you need online, along with reviews to back your decisions.   As you can tell from the link the local designation separates it from their flagship rating site known for rating other online entities, organizations, and websites. It behooves any business to enter themselves in this excellent directory.


15.  YellowpageCity very much like the traditional phonebook yellowpages is a dependable source for finding what you need.  There are many variations now that wear the famed yellowpages logo so it’s hard to distinguish which is the original and how they differ, but they all have the reputation and years of service that people still can count on.   I’ve included YellowpageCity in the ‘top twenty’ as a nod to what they represent and the fact that they have an important online presence which your business should definitely list on.  They offer easy and accessible interactive listings of local businesses with website, email links, maps, and video.


16.  ThinkLocal is much more than an online business directory with regional features like weather, local attractions, and city spotlights. It also has a business blog with helpful marketing strategies. ThinkLocal free business listings include contact information, maps, driving instructions, and customer reviews.


17.  ShowMeLocal offers an array of features like reviews, tell-a-friend, social bookmarking, feed subscriptions, and sharable links which help local businesses get their content out there. Interaction is the focus of ShowMeLocal and is what its members and audience will find.  The more local businesses use their customized features, the more exposure the local business will get online which is what every business needs ands wants.


18.  CitySlick is a free, easy, no nonsense local business directory in keeping with the most effective and current focal points of the moment. Emphasis on advertising, coupons and attracting web visitors through content distribution are just a few of the effective marketing methods available by submitting a listing.


19.  Express UpDate is a part of the Infogroup powerhouse. As a leader in technology they are an excellent choice among online local business directories and search engines. By adding a business listing you can engage customers, gather valuable data about those customers, and further increase your business’s ability to be found at just the right time.


20.  Kudzu like the fast growing vine, is yet another fast growing service gaining in popularity. It emphasizes honest feedback; good and bad, as well as its ease of use and fast answers about the services reviewed. Kudzu also integrates well with Facebook and Twitter which furthers your reach on the web.




Rank High Media of Fayetteville NC can help you sort through the confusion of submitting to these indexes. Whether you have a professional assist you or you handle it yourself, the important thing is to get started and see what an impact it will make.



Following are other Business Directories to submit to and create accounts with. These are all well-known and widely used services; some directories are favored by their members, the searching public, and search engines for various reasons. Determining a definitive list in order from the best on down, would really only amount to opinion. Some are easier to use and navigate than others and some may be granted precedence by a search engine that happens to be their parent company.


Many factors contribute to why some directories seem to be in the spotlight more than others, but as with all online entities, this list is a moveable feast sure to fluctuate and change with the times. It is also important to note the top directories featured on this list are free and balanced as both a desktop and mobile platform for searching local businesses.


These directories, albeit mostly free, offer paid memberships with enhanced features (as do the above listed).  In addition to indexing businesses, some are actual social networks, mobile app reliant, advertising platforms, and coupon generating sites all with similar features and benefits to its members and searchers alike.



Comprehensive List of Online Business Directories for Local Businesses




Listing and managing your accounts in these directories can get tedious, so any service that makes things easier is an advantage. Yext PowerListings does this by letting you control over 30 indexes from one place. PowerListings keeps your index listings up to date with its most vital information. Your business name, address, phone number, and other categories on the Yext network. If you change information anytime, it’ll be updated everywhere.


Using Yext Enhanced listings lets you to add pictures, descriptions, and promotions to all of your listings on the Yext Network. Inform customers of a new product, company news, a new location or business hours, and of course any specials you may have. Just enter your information in your Yext account and it will quickly update your other listings across its network comprehensive.


Monitor what your public says about you by using Review Monitoring; Yext monitors your listings and its reviews. Whenever you are reviewed, it shows up in our Yext account. You can hone in on these reviews by searching for the main keywords related to your business. Also, you can save, export, or email these reviews and filter them by geographic location.


Yext can be incorporated into your Mobile Marketing plan too. With Mobile fast becoming the prefered (over Desktop) or at least dominate method of searching out businesses at the local level, Yext is compatible with the most current Mobile platforms.


You already know the importance of analytics in determining what is working for your online efforts. Yext Tracking lets you see impressions and profile views at the local level, you’ll get full analytics on local search performance so you can see which items perform best and recieve the most traffic.



I’m sure I’ve probably left some directories out, there are so many good ones that really help with getting your business name out there. What online business directories are your favorites and which ones work best for you? Be sure to add any I may have omitted in the Comments. I Hope the list is helpful, Happy Indexing!



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Benefits of Local Businesses Registering with Local Business Directories

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There are many benefits of local businesses registering with local business directories online for the purpose of indexing for search engine ranks and attracting more inbound traffic.   There are many people that search for local information from sources such as the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing; in addition to City Search and When searching in search engines the user makes a search that includes a city name, zip code, name of city or county and the local search results are displayed in the prime search result page. These listings are found below the paid search results but not below search listings that are organic.



Besides the above local results are generally manifested on street maps with push-ins or being provided with some other identifier thus helping them to stand out and easily be seen by internet users. Users on the internet can also search for local information in the maps section of a prime search engine. Like Google local information there are also mobile searches on iPhones with other tools of Google and Yahoo. The local information gives you the “in close proximity businesses data on Yahoo! One Search.



Internet Yellow Pages also conduct the same task in the local space compared to shopping engines conducted in ‘put in the market’ space. This gives clients a search area that is devoted to a specific straight up increasing the relevancy of the search for consumers that have been purchased positively. These Internet Yellow Pages develop market share effectively by making use of SEO and SEM campaigns that are both aggressive and constructive. It is not a rare instance to see over half of the resulting twenty first page listings that cover paid, organic and local listings that lead back to Internet Yellow Pages.



The above business information is in turn made use of by publishers. The availability of this information gives publishers the chance to increase their small local indexes. Search engines have already increased their information by establishing search web spiders that are scripted to find on the web and attracts new and unique web content. Most businessmen have determined that the above methodology is able to establish search indexes that are organic. Today local SEO has gained a great reputation in internet commerce.



The data obtained is often restricted to the name of the business, its address, contact details and fax number. The accurateness of the information and data relies on the source and may not be regularly updated. However, with the above techniques give you necessary deep data services and products that are provided, the carried brands, promos, amenities provided and a lot of other vital and useful business information.


Be sure to check out the following post that includes the most comprehensive list of Online Business Directories for Indexing your business I’ve seen online.  It also includes my Top Twenty List of Free Online Business Directories.




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How to Increase Your Online Propinquity

pin it button How to Increase Your Online Propinquity


Propinquity is the kinship developed in interpersonal relationships based on nearness, geographical proximity, common interests or shared environments. A familiarity is developed and, thus, it forms a stronger bond among the people who have this commonality. People who work together, restaurant regulars, neighbors, townspeople, sports fans, etc. all share a common bond. By becoming a more familiar face or presence online you are increasing your psychological propinquity with others.



Take the social networks for example, when you come across someone from another network it is as if you’ve bumped into an old friend. This is true in life as it is in cyberspace. So as a business owner your goal is to increase your social propinquity in order to elevate the state of the relationship from that of buyer and seller into two familiar colleagues or business associates.



What is the best way to increase your social media presence?   You may already be doing it and not be aware of it or you may need to step up your game a notch. By interacting on the networks you are accomplishing the many known advantages of using social media for business promotion.


  • Make sure on each social network all your information is accurate.


  • Have your business name and logo visible. In the case of Facebook, for example, by all means create a Fan Page dedicated to your business.


  • Personalize profiles with photos, current news, and any promotions you’d like to mention.


  • Offer good value within your content and posts. Having good information available to your friends or audience will increase your credibility, create trust, and further increase your propinquity.


  • Show interest in what your friends, customers, followers, readers, etc. are doing and their businesses, as well.  This really goes without saying, since it is all about being social, sharing, and communicating with each other.


  • Take time everyday to dedicate yourself to seeing what is trending or of relevance in your industry.



These steps not only increase your social media presence and propinquity, they also affect your ranking and relationship to the search engines. Many people are not aware of the transparency that occurs anytime data in most any form is placed on the web. It can be crawled and found and cause you to appear in results you don’t even know about. So the more content you have on your networks, the better your chances of showing up in the search results.



Many of these social actions take place in the real world during our everyday activities. We’re very often mesmerized by the idea of cyberspace, but as time passes this global abyss is getting smaller. That is to say, future trends lean more toward a more harmonious relationship between the real world and the internet. Those who accept this will be the pioneers and make the greatest advances online and in the business world.



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What Are QR Codes and How Can They Help Your Business?

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What Are QR Codes?QRcodes1 What Are QR Codes and How Can They Help Your Business?


QR Codes or Quick Response Codes are scannable codes that contain information or direct the scanner (user) to another page on the web; like a blog, video or sales page. In Japan and Europe, QR codes have been used for more than a decade and are now picking up in the United States.



With the increasing number of people using smart phones, many different QR readers can be easily downloaded to a Smart phone, Android, or iphone which enables them to now scan these codes and receive its digital content. This is very appealing to major brands and small businesses who are looking for new cost effective ways to advertise and publicize their business.



Creating a QR code is an easy process. There are a many sites like Delivr, Maestro, Zxing, iCandy, and Kaywa where you can generate QR codes for free. QR codes can link to text, a webpage, pictures, videos or audio. The beauty of these codes is that they bridge the gap between the offline and online worlds and can boost sales and promotion.



QR Readers


There are many downloadable QR readers for the iPhone, Android and most any smart phone. Tap Reader, i-nigma, Kaywa, QR Droid, QR Scanner, Neo Reader and Quickmart are just a few of these readers. It’s important to experiment and test a couple of different readers to see which one is right for you. The quality and compatibility can vary from reader to phone, so you want to have the best user experience possible.



Sharing QR Codes


Many apps are designed to support QR sharing. Likify is a service that lets users create QR codes. Whenever a user scans the code, it directs them to a page that has company information, services or specials and also contains a Facebook like button. Users can then like a page right away and give it more exposure on Facebook.


Pingtags is another similar service which connects to LinkedIn. When a user scans your QR code, they’re directed to your LinkedIn information and your contact information is shown. Anybody that scans your code can connect with you by phone or email immediately.



Where To Use QR Codes?


Ways of using QR codes: display them in your marketing and promotional materials, displays, advertising, business cards, magazines, letters, and store windows. QR codes can link to offers, videos, coupons, provide product information, give directions to your business, offer inventory info, and much more. This new concept can get more exposure for your business that is fast and cost effective.


You definitely want people to pay attention to your codes. Offering discounts and freebies helps increase the desire for people to scan the code and always include a thank you to the customer for taking the time and being a valued patron.



Benefits of Using QR Codes


QR codes have a lot potential to help your business in so many ways. Mobile consumers are a huge part of the e-commerce market. Mobile is fast becoming the top method for online activity, even over desktop. Mobile consumers want to instantly access everything and QR codes serve this purpose to a tee.


QR codes bring valued customers to your company website. It can increase traffic to that website, blog, or social media page and help create a network of support. You can send customers to Twitter or Facebook where they can follow you or like your business and stay in touch with you this way.


Another benefit is to put a code into a print ad which sends the scanner to the website. Once there they can find more about your company, interact, or make a purchase. QR codes are another great way technology can help you get closer to your customers and keep them interested at the same time.



Talk to a New Media professional in your area about setting up a QR campaign for your business. Rank High Media of Fayetteville NC can help you do this and answer any questions or concerns you may have.


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Google Plus Local for Your Business

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googleplus1 Google Plus Local for Your Business

Benefits Of Local Businesses Registering With Google Plus Local


Google is the top dog when it comes to search engines, therefore, it is in your best business interest to make Google know more about you and the business you specialize in. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by submitting your local business to the Google Plus Local Business Center.



There are many immediate benefits you will see after submitting to Google Plus Local. The main ones are:


1. Google tends to give your business greater authority as they know it is a real business providing you with better search engine rankings for your keywords.


2. Adding your business to Google Maps helps potential customers to find you instantly. They can, via this technique, also find out more about you. In fact, today one of the hottest trends to find local businesses in the area is by Google Maps.


3. The insertion of specific keywords into the description of your business helps you get noticed faster. There are keywords like “retirement specialist,” “CPA,” “lawyer,” “jeweler,” “wedding planner,” etc.  This gives you a competitive edge over those who have just their names mentioned.


4. With an entry in Google Plus Local Business Center you are able to have better control over your business information like the name, phone number, hours of operation and address.


5. Google permits you to see how customers find you through the Google Dashboard. For instance, you can know if a customer came from Google Maps while searching with the keywords typed. This lets you optimize marketing efforts to a very large extent.


6. Adding a picture of your office allows you to appear in Google Maps so that new customers can identify your building and it makes it easier for them to find you.


7. It encourages customers to rate and review your services, thus, it is of benefit to you.


8. With the listing in Google Plus Local Business Center you get a ROI that is an infinite one, as it is free.



With the above benefits you are able to get higher page ranks on Google. This means more inbound traffic is attracted. It is easier for you to convert leads into sales with greater success. The position of your business also rises higher while other businesses drop lower. Local pages are indexed and people are able to get listings they are looking for with ease. Here digital word of mouth works and it spreads like wildfire, so customers find you easily. Besides this, the customer ratings of your business also increases greatly.


It just takes fifteen minutes for you to sign your local business up with Google Plus Local Business Center. All you have to do is create an account. With this account you are able to monitor how customers are getting to your website. This makes it easier for you to optimize your marketing efforts. The more information you gather the better you can grow your business into a more profitable one.


Talk to a New Media professional about submitting your business information into Google Plus LocalRank High Media of Fayetteville NC can help you with any questions you may have.


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Foursquare For Local Business Advertising

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Foursquare and Its Benefits To Businesses 

foursquare1 Foursquare For Local Business Advertising

Businesses nowadays need to know traditional forms of marketing have less of a success rate than they used to. As a business owner you need to stay competitive in order to survive in the marketing landscape. It’s not enough for business owners to rely on old marketing techniques to provide customers with an engaging marketing experience. Customers, after all, are people and they love to be engaged. If you take a look at recent statistics you’ll find that 90% of the total number of individuals have some form of social media in play, as people want to belong to what they buy and to establish a bond.


What Is Foursquare?


Foursquare is a smartphone application that makes the patronage of a business fun for customers. In simple words you can consider it an electronic customer loyalty program where your business patrons will attempt to outdo one another by seeing who checks in the most. This platform works, as it balances the natural curiosity of social media networkers by displaying the name and location of businesses where they and their friends currently are.

Since this platform works on mobile devices, everyone can simply update where they are, comment on their location, or even recommend services and places to their networking friends if they see fit. This social application also goes beyond the broadcast of one’s location. It permits users to earn coupons, badges, points and even titles. It also encourages users to comment on where they are so that they can make recommendations and release warnings depending on the business they are at.


Why Foursquare?


In order to get a competitive edge in the market it is very important for you to be aware that Foursquare is a coupon, promotion, game, and digital wallet in a single package. This is the perfect social media for businesses of all types. This platform integrates with Twitter and Facebook and the gaming feature of the site encourages individuals to share when they arrive at a business. For instance they can deliver free advertising to patrons of your friends who have “businesses.” There is another cool feature of this platform and that is patrons can become a ‘mayor’ if they make frequent visits.


Benefits Of Foursquare


There are four ways on how your business can benefit from Foursquare as a promotional and marketing platform:


1. You can create attractive deals and offers for your business. By doing this you enhance the loyalty of existing customers while attracting new ones and creating a stronger customer base.


2. You can also supervise and monitor foot traffic of your customers as it permits businesses the ability to get access to statistics in a dashboard that is easy to use.


3. You are able to get a powerful insight on what works with your targeted audience and what doesn’t work.


4. You are able to earn free referrals and get the benefits of marketing and promotional mileage for your business.


Since this application is free you do not have to spend lots of money on traditional marketing tools for your business and it helps you save money. A New Media professional can answer any questions you have and help get you set up in using Foursquare.


Fayetteville NC Businesses can benefit greatly by contacting Rank High Media to help you get your business set up with Foursquare.



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Scams on the Internet and How to Avoid Them

pin it button Scams on the Internet and How to Avoid Them

scampic1 Scams on the Internet and How to Avoid Them

It is certain, sometime in your quest to find ways to generate online income you will come across scams on the internet or anywhere else for that matter.  The problem is knowing how to avoid them and not letting their existence prevent you from going forth with something that might be outstanding. Most of us have the common sense to recognize the ridiculous propositions that arrive from foreign dignitaries urging us to reveal your vital information in order to receive a fortune.



It is a shame that schemes like this taint the opinions of people who genuinely want to learn how to make an income online. Also, there are the countless programs and get rich quick systems that do their damage and further leave a bad taste in our mouths. What about the many worthwhile programs that are never given their due attention. Programs that actually work if only the steps are implemented.


It is easy to cast blame on the faults of a system or program not producing results rather than to accept some responsibility for its failing. Unfortunately, this continues to give honest marketers a bad name. Fortunately, however, the good programs do outweigh the bad. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and doing a little research.


As I have stated before and my contemporaries will agree, that no business will run itself, they all require effort. Many an opportunity seeker are lured in by this very proposition of gaining online wealth with little or no effort and when the desired outcome isn’t reached they give up all together. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is should be a question to always consider.


What can happen, though, is over time after you’ve established yourself and your business presence, the time spent doing the mundane tasks will come easier or they can be outsourced all together, which in essence is like having a business on auto-pilot. But anyone who doesn’t take an active hand in their own business and the course it takes is a fool.


Another scourge to the internet community is the rise of identity theft and the danger of credit card information being stolen. There will always be the threat of crime and theft online or off, it is just a fact of life. The important thing is to arm yourself with information and proceed accordingly. A little research goes a long way, so by all means use the resources available to search the company and the names behind the company you are considering.


The website or business should provide contact information and complete accountability. You should be able to have access to the people you are joining in your business venture and they should be someone with a vested interest in helping you and making themselves available to you. Furthermore, in this age of search engines we have the ability to find information about people instantly. So take advantage of this and learn about the folks you’re considering partnering with.


A combination of judgement, common sense, instinct, and research should provide you with the armor to move forward with your plans. Certainly be vigilant in your online endeavors, but don’t allow all the bad out there to prevent you from achieving your goals and dreams. There is much more good out there than bad, and by being part of good teams, networks, and business groups you strengthen your business arsenal even more.


pin it button Scams on the Internet and How to Avoid Them
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Article Writing and Article Submission For Business Promotion

pin it button Article Writing and Article Submission For Business Promotion

guywithmegaphone1 265x300 Article Writing and Article Submission For Business Promotion

How can writing articles improve your business?  Article writing and article submission can improve your business in many ways.  It is one of the best and most accessible ways to introduce your business to thousands of web surfers on a daily basis.  There are hundreds of article sites that you can submit to for free and the topics covered are unlimited.


First, let me discuss a few of the benefits of writing an article.  Being the hardheaded guy that I am, I resisted writing articles because, quite frankly,  I thought it would take up too much time and be too much trouble.  Once I saw how effective just submitting a few articles was, the fire was stoked.



What happens when you submit an article is the subscribers to that particular directory on your particular subject get notified about new content so you get fresh readers right off the bat. Then your content gets crawled by the search engines and ends up in places and categories and on results pages that relate to your keywords.  This brings more readers to your article.  Your article remains in this directory so you will have this article working for you months or years down the road and most directories store their articles under the subject and author, so when one of your articles gets read, it is likely that people will investigate your other writings.


Another great benefit of writing articles is that you position yourself as an expert on a subject.  You will be seen as an authority just by virtue of being published on the web.  Besides most people just aren’t willing to do the extra steps needed to excel, so your credibility automatically increases just by doing what others won’t do.


Also, these article directories allow an author bio, description or resource box which allows you to directly link to your business’s website.  The advantage of this is two-fold: One is that readers may instantly find or go to your website, page, or blog just by clicking your link.  And two:  this creates a backlink to your website.  In technical terms, the more incoming links to your site the more relevant it is to the search engines; in plain speak this means you rank higher and as a result you will get more traffic.


Writing articles may seem intimidating at first or you may think it is a complex process or maybe you’re not exactly Hemingway.  Don’t let this stop you.  The important thing is to get started with one or two articles about your business and let the momentum build.  Once you organize your thoughts about what you want to say, just start writing.  If you absolutely abhor the idea of writing then let a professional help you.  There are article writing services all over the net and they are very affordable.


If you decide to go it alone, just break down what you want to say into three to five main points.  Write a brief introduction, make your body of the article these points, and then close by reinforcing what was said.  Write your article before you are on the submission site, this makes it easier to just copy and paste when you are submitting.  Also have a short two or three sentence bio ready to paste in the resource box that contains your link.


Note:  Sometimes it is necessary to provide a functional “a href” line of code in resource boxes for your link to work.
Here’s how that code is formatted <a href=””>Clickable Link</a>


Most important of all is to follow the guidelines and rules of each submission directory.  It is important to write in an informative style not just to write a big sales pitch.  Start with a great title that tells what the content is about as well as drawing attention.   Be sure not to put active links in your body, you can usually do this within the resource or author bio field.  Your grammar and spelling, of course, will only increase the credibility and popularity of your article.


Keep in mind that article submission sites are not press release sites so you must be creative in the way you present information about your business.  An article is not an advertisement and shouldn’t be constructed as one.  Albeit, you ultimately want to reap promotional benefits from an article via linking and ranking, etc. they don’t have to be promotional in nature.  Have your articles feature an interesting aspect of your business while keeping them instructional, informative, or entertaining in nature.


The sooner you get started on this valuable component of your online marketing the sooner you will start to see the evidence of its effectiveness.  Article writing is both an enjoyable and rewarding way to market online.  In the mean time, here are some top article directories for article submission.


Top Ten Article Directories













Rank High Media of Fayetteville NC can get you started and get some articles online working for you and your business.


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Viral Video Marketing For Your Business

pin it button Viral Video Marketing For Your Business


Viral Marketing is one of the most popular ways to market on the Internet. If you’re not sure what “viral marketing” is, it’s a method of marketing involving the placement of ads or videos online, centered around a campaign and creating a buzz about them by targeting the ads so that it is just about impossible not to notice them.  However, it is hard to predict what will cause a big stir and what will just kind of sit there.  Some of the methods can be a funny or outrageous video, a free giveaway, a contest, blog promotion, or some other character driven campaign meant to get the attention of a large group.


Viral marketing can be extremely effective and the availability of the web makes it all the more possible. It is not only possible it is highly cost effective to launch a simple campaign and to have it yield unexpected results. If you’re prepared to put in the creative efforts this unexpected yield can be a windfall.  These types of campaigns are usually sparked by curiosity and then through word-of mouth; or in the case of the internet; “word-of-the digital message”.  It can actually start offline, for example; through the local paper, TV, radio, or another publication that can spark an interest.


The idea is to create buzz around a particular product or service either directly or indirectly without giving away too much about it.  Naturally people will want to find out more and get in on the fun and hype that is created.  It can even reach a point where people are trying to make predictions or guesses about what they think it is or will be.  Then they can be the one to say “Ah Ha,  I knew it!”  When the outcome or finale is revealed (and it’s a good idea for it to be pretty special at this point), you’ll have the attention of a large group of people and potential customers.


One of the most popular viral campaigns online was created by the North Carolina marketing duo Rhett and Link. They made a very unusual video ad (see video), advertising a North Carolina furniture store which became extremely viral and caused a lot of conversation and buzz; not only about the spot itself, but about its creators and the Red House Furniture store. This campaign was a big hit and actually increased the store’s business, which is the idea, but it was not without risk because the humor was offbeat and many people may not get the light-hearted angle or approached they used.


Red House Furniture Viral Video



Many companies want to make themselves more visible in the public eye so viral marketing is becoming more and more of a controlled technique used by marketers or by marketing firms hired by major companies. Sometimes there can be a risk involved which is not meeting the expectations of the hype or possibly offending some people or just that the financial expenditure did not produce the desired results. This, of course, is true with any form of promotion in business, that there is risk involved and no guarantees.


It’s difficult to predict the future with absolute accuracy and, if you place advertising on TV or radio you can’t be certain it will work. Furthermore, it is hard to track. In other words, you don’t always know what your latest sales are attributed to. In an online advertising campaign it is easier to tailor it as you go and make necessary changes. This opens up the option to be more creative and to try out different approaches and to build on the success of what is working. And yes, to create something viral that everyone is talking about. When this happens you can reap the benefits of the publicity for a long time.


Here’s another viral video created by Rhett and Link for the Ojai Valley Taxidermy in  California.  This created the internet “meme” or catch-phrase “Nope! Chuck Testa”


Rank High Media would love to talk to you about doing an off-beat or comedic video to promote your business.  They’re not for everyone, but humor is a great way to reach your customers on an emotional level.  Look at the Geico commercials now and other insurance companies.  A field that usually was presented in a serious way based on the subject matter is now exploring different techniques to reach their audience.  It works.  What are some of your favorite commercials or videos or any other thoughts about viral marketing?




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