Get The Most Out of Facebook Marketing

In the world of social media, you can either sink or swim with the noise. Most of us have a social media page of some sort. The most popularly used one being Facebook! With over 936 million, daily, active users, it is easy to see how Facebook is one of the most attractive tools to boost your business. Lots of Facebook pages are created just for the sake of being out there which does nothing for your company.

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Here are some tips to boost your social media presence

Exclusive offers

Visitors are more likely to keep coming back when you offer them special giveaways and special offers. The more exclusive the offer, the more they don’t want to miss out.

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To make the offer unique, you can call for an expiry date or make it specific to only those who like your page. If you already have lots of engagement on your page – try expiration time of 2 hours. Play around with the offer expiry date, but start with a 24-hour time frame and see how that works for you. Get people involved in your offer by asking them to participate! You can also ask for people to vote for a winner among submissions of your fans – Example, vote for the best photo of your product or a selfie with your product.

Other social media pages

With Facebook, you can even add interactive media tabs. This gives your fans another avenue to connect on you other social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Cross-promoting to your Facebook visitors helps show your growing community. People want to belong to a community that is exciting and involving.  By integrating social media platforms such as YouTube or Instagram directly to Facebook business page, you can increase engagement and have more visual interest on your page.

Call-to-action button

Check your Facebook page’s header, where you can have a call-to-action button. If Facebook has enabled it, you will see the button “Create Call to Action” on the bottom right of your page header.

Page admins can select from a group of call-to-action buttons — like Shop Now or Sign Up — to add to the top of their Page. Check out all of the seven calls to action below:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Use App
  • Play Game
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video

Run a contest

A contest is a chance to showcase your product and market yourself. Publish it and run a caption contest to keep fans entertained and attract new people to your page. Contests don’t have to usually result in financial reward, but if you are willing to offer a discount or promotion, that can spike an interest and boost your engagement.

Be friends with other Facebook pages

Go ahead and do some spying. It’s not a crime to see how successful pages run their day-to-day posts. It’s a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t. By liking other Pages you see not only what the brands focus on and what they post on the their Timeline, but you also get the chance to interact with the Page, and their audience by commenting on the posts or saying something on their wall.

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By interacting with Pages on a regular basis you can expand your community and attract new followers, which potentially might lead to finding new business opportunities.

Don’t forget about milestones.

Let your fans know what is going on with your page so they feel part of your community. Keep in mind couple things:

  • Milestone posts are automatically posted in the expanded view on your Timeline wall and are visible by default to everyone
  • You do get an option to “Hide from News Feed” any new milestones that are being added.
  • If you choose to upload an image that goes along with your milestone, these photos should fit the following dimensions: 843 pixels wide x 403 pixels tall space.

Milestones are a great way to tell the story of your business through words and images. You can make them appear anywhere on your Timeline, depending on the date you pick.

Did you just launched a new product or have a new even coming up? Why not to create a milestone around it and encourage your fans to click on a link, so they can learn more about it.

Custom tab

The more interactive your Facebook page can be, the more your visitors want to spend time exploring. Tab option gives you a way to showcase custom content alongside the default tabs such as About and Likes, and any apps you may have already added to your page.

No one likes to come to a party where everyone is sitting down staring at the paint dry! Spruce up your Facebook by using the tab feature. Custom tabs play a big role in your social media marketing strategy because they let you create a much better user experience on Facebook and control the content your followers and visitors see.

Keep in mind, custom tabs are tabs created by a third-party developers, and not Facebook. Here are some good examples:

TabSite – contest apps, coupon apps, photo and video apps, social apps.

ShortStack – nice ready-made templates and themes with drag-and-drop functions.

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Are you using any of those features? Let us know which work for you best :)

Adding Meta Boxes to WordPress Websites

From the beginning of WordPress, custom fields have been used in different versions of WP, but then they added metabox support in version 2.5, where users can add extra data to any post or page.  Because you (as a developer or advanced user) can add unlimited number of data fields, it’s a very handy feature.  Imagine having a real estate listing as a post in WP.  There is a requirement to add all the info about a property – adding metaboxes for property size, year, image, and location is the ideal solution!  You don’t have to fiddle in adding these time-consuming details in as part of post body and then styling them with CSS.

 

Adding Your Own Custom Fields

It’s possible to develop and add your own custom fields, the documentation is available on the official WordPress documentation website.  Here you will also find a number of other tutorials.

 

Using Plugins

But using a plugin is way easier and faster. Some plugins give you a possibility to add custom meta boxes via admin UI.

  • If you are a developer and don’t want to have extra widgets or settings floating around in the dashboard then I recommend using CMB2 plugin. I’ve used this framework for 2-3 years and it’s been very reliable, very well documented and easy to use.

CMB2 plugin adds metabox framework, which you can extend in your own plugin or theme. I recommend creating your own plugin, require CMB2 plugin as a dependency and just add all necessary metaboxes. Below you will find step-by-step directions.

 

Directions

Step 1. Install CMB2 plugin and activate it.

 

Step 2. Create new folder inside wp-content/plugins. For example ndm-plugin and then create index.php inside this folder.

Insert this code (change meta info to your name), this initiates new plugin and requires CMB2 to be installed and active.

 

Step 3. Create post-metabox.php file inside your new plugin folder and add all your metaboxes there. (sample code which you can copy and change is inside wp-content/cmb2/example-metaboxes.php).

 

Step 4. Create as many files inside your plugin folder as you want, for example you can add metaboxes for pages (or specific page), so your file name would be home-metaboxes.php pages-metaboxes.php and then require this file(s) in your index.php.

 

This is just simple introduction how to easily and quickly add metaboxes to your theme and keep them around even when you change your theme in the future.

Missing lots of your links in Google Webmaster Tools? You are not alone.

Couple of days ago I have noticed suspicious reductions in the amount of link data in one of my client’s Google Webmaster Tools. We worked very hard to produce quality content and distributed it through social media accounts, so people can link back to us. Tons of work and time went into this. And now I have to send my client an email about almost all of their links missing.

It went from bad to worse – from almost 30k links to around 2k and today it’s 48. Wow… I had no words when I saw this. At first, link disavow tool came to mind, but it just did not make sense. After couple of hours of research it turned out I was not the only one having this problem. People all over the web are having the same problem.

This is what Google has to say so far:

Known issue: links to your site data issues

“Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the “Links to your site” section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data shown there is informational and does not affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.”

 

Also, note that these changes are not likely to affect your rankings, as this might be just a temporary error.

To check your link data – login to your Google Webmaster Tools, click on Traffic in Dashboard, and then on Links to Your Site. Here you can find and analize such data as Who links the most, Your most linked content and How your data is linked.

Looking forward to seeing what is going on let’s hope this issue will be resolved soon :)

What Business Owners Should Expect From SEO in 2013

It’s that time of the year again! It’s time to make SEO predictions for 2013! It’s only January 2013 and we have 12 months of 2012 behind us, all analyzed inside-out. Let’s start predicting what kind of SEO news are coming our way, shall we?

Not all of the Rand Fishkin’s predictions came true in 2011 and 2012, but it doesn’t mean you should not pay attentions to his 10 Predictions for Inbound Marketing in 2013. Hope every point will score +2 in 2013 :)  I am highly recommending to read full article, it is great and has some interesting points:

#1: None of the potential threats to Google’s domination of search will make even a tiny dent.

#2: “Inbound marketing” will be in more titles & job profiles as “SEO” becomes too limiting for many professionals.

#3: More websites will move away from Google Analytics as the only provider of web visitor tracking.

#4: Google+ will continue to grow in 2013, but much more slowly than in 2012.

#5: App store search will remain largely ignored by marketers (for lots of defensible reasons).

#6: Facebook (and maybe Twitter, too) will make substantive efforts to expose new, meaningful data to brands that let them better track the ROI of both advertising and organic participation.

#7: Google will introduce more protocols like the meta keywords for Google News, rel author for publishers, etc.

#8: The social media tool market will continue a trend of consolidation and shrinkage.

#9: Co-occurrence of brands/websites and keyword terms/phrases will be proven to have an impact on search engine rankings through correlation data, specific experiments, and/or both.

#10: We’ll witness a major transaction (or two) in the inbound marketing field, potentially rivaling the iCrossing acquisition in size and scope.”

 

Interesting article from AJ Kumar in Entrepreneur:

“Predictions 
Despite Google’s secrecy, I’m comfortable making a few predictions about the relative importance of certain elements in the field of digital marketing. Specifically, I believe:

• ‘Structured data’ will play an increasingly important role in SEO. Structured data, or “microdata,” is a special mark up language that websites can use to provide additional information about their content to the search engines. Given that Google has relatively few indicators to objectively assess quality and given how much it has been pushing the adoption of this system, I believe schema.org microdata and other forms of structured mark up will become even more important to website performance in the natural search results. 
• Good content marketing will become a more accessible path to website success.To be clear, “good” content marketing doesn’t involve spamming sites with fake guest posts or distributing infographics simply because they’re popular. Instead, valuable content on topics readers care about is what will help websites increase their inbound backlinks, brand reputation and referral traffic naturally. This will lead to success in the search engine results with much less effort than traditional SEO techniques.
• Data-driven marketing techniques will drive out intuitive promotions. “Big data” was one of the hottest digital marketing buzzwords in 2012. Because the amount of information marketers have access to is only going to increase, it’s wise to assume that data-driven decisions will become even more important to marketers this year.”

Just in case you don’t like to read ( as most of us :), check out this SEO Predictions for 2013 Infographic from imFORZA team. Images, colors, icons – oh my! ( you can clearly see I love infographics) :

 

SEO basics: How to create Google+ page for your business

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how easy and quickly it is for your business to be visible in Google+ sea. It’s not a secret – Google loves everything that has to do with Google. If you are familiar with SEO, you know how important is to be found online, to have good quality links pointing back to your website. Well, Google+ does help with that! First, you have to be there, most importantly – your company needs to be there. And please keep in mind that ‘social’ means ‘interact’, ‘share’ with people, so don’t just register account and leave. Be active, there is so much to do, so much to explore, so much to share.

“See how businesses around the globe are using Google+ to get noticed, enhance their ads, and connect with their audience.”

Some Facts About Google+ :

1M+ Business and brand pages created in the first 6 months.

400M+ Google+ users and growing fast

5-10% Clickthrough rate uplift for socially-enhanced Search ads

Lets get started:

1. Go to https://plus.google.com/pages/create.

Also, before you start this process, make sure you have gmail account.

Pick your category – Local Business or Place, Product or Brand, Company, Institution or or Organization, Arts, Entertainment or Sports, Other.

2. Each category will require you to choose either a country your business is located in or to select a category.

Note: For Local Business or Place category you need to provide phone number associated with your business. If there is no results for number you have typed in, Google gives you two options to choose from:

3. Adding info

Here you would need to choose a name of your business and list your external website, if you have one.

If you already have personal Google+ account, you might be thinking Google+ Pages and Google+ Profiles are the same thing. No, it is not.

In Google words:

“Pages are extremely similar to profiles, but they have some key differences:

  • Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned.
  • Pages can be made for a variety of different entities whereas profiles can only be made for people.
  • The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public.
  • Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web. (But like profiles, they can +1 inside Google+.)
  • Pages can’t play games.
  • Pages don’t have the option to share to ‘Extended circles’.
  • Pages can’t hangout on a mobile device.
  • Local pages have special fields that help people find the business’ physical location. Learn more about local pages.”

This will get you started. After you fill your information, just go ahead and start exploring Google+!

How to promote your product or service on Google+, how to share things in Google+,   should you create a local Google+ page for your company? All this and more is coming soon. Stay connected and lets share :)

How to move your website to new domain

If you are not happy with your domain name or just want to change it to a name that is more search engine friendly, there are some options to consider. Before you register new domain mane, remember that the keywords in your domain name carry the most weight with the search engines. The name you will choose is very important for the success of your website. I think we should have a separate article about importance of keywords in domaine name, but for now you can watch a video in which Matt Cutts is discussing the importance of having your target keywords in your domain name.
So, after you choose your new domain name you can start migrating to a new domain. When you site is build in WordPress, it allows you to transfer your content without starting from scratch. First thing you have to do is to make a backup of your entire WordPress installation and the MySQL database content. You can find more detailed step-by-step instructions here.

It will help you to transfer your website to a new server, or if you need – to change the website’s URL.

Most of the host companies can help you transfer your WordPress site. You may even be eligible for a free content transfer service after you upgrade your plan with some host providers.

When moving your domain, please don’t forget to cancel your web hosting with your old internet provider.
Need more help? Just leave a comment or shoot us an e-mail.

Your online reputation matters! Yes, it really does!

There are so many ways to think about your business reputation.

With the in-person experiences of customers, your reputation is also affected by your company’s web presence. Whether you manage a brand, yourself or a business, your online reputation is often the first impression potential customers will see. BUT, is your web presence making you or your business sparkle, or is it hurting your business reputation? Are you even paying attention to what your customers are saying about you, your product, your business online?

Your potential customers learn about your business by searching for you online. So, why not to do the same! Search for “your business name reviews“ using search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to see what kinds of reviews your business is getting. This can help you determine what is being said about your business, and where it is being posted.

Try to respond to good reviews via private message, that way you don’t overwhelm your review page with your own comments. When you have a negative review ( it happens…), don’t panic! Apologize for the incident and let the costumer know it will never happen again.

If you have a profile on networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc., make sure your bio or information about your business is correct and similar. You don’t want to be one person on your website and completely different on Twitter account, same applies to your business as well.

There are plenty of tools available, that help you monitor your web presence and see how consumers perceive your website or online business. Here are some online reputation monitoring tools worth checking out:

1. BackType Alerts

– BackType (acquired by Twitter ) measures engagement and its impact on KPIs like revenue, page views, sign ups, downloads and more.

2. Me on the Web from Google

– helps you to understand and manage what people see when they search for you on Google. It feels a lot like Google alerts, but is more upfront and user-friendly.

3. Ping and TweekDeck

– help you track or update your entire online presence from a central hub.


On of the nice features of WordPress is moderation of comments people post on your blog. It allows you to prevent comments from appearing on your site without your express approval.

It’s important to build a positive reputation online, TRUST is very important. Your reputation can either build or ruin your whole business, so pay attention to what is being said online about you, your product or services, your business.

Backup your WordPress site

Your files, documents, photos are important! Because they are stored on your local computer, you need to create additional copy (backup), just in case something will happen to your computer or hard drive will die. Same applies to any website, which is stored on similar computer (server), which may contain hundreds of other websites. Every time you edit something, install new plugins or update your WordPress website, there is a risk that something can go wrong. There are many reasons why this can happen – server failure, corrupted database, bad plugin, etc. And don’t forget about hackers, another good reason why any website needs to be backed up.

So, here is the good reason for you to use WordPress, where core team is very good at keeping the core software secure and up to date. If you miss an update – chances are your website may be hacked, and if there is no backup – you may need to start all over again with design and development. And that’s why backup is crucial. How do I backup my site? Simple – export SQL database in PhpMyAdmin and copy files over FTP. Sounds too technical? Ok, WordPress has got plugin(s) for that, here are some of the best ones tested on WordPress 3.2.1

1. Backup Buddy

– the most complete backup of a WordPress site

2. WordPress backup to Dropbox

– complete website backup, excellent if you use DropBox

3. Snapshot backup

– has scheduling available, backs up to your FTP server in zip file

4. WP-DB-Backup

– simple plugin that backs up just database, has scheduling available via email

5. EZPZ One click backup

– real one click backup, both manual and automated backups are available

Basic tips for your website security

Its not a secret – without the proper web security, web site data and files can easily be damaged, changed or stolen. The integrity of your company or your name can be compromised. Your money as well as consumer identities, credit card information (if you have e-commerce web site) are put in jeopardy when protection of a web site and the server isn’t given the top priority.

Website security is a fundamental part of the success of your online business. Making it a priority is critical to your credibility as well as the protection of you and your customers. If you use “password” as your password for everything and have three-year old antivirus software, you are very attractive target to hackers. To protect your business’s reputation and your customers’ information, here are some basic tips for you to consider:

1. Password Should Be Difficult!

One of the simplest ways to improve security is to use strong password and use different ones for your email, banking info, your cPanel,social media accounts and your FTP accounts. When selecting passwords, use both lowercase and uppercase letters, include at least one number. Use at least 7 characters, anything less is considered far too easy to hack. You can increase your password security even more by adding a punctuation character. Just don’t make it too difficult to type or too long to remember. “Password1” is obvious and very easy to guess, as well as using your name or “username” as your password. “$bmMB9889” is very secure, while still being memorable. This kind of password will be very difficult to crack than your pet’s name or your birth date.

2. Change Passwords Often.

After a developer has finished your project ALWAYS change your passwords. It is completely up to you how often you want to change your passwords, but do it at least once in 6 months (some experts advise changing all passwords every 30 days!).

3. Keep Your Software Up-To-Date.

Make applications or website just tough enough to brake by downloading the newest versions and updates of WordPress, Windows and your antivirus platform. This includes any plugins, themes and extensions that accompany scripts. Don’t forget to update your software! Your computer can become an easy target for unscrupulous security crackers if you ignore security updates for too long.

4. Backup! Backup! Backup!

One of the most important ways of protecting yourself from disaster is to back up your data. Without data backup you are running the risk of losing your data. The last thing you want to find when you’ve been attacked and need to re-install your blog is that you don’t have a current database backup. Make it a habit to backup your site regularly!
Having a backup handy will save you time, money and sleepless nights. There could be hundreds of scenarios where you would need a backup.

5. Don’t trust public networks!

You probably love to hang out at you local coffee shop, but do you trust your coffee shop? Of course, you can use a wireless network there if you are smart and careful about security. Try to avoid connecting from networks with unknown or uncertain security characteristics or from those with known poor security. This is especially important whenever you must log in to Web site or the server for some purposes or otherwise access secure resources.

6. Closer look at your links.

One of the main causes for attacks that are perpetrated through browsers are so-called “open redirects”. Do you really know what kind of site you’re linking to from your site? Putting bad links on you site is always a bad idea. Make sure any site you link to is completely trustworthy.

7. Any good hosting out there?

Not all hosts are the same when it comes to ensuring your website’s security. Not all of them can offer round-the-clock active server monitoring. Choose a host that takes your security seriously! It is always better to have some-one to call in case of emergency, so look for hosting with 24/7 support. That way you can contact the support team to get your problem resolved any time of day (or night). Some protection is NOT cheap and can cost you an arm (+leg) so shop around and do some research.
Hostgator

8. Be Smart!

Make your site secure by regularly scanning your log files for code that doesn’t belong. Don’t allow anonymous comments with suspicious links on your blog. Do not install suspicious WordPress plugins and be aware of what’s going on inside your site.

9. Don’t share your login!

Shared login credentials can cause a lot of problems for security. Someone can change the password and not tell you and lock you out. The more login credentials are shared, the greater the number of problems you can be having. Do not keep your password taped to the screen of your computer or laptop! Always log out of any confidential systems or sign off the system completely after you are finished working with it.

Make it a habit to keep an eye on things and keep everything up to date. If you are committed to protecting your data, hackers will have a much harder time to brake your web site and hopefully won’t be able to succeed. Many people are just unaware of their own vulnerability, hackers play with enough websites and eventually they find a vulnerable one to exploit. That web site doesn’t have to be yours!

Why Your Website Doesnt Need Flash

Flash looks cool. It certainly catches your attention (the first time you go to the site at least), and it’s perfect if you are selling online games or multimedia services. Otherwise, put it out of your mind. You don’t need it.

Flash animation makes your website slow and inefficient, and besides that, doesn’t work on iPads. It is a great platform for the RIGHT type of project or element on a website. Don’t know what it is? Think websites that begin with floating objects and music, then you need to click ‘enter’.

Appropriate Uses for Flash

“Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. It is owned by Adobe Inc.” (Wikipedia).

Flash is a great tool to build complicated animations, online games and stream video. But at the same time I have to say that Flash just SLOW and inefficient. The most appropriate use for Flash is interactive kinds of websites, like http://www.transformersmovie.com or http://www.dietcoke.com. This platform has a lot of disadvantages, one of which, and by far the most important for me, is that it’s not open source.

Open Source vs. Proprietary

As web have evolved, we’ve separated content from markup, which is a good thing. So, in modern web site development we have content (stored in a database), style (CSS) and markup (HTML) and software that connects all three. This software is what we call CMS, or content management system, for example WordPress or Drupal. By using a proprietary tool like iWeb or Adobe Flash to build your site, you are locked into that platform, because it uses its own eco-system that no other program can understand. Websites built by tools like this may be easy and fast to build, but they are not portable. If this “convenient” program is no longer supported, you are out of luck. Websites built with iWeb (by Apple) experienced this problem and you, the website owner, can only hope that some startup will invent a tool that converts your website to a more widely used standard (like HTML/CSS). If not – then the only option would be to re-build your website completely. Another example is Microsoft’s FrontPage which was around only for 6 years (1997 to 2003) and then the company decided to discontinue the product.
Flash intros block search engines

Intro pages with animations powered by Flash are blocking search engines from entering your site. If you care to be found on Google or Bing – this is not a very good idea. It may look cool and interactive but the truth is your Flash intro page is making your visitors wait or make extra effort to get to the page they came to see. Flash elements on a website usually slow entire site down. If your website is entirely built on Flash – you can’t bookmark internal pages and share it on social media. Nowadays more and more users are browsing the web from mobile devices – and Flash is not really optimized for touch screen and gestures even on devices that support Flash.

But I want a cool site!

“But I want to have pretty website with animations, the website that doesn’t look like it was build in Excel or Word. What do I do?” That’s what I hear from clients when I say I won’t build them a flash site. The answer? A lot of “flashy” animations can be achieved with HTML5, CSS3 and JS. Fortunately, the biggest tech companies are supporting web standards, (Google, Apple, and even Adobe).

Is HTML5 the Answer?

Adobe helps to convert an existing Flash website to HTML5 with the tool (still in beta) Wallaby and is releasing a tool called “Edge” for animations utilizing the latest open source web standards like HTML/HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Who knows how long Flash will be around if tools like this one will gain popularity and will be a success for the company.

Google recently launched a similar experimental tool, Swiffy.

The Big A

Apple is a big HTML5 advocate and doesn’t allow Flash on any of their iOS devices. They even put out an HTML5 demo on their website to prove that you can do pretty good animation with HTML5 http://www.apple.com/html5/ .
As of the beginning of June 2011 Apple has sold 200.000.000 iOS devices . 25.000.000 of them are iPads. According to ComScore, iOS is leading in the US market with a penetration of 44%. Android goes second with 28% and RIM takes third spot with 19%. And if you don’t want to lose 44% of potentials mobile visitors – you need to reconsider use of Flash or intro page.

Just Say No

A few years ago Flash based websites for restaurants was a normal thing, but now it’s losing clients for restaurants that haven’t updated. Most sites like these are viewed on mobile devices to find nearby diners or coffee shops, so if a visitor happened to be an iPhone owner (the chances are 44%) — the restaurant won’t provide much information and the visitor will move on to a competitor.So the conclusion is: if you don’t need Flash on your website – don’t use it! A lot of “flashy” animations can be achieved with web standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. And your website will be more SEO friendly, faster, maintainable and viewable on all devices