Killer SEO Checklist [Infographic] by the team at Capsicum Mediaworks, LLP
Business owners are champions when it comes to juggling various functions related to operational routines and longer-term tasks. Amid these pressures, it is easy to get lost in the grind and lose track of the big picture. Often, these little issues become complicated problems requiring even more time and resources to resolve. Identify and address these issues now to limit business hurdles down the road.
1. Are you listening to your customers?
You have a feedback system in place through your website, customer service line or onsite contact. Review the feedback regularly and make sure your team has an established process for processing and acting on both positive and negative feedback. This is especially critical if your business has grown into a multi-site operation.
2. Are you responding to client problems quickly?
Information travels very quickly in today’s business environment because of social media. Customer service issues with your products or services can lead to bad reviews that can negatively affect your brand.
Automate the feedback process to make sure you can stay on top of the feedback process and take control of your online reputation.
3. Are you wasting time on clients who can’t be pleased?
Retaining every client you ever did business with may not be possible. Identify the clients who take too much of your time and resources with very little production on your part. Cease doing business with them, but make sure that the breakup is polite and professional. You can then devote more time on more productive pursuits such as seeking out new clients.
4. Is your revenue stream diversified enough?
Solidifying your client base is key to long-term survival in a highly competitive environment. To limit the impact of losing a major account, make sure that your client base and sources of revenue are diversified enough to withstand a temporary downturn on your revenues.
5. Is your data secure?
Data hacking is one of the fastest growing crimes today, and it is not inconceivable for small businesses to be targeted. Make sure that critical data is backed up frequently. All other records should be secured and backed up because data loss will affect your reputation and your business will incur costs to resolve these issues.
6. Is your website accessible and up-to-date?
About 81 percent of consumers check online resources prior to buying even if they expect to buy from local retailers. Your website is the centerpiece of your digital branding efforts. It is an essential part of your marketing efforts, and you can be sure that visitors are drawn to your website for a specific reason: they are looking for possible solutions to a question or a problem. Is your website ready to deliver?
Ensure that your website is well-designed, updated and mobile-friendly to make it convenient for visitors to find the information they seek. You increase the chances of engaging site visitors and potentially converting them to customers if your website shows up on searches and delivers solutions quickly.
7. Is your NAP information consistent across various local directories?
Your name, address and phone number provide the direct link to your business. Some directories do their own indexing of local businesses while others may want you to sign up. Information can change especially if you are expanding.
To ensure that your contact information is updated and accurate regardless of the directory, perform a scan using tools. Performing the scan manually will take time with various directories including Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Google My Business and LinkedIn, but an efficient scanning tool can complete this task quickly.
8. Is your content focused on your target market?
When your website is designed to appeal to the widest possible audience, it may end up disorganized and lacking focus. Visitors that can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds will move on to the next website.
Develop and publish optimized content that will help your website rank on SERPs. Focus on your target market by using the appropriate presentation.
9. Are you watching your competitors and industry developments?
It is a competitive world. As a business owner, you need to keep an eye out for the competition to avoid loosing your edge. Additionally, be aware of changes in technology that will impact your business.
10. Do you have a plan?
Some business owners are winging it when it comes to operations because they are experienced at what they do. This may work for a bit for small companies, but there’s no substitute for a solid business plan that outlines where you want to take your operations and how you plan to meet your goals to meet your growth objectives.
Find the time to review your operations to determine which of these mistakes may be holding you back from taking your business to the next level.
Nooruz Z works as a growth marketer at Synup, an integrated dashboard to make life easier for local marketing consultants, agencies and brands. He is a tinkerer with a passion for building things and finding out new (and ambitious) ways of fixing problems. Follow him on Twitter @nooruzzonline
Today, many companies rely on channel partnerships to deliver their products or services. As a partner network grows, it will take a dedicated partner portal to facilitate partner network management, boost a vendor’s sales and enhance communication with partners. But what are the key issues to keep in mind before you launch a partner portal? Here’s the answer that stems from our hands-on experience in Web portal development.
What should you know to get started with a partner portal?
Partner portals are invaluable for real-time communication and support of partners. But being an information source is only the tip of a partner portal evolution that in reality goes through the following three stages:
Making the first steps in partner portal development, a vendor company should focus on the first two stages — information and tools — as the basis for future partner portal engagement. Partner engagement is like a vendor’s guiding light, because it is engagement that encourages partners to sell more products of the vendor.
Now let’s return to the initial stage of partner portal development, which begins with the following key idea:
Extend contact groups at your partners’ to facilitate communication with them.
If partner relations are based on a single vendor manager’s contacts, the rope that ties the vendor to the partner consists of the one and only thread, and much information exchanged between the vendor manager and sales people stays beyond a vendor’s reach. With this, it gets much harder to encourage a partner’s salespeople to offer an end customer your product instead of a competitor’s one. If a partner’s salespeople directly use the portal as their daily assistant in sales, offering your product becomes a preferable option for them.
Note that each employee of a partner should have a personal login to avoid confusion when performing their portal activities.
When done right, a partner portal can also be the predisposition of your partners’ employees and ensure your competitiveness. In case their company decides to switch to other providers, they will be more likely to vote for you as a vendor. The question is, how to make them love working with you.
How to win your partners’ key employees?
By partners’ key employees we mean those who influence the end customer’s buying decision and thus make a direct impact on a vendor’s business growth. We’ve come up with the HICE (Helpful, Informative, Convenient and Engaging) formula to suggest an answer to this question.
H&I: Helpful and informative resources assist partners in selling your products
Make the portal informative adding sections with useful resources (selling, marketing or collaboration). To avoid overloading it with information, you should pinpoint the most relevant and valuable content to your partners in the most convenient way. If you have a number of product lines and target several market segments, your sales and marketing materials (such as price lists, promotions or training materials) should be logically arranged by products or partner types. This will enable partners to quickly navigate the portal and sort out irrelevant content.
Give insights into partners’ problems with problem-oriented content based on your experience and research findings. Solutions for acute problems will turn the portal into your partners’ guide. When the portal becomes a virtual consultant for a partner’s staff, they will use it more often and willingly. Moreover, news and event announcements personalized by a partner’s type or specialization will keep partners in the picture.
Provide helpful tools and marketing assets to support partners in the moment of truth. Your partners may handle multiple products and thus may need to switch between several partner portals. So, you can opt for customizable sales and marketing assets, as well as metrics and tools to assist them on every stage of your product sale. Sales and marketing assets, such as sales guides, will make it easier to communicate the benefits of your products. And by complementing them with sales-related tools (such as configurators or calculators), you enable a partner to easily offer your product. It’s obvious that salespeople are likely to first offer the product they know and can sell better.
Come up with progress-tracking tools. Dealing with many vendors, partners will appreciate if the portal enables them to track progress right away. So, you can provide tools to keep up with the sales plan.
Note that if your tools become quite sophisticated, you should consider designing a help section with FAQ, tips and tutorials.
C: Convenient navigation saves partners’ time and improves user experience
Mind partner convenience on every step of your co-operation. It might seem a no-brainer, but it’s important to ensure your partner portal’s structure is logical, transparent and enables an easy access to materials, resources, tools, if any, and the partner community. Many portals become a headache for partners as they make their staff browse through webpages in search of relevant resources, and eventually ask for help.
Be always in touch via a live chat, e-mails and phone on every page since it is inconvenient for a partner to check the help section every time.
Provide a search option to enable easy access to useful content and make sure a partner can find relevant content using it. Partners need quick access to tools and resources, and a search engine will assist them if the logical organization of content fails to give it.
E: Engagement of partners enables you to influence them
If the portal remains only a box with information, salespeople won’t use it regularly in sales, and hence you won’t exploit the portal’s potential to the full to promote your products.
In the beginning, you can engage your partners in the portal activities via two-way communication. For example, use help and feedback sections or enable contact with your experts. Gathering feedback on their user experience will hint at the ways to improve the portal, and experts will ensure partners can get competent advice on current issues.
One more option is community building. Many successful partner portals have a space for inter-partner communication with their own blogs or social networks. This enables partners to learn from each other about best practices and contributes to a stronger partnership through the staff’s personal motivation to use the portal.
At the early stages of partner portal development, a company may want to get the partner portal up and running in the shortest possible time. Then the basic functionality that brings the most value to partners should become the starting point (such as managing membership and profiles, resources, sales and pricing information, certifications and support). Anticipating the future business growth, a company may need to extend the portal functionality and content sections. In this case, a pre-planned expandable UI will prevent possible reworks and cut down on extra expenses in the future.
Getting started with your partner portal, you will need to start by outlining the right approach and then implementing an efficient partner portal software. If you set your partner portal requirements according to the HICE formula (helpful, informative, convenient, and engaging) you will definitely benefit more from the portal’s potential.
Vadim Belskinis is head of the web portal department at ScienceSoft, a software development and consulting company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. With more than 13 years of experience, he has been taking part in web projects with a primary focus on large-scale IT engagements, such as Viber (an instant messaging and VoIP app with 700 mln active users), Globus VPN Browser and others.
The post How to Succeed Making First Steps in Partner Portal Development appeared first on SiteProNews.
“As people share more videos than ever before, we’re making it easier to discover the ones you’ll love.”
Last year, Cisco predicted that video would account for a whopping 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2019 and that in every second of 2019, nearly a million minutes of video would be uploaded to the internet. This prediction is currently coming to fruition as social platforms old and new are tripping over themselves to integrate video options. A plethora of new live streaming portals have been born. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube either have, or will have, their own live streaming options. Digital video is on the rise as time spent with the television decreases. All of these factors are contributing to proving Cisco right; and Instagram just added more fuel to that fire.
In a recent blog post, the image-driven social network announced changes to its “Explore” section in which video channels will be integrated. In the statement the company noted, “To begin, you’ll find a personalized channel called “Videos You Might Like” that collects videos from across Instagram’s global community into a seamless viewing experience. And as you scroll through the Explore grid, you may also see “Featured” channels filled with videos on specific topics.”
This alteration comes hot on the heels of Instagram inciting Internet riots where users nearly threw trash can icons through digital storefronts due to the social network’s decision to implement a new algorithm to dictate user feeds. As of now, the new feature is only available for Instagram 7.20 owners who reside in the United States. The company does have plans, however, to roll the update out globally in the near future. It is owned by Facebook now, folks; so let the algorithms begin.
Let’s check out how this new video district works, and what it might mean for small business owners.
Instagram Featured Videos
If you are already in possession of the latest version of the social sharing application, you can simply tap ‘Videos You Might Like.’ This is a collection of videos spanning the global Instagram community that includes digital media that aligns with a user’s interests. Additionally, a ‘Featured’ section exists to separate videos into specific topics. Much like the soon-to-be feed-based algorithm, the featured column will adjust to user preferences over time in an effort to become more relevant to various individuals.
While watching videos in this section, tapping on the screen will provide users with a few options; users can select to go to the original post or send it to a friend. Additionally, the “…” icon in the top right corner of the video will allow users to report inappropriate content or to see fewer videos like the one displayed to help better curate the content fed through the portal.
Instagram notes, “The more you like, the better Explore gets, adjusting to your preferences and showing you more of the stuff you enjoy.”
Coachella is one of the first brands to push this new feature, showcasing the most captivating moments, behind the scenes insights, and other unique content captured at the recent music festival.
While the new component of the Explore tab is quite exciting to many, Instagram insists that the change is minimal by stating, “Even with these changes, Explore still works the same way: It connects you to posts about your interests from people you don’t yet follow.”
Will Instagram Become a Video Platform?
One of the biggest reasons for Instagram’s latest video offering is quite clear: Instagram is Facebook’s new darling. As of late, Facebook has been pushing its Live broadcasting feature extremely hard as it tries to compete with the other popular platforms. Facebook clearly understands the value that video has now and will have in the future. And this understanding is beginning to bleed over into Instagram.
Instagram originally introduced video back in 2013, but it wasn’t until recently that the millennial-driven channel began to add to its dynamic media features. Back in February, Instagram announced it would be rolling out video view counts. In March, the social network revealed its plan to lengthen the allowed recording time of videos from 15 seconds to 60. The power of video is becoming quite undeniable to Instagram — video consumption on the platform has risen a whopping 40 percent in the last six months. It would come as no surprise if five years from now Instagram has transformed into a predominantly video-based platform. That is, providing it still exists. The Web is a very finicky and unpredictable space.
Updates like these point to one undeniable truth: Video is the king of content. Every major social network is getting in on video and users are engaging like crazy. The only ones who are currently losing in the midst of this video content “gold rush” are those who are not participating. Video, especially the live streaming and short form varieties, has a way of capturing the emotion and imagination of viewers. Written and visual content isn’t dying, it’s just taking a very obvious back seat.
If you are seeking to generate brand awareness, engagement, consumer loyalty, sales, leads, and reach, video is the content your business should be producing. And with the capabilities of today’s Smartphones and applications, creating video content is extremely cheap, and in some cases, completely free to generate. Now you can add Instagram to your list of platforms when you’re ready to launch your next video for all to see.
Do you think that it is possible that all social platforms will be predominantly video-based in the near future?
Conscious online marketer, Web executive, and multi-faceted writer, Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
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Netflix, as promised, has launched a tool enabling subscribers to control both the quality of the streaming and the amount of data they use on their mobile devices.
The entertainment streaming firm, back in March, promised to introduce a data saver feature designed for mobile apps. And, today, the firm is making good on its vow by changing its Android and iOS default setting so users can stream about three hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data.
“Our testing found that, on cellular networks, this setting balances good video quality with lower data usage to help avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees,” Netflix director of product innovation Eddy Wu said in a blog post. “If you have a mobile data plan with a higher data cap, you can adjust this setting to stream at higher bitrates. Our goal is to give you more control and greater choice in managing your data usage whether you’re on an unlimited mobile plan or one that’s more restrictive.”
To set your cellular data usage, update your Netflix app to the most recent version and then select ‘App Settings’ from the menu before choosing ‘Cellular Data Usage.’ Then you can turn off the default setting and choose a higher or lower data usage setting based on your mobile data plan. There is even an unlimited option.
The change was inspired by T-Mobile CEO John Legere who said his company offered better-quality Netflix streaming than its rivals Verizon and AT&T. The reason was because of T-Mobile’s BingeOn, which waives data fees for video from more than 50 video services including Netflix and HBO in exchange for delivering the content at lower quality.
Now, viewers using other networks have that same option courtesy of Netflix’s new tool.
The post New Netflix Tool Lets You Control Streaming Quality, Data Usage appeared first on SiteProNews.
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