Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mobile-Friendliness and Google Search Rank Signals (more reasons to have a ready website)

Effective April 21, Google is expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

What’s this mean for you?

Well, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, you’ll be making a mad-dash to do so before the 21st. If you don’t, you will lose your search ranking.

Does it really matter?

You bet.

As an example, suppose Website “A” has done its homework. It’s mobile-friendly.

Suppose Website “B” hasn’t done its homework. It’s not mobile-friendly.

When an online searcher enters search keywords that are relevant to both sites, which site’s information do you think Google will pull up as the results of the query?

Yep. It’ll be Site “A.”

Site B's inbound marketing and SEO marketing efforts will be for naught.

Why is Google making this update to its algorithm?

In an effort to provide the “most relevant and timely results” for searches on mobile devices, Google is unleashes it newest algorithm updates to ensure:

1. A site is configured properly
2. A site is viewable on modern devices
3. Searchers have an easy time finding high quality and relevant results (content) that’s optimized for their digital devices

This new update will affect mobile searches worldwide and is anticipated to have a powerful impact in search results.

Google has also “introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps.”

According to Google, “App Indexing lets Google index apps just like websites. Deep links to your Android app appear in Google Search results, letting users get to your native mobile experience quickly, landing exactly on the right content within your app.”

Pretty cool, right?

For Helpful links to:

  • See how Googlebot views some of the pages on your site
  • To check your entire website for mobile-friendliness
  • To get your Android app indexed by Google search

Go to:


Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Better Make Sure
Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed
Blogging – Does Anyone Read What You Write?


Monday, March 30, 2015

Using Images in Your Content Marketing is a Sure Way to Boost Engagement

Images are similar to colors in that they can evoke emotions and even actions.

In an interesting article on eight types of images, at CopyBlogger, the author explains how each type has its own psychological influences.(1)

Before the types listed in the article are divulged, it’s important to know why images are so important.

According to Web Marketing Group, “Ninety percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.” And, “forty percent of people will respond better to visual information that plain text.”(2)

The first type of image mentioned is stock photos.

I’ve used BigstockPhoto for years now. When I first started using their service, you could buy an individual image. Now, you need to buy bundles of credits that you apply toward the images you want. I think they average $2-$3 dollars and image.

Services like this are very useful because sometimes you just can’t find an image or are unable to create the image you want.

Second on the list is screenshots.

I use screenshots in my posts here and there. I use them when needed. They’re a great way to enhance your text and aide in visualization for better understanding. They are also very effective for showing ‘social proof.’

This type of image is quick and easy to create. You simply use your ‘screen capture’ button or a tool like Snipping Tool.

Third up is ‘graphs and charts.’

I’ll admit I don’t use this type of image as much as I should. I think it’s more time consuming to create a graph than it is to create your own image or get one from a service.

But, they are a great way to demonstrate important facts and statistics.

Fourth on the list is personal photos.

It would be a sure bet that everyone online at least has a headshot or other personal image on their website and social media networks. The ‘it’s me’ image creates the perception of knowing the individual, at least somewhat. It creates a connection.

Then there are the personal images that convey what you’re talking about. Maybe you went to a sports event and it was crowded. What better way to show how crowded it was than to show a picture.

This is also a good way to create a more personal connection. The reader or visitor will feel like they know you.

On to the fifth on the list which is still frames.

This type of image can come from TV shows or movies. The benefit of still frames is the viewer will already have an emotional history with it.

I’ll date myself here, but I love old reruns of Columbo. It was a detective series with actor Peter Falk. If I see an image Columbo, I immediately think: clever, cunning, funny, wise, and so on.

I haven’t used this format yet, but I will look into it. My main concern is copyright issues.

Sixth up is infographics.

The infographic is very popular. It’s an image stuffed with useful statistics on a particular topic.

I haven’t created one of these yet. I think the reason is I prefer properly formatted text. While you can get some quick tidbits of information from infographics, I find it’s more time consuming to have to search for what you’re looking for. This is especially true when its stuffed with lots of content.

But, according to heavy-hitters, infographics is a ‘heavy-hitter content marketing tool.

Now, on to the seventh, custom images.

This is my primary source of images for the past couple of years. I use LogoCreator  to make just about all my images, including meme quotes.

For two examples of a meme quote, you can go to:

Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results

Perseverance is the Key to Marketing Success

What I like about custom images is you can create the perfect match to your post. Even if you need to use a bought image as part of it, you can make it just the way you want.

Finally, number eight on the list, comics.

Everyone loves to laugh. And, 'making comics’ is a great marketing tool. I use a type of comics in the animations I create, but I don’t think it’s quite the same thing.

So, there you have 8 types of images and what they can do for your blog posts.

The CopyBlogger piece gives great links to resources, so be sure to check it out:

NOTE: When using images from sources, in other words, image you didn’t create yourself or buy with explicit permission to use as you like, be very careful of copyright issues.

Please read the article below on what can happen if you mistakenly use a copyrighted image with permission. Better safe than sorry.

When Blogging Use Images Carefully – They May Be Copyrighted





Friday, March 27, 2015

Tools to Help You Monitor Your Social Media Network Efforts

If you’re including social media marketing in your business plan, and you absolutely should be, you need to take some time to find out what type of results (ROI) you’re getting. has a post with 19 FREE social media analytical tools that will help you keep an eye on things.

I’ll admit I don’t go waist-deep into analytics, but I do monitor my websites and social media efforts. I’d be foolish not to.

To jump in or to take-your-testing up a notch, below are some of the tools listed.

Buffer: The first on their list is their own tool which has great features, including “the major engagement stats for every update you post.” It cover the biggies too: Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, and Facebook.

FollowerWonk: This is the second on the list. It offers details on your Twitter activity. What’s interesting is that if you input a Twitter user other than yourself, it will give you information on that user – they’re followers and followings.

Google Analytics: Sixth on the Buffer list is Google. While this analytical tool is usually used for website traffic, you can get very useful data on “how many visits your site receives from each of the major social networks.

You might say Google Analytics pulls double-duty – it’s a website and social media activity analytics tool.

SUMALL: This is seventh on the list. Like Buffer it offers monitoring of all the major networks and lots of others. What I like about Sumall is it doesn’t interfere with your social media accounts. While it can see everything your do on them, it will not post to your accounts or make any changes.

Keyhole: Number 12 on the list, Keyhole is about hashtag analytics. Want to know which hashtags are working, and how well? This analytic tool will tell you.

Klout: This is number 13. This particular tool analyzes all your social networks and gives you a score on your overall engagement or results. I think though that you need to post to your social networks directly through their site. I may be wrong, but when I visited it did seem that way.

Another tool I recently found is This tool shows you the Twitter users who followed you and then unfollowed you.

This is great information. Who follows you just to get the follow back and then unfollows, so it appears like the user has a lot more followers than those he’s following. It's something I certainly want to know.


A Bit of Caution

While you do need to keep tabs on your online marketing strategies, including social media, be careful what permissions you’re giving these services.

The ONE major problem that I find with some of these services is if you signup and allow them to gather information from your social media networks, you are also allowing them to update your profile, monitor your posts, and actually post for you.

Here’s an example of one (read the “This application will be able to”)

To me, this is a NO-NO.

While I don’t mind these services being able to see my followers, my posts, my profile, and so on, I don’t want them to have permission to make any unrequested changes to my account. The wording on these Permission notices seems a bit vague.

The questions or red flags that first pop up are:

  • Why would a service need to update my profile or post tweets for me? 
  •  And, if I give permission, what type of changes and posts would they do?

Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t want a business having control of making random changes to my social media accounts without my explicit okay for each particular change. That’s just crazy to relinquish that kind of control.

Summing it Up

While you do have to monitor your social network activity, be careful which service you use. There are a number of free ones that don’t demand excessive permissions.

TIP: You can also use the services that require privileges, but then remove them from your access list after you’re done.

Read what you’re signing up for.

For the full list of analytical tools, visit the Buffer post at:
19 Free Social Media Analytical Tools


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How Social Media Marketing Helps a Storefront Business

Guest post by Matthew Yeoman

We’ve all had that experience of being on a social media profile for a brand we like, looking at their content, and then having the urge to get up and head to their store. I usually get this thought when I’m looking at food or sneakers.

My example, and the examples that you can think of in your head, are the first pieces of proof that social media marketing can truly bring people through the door of your storefront. The following article will look deeper into:

● Statistics behind social media leading to in-store purchases
● What any retailer can do to bridge the digital gap

With this knowledge you’ll be better able to understand why your business should be using social media marketing, and how you can create deeper connections between it and your storefront.

Social media and in store purchase statistics

Even with Amazon, iTunes, eBay, and a million other online stores, we are still making 94% of our purchases in actual stores.(1) Finding out how many of your customers follow you online by urging your cashiers to ask each customer if they’re following you can be pretty tedious!

Stores have been doing tests lately to see what sort of results their social media marketing has been getting. The easiest is running a free digital coupon promotion on one of your social platforms and seeing how many people use it.

Promoted tweets, organic tweets, and storefront sales increases

Most brands do the bulk of their Twitter marketing using organic tweets. When Datalogix compared those who saw tweets from a brand, versus a control group of people who didn’t, there was an 8% rise in sales amongst those who saw a single organic tweet. For a more active brand, when users saw 5 or more tweets over a week there was a rise of 24% in sales amongst them.

Connecting your social media and in store activity

There are ways that you can setup your store, through displays and signage, that will help you see an increase in activity on your social media accounts.

A retail store which is over a century old, but still learning new tricks, is Nordstrom. They have taken a look at their most popular content on Pinterest and given these items special signage in their stores. (2) This simple act has helped them:

● Identify product with visual appeal, both online and inside their stores
● Make it easy for online fans to locate the products in the store via signage
● Have greater direct interaction between the items in their stores and their Pinterest account

Taking the time to identify the products which are the most popular online, by tracking your interactions, and then singling these products out in stores can help product really fly off shelves. The more connections you try to make between social media and the real world the more results you’ll see.

Using events as an in-store purchasing opportunity

Brands have been using special in-store events, like sales and other promotions, to get people in the doors from TV and radio for decades. With social media you can do even more to push not only the in-store promotion, but your social media accounts themselves.
A simple hashtag, which you create specifically for your event, can connect the content you create to promote your event. Twitter and Instagram are the most hashtag-friendly social platforms.

Once you are using your hashtag actively in your online marketing, you need to start planning for the day/weekend/week of your event. Having signs printed up which use the hashtag on them, and which encourage those taking part to use the hashtag, will be one more way to connect your social media and in-store events.

The goal of any social media marketing campaign should be to build a dialogue between your brand and your customers. Your first step in this success is creating dialogue on social media. Your next step is bridging the gap between the digital and real worlds by way of in-store use of your social hashtags and information you gain from social media.

You need to stop thinking of your social media marketing as this separate thing - you need to bring it right inside your stores to really make an impact with it.


Matthew is the writer over on the Social Media News blog. You can find him there every Friday with the latest updates in the social world, or you can visit the @Devumi Twitter account for your daily news fix!



More on Social Media Marketing

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An Analysis of Twitter Favorites
Once You Have Social Media Followers, Then What?


Monday, March 23, 2015

Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed

Today, everyone is pressed for time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. You may be trying to squeeze writing and marketing time in while working full time and taking care of a family. You may be trying to s-t-r-e-c-h time to get as much done as possible.

You may be trying to do it all.

Well, before you take on too much and finally break the ‘camel’s back,’ take a step back and take a deep breath.

While you do need to keep moving forward, to keep broadening your reach, you need to do it wisely.

Here are four tips to help you along your writing and marketing journey:

1. Have a plan.

No matter what your goals in life, you need to have a plan in place to reach those goals. Writing and marketing are no exception.

List two or three yearly major goals and create a detailed plan. Include the action steps you’ll need to take to reach those goals.

Be explicit, as if your action steps are car directions to a place you’ve never been. Turn left onto Route 127; make a right at the second red light; drive 10 miles then turn left onto the Belt Parkway.

You get the idea. Know where you’re heading and know what tools you’ll need to get there.

Having a plan helps you be in control. It helps you know what you should and shouldn’t do.

2. Don't overbook yourself - it's really not worth it.

Overbooking is a common modern day dilemma, but it just adds too much pressure and stress to your life. This isn't healthy or productive. And, it’s why this in #2 in this article.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “constant stress puts your health at risk [. . .] If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That's because of your body's "fight-or-flight reaction" — its natural alarm system — is constantly on.” (1)

While this fight-or-flight reaction is needed in dangerous situations, it needs to be in a paused state until needed. So, don’t overbook yourself – it’s really not worth it.

Well, maybe that should be rephrased a bit. Don't overbook yourself unless an unexpected and immediate opportunity 'comes a knockin' on your door that would be foolish to pass up. And, even then, see if you can reschedule it if you're already swamped.

If rescheduling is not an option, take a close look at your schedule or workload. Maybe you can move ‘this’ there, and ‘that’ over to another day. In other words, prioritize.

If that doesn’t work, hey, health is better than wealth (or in this case visibility and authority) any day.

3. Never pass up an opportunity.

This kind of goes with number two in that the opportunity isn’t planned, but, immediate action isn’t usually needed. It’s about the kind of opportunities that happen to present themselves and that you have to take the initiative to respond to.

As an example, I got an exceptional webinar opportunity because I responded to a query in a newsletter I subscribe to. I proposed a webinar for the company's summer business webinar series and it was accepted.

Had I ever done anything that big before? NO. Was I out of my comfort zone? YES. Was I able to pull it off? YES.

Take that step forward . . . raise your hand . . . it's how you'll get noticed, build your authority, and increase your mailing list.

In this situation, you can usually plan ahead, unless it’s a spur of the moment thing. But, again, take a look at your workload and see how you can fit it in without overburdening yourself.

Never let opportunity knock without at least answering the door. Whether you can let it in or not is another story.

4. Make opportunities happen.

Making opportunities happen should be a part of your writing and marketing plan.

To put it simply, this means to find a need and fill it. If you’re in the writing arena, this doesn’t mean submitting writing queries, that’s a normal part of the writing arena. This has to do with possible guest posts on high-quality sites. Move past your comfort zone and get moving.

You might also take something you’re exceptionally good at within your niche and make the most of it. Try to find businesses or individuals that might need your talent and query them. This might seem like ‘cold calling,’ and it may be, but it can work. It can lead to a money-making project, a joint venture, or a quality connection. It also has the potential to boost your visibility and subscriber list.

An example for authors: Suppose you’re an expert in author school visits. You might query sites that offer e-classes to authors and ask if they’d be interested in having you offer a class on school visits. You might also contact small publishers and ask if you’re services might be needed for their authors, as a way of helping them market their books.

An example for content writers: Suppose you’re great at creating e/books. Contact business owners in your social networks or locally and see if they’d like to boost their authority with a book. Be well prepared with why they need one and the process that will be involved.

An example for solopreneurs: Suppose you’re an online marketing instructor for small and home businesses. Query e-learning sites if they’d like to sponsor a workshop or e-class. Or, you may contact businesses directly about how you can help them bring their business more visibility, traffic, authority, and conversion. Again, be well prepared.

Put on your thinking cap. Make opportunities happen.

Reminder: Don’t just ask if they need your services; explain what the benefit to the company will be. Write good sales copy and let them know what you can do for them.
Making the most of opportunities, while not overburdening or over-stressing yourself, is an excellent way to move onward and upward.




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Friday, March 20, 2015

Growing Your Twitter Following and Maintenance

In a recent post at The Social Ms, it explained that the heavy-hitter social influencers use a particular strategy to get the right followers and lots and lots of followers.

The Strategy

It’s the “follow-unfollow” strategy and it’s in two parts.

1. What this simply means is you follow heavy-hitters in the hope they’ll follow back. But, there’s another strategy to this, you become visible to that heavy-hitter. Following her may motivate her to take a peek at your profile.

2. Numbers matter, so the more followers you have the better. On the assumption that if you follow someone within your industry, they’ll follow back, following others is a good idea.


As you’re building your Twitter followers, keep in mind that Twitter has a Follow/Unfollow ratio cutoff. When the number of those you’re following get to a certain point above those who are following you, Twitter caps you off.

You either have to get more followers or you have to unfollow some if you want to add others.

TIP: I use It’s a Twitter tool that you allow to access your Twitter account. It shows you all those who you’re following but aren’t following you back. You simply ‘unfollow’ them as part of your maintenance.

Even if you don’t reach your limit, it’s a good idea to unfollow users who unfollow you.

You can also use this tool to find and unfollow inactive followers and ‘fake’ profile followers.

A Little Wrench in the Works

While I agree this is a great strategy, I don’t think heavy-hitters are going to follow me back.

If I follow an ‘influencer,’ I do it to make the initial connection and to be on his Twitter list. This is to ensure I have a higher probability of receiving his tweets. I honestly don’t expect Jay Baer or HubSpot or Harvard Business Review to follow me back.

Another strategy to use is to follow ‘regular people’ in your industry who are providing valuable tweets. Follow Twitter users who are adding to the conversation.

I’ve also read to follow those who Favorite and Retweet your tweets.

This is a good idea, but if you’re like me, it can be time consuming. I don’t just follow users even if they follow me first. I’m very picky about who I follow.

This means I have to check out the user’s profile to determine if they are:

  • ‘G’ rated
  • If they are in my industry / niche (or closely related to my niche)
  • If they have a focused platform and it’s quickly identifiable
  • If they tweet regularly
  • If they provide valuable information

Within one 12 hour period, I got 32 Favorites and 4 Retweets. I just don’t have the time to check each user’s profile to decide if I want to follow them, if we’re not already connected.

Breaking Down What I Look For

I mentioned I check a profile for five particular elements. Here’s a bit more information on that.

1. Is the user’s platform ‘G’ rated?

This is obviously a personal preference. Along with inbound marketing and writing, I have other online interests and businesses, a couple of them warrant that I have a ‘G’ rated platform.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to ‘mute’ a few of my followers because of the images they post with their tweets.

Again, this is personal preference.

2. Is the user in my industry?

I could easily have tripled the number of followers if I followed anyone.

What’s the point of following someone who tweets about the best wines or latest fashions? My platform is marketing. I provide information that will help my followers move forward with their marketing efforts. It’s not a good idea to dilute your platform.

Along with this, followers outside my niche won’t be providing helpful information to me or my followers.

3. Does the user have a focused platform?

This should be a no-brainer, but I see so many user profiles that are vague. He’s a social media marketer or inbound marketing, maybe. He’s also a skater. He likes cars. And, his tweets are all over the place.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with this, but for me it’s just not focused. I need to make a quick decision if I’m going to follow someone back. I’ll go so far as to check the first few tweets. At that point, if I’m not sure what the user’s platform is, I don’t follow back.

I’ve searched profiles that say they’re marketers, but the majority of their tweets are on sports. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, I’m just looking for users who are more focused on marketing. People who add to the conversation, to my industry’s  conversation.

4. Does the user tweet regularly?

I’ve had users follow me who have ONE tweet. Others haven’t tweeted for months.

What’s the point of being on Twitter? I’m sure there’s one, but I don’t get it.

I don’t follow these users back.

5. Does the user provide valuable information?

This is kind of related to number 3 above. If the user has tweets on this, that, and the other thing, I pass.

While everyone may tweet about something unrelated to their niche here and there, it shouldn’t be on a regular basis. If I scroll down a user’s list of tweets and can’t find a focus, I pass. If I scroll down a user’s profile and there are 10 to 20 consecutive tweets thanking others for ‘following,’ retweeting, favoriting, and so on. I pass.

TIP: I retweet other’s useful tweets in-between my ‘thank you’ tweets. This way I show the appreciation I have for those who Favorite or Retweet my tweets and still offer valuable information in-between.

Please note that these are simply my personal preferences. There are other strategies that are just as effective or suit the user better.

The Simple Twitter Growth Approach All Influencers Use



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Apple Watch and Content Marketing

Apple ‘officially’ launched its new product, the Apple Watch.

While Apple isn’t the first to create and market a wearable computer, it is the company that is expected to take the market to a new level.

The first to create and market a ‘computer’ watch was Google with its Android Wear technology. The site explains that the ‘watch’ “organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. Get messages from your friends, meeting notifications, and weather updates at a glance.” (1) It can also connect to your Android phone, has navigation and so much more. It also responds to texts, instant messages, and emails by voice.

Okay, I’ve gotten off track. But, it is an amazing technology, one though that I probably wouldn’t get.

Back to the Apple Watch.

According to Nieman Labs, “It’s not unreasonable to imagine a potential 90 million Apple Watches on wrists globally by the end of 2016.” (2)

So, what does this mean for those in the content arena?

It simply means it’s another avenue for marketing, but one with possibly an even less text allowance than a tweet. And, it’s another important reason to make sure you have a responsive website.

In the article, “What’s the right kind of content for your wrist?” the author explains that for publishers this is still in the testing phase.

It’s not known what type of information content can be used, what users will feel comfortable with. They may want a very condensed summary of your news, or they may want the full article. Testing and feedback will determine which it is.

In the meantime, it’s suggested to repurpose content into more digestible formats. Once the wearable platform is more established, you revamp your content strategy if need be.

Drawbacks to this new technology

I mentioned I wouldn’t be getting this wearable technology. Below are 3 reasons why I'll pass.

1. Health

The first reason is health. New research finds that these new wearable devices aren’t good for your health.

According to CloudTweaks:

Doctors and scientists have claimed devices such as internet-connected glasses, smart watches and health monitoring gadgets all increase the body’s exposure to radio waves – adding significant amounts of harmful rays to people who are already accustomed to having phones, tablets and laptops in close proximity. (3)

Is the need to have something more readily available than your iPhone on your body, worth the risk? Even if the risk is a possibility or minimal, is it worth it?

Rather than have another type of digital device that’s in your bag or on your desk at least some part of the day, the ‘watch’ is on you constantly for a number of hours.

2. Security

Issues arise on both sides of the coin for business, in both privacy and security.

According to

Linking this [wearables] to corporate usage also might pose a risk. It may pose a privacy data risk but it also might be an entry point for an attacker to get into your organisation because you have to pair this device with your device via Bluetooth. There might be security implications. (4)

There is also the employee privacy issue. Will your company be able to monitor your every move? Even your bathroom time? Ah, the implications. says (5):

Wearable technologies enable capture and collection of amazingly detailed information about an individual’s life, including their lifestyle choices, personal health, location, movement and daily routines. Without the right privacy controls, such data could end up being used in ways never imagined or intended. And without the right security controls, data gathered by such devices could enable identity theft, stalking, fraud and other crimes.   

3. Downtime

While it’s important to be connected for work and business, where is the line drawn? Along with the physical health dangers, what about your mental health?

Is it healthy to be wired non-stop for 8 to 12 hours a day? For some it may be 10 to 16 consecutive hours.

I don’t think so. Just my opinion.



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