Modern cell phones, especially those like the iPhone which has 3G capabilities and unlimited data transfer, the BlackBerry, and other smart phones with faster internet capabilities have sprung up all over the place. This has lead to an increasing number of mobile users browsing the web.
As the number of users browsing from their cell phones increases, webmasters must keep on top of the trends and make sure that their website is accessible and usable from mobile phones. The problem is, many sites require vast re-architecture for their user interface to fit on a smaller screen, and a lot of testing is required to ensure that the mobile versions are actually useful to users, especially with the variety of phones and browsers.
Soon to come will be a multi-part series on testing on various mobile phones as well as ideas and suggestions for creating mobile apps, with examples to aid in the understanding of the importance of mobile apps.]]>
Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, should know a thing or two about web startups. Graham sold his startup, Viaweb, to Yahoo for stock valued at nearly $50 million, where the product became the Yahoo! Store. Since then, Graham has started startup funding firm, offering roughly $5000 plus $5000 per founder for 2-10% of the company’s shares. Y Combinator has funded 80 startups to date, having two rounds of funding each year, including, amongst others, reddit.
What’s interesting about Paul Graham isn’t so much the money he has to throw around, but rather the foundation of his ideas and principals that contribute to his company and blog. Graham made an interesting point a few months ago about innovation and startups. He states that venture capitalists are far from the daring, risk-taking, bold innovators that we make them out to be, but are rather extremely conservative and are looking for stable ideas more than innovation.
This past week the markets saw another IPO, this time a tech company we may have all heard of: Rackspace. Having received venture capital money from two different firms, it appears as though it was time for Rackspace to go public. Unfortunately for the investors that collectively purchased $187.5 million of Rackspace’s stock, RAX dropped 20% on its first day of trading. While climbing slightly today, the stock still remains below their IPO point of $12.50.
This IPO occurred in a bit of a public offering drought. The only other tech company with venture capital money to go public this year was ArcSight, who IPO’ed this past Valentine’s Day. Last year, on the other hand, 48 venture-backed tech companies decided to go public. The National Venture Capital Association even declared the tech startup industry to be in a crisis due to the lack of public offerings. In fact, the second quarter of 2008 marks the first quarter drought since 1978.
It should also be noted that 59 companies have posted for public offerings only to change their decision later, as compared with only 14 companies doing the same at this last year. These figures indicate that many more companies are fishing for funding, but would much rather not go public.
All in all, those of you who are working on aspiring new startups may wish to consider an alternate route than venture capital funding or public offerings. See if you can get funding from sources that won’t push you into going public, and hold onto your assets until you get an offer from a larger company that is worth it. Selling out on the stock market does not appear to be the right way to go at the moment – especially if pushed by VCs who just want to get out.]]>
The iPhone app that has hit the tech headlines this week is a simple app that came out on Wednesday. The app does one thing: it shows a gem on the screen resembling a ruby, providing a glimpse into a user’s wealth by the background image of their iPhone.
The peak of this story, however, hit just days after the app’s initial launch, when the LA Times managed to get in touch with the developer, who seemed confident that his iPhone application had its place in the market. He also took the time to acknowledge that eight people had purchased his application already, leaving him with over five thousand dollars once Apple’s 30% take is factored in. Unfortunately for Heinrich, Apple has since taken his application down with no reason. Supposedly it has something to do with the illegitimacy of such a service, and perhaps by the one American who accidentally purchased this application.
The importance behind this work of art, if you’re willing to consider it that, is again founded in its innovation and uniqueness. The media hype that this simple iPhone application received, and the media hype that the million dollar homepage received was entirely rooted in the “oddball” news corner. This is why copying these sites is not practical or useful, as without the media attention; it will never reach the levels that the original website did.
In this case, the uniqueness is rooted only in the novelty of the application, not the after-effects of such media frenzy. With sites such as Digg and YouTube, innovation brought them popularity and fame, while the community is what kept them. This community was built through the media hype and provided a reason to stay with the original sites beyond their initial success. This is where webmasters can begin to take notes.
Despite the number of Digg clones that exist, it is clear that many of them, save for maybe extremely specific niche clones, do not gain nearly the attraction or come anywhere near the popularity of the original Digg. This community, despite Digg’s community reputation, is what makes the site valuable to users, and more importantly, to advertisers. Having a controllable and steady community will invite advertisers who have a product relevant to your site, whereas having mostly guest traffic from various blogs and search engines, while certainly nice, just doesn’t give this appeal when selling advertising space.
This leads us to an important conclusion. Advertising naturally through hype and frenzy can always help. Copying someone else’s idea simply isn’t going to get you there. By realizing this, you can focus on the two important aspects:
1. Innovating, thus being so innovative that people flock to your website; and
2. Taking advantage of this innovation to actually benefit you in your existing properties and to the bottom line.
Take the iPhone developer mentioned above, for example. Presumably he’s a normal developer who happened to have picked up the iPhone SDK. This means that this publicity is one more resume item and leads people to him, potentially securing clients or jobs in the future. In the mean time, he gains the cash reward from his idea. Whether or not this was his plan to begin with is irrelevant. The point is to figure out how to best take advantage of the situation presented to you.
This publicity is usually founded in things that seem stupid but in reality aren’t. Many of us have had ideas that we dismiss as being too ridiculous. How about the idea of running a Secret Santa online for the entire world to participate? It sounds ridiculous because it strays so far from what we think of when we think of Secret Santa (workplace team building, family get-togethers, close friends and small gifts, The Office ), but still has some practical merit. As it is reaching out to everyone across the country, or even world, the chances of being picked up by a smaller newspaper or simply blogged about are fairly high simply for the number of people who want a chance to participate.
Now that the innovation has provided us with a basis of free publicity, it’s time to figure out how to capitalize on the potential publicity of media hype by growing a community. Perhaps groups of people could set up online Secret Santa’s by invite only for remote teams (discussion group moderators comes to mind) to participate within trust, thus building a community and purpose beyond the open free-for-all Secret Santa. Perhaps different countries could have their own. Maybe add a discussion group that involves discussing good gifts at various price ranges. These build a sense of community and keep people on your website, which is never a bad thing.
Beyond growth and community, obviously many webmasters are interested in the bottom line at the end of the day. At this point, you have to ask yourself where you could make money on the community that you have potentially grown. One thing that comes to mind is to create Amazon lists of products within price ranges (dollar items, under $5, under $10, under $25, etc.), for different demographics (gender, for workplace, for family, for friends, etc.), all with an Amazon referral ID, thus making you money when people buy through your lists.
These lists provide a service that is helpful to everyone, even those who aren’t participating in your global Secret Santa that gave you all the publicity, not because of hype, but because of genuine usefulness. Those who came through the hype will see how useful the lists are just like those who simply stumbled upon your website. This is one way that you can take advantage of free publicity and growing a community, ultimately finding ways to profit out of it. There are many other ways you could profit out of this venture as well as many others.
Strive for the innovative ideas and the publicity will follow suit. It’s always good to have a plan as to what you will do if you get Dugg, or featured on a popular blog, or featured on CNN. Following on the tails of other people’s success may be a good way to pick up some spare change, but it will never match the success levels attained by the original innovators. We all know we could think up something ridiculous – stop thinking about doing it and get out there and actually do it! Ask yourself this: what’s the worst that could happen?]]>
Anyway, I suggest you subscribe again if you let it slide, and stay tuned. It should be fun.]]>
Podcasts update in a manner similar to an RSS feed, and RSS feeds can actually be used to distribute podcast content. Unlike RSS feeds, however, podcasts enable web users to hear (and sometimes see) the content they have subscribed to. This allows for more creativity in marketing strategies, and ensures that your message is being clearly communicated to your audience.
Podcasts were invented to provide users with a means of making and distributing their own radio-style programs. The technology quickly caught on, and increasing numbers of web users and businesses began using podcasts to share information, keep friends and colleagues updated, and increase brand awareness. Organizations of all sizes soon realized the benefits of distributing marketing materials via podcasts, and began to utilize the more intimate connection that podcasts enabled them to form with their potential customers.
Due to their digital format, podcasts have the ability to reach potential customers in all areas of the world, dramatically increasing the reach of your marketing strategy. Podcasts truly are a perfect marketing tool, and provide organizations with an inexpensive means of expanding their potential customer base and allowing them to reach a massive number of people simultaneously.
Podcasts As Part of Your Social Marketing Strategy
Podcasts offer organizations many benefits, whether they are used alone, or in conjunction with other social media marketing strategies. In addition to dramatically increasing recognition of your brand, the podcasting of marketing content is often considerably more effective than marketing strategies that rely solely on text and more traditional forms of communication and advertising.
Customers are more likely to remain engaged when listening to promotional material than when reading it. Many people find podcasts more enjoyable and convenient than traditional forms of communication, and podcasting your organization’s information via automatic downloads requires your audience to do nothing. You can essentially speak directly to a very large number of people, communicate your message clearly, and feel confident that your audience is both listening to and understanding what you have to say.
The portability of MP3 players and Ipods enables you to make contact with your target audience no matter where they are. Your audience will have access to your content when it is convenient for them, without being forced to remember where on the Internet your information is located. It is common for web users to bookmark a website or article with the intention of returning to it at a later time. Unfortunately, most bookmarks are forgotten, which means your text will never be read and your message will never be delivered. Podcasts are a solution to this problem.
Another key advantage podcasts offer is that they are inexpensive and easy to create. This low-cost method of social media marketing allows you to widen your customer base and boost your sales and traffic without any significant financial expenditure. Because they are so affordable to create and use, you can easily offer them to your target audience for free. If you do not charge for your podcasts, you will earn loyal followers and encourage the spread and recognition of your brand. Users will keep coming back for more.
Creating and Using Podcasts
Creating podcasts for your organization is simple and inexpensive. All you need is a recording device, a microphone, a quiet place to make your recording, and a compelling or informative message to share with your audience.
Podcasts should be informational and engaging, and not sound obviously commercial. Your message should be clear and concise, and should get straight to the point. If your program is too long, you risk losing the interest of your audience. Overly complicated messages will cause your potential customers to tune you out, and a hard sales approach will result in nothing more than a reputation as a spammer.
Creating a podcast is simple, and they can be used to share many different types of information with your audience. Podcasts can be used to update your customers on new products and services offered by your organization, to relay important company information, or to provide information to your listeners about any subject matter that is relevant to your organization. The primary goal is audience engagement and brand visibility.
You can use podcasts to discuss the features and benefits of your brand, which may directly increase your sales. You can also choose to indirectly boost your traffic and sales by simply offering your audience interesting, and useful information. Regardless of the type, any message you share with your target audience will increase your brand exposure and recognition.
Once you have decided on the type of message you wish to share with your listeners, you will need to determine the best method of delivering that message. Typically, listeners respond better to podcasts that are delivered in a relaxed and informal style. You must remember that your audience will not be able to see you, and therefore the use of body language and visual aids will accomplish nothing. Speak clearly, and with the specific needs of your target audience in mind.
After you have recorded your message in audio format, you will need to upload your podcast to a website or blog. Your podcast should be easy to find and download by web users, and should be compatible with as many devices as possible, including MP3 players, Windows Media Player, and VoIP. You must also keep in mind that podcasts require a considerable amount of bandwidth.
For optimal results, a podcast should be used in conjunction with a blog. Without a blog, your podcast will go unnoticed. Your goal is to reach as many people as possible, and combining the marketing reach of a blog with the convenience of a podcast can be an extremely effective marketing strategy for your organization.
Podcasts are useful and effective as part of a social media marketing strategy, and can be used to reach a large number of potential customers and dramatically increase brand exposure and recognition. The interest in your organization that engaging podcast content can provide will expand your customer base, increase your sales, and boost traffic to your company’s website. Customers that become fans of your podcasts will also become fans of your brand.]]>
In addition to increasing your online visibility, RSS will improve your search engine rankings, hasten the indexing of your new content by the major search engines, and drive traffic to your website from other, similar sites. Businesses will also see a significant increase in repeat customers, and will have the added benefit of being able to deliver advertising or product updates to customers as soon as they are published.
RSS, which stands for “really simple syndication,” allows you to automatically distribute your website content to infinite numbers of web users. As soon as your content is published, it is fed to special readers and distributed immediately to everyone subscribed to your feed. Your existing audience will be exposed to your new content as often as you are able to publish it. Moreover, because your feeds will be quickly indexed, your chances of being discovered through the major search engines will dramatically increase.
RSS feeds are free, and the only expense involved with this marketing strategy will be the costs associated with maintaining your website and creating your content. To be fully effective, your content will need to be updated frequently. If you do not have the time or ability to create fresh, unique content to add to your website or blog, you should considering hiring someone to write your content for you. Without fresh content, your audience will lose interest and your ranking will suffer in search engine results.
All major blogging software includes the tools needed to create and publish RSS feeds. When one of your visitors subscribes to your feed, they copy the URL into a feed reader. Your visitors will automatically receive excerpts of your content, or the full article, as soon as your content is published.
Website owners and bloggers have a number of different RSS feed formats to choose from, but not all feed readers are able to understand all feed formats. The use of a service like FeedBurner will ensure that your visitors are able to read your content. In addition to automatically converting your RSS feed into every available format, FeedBurner offers a range of traffic-tracking tools that allow you to monitor the number of visitors using your feed and the type of content that they are clicking on most often.
Contrary to what some believe, the use of RSS does not discourage visitors from returning to your site. Enabling RSS often results in a greater number of repeat visitors, and brings traffic to your site from RSS directories. Adding your feed to these directories boosts your visibility, increases links to your website, and enables you to connect with an audience that might have otherwise been out of reach.
Regardless of the type of business or website you own, RSS feeds should be an essential part of marketing your product or service. Although RSS is not typically used as a primary marketing tool, its ability to generate traffic and increase brand recognition should not be ignored.]]>
Why? Because you are free to write what you want. This guide builds a keyword rich blog that will make you money online from day one to day 100.
Understand the Online Biz, the Online Career:
It’s time to understand what an online career is. Of course, you will need some keywords, but you need something like a business plan from the beginning to make money online. I can say it a billion times-and you may want to just start the blog with no plan-but you really should take it seriously. You will be rewarded if you do. An online career isn’t necessarily easier, but often it’s far more fun. An online career may pay you less, but you often work less hours. And a Blogging career is planned best with a combination of keywords and keyword phrases.
What are Keyword Phrases?
Phrases are “Where can I find shoes cheap?” Not just “shoes.” A phrase is searched far more than a single keyword in most cases, unless you are talking about a proper name like “Paris” or “Britney Spears.” Remember the blogging keyword phrase isn’t alone; you need the regular keyword too. The best method is to combine them, and be creative with them.
Pick Keywords and Phrases:
Now it’s time to pick the keywords. Actually, you can only pick some at this point. There are plenty of resources for finding the right keywords, namely using search engines to see what seems to be getting the most hits. However, what Britney Spears did yesterday may not be as popular as what “Blank” did today. The best site to check out is The New York Times Most Searched Phrases, where you can find a selection of all kinds of keywords and keyword phrases.
Remember Blog Readers:
I am an expert on building a blog from the ground up. I’m also an expert on forgetting my readers. For one, you can lose them by going too far into your own life. Yet blogging success, not to mention blogging cash, can come from a nice touch of both first person and third person. A blog is a personal space, a profitable one, but still a personal space. Remember your blog readers. This means you can’t fill up your articles with dozens of keyword phrases hoping to hit the jackpot. If you remember your readers, you can make an online career more than just successful and profitable-it can be rewarding.
Forgetting Blogging Cash:
Racing to the finish line is, in fact, one clear way of making a blogging income. For one, a writer who is on day one of his blog needs to somehow profit from it. The profit may come in many different ways. You could make money online with Adsense, a way of placing ads relevant to your blog … but this rarely works in the beginning. You could sell ads on your blog for some added blogging cash … but that is a shot in the dark. The best method is to work hard on the blog on this day, promoting it and finding more and more readers. The blogging pay will come; I promise that. You don’t have to be an immensely talented writer-just determined to make an online a career a reality.
Speed of the Keyword:
Day one, dear blogger, is about enjoying yourself. The blogging cash will come in, if somewhat small at first. There are creative ways to make money online, yes, but the best method to earn an income off your blog is to write well and fast. The speed of your keywords, you could say, is what makes the difference between you and the other bloggers. This is simple: learn to write fast and well. There will be benefits, like catching more readers. This also means thinking up as many alternate keywords as possible.
Say you have a blog on films. Alternate keywords are obvious here. You have the film name, which is a decent keyword in most cases. The alternate keywords would be the likes of the super stars in the film, or the masters directing it. You can even quote politics in your blog posts, or relate a story to something happening in the world. You can do anything; just do it fast.
You will develop your own methods for earning blogging cash, some not mentioned here. The happy medium for you will develop if you keep writing. A creative writer can learn plenty from a blog’s success or failure. A happy medium of writing speed will be found, and maybe a new online career will be created. I can attest that, if you use keywords well, you will earn blogging cash.]]>
It is a lot easier to promote new products and services to friends and family members. These people trust you and know that if you recommend something, chances are it will end up being a great product. And since you are in touch with friends and family through these networking sites, why not take it one step further and tell them about your affiliate site through Myspace? This way, your friends and family will get the information you are sending them, but it will also be visible to their friends and family, letting thousands of people know about your affiliate marketing page.
Another internet tool that comes in handy is a personal blog. You can easily promote affiliate marketing pages through a blog, and it can be read by more than just your friends. If you have interesting, search-worthy content on your blog, you can get a serious amount of hits each day. What you need to remember is to produce the content that people will want to read, and make sure that the information is clear, concise, and accurate. It only take a few minutes a day to update a blog, and it can be one of the most important tools in getting traffic to your affiliate marketing page.]]>