Too often, websites pick up a technique just because another site uses it thinking it’s amazingly cool. But flashy techniques like infinite scroll and vertical scroll are probably hurting your user experience, SEO efforts, and conversion rates.
Research, Comparison, and Buy represent the three basic phases of online purchase behavior. Connecting the dots between the customer’s problem and your solution promotes search engine visibility, referrals, and paths to conversion. Here’s how.
Many small business websites do on-site SEO poorly or not at all, which means less rankings, search traffics, potential customers, and business. These steps will start you on a path toward regular, high-quality, content creation and promotion.
The final conference agenda for SES London 2013, which has just been updated, features three keynote speakers who tackle the latest trends and challenges facing the online marketing industry, 36 sessions on hot topics, and 72 expert speakers.
With the assistance of locals, Google has updated its Maps to fill in many of the blanks of North Korea’s most remote locations, providing a more detailed picture of the country. But North Korea won’t be happy about Google’s labeling of “gulags.”
If you own one of Apple’s popular iPhone devices, you already know that its capabilities extend far beyond those of a mere phone. Thanks to the power of the iPhone and the talent of the many developers that stock the App Store with apps, many of life’s most tedious and cumbersome tasks can be managed in an efficient, time-saving manner. What you may not have realized, however, is that your iPhone may be able to actually boost your brainpower! These 10 apps are great brain-training apps that are purported to increase brain function, actually making you smarter!
- Brain Bomb – Brain Bomb is a free app with relatively high reviews, purporting to be filled with games so difficult that only 1% of the population can solve them all. Whether claims regarding the puzzles’ complexity may be a bit exaggerated, they do actively help to improve your memory, lateral thinking skills, reaction time and visual judgment.
- Math vs. Brain – With a variety of math-related questions designed to stimulate your brain and a system that rewards you for accurate answers with stars that can be used to unlock solutions for more difficult questions down the road, this free app is a fun way to bring back those mathematical methods that may be getting dusty from years of neglect.
- Clockwork Brain – Challenge your Mind with Fun Puzzles! – The brain teasers in this game are designed to test your memory, along with cognitive visual, spatial, logic, language and mathematic abilities. Free of charge, Clockwork Brain presents those puzzles in a beautifully-rendered setting heavily inspired by Steampunk trends. You can even earn tokens within the game that can be used to play Premium Games for free!
- Brain Games 2 – With five games designed to focus on testing and boosting your logical thinking skills, this free app is easy to navigate, even if the answers themselves aren’t always easy to come by. You can track your performance through timed games, each of which contain several levels of difficulty.
- Charge Your Brain HD – Charge Your Brain is a free app that claims to boost the brain function of both kids and adult alike, with varying difficulty levels of games that focus on image recognition abilities, response speeds, logical thinking skills, object comparison skills, searching and math skills, and your memory’s ability to recall facts.
- 10Plus – When kids play 10Plus, they’re actively improving their ability to count and add, finding numbers within a grid that will add up to 10. Adults who have already mastered their counting skills can boost brain function by rushing to find the correct solutions. Integration with Apple’s Game Center allows you to compete with your own high score or play against players from around the globe.
- Lumosity Brain Trainer – Used by more than 20 million people around the world, the free brain training app from Lumosity is backed by solid scientific research by leading neuroscientists from Stanford, UCSF and Berkeley universities. The first five sessions of Lumosity Brain Trainer are free, with the remainder available only to Lumosity subscribers.
- Brain Fitness Pro – The New York Times called the $3.99 Brain Fitness Pro app “boot camp for the brain,” and PC Magazine names it one of their Top Ten Gift Picks. The brain exercises included with Brain Fitness Pro can boost your IQ, improve your ability to focus and recall facts, increase standardized test scores, and restore lost brain function as a result of aging or injury, according to the developers.
- Brain Power | AmbiScience™ • Binaural & Isochronic Ambient Mind Utility – A bundle pack of three apps from the Tesla Audio Sciences development group, this download allows you to access the exclusive AmbiScience™ technology that is purported to boost brain frequencies in order to support training, relaxation or meditation. There are also 11 ambient tracks and three noise tracks for your listening pleasure, which help you block out distracting sounds to focus on boosting your intellect.
- Brain Challenge™ – With 43 mini-games to support visual, memory, logic, math and focus training, Gameloft’s $4.99 Brain Challenge™ app is marketed as not only a brain-training tool, but also one for busting stress and preventing future anxiety.
These apps can help you grow intellectually, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that using them while driving isn’t smart at all. Save your brain-stretching smartphone use for a time when you’re on solid ground, no matter how boring your morning commute may be. Keep yourself and those around you safe by never distracting yourself with emails, text messages or app use while you’re on the road.
Archetypes are a concept originally conceived by famed Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung. In marketing, a brand archetype is a genre you assign to your brand, based upon symbolism. The idea behind using brand archetypes is to anchor your brand against something iconic—something already embedded within the conscious and subconscious of humanity. In the minds of both the brand owner and the public, aligning with a brand archetype makes the brand easier to identify.
To read the remainder of Matt’s article, please click here.
One of my favorite westerns is the “Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. You may recall Clint Eastwood is one of the good guys in this movie. He personifies the western hero who comes to the rescue. On the other hand, you have Lee Van Cleef who plays Clint’s bad partner and Eli Wallach who plays the ugly partner. These three characters personified all the attributes of the western hero/anti-hero.
Since WWW stands for the Wild Wild West (aka world wide web), we can think of e-mail as one of the good guys that helped firms promote their businesses on the Internet. During the past few years, however, e-mail spamming has become one of the ugly facts of life online.
The good news is that legitimate e-mail marketing is still alive and well.
It is also still mostly free. If you are like most business owners, you spend a considerable amount of time and money trying to create qualified leads for your sales staff. Having owned, operated and/or managed a number of thriving businesses over the years, I have come to appreciate the fact that many forms of lead generation provide great results. This includes leads generated by newspaper ads, coupons, yellow page ads and direct mail. While these forms of lead generation systems have proven to be effective at making our phone ring in the past, they have also proven time consuming, hard to track and expensive.
Take direct mail, for instance. With the cost of a first class stamp currently at 46 cents apiece, designing, constructing, stuffing and mailing a single circular from one business to another is going to cost you a minimum of $1. If you want to send your mailer to 1,000 businesses, this is going to represent a significant financial risk. Since the average rate of return on direct mail is a scant one to two percent, it isn’t exactly a sure thing as to whether your firm will break even on the campaign, let alone turn a profit.
However, sending the same offer or newsletter via e-mail will cost you little more than the time it takes to craft the offering. While there is a right way and a wrong way to go about creating a legitimate e-mail database, if you belong to networking groups, attend business functions, or in other ways come into contact with potential customers, getting permission to send them a monthly newsletter is as simple as asking permission. (This means you shouldn’t be branded as a spammer).
You can also include forms on your website, landing pages and social networks that will allow interested parties to sign up to receive your white paper, e-book or newsletter at the click of a mouse. Providing an easy way to let your prospects opt-in is just another way of connecting with an ever-growing audience.
Opt-in data bases are even better than purchased databases because these prospects want to receive your information. By automating parts of this process, you can touch prospects with less effort, lower costs and send out information and articles with greater frequency.
Creating a newsletter is a snap, since there are websites such as constantcontact.com, icontact.com and mailchimp.com that provide a low-cost service that includes everything you need to construct newsletters, invitations and offers, all via their template driven system.
Want to send out a birthday or holiday greeting to those on your mailing list? Try jibjab.com a website that contains hundreds of customizable e-cards and video cards that you can send to as many people in your database as you care to, for a flat $9.99 per year. We recently sent out a series of holiday video cards that were a huge success because they were humorous and because we added our staff’s headshots into the action. (If you haven’t seen this site you don’t know what you are missing.)
Best of all, all of the above-mentioned forms of online promotion are cost-effective and spam-free. If anyone receiving your newsletter wants to opt-out, all they have to do is click a link on the newsletter to be removed from your mailing list. Of course, that doesn’t mean that spammers do not exist.
What’s Scary! Really Scary!
The bad news is that there is no end in sight for spamming. Anyone who receives e-mail usually receives tens or even hundreds of unsolicited e-mails every day. According to cyber security firm Symantec, in 2012 72.89 percent of all e-mail received worldwide was considered spam. While most of us employ one form or other of spam filter to keep from being buried alive by spam, Symantec recommends a few other ways to reduce the amount of unwanted e-mails coming your way.
Some Simple Ways Stop E-mail Spam
This topic deserves a standalone blog post, so we’ll highlight the most important points only:
1. Do not give away your primary e-mail address when registering online. Use a secondary or special address for registrations.
2. Unless you are a salesperson, don’t include your e-mail address in the public profiles visible by everyone.
3. Choose an e-mail address that is difficult to guess.
4. Never respond to spam e-mails such as asking to unsubscribe — this will confirm your e-mail address validity rather than unsubscribe you.
5. Use a spam filter on your computer or in your corporate network.
6. Use the “Report spam” option within your e-mail client so you never receive e-mails from this sender again.
7. Update your anti-viral software on a regular basis.
The problem with spam is there is no way to legitimately take your name off the spammers e-mail list.
E-Mail Spam — The Ugly Truth
Not only are spammers raking in millions of dollars, so are the companies
that sell them their lists. A number of freeware and free apps are also used to collect e-mail address illegitimately. Some are even being used to infect the computers, tablets and Smartphone’s of unsuspecting consumers and business owners worldwide. This ugly truth is becoming more than a nuisance, it’s epidemic. It is threatening all our livelihoods. Governments have been woefully inadequate at protecting consumers. They have done a poor job of going after and prosecuting these spammers, hackers and cyber criminals. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to defend yourself.
Is there anything you can do about unsolicited commercial e-mail?
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) can come from various organizations, companies or be the product of ‘computer viruses.’ Companies or individuals can get your e-mail address from the Web. Other sources exist such as marketing lists that you sign up to that often get passed between companies. Unsolicited commercial e-mails generally also come from outside the U.S. Many of these UCE originate from countries like Ireland and those in European Union. This means it is quite difficult to stop the occurrence of UCE — it is a global phenomenon. Generally, there is little you can do to prevent unsolicited commercial e-mails being sent to you.
Here is what you can do if you receive UCE:
In the vast bulk of cases of UCE’s e-mails, the e-mail headers are not valid.
*E-mail headers may be forged so replying to the e-mail merely results in you sending UCE to the innocent person whose e-mail address was forged.
*It is not advised to respond to an e-mail address to “opt-out” of a list unless the address is from a recognized organization. These e-mail addresses may also be false or are used to confirm the unwanted e-mail was originally sent to a valid and active e-mail account.
*Responding to a website that supposedly lets you remove yourself from the list is also not advised. This is because once you access the website your details are logged. You could also you be exposed to pornography.
It is possible to determine the location (rather than the user or the e-mail address) from where the e-mail was sent. If you are able to look at the e-mail headers, you will then be able to determine the IP address of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) whose services were used to send the e-mail. Finding out exactly where UCE has come from can be difficult and time-consuming.
If you have determined the location of the sender of these mails, then it may be possible to send an e-mail to abuse@isp to complain about the e-mail. However, adult e-mails are not illegal in many countries including Ireland. If you do succeed in sending an e-mail complaint to abuse@isp and the material is illegal in the jurisdiction it originated in or in breach of the Acceptable Use Policy of the sender’s ISP, the ISP can disconnect the sender. However, it might be unable to tell you the name of the sender due to international data protection regulations. In many cases, the sender just moves to a different ISP and starts the process again.
Just like the characters in the movie, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, e-mail has a way of showing us the best and the worst the Internet has to offer. E-mail has saved billions of dollars for businesses worldwide. It has also cost billions in return. While e-mail can be a two-edged sword, it can also be a godsend to businesses looking for a way to increase their exposure. It has helped thousands of businesses survive the tough financial times that are upon us today. Just bear in mind that the when it comes to working the Web, only the good guys play by the rules.
Carl Weiss is one of the good guys who has been helping clients work the Web to win since 1995. He is president of WSquaredMediaGroup.com a digital marketing agency and owner of Jacksonville-Video-Production.com. You can speak with him live on the air every Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST on Blog Talk Radio.
Turns out, it wasn’t.
In fact, the gross breech of personal privacy was rapidly becoming standard practice for many big firms across the United States. Job candidates were required to hand over their login information as part of the employment screening process, and employers used the credentials to poke around applicants’ personal pages. Their defense? It was a necessary evil, nothing more than a tool to help recruiters judge the overall character of potential new hires.
As word spread about this trend, individuals and activist groups the nation over began to publically condemn the practice. It didn’t take long for state governments to hear their cries and new laws banning the practice officially went into effect on the first day of 2013.
Congress Couldn’t Get the Job Done
According to a write up on The Hill, a partisan split over employee privacy prevented the new law from moving forward. Go figure. Then, in May 2012, things finally started looking up. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) filed a bill called the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA) that would prevent employers as well as schools and universities from asking for social networking passwords from students or employees.
Seems like everything was good to go, right? Not so fast — this is Washington we’re talking about. A separate group of lawmakers had legislation of their own — a bill called the Password Protection Act (PPA). This bill would protect employees and job candidates, but it would leave students out in the cold. However, at a press conference held last year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CONN) did point out that he would be willing to tweak the bill to add a provision covering schools.
Although lawmakers on the hill repeatedly assured the American people that a password protection law was on the way, movement on the issue has slowed to a crawl. That didn’t sit well with the states, so some state legislatures slapped the issue on their own agendas instead.
States Step Up
Since Uncle Sam was having so much trouble getting the job done, some states have decided to step up and take matters into their own hands. Six states have made it official: as of Jan. 1, 2013, it became illegal for employers to demand employees or job candidates hand over the credentials for their social networking accounts. Illinois, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Michigan are the lucky six, and a handful of other states have similar bills in the works.
According to a Wired post, some state politicians are voicing opinions on the problem of social networking privacy in light of the passage of the new laws. California Assemblywoman Nora Campos, for example, had this to say about the issue:
“Our social-media accounts offer views into our personal lives and expose information that would be inappropriate to discuss during a job interview due to the inherent risk of creating biases in the minds of employers,” Campos said. “In order to continue to minimize the threat of bias and discrimination in the workplace and the hiring process, California must continue to evolve its privacy protections to keep pace with advancing technology.”
So, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering what’s going on with the other states. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 14 states have introduced legislation dealing with the issue. However, some of those states are farther along in the lawmaking process than others.
For example, in Massachusetts, a bill banning employer access to social media accounts was introduced back in March, but there’s been no movement since its introduction. Similarly, in Missouri, a bill managed to make it to committee by April, but it’s still hanging out in limbo to this day.
Other states are attempting to pass privacy bills that read a little broader. For instance, NBC reported that a Texas state Senate bill (S.B. 118) was introduced last month that would outlaw employers from demanding access to the personal accounts of both employees and job applicants “through electronic communication devices.”
If you want to find out if your state has taken action of its own on the social media privacy front, you can. Simply head over to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ site and skim the list of states.
Internet and the Future of Privacy
The issue of social media account password privacy is not an isolated event — far from it, in fact. As technology evolves and the Internet becomes an increasingly dominant force in our daily lives, our online privacy continues to diminish.
Take, for example, recent findings about tracking cookies published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review by a group of privacy researchers. The paper compares online tracking to the practice of telemarketing, outlining ways in which companies are building sophisticated tracking technology designed to stamp out all user attempts to circumvent it. The paper gives an example: some advertisers have implemented cookies with multiple identifiers that have the ability to reinstate one another (kind of like viruses) in order to fight deletion by users. The paper’s authors discovered that advertisers are more than willing to use technology designed to sidestep settings on individual users’ own computers. Scary stuff.
The states that enacted social media account password privacy laws are headed in the right direction. However, total privacy is not a right online. The Net is an interconnected web of separate entities, and we must proceed at our own risk.
Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the Net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.