Monthly Archives: February 2012

5 Things You Must Know Before Starting Business

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1. Don’t Underestimate a Business Plan


If you’re not seeking outside funding at the start, it’s a must writing out a formal business plan. However, taking the time to write out your business plan, forecasts and marketing strategy is a particularly effective way to hone your vision. All planning should center around two essential questions: How is my business serving a particular need, and does this represent a major market opportunity?

In addition, don’t overlook the exit strategy at the beginning. Do you want your children to take over the company? Do you want to sell it? It’s critical to think about these questions from the start, as the building blocks of your company (such as legal structure) should vary depending on your preferred final outcome.


2. Don’t Get Stuck in the Past


While our previous experience certainly gave us a leg up the second time around, with the past exp.You will know the market landscape had changed dramatically since our first company. 

The marketplace and your business plan are living entities; they’re continually in flux. Whether it’s your first company or fifth in a given market, you’ve got to keep asking: What do we need to do today?


3. Don’t Hire Friends


I form bonds quickly and make fast friends with people around me. While I generally consider this a positive trait, it has created some difficult situations when running a business. At times I have been reluctant to let employees go even though I know it’s not a good fit. If things aren’t working out between an employee and startup, it’s time to put feelings aside and trust that the person will find a better situation elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that people can let you down, ranging from laziness to fraud. I still believe that faith in people is a good thing. However, blind faith can bring trouble.

4. Don’t Fall Into a Discount Trap


At the beginning, too many young companies feel the pressure to heavily discount their prices in order to win business. While customer acquisition is important, attracting customers at unsustainable price levels will just result in a race to the bottom. After all, raising your prices on goods and certain services can be a tricky proposition. I’ve learned that you’re better off in the long run focusing on how to bring more value to customers, rather than simply slashing your prices.


5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail


Someone said “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” An entrepreneur’s path is uncharted and sometimes a little bumpy. It’s easy to get stressed or downright panicked, but you cannot let fear prevent you from following your dreams. Think of it this way: the sooner you fail, the closer you are to discovering what works.

Facebook reduces the Ad Length

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These Days Facebook is planning on cutting the character length of their ads from 135 TO 90.  New ads after The last of February will not be permitted to have body copy longer than 90 characters, and ads that already exist will be retroactively enforced starting in May.  Headline length will be unchanged (25 characters if you’re wondering).

This change hasn’t been publicly announced by Facebook on their blog or in their help section,But there are many international blogs talking about this plan.

All Facebook (the blog) speculates that this change allows for more ads to appear on each page, which makes total sense. It a new plan in marketing to make more ads appear.

So what you think in these new updates ?

TOP 6 Mistakes in Web Design

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1. Bad Search

Overly literal search engines reduce usability in that they’re unable to handle typs, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the query terms.A related problem is when search engines prioritize results purely on the basis of how many query terms they contain, rather than on each document’s importance.

2. PDF Files for Online Reading

Users hate coming across a PDF file while browsing, because it breaks their flow and reduce its speed. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don’t work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user’s browser window. Bye-bye smooth scrolling. Hello tiny fonts.

Worst of all, PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that’s hard to navigate.

3. Not Changing Color of Visited Links

A good grasp of past navigation helps you understand your current location in the wesbsite, since it’s the culmination of your journey. Knowing your past and present locations in turn makes it easier to decide where to go next. Links are a key factor in this navigation process. Users can exclude links that proved fruitless in their earlier visits. Conversely, they might revisit links they found helpful in the past.

Most important, knowing which pages they’ve already visited frees users from unintentionally revisiting the same pages over and over again.

4. Fixed Font Size

CSS style sheets unfortunately give websites the power to disable a Web browser’s “change font size” button and specify a fixed font size. About 95% of the time, this fixed size is tiny, reducing readability significantly for most people over the age of 30-40.

5. Page Titles With Low Search Engine Visibility

Search is the most important way users discover websites. Search is also one of the most important ways users find their way around individual websites. The humble page title is your main tool to attract new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to locate the specific pages that they need.

The page title is contained within the HTML <title> tag and is almost always used as the clickable headline for listings on search engine result pages (SERP). Search engines typically show the first 66 characters.

6. Opening New Browser Windows

Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer’s carpet. Don’t pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management).

Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user’s machine, the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites.

SEO Tricks That Will Make You BLACKLISTED

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Search Engine Law. The web has a General. He’s big, he’s mean and he’s quick-on-the-draw. His name is Google. General Google keeps the internet frontier safe for law-abiding citizens and white hat content creators alike.

While white hat websites work within the law, search engines are locked in an ever-escalating shoot-out with black hat practitioners. Internet users get caught in the crossfire on a regular basis; unable to differentiate between reputable sites and those with harmful, spam-filled content.

1) Keyword stuffing is bad Trick. Proper keyword use is not the concern of this article, so for now we’ll focus only on the improper kind. Keyword overuse leads to synonym underuse, and makes for content that’s inaccessible to the average human user. Though people might not be able to read your content, search engine robots still will. Oversaturated pages will get you penalised.

2) Hidden text is invisible to human eyes. Keywords or links can be camouflaged by colour-matching text to background leaving them unreadable to human visitors, but perfectly readable to search engine bots.

More complex methods employ cascading style sheets (CSS) or layering to hide text beneath surface copy. Such text is also readable to a search engine spider and not a human user. Black hat operatives attempt to fill their sites with hidden content for the express purpose of achieving higher rankings in search lists, regardless of whether their pages are relevant to a user’s initial search request.

Google law basically states that you should build your website for users, not for search engines. Ignoring this advice by including hidden text or links is one of the quickest ways to get your site blacklist bound.

3) Doorway/gateway/bridge/portal pages are created specifically for search engine bots. They are designed to target particular keywords or phrases and will usually be extremely user-unfriendly and/or difficult to read. Because they are simple devices used to trick people towards actual websites, they rarely contain anything useful (other than prominent “CLICK HERE” links to the real destinations).

Black hat webmasters create portal or bridge pages that bypass the need to click on a link completely, using fast meta refresh commands that whisk you to another site (without so much as a by-your-leave). For this reason, many search engines now refuse to accept pages that use fast meta refresh.

4) Cloaking can be achieved either through IP address delivery or agent delivery. As with people, bots are identified by their user agent or their IP addresses. Two sets of content are created, one delivered to the Google-bot, the other to human visitors. The bot is deceived by the fake pages (the content of which is usually saturated with targeted keywords) and grants the website a higher relevancy ranking. When the user clicks on what they perceive to be a promising link, they’re promptly forwarded to a browser page that’s nothing to do with their original search.

5) Mirror websites are two or more separate sites that use identical content, but employ different keywords and meta tags to obtain rankings on alternative searches. This technique violates the rules of many search engines, and will probably get one or all of your mirrored sites banned.

8 Social CRM Tools

Businesses which use technology in order to advance their goals can sometimes be challenged with knowing the best tools and services to employ. With the past years have seen an increase in online social media communities and the business world is starting to tap into all of the data and conversations to increase sales and customer relationships. How this is done ? The following list of eight social CRM tools should help provide ones business with adequate choices when it comes to tapping into the wealth of social information on their existing and future clientele.

Top 10 Social CRM Tools and Services

    • Rapportive: Currently only available to users of Google’s Gmail email services, the great thing about Rapportive is that it brings a number of social media contact information right into the email interface. From a business use perspective, Rapportive will automate the work of harvesting and displaying all the recent information associated with the sender of a message.
    • Batchbook: Integration with a number of web-based apps is one of Batchbook’s strengths. Additionally this social CRM app has mobile versions for iPhone and other smartphones, provides for shared contact management across ones entire organization, and maintains a complete communications history of who one spoke with and what about.
    • Assistly: If providing top quality customer service is important, Assistly provides the power of consolidating conversations relating to providing customer support in one destination.
    • Optify: Larger organizations may consider the power of Optify in their attempts to use social CRM to further company goals. Optify provides the company with the ability to drive more traffic and leads by optimizing the use of keywords both on the web page and in social media messaging. In order to get justifiable ROI information, Optify also provides near real time data and statistic to let the company always know what’s going on.
    • BuzzStream: BuzzStream is all about building relationships, or “buzz” as it refers to them. It does this, in part by helping the company build credibility online via researching influencers and tracking relationships. By tracking the communications and engagements of everyone on the team, BuzzStream makes it easy to collaborate and delegate actions likely to result in increased sales and improved relationships.
    • SproutSocial: Another aggregation service, SproutSocial has a one stop web-based application which provides a number of different, useful data streams about potential customers. It of course organizes relevant social networks in one place and allows the company to find new customers using their unique search technologies. Additionally, SproutSocial has made the interaction with other social contacts easy and simple.
    • Collective Intellect: Another service likely employed by larger businesses, Collective Intellect’s main focus is on real time text analytics. They do this with their own advanced semantic and text mining technology. It allows one to monitor and analyze private and public data, including social media, to surface consumer intentions, preferences and considerations.
    • KickApps: KickApps unique approach is to encourage ones business to develop an entire community with the integration of other social media services into the mix. Their branded community development with integrated social features provides a familiar environment for the savvy social user. They also make it easy to integrate ones new social community into an existing website, provide easy tools for Facebook publishing as well as enabling custom social video players.

2012 Tips to build a brand

If the past five years have taught us anything, it is that branding is more than just a web presence. A brand is a relationship between customers and a business.

1- The Name

When it comes to creating a great brand, it all starts with the name. Businesses with killer names typically achieve one of these five elements:

  • Solution-oriented – A great name will clue you into what the product can do for you.
  • Keywords – Like the above, a great name also ties in keywords to help brand name recall.
  • Timelessness – This is a hard one. Basically, you need to try and create a name that isn’t going to go out of fashion but be relevant 5, 10 or even 20 years from now.
  • Easy to understand – Create a name that is easy to understand and pronounce. And avoid translation problems.
  • Symbolic – If you think about a name like Apple, it seems pretty simple at first blush. But behind it is the mythic story of Adam and Eve eating the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Steve Jobs seemed to be saying knowledge is a good thing.

2- Texture

From a physical product like a box of chocolates to software app like DropBox or business cards to websites,  when it comes to design you have to consider so many variables like size or resolution.

3- Fixture Your Brand Color

Choosing the right color for your brand is critical. It can impact things like reader time on a webpage to productivity levels of workers in a room. It can even impact customer loyalty.

For the brick-and-mortar companies this is especially important since they are trying to raise sales online. To boost sales companies need to create ecommerce experiences that are similar to what they would find in the store. This is where color can be very helpful.

4- Presence

This is perhaps the toughest one for a small business to manage since it is so expensive to maintain market presence.

5- Awareness

Tied into your presence is top-of-mind awareness. Do your customers know what you sell and where to get it? The higher your brand’s awareness, the better your sales results will be.

There are five stages to brand awareness.

  • Most Aware – Customers know you, your brand and your product.Including the features and benefits. It’s because of their color, texture, typography, reputation and presence are all consistent.
  • Product-Aware  – Your customers have a passing sense of what products you offer. This is your neutral Apple fan.Someone who is not convinced your products are a fit for him.
  • Solution-Aware – Customers understand that they have a problem.But do not know that your particular company provides a product to solve that problem.
  • Problem-Aware – In this case your target customer knows that he has a problem and needs to solve it.But doesn’t know if there is a product out there that can do it.
  • Completely Unaware – At this stage your customer doesn’t know he has a problem or that there is a solution to it.

6- Positioning

One of the most important…if not the most important…component to building a brand that can increase sales and lock in customer loyalty is the issue of position. Your brand must differentiate clearly between you and your competitors. Here’s how you establish that

  • Consumer Expectations – What does the customer think he will get from your brand? This is harder for startups who’ve not established any expectations. And it’s best you manage your reputation early and often. Never let consumer expectations get out of your control.
  • Competitor attributes – The way your brand is positioned is also influenced by the features and benefits your competitors offer their customers. This is why competitor intelligence is so important.

7- The Price

The final piece to the brand puzzle is pricing. This is such an element of value because most people will think a product that is priced high is of better quality than a product that is priced low. That’s calledprice sensitivity…and it impacts people in different situations.

For example, if you want to buy a new car and decide that you only want to spend $22,000 to $25,000, any price in that range will not bother you. The moment the price goes above that range, however, and you will flinch. The secret is to figuring out a price that will make you money without scaring your customers away.