Happy New Year to you and your family. Hope that 2013 brings you every good thing.
Monday, December 31, 2012
SEO is one of the most important tasks that you need to work on, in order to up the ranking of your website. This helps you to bring on the required amount of traffic to your website, thereby improving the amount you can get as return from your business. So, you will have to work on improving your content so that it attracts more number of people to your website. In fact, content is considered to be the king in Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
Making articles reader friendly
In order to carve out the articles which are user friendly, it would be important for you to:
Considering the article – It is important for you to consider the whole of the article starting from the topic to the style of writing, the theme and the words you are going to use. These contribute a lot towards how the article s going to look, and if it is going to be of any interest for your readers.
Considering the title – It is important for you to consider providing a good title, so that it says all about the content of the article. Yet, it will have to be a unique one and even small at the same time. This may help you in actuating the interests of the people, all the more. Use some unique symbols and some numbers in order to get more people to read your article. The “how to”, “Tips” and all, help a lot in bringing on more interests of the people.
Considering the keywords – The keywords is one of the most important part of your articles. So, you will have to use the keywords wisely enough, before actually using any particular one. It would be better for you to make sure that you have had done enough research on the keywords, which can help you with bringing more traffic to your website. Another thing that you will have to keep in mind, with regards to the usage of the keywords is that, you should not over-stuff the articles with keywords.
Considering the introduction and conclusion – It is important for you to consider creating a really interesting introduction to your articles. These will have to be the relative precursor to the body of the article, and this can help you with inducing more interest into the minds of the readers. As for the conclusion, that will have to sum up the whole idea of the article.
So, all of these together can help you in making your article a good one and also a user friendly one. If you can add a description or summary to your article, this may help you to gain more interests of the people. This in the long run, is going to help you with earning more revenues from your business.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Given the upcoming global trends, it’s no surprise that each and every sphere has taken on a new look and form. Similarly, the world of marketing has had to adopt itself even further with the year 2012 coming to an end and the year 2013 setting in. SEOhappens to be one such part of internet marketing world that isn't as simple as it used to be initially. It’s not child’s play and the scenario for search engine marketing is changing day by day. You need some real expertise and innovative strategies to actually achieve better rankings in the search world. Moreover, it does take time as well as patience to build up the right SEO.
The new trends in the world of SEO
The earlier days no longer exist and it’s a new phase in the world of SEO. Find out the latest trends that’ll help you update your search engine to ensure your website’s high ranking in the searches.
1. The mobile search device: It’s now about searching directly. The upcoming changes show that people are now keener on finding direct answers in the search options. This is also being done through different devices including voice search devices like your phone. People are also resorting to social media networks or simply tapping searches into the phone. Digital market isn’t restricted to the computer or tablet anymore. Take note of the fact that mobile search is here to stay and will figure as the biggest search medium.
2. Quality over quantity: It’s true that in the bygone days of search engine rankings, most search engines have at some point or the other made use of the quantity of the pages. In other words, this means that the quality of the website has been judged by the yardstick of quantity at some point of time or the other. However, the picture has changed of late. Now, it’s no longer about quantity, but more about quality. The quality and freshness of the content will generate higher search engine rankings.
3. The social media factor: It’s more about social media optimizers, rather than search engine optimization. There’s a much broader focus on the on-page factors. However, the picture is such now that it means the off-site marketing with the social media integration happens to be its focus.
4. More personalized searches: Most search engines are holding the keys to great social networks. Hence, there’s expected a lot of undercover changes in the search engine rankings. This’ll come about with a lot of personalized searches. Thus, relying on the old style of keyword usage and optimization won’t really help anymore. You’ve got to reinvent yourself with the changing times. Sitting back won’t help.
5. The domain authority: Remember, the trump card still remains the good old classic domain authority when it comes to SEO. Don’t forget that the link graph still remains the most reliable set of ranking signals.
Acquaint yourself with the upcoming SEO trends and ensure you website’s high rankings by developing your SEO techniques accordingly.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Coconut ice is a traditional school fete treat that always takes me back to my childhood. The type of coconut ice that we used to get was the boiled kind, which can be tricky to make - over-boil the mixture and it ends up dry and crumbly, and the layers won't stick to each other.
Fast forward a few years, and I found a number of recipes for coconut ice that involve condensed milk and no boiling. This makes it easier to make, and the end result is pleasingly soft and moist.
To make coconut ices for my Christmas boxes, I used this recipe based on condensed milk from Australian Women's Weekly Sweet. Of course, you don't have to limit your coconut ice making endeavours to Christmas - coconut ice can be enjoyed as a year round gift or treat.
Do you make home made sweets? And what is your favourite home made sweet?
Friday, December 28, 2012
Most businesses have started using digital marketing techniques to promote their businesses. The giants needn't make themselves known because they’re already known by people. It’s the small and medium scale businesses who are trying different ways to get recognized. It is not an easy task to compete with these giants in the marketplace. However, they need to do something to get the attention of consumers to convert them into customers. There are several ways followed by small businesses to market their products and digital marketing is the latest trend catching on among them.
People have access to digital devices and they are not available anywhere, but online. It puts a pressure on small businesses to go online too and reach out to potential customers. With the stiff competition prevalent in the market, it is not enough for any business to just stop with creating a website. Should they try every means within their reach? Maybe yes or maybe not. However, there are certain things that every business should do to make their digital marketing successful. Read on to learn if your business follows the effective ways of digital marketing.
It is necessary for every business to go social. Create a Facebook page for your business and enter all social networks that your customers are a part of. If you are going to launch a product or if you find that your product can attract a new group of people, enter those areas where the potential customers of the new product are. You have to be where they are, in order to reach out to them easily. Moreover, when they find you online, they will respond sooner than otherwise. By making yourself available on social networks, you are bonding with your customers and finding new ones.
As yours is a small business, you need to focus more on the local customers than the ones residing far away from your business. Of course, you can concentrate on getting more customers from different locations, but your business will catch on well among local folks. Therefore, enroll in all kinds of online directories to promote yourselves. Those approaching online directories for information will be finding a solution for their needs. Therefore, online directories give you good chances of attracting customers.
Make Mobile Website
Lately, many people use mobile devices to access websites. Therefore, if you already have a website to be accessed on PCs, it’s time you design a website which can be accessed comfortably on mobile devices. It might cost you a lot, but it is a wise investment to make because the basic aim of your business is to find as many customers as possible. If you haven’t yet created a website for your business, you can consider making a responsive website which can be accessed both on PCs and mobile devices comfortably.
It is important that you interact with your customers. You can enroll in forums and strike up conversation with more people on forums. There are plenty of forums available online. Choose your niche and enroll yourself in at least 3 forums. Comment regularly and offer to help if you find someone looking for a service or a product that you sell. When you share your knowledge with them, you can build trust and lead them to your website. This way, you will be able to build a portfolio of loyal customers.
Start your own blog and also write guest posts for other blogs within your niche. It is important to choose a relevant niche. You can enjoy several benefits by blogging. Therefore, include it as one of your key tasks. Though blogging is seen as an SEO strategy, it’s basically a marketing effort. Build links to your website and your social networking pages through the blogs.
These are some of the efforts you can make to make your digital marketing successful. Not all strategies work for all businesses. Therefore, measure results regularly and stick to what works best for your business.
Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for www.satellitesales.com – The Lowest-Priced Satellite TV in America. Click here
With Christmas having come and gone, we are now looking forward to New Year. If you are hosting a New Year's party, drinks and nibbles are often the order of the day. For a moorish snack for party goers, I always think that spiced nuts go down a treat. How spicy you make your nuts depends on your guests' tastes.
If hot and spicy is your thing, I don't think you can go wrong with this recipe for spiced nuts. The honey adds a hint of sweetness and helps the spicy chilli powder and paprika to adhere to the nuts. Even better, these nuts are quick and simple to make.
I used a mixture of brazil nuts and almonds, but I think almost any type of nut that takes your fancy would be good coated with this spice mixture. I packaged up my nuts for Christmas boxes, but do confess to sneaking a few myself along the way - they are pretty good.
What are you doing for the New Year?
The Internet user base is huge and it has become an effective medium of communication. Just like conventional platforms (TV and newspaper), the Internet has been used for advertising. Online marketing is relatively new and there are no rule books. A lot of businesses have resorted to online marketing, not because it is economical, but it has proved successful.
You will need to make a plan if you want to have a successful online marketing campaign. Here are some tips that will help you.
Figuring out the long term goals
Like any marketing campaign, online marketing requires you to plan well in advance and have your expectations sorted out. Although online marketing is a lot more economical than other marketing methods, there are a lot of aspects that can go wrong. So, before you start out, schedule a plan and stick to it.
Analyze past data
If you’ve had a similar campaign in the past, it is a wise idea to analyze the data and pull out as much information as possible. If something had worked in the past, make a note of it and try using it in your marketing campaign. Similarly, if you’d gone wrong somewhere, don’t use the same strategy again. After all, you can’t expect different results if you are repeating the mistakes.
Fix a budget
Although online marketing is relatively economical, it is wise to fix a budget and stick to it. There are a lot of companies that offer marketing services and don’t be tempted to subscribe before you figure out if you can afford it. Having a budget also helps you plan better and succeed.
Use all the platforms available
Email marketing and ad banners on websites aren’t the only form of online marketing. With the popularity of social media platforms, a lot of businesses have chosen it as an advertising medium. Before you promote your product or service, you need to establish a credible presence. So, exploring the possibilities of using different platforms is an essential part of online marketing.
Put social media tools to best use
Social media is here to stay and there are a lot of ways to use them. Each platform is designed for a different purpose and demographics of the user base will vary. There are loads of analysis tools that help you get statistical data and to have a successful internet marketing campaign, you need to build strategies based on this. For example, to reach out to the maximum number of audiences, you need to post when the traffic peaks and the only way to figure it out is by using analysis tools.
Get to know your customers
This is a very important aspect of internet marketing. By knowing what your customers like, you’d be able to reach out on a personal level and connect with them. Similarly, if you are using a particular platform, be a part of it and blend in. By being a part of the crowd, you can avoid the chances of being perceived as a newbie.
Create original content
When you are sending out emails or promotional stuff, don’t plagiarize. If the person who is reading figures out that you are sending content that is not yours, there are chances of scarring your reputation. Similarly, avoid spamming. Everyone hates spam and there are chances that people might just turn a blind eye or even worse, report you for spamming.
These are some tips that will help you succeed in an online marketing campaign. Then again, you need to realize that there are no hard and fast rules. A strategy that might work for you might not work for another business and it is up to you to figure it out.
George Webber is a freelance writer who writes about the latest in Social Media, Internet Marketing, Technology, Etc. Currently writing for www.1800cabletv.com - your gateway to the best cable companies across the nation. click here
Lately, as an increasingly large number of consumers are logging onto the websites like Facebook or Twitter, it has become too vital to embrace the social media by a business firm in order to be seen online. Although there are too many companies that are aware of the importance of the social media, very few are actually aware of the ways in which they can use the social media tools in the proper way. The tips that are mentioned below will not only make you aware of how to use the social mediaeffectively, but will also provide you with new ideas of social media marketing. This will also optimize the effectiveness of the social features of the website. By bringing social media to your website, you can also offer your visitors with more ways to share your content. Here are some tips that you should follow in order to socialize your website and make it seen in the web.
Twitterize your business website: Twitter is one of the most common and popular social networking website and if you can add a Twitter stream to your website as this will be a great way of showing your visitors that your website is public. Even if you didn’t add any new content to your website, a Twitter feed can keep your webpage afresh. You should incorporate the actual Twitter stream by putting a Twitter button on which the visitors can click for the major reason apart from the fact that it brings new content to your website.
Let the visitors connect you through Facebook: You can also set up your website with Facebook Connect as this is another way of increasing the engagement of the visitors. When the visitors connect through Facebook, they can effortlessly share content, see which friends have visited your home page and also get notifications when your friends leave comments. You can thus remain connected with your visitors through Facebook and know what they like and dislike about your website.
Promote shareable content to boost sharing options: One of the best ways to promote your website to encourage your website to promote the sharing options so that your content can be shared through Twitter, Digg and Facebook. You should update your website regularly so that the visitors always get something new to check out in your website. Simply give them the ‘share’ option so that they might be able to share what they like and support. Post content that is certainly share-worthy so that you may get more and more visitors to share the content that you post.
Therefore, when you’re wondering about the ways in which you can make your website social media optimized, take into account the above mentioned points. If you still haven’t embraced the social media, it’s high time you do so and set profits rolling for your online business website. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Digg are some of the most popular websites that you might use.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Welcome to the last FFwD recipe for this year.
This week's French Friday with Dorie recipe is Go-with-everything Celery Root Puree. In Australia, celery root is sold as celeriac, and is a strange looking beast that I have never purchased before. It is hard, brown and nobbly on the outside and is quite hard in the middle too, making it a challenge to peel. Peeling it is somewhat like peeling a pineapple, as you slice off the skin in chunks rather than thin strips.
I only made a half recipe of this puree, and I am glad about that - the celery taste was rather overwhelming, despite the presence of potato and several other ingredients, so unless you like celery, I wouldn't recommend trying this dish. I served it as a side with a beef stir fry with lots of sauce for the puree to soak up.
To see what the other Dorie cooks, thought, visit the LYL section of the website.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!
The only panettone I had tried previously was the commercial kind, which I found to be kind of dry and tasteless. They also tend to be very expensive. However, my friend Tim and his family love panettone, so I was prepared to be open minded about this recipe and give it a go:
And I was glad I did. Don't get me wrong - making this panettone is a whole day job, not with constant attention, but certainly with time for the 5-6 hours worth of rising time required over three different rises. However, the end result is a fluffy, tasty panettone that puts the commercial ones in the shade.
Instead of candied orange peel, I used cranberries for colour - not traditional perhaps, but visually and taste-wise, a good move.
I almost came to grief when cooling my panettone. Marcellina's recipe suggests that you should demould the panettone from the tin (I used a souffle mould) and cushion it on towels on its side to cool. This was a bad move - the panettone cracked under its own weight where it rested on the bench, so I hastily righted it and let it cool in the usual way.
I liked this yeasted bread-cake hybrid, and Tim was the recipient of a generous piece for his family.
To see what the other Daring Bakers made of this recipe, view the slide show on the Daring Bakers website.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Christmas has been and gone for another year, but a great idea for gifts for the sweet tooth all year round is home made fudge. For my Christmas boxes this year, I made the devine salted caramel fudge pictured in this post. The recipe can be found online here at Taste.com.au.
This fudge is fairly easy so there is not much I can add to the recipe. However, do be careful not to let your fudge burn (eg by turning up the stove too high). The fudge will take a while to thicken, but be patient - it gets there eventually. If you end up with hard dark burnt bits in your fudge, you can sometimes salvage it by sieving the mixture - but this must be done before it gets too thick or sets.
Otherwise, make this fudge, sit back, and enjoy its contrasting sweet and salty flavours as it melts in your mouth - but try to save some for gifting!
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Remember my Betty's of Harrogate fruit mince? Well, I put it to good use in my Christmas boxes this year by making fruit mince pies.
To make my pies, I used Margaret Fulton's recipe for the pastry, from Margaret Fulton Christmas, and available online here. The pies are filled with two teaspoons of fruit mince. The fruit mince is quite rich, so that is quite enough.
i was very happy with the pies - Margaret's pastry is a little more robust than the very short recipe I have used in the past, so it can be packaged easily, but still tastes buttery and good.
As for my fruitcake, I iced it with rolled fondant, sliced it into squares, and decorated each slice with a sugar Christmas decoration:
And finally, if you were wondering what my Christmas pudding looks like inside, here it is:
Just gorgeous! Unfortunately, I don't get a piece, as I sliced it all up and gave it away in my Christmas boxes.
Merry Christmas everyone!
When thinking about improving a website’s search engine optimization, people so often think about linking out, so that they can build their website’s reputation. However, internal linking is extremely important and is a great way to improve your search engine optimization as well.
Whenever you add new content to your website, whether it’s in the form of a blog post or a new page, it’s important to promote that content within your website, so that people know additions have been made.
Here are five tips, so that you can better your website’s internal linking, and improve your search engine optimization as a result.
Think About Your Keywords
When you start thinking about your keywords, it’s important to use alternate keywords for the anchor text. If you use internal links from webpages that have a higher linking capability, then you can improve the ratings of the new pages, since your webpages are helping each other out. Keep in mind though, the more competitive the keyword, the harder this will be. It’s not impossible though, you just need to spend some more time thinking about your keywords.
Use Your Blog Wisely
If you don’t blog – you should. It can do wonders for your search engine optimization and it is the perfect place to take advantage of internal linking. Since you can really blog about anything you like, it’s the ideal section of your website to include links to your other pages, where appropriate of course. Make sure you use relevant keywords though.
Use a Footer
Do not waste the valuable section at the bottom of your website. Add a footer. Using the footer, you can draw people’s attention to individual pages of your choosing and create links to all of them. The footer is stable along every single page, so if a visitor doesn’t click on it from the homepage, they may click on one of the pages in the footer when they’re finished reading the content on your “About Us” page.
Don’t Let Visitors Get Lost
Navigation is very important for good internal linking. Link your pages so that people can navigate between pages easily. If you write a blog post about one of your products, make sure that you link to that specific product page within your website, so that people can easily find what they’re looking for. If they have a pleasurable experience with your website, you may be able to turn them into a long-term customer.
Stay On Top of Internal Linking
Whatever internal linking methods you employ to improve your website’s search engine optimization, make sure you stay on top of it. Test your website, research your competitors and determine what is and is not working. If something isn’t working, change it… there’s no time to waste when trying to improve your website’s search engine optimization.
BelugaLabs is a New York City web design company. We are a group of experienced designers, programmers and marketing professionals, with a proven track record and a diverse portfolio.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
One of the staple treats of Christmas in many countries is the spiced cookie. Accordingly, I felt that I had to have at least one type of spiced cookie in my Christmas boxes again this year. The natural choice for me was gingerbread.
I decided to use Margaret Fulton's gingerbread men recipe from Margaret Fulton Christmas, which you can also find online here. However, instead of gingerbread men, I cut my gingerbread into discs that I could decorate. Inspired by my CW Cakes cupcake decorating course, I wanted to use the technique of stencilling fondant to decorate my gingerbread cookies.
I bought these stencils and Bakels white and chocolate fondant, and made my own royal icing and made some of it very thick and slurry-like and tinted green, while I left the rest white and of a thinner consistency.
To decorate the cookies, I rolled out pieces of fondant just large enough to cover a cookie. I then pressed the stencil down over the icing firmly, then using a thick paint brush, dabbed the green royal icing over the stencil. Using a straight edged pastry scraper, I removed the excess icing from the stencil. Next, I sprinkled gold edible disco glitter over the wet royal icing by tapping a glitter laden brush over the top of the icing, then carefully lifted the stencil. I then let the icing set a little.
I used the same cookie cutter that I used to make the cookies to cut out rounds of stencilled fondant. Using a spatula, I spread the thinner white royal icing onto a cookie, then carefully placed the fondant disc over the icing and tamped down the edges carefully. Voila!
I had some good feedback on these cookies, independently by two recipients, so I was pleased. These cookies were definitely the most fun thing to make out of this year's Christmas boxes, and they allowed me to show off my new stencilling skill.
Tips: Scrape off as much icing as possible from the stencil between cookies, as the icing dries and clogs up the stencil. Keep your icing well covered (fondant and royal icing) to stop it from drying out.
Friday, December 21, 2012
It's Christmas, and that means Chrismas box season. The second addition to my Christmas boxes was Bethmannchen, a traditional cookie from Frankfurt. It is named after a well known Frankfurt family (Bethmann), and each of the three almond halves adorning the cookies represents one of their sons.
Most of the recipes I have subsequently found for Bethmannchen contain marzipan. However, I found my recipe in German Baking Today by Dr Oetker. The genius of this recipe is that is does not contain marzipan - perfect if you want to make Bethmannchen and don't have any marzipan. They are also both easy and tasty.
To make Dr Oetker's Bethmannchen, you will need:
125g icing sugar
1 egg white
200g almond meal
1 teaspoon cornflour (corn starch)
1 egg yolk
4 teaspoons water
50 g blanched almonds
a little milk for brushing
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the almond meal and cornflour and stir to combine.
In another bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Add the icing sugar mixture to the egg whites, and mix briefly with the mixer.
Pinch off walnut sized pieces from the mixture and roll into balls. Place each ball onto the baking sheet and press three blanched almonds into each ball, point facing upwards. Leave the balls to dry overnight. (It is hot here, so I only left them to dry for a couple of hours.)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush each cookie with milk, and place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven to bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
These little cookies were my favourite item in the gift box - they were so tasty I was glad that I only had enough cookies for me to eat one.
If your web host is a poor one then it is possible that it will affect the SEO value of your website. If your website is due to draw a lot of traffic then a poor host may also limit the SEO potential of your website. Mostly all SEO matters revolving around hosting are negative, since there are no real web hosting qualities that will help you to raise your websites SEO. But, first things first, what is web hosting and SEO?
This stands for Search Engines Optimization. It revolves around how your website is read and subsequently indexed by the search engines. This notion is often described as a value, where a website that is likely to be ranked higher in a search engines results pages is described as having a higher SEO value. A website may also be called SEO friendly, which means it is correctly set up so that it ranks higher in the search engines results pages.
This is where you purchase some server space from another company. The server is always online and available for anyone on the Internet to see. This means that you can put information into the space on the server (such as an HTML page) and other people using the Internet will be able to see it.
Your host may only offer you a certain amount of bandwidth. This is okay if you have small numbers of traffic, but if your website becomes heavily attended it is going to mean your viewers are going to be staring at a blank screen. If this happens too often, the search engines will lower your websites ranking and push you further down their search engine results pages.
If your host does not run a secure server then it may come under attack from hackers, which is going to mean multiple system crashes, and you may even lose the information on your website. This means that your website is going to be offline for long periods of time, which is going to negatively affect your websites SEO value.
It is up to your host to make sure that the server you are using is not infected with viruses (unless you are responsible for maintaining the server). If they do not do a good job of this then you will again be at the mercy of system crashes, which will lower your websites ranking on the search engine results.
Again, unless it is up to you to update the server, the host is supposed to do it regularly. If your host does not update on a regular basis then the server will be vulnerable to hackers and will have compatibility issues with current software. Both of these situations are going to negatively affect your websites SEO value.
Page completion time
Google judges some of your SEO value on how long it takes your website to finish loading. A lot of this responsibility falls on you and how you design your website, but your host may also add a drag factor, which will slow your progress onto the first page of the Google search results. If the host only provides a slow bandwidth then your page completion time is going to be slow. If the server is rarely defragmented and poorly updated then it will run slowly and cause problems. If the server is poorly maintained and poorly optimized it will slow down your page complete times.
This should not be a problem unless your host is a really bad one. Your website is supposed to be online at least 98% of the time. If your host is not running your website for at least 98% of the time then you are going to suffer the consequences when the search engines notice. As you can imagine the longer and more often you are offline, the harsher the SEO punishment. Sadly, there is little you can do about this besides changing hosts (which many would recommend that you do).
The reaction of others
Do not forget that if you experience any of these problems it may seem temporary, but the people who link to you may notice your problems and break their links to you, which is going to negatively affect your websites SEO value.
Author bio: Korah Morrison, writer on essay writing servicesthat helps students to write essays of any complexity. She writes about SEO blogging, social media and internet marketing and other tips.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
The Internet has become primary for shoppers and not less so in the holiday season. This infographicreveals the way in which consumers are more frequently employing the Internet either through shopping, price comparison, or product research.
There are several major trends that determine how sales are made that have to be accounted for by Internet marketers in order to maximize the important holiday shopping season.
First is the increase in online shopping reflected by today’s “cyber-Monday” marketing campaign. Online shopping may account for up to half of this holiday’s purchases.
Then there’s the increase in the role of the Internet for shopping in physical stores. Someone shopping in a department store might utilize their mobile device to compare prices before making a purchasing decision. Or, they may have researched various products and prices online before heading to the store.
What does that mean for current Internet marketing over the holidays? First of all, it means your site needs to be accessible for mobile devices, but it also needs to be easy utilized for shopping. How do the search functions on your site work? Are they forgiving on spelling errors or imprecise search queries? How specific and advanced a search do you make available to customers shopping at your site?
The easier a site is to navigate and shop on, the more likely it is to draw in customers. In fact, smaller businesses can still draw advantages over larger competitors who haven’t learned how to design their sites to draw traffic and be user friendly.
Another major development is in the fact that for a customer looking to shop online, a small business with an expansive and helpful site can appear as resourceful and helpful as a much larger company.
Where larger companies are finding advantages with new opportunities in online marketing is through emails and social media. With the latter, companies will create contests and promotions or use ads to reach online shoppers in their own homes on their own terms.
More results are still coming through emails though as people follow emails for deals, coupons, and ultimately sales. The trend amongst big companies for the holidays is to utilize their larger resources on social media, big expansive sites, and emails.
However many of the trends in holiday marketing can also favor the smaller business. Besides the large gap they can fill with a strong website over the larger chains, specialized shops benefit tremendously from search engine shopping.
Someone shopping for a specific item and looking to learn or compare prices will use search terms for that item. So, websites with a specific product can rank higher on searches and draw customers who make specific searches. The larger stores can’t get rank as high on a specific item due to unspecialized search engine optimization.
Much like in a physical store, a website can be further catered to meet the demands of someone looking for a particular product. For instance, a website selling Science Fiction books can draw in readers that search for specific books or the genre, and then cater the website towards that same audience with Science Fiction art, quotes, etc.
The ability for online shopping, shipping, and search engine optimization provides small businesses unique advantages in today’s world to market themselves via the Internet for the Holidays.
By taking note of these trends, both large and small companies can take advantage of the supremacy of the Internet for holiday marketing.
Author Bio: IanB writes for US Business week where national business news is always up for discussion.
This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Cheez-it-ish Crackers. These are cheese biscuits with a kick of cayenne pepper. They are easy to make, and delicious to eat - a perfect combination. As Dorie says, they would be the perfect accompaniment to a cheese platter.
To see what the other Dorie cooks thought of this recipe, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.
Google rolled out an express version of their popular advertising service AdWords. They claimed it was the fastest and easiest way to advertise online. The whole shebang is auto managed so that your ads are only seen by those who would be looking for what you are selling. For example if you are a seller of organic vegetables located in Brownsville PA, a user searching for organic vegetables in Brownsville or even organic vegetables, would see that ad; a user looking for wholesale ice-cream suppliers in Philadelphia would not.
Exactly how different is the Express version from its parent, Google AdWords?
The most significant difference is that AdWords Express is specifically targeted at local businesses that find PPC time consuming but yet want some kind of visibility on the search engine giant.
In the original version you have to come up with your own keywords, and administer the bids. In Express, it is all taken care of by Google.
So now the million dollar question is, if you’re a small local business, is this tool going to provide you with any real benefits? Let’s see what the good and not-so-good sides of AdWords Express are:
Definitely its ease of use is its biggest advantage. Set up takes less than 10 minutes, over 4 simple steps. Once that’s done, it’s done! In just a few minutes your ad can go live on the web. Saves time for sure. The bid prices assigned to you are taken from Google’s bid auction model. The monthly budget recommendation is also made for you, depending on the search volume.
The ads are also targeted depending upon your geo location. Cool huh? Now you don’t have to worry about categorizing according to country, state city and so on. This feature also saves you a lot of time, not to mention headache.
Well its advantages can also be its disadvantages; you have to completely rely on Googles’ assumptions about your business!
Then again if you are a small business on a shoestring advertising budget and looking to do business only locally, then perhaps AdWords Express will work out perfectly for you.
How you can set up Google AdWords Express:
1) Open your account
If you already have a Google account, you can use that email when signing up for your AdWords Express account.
2) Make the advertisement
In the advertisement category in the account, chose the appropriate option. After that comes the title and body of your advertisement. This is what will be displayed to online searchers so do this part carefully and well. Try to think of words people would use while searching for a product like yours, and include that in the text. Also mention any notable events in your business (maybe your business was declared the best local business in the county a couple of years ago), as well as promos. Remember to have newspaper clippings or other supporting docs to corroborate your claims! Don’t forget to incorporate a call to action in the ad itself, as this will make it easier for the visitor to make a purchase. It could be in the form of a complimentary assessment, a demo or any other thing you can come up with that will catch the attention of the user.
3) Decide on your budget
Though Google recommends a monthly budget calculated on the basis of competitor expenditure, you do have the option to decide how much you want to spend every month. What’s great is that you have to pay only when a user clicks on the ad.
And you’re all set to go!
Michael Rae a freelance writer for www.adt.com - offers full home security to help protect your family, assets from burglary and other crimes. adt.com
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Last Sunday was Vlad's birthday, and in true work celebration fashion, I baked him a cake. Vlad is a cheesecake fiend, so the cake of choice was cheesecake.
I decided to go off the beaten track a little with this cheesecake. I didn't have any cream, so I had to choose a cheesecake without cream. I turned to the Australian Womens Weekly Bake cookbook, and found a plain baked cheesecake made without cream called the Bistro Cheesecake. Perfect!
I used chocolate ripple biscuits for the base instead of plain biscuits, exchanged the lemon zest for a cup of chocolate chips (which all sank to the bottom - oh well) and 2 tablespoons of Kahlua, and decorated the top of the cheesecake with ganache (after acquiring some cream!), white chocolate stripes and a fondant disc.
Here is a look inside the finished product (and no, I did not cut this poor battered slice):
But you get the idea. The cheesecake worked, and it tasted pretty good.
To make the basic cheesecake, you will need:
250g packet chocolate ripple biscuits
125g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Kahlua
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Place biscuits in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and process until combined. Press the mixture over the base and sides of a greased 20cm springform pan. Chill the base in the fridge while you make the filling.
Make the filling by beating the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Beat the cream cheese in another medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the cheese mixture, and beat until combined. (To be honest, I threw caution to the wind and added the chopped up cream cheese straight into the eggs and started beating. Luckily, it was a warm day and the cream cheese did beat into the eggs without little lumps speckling the mixture.)
Beat in the 2 tablespoons of Kahlua and fold in the chocolate chips. The mixture is liquid, so yes, the chocolate chips will sink straight to the bottom of the mixture.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the chilled biscuit base, and bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes until set and only slightly jiggly on top. (Mine took around 20 minutes longer.) Cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
I ended up with a small crack in the top of my cheesecake, and wanted to hide it, hence I made the ganache using 75g of dark chocolate and 50ml cream. Chop the chocolate finely and place it into a heat proof bowl. Boil the cream, then pour it over the chopped chocolate, and let the mixture sit for around 3 minutes before stirring until smooth. It will be quite a thick ganache, so spread it over the top of the cooled cheesecake.
Pipe melted white chocolate in stripes over the top of the ganache. My plan was to feather it, but it set too soon. Oh well. Make a name disc out of rolled fondant and pipe a name in chocolate on top. Glue the disc to the cheesecake with a dab of melted chocolate.
Serve and enjoy!