Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Considering how much energy computers can use up, it’s surprising to see how using the Internet can have an environmental benefit to it. Yet, there is a great deal of evidence to support that it does.
The most obvious upside is that the Internet saves paper. Much has already been commented on the extreme waste of junk mail. This is a major reason why companies like the yellow pages are not consumer friendly. According to Forest Ethics, the amount of junk mail produced per year uses up 96.7 billion gallons of water and is equivalent to the carbon emissions of 3.5 million cars. Forest Ethics also notes that the recent years only saw an increase in junk mail, from 90.5 billion pieces in 2010 to 103.5 billion pieces in 2011. (It should be noted that catalogs and phonebooks are a problem as well, as many of them are ignored and tossed away.)
And what can be said of the notoriously low ROI of junk mail? About 3% or fewer recipients respond to these mailed solicitations. Sorting through junk mail and tossing it into the recycling bin or wastebasket is a common chore upon arriving home at the end of the day. Marketers might see an even lower ROI in the future: more and more businesses and organizations are offering services to end junk mail. Companies like Twitter, Facebook & Google+ provide a platforms for marketing to a larger audience, without any type of waste or junk mail.
Also, think of the efficiency of targeting the proper demographics online. With junk mail, you are pulling off a crap shoot, sending out mass pieces with little information about your recipients. On the other hand, with a campaign through Google, Yahoo! or Bing, you can control to some extent how you target potential customers and you can track and analyze responses and conversions. Emails and newsletters are also eco-friendly, while being easy to manage in comparison to paper newsletters.
Sometimes, doing good for the environment coincides with avoiding waste in effort, time, and money. Especially with the contracting economy at the moment, businesses are focusing on cost-efficient methods of marketing. Look to the Internet and especially companies like MerchantCircle, Yelp & Foursquare for more strategic and eco-friendly local advertising options.
Posted by David Gwynn at 8:51 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Search Engine Friendly Design: It is a delicate art to simultaneously please crawler-based search engine algorithms and visitors on your site. I can’t emphasize more that Web site design should be strictly for end-users, not for search placement. If properly constructed, a Web site can cash in on free traffic from search engines while moving visitors along a frustration-free path from the landing page on other areas, like the gallery and blogs. Building from the ground up, there are three essentials of Web site construction and search engine optimization, which I highlight below.
Proper Site & Page Architecture: As in any initial meeting, first impressions are important. Web sites need to be consistent in layout and design: no surprises, confusion or Easter egg hunts for information. Bring the visitor directly to the relevant page. Research indicates visitors will go up to 25 clicks before abandonment, but visitors should find what they need within seven to eight clicks maximum. Above all, the site should be easy to read and navigate and products must be easy to find. The start page should have anchor text or hyperlinks to bring the visitors where they want to be. Heavy color saturation draws people's eyes, faces draw people's attention.
Keyword-Rich Text: Site text must contain search query words. Use keywords as much as possible but do not overdo it to the detriment of the copy. Quality copy writing is crucial. A site that is listed tenth can make more money than a site ranked at the top if the number-one site has poorly written sales copy. After facing all the expenses of Web site design optimization, research, software and so on, site owners think they can write their own copy. The problem is many cannot, so a professional copywriting company can be a wise investment. All major search engines offer free listings that come from "crawling" the Web. But search engines can and will list what they want. It is advised not to depend on free listings nor to ignore them. Do a mix. Leverage your content. Have relevant content on different topics using HTML text. Ideally, have a page or section of "real" content for each key term.
High Quality Link Development: In regard to building links, search engines notice them and they are part of the overall equation. There are is a golden rule: network and link to other sites because you want your visitors to know others in your network. When you network, you create links on each others’ site and this helps to benefit everybody.
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Posted by David Gwynn at 10:15 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Blog writing has not only allowed me to express myself creatively, but it has increased my knowledge many fold. I have always been fond of discussing current events in social circles and it has allowed me to do that with hundreds of readers without being physically present with them. Here are many reasons why you should be blogging.
1) Expressing Yourself - Blogging helps you to express freely, most of which is normally not possible physically. The expression could be your own or your response to others point of view or current events. I think this is the most important trait of blogging.
2) Give Yourself Exposure - Blogs can give you tremendous exposure online. As you build a library of content through blogging, like-minded people tend to join in on the conversations. Many people find your blog through search engines, looking for things of similar interest as yours, thus giving you quite a bit of exposure. Blogs are extremely Search Engine friendly and are a great way to reach more people.
3) Develop Power - With exposure comes power, especially if your blog content is either controversial or popular. If you build credibility over a period of time, people will be influenced by what you say and write. This gives you power and self-gratification.
4) Gain Knowledge - Yes; I have experienced it first hand. When you write a blog you will always be interested in what is happening around you and what are others writing. This process itself will give you information overload. When you have more information/knowledge you are very confident!
5) Improve Writing Skills - When you start blogging you may or may not be too confident about your writing skills. However, if you blog consistently and frequently you are bound to improve your writing skills.
6) Connect w/ Co-Workers - Whether you are the CEO, a manager or just an employee, blogging lets you connect with your superiors, colleagues, or sub-ordinates. In many cases, your blog becomes your effective way of communication. Blogs help you get your point across at your own convenience.
7) Connect w/ Industry Leaders - Yes, this will happen. Industry leaders are always on the watch out for what people are saying about them or about their companies. There have been many instances when these biggies have directly communicated with bloggers. I do not think any other medium is simple enough to put you in touch with top industry leaders!
8) Make Money - Blogging can make you some decent money and give you a nice stream of steady cash. Earning money takes a bit of time, but if you write blogs regularly and monetize your blog sensibly, you can surely make a decent sum.
9) Share Knowledge - One of the reasons why blogs have been so popular is the amount of knowledge sharing that takes place. This knowledge gets refined over a period of so many iterations that many people now only refer to blogs for information - it is also because they can ask questions and interact with the person who has knowledge - unlike a static website that gives you a lot of information, but does not answer to your questions.
10) Build Your Brand - This is another important aspect of blogging. You can easily capture a lot of new business, because of the personalized communication you have through your blog. People trust other individuals, not businesses. Blogs are the perfect medium for instant feedback on your products and services, thereby giving you a continuous platform for improvement.
There are tens of other reasons why you should blog, but every person has his/her own reason for blogging. My question to readers is, Why do you blog?
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Posted by David Gwynn at 5:46 PM