However, they have realized that the timeline offers all small businesses, entrepreneurs, authors and speakers with a business page that has several consumer engagement hot-spots to share invite opt-ins, specials, sales and even promote major events.
Here’s how you can use the new Facebook timeline features to boost engagement:
The big billboard on the top of a new Facebook timeline is the cover photo part. The image must have a maximum size of 852 x 315 pixels.
Although Facebook warns against including calls to action like "like my page", sales copy or a URL, there are other creative ways of illustrating your offering, the feel of your business or brand and to inspire as many people as possible to like your page.
This image should engage, inform and inspire people. Therefore think long and well about the kind of image you would wish to welcome people who land on your Facebook page.
Applications or Apps
The small boxes under the cover photo are known as apps. These are either custom designed apps or apps that can be installed through Facebook to hold any information of your interest using iframes.
These could be simple opt-in boxes or high quality designed sales pages. Any kind of digital marketing promotion that you may be running can be transferred to Facebook in this manner.
This often ignored hot spot is right next to your avatar photo. Begin the about part with a live link to a sales page or opt-in page, or a live link to your site. This is the next part people look at after the cover picture, to learn more about you and your business.
Ensure that you make it much easier for them to learn more you, your business, products or services and special offers. Remember to begin with the "http://" to make the link clickable and live.
Milestone features have been incorporated by Facebook to allow you to display the special events in your business. Businesses may consider major sales or awards to be honor, an award and milestone.
Facebook puts a good deal of emphasis on milestone entries. Utilize them wisely without abusing them. If your company launches a new service and product, that is a great milestone and should be highlighted.
Pin To Top And Updates
Facebook permits you to pin a given post on top of your page for one week where it attains a spot in your timeline. Contests, special offers, events and announcements or any other important promotional event may be pinned on the top of the page to ensure that most people who land in your page view it first.
Updates also offer a great promotional opportunity. Posting a new update can elicit passionate response from your fans thereby enhancing the chances that these same fans will view the posts in the news stream in the following week. Dedicate at least a single update per week to an inspirational post or a call to action.
As the years have passed by, mobi websites have become so common that web developers no longer ignore them.
Most people buying smart phones will first check whether it can access the internet – a growing trend in both developed nations and developing ones.
Here are some of the reasons the popularity of Mobi website has grown so much:
1. It is a lot cheaper than using the PC to access the same website. These types of sites do not require a lot of kilobytes to open and this makes one spend less.
2. Another reason is the convenience. A mobile phone can be carried with the user almost everywhere they go and they can just use it to surf the internet when they feel like. Compared to the PC which can access the internet only where a connection is available, Mobisites can guarantee a lot more visitors than the regular sites.
3. For a business, it is important to create a mobisite. This will not mean that all the features in the regular site will be available in the mobile version but it will contain all the important ones. It is created in such a way that it will fit on the screen perfectly and the user will not have to resize the screen once opened. It also comes in a simplified version whereby it decides what mobile phone users will mostly do on the site and includes those features only.
4. The other factor that must be considered is what your potential clients will need when they are away from their desk or home. What will make them want to access your site using a mobile phone? If it is a social networking site such as Facebook then they might want to send or check messages.
A site such as Wapedia is where someone might want to look something up the moment they see it or hear about it. Mocality is a business directory site which provides the specific location and even the photo of a business. It is mostly used by mobile users who are searching for the location of a certain business.
Creating this type of site can be tricky as if not well planned; you have to decide if its of benefit to your business. Therefore it is important to know the people you are targeting and how they access the internet.
Young users tend to spend most of their time on the phone and therefore if they are the ones being targeted, a mobile optimized website is a good idea. However if the people being targeted are usually behind the desk and use desktops or laptops, it might not be of great benefit.
Cloud computing is a service that allows you to store your data at remote storage facilities and access computer support services for a fee via the internet.
The cloud service provider buys and houses both the required hardware and software resources that enable you to run your applications.
This eliminates the need to purchase the necessary resources to do so on your own.
Cloud computing not only saves you money, but also allows you to access your data from anywhere. Here are the basics of cloud computing.
In order to access cloud services, reliable internet connection is required. This can be obtained through wired or wireless internet or through mobile broadband service.
Imagine the convenience of accessing a file by downloading it on your phone instead of dashing to the office to copy from your desktop. That is the beauty of cloud computing.
Levels of Cloud Computing
There are four levels of cloud computing that you can register for based on your needs. These are:
1. Private Cloud: A private cloud is a cloud service created specifically for a certain organization or group. Access is allowed to that organization only.
2. Public Cloud: This type of cloud service is accessible to anybody with an internet connection without any restrictions.
3. Community Cloud: This cloud service is created for two or more firms that have similar requirements and hence able to share the service without any hitches.
4. Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud is created from an amalgamation of two or more clouds such as public, community or private cloud.
Selecting the Cloud Service Provider
Depending on the level of the cloud, each service provider performs a specific role, allowing subscribers certain degree of control over their cloud.
You will need different level of cloud based on your needs. As such, the type of cloud you require for business use is different from that for your own personal use.
The cloud for business use needs more storage space than that for home use. Cloud providers can be classified into three types based on level of control and the services provided by the cloud provider.
1. Software as a Service: This one offers subscribers the lowest degree of control over the cloud. You can access both applications and resources and eliminates the need to install cloud software on your computers.
2. Platform as a Service: This one is more superior to Software as a Service as it allows you to obtain the components that you need to create and run applications via the internet.
3. Infrastructure as a Service: This setup allows you to wholly outsource all the software and hardware resources that you need to the cloud provider.
Information stored on the cloud can be accessed by hackers with malicious purposes in mind. This means that you should evaluate whether there are security measures in place to ensure that your information is secure.
Check your cloud provider's security measures such as the encryption method available, the firewalls and presence of back-up storage facilities.
You can easily miss your new messages, request, likes and notifications on LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook is better because it highlights incoming communications.
Social CRM is be used to stream all notifications into a single place where they can be read and responded to immediately.
The heart of a social CRM will have contact records. This spells out your relationship with a customer. The contacts record in the CRM includes all the related activities, deals and messages and the social stream of the contact.
When the day begins, it's hard to determine where you will begin to improve your relations with your customers. A social CRM will allow you to receive a daily emails informing you of engagement opportunities.
By working with a team, you can engage your customers and your business will grow. However, you might not intend to share everything with members of your team.
By using a social CRM, you can be able to choose which of your connected social media messages or emails can be shared with team members, and which ones cannot be shared.
Benefits Of Social CRM
1. Helps in identifying new opportunities
Social CRM will allow you to visit social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and see the products that have been purchased by the customers. This information is important if you want to upsell or cross-sell one of your products.
For instance, if a customer has bought a smart phone, you may send them an email giving them a discount on accessories of the smart phone. This works better than random sending of emails because like in our case above, the recipient might not own a smart phone.
2. Customer feedback
Social CRM will allow you to improve your customer experience. If, for instance, a person buys a product and then tweets about it, you know immediately.
This can be an advantage to you, mostly if the person has many followers. You just have to send them a free voucher or give them a discount on the same product. There is a higher chance that the person will comment positively about your company, hence give you good publicity.
3. Money saved
In the long run, social CRM will help small businesses to save money. You can reduce the cost of customer service by creating a self-help community that will answer the questions that people will have.
Such a company will never have to pay for toll-free numbers used for customer support. More so, commission costs in the company will also be reduced.
4. Return on investment accountability
Most business managers find it difficult to quantify the return on investment between the resulting sales and a marketing campaign.
Social CRM provides a way of doing so through analytics that link free demo downloads, video views, retweets, blog comments placed on your website. You will be able to know if the campaign was responsible for the improved sales.
5. Research and development
Using social CRM a company can research and develop upcoming projects at a very little cost. It allows you to read about what attracted customers to a particular product, the issues that they might have handled and the features that they would like to be added to the product in the future.
This feedback is important and improves the process of brainstorming. Changes that you make based on customer feedback will demonstrate that you care about your customers.
When you include the social platforms into your marketing plan and business model, you will open the doors to a whole new world of media exposure, and it will bring the much needed attention to your site.
Adding social media will allow people to look at you in a new way. It will build confidence in you as an expert in your field, and invite prospective buyers to gain trust in you, which will mean a possible conversion.
Social media is a way for you to get people to your site and increase the chances of converting that visitor into a sale. By engaging in the social media platforms, you can draw people to your site in a number of ways.
By starting with social media, you engage people in what you represent and let them get to know you. When you do that, you can draw them to your site in a natural way. Engaged people are happy people.
There are a number of social platforms that you can work with and a few, but not limited to, are:
Just use your imagination on which ones you can try. You will want to experiment to find out which social media works with your business, and you will need to be aware that each social media platform has a certain tone that you will need to tap into.
Here are some techniques that you can use to incorporate social media into your sites or blogs:
1. Add Social Buttons
People love to feel connected to others and see what is going on. When you add social buttons onto your blog or your site's home page, you invite others to the social platform of your choice to see what is going on with you socially.
2. Add Social Sharing Widgets
People love to share. When they are on your blog or your home page site, and they love what they see, they will want to share this information with others. When you have these sharing widgets they can do that, and that will help to make you more visible.
3. Embed Videos
There is nothing more inviting than a video to entice people to hang around your site longer. It is especially good when the video was made by you. If it isn't, make sure it is something relevant to your site and your business.
4. Embed Fresh Content
The last thing you need to do is make sure your blog or site gets regular feeds, to keep your content fresh. This looks good for the site crawlers and is good for your rankings.
If you can't or don't have time to write, make sure you gain the help of a site to supply your feeds for you. One such site is Scoop.it. This site will supply feeds to your site you need.
Today, a few startups let you share your personal online experience while directing you to where your friends click most frequently.
This online exhibition system is not letting up anytime soon with new startups emerging by the day to serve discerning web surfers. One of these services is Real-Time Clickstream Sharing.
As one browses through videos, shopping sites and more, real-time clickstream sharing connects directly to the browser and with that enables the web surfers to share their 'clickstream' with friends.
This way, they are able to see the most frequently posted links, which are of interest. Other than that, the service also enables you to connect with online friends and know about their favorite activities online and events they may be attending.
Today, web surfers are cautioned to keep their online activities secretive and that only the data released willingly should be broadcasted. This might seem tough with every web surfer eager to learn the activities of friends.
Real-time clickstream sharing services enable web surfers to connect and share their experiences with friends and the public. Such information may include specific places, discounts, and coupons for shoppers and much more helpful information when they share. To achieve that, the web surfer has to disclose their specific locations.
Using this service, web surfers are set to have a richer experience on the web. Just by opening the service, web surfers are able to select interesting people by inviting them. This is a convenient way of ensuring the site opens up for the public to access it.
It plugs into the web browser and guides the user through what they click on the internet. Whether it is a scanned document, video watched, music listened to or just a product purchased online, these details appear on the web surfer's online activity.
The web surfer has full control of the service. They can control whoever visits their browsing history and the material they see. Surfers can choose to share their clickstream with only the chosen friends or still have the option of making it public.
It is also possible to have a blacklist. This means that certain listed websites are prevented from seeing the history. In other words, real-time clickstream sharing service is meant only for web surfers who decide to share their clickstream data with others.
You can share with customers and partners, inviting feedback and more. You can view, in real-time, events, campaigns, affiliation programs and much more in the comfort of your browser. Customer information sharing is not going to be an issue anymore since this tool will support just that in real time. Real-time clickstream sharing is the next step in enhancing your personal online experience.
Cloud computing is an example of a futuristic idea turned into a real initiative and it serves to offer imminent benefits to enterprises and companies.
For one, many enterprise features that seemed to cost a fortune a while back have now been availed in the 'cloud', so that medium and small business can implement at an affordable price.
More important is the that cloud computing has become easily available and there are more than enough application areas to employ the innovation.
#1 Cloud Computing Snapshots
Virtual Machine (VM) snapshot taking is a field of administration that has become reliant on VMware to provide 'images' of a specific state in business time. The snapshots come in handy when detailing the progress and traces of time and are helpful in making directives for the business.
The limitations of this technique however challenges even the most the established enterprises, because of its timeliness and the restricted ability to take only one VM snapshot at a time.
One of the most exciting applications of cloud computing is the possibility of taking instantaneous snapshots of various virtual machines. This is therefore a concept that beats even the most advances platform for virtualization.
#2 Cloud Computing Hybridization
More to the benefits and applications of the cloud computing is the ability to merge servers and work with all them conveniently. The previous generation of computing relied on deciding between a private cloud and a public one since they offered varied experiences.
Cloud computing makes it possible for formation of a hybrid cloud that allows users to integrate both the public cloud and private cloud so that they work on both of them together.
The connection is made via secure virtual private networks (VPNs) and hence, all users can be connected to a public cloud securely. This breaks the boundaries that used to exist for just sharing the internet and applications to a much wider potential for companies.
#3 Cloud Computing in Disaster Recovery
Most virtual infrastructures outside of the cloud are faced with the high cost and difficulty of implementing disaster recovery solutions. This is mainly because the cost of implementing the feature is influenced by the separate users in the system.
Cloud computing takes away this burden by the fact that, service providers are the ones to implement disaster recovery features and therefore incur the risk and cost. Backing up of data is more so to the advantage of the user in that there is no need for cumbersome local monitoring when all the servers can be moved to the 'cloud'.
There are numerous other exciting applications of cloud computing such as; multiple and instantaneous exportation and importation of servers to the 'cloud', paying specifically for what is use and most importantly saving time and money.
Keeping these in mind, an individual should understand that there the platform is limitless and all it takes is being able to identify an established and reliable provider that meets their needs.
With a mobile device, users are far more limited in space; for this reason, web designers who work on mobile website design have to keep a user friendly platform in mind, and must make the content easy to access, in order to ensure mobile device users will not lose interest and jump to other sites.
Break Up Pages
With a laptop or desktop you can place a large amount of text on one page, without online visitors having to scroll sideways; but, with a mobile site, you are going to want to break up the text.
Especially on newspaper sites, or blogging sites, breaking up the content onto several pages is much more navigable than users having to scroll sideways to read the entire page. Since you are limited in space, breaking things down makes it easier to scroll through.
In setting up the mobile website, choosing the right resolution is also key. As a web designer, you have to do the research to find out the specs for current smart phones (which are used to get online), and use your best judgment to create the perfect resolution for the majority of the devices out there.
You must also remember the range of screen sizes (tablets, smart phones, pdas, etc), to develop and choose the right resolution.
Simplicity equals usability with mobile websites; the easier it is for users to scroll the site, the more likely it is they will visit the site. Avoid inclusion tables, using frames, and other types of formatting which is used on traditional websites, as these will slow the speed down, and make it harder to navigate.
With mobile websites, the more links the user has to click through, the slower it will go (unlike a traditional website); so, simplifying things down to the simplest format is critical for mobile web designers.
Proper Navigation Placement
Knowing your users is key here. You should research to find out how they want to navigate, in order to properly develop the mobile site; the easier things are to navigate (and find the links users are most interested in viewing), the better the design will be.
Although your desktop site might have dropdown menus and various fancy images, with a mobile site you want to opt for text links. Not only will this make things faster, it also ensures the site will not freeze up often. Although it is not as animated, it is going to make for faster browsing.
When designing for the mobile web, web designers have to know their audiences, what they are looking for, and create an easy to navigate site, in order to keep visitors tuned in. If there are various fancy designs, links, or other additional elements featured on the main browser, this will slow down the functionality on a mobile device, and will turn users away.
This is why even high-end cars still have analog speedometers rather than the digital ones, even though the technology for both exists for over 30 years.
Information graphics or Infographics are trying to introduce this concept in the field of visualization of technical information, the Web and the IT industry.
Infographics are visual representations of complex data, information or knowledge in a simple standardized graphic form that can later be used in various fields of science and professions.
Typical examples of infographics include traffic signs, streetcar maps and metro subway maps.
Infographics on the Web act as information aggregators and storage space savers, because one map or symbol can replace hundreds of lines of text.
Infographics are also trying to simplify the whole web browsing experience by quickly and clearly depicting complex data. A good example of this are the animations made in Adobe Flash which have revolutionized mapping solutions and various other products on the web.
Infographics are changing the Web by turning vast amounts of text and boring information into an incredibly practical and easy-to-consume content. The best examples of this are various maps, diagrams, models, life cycle maps, tables and trends such as the ones depicted at:
All of the above examples show the enormous potential of infographics to represent various data in a unique and interesting way.
Perhaps one of the most widely known examples of infographics is the video statistics option on YouTube.com. The option can be accessed via the 'show video statistics' button under every video clip in YouTube's database. This option shows the visual statistics of every video clip in regards to various criteria, such as: total views, ratings and audiences by age or location.
For all of you who would like to design and produce infographics, but have no previous experience in design, there's a nice website called visual.ly. This website will build infographics for you trough a simple wizard-like interface. All you have to do is to answer a series of questions and choose your infographics template which you can later customize.
Infographics on the web have become a powerful marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) technique to attract large number of backlinks and visitors to websites of interest, which is why a large number of marketeers are starting to use them.
The technique is very popular among Web developers as well, because it enables them to design visually appealing, content rich and user-friendly websites with an equal amount of information as the conventional text-based websites. With infographics, the Web is becoming more visual and easy to use.
One of the first steps in this process was the integration of image search option in search engines, which enabled the users to search the images in a visual way. Infographics are revolutionizing the Web today and turning it from a "hex editor" look into a truly visual experience.
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While a lot of tech developments come and go like hit songs, this concept appears to have enough legs to transform and upgrade web design in several major ways.
It's advantageous to at least learn about it and consider using responsive web design, especially if your business depends on mobile interactivity. The RWD concept subscribes to the use of simplification and minimal coding.
Ethan Marcotte came up with the idea of responsive web design, coining the phrase, in an article he wrote for tech website A List Apart.
He also wrote a book on the topic in 2011 called "Responsive Web Design." An underlying theme of the book suggests that the web designer must think beyond the desktop and consider the mobile world, which is quickly rising in popularity.
The root of Marcotte's solutions stems from cascading style sheets (CSS) with an emphasis on fluid as opposed to fixed or liquid layouts and flexible images designed for mobile users.
Fluid layouts are more based on proportions that resize according to screen size than a fixed number of pixels. Interactivity with user data is also key to improving the evolving internet experience and can be accomplished using a form of coding known as CSS3 media queries.
In 2012 responsive web design has clearly become a top emerging trend for the more savvy web designers looking to piece the internet puzzle together with the most effective coding that limits the need to duplicate the process for different forms of media.
Constantly changing trends in web design raise lots of questions about time constraints, such as: is it really worth it to learn a lot of different coding techniques that will be outdated in a few years? In the business world, such a fixation is called "diminishing returns." The best way around these time-burners with temporary utility is to learn processes that save time instead of consume valuable amounts of time.
Responsive web design appears to be a time-saving solution. It is certainly a completely new way of thinking that sharply contrasts the ethics of web design that began to form in the 1990s and subsequent decade.
Back then layouts were built on tables that took hours to construct just to display data that could be drawn on a chalkboard in five minutes. CSS changed that way of thinking, although CSS itself became a time-consuming process if it involved a robust website with hundreds of unique pages or displays.
People who are still confused why different browsers display a given image differently, especially on mobile devices, probably will regard RWD as just another cumbersome trend controlled by tech gurus who make the big bucks by staying ahead of the curve.
People who just want to upload content and not worry a thing about coding will likely enjoy cloud-based solutions and social networking as sufficient platforms. But webmasters who want to stay on the cutting edge certainly are embracing the power of RWD in favor of the old world of creating different coding for different devices for delivering the exact same content.
In many cases, creating separate code for the desktop and small screens isn't good enough anymore, as another trend has developed in which users enjoy viewing web content on large high-resolution screens. As always, adapting to internet trends helps your site stay fresh, modern and easy to use.
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